2015 went by in a flash.

Shockingly fast in fact, so I thought I’d have a look back over the year….

2015 was the year of the new website. It was redesigned by Jade Kelsall and I’m really pleased with it. She’s moved the blog over to the website for me and she spent some time teaching me more about WordPress and PowerPoint. (Some of the PowerPoint stuff was a revelation. I’ve still not really gotten over Ctrl D to duplicate objects.)

It’s also the year that I started to do more facilitation. I facilitated a session on communication and key messages for an away day for a university student outreach team, a social media focussed marketing and communications day for learning and development teams within the Methodist Church, a team building day for an IT service desk team and I designed focus groups to find out why some university staff don’t fill out staff surveys.

After all that, I developed a marketing and communications day with the help of Jane Secker (AKA the Lady Gaga of IL – thanks Nigel, Jane will now be forever Lady Gaga in my mind) for the Information Literacy Group so that we could create a comprehensive graphic design brief for a re-brand. Although I played a key role in the development, Jane actually delivered the session because I was in Nashville, 🙂

I went on a training course. I KNOW!? I was shocked too. I’d forgotten how great it was to be trained by someone else. It was one-to-one, which was great. For two whole days, I learned about Belbin Team Roles and became an accredited facilitator. My trainer, Leena Shalloe, was fantastic and incredibly charismatic. It was such a fun couple of days. (There was an exciting moment when we realised we both liked rock music and fantasy novels.)

I find Belbin very usable, and easy to explain. I think it can really help teams to see why they behave how they do. It also makes it easy to see where there may be some weaknesses or at least watch out for those areas or roles that their team doesn’t have in such abundance.

I recently did my first ‘Belbin day’ with a team. We had an really enjoyable day AND got a lot of useful information out of it.

(In case you’re wondering, I’m a resource investigator and specialist. I like liaising and networking with others, sharing and providing expertise and to have ideas!

… And I shouldn’t “talk too much so others cannot get enough air time”

Stop laughing…

I’ve written and developed new courses on interview skills, time management and negotiation skills and I team taught with Jade. We did a Trainers’ Study Day for NHS librarians, where I did exercises on face to face training and Jade shared her e-learning expertise. It’s great training with someone else as you learn a lot from them but also because they can fill in the bits that you’ve forgotten to say.

I collaborated with friends and colleagues, Deborah Dalley and Claire Bradshaw. We pooled together our collective knowledge and created a half-day session on resilience and surviving change. Claire and I trained together for the first session and then split the rest up between us. This worked really well and we’re going to have a chat next week to see if there are other training sessions we could work together on.

Claire and I worked on a bid together where we put together a programme of coaching and career development to enable newly graduated and newly employed staff to ‘transition into employment’. We incorporated a lot of our respective expertise such as Belbin, Myers Briggs, coaching and mentoring into the programme and we consciously chose to technology to help us with delivery (it would have been a geographically dispersed group). The coaching and resources were to be delivered via Skype and a closed Facebook group. It’s a really great piece of work that was fun to work on but also something I’m quite proud of. We weren’t successful, which was a shame, but apparently we only narrowly missed out as the tender was given to a much larger team.

This year I wrote my third 12 Days of Christmas for NHS Librarians. The first year I wrote this I was pretty much writing about stuff I used every day. Now it’s all about experimenting with new stuff and then telling people about it. This year in particular I looked at a lot of new software. My particular favourite was Canva a graphic design tool that I feel is one of the most intuitive graphics packages I’ve looked at in a while.

New ideas for 2016

This year I’m going to work on moving the introduction section of my social media courses online so that in the workshop. The idea being that it will be more of a flipped classroom, where we can go over issues that people encountered but also so the session can concentrate on content and audience more.

There will be a change to my approach to customer service skills too. I feel quite strongly about customer service skills training and I think staff can only improve their practice if the whole organisation has customer centred approach. Without it I’m wasting my breath and organisations are wasting money. With this in mind I have developed a questionnaire for customer service managers so that I can have a look at the organisation ethos to empowering staff to deliver great customer service. This way we can ensure I am delivering the right training to the right people.

Things for 2016. 

I’ve signed up for the ILM7 Certificate in Executive Coaching and Mentoring programme, which starts in May. I’m excited about being on the other side again. I’m developing new courses, one on ‘Writing for the Web’ and I’ve just finished writing Moving into Management. I realise too that I must come up with some new subjects to investigate. I’m wondering about the possibility of new courses on Assertiveness or Influencing skills, two areas I touch on in my Negotiating Skills course and have added to new Moving into management course too.

Oh and did I mention what else happened in 2015?

I went to Nashville…

Our house.
The Bluebird Cafe.
Autographs on the wall at the Bluebird Cafe.
Favourite house in the neighbourhood. East Nashville does a porch really well.
The visitor centre in the Downtown area has the best tourist tat available. I’ve this seen this t-shirt being sported by the lead singer of the Cadillac Three.
The stage at the Ryman Auditorium.
Louise, laughing, near cowboy boots.