There’s a lot of non-believers out there…and I am the biggest sceptic

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Written by Alex Watson on 21 September 2016

If we focus on improving the surface and not deeper structural issue that is all we are likely to improve. Not just technologically, but society itself will leave some of us behind if we do not search for deeper answers to more complex questions, and listen to the answers!

The person left behind may be you!!  Larger causal effects. Wider patterns. For all our virtual enhancements, we are left spiritually and emotionally bankrupt. Less effective. Less productive. Less connected, even in our ubiquitous connection.

We may have earned a few bob along the way, by keeping our head down and doing ‘enough’…but to what end? We end up feeling like we have to fight to hold on to what is ours. What we have gained. For all that we have given. Often, in our battle for increased market share, competitive edge or resources, we aim our gun at the wrong target.

Let me go back…a little way

The last several years have been strange indeed. In all spheres of the human experience and that has aligned with my own bizarre journey through unfamiliar terrain.

Leaving the corporate L&D world. Starting a business. Continuing my lifelong passion of singing and writing. Expanding my band whilst continuing to gig and perform. Recording new material. Co-presenting a television show, performing in a musical…and most recently, going on my first proper tour…as well as­­­­­­­ many other  ‘professional development skirmishes.’

Alongside this has been:  Anger.  Self pity. Low self-regard. Bouts of depression. Skin Flare ups and agitations. Therapy. Family problems. Financial issues and a host of other ‘personal growth skirmishes.’ The whole kit and caboodle.

True Transformation

We’ve become so disgusted by negative emotion, we often fail to grasp the truths that lie behind them. With disgust at the message…we shoot the messenger. #BreakingNews. The message does not go away!

See, we like to be able to swallow our truth popcorn style, as if watching a movie that we can simply turn off and say…well that was interesting, fun, harrowing, informative etc. Preferring not so much to observe and make informed rational judgement as to what it might mean…for that would at least allow room for true understanding and growth whether that is in ourselves or others.

Instead, we attempt to shut a truth down. Ignore it, belittle it, or worst of all, and perhaps most common. To shame truth out of AND AWAY FROM our comforting perception of reality. We were all happy before you came along with your bloody sword of Damocles. Now get lost!!

Thing is, you cannot shut negative emotions down. They are comprised of an energy that requires the alchemy of transformation…and that is really where this little opinion piece pivots. Where L&D can and must become cognizant.

It doesn’t have to be a negative emotion necessarily…but as L&D professionals, HR business partners, organisational specialists, trainers, facilitators etc…we must understand our function lies at the ‘intersection of transformation.’

From A to B. From worse to better;  From darkness to Light; From under-performance to improved performance. Or maybe simply from, ‘used to be done this way…now it’s going to be done this way…and here’s why!) In order to do this successfully…with lasting impact, we must truly attempt to understand the issues at hand. It’s not enough to accept edicts and deliver on them anymore…times have a-changed…again.

L&D Takeaways

Learning and performance for me has always been about survival. When I read a lot of the stuff from people in the business or academic world, not all….but many are just at a different level of Maslow’s Hierarchy to myself and as such, their concerns and their sense of purpose often deviates from mine.

That is not a bad thing in and of itself. Who cares what I think? However…I find this often impairs an ability to retain a holistic ground up, bottom down perspective. We’ve simply forgotten what it is like to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes. So we simply do not have the whole picture from which to engender positive lasting impact.

I find it hard to get excited anymore about how the use of Artificial Intelligence might impact and benefit organisations. How live-streaming might transform organisational communications. I understand how they might benefit but why should I care anymore?

Especially, whilst it appears to me to mean the perpetuation and amplification of an increasingly divided world; One where we can simply shut out that which we find unsettling  in favour of a virtual, handpicked, self-centred reality; One that allows us to escape the very real world happening all around us. Hidden, in plain sight.

Truth is, complex transformation with lasting impact is harder to achieve but I do believe it’s worth it.

If you’re interested…call me.

About the author

Alex Watson, is the director at SQUISH Media, a learning, performance and technology consultancy.