Jim Kirkpatrick’s 2021 Predictions and Recommendations
What I Learned in 2020
Last year I entitled my new year message ReNEWal. One of my goals was to build deeper relationships with my adult son, C.J., and my male friends. With lots of momentum and a spirit of commitment, away I went.
Initially, we had some good talks and time together. After a while, my effort faded. I reminded myself that I am a registered member of the human race, and thus prone to sliding back to old ways. This is why required drivers in the Kirkpatrick Model are so important. They are processes and systems that monitor, reinforce, encourage and reward the behaviors we want and need to perform. I needed some of these to accomplish my goal.
I checked my ego at the door and hired a Tony Robbins coach. Rob became my accountability partner. He provided new insights on my healthy and unhealthy beliefs, gave me honest feedback, and used good old-fashioned discipline. He encouraged me, and at times pushed me and told me, “This is what you said you want.”
I am now spending more true quality time with people that mean so much to me. My takeaway from 2020? I got out of it what I put into it.
My Plans and Advice for 2021
On January 1 of this year, for some reason, I thought of Henry Nelson, a former boss of mine at Wheaton College. Do you know people who leave a guest room looking as if no one had used it, ready for the next visitor? Or have you seen a sign in a national forest that says, “Leave your campsite better than you found it?” Henry Nelson is a person who left those he interacted with better than he found them. His sincere smile, gentle words, honest feedback and caring spirit uplifted the people around him. He had many ways of noticing people and letting them know they matter.
My crystal ball for 2021 for learning and performance professionals looks pretty good if you follow the lead of my old boss, Harry. Like 2020, I believe the effort you put in greatly impacts what you get out. Here is my advice:
- Leave people better than you found them.
- Privately praise small, positive actions via email or text. Be sure to mention how it was helpful to others.
- Ask peoples’ permission to provide them with helpful feedback.
- Publicly recognize positive actions to inspire others to follow suit.
- Ask strong employees to volunteer to mentor others.
- Seek to understand before seeking to be understood (Stephen Covey) by asking questions before making judgments.
- Focus on improving workplace performance.
- Spend less time on classroom and online content, and more time on content or interventions that directly help people where and when they are working.
- Build, support, and contribute to a community of performance (also called a community of practice).
- Develop and implement a peer-to-peer mentoring or coaching program.
- Work with line managers to develop performance accountability and support tools.
- Develop micro-performance-boost tools. Consider using videos.
- Include on-the-job performance expectations in course descriptions for mission-critical training.
- Focus post-training survey questions on driving performance and tracking results, not just checking to see if learning occurred or can be recalled.
- Get a coach.
- If you are in a position to hire a professional coach, do it!
- If not, find a like-minded co-worker or friend with whom you share honest, open communication.
- Ask for feedback, graciously accept it and act on it.
- Keep a journal of what you learn and implement. Refer to it frequently for more insights.
We wish you a great start to 2021. We hope you will put everything you have into making it a great year.