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Episode 37: Learning at the Speed of Change with Bejoy Philip

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What does it tell you when webcams are sold out everywhere, with no restocking expectations and people are selling used ones on eBay at a premium? Things have definitely changed!  COVID-19 “moved our cheese” and items such as Zoom, Livestream, virtual conferences, and online music battles have become commonplace for the tech-savvy and laggard alike.  The rate of change that households have endured and the non-discretionary learning associated with it cannot be overstated.

With all this, can we even keep up with the pace of the change? How do our learning and our consumption of information change during these times?

Bejoy is a Talent and Organizational Development Executive with cross-functional experience within HR, technology, and business operations. Having a diverse cultural and professional background, from the performing arts to HR strategy, Bejoy is familiar with adapting quickly and carrying over skills from different fields. 

We discuss how the new normal has forced everyone to learn at the speed of change. The question now becomes how might we best channel our efforts to deliberately learn; what skills are essential, now and in the future; and how might they be obtained?

About Bejoy Philip

Bejoy is a Talent and Organizational Development executive with progressive experience working with leading companies in both the financial and pharmaceutical industries. He believes the power of innovative culture, agile strategy, and modern leadership can change the game for teams and organizations.

A computer engineer, award-nominated hip hop artist, trained coach, writer, and HR executive, Bejoy believes in challenging conventional ways of working and embracing uniqueness in the workplace. He is also co-creator of BarsAtWork, an experimental content creation team that uses hip hop lyrics to convey leadership and professional development insight…what he calls “Lyrical Thought Leadership.”

Bejoy lives in PA with his wife, Juby, and two daughters, Gabriella and Grace. His favorite superhero is Wolverine, he loves rustic camping, and finally got around to watching the Mandalorian.

Connect with Bejoy

Connect with James

The Transcript

James: Welcome, everyone! Welcome to another episode of The Corelink Solution, where we look to empower you with awareness and actionable insights. For those of you joining the Livestream, thank you for being a part of it. As always, we’re going to open up for your questions and comments. Please insert your questions in the comments section of Facebook, or the chat section on YouTube, and we will do our best to get to them. 

Tonight’s topic is Learning at the Speed of Change. Most of us struggle with focusing on personal development and growth during normal times. Well, after a pandemic, unprecedented uncertainty, social unrest, and what we’re dealing with in terms of systemic racism, it can become nearly impossible. Well, we know that change is constant but the question is how do you learn with so much change in the environment? And that’s what we’re going to explore tonight.

I’m joined by someone I know I can trust and that’s always a treat, to have someone like that with me – Bejoy Philip. Bejoy is a talent and organizational development executive with progressive experience working with leading companies in both the financial and pharmaceutical industries. He believes the power of innovative culture, agile strategy, and modern leadership can change the game for teams and organizations. 

Bejoy, welcome to the Corelink Solution, man.

Bejoy: I really appreciate that, James. Yeah. Absolutely. You said that much better than I could. [laughs]

James: Well, you know, I try, brother. I try to make you feel welcome, man. I try. 

Bejoy: I love that, I love that.

James: Good to have you, man. How are you?

Bejoy: I’m doing well, doing well. Well, like everybody else, it’s been hectic, crazy, emotional, challenging, all those things, mixing over the past couple of months. Add to that, my family just got a puppy this weekend, so I’m dealing with that as well.

James: Whose decision was that? [laughs]

Bejoy: Listen, I tried my best to keep it as a no, and I got arm-wrestled by both of my daughters, and I gave in. But, I have to say, I probably wanted the dog more and just came to grips with that. [laughing]

James: Now it’s on the public record. 

Bejoy: Yeah, exactly. 

James: Right, right. So, one of the things I like to ask folks so people get to know who they’re talking to is what is one thing you can share about Bejoy that most people don’t know? 

Bejoy: Hmm. That’s a good one. You can find my career on LinkedIn, I’m sure. 

James: [laughs] 

Bejoy: One thing that you may not know, people always ask me “what’s my background?” I’m very proud of my culture and heritage. So, I’m South Indian. And also, that I’ve been in hip hop for the longest time in my life. So, as a performing artist for over – I’d say, ten to fifteen years, practicing as an artist. And now, I would say I’m a retired artist but still keeping the hip hop alive. 

James: Yeah. Yeah, man. So, guess what, man. So, I wasn’t sure if you were going to speak to that or not, because sometimes people get real humble. They hold back different things. But I queued something up, so – oh, yes! I queued something up. So, check this out, audience. I’ve known Bejoy for like – at least fifteen years, right? 

Bejoy: Yeah, it’s been a long time. 

James: At least fifteen years. But this is something new, and what I love is how he’s integrating his leadership and HR. He leads HR strategy now at a financial institution, but I love how he’s integrating the leadership aspect with his gifts and talents. So, check this out, people. 

[plays music 03:24 – 04:28]

James: I love it. Yeah. Good to see you.

Bejoy: I appreciate that. And that’s such a meaningful piece. So timely. I actually recorded that beginning of last year. And it was resting on my mind. Obviously, prejudice and discrimination, these topics are not new. And just how relevant that piece is right now with current events and context is really meaningful to me, and I’m sure, many people. 

James: Absolutely. So to kick this topic off, man, Learning at the Speed of Change, to talk about learning, maybe we can start with a fundamental element, which is really, I like to think, self-management. Right? And perhaps we can just unpack that a little bit, in terms of self-management. And when I say self-management, particularly for you, again, as a head of HR strategy, what does that even mean to you – self-management?

Bejoy: Self-management. It’s interesting. You could probably take it to the career standpoint and say “How do you manage your career, your progress, your journey?” There’s actual theoretical research tied to emotional intelligence, where that term “self-management” is seen most of the time. Daniel Goleman, for those that may not know, he was a founding father of emotional intelligence and key research and all of that. He coined this term of self-management. And in that, he really talks about leaders and people controlling impulses, emotional response, and self-regulating, those types of things. So, self-management can mean internal to yourself – how are you managing the self, intrinsically, and how you respond, and how you react to people and situations and your environment around you. It could also mean, in the context of learning at the speed of change, how do you manage yourself as an agent of change in the world of work, and what is your role to play and how do you chart your course in career, in your profession, and the milestones you want to reach. So, there’s a little bit of grounded stuff that’s out there on self-management, but you could take the term and apply it to many contexts.  

James: There’s some leeway. For sure. For me, I was thinking about it because, when I think about self-management, I think about what you said in addition to kind of setting your own – I like to use analogies – setting your own GPS. Really being clear about where you want to go and then plotting that course and managing your way along that course, whether or not, there’s always going to be external influences but you need to get a grip on and continue to push towards that direction. So you need to set the direction and you need to help, you need to control steering that direction all the way through. 

Bejoy: Absolutely. I love the idea of just the markers and the GPS and all these things. You have a destination that you want to get to, and there’s multiple paths to probably get there. And so, monitoring your progress along the way and saying, “Am I where I want to be? Am I doing what I’m supposed to be doing? Am I learning what I’m supposed to be learning and making pivots along the way?” are really important. Because there’s always going to be the traffic signs, there’s always going to be stops along the way and other things that were unplanned and unintended. So, it’s really important to chart that course. And I wouldn’t say it’s on a wall and it just stays static, but it’s an evergreen, iterative process that just keeps growing.

James: So I know – I’ve spent a little time in HR, but I’ve not done what you’ve done, being a head of HR strategy. I’m sure you get tons of questions such as, “Mr. Philip, I’m in this part of the company right now and I want to get up to here.” And it’s always up into the right. No one really wants lateral moves, right? Everyone wants to go up into the right. And that’s cool, nothing’s wrong with that. And they desire to do so and they’re looking for the magic potion and the magic answer, right? How do you talk to them about the importance of learning and development relative to their career lifecycle? 

Bejoy: That’s a really great question. It really comes back to – I ask them questions like, “What is your motivation, ultimately? What are you actually trying to get out of that question of “How do I chart from here to here?” If you’re looking for just the promotion or just the next role, then my question would be, “Why? What is that doing for you? And what are your motivations?” Are they extrinsic – “Hey, I just want more money, I just want to get to this thing”? Or is it more intrinsic – “The meaningful work I want to do lends to this area and I’m really trying to find my way there.” I give them a lot of times my own story, being a computer engineer by academic standards, and now full-fledged HR professional, how do you make that leap? It really came down to my motivations and saying, “I want to be intrinsically motivated by the work that I do and feel purpose and meaning in what I do.” I’m not saying that technology wasn’t a great learning ground for me, but I knew that there were other things grabbing my attention and my passion. 

So, those are the types of questions that I ask people, and to get to that place where, are they open to the possibilities that your learning could be actually in a different group, a different department, a different function? Maybe even, to your point, a lateral move, or moving from a manager to an actual subject matter expert and not managing people anymore. So these are the exploratory coaching questions where you start to uncover where someone is and what’s their appetite for learning and growth, or is it more just achieving the next hierarchical step?

James: Yeah, and you had a big question in there – the extrinsic or the intrinsic? How do people typically respond when you ask that question? Because, again, a lot of times people are looking for a specific thing they’re looking to get to, the next rung. How do people respond when you ask them that? 

Bejoy: It’s interesting. They sometimes can be taken aback, because nobody – no one outrightly says, “I’m only doing it for the money” right? Or, “I’m only doing it for this.” But it really gets down to what motivates you as a person. Are you achievement-oriented? Are you engaged by just the learning process? So, there’s motivators that research has shown that we could have a blend of these motivators in us. A lot of times we have some predominant motivators in us. And some people just have an appetite to learn so that the act of doing is fulfillment in itself. So, it’s not about the achievement of the next thing, it’s actually, “As long as I’m creating and doing and learning in the process, I’m completely fulfilled.” So just that self-revelation and not placing judgment on right, wrong, what’s good and what’s bad, but just knowing the self. This is all about self-management. What are you going after and why? When you answer those questions, you can make clear decisions around your next steps.

James: Yeah. No, that’s good. So now, in this moment, if people come to you – this is quite the season again. We’re in the midst of a pandemic, we’ve had shelter at home. Some places are going through different phases of coming back out, so to speak, right? Some are not. Right? Now, we have, again, protests and different things happening. How do you counsel people if asked about, “What should I be learning during this time? Or what should I be doing with ‘the extra time’ that I have?” If they even ask, right? Or if you observe people who are, have tons of extra time, what’s some of the counsel that you’re giving? 

Bejoy: Yeah. That was an interesting assumption that we had coming into COVID, is that “now people have extra time.” But what we’ve found is that’s probably not the case in all instances. People have families, they have loved ones that are sick. There’s new stresses of just being at home and managing different aspects of life, along with working from home. And the work doesn’t really stop. And we had to really pivot as organizations and as people to say, “Are we going to be empathic and understand boundaries and self-regulate and all those things in this time?” But what I tell people is we went from, in a matter of months or weeks, going from a pandemic, where now we shifted from virtual work in a matter of moments, to now facilitating and leading teams virtually in a matter of moments, to having to create new policies and procedures in a matter of moments, and you could continue down that train of thought. We’ve radically had to shift how we work because many companies weren’t in that type of environment or in that type of mode of operation prior to COVID. So, that alone created a learning opportunity where we saw the proliferation of LinkedIn posts of “This is how you operate in a virtual environment”, “How to lead your team virtually”, “How to be mindful during these times”, “How to manage stress in these times.” What people were picking up was in the now, there were learning moments that people didn’t have to deal with as intensely as before. And so now, you’re in this moment where all these things – dealing with stress, dealing with virtual teams, managing your work now when you have kids to homeschool and all these things. All of these became heightened priorities in people’s minds. Not that the knowledge or the content wasn’t out there, it now just had to get repackaged, brushed off, and said, “Hey, let’s put this out there, because people need it right now.” So, those are some moments that are relevant. 

You fast forward a little bit and now, you’ve hit a whole new challenge of the social unrest and the sad and unfortunate deaths of all the people that we’ve seen and heard in the news. These are sad things that we have to deal with as a society, and you think about these things. We’ve shifted from dealing with the challenge of virtual work to dealing with the challenge of social conflict, and internal conflicts with our views on race and prejudice and discrimination. And that – it’s unprecedented times to shift this quickly, in terms of what people are having to learn. And in these moments now, in the past couple of weeks, people are asking, “How do I deal with these topics with my team? How do I have these conversations? Do I know enough about race relations in the United States and what has occurred over generations, and how do I talk about this intelligently?” All of these things are now becoming heightened acumen points or things that we have to learn. It’s just amazing to watch as we all have been seeing these events unfold and you’re having to switch your mind to different topics over a course of months.

James: Yeah, and to that point, in terms of that threshold question then, how do you think about setting up the learning cycle, if you will, in that moment? Let’s call this a season. And this season, where – first of all, there’s so much to digest that the media offers up. On top of that now, pick any outlet, if you will – Netflix, PBS, so on and so forth. There are films and specials and documentaries, right? So, you’re overloaded with information on social channels and everything else, right? I’m sure people are coming to you inside the organization going, “Well, for sure, you’re going to give us the right buffet of learning during this season? Surely, you’re going to tell us the right things to learn, to your point, everything from EQ, emotional intelligence through very specific things along this topic, so on and so forth…” Again, going back to the point of self-management, just to push back on that a little bit, what’s your response? If they don’t have a Bejoy who’s going to set up the buffet, how should a person begin to think about consuming things and what are the right things to consume? 

Bejoy: Yeah. I empathize with my learning and development colleagues [James laughs] with this. I was in the learning and development field for a long time, and working in HR strategy, you kind of see a lot of other aspects of HR. And I look over to my learning and development colleagues and they’re getting peppered with so many different requests around learning. And quite honestly, whether we have the buffet or not, the real question is are those modes of learning fast enough to deal with the pace of change? Unless you have someone curating very quickly and have scalable learning solutions and the digital capabilities and the content ready to go, you’re taking time to actually create these things, curate these things, and push them out there. So, what I would ask somebody is, “Well, things are changing, who have you tapped into in your network who are already learning at the speed of change and are you using the wisdom of the crowd, so to speak?” And what we’ve seen is some great cross-learning just from the network of the organization, where people are sharing what they read, what they learned, what they saw on LinkedIn. And the trading of information and insight is so prolific and just really impactful because people are getting things quickly, or quite honestly – again, like LinkedIn. 

You just go on LinkedIn, scroll on your feed for thirty seconds and you’ll have all the curated content you’ll want, in terms of the topics that might be relevant to a broader audience. But I do think it could get a little frenetic. It could get a little like, hey, ask yourself, “Do you actually need to learn it?” Or, “Are some of these things common sense?” Because I do feel that as a person in HR and learning person, I ask myself, “Bejoy, are you asking for content or things that really are common sense?” And I always get told, “But Bejoy, not all things are common sense, since people -” but I think that’s the age that we’re in, is that learning to learn means, not only to be able to seek the right content, information, and insight, but also to process for yourself and problem-solve for yourself and say, “How would I like to address such and such challenge that I’m facing?” Not everything requires the certification or the learning nugget or the vignette. It really sometimes just comes down to a basic question of like, “How would I solve this?” 

James: Yeah. I love that answer. The wisdom of the crowd. So, let me ask you this. So, kind of switching topics a little bit, when you think about the unemployment numbers, and the spike that we saw, and to me, as I was processing it, I was thinking about it from the frame of, wow we had just exploded into a gig economy, where people were finding so many different ways to earn income, whether you’re an Uber driver, Airbnb, the Amazon distributors – which I think they’re still doing pretty decent. But nevertheless, you saw just a gross amount of people have to file unemployment and go into unemployment, so on and so forth. And now, not all of them are making their way back because a lot of those jobs are not the types of jobs or companies that are reopening. As people like that think about, again what new skills should I be obtaining? And I know this is a really difficult question, right? Because, I mean, you’re not the sorcerer of all… [laughter]

Bejoy: [laughs] Of all skills?

James: Of all industries and all skills, right? But again, I’m just going to put you on the hot seat because you’re here, right? You’ve done a couple of different industries. How do you think about the advice that you would lend in that space?

Bejoy: Ah, that’s a great one. I think you have to steer the answer towards, “Well, what kind of job, role are you trying to take? And how quickly do you think you could take on the skill development to get there?” So, there are base things that I think everybody should be honing into within the new world of work, whether that be corporate America or otherwise. Complex problem solving, the ability to think strategically. There’s this idea of design thinking, or human-centered design, just basically, “How do you develop solutions that are meant for humans and really meet the mark of what people are looking for?” 

Those are just like some modern skills that I think – we went from like project management and process and things like that, to human-centered design, complexity, and strategy and these things – these are modern skills now that you actually have to have, not just at the top of the house, but you actually have to have them in various levels of the organization. In terms of technical, functional stuff, I would say analytical thinking. The world is data-driven. You probably have heard that ad nauseam, but you can’t avoid it. Everything is coming with data now and, not that you have to be the coder, which some people might choose that path and say, “Hey, I’m going to do a pivot and get my certification or get some more rigor and academic training in data analytics and things like that.” But others might say, “I just really need to brush up on analytic questioning, how to read data, and interpret data. Do I have some base knowledge of what’s out there in terms of how I can leverage data to make meaningful decisions and do my work? Those are things I could say anybody could dive into and still be relevant. And then, technology savvy. Are you up with the times in terms of working with modern tools? Right now, we’re using Livestream. Who would have thought, some years ago, that this would be such a common platform for communicating, for learning, for discussion, for interacting with customers, people, and all those things. So getting savvy with, I think, social media and digital tech work tools are so important. We see Microsoft teams and other platforms like Mural, and people doing brainstorming sessions virtually. COVID has been the priming session for us to get comfortable with digital work tools and I think that’s going to stick with us in the future. 

James: Yeah. And you know, what’s interesting about what you said is you started with what was, what I think are skills that fit in what we used to call soft skills, right? Complex problem solving, design – are they considered soft skills or not really? 

Bejoy: Yeah, you know what? It’s interesting. I think they’re becoming the harder skills to find and develop. Yeah. It’s interesting because people think it’s like just somewhere inside somebody. But there’s a process to these things. There’s actually technique and some people have either intuitively or trained, have gotten the process down so ingrained, that it looks like they’re just coming up with it, or it looks like they just think it – it’s like watching the artist who plays this great piece, and you’re like, “Oh, it’s just brilliance inside of them.” But the fact of the matter is there’s years and years of perfecting a process to get to that outcome. So, I would associate those things – I think that soft skills word needs to die. It needs to go away. It needs to get brushed under the rug. It needs to get thrown out. Because the things that are actually going to differentiate people, in the new context of work, are things like social and emotional intelligence, are things like problem-solving skills, thinking skills, actual thinking skills, and how do you connect dots between things in your organization. I’ll give a practical example. I’m sure anybody who might be listening to this, you work in an organization where there’s like fifty things going on. And someone says, “What’s the priority?” “They’re all the priority.” Right? How do you get all these initiatives to work together? These are complex problem-solving skills to get things to connect. 

James: Right. That’s good, that’s good. I like that. So, one distinction I’d make then, so let’s not call them soft skills, but let’s call them… transferable skills across the board, right? Because those skills – design, thinking, complex problem solving, let’s add to that things like resilience, things that we started with – self-management. Things like persistence, and all those things that look like character traits but are tested over time to help you get, make them habitual and whatnot. And build up your ability to do them well are things you can cross industries with, cross functions inside of industries with and actually help differentiate you from the rest of the pack over time. To your point, things like – because a lot of times we have these trends, where people focus on, to your point, Python programming. Like, that was the thing for a second, right? “Oh my God, I gotta be a Python programmer” right? “I’ve got to learn how to do AI and machine learning, and I’ve got to learn how to do -” right? And then if that leaves and you did not pick up those other transferable skills, you may struggle with that, right? I think the other critical component, again, around the self-management piece is that it raises your antenna and your ability to start sensing and thinking differently to understand what’s happening in front of you, maybe before other people do. So, you can understand, it’s like the book Who Moved My Cheese? Well, it’s one thing when your cheese is already moved, it’s another thing to have an inkling that someone’s going to move the cheese. You know the cheese is going to move, so how do you position yourself before the cheese is moved? 

Bejoy: Totally. And you’re kind of getting into the idea of dealing with change and things like that, that itself is a skill. It’s funny. We spend a lot of time training people on change management skills, like how do you facilitate change management so people can just get it and be aware and be knowledgeable and execute on what you want them to do. I would propose that we should also have change acceptance skills in the workplace. We spend so much time deliberating on how we can convince people to get to a new place, where I think we should actually start developing the core skill of people responding and being accepting of the world that’s happening around them and how do you take the things that are coming to you, process that quickly and say, “Hey, how do I become an agent of positive change within my organization and move things forward?” Because so many good ideas and so many progressive things that actually create really good outcomes from organizations die on the vine because it gets through the masses and it just dies because we’re just not ready to do it. 

James: Yeah. That’s a good one. Absolutely. Adaptability. Fungibility. I mean, when you’re in a leadership role, for folks who aren’t in leadership roles yet, one of the critical questions we – when we’re struggling with leading teams and we have to go through a major transition and we’re struggling – one of the questions we’ll ask each other to help each other out, we’ll ask them the boat question. If you only could take four, five people in a boat with you, say you’ve got a team of twenty now, and you only could take four, five people on a boat with you, who are you gonna take? And it’s a great question because they start to think and they go, “Oh man, if I could only take four, five people in a boat, who am I going to take?” And a lot of times again, it’s not always the technical skills. You’re thinking about “who’s most fungible?” And fungible, a lot of times comes down to those coping skills, those “they’re adaptable”, again, they can come off the ropes, like no matter how many times they get hit – like Mike Tyson said, “Everybody got a plan until they get hit in the mouth.” When they get punched in the mouth, they come back off the ropes though, right? You can count on them to shapeshift and so on and so forth. So everything you just said, spot on. So, spot on. 

Bejoy: So good. I love that question. And you just had me thinking in my own mind about people that I’ve worked with, and yeah. It really comes down to, yes, there are some technical skills that I’d love to take on a team, but it’s really how people work with each other. It’s like all the fundamentals that we’ve always known about, how they think, how they problem-solve – and one thing you mentioned earlier, resiliency and you used the term grit. The ability to bounce back and persist through challenges and get through those to accomplish things. Some of the best people to work with are the ones that they just get it done. They just get it done, and it’s not a lot of complaining and whining. They are inspired by doing good work, and just moving things forward, and when they hit opposition, they’re able to be resilient in the moment and continue to press. Those are things that – I would place my money on those things. 

James: Those are good. If people come to you – and again, tough question, folks, some of you would say, “Hey, I’m game. You guys convinced me. What are some great resources? And I’m going to go down this road to try to build up these transferable skills.” Are there any things you’ve seen that you’ve really gravitated towards, in terms of good resources or tools? 

Bejoy: You know, it’s interesting, you would think that I’d have some like rocket science answer to the great tools and resources, but it’s really becoming really simple nowadays. You could go to most academic institutions now, some of the Ivy Leagues, and find online, massive online courses to learn pretty much anything. And it’s accessible, if not free, very low-cost. And self-paced, maybe there’s – yeah. But there is – you’re almost getting an Ivy League education from a good school, or maybe your local college program, but you’re getting things and information and insight that we couldn’t get some years ago. And it’s accessible. 

I mentioned LinkedIn today. LinkedIn is constantly putting out curriculum, learning pads, new content, social content that’s out there that you can learn from. If you’re on the how-to market, if you’re looking for a quick how-to, everyone says it: Why is it that people go to YouTube and Google before they’ll go to their internal company’s content? Because it’s all there. It’s just the quick how-to is already all there. And it’s accessible. But for deeper knowledge and if you’re looking for some deeper skill development over time, I’m still a classic person and I go back to which programs and which institutions out there are providing either certifications or even conferences or things that are relevant, timely, and I can apply them right now. That’s kind of how I’d make my choices. 

I do want to make one point here, I think, we talked about the speed of change. And a lot of people think that learning at the speed of change means consuming more information. That’s not necessarily the truth. In fact, consuming more information, you get into decision confusion. You don’t know what to do with it. I would actually say we’ve got to move from  consuming more information to just purely making it happen and having a mindset of application. So when you start filtering through that and you say, “What am I going to apply? Do I even have the opportunity to apply it? And what is happening around me that is taking precedence that I need to learn?” When you start asking those questions you start getting to filtering and focus of what you should learn, and then really focus on application, not consumption. 

James: Absolutely. You hit the nail on the head. That, for me, is almost like the, when I say, “Get out of the laboratory.” Like, stop conducting experiments. You need to go out and actually do the work, feel some of the pain of it, and then go back and learn some more. Right? So you have to go learn and do. 

Bejoy: You gotta learn and do. And it’s a classic motto. It’s like nothing has changed about human behavior when it comes to learning. How we learn or how we consume information has changed, but the process that we go through mentally and behaviorally, a lot of that is still the fundamentals that we know of that it takes time, experience, and application to take what was a piece of content of learning, process it to gain insight from it, and then to move it to actual behavioral change or to an applied thing. Quite honestly, you read something, you learn something, you watch something, go out there and start testing with it. Experiment with it. Start applying with it. But reading the article doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve learned. And that’s a key premise that we have to understand. 

James: Exactly. You see Laura’s question. “What are our thoughts about the Prosci and ADKAR model?” 

Bejoy: ADKAR? Yeah. ADKAR is great, Prosci folks have created change management tools for ADKAR and things like that. I think they are even looking at, “How do I adapt ADKAR to be more iterative?” In the world of change management, it used to be like project management, kind of waterfall methodology. You start with awareness building. You’re trying to get to identify needs and you’re developing people

All these things, and then you move it through the process. Nowadays, things are so iterative and some people might be in a new way of working, whether they’re using the agile methods, they’re using other things in the workplace. So change management now has to change, and you have to say, “How do I trickle in information to people in bits? How do I” – when we’re experimenting on something, we’re keeping people informed, and we’re getting them bought in through the actual experimentation, not through some robust business case. So, I love these models, but I would say, anything is up for game in terms of adapting them to that real environment of work. And when you really dissect it, work is a bouncy thing that goes around and it’s iterative and it’s messy at times. And we have to be okay with that. 

James: Yeah. The bestBest learning experience for me in terms of ramping up – two learning experiences I can think about. When I was, about six years ago, we went from these product cycles of doing all this consumer test group stuff, right? And developing the product to how do you do it really quick, really small cycles and real small iterations of a concept product that the customer will buy, right? How do you go from what would be like ninety days to like, four, five days, right? So that was the one. And then the second one was moving from agile being just a technology team thing, to a full company thing. That everything is done agile, meaning that every, whatever, three, four days, five days, six days, you’re having report outs, on point, of these different things around the project. You have regular stand-upsstand ups that are happening, and you have, to your point, even though the overall project is this long, you’re willing to bite off these small pieces and adapt and change based on the progress and what you learn as you’re going down that pipe. That, for me, was tremendously eye-opening, in terms of, again, flexibility and adaptation and learning where different people were along their spectrum. Some people go, “Oh my God. This is ridiculous. I cannot live with this. We just say we’re going to do this and just stick with it.” And we go, “Wait a minute, what if it’s not working?” “Well, we said we were going to do it.” “But wait a minute, it’s not working.” So just reaching and to help folks come out of that, right? And figure out how they’re going to go forward, and I think that speaks to one of the biggest things in all of this is how you unlearn. 

Bejoy: Mmm. Powerful. 

James: Right? And the awareness to need to unlearn a lot of different things to be able to fully step back and embrace a new thing. 

Bejoy: You should just drop the mic right now. That’s the word of the day. And unlearn, such a powerful concept, because when you think about learning at the speed of change and this whole topic of skill development and how do we just keep ourselves improving and modernizing, a lot of it is not about adding new knowledge. It’s undoing things inside your current knowledge base and then saying, “Am I open to the possibility there are other ways to do this?” If you can’t get to the undoing piece, it’s very hard. And that’s where we get change resistance, because we’re so entrenched in a way that we can’t even see the possibilities of creative things ahead of us, because it’s uncertain. It’s unknown. I was having a conversation with somebody else that like, the term business case actually like annoys me sometimes. Because the classic idea of the business case is about defining your problem, saying here’s the solution, and here’s what we’re going to get out of it, and therefore, I need investment dollars to go do it. It doesn’t work today in the world of innovation, where you’re solving problems. We have to come up with things that doesn’t have a precedence yet. And doesn’t have a tried and true numbers and numerics to it just yet. What you should do is define the problem, say, “Here are the outcomes we want to measure of what good would look like. However, the solutions to get there, let’s experiment to your point. Let’s iterate. Let’s figure out what we should do and in that process, we will create measurements to tell us if we’re on the right track or not.” And then you can say, “Cut bait, not worth it.” Or you could say, “Ooh, I think we found something here.” Or, “I thought we were going down one direction of value, and now we’re finding, there’s some really cool stuff that we’re finding through this experiment and this process. We should actually tap into this opportunity.” So, it’s unlearning that’s so important. 

James: So good, so good. And the last thing I want to touch on, as we begin to wrap up is something you said, and I just want to highlight it because you said it and it’s so good, which is learning at the speed of change is not about consuming a lot, it’s about – what did you say about choosing what to consume? How’d you say it? 

Bejoy: Yeah. It was really around not more consumption of knowledge but the application of knowledge.

James: The application, okay. 

Bejoy: The idea of the mindset, I know we talk about growth mindset, that’s more about are we willing and have the mind to just go through failure and learn, take on new challenges, things like that. But there is a mindset of “get it done, make it happen.” Like, learn something, apply something. Don’t just “learn something” and forward it along to everybody and say, “I’ve learned something.” “Great article, great this, great that…” Those are all great for social kind of cultural information and insight. But insight without action, it truly is like the tree that fell in the woods and that nobody knew about. Like, that old saying. It’s like, “Okay, tell me that you’re, you said you’re a black belt. Show me that you’re a black belt.” 

James: Right, right. Exactly.

Bejoy: So, if you know you’ve gotten an insight, you owe it to yourself and you owe it to your organization, you owe it to your team to start experimenting and applying those things, and learning from that process. And then your learning deepens and then it goes from there to create outcomes. Learning without outcomes, it’s almost like, “What are we doing it for?” So I tell people, “I don’t need to be the expert in everything. I need to be the expert in the things I’m trying to drive a needle towards, drive the needle, create measurements or outcomes for. I don’t need to know everything. And that’s where great, effective leaders come from because they understand that. And they’re like, “I want my team to learn. I want my people to learn. I want them to solve problems that I don’t have the mentalmind capacity, the time capacity, or other things, to focus on.” 

James: Excellent. Excellent. And the only thing I would add to that is to the point of doing, as well as it’s not about more consumption, that also means, inherent in what you said is, you have to filter. Up top too. You’ve got to be filtered. Alright, so as we begin to wrap up, any other points we didn’t miss? Because I’m going to try to recap and if I miss anything in the recap, man, please jump in. 

Bejoy: Yeah. You know what? Just a couple of questions, I actually jotted down as we were thinking about this topic of the filtering piece. I’ll just touch upon that. What is changing around you that takes precedence? So, think about what we just went through over the past couple of months. Those are a great example of things changing, it’s taking precedence and now it’s creating an urge for learning. Focusing your attention and energy towards things that matter will always be faster and better retention for you. Ask yourself, “Does this matter to me?” That’s a very personal question, but does it matter to you? And it’s a very,… it’s complex but simple at the same time. It’s like asking yourself, “If I engage in my next thirty minutes here to do XYZxyz learning activity, does it matter to me?” And that matter might be because it’s meaningful for you, personally. It could be applicable to your job. It could be trainable, transferable, all of those things that we talked about. So, ask those questions and I think that’ll help you filter your process. 

James: That’s good. That’s good. Alright. So, I’m going to try to recap and Bejoy, keep me honest, man, jump in. So, one, we talked about learning. One is important and I asked Bejoy the question early on, people come to him and say, “Man, how do I make up the ladder?” And we both kind of talked about this. One is set your GPS. What are you focused on? So, whether you’re working with a manager or going to the HR strategy person or you’re self-managing, you’ve got to set a destination, because that’s going to guide your learning journey. Right? Two, tap into the wisdom of the crowd. Grab things that have already been curated. Why go out and just, you know…

Bejoy: Waiting for someone to do it for you. 

James: Yeah. That’s such good advice, Bejoy. Tap into the wisdom of the crowd, and again, the magical four-letter word – free is good. Right? So, all those schools you mentioned. There are so many schools offering things. There’s so many YouTube videos. So once you know what you want – that’s the other powerful thing. Once you’ve decided what you want, and you google on it – so, whether it’s from U2Me, on YouTube, a bunch of different platforms, the price can be for free, ninety-nineninety nine cents to fourforty ninety-nine, whatever the case is, and you can start the learning journey. Three, think about those transferable skills that are gonna apply across the board. So, functions inside of company may be in different industries, different cities, different towns, different countries, such as Bejoy mentioned, design thinking, human-centeredhuman centered design, complex problem solving, analytical skills, etcetera, and then on the more technical skill side, it’s hard to get away from technology. Technology is just continuing to evolve and so you can always – I got stake with technology, what technical thing is it right now, by the time you listen to this podcast, it will have changed probably. So it’s always evolving right? And then, the next thing that Bejoy mentioned I thought was really good is also being able to use modern tools. And we’ve learned a lot about that just going through the pandemic, the shift to working from home. And then the thing we talked about too – the willingness to unlearn. Being willing to take a step back. And then last but not least, again, don’t equate learning at the speed of change to consumption and wide consumption versus filtering what you want to learn and then having a learn-do cycle. Learn and get it done, learn and get it done. And be adaptable, learning, picking up your pace, and adjusting as you learn. 

Bejoy: Yeah.

James: Good, man. Good, good brother, good to have you, man. 

Bejoy: I’m so appreciative to be here, and I appreciate everybody who’s listening right now. We have more to do, more to learn, more to apply, and so, I’m excited for all of that. 

James: Amen. Thank you for being here. 

Bejoy: Yeah. Thank you. 

James: You are informed, empowered, and can now be accountable. What were some of your takeaways from this episode? I always enjoy hearing from you, so please share. Additionally, if you have questions, hear some things that are new to you, or need some clarity on some of those things, I am here to serve. Go to our website at thecorelinksolution.com/podcast. Right below the show notes, you’ll see a comment section. Tell me about some of your takeaways from the episode. You can ask your questions, you can mention challenges in the areas that we cover, or tell me about guests you’d love to hear from. Alternatively, you can do the same through social media channels, on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. Thank you as always for linking up and I look forward to seeing you next episode.

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