Change and a Hot Dog

 

hot dog

The hot dog debate is a debate that has gone on for decades, if not centuries– from the street dogs of New York, to the Chicago Dog, to the infamous Dodger Dog from Dodger Stadium in LA. Americans’ favorite place to get a dog is about as varied as what to put on them.

I love hot dogs. Now, before I get comments, emails and tweets asking “Do you know what’s in a hot dog?”: I know, and I don’t care. If a hot dog is going to take me down, then so be it.

What goes on your hot dog? In my opinion, it is all about the mustard – no ketchup on this girl’s dog. Sometimes I get creative with brown, spicy mustard and maybe even some sauerkraut or chili but for the most part it’s pretty basic, good ole American yellow mustard with a hint of sweet relish and I’m good to go.

Last week I was paging through an old issue of Bon Appétit magazine and flipped right to “80 WaystoEatYourHotDog”. My resistance to change was staring me in the face. Who’da thunk it? 80 different, cultural ways to top a hot dog! Awesome!

This article inspired me to look at my long standing hot dog habits with a fresh set of eyes, and it got me thinking about the different ways we can be resistant to change in general.

From Hot Dogs to PowerPoint

There are a lot of times where we believe our way of doing something is best. After all, we are the L&D professionals. If it’s not broke, why fix it? Maybe we “shake things up” by using fewer bullets, different fonts and make sure we use better clipart. We then pat ourselves on the back for our ingenuity (those slides look great!).

It may be different but it’s not change. Change is all about open-mindedness, adaptability and flexibility. It’s easy to get stuck in comfortable ruts – whether with hot dog toppings, elearning design or learning techniques – and sometimes you need a shock to the taste buds to remind you that when you try something new, it becomes a new favorite.

Get out from in front of your PPT screens and get excited!

Learning is at a very exciting juncture right now. The possibilities are endless: ILT, WBT, m-learning, e-learning, social learning, blended learning – the ability to communicate, to collaborate, to share, to disseminate information has never been easier.

Why stick with the same mustard on your hot dog when you have endless varieties to choose from? Experiment with all of the different tools that will make the learning experience richer and deeper than it has ever been before.

Change is not easy, chili may give you heartburn, and you may discover you don’t like the taste of dill pickles on your dog. That’s okay. Teaching a course through Facebook may not be your thing or within your company’s culture, but I bet you could do any of the following:

  • Yammer is an enterprise social network – like Facebook, but for your workplace. Get a Yammer feed started for your sales team to share wins, connect new hires, or gather best practices from around the organization.
  • Start a book discussion club on Twitter.
  • Open a Twitter account and invite new hires to participate and share experiences.
  • Create a focus group on customer service by starting a blog, using Blogger or WordPress (disclosure: this blog is created on WordPress) and asking “Customer Service Experts” in your organization to participate.
  • Use OSQA.net as a free open source tool to build a FAQ, wiki or knowledge-gathering site. Every company has tribal knowledge. How do you collect and share it?
  • How about creating a Google+ group or hangout for the participants of your last or next Instructor Lead Training (ILT) session. Use as a tool prior to the ILT session to gather information about anticipated learning goals and encourage participants to share how they are using the information they just received!
  • Use Google Sites to build a webpage dedicated to the charity efforts of your organization. Have teams contribute with pictures and results of various charity campaigns – a real feel-good for everyone!
  • Build a Google Site dedicated to just new colleagues.  Have people contribute tips and hints as to how to maneuver as a newbie through your organization. Build in a FAQ section to allow newbies to ask questions. Post a glossary of all the crazy acronym’s your organization uses. Link this to a Pinterest page where people within the organization can share pictures of their locations or fun events that happen throughout the organization.

The possibilities are endless! Dust off your imagination; add some grilled onions and jalapeño peppers. Need more ideas? Read “Social Media for Trainers” by Jane Bozarth, an excellent resource for trainers wanting to use Social Media but unsure where to start.  You also can’t go wrong with “The New Social Learning” by Tony Bingham and Marcia Conner, an easy to read, practical guide to implementing social learning in your organization.

Take a giant bite of something different. 

hot dog heart

You don’t know what will excite your learners if you’re not out there taste-testing. There is always a different way do something, even the basic stuff (new hire orientation…boring!). It may take 80 hot dog tastings, but I’m willing to bet you will find a better way. Take this analogy anyway you wish, in the meantime, I’m trying the Cheddar with Cider Braised Leeks and Apples. This sounds like a dog with potential.

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