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ATD Blog

How Has Your L&D Garden Grown?

Monday, November 21, 2022

In this issue of the Talent Brief newsletter, we’re leaning into the season—the harvest season that is. Before winter officially sets in across the northern hemisphere, we’re taking a moment to celebrate and reflect on the work of talent development professionals. Just like tending a garden, laying the necessary groundwork for L&D success takes time.

We reached out to practitioners in the field to find out what L&D seeds they planted, nurtured, and are hopefully now harvesting! Check out their replies, and sign up for Talent Brief to receive more insights like these in your inbox every Tuesday.

What seeds did you previously sow, and are you finally seeing the fruits of your labor?

When I came to my organization, 360 assessments were being used improperly as punitive performance evaluation tools. I love 360 assessments when they are used properly for development, but when used in the wrong way, they can be very destructive. Now, after five years of effort and proper usage, I’m seeing individuals who are far more excited about the feedback and developmental opportunity that a 360 assessment can bring to their professional growth. And I’m seeing people on their teams who are excited by the opportunity to provide developmental feedback. It’s awesome!
—Angela Stopper, Chief Learning Officer and Director of People and Organization Development, UC Berkeley

Implementing a blended classroom approach (rather than fully instructor-led training) for a few of our key modules has taken stress off our inexperienced trainers. We’re now hearing that classes are easier to deliver with this new model and that trainers are easier to onboard. We also switched to a cloud-based document library that we can live update for trainers. With recent sales strategy changes, there were significantly fewer version control issues with our training teams around the world, and we are now confident our learners are getting the most up-to-date information.
— Cait Quinn, Manager of Instructional Design, SiriusXM

The best advice I’ve ever heard about networking is to “dig the well before you’re thirsty.” Since moving to Los Angeles, California, seven years ago, I have tried to keep in touch with as many people as possible. I simply reach out every six months to see how things are going. Many of those relationships are turning into valuable business connections as they discover needs and pass them my way.
—Matt Gjertsen, Founder, Better Everyday Studios


What seeds are you planting now for the future?

A mentor once shared that as I saw more success in my career, I would likely face the choice to relish in my accomplishments alone or invite others to join in along the journey. I often reflect on this guidance and am glad to say my joy has been amplified when extending the invitation. Life has shown me that the harvest is more plentiful when we lift as we climb.
—Trayonna Floyd, Director of Talent and Performance, Warner Bros. Discovery

This year I had the unexpected opportunity to partner with two different organizations to create online courses for a wide audience. I have already made two courses, with four more being made before the end of the year. The goal is to spread a positive message for learning and development and build awareness for my business.
—Matt Gjertsen

We continue to plant seeds that will further enable individuals to grow their career and grow their skills within our organization through initiatives aimed at creating a coaching culture, offering new learning and development programs, and providing opportunities for engagement and community building. In fact, we use “grow” as our brand, asking our clients “How do you want to grow today?” The more we can support people in their ability to take ownership of their opportunities to grow, the more successful our organization will be.
—Angela Stopper


What unexpected garden surprises did you encounter this year?

Over the past few years, we have been forced to re-evaluate and reimagine how we work. We were able to take full advantage of the new things we learned, allowing us to transform how some positions work. It’s exciting to finally have the opportunity to challenge some of the habits that organizations have been sticking to since the industrial revolution to build more flexible, inclusive, and innovative work environments.
—Angela Stopper

Never underestimate how much impact you are having on the people around you. I have been reconnecting with former co-workers who have also moved on from the company we worked for previously. I was caught off guard when they told me they remembered the way I designed courses, and they appreciated the way those courses structured information. I never would have thought anyone remembered.
—Matt Gjertsen

What challenges threatened the growth or success of your work?

The biggest challenges to projects this year came from not clarifying expectations with stakeholders when the projects started. One project had great support initially, but leadership was quickly pulled away to other priorities, meaning there was little to no direction. It took many pivots to find stakeholders who wanted to fully support the project and give it the attention it needed.
—Matt Gjertsen

Change can be scary, but we need to remember that we have been changing since the day we were born, and that’s great! The notion that after all of this we need to “slow down the rate of growth and change” or “go back to the old ways” is a threat. Instead, we need to continue to learn and grow so we all remain relevant and successful today and into the future.
—Angela Stopper

About the Author

Alexandria Clapp is the content manager for Learning Technologies and Sciences at ATD. She’s responsible for creating and curating content including articles, webinars, books, conferences, and more for talent development professionals. She also hosts the ATD Accidental Trainer podcast.

Prior to joining ATD, Alexandria worked at a research and development firm that applied cognitive science to improve learning outcomes. She trained partner organizations to deliver cognitive enhancement programs and specializes in leadership development, learning and memory, instructional design, and virtual coaching. Alexandria is a credentialed ATD Master Trainer and Expert Coach. 

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