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March 2009
Dear subscriber,

I write this E-News while on board the Malaysian Airlines flight from Karachi, Pakistan. The Dubai - Kuala Lumpur's scheduled stopover is for more than an hour. As all passengers were required to be on board, I thought it best to write this E-News before colleague Mei Ling starts chasing me for missing my timelines again.

Given the news of the Sri Lankan cricketers being ambushed and attacked in Pakistan, I must admit I was nervous when I heard the flight would stop in Karachi for an hour. Nevertheless, things were fine.

This long trip crisscrossing several countries for over 20 days has been full of learning experiences. To describe them, let me skip the usual E-News format.

Brace for Impact

You can’t shut out love

Learning from experience

Learning leaders

Social Networking

Brace for Impact
Jim Kirkpatrick and I had the pleasure of meeting Bjorn Naf, the CEO of Gulf Airlines. Jim was explaining about the words used by the pilot who became a hero for saving everyone when he landed at the Hudson River - the words were "Prepare for Impact". Bjorn added on to say those were the words pilots always use: "Bracing for Impact".

The message at Trainers Meet Trainers (TMT)® Bahrain was simple - brace for impact. Show management the value of investments on Human Capital even if times are tough. Professor Don Kirkpatrick's 1959 words - be ready for the day of reckoning by demonstrating value to management holds true in economically difficult moments like these.

The TMT Bahrain was resourced by colleagues Jim Kirkpatrick, Rizal, Robert, myself and network trainer Dr. Suzanne White. The 70 over participants generated tremendous energy and a huge appetite for learning. If you need Jim's paper or mine, do email me at drpalan@smrhrgoup.com.

Our Bahrain staff Krishnan, Vinesh, Farah and their Managing Director Mr. Basem were of great help to make it a worthwhile trip. We were able to give and share as well as learn from the hospitable and delightful Bahraini participants. The legendary Mr. Ebrahim El Dossary despite the Sunday cabinet meeting was there to greet us. His hospitality and humility as always overwhelmed us.
You can't shut out love
That was the song I heard several times over the MAS in flight entertainment system. Since 2001, we have had so many Arab friends and every one of them makes me dumbfounded with their humility and friendship. It is just impossible not to reach out to their stretched hands of friendship.

Faisal and Ali, two of my friends from the United Arab Emirates took me and Robert to their desert ranch, if I may call it as I just cannot recall the Arabic name right now. I discovered nuances of culture I would never learn from books and films. It was firsthand experience. The lunch in real Arabic style was touching as we were welcomed to lunch with their close friends and family. Camel riding, watching the falcons chase the pigeons; the dogs chase the birds and sand dusting. Learning from experience is so important and that was the title of the keynote delivered by Professor Noel Tichy of GE fame at the World Banking Institutes Conferences. I had the honour of speaking just after him.
Learning from experience
Professor Noel Tichy talked about the need to learn from experiences rather than just the classroom. Jim Kirkpatrick in his session at TMT Bahrain referred to statistics - 70% of learning takes place on the job, again validated by a recent Bersin & Associates study.

I have learned more about Arab culture with the interactions that I have had with Arab friends than from all the books I have read. Though the books helped gain awareness, the real life experiences can never be substituted. In difficult economic situations like these, all of us have to add value and demonstrate to management, we do make a difference.

Noel Tichy related incidents from his book Judgment: How Winning Leaders Make Great Calls. Without good judgment, little else matters. Without it, nothing else matters said Noel Tichy. The case for learning from experience was stressed repeatedly by him throughout his key note
Learning leaders

The Bersin & Associates study identifies the learning leaders and says they all have the following common characteristics:

  • Strong focus on understanding day to day operations and the performance and learning needs of their target audience.
  • Have an end to end model in place that supports going beyond the classroom - coaching tracking and follow up.
  • Using technology both innovatively and pragmatically.
  • Aligning with critical business and learning needs.
  • Implementing Social Learning.
Social Networking

Social Networking is one form of enterprise social software, whose tools involve building networks of connections between people. In the days of Facebook and Plaxo, social networking sites are not new to many.  A study by Bersin on Social Software highlight the need for four Cs:

  • Conversations - users talking to other users and building the community.
  • Connections - establishing links to other users and making the social graph a sure thing,
  • Content - using, sharing and finding content in ways not otherwise possible.
  • Collaboration - working together to accomplish work.
I have a linked in profile (www.linkedin.com) and have about 40 connections. The enormous amount of networking and sharing information astounds me.

I sent out an email re the Asia HRD Congress, our flagship event scheduled for May 11 to 13, 2009 at Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The number of people I have been able to reach has exceeded all other forms of communication. Do join me at linked in and also do join us for the real and original Asia HRD Congress, the largest meeting place of HR professionals in Asia.

Have a great month and will be in touch in April.


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