Why All Leaders Need to Understand and Engage in MICROLEARNING

Why Managers Need to Engage in Microlearning

Winning the fight for talent

All over the world, across all industries surveyed by Gallup, only 15% of employees, on average, are actively engaged in their jobs. Consider the impact of this alarming statistic – 85% of staff are not adding value to their employers and draining company resources.

Low engagement leads to high employee turnover and with the falling supply of quality talent worldwide, more businesses are in danger of losing capacity to remain productive and competitive.

As a people manager, you play a critical role in winning this fight for talent. You need to make your team’s learning and development a top priority to successfully drive employee engagement, retention and productivity.


A call for managers to shake up L&D

You are in charge of people whose job it is to think, communicate, design, disseminate, create, innovate, and so on. Your operation runs on your team’s brain power and your job as a manager is to keep their minds fully engaged.

But the manager is not typically involved in L&D, you say. But you understand what your team is capable of and what the business needs from them more than anybody else. It only makes practical sense to take ownership of their learning and development.


Managers in the knowledge economy

How do you squeeze in the hours, energy and skill to train your staff with your demanding daily grind?

The trick is in identifying the easiest and quickest pathway to learning. You also need to consider building your team’s foundational knowledge throughout their career while steadily stacking up new skills along the way. This is ultimately a call for managers to revolutionise what we know as professional development by stepping up to become educators.

Welcome to Microlearning — the new way of delivering rapid, high-impact learning for your team through short bursts of training.


What IS Microlearning

Simply put, microlearning is an approach to learning that focuses on skill development by engaging in small units of learning. It can be characterised by the following:

1. It breaks down training into smaller bite-sized units
The idea is to communicate simple, short, actionable information

2. It is usually
self-paced and suited to fit schedules
Team members learn faster if allowed to manage their own time for training

3. It is custom designed for training goals
Whether digital, print, or in-person, microlearning is a flexible format for learning

4. It is single-outcome focus
Microlearning is intended to aid the learner in the performance of specific action.

5. It is agile and unstructured
There are no hard and fast rules to implementing microlearning except that it must be brief and actionable.


What is NOT Microlearning

1. It is not for learning complex concepts
Broad and multi-layered subjects need to be broken into simpler parts or topline bullets to be considered microlearning.


2. It is not for gaining deep expertise
The goal of microlearning is to impart simple information quickly, and not for in-depth study. The goal is to quickly learn a new skill, not gain deep understanding of a concept.


So, as a leader, how can you engage yourself and your team in microlearning?

1. First, identify critical skill gaps, then plug in the training content to fix it.
The onus is upon the manager to help team members stack up on skills and be excellent at their jobs. Microlearning allows managers to implement a learning plan with speed and urgency. A quick Google, YouTube or Linkedin Learning search will usually help you find the right training material to quickly mitigate a skill gap.

2. Tailor-fit content to specific training needs.
What most Learning and Development experts get wrong is that they dump a one-size-fits-all approach to training. Microlearning allows managers to quickly put together highly relevant and useful content for their teams’ individual training needs.

3. Engage with multimedia.
Don’t just paste whole blocks of text in an email and call it microlearning. In this era of short attention spans, the multimedia format – from a 2-minute slideshow, a 15-minute YouTube tutorial, a 1-hour podcast or 3 hour interactive workshop – is the fastest and most engaging way to learn new material.

4. “Gamify” the learning experience.
In case your online learning platform does not support gamification, get creative through some analogue fun and games, i.e. flashcards, boardgames, etc., that’s guaranteed to make the lessons stick.

5. Pop quizzes and other micro-assessments
Reinforce the lessons of microlearning with, you guessed it – micro assessments! A pop quiz or a 1-minute verbal summary will help you assess how your learners are retaining and using all the new information.

6. Register yourself or your team for a conference or training course
Perhaps the easiest way to engage in microlearning is to attend an event or workshop. Most training course facilitators are experts at delivering content in engaging, interactive ways, and large conferences feature experts at the top of their field delivering 40-60 minute sessions on hyper-specific topics.

Microlearning Infographic

It’s never too early to start a microlearning plan for your team! View our range of training and events, or get in touch with us directly to learn know more about the long-term business benefits of microlearning.

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Mastering the 3 Areas of FOCUSED LEADERSHIP

3 Areas of Focused Leadership

“A wealth of information creates a poverty of attention” 

Herbert Simon, Economist


Mental overload, constant disruption, sleep deprivation, stress and a whole lot more can mess up your brain’s executive function. When your job is to make tough calls all day, every day, you need a sustained reserve of laser-like focus.  

We usually associate focus with being task-oriented – getting things done without distraction. As a leader, whose attention is in high demand, focus is not so much about task-completion, but about allocating your attention.  

When you feel like your attention is pulled in all directions and you can barely get by, grouping your attention into three areas – yourself, others and the world-at-large – can help you better manage your focus.  

A constructive focus on yourself and others is an essential element of emotional intelligence which helps you cultivate great relationships – a mark of a great people manager and influencer while a fuller and broader view of the world can help with being strategic and creative.  

As a leader, you must strive to balance these three areas of attention. Not paying enough attention to yourself could get you unhinged and too much focus on others could make you seem too needy, while a lack of outward focus could leave you oblivious of the world-at-large.  

Focus 1 – SELF  

Are you aware of your biases and how they are impacting your decision-making?   

Being aware of the judge, critic and censor in you then letting all that go, is important to keep your mental faculties focused on perceiving and assessing the objective truth. This advanced level of self-awareness is vital to good leadership.  

Leaders who are used to giving input rather than receiving and processing information may find this annoying. Some transcendent thinking is required – to filter the noise and fine-tune your focus on what is essential.  

“Cognitive control” is the scientific term for your mind’s ability to process information, guiding your decision or behaviour to act (or not) according to the better part of your nature. Cognitive control is at the centre of your self-awareness and your willpower. It lets you stay on track of your goal despite emotional distractions. People who have reasonable cognitive control behave calmly during a crisis, keep their anxiety in check and bounce back quickly from defeat.  


Leaders who can focus on others are well regarded for the quality of their relationships with subordinates and peers. Regardless of their rank, they lead by influence, inspiring the best out of their teams, connecting and bringing people together.  

Great leaders prioritise attention on the quality of their relationships by deploying empathy:  

Cognitive Empathy – Are you able to understand and appreciate another person’s perspective? How people think, why they do what they do, what works and doesn’t work for them.   

Emotional Empathy – Are you able to feel or relate to another person’s feelings? This ability is important for coaching and mentoring teams and for giving outstanding customer service by feeling what they feel and giving them what they need, fast.  

Focus 3 – STRATEGY 

Leaders who are outward-focused are great at envisioning a future of opportunities. They can connect present events to map outcomes and consequences well into the future.  

Great leaders focus on two elements of value creation. One is by “exploiting” current conditions to create future value. And the second, riskier and more demanding element, is by “exploring” new avenues for future growth.  

In a time where the same information is available to everyone, the real value is in your ability to focus on the right one so that you can deliver the best strategy and insight. 


Infog - the 3 areas of focused leadership


Learn to manage your attention, and lead your organisation with laser-like focus by signing up for our Leadership Events and Training Courses. 


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Check out these related posts — 


Executive Toolkit #1 Influencing  


Executive Toolkit #2 Navigating 


Developing Your Executive Toolkit by Dana Lightbody   

Managing with a GLOBAL MINDSET – 4 Core Competencies For Organisational Success

The 4 Core Competencies of Managing with a Global Mindset


This post kicks off a sequence of blogs on Management Skills to equip you with knowledge and capabilities to lead teams well into the future. To take the leadership deep-dive courses, sign up for our Training and Events facilitated by Australia’s leading management coaches.


How would you characterise someone possessing a “global mindset”? If we go by the definition of Dr Gary Ranker, the father of executive coaching, a global mindset means – “the ability to step outside one’s base culture and to understand there is no universally correct way to do things”.     


In an increasingly connected world, where working for a company is no longer restricted to a 2x2m cubicle in an office building, being able to manage employees working from across the globe is vital to success. Remote working is taking off as companies explore new ways of finding the ideal employee, so being able to understand cultural differences is vtial to your success as a leader. 


What are the key behaviours of someone with a global mindset?  


  •  People with a global mindset seek out diversity because they have an innate curiosity for new and exciting ways of experiencing the world.   
  •  They don’t mind the initial discomfort of stepping into new environments if it means they are better, and smarter for it.   
  • They are great at cultivating relationships with anyone different from them because they show respect and humility.  


Translating a global mindset into organisational success  


You need to bring a global perspective to the table to be considered valuable as a manager. For there are real career and business benefits to having a worldwide network of peers, partners and team members. Here are a few examples – 


  • Acquire best practice information, skills and tools to stay ahead of the competition  
  • Scale by employing highly skilled staff from developing countries  
  • Operate smarter, faster and at a lower cost by leveraging products and technologies from other countries 


Businesses of all sizes need to operate with a global strategy, and this includes a team of managers with a strong ability to influence across all cultures, functions and geographic locations. How else would you be able to lead a diverse, multi-national network of direct reports, supply chain partners, client organisations, and government agencies?  


The 4 Core Competencies of Managing with a Global Mindset  


While you may already have these skills under your belt, think about how you can retool them in the context of leading a complex, multi-cultural, professional network.  


1. Communicating  

Managers who communicate effectively can cut through barriers and get all subsidiaries to support the HQ’s agenda. They are fully taking advantage of various communication channels, from digital to interpersonal, to make sure the message is consistent and heard loud and clear across the organisation 

2. Collaborating  

Collaborating across countries can be difficult, especially if you’re a  manager from a developed country because of an innate perception of arrogance. Considerable effort needs to go into adapting your work style, language and tone to get your teammates from another culture to trust and support you.  

3. Networking  

Great managers can extend their influence beyond their immediate circle by sharing ideas and best practices. Connecting with people from across cultures through knowledge-sharing enables you to cultivate relationships which could lead to strategic and lucrative partnerships.  

4. Engaging  

Getting teams from different cultures to share your commitment and passion for the business is the most challenging job of a manager. You can change attitudes and maybe even develop great relationships with colleagues from another country by listening and having open conversations. 


Managing with a Global Mindset - 4 Core Competencies


Build your Manager Tool kit by signing up for our Training and Events and acquire the skills to succeed in the competitive corporate world. 




Check out these related posts — 


Executive Tool kit #1 Influencing  

Executive Tool kit #2 Navigating 

Developing Your Executive Tool kit by Dana Lightbody   




4 Strategies to Supercharge Your Professional Development

Here are 4 strategies you can do right now to super-charge your career.

It’s never too early to start planning your professional development goals and actions in 2020. Check out our lineup of courses and events to get ahead of career trends, expand your network and learn new skill sets. 


If you are looking to improve yourself at work, it’s time to go beyond what your company offers in the learning and development department. As work becomes more competitive, moving up to the next level requires a more proactive approach to training. 


Here are 4 strategies you can do right now to super-charge your career. 


1. Take a hard look at your skills  

What skill, knowledge, and experience gaps do you need to fill to be excellent at your current job and be considered to move up to the next level? There are three areas in your professional tool kit that you will need to check –   

Technical – the ability to perform specific tasks or the level in which you operate systems and applications to be functional at your job. For example, if your job requires some Excel skills, consider increasing your level from “basic” to “expert.”   

Communication – the ability to process, organise, and articulate information. Asking the right questions is an important communication skill. So is listening and understanding your audience and tailoring what you say and how you say it. How would you rate your writing skills? How about your presentation skills? Having excellent communication skills sets you up for success in your current role and beyond.   

Enterprise – the ability to create business value. You do not have to own a business to learn enterprise skills. You need to show real interest in how your company does business. Consider leveling up on skills such as spotting market opportunities, suggesting ways to improve processes, or coming up with new ideas to serve customers better. These are skills that employers will pay top dollar for.   


2. Get Your Manager’s Feedback  

Include your manager in your professional development journey by asking for feedback. Questions like – what does it mean to be successful in your position? What are your KSIs (Key Success Indicators)? What will it take to be considered for a promotion, and what is the timeframe for that?   

Receiving this kind of feedback is essential to your professional growth and should be an
on-going conversation with your manager.  If that’s not happening, understand the success indicators of your role. Identify and track your weekly, monthly, and quarterly targets so that you are well prepared when the evaluation period comes around.  


3Research your company or industry 

Keep an ear to the ground and find out the issues, threats, and opportunities that are of growing concern to your company. Then plan to increase your knowledge or competence in that area. For example, your company is grappling with a time waste issue, study up, and write a proposal with specific action plans to address it.   

You can circulate this internally or write a white paper and publish it. Developing your expertise in an area of increasing importance to your company or industry can be your ticket to a more rewarding career opportunity.    


4. Put it all together and map out a plan.  

List the 5 to 10 skills you need to develop in your career for 2020. Then identify the classes, online courses, books, and conferences you need. Lastly, take out your calendar and allocate the time to do them. A good rule of thumb when allocating time for learning is the 80-20 Rule. For example, block-off 8 hours out of your 40-hour workweek for training. 


“Plans are nothing. Planning is everything.” 

Dwight Eisenhower 


The irony of plan is that it’s useless and can only be valuable when you set it in motion.
If you have started on a plan, congratulations! You are one step closer to your goal and have defined in your mind the outcome you desire for your career. 
Now go and make them happen!