Get me motivated!

I am working now to write the exam for my Certified Training Practitioner (CTP) with the CSTD. When I signed up to do this, nearly a year ago, I was motivated because I want to enhance my facilitating and training skills. It took me a while to get really motivated.  I got a list of readings, a total of 9 books, and wasn’t really sure where to start. So of course I didn’t start at all. Motivation is an odd thing. Usually a deadline gets me going, but I chose a date for the exam and it flew by before I had really figured out how to approach the studying.

Now that I have got going, I am all in. I meet regularly with a Calgary study group. At our second meeting, the conversation turned to training needs. I have been reading Malcolm Knowles about assessing training needs from The Modern Practice of Adult Education: From Pedagogy to Andragogy. It appears to be a bible. My copy, bought online second-hand, is yellowed, well warn, highlighted and loved. It is somehow reassuring to hold a book which has presumably helped another achieve their goals. And the language and the principles within it are reassuringly familiar – the basis of interest based mediation.  I can do this, I thought — so back to our study-group meeting. We compared Knowles comments with this list of needs from Mary Broad (Beyond Transfer of Training: Engaging Systems to Improve Performance):

  1. Clear performance specifications (outputs, standards, and results for performers to attain)
  2. Necessary resources and support (signals to act, priorities, tools, information)
  3. Appropriate consequences (recognition, rewards, incentives that are meaningful to performers
  4. Timely and relevant feedback (timely, relevant, specific information on how well performance meets specifications)
  5. Individual Capability (the right person in the job: physical, mental, emotional abilities to perform)
  6. Necessary skills and knowledge (ability to perform effectively, based on experience, coaching, or learning)

Look closely at this list. Do you notice what I notice? When any one of these is missing within a working group, performance is down, and conflict results. I can think to a number of jobs I have done working with conflicted teams in the past six months and one or two of these have been significantly missing in each case.

When you are unmotivated, you are underperforming, and one of your needs is unfulfilled. I can see it applying to my own situation as well. When I submitted my application to write the CTP exam and was accepted, I received a copy of the “Competencies for Training and Development Professionals” (Number 1: Clear performance specifications, check!)  I examined it, and took a self-test, and realized I had work to do to pass the exam.

I identified an exam date (December 2011? – hmm). Number 2: Signals to act. Check! But this wasn’t enough. I couldn’t prioritize the readings, or maybe I refused to prioritize the readings?

There are certainly consequences to not studying – failing the exam, and having to pay again. (Number 3 – appropriate consequences – check!)

Timely and relevant feedback, number 4.  Even before reading Mary Broad, I realized that I needed a connection with peers. Finally I called Calgary CSTD chapter chair Pat Tuckey, a training professional at Suncor. She sat me down and numbered the books. “Start here, and set aside an hour a day.” And then she connected me to the Calgary Study group. A brief meeting with Pat reinforced Number 2 (resources, support, and priorities), and fulfilled number 4 with a feedback loop from peers.

My conflict is resolved, for now. I will put my faith in numbers 5 and 6, and my nose in my books, so that I can contribute to the conversation at our next study group meeting.

Are you lacking motivation for a job or task? Is your performance under par? What is missing for you? What action can you take, to get yourself back on track?

I commit to finishing my reading list by Christmas 2012. Stay tuned.

Marjorie, CTP Candidate

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