Learning in Reflection 2: Leadership, ROI and Girl Power!

ATD 2016, Day 2 (23 May, 2016):

I’m back with another post in my learning in reflection series.IMG_nhlm1y First of all, I have to state, I loved being greeted by the Big Blue Bear at the convention center, every morning. The headline’s a little weird, isn’t it? Well, they are related to an eventful and action packed Monday I had at #ATD2016. It all began with the inspiration from Simon Sinek in the morning’s keynote!

The day began early, with a huge line waiting for Sinek’s session on why Leaders Eat Last. If you don’t know about him and would want to hear him, click on the link I’ve added. He was brilliant and a great source of inspiration. But before I spill the beans regarding Simon, I have to mention what Tony Bingham, president and CEO of the ATD addressed to the members.

Tony’s message was simple yet powerful regarding the benefits and challenges of learning. He spoke extensively about the culture of learning in organizations [Something which I have also written about in my article for TD mag of ATD]. It is important for individuals in the organizations to understand that they are individually and holistically responsible for their learning culture. One thing that struck me the most was his statement: “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” In a learning environment, people and organizations should be willing to change, adapt and stay self motivated to learn, to continually perform their best.

It is true that learning and sharing is important in real-time, which is why it is important to not just hoard information and knowledge and the good stuff that we read and learn from but also to share it with the world. Knowledge sharing and information sharing has been the key for progress in this century.

While I could go on and on about Tony’s message and write a full blog out of it (because it was apt and brilliant),20160523_103057 but I have to tell you about Simon Sinek. Simon asked a crucial question and I know, at some point, we all have been through it: how much time and energy have we invested from our daily schedules to protect ourselves from our company? Haven’t we all made files and ‘good books’ of what we’d done brilliantly, in order to showcase it to our bosses and auditor, what we are doing great? The answer is a full blown YES!!! We are constantly trying to protect ourselves from our own organization and leaders.

His message was simple, if you have the leadership, the idea is simple that we are social beings and we must form the trust and ability to work together to build a better future – to allow people to be their better selves rather than thinking how they should not be themselves. We need to form a circle of safety for our employees and coworkers. As we become seniors we are no longer responsible for results but responsible for people! We need to have the EDSO factor in place for a coachable and learning environment.

As Sinek’s session started, it was time for the EXPO to begin! Something that all ATDers love – well some love it for the goodies they get at the EXPO, others for the opportunities to network with various vendors, and some for food :P. EXPO lunch is definitely a great place to interact with folks from different, training, learning and development spheres.

I loved the expo this year. I especially enjoyed meeting Richard, Dan and Curtis of The eLearning Brothers team again this year. It was lovely to interact with Christine of Axonify again and to have met JD Dillon. Even though we’re from Dubai, it was lovely to connect with Hazel and Bev from Biz Group among many other lovely people! I love ATD cause I get to meet these like-minded folks!

I kept seeing some lovely goodies that people picked up from various booths at the expo and I wondered, how come I didn’t get to pick them up :/ (my only regret).

Moving on from the EXPO was my session scheduled on Return on Investment (ROI) by the super awesome Patti P. Phillips. She was clear to lay the distinction between counting being different from measurement in ROI. Being an instructional designer and a performance coach means I have to wear different hats at all times. However, ROI was one that I had been meaning to wear for a while. Patti provided case studies for every scenario that can happen at work and how we can clearly draw the line between “what caused the numbers to go up” and “who was responsible for it.” Often organizations and individuals can speak about initiatives that they believe led to an increase in sales numbers or other figures. ROI strategies are effective in enabling a better understanding of how much and to what extent are learning and development professionals responsible for growth.

Being a doctoral student, 20160523_170846I have no option but to be good with numbers and statistics etc. however, ROI is a different ball game, altogether. I knew I had to assimilate the information in a better way and went for something “oh so inspiring” – as session on – how to Lead Like a Girl by Tacy Byham! I know I propagate a lot that WOMEN ARE AWESOME… but Tacy was on a quest to prove it through her numbers and data. She proved it and inspired tens and hundreds of women in her session why women can have a higher leadership impact and need to build more confidence to reach their goals. Women need to start declaring more and stop using terms that sabotage their communications at work and in personal lives! 20160523_171218Tacy not only left me inspired but also lifted the spirits of several women in her “women only” session.

20160523_211730I left the conference center that day, inspired and thrilled. I was headed to the prestigious ATD awards night, where my partner in life and learning – Homz Umrigar – was receiving three excellence in elearning practice awards. It was also lovely to see his colleagues Girish Mallya and Yasir Ourtashi grab a few awards as well. Such a cheerful and wonderful way to end an educational and inspirational evening.


Now you tell me: what is that one thing that inspires you the most in conferences? Is there one person you can think of at the moment, who has inspired you to perform your best at work? Share your story in the comments below… or on my Facebook page. You can also drop in an email to know more information or connect with me on twitter.

And to be even more AWESOME and productive, you should sign up for GOODIEs and strategic resources that I mail once a week. I know you’d love them!

9 thoughts on “Learning in Reflection 2: Leadership, ROI and Girl Power!

  1. Awesome. And congrats to your hubby. Maybe next time it will be you. I would want to read more about Simon Sinek… I like his views. Did you know he also went to Afghanistan and got the inspiration to write the book there?


  2. Seems like you had a great time there and learned quite lot. I have not been to big conferences like these but what I look for in workshops and seminars is how much aunthencity and credibility of the person speaking. By the end of it, I want the information to be helpful and true. Right?


    1. Indeed I had a lovely learning time there. Big or small we all learn from it. You are right about authenticity and credibility but how would you weigh that? I would sort of feel if they are a part of big conference they might be selected well.


  3. Hey Priyanka I’m really intersted to know more about leading like a girl. I am a confident woman but I somehow cannot project that at work or negotiate. What strategies did you hear about? You seem like a confident gal… share your insights. Another blog post on that
    – Kenya


    1. Sure Kenya. You could drop in an email or check my twitter account, where I’ve talked about it. As for the strategies I email them once a week as my newsletter. You could sign up for that. You will love them.


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