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As a fan of Family Guy, reading this column sometimes makes me think of Peter Griffin's "You know what really grinds my gears?" news feature that briefly made him a minor Quahog celebrity. So you what really grinds my gears? When I meet people who say they are too busy to do any learning and development themselves. Which I do with alarming regularity.
Before you ask, no, I'm not an L&D specialist. I'm a time-served HR generalist who has dabbled in a bit of everything throughout my career. I fully appreciate that everyone in every sector is being asked to do more with less. It seems to be a feature of the modern working world. But too busy to practice, learn new stuff, new ways of working, new approaches that might mean you can be a bit less busy and a bit more effective? C'mon.
Imagine a Premier League football team deciding they were too busy to train? "Sorry boss, we've got sponsors events to attend, boot deals to negotiate and five tactics meetings about the match on Saturday, we can't possibly fit in any training."
OK, I accept that the sports/business analogy is a bit overdone these days but work with me for a moment. How harmonious would your favourite musicians be if they only ever played live and never rehearsed? How successful would the chefs running a Michelin starred restaurant be if they never had a chance to practice new dishes before service started? How good would the Royal Shakespeare Company's new production of "the Scottish play" be if they had no time to learn their lines? You get my point. Success in any line of work obviously depends on a number of complex, interwoven factors but the opportunity for practice/rehearsal/training – whilst not actually doing whatever it is you do – is at the very heart of it.
I'd like to think I'm preaching to the converted as I'm assuming we're mainly HR people reading this, but I'm not 100% sure. No matter who we are, we all need reminding to take some time to check our thinking and practice are current. CPD is often associated with boring form-filling and attending employment law updates but it doesn't have to be that way. We all have access to a frankly embarrassing amount of good content these days and even to people who will curate it for us through social media.
So that's what really grinds my gears: if we're not taking the time to practice, learn and develop then professionally we are at best stuck in neutral - at worst we might be reversing towards a wall…