The L&D Specialist Group committee had a get together this weekend to plan for 2012-13 (watch this space for the exciting news on what we have planned :-) ). The whole idea was that we could spend some quality time in the same place for a couple of days to really get things done. We cleared our diaries for the weekend so that we could concentrate on what we needed to do in that room together. But before we could get started...

A bit of background first, I think. As a committee, we are geographically spread and generally busy people so we mainly get together online. We have some great ideas for the next few years and we know that, for us, the best way to really get some traction on those ideas is to spend some time together. 

We put aside a weekend to do this and we all arrived in the same place with the sole purpose of working with the people in that room for 2 days. As the coffee was being made, laptops came out, smartphones were checked and panic immediately set in when it became clear that we were in a poor signal area that did not have unsecured Wi-Fi. As an observer (it was actually at my office so I was all right Jack) I could not believe the looks on my colleagues’ faces as they moved around the room, balanced on one leg with a hand in the air and generally made every attempt they could (in vain) to get a phone signal. The relief was evident when I offered them access to our secured Wi-Fi connection and we all happily settled into what was a very constructive weekend. 

What was amazing though was that all the people that we needed to begin the meeting (I accept that they may have needed outside access for other reasons) were in that room but the meeting could not start until they all had their external access. When I asked why we felt it was necessary, no-one could actually put their finger on the precise reason for their access at that time but they all agreed that they did not feel comfortable without it.

As the weekend went on, we did use a range of external tools for research and communication and, in fact, on day 2 we were joined via Skype by a committee member who was unable to be there in person so the technology was very useful. I was just surprised that it was the first thing that we thought of when the purpose was to spend time on facemail rather than email.

PS - particularly for those committee members that attended. The “panic” bit may have been enhanced for dramatic purposes in this blog but the reaction was definitely something that none of us expected.

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About the author
Jooli Atkins (FBCS, CITP) has been involved in the IT profession for the past 25 years, mainly in Learning and Development. She is the Chair of the BCS Learning and Development Specialist Group and CITP assessor as well as being an accredited SFIA consultant, specialising in Business Change.

See all posts by Jooli Atkins

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