Fresh Ink

Remix: 6 Lessons on Playing Smart and Failing Forward

Dug this one up from the archives, dusted it off and gave it a fresh polish — you might even see your own reflection in it.

1 #NoHustleWasted. The shortcut to success takes years to create. There’s no copy & paste formula for it and along the way you’ll fail. Good. Failure is an outcome not a brand. If we don’t fail smart, we can’t play smart or grow, so we remain stuck in the fallacy that more of the same means progress. It doesn’t. You’ll screw up. Own it and show up again.

2 Owning mistakes is not easy. It means being courageous and humble and leading outside your comfort zone (which also happens to be where the magic happens right?). If you find yourself with your desk in a box and a proverbial blank canvas, fill it with what you want to do, not with what you “should” do. Don’t should on yourself and don’t be afraid to colour outside the lines. Perfection is the enemy of human. And it’s cool to be human again!

3 “If you’re not giving back, you’re taking too much.” ~ Robin Sharma
This one is simple. Say thank you, ask how you can help and show up for others. Find opportunities do one of each, every single day. When you rock the hustle of serving beyond yourself, the universe will boomerang the goodness.

4 Chances are designed to be given and taken. Think of a time when someone took a big risk to invest in your talent as much you invest in yourself. Pay it forward. Keep taking risks on yourself. Stay swift in evaluating opportunities, ensuring fit for personal values and future aspirations. Be fearless + audacious when your gut says so and smart when you feel it’s not a win-win. Be Curious and Pivot (for best results, rinse & repeat).

5 Serve and Protect – Being generous with your knowledge is a form of service. In authentic relationships, where the level of social and emotional intelligence is high, this occurs with a spirit of reciprocity. Find these connections and cultivate them. Where there is not alignment, listen. There is always something you can learn – even if it is about what doesn’t feel right so you can be more agile in recognizing it next time. Your network amplifies your story and narrative – your brand. Practice safe brand.

6 Say No to Status Quo. Unless you’re set on building a brand that says “I’m the cookie cutter of the corporate world”, don’t be afraid to be different. Take on roles and initiatives that ignite, inspire and stretch you. Have the courage to be more of who you already are a bit more each day. I dare you.

One final thought: Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither is resilience – it’s constructed moment by moment. This is yours – it always has been and will always be.

What’s your top smarten-up lesson?

Why Learning Should Be Open Source

If knowledge is not open source, we are running a dangerous experiment with the collective intellect of humanity.


At times the sound of the rain seemed to be louder than the crescendo of voices inside the coffee shop during the lunch rush; an enlightened irony of my conversation with a colleague about noise. Not the noise we hear with our ears, the one we encounter daily with our eyes and minds when we devour (or attempt to), massive loads of information. Words, ideas, images and infographics are pouring down upon us and we aren’t even protecting ourselves from ignorance with an umbrella of purpose.



Open-Source Learning

With social media and collaboration technology, ideas can now be analyzed, debated, deconstructed and reconstructed in ways entirely inconceivable in the prior era of elite-only learning. Social technology enables intellectual crowd-sourcing at its best. The validity of an idea in a single classroom is being tested in workplaces and communities in parts of the world where access to the Internet is the only source of formal education. Where disruption is the difference between surviving and thriving. Where being born in a slum means living in an ecosystem of micro-entrepreneurs. If it truly is about who you know, then it’s time to talk about how to get to know those people where they live, work and play. Open-source learning is the meeting of the collective mind.


Open-Source Ideas

What good is knowledge if it is only shared in the name of monetization? Are we that greedy to hoard possibilities to ourselves because we cannot in our own simple minds conceive of ways to create additional value? Unfortunately, yes. What’s frightening is that some of the most poorly designed content, curriculum, blog posts command top dollar. Sure, anyone can put pen to paper or connect their words to a keyboard. Writing is easy. Writing for influence is not. This requires you to facilitate expertise through social engagement rather than being the expert as author. The skilful content creator is expert as curator, engager and author. The master communicator is the invisible orchestrator of human engagement with knowledge. This is the single element that separates a ruckus from a symphony.


Noise Cancellation

Did you ever think that the spa days, mental health days, vacation in the mountains, digital detox/diets/sabbaticals could be avoided by simply choosing to produce and consume knowledge as it is meant to — in small bite-sized chunks with all the flavour minus the artificial fillers that are hazardous to our mind? I call this Lean Learning.

Is Your Organization Collaboratively Intelligent?

They say too much of something is not always a good thing – when you’re not being smart about it. Collaboration is no exception.

Is your organization collaboratively intelligent?

A Collaboratively Intelligent Organization has a culture of sharing, powered by thoughtful people, who access key knowledge, at the speed of need, amplified by community caring, so that in the flow of everyday work, ideas collide for good to create new forms of human and business value.

Leaders, Time to Get Your Shift Together

In a time of scarcity, the greatest abundance is the plentiful of being more of who we already are.

Today’s leaders own a lot. We are responsible for a continuum that has the bottom line on one end, and on the other, cultivating conditions for the organization to thrive during times of uncertainty. We must empower our people to reach beyond the boundaries of imagination to enhance the customer service experience and develop innovative products and services. 21st century leaders are tasked with engineering an ecosystem of hope in the workplace and beyond. This is challenge of the new engagement paradigm.

In the new engagement paradigm, conversation is the catalyst for every shift

I believe designing a space that betters organizational and individual life while driving business excellence requires 5 key shifts.

1. Openness ⇒ Truth

Open-door approachability is no longer enough. Leaders must shift engagement from providing opportunities for autonomy, to creating a culture of authenticity. Once we recognize our truth as leaders – who we are when at our best, and we own it, we can begin to understand how to consciously influence engagement in a way that matters.

2. Values ⇒ Voice

It’s time to stop talking about what connects us, and to start talking to each other about why we’re connected and exploring how it shows up as a strength in the workplace. This shift is a trust-building exercise.

3. Performance ⇒ Play

Employees are hired to perform on time and on budget in agreement with the essential job duties they signed up for. This also grooms them to have one foot out the door. The leadership call to action is to be in the relentless pursuit of emotional, spiritual and financial profit. Happiness improves the bottom line.

We must empower our people to reach beyond the boundaries of imagination to enhance the customer service experience and develop innovative products and services.

4. Dream ⇒ Dare

The impetus for implementation is shifting from creativity to bravery. Thanking your talent for being bold enough to push fear of failure aside is just as important as ideating. Curating courage to do things differently is what organizations need to transform brainstorming to building.

5. Embrace ⇒ Exchange

If we look at adoption to change as a physical action, it’s opening our arms to invite and welcome. However, as we seek to grasp and hold onto this new way of being, we end up using our energy to guard and protect what we’ve learned. It’s just as important to find ease in extending our willingness to share, as it is in accepting knowledge. Organizational resiliency lives in these exchanges that harvest collective intelligence.

Hope is not the expectation that things will turn out well, it is the belief that there is meaning no matter how things turn out. Vaclav Havel

In the new engagement paradigm, conversation is the catalyst for every shift. It starts with the one you have with yourself (personal truth), then with your talent (leadership truth) and with your customers (brand truth).

When you are clear on your truth as a leader, tell it to five people outside the boardroom and empower them to pay it forward to another five. As this exercise unfolds, the circles of truth will begin to overlap and the dotted lines will disappear. What will emerge is a sense of community weaved together through storytelling, ownership and trust. This is where the organic flourishing of an ecosystem of hope begins.

The new engagement paradigm starts from within.

This post was originally published as part of the Winning Employees Through Engagement series on – a leadership blog and community dedicated to the “Human Side of Business”.

Get Your Head in the Cloud with Disruptive E-Learning Technology

I’m excited to be collaborating with e-learning company Docebo, on a series of sponsored posts and guest posts on topics ranging from Business Process Humanization to Learning Design for Employer Branding, and this first post on a review of their latest product: Docebo 6.2 LMS.

The decision to collaborate on sponsored posts was motivated by a desire to get a more intimate look into the e-learning technology market. My curiosity was piqued as part of a broader intention to provide you, my community of HR practitioners, learning professionals and smart businesses, with more insight into the market. The opinions expressed in this post and all posts in the series are my solely my own. There are no affiliate links contained in this post.

Let’s Do This.


Docebo, pronounced “Do-Chee-Bo” is a Naples, Italy and Athens, Georgia based company that provides SaaS (“Software-As-A-Service”) based e-learning solutions. Established in 2005, it has partners in 29 countries and over 300,000 users. Docebo ranks among the top 20 Learning Management Systems (LMS) by Capterra and Craig Weiss’ 2014 LMS Market Report. Last month it released version 6.2 of its solution, which continues to disrupt the market.

But First Things First, The Why of E-Learning

As a former HR Manager leading 400 employees I was occupied with four key questions when it came to learning:

1. Is it cost and time effective?
Lean budgets and productivity targets require maximized knowledge with minimized disruption of workflow.

2. Does it serve compliance and creative needs of employees and the business?
Regulatory learning means we are engaging in the best interest of all stakeholders while protecting the company. Professional development opportunities show employees the company is investing in their potential.

3. Will knowledge live and breathe beyond the classroom?
Formal learning ticks boxes, informal and social learning where knowledge transforms into meaning through relationships & interactions is where the real magic happens.

4. Is it simple?
As the now famous meme says, “Ain’t nobody got time for that” level of unnecessary complexity. It’s all about “LeanLearning”In the know and on the go!


Effective e-learning answers “yes” to all of the above.

Here’s why:

EMPLOYEES CAN GET SMARTER ON THEIR OWN TERMS – self-paced learning modules allow different people with different learning styles to engage in alignment with their best selves, when and where their energy and lifestyle fuels it.

LEADERS CAN GET SMARTER ABOUT THEIR PEOPLE – personal and team progress tracking means it’s easier to see who needs a high-five versus human intervention.

THE COMPANY CAN GET SMARTER ABOUT LEARNING DESIGN – with 24/7 access to learning, delivery is consistent and feedback on the learning experience provides insight on the usefulness and effectiveness of the content for various teams, departments or project groups.

Compelling and comfortable learning experiences can lead to higher employee satisfaction, lower turnover, meaningful employee engagement and savvy employer brand ambassadors; all with the beautiful benefit of less costs and greater profit.

“Today’s workforce needs knowledge, skills and abilities that are aligned with business objectives, while managers need to track the effectiveness of learning programmes… we aim to transform the LMS into a ‘must have’ tool – like a CRM.”

— Claudio Erba, CEO & Founder of Docebo

These Folks Also Play in this Space

LMS Logos

With Docebo’s simple and comprehensive solution, it successfully competes and thrives in the same sandbox as these players.

The Big Idea Behind Docebo 6.2

Spend less time on the technical and administrative aspects of instructional design and more time curating content that will transform the way you connect and create.

“Our approach helps re-humanize business processes through e-learning as companies become more people-centric. That’s why we’ve allowed access to a package of Apps for mid-sized and large enterprises, such as the Enterprise Cloud Solution. In addition, our Classroom ILT App enables superior service delivery and cost-effective investment while leveraging the benefits and flexibility of a pure SaaS Solution.”

— Claudio Erba, Docebo’s CEO and Founder

E-Learning, LMS

I gave Docebo’s platform a spin. It was ridiculously easy to set-up and get on with it.

Docebo Screenshots

Overall, I was impressed by the ease, simplicity, functionality and user experience based on my mini adventure.

Docebo has some opportunities in refining graphics associated with their course offering gallery, both in terms of variety of images as well as diversity in gender and ethnicity reflected in the graphics. I’m also looking forward to greater social collaboration, content marketing opportunities from within the LMS (very cool!) as well gamification in Docebo 6.3. With Docebo’s TinCan API compliance, experiential learning through virtual reality, serious games and simulation may also be on the horizon.

Now you try it. Give Docebo a whirl with their 14-day free trial and let me know what you think about it for your learning and business needs.

Happy Learning folks. Keep it Lean and Meaningful.