Why taking a holiday and writing blogs are important for L&D

by John Hilton16 Dec 2015
It’s crucial for leaders in particular to be educated and up-skilled for a number of reasons, according to Rob Davidson, Director of Growth and Founder of the HR service providers, Davidson.

For one, organisations take their cue from leaders, and it’s their job to nurture a culture of learning.

“I don’t believe it’s possible to have a culture of learning unless the leaders are walking the talk,” he told L&D Professional.  

“I think where it falls down in many companies is the frontline leadership level. They have to promote a culture of learning because if you can’t get it through that level then you are not going to get it through to the majority of the organisation.”

In order to get leaders educated and up-skilled, Davidson recommends they read books, attend industry conferences and go to seminars.

However, one vastly underrated measure for effective L&D is blogging, he added.

“And I’m not talking about just reading blogs, but actually forcing yourself to have the discipline of writing the blog," he said.

He added that it doesn’t even matter if only two people on the planet are actually reading them because the real benefit is not the readership but the actual research that is done.

“Once a month even if you happen to write a 1200-1500 word article on a particular topic of relevance to your industry, that’s probably 6-8 hours research in order to really know what you are talking about,” he said.

“So if once a month you have to do effectively a day’s research and then put that into a coherent piece of content which is good enough to publish to the world - and you do that 12 times a year - it’s quite astounding how much additional knowledge you gain in that process.”

Davidson also favours networking events for leadership development where you have a trusted cohort from similar industries to yours.

“So if I’m in the recruitment industry then I might look at other agency-based industries such as real estate agents, or travel agents and find out how they are responding,” he told L&D Professional.

“I might go and sit down with a group of travel agents and look at how the future work is impacting on them and what lessons can I learn."

Additionally, Davidson travels quite a lot and finds that he gets a lot of benefits from attending industry conferences overseas.

“This is particularly true if you’re in environments where you are chatting to people in geographies where you don’t compete against each other because you will find people are much freer with information,” he said.

“And of course there are open online courses that are readily available and a lot of the universities around the world offer short courses.

“I went to Boston this year and did a week’s course under two Harvard professors which was fabulous learning.”

For Davidson, it’s not just about the learning, as he also came away with a number of contacts who he is still in touch with on a weekly basis and can share ideas with.

“What I will do is combine these sorts of events with holidays so I will go to Boston, for example, and have two weeks out of the office - one week was for work, the other week was for pleasure,” he said.

“My wife is only too happy to accompany me on those sorts of events, so you can make learning more fun than it is by taking a holiday.”