A few years ago EDS (an HP company) released a very clever Super Bowl commercial about cowboys herding cats: “Anybody can herd cattle. Holding together 10,000 half-wild shorthairs, now that’s another matter altogether.” Anyone responsible for managing all the moving parts of an organizational training plan can surely relate to that complexity.
My East Texas grandfather had a similar saying for such an undertaking: “Moving frogs in a wheelbarrow.” Every time you think you’re loaded up and ready to hit the road, one jumps out and forces you to drop everything to pick him up and load him back in.
In our industry, I think of the frogs as the challenges we all face in these do-more-with-less times:
- Tight (sometimes non-existent) budgets require tough calls on priorities
- Difficulty finding time for employees to leave their desks or the assembly line calls for unprecedented creativity in delivery modes and schedules
- Disagreement among executives necessitates facilitated discussion about what our professional development goals should be
- And the list goes on! Measuring outcomes and demonstrating ROI <hop>…Efficient onboarding and ensuring knowledge transfer between workers <hop hop>…Keeping up with new technologies and media for training delivery <hop hop hop>…
It’s hard to feel like you’re making progress when your frogs keep jumping out. Wouldn’t it be nice if they all took a nap at the same time for once? Or if the sides of the wheelbarrow were too high for them to escape? But that’s not the way it usually works in the real world. Deadlines, conflicting demands, unfunded mandates and moving targets all conspire to keep those frogs hopping!
Our hats are off to you–the learning and development professionals, the Human Resources veterans, the office administrators, the event planners–who continue to find ways to succeed despite the obstacles, to do more with less, to help your organizations meet their professional development goals and to improve their bottom line results. As the cat herder says, “It ain’t an easy job but … there ain’t a feeling like it in the world.”