Learning COVID-19 Action Recording with Elliott Masie - 7/30/20


As the coronavirus pandemic continues to cause unprecedented impact to business, employers, and employees, human capital leaders continue to face both short- and long-term challenges. Since March, i4cp has held a weekly series of calls specifically for Learning and Talent leaders to discuss problems and share ideas regarding L&D strategy, remote training, virtual leadership development, and more. Each week, hundreds of executives join these calls to hear from their community and access the latest research from i4cp's Coronavirus Employer Resource Center. 


This week’s Learning and Development action call hosted special guest Elliott Masie, industry thought leader and founder of the MASIE Center and the Learning Consortium. He was interviewed by i4cp CEO and co-founder Kevin Oakes. Here are four highlights from the call:


  1. Elliott Masie’s score and two areas of focus. In describing his career, passions, and accomplishments, Masie said “I am the young score of 70. I don’t say age, because then people look for things that are failing on you.” He noted he has adopted this from his friend George Takei (of Star Trek fame, amongst other things), who said that if your score goes up you get points, as opposed to what is breaking down.

    Masie then described that he has had two areas of focus over the years. First, how do we optimize performance, through learning, support and where appropriate, extending it with technology. Second, Masie called himself an organic storyteller, a skill that has helped him both in his career in learning, but also in his other passion as a Broadway producer, where he has been involved with over two dozen shows over the years.
  2. Empathy has increased immensely during the pandemic. Masie noted his focus on empathy as a key theme during the past several months, even hosting virtual empathy concerts that bring together L&D professionals for some live music and good conversation during the difficult times. He noted that while being empathetic does not directly solve anyone’s challenges, it nonetheless provides an important value by uplifting people who have a struggle. Oakes agreed, and noted that many times during the pandemic he has heard employees at various organizations say just how impressed they are with the empathy being shown by their leaders and by coworkers to each other, especially when we have a more personal window into each other’s lives.
  3. Training and learning events should be experiences, not meetings. The best virtual classroom trainers and webinar presenters already know what Masie said during the call: “It doesn’t need to be just talking and PowerPoint.” Clearly his virtual concerts bring a great multimedia addition that most online events lack, but there are many other approaches you can use to transform your virtual training, meetings, and webinars from largely passive events to highly engaging and interactive experiences. Intentionally designing each segment of the event is key, always asking what participants can be doing right now, beyond just sitting and listening. Masie advised looking at your learning content and objectives, and rethinking how much needs to be presented live by the trainer, as opposed to provided ahead of time for participants to read so they can then gather live to analyze and discuss that content and learn more from the trainer and each other.

  4. Never has the role of a learning leader been more important. This goes far beyond providing compliance, certification, or even onboarding training. Masie specifically talked about being “makers” similar to the techie / maker community. In our context, learning leaders and professionals are literally involved in making the next couple chapters of our organizational workforces and their readiness for what is coming (e.g., creating a healthy workplace, the physical layout of the workplace, supporting people’s stress and anxiety during these times, what skills are needed post-automation, etc.) Masie noted that we need to understand and embrace ambiguity—not as a negative, but as a reality. We may not be able to eliminate it and produce certainty, but we can produce support processes by which people can better learn, perform their job, etc.



This week's featured guest is Elliott Masie, from the Masie Learning Consortium.