Everything we do at Bluehat has the capacity to impact people and companies in a positive way. For me, Learning and Development isn’t necessarily something different, something on the margin, something outside of what Bluehat are offering. L&D is all about positioning and how we use the products that we have to help people improve performance, to help people improve their relationships with each other, to make not only their lives happier and better but to make them more effective, more productive and to ensure they are successful in their company.
So as you know, Elisa and I created Bluehat Develops specifically to benefit millennials; our future leaders. And the reason for is I’ve always believed that our products are perfect platforms for how this demographic want to learn. I believe most people, and particularly younger people don’t want to learn in a classroom environment; they want to experience things and learn from doing. And they like to learn from each other, not so much from someone knowledgeable stood at the front of a room telling them how things are.
L&D is about self-discovery. Our games, workshops, activities, however you want to describe them, are designed as immersive experiences with the power to engage, break down barriers, and to facilitate the exploration of new ways of thinking and working. We give people a framework, a structure, for them to explore and generate insights that are going to move them and others forward in a really positive and constructive way.
We provide opportunities for people to explore what leadership means. We don’t take the university approach where I take on the role of lecturer and define the principles and mechanisms of leadership – ‘I’ve read some books, I’ve done some courses and I can categorically tell you what it is’. Now there’s no one definition of what makes a great leader, there’s not one definition of many things. So why not give people the chance to explore with their peers, what does leadership actually mean.
We create the right level of challenge and it does stretch people but it doesn’t panic people too much outside of their comfort zone.
As Richard Branson would say ‘the most important thing is your people’ and that’s what we are at Bluehat, we are people people. We give people the chance to experience something very different from day-to-day working life. Our intention is that we provide something immersive, something engaging with a sense of fun and in a safe environment.
In certain scenarios, people can become too task focused. People can focus so much on the task at hand that they don’t get the chance to focus on what is actually more important; how they are working with people, how they are leading people. And what we can do with our activities is have ‘time-outs’ – let’s take a step back, I know what you’re doing but we need to reiterate the why, why are you doing it? In a subtle way we are trying to develop people’s skills, their understanding of what it means to be a team player, what it means to lead teams. But we do it in such a creative way that people are free to explore like children when they begin to play games. It makes sense to play games because we have always done it. We play games that are stimulating, intellectual and engaging for people and they will engage with it. As a facilitator within L&D we are there to guide. And what sets our events is our focus and purpose.
There is a custom in Sweden which is called FIKA which is essentially a custom in business where mid-afternoon, regardless of level, everyone gets together to have coffee. The reason behind this is to build relationships with your colleagues as relationships are the key to successful teams, successful organisations. You want to build relationships that bring the best out in people and to help them succeed.
The difference between an event and an L&D event is that L&D is all about developing skills, helping people understand what high performance looks like, what great leadership looks like. We are guides that take them on a journey and we have to understand that people have different ways of learning.
In L&D we ask the client what is it they want to be doing. For example if they want to communicate better then we explore what do you mean by that? Why do you want them to do things a specific way? We get under the skin of people’s motivations for development and what the outcome of that is. L&D is very focused on the why.
With L&D we are specifically focused on understanding how we can help improve people’s performance and that may be in a very specific area. Why would we want to do this? We believe people’s performance can be improved which ultimately makes them more productive and that enables companies to be more profitable and importantly more sustainable.