Learning TRENDS by Elliott Masie - June 19, 2012.
#726 - Updates on Learning, Business & Technology.
55,732 Readers - www.masie.com - twitter: emasie - The MASIE Center.
Host: Video for Learning LAB & Studio - July in Saratoga Springs, NY.
1. Video Briefing on Learning Trends.
2. Learnings from My Theater Producing Experience.
1. Video Briefing on Learning Trends: Watch a free, 19 minute, “chunked” video on 10 Key Learning Themes in 2012. I address themes ranging from Personalizing Learning to Innovation vs. Hype in Learning. View it at http://www.learning2012.com/10themes
2. Learnings from My Theater Producing Experience: As many of you know, over the past year, I have been one of the producers for the Broadway Revival of Godspell. It has been one of the most intense and learning filled experiences of the last two decades for me. After 9 months on Broadway and over 160,000 audience members, Godspell will close on June 24th (and go on National Tour in 2013). I wanted to share some of the key learnings that I have from being on the inside of a Broadway production and how that relates to our field of learning and training:
* The Show Had a “Run”: When we decided to close Godspell it was sad and emotional to inform the cast and crew of the upcoming closing and their loss of jobs. I was intrigued to hear our stars, including Corbin Bleu and Anna Maria de Tagle Perez, refer to it as a “Great Run”. They wrote me that it was an incredible or inspirational “run”. The concept of a “run” meant that the production had a beginning, middle and end, and that their careers would include many runs of unpredictable lengths. Our corporate programs might gain from thinking about their lifespans as “runs”.
* An Open & Transparent Executive Producer: Ken Davenport, who will be one of our featured Keynoters at Learning 2012, was the Executive Producer for Godspell. He has been my mentor as we joined the world of Broadway and I have learned a great deal from several key and powerful open, transparent actions on his part. For the 100 days before we opened, he produced a daily “countdown” blog to let the public see the technical and production elements as they came together. He shared good and bad news on his blog, even being open about lower sales numbers the month before we closed. He has also been deeply engaged with bringing new investors and producers into Godspell, training us along the way. I have copied his countdown blog model for our big events and have used his leadership model as an example of how we produce our conferences and seminars. Ken Davenport brings meaning to the cool word “producer” and we should leverage it in our own field.
* Talent is Everything: I had the chance to watch many rehearsals of Godspell and even the switch of our “Jesus” from Hunter Parrish to Corbin Bleu. I observed talent at the core of every conversation, recognizing the varied talents of each cast member, being up front about how they could improve or better be heard in the audience. They even used one of the understudies as a Dance Captain to give intense feedback on dance moves after hundreds of performances. In the world of theater, talent is everything and the willingness to be both courageous and brave with feedback is key.
* Understudies Work! There are 4 members of the cast who understudied several roles each. They come to all of the performances, instantly ready to take on a role - even in the middle of the night. Watching the role of the understudy was a major eye opener for how it might play in the HR and Learning world. They studied the roles, watched the performances, did rehearsals and were always ready to jump on stage. One of understudies, Julia Mattison, ended up playing a key role at the start of show when one of the actresses was injured. Another was promoted to a full time role after one of our stars, Lindsay Mendez, left to take on the new show Dogfight. We might think more about how the understudy could be leveraged in the world of business.
* Social Media and Viral Promotion: Every one of the cast members from Godspell has a major presence on Twitter and would send several Tweets every day with some insight into the show or as a promotion of upcoming events. Their social media presence got many of the 160,000 audience members to the theater at a much lower cost than traditional advertising. Our cast members were stars in High School Musical, Hannah Montana, Weeds and Glee, some having over 700,000 Twitter Followers. Their active and personal mini-blogging on social media was a unique and powerful extension of the marketing and promotion campaign, bringing many younger audience members to a Broadway show for the first time in their lives. We can leverage internal corporate social media to better promote and add personality to our leadership and learning programs with active entries from trainers and subject matter experts.
* Elliott as a Learner: Throwing myself into new situations is key to my ever evolving learning personality. While I did not have any formal roles, I spent a lot of time interacting with the cast and crew. That ranged from taking them for sushi after a performance to brainstorming with them about future gigs. The cast and producers taught me an incredible amount about the world of theater and I was able to draw the lines between our world and theirs, even inviting Ken Blanchard and Marshall Goldsmith to watch Godspell and help validate the core message in the show.
* Keep Creating and Designing: Finally, Godspell had a very well tested “curriculum” after playing for 40 years on and off Broadway; yet, Steve Schwartz, the composer, and Dan Goldstein, the director, felt a strong need to Re-Design the show with the energy and enthusiasm of our incredible cast. It takes courage to re-do an “established” show and yet it was critical to make it Godspell 2012. Did everyone like the play? Almost everyone who showed up did. Some critics found it too creative or audience engaging, but as a Jewish producer for a Christian show, wasn’t that how Jesus did it? Godspell taught me again the need to always refresh, redesign and recreate our learning programs.
If you are in NYC for the next week, go see the last few shows www.godspell.com or catch it when it comes to your city in 2013 and 2014.
How did it change Elliott? Well, I am already investing in Allegiance, a new play with George Takei (Star Trek), Lea Salonga (Miss Saigon) and Telly Leung (Glee/Godspell) that opens in San Diego in September. I’ll be working on several other productions and even looking at starting a new event focused on Stories & Storytelling based in New York. Godspell brought me new colleagues, a new newspaper to read every day and tons of ideas that you will see at Learning 2012 and other MASIE Center events. But, most of all, Godspell reminded me, even by the titles of some of the songs, what we are about in the Learning Field:
* Prepare Ye.
* Day by Day.
* All for the Best.
* All Good Gifts.
* Light of the World.
* By My Side.
* Beautiful City.
So, thanks to the Godspell cast and crew, and may we as learning professionals build flexible runs and be focused on talent, have deep openness, social connections and understudies, and continually be redesigning to turn that “light bulb” on for our learners and organizations. Day by Day…
Yours in learning,
MASIE Center Seminars, Events and Services:
* Learning Directions - Dallas or New York City.
* Video for Learning LAB - July in Saratoga Springs.
* Learning 2012 - Oct 21 - 24, 2012 - Orlando, Florida.
* Membership in The Learning CONSORTIUM
Info and Registration: http://www.masie.com - twitter: emasie