How 2 recognise a watershed when you see it.

Warning:  this article contains elements which might be deemed by the sensitive reader to smack of self promotion.  If you tend to suffer from allergic reaction when someone tells you about something new they have been doing, please stop reading now.  You have been warned!

What is a career watershed?  How do you know when you see one?  Can it only be seen after the event, or is it possible to recognise it at the time, and if so is that a good thing? seedling

I think I might be going through one right now.  It feels like it’s not the end of something, nor a clean start of something new.  It’s more like a shoot sprouting out of the soil next to the rose bush which has been my life for the last 16 years, and I’m not sure whether it is another rose of a different colour, or whether it is in fact an oak tree.  Either way, it’s exciting , and I’m watering it like mad and putting on fertiliser by the spadeful.

The shoot in question is a new approach to training videos, which from our research are, without wishing to be too rude, generally second rate, patronising, fake, poorly produced or just plain weird.  There you are, I said it.  Go and look for yourself if you don’t believe me.

Type “Giving feedback to employees” into YouTube and see what you get. We’ve been road testing ours, and have been told they are in a different league.  Because we’re not actors we are drawing on real life experience from somewhere deep down (all of them are planned but unscripted and done in one take).  We’re told this makes them credible and uncomfortably accurate.

SONY DSCThe idea of asking people to watch them for the deliberate errors (we call them gaffes) means people are engaged and have to be asking themselves what the right way is in order to spot the error.  It’s not passively sitting being told what to do (and who would ever dare to do that, to attempt to model excellence?  Oh, plenty of people, so it would seem).

It’s fun, quirky, effective, so we’re told.

If they’re right, and this approach really is effective, this could be the beginning of a whole new lifestyle for me.  Just rock up and do some filming for a couple of days per month, and let the rest take care of itself?  I suspect not: the effort which goes into creating the training materials that go with each video is huge, as is getting three trainer types to agree on formatting, learning methodology etc.  But we get there because we want to, and have a huge passion for it.  It’s like a shot of adrenalin when we get together, and long may that continue.

So, it might be a false alarm, the shoot might turn out to be a weed.  I hope not, and will be surprised if that is the case.  All I can do is keep up with the watering and fertilising and let nature takes its course. If you want to see what the shoot looks like, here’s the How NOT 2 website.  And here’s the promotional video our genius TV producer chap Martin (of BBC2 Fantasy Football League fame) made for us last week.

About Michael Brown Training

I'm a business skills trainer, facilitator and coach. I've been helping people to learn for 16 years, working all around the world on topics such as Negotiation, Conflict Handling, Sales, Leadership, Consulting and Personal Effectiveness. I'm an ENFP, constantly looking for new and inspiring things to do. I love my job for its variety and the stimulation I get from it, and spend most of my time seeing how far we can go with the subjects we work on in the training room. I've recently started a new venture in making video on how NOT to do things, which you can find at
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8 Responses to How 2 recognise a watershed when you see it.

  1. cedricj says:

    Michael, you are really on to something important here. I sense that it will be a hit. All the best for your new venture.



  2. Wow. A Hollywood production. Loved it. And you Brits, you don’t need to do anything but talk, and you sound genius. Best of luck Michael.


  3. These are truly first class learning materials. And they’re memorable!
    When considering (for instance) an appraisal – those little memories of HowNOT2 really keep us on our toes.
    They make for some really illuminating conversations; especially when you get round to the “OK so what would have worked better and got the right response?”


  4. christinapd says:

    Love it Michael, and I am now subscribed. Video is definitely the way forward. You kindly allowed me to use one of your earlier videos on appraisal in a presentation and it was enthusiastically received, so I think you’re on a great roll! I’ve liked and I’ve subscribed!


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