What I learned at the Academy: Nora Cantini

Nora Cantini – learning and development professional

Coming from the learning and development profession, I felt I knew myself quite well. I am not a particularly structured person; ideas tend to come to me as I go along, and in facilitation roles, I thrive more on the people interactions and less on the agenda details. But thanks to the exercises we went through in the ‘self’ and other modules, I realised that being more systematic and specific about defining ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ learning objectives actually increases my chances for greater outcomes. It also helps me align better with the leaders, sponsors and co-facilitators of the events I’m designing.

I’ve worked in both private and non-profit sectors and the working culture varies greatly. In the private sector, it’s all about quick results and people are often very task focussed, regardless of feelings and opinions. This can mean staff agreeing to an action plan publicly, but privately, they are not on board, to the detriment of motivation, and paradoxically, productivity. What I’ve learned is how to facilitate sessions that achieve results whilst building teamwork and buy-in, without losing time.

I look back on some of the rigid, formulaic meetings I have attended and see how I would run them completely differently now. The Academy sessions have equipped me with the tools, methods and skills to make meetings more interactive, varied and productive while catering for the diversity of preferences and personalities in the room. The quiet ones often have the best ideas – let’s make way for the hidden diamonds!

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