Hybrid Learning: A March 2020 Inspiration Story

March 2020. Mary Glowacka has spent nine months preparing a multiyear employee wellness program hinging on in-person training. And then the pandemic hits. This is the story of what happened next.

Transcript
Tom Moriarty:

Welcome, you made it to the Secret Society of

Tom Moriarty:

Success! In this not-so-secret podcast, we interview L&D

Tom Moriarty:

changemakers about how they approach the evolving corporate

Tom Moriarty:

environment and cultivate their own careers. We hope that from

Tom Moriarty:

their stories, you find lessons and inspirations to make

Tom Moriarty:

yourself, your people and your organization's more successful.

Tom Moriarty:

In this first season, we're exploring the topic of hybrid

learning:

what that means a different organizations, why it

learning:

is increasingly important, and how l&d leaders can invest in

learning:

the right resources to best leverage it. Today, we want to

learning:

talk about how switching to hybrid learning impacts the

learning:

members of the L&D team, and how L&D leaders can successfully

learning:

manage that transition. To make better light of this

learning:

conversation, we've invited Mary Glowacka of Preply to share a

learning:ific story from the winter of:learning:

you today?

Mary Glowacka:

Hi, Tom. I'm great. Thank you. How are you?

Tom Moriarty:

I'm fantastic. Thanks so much for joining us

Tom Moriarty:ten, before we jump into your:Tom Moriarty:

I'll call it an inspiration story...can you give us a quick

Tom Moriarty:

overview of your career in HR and L&D?

Mary Glowacka:

Yes, absolutely. I'm really happy to be here.

Mary Glowacka:

Thanks for having me. And thanks to everyone who's joining to

Mary Glowacka:

listening. Yes, my entry point to the whole world of HR was

Mary Glowacka:

through training. I started or quite young in that domain with

Mary Glowacka:

no prior experience. I studied linguistics, in fact, so quite

Mary Glowacka:

far fetched from what I ended up doing professionally. And I just

Mary Glowacka:

fell in love with the whole topic of people development and

Mary Glowacka:

helping organizations grow and become better and better over

Mary Glowacka:

time through its people. I worked predominantly in the

Mary Glowacka:

corporate world at Nestle, EY, Bank of America, where I held

Mary Glowacka:

global roles predominantly focused on organizational

Mary Glowacka:

development, leadership development, coaching, learning

Mary Glowacka:

and development strategies, learning technologies, and

Mary Glowacka:

performance enablement, from strategy to then translating

Mary Glowacka:

those strategies into execution plans and driving big

Mary Glowacka:

transformational changes for these organizations. And now I

Mary Glowacka:

am in the fantastic world of scale ups at Preply in the world

Mary Glowacka:

of language learning. And I head up the center of people

Mary Glowacka:

excellence, again, focusing on organizational development

Mary Glowacka:

across the whole company with my team.

Tom Moriarty:

That is awesome, very impressive background,

Tom Moriarty:

Mary, I'm excited to get the opportunity. I know you and I

Tom Moriarty:

had spoke a little bit about that the story you're gonna

Tom Moriarty:

share from, from your time at Bank of America. And I think

Tom Moriarty:

it's an incredible one. So I know that the vast experience

Tom Moriarty:

you've got leading teams and departments should definitely

Tom Moriarty:

give our listeners awesome takeaways from our conversation

Tom Moriarty:

today. So excited to, to dig into it. Before we start the

Tom Moriarty:

story, which is the really exciting part, what we're trying

Tom Moriarty:

to do is just ask our guests to begin the conversation defining

Tom Moriarty:

a couple of key terms, so that the context of how we use them

Tom Moriarty:

throughout the discussion is clear from your perspective,

Tom Moriarty:

right. So to start, Mary, how do you define hybrid learning?

Mary Glowacka:

Sure, I don't necessarily deem the term hybrid

Mary Glowacka:

learning anything particularly new in the world of learning and

Mary Glowacka:

development. I pretty much understand that there's a

Mary Glowacka:

blended learning approach, where you seek the best method of

Mary Glowacka:

training or delivering learning to your people to meet their at

Mary Glowacka:

their point of need, and you're finding the best way of

Mary Glowacka:

conveying that that learning initiative, let's put it that

Mary Glowacka:

way. So it's, it's a combination of different types of approaches

Mary Glowacka:

that blend into one learning experience, and then hybrid,

Mary Glowacka:

that particular word and there is, you know, in the context of

Mary Glowacka:

enabling that anytime, anywhere, and meeting people where they

Mary Glowacka:

are and not necessarily forcing them to travel to sit in a

Mary Glowacka:

classroom, for lack of a for lack of a better example.

Tom Moriarty:

Yeah, I think that's great. It that's, you

Tom Moriarty:

know, it's funny, as we've been going through this season, you

Tom Moriarty:

know, we continue to hear that theme, right? This is not a new

Tom Moriarty:

term, it is just a topic that's become increasingly relevant in

Tom Moriarty:

the context of what the, you know, the global events in the

Tom Moriarty:

last in the last 48 months. So I don't want to wait any further.

Tom Moriarty:t's set the stage. It's March:Tom Moriarty:

you working on?

Mary Glowacka:

Sounds very ominous. like Game of Thrones a

Mary Glowacka:, right? Yes, it's it's March:Mary Glowacka:

six to eight months. I had been leading a global project at the

Mary Glowacka:

Bank-

Tom Moriarty:

and Bank of America correct?

Mary Glowacka:

And that's Bank of America. It's a global

Mary Glowacka:

project, focusing around providing people with tools and

Mary Glowacka:

practical tactics and strategies to support themselves and others

Mary Glowacka:

in their teams as well as in their families from an emotional

Mary Glowacka:

perspective. So very much focused on topics like

Mary Glowacka:

resilience, and to health and wellness and so on. And we

Mary Glowacka:

started designing this program together with the Thrive Global,

Mary Glowacka:

the company set up by Arianna Huffington, when we started

Mary Glowacka:

designing this program, in the year before, and at that stage

Mary Glowacka:

in March, at the beginning of March, we are a few days before

Mary Glowacka:

launching this program globally. Originally, the strategy was

Mary Glowacka:

that the program was designed, first of all, with five core

Mary Glowacka:

modules, again, a blended experience. But the prerequisite

Mary Glowacka:

module, the first one was a classroom environment

Mary Glowacka:

experience. So that's in terms of the program's components. In

Mary Glowacka:

terms of the broader strategy, we were targeting managers...

Mary Glowacka:

manager population across the bank with the view that the

Mary Glowacka:

managers cascade the key messages to their team. And the

Mary Glowacka:

location strategy was such that we mapped out the key hubs

Mary Glowacka:

across the world. And that's where we were going to conduct

Mary Glowacka:

these prerequisite sessions with the view, of course, that we

Mary Glowacka:

selected the hubs where majority of the manager population was

Mary Glowacka:

already present, right, with an assumption that there will be an

Mary Glowacka:

element of, of course, many people having to travel.

Tom Moriarty:

And, and just to continue to level set a little

Tom Moriarty:

bit about the story, because I know you and I have talked about

Tom Moriarty:

it quite a bit... This is a pretty visible program at the

Tom Moriarty:

bank, was it not? I think you had some pretty high level

Tom Moriarty:

sponsorship for this program.

Mary Glowacka:

Yes, absolutely. It was a very high profile

Mary Glowacka:

program. It was sponsored by the CEO of the bank himself. So yes,

Mary Glowacka:

very, very important program, which also, you know, shows you

Mary Glowacka:

how important the topics of wellness and employee, you know,

Mary Glowacka:

mental well being as well have already important to that

Mary Glowacka:

organization.

Tom Moriarty:

Yeah.

Mary Glowacka:

Because as I said, we started designing it

Mary Glowacka:the whole strategy around May:Mary Glowacka:

Actually, we've got to remember, it's an organization of over

Mary Glowacka:

200,000 people. And there was also a big element of

Mary Glowacka:

accrediting our facilitators. So we identified a number of people

Mary Glowacka:

from the business who would become facilitators and as part

Mary Glowacka:

of the partnership with with our vendor, they needed to go

Mary Glowacka:

through a specialist accreditation program because

Mary Glowacka:

the the program that we built was very, very heavily based on

Mary Glowacka:

the latest science and research around mental well being around

Mary Glowacka:

things like you know how lack of sleep affects you. And things

Mary Glowacka:

like that. So there was almost a four month Train the Trainer

Mary Glowacka:

program for our facilitators. And once they got accredited,

Mary Glowacka:

they were ready to they were ready to run. And going back to,

Mary Glowacka:It's March beginning of March:Mary Glowacka:

we're a few days from launching and then things are starting

Mary Glowacka:

starting to, to unravel.

Tom Moriarty:

Okay, so, so let me let me just recap, a level

Tom Moriarty:

set, and then you can continue down sort of the path of the

Tom Moriarty:

story, right, so. So for the audience, I mean, you've been

Tom Moriarty:

leading this project, to deliver a co sponsored learning

Tom Moriarty:

initiative, that you're collaborating with an outside

Tom Moriarty:

vendor on, right? You're you've got a group of facilitators

Tom Moriarty:

across the globe, that are SMEs that are accredited that you

Tom Moriarty:

have to go, who are, I would imagine very excited, and

Tom Moriarty:

enthused about the honor of being a facilitator for part of

Tom Moriarty:

a program that's ultimately sponsored by the CEO of the

Tom Moriarty:

organization. Right. And, and you train them, you train them

Tom Moriarty:

on how to facilitate in the context that you're planning,

Tom Moriarty:

which is an in person environment, right. So it's

Tom Moriarty:March:Tom Moriarty:

2020. So what do you what do you do?

Mary Glowacka:

I will never forget that day. I was still at

Mary Glowacka:

the office. It was about eight in the evening. I think it was a

Mary Glowacka:

Thursday or a Friday. And our facilitators...our facilitators

Mary Glowacka:

were supposed to travel from the US for the kickoff, the week

Mary Glowacka:

after, and I get a call that sadly, the situation in the US

Mary Glowacka:

with the pandemic is such that no one is allowed to travel

Mary Glowacka:

anymore. So look, what do you do? You take a breath, first of

Mary Glowacka:

all, or to or to if you need to, maybe you need a glass of water,

Mary Glowacka:

maybe a glass of wine, whatever helps you in the moment.

Tom Moriarty:

Yeah.

Mary Glowacka:

And I think first thing you do is you accept the

Mary Glowacka:

reality, because these are factors that are completely

Mary Glowacka:

outside of your control. So you start thinking about a way

Mary Glowacka:

forward and... Well, first thing we knew was that we didn't know

Mary Glowacka:

what the situation was really going to look like with the

Mary Glowacka:

pandemic. Let's remember, it was the first really couple of

Mary Glowacka:

weeks, especially in the UK, where I was based at the time.

Mary Glowacka:

And very much people were in denial. I remember exactly the

Mary Glowacka:

comments, especially when we started working from home,

Mary Glowacka:

people were saying goodbyes in the office and say, "Okay, see

Mary Glowacka:

you in the next see you in a couple of weeks." And we never

Mary Glowacka:

went back to the office, you know, so yeah, so that was the

Mary Glowacka:

mindset at the time. And first of all, we needed to work

Mary Glowacka:

through with that mindset, because there was an element of,

Mary Glowacka:

okay, we'll just postpone for a couple of weeks. And that was

Mary Glowacka:

one first big hurdle to start conversations around. Okay, that

Mary Glowacka:

is one option that we will be able to resume in a couple of

Mary Glowacka:

weeks. But really, we are making assumptions about things here

Mary Glowacka:

that are only just starting, and they're completely outside of

Mary Glowacka:

our control as an organization. So very, very quickly, we we

Mary Glowacka:

made a very, I believe, at the time very responsible decision.

Mary Glowacka:

And we assume that we don't know what's going to happen. And

Mary Glowacka:

therefore we didn't want to compromise the program, because

Mary Glowacka:

there was a very, very big strategic importance to our

Mary Glowacka:

leadership and in the bank. So what do you do? So first of all,

Mary Glowacka:

you need to go back to strategy and revisit it. And the face

Mary Glowacka:

assumption was, well, we need to convert this program to be 100%

Mary Glowacka:

virtual. So eliminate the aspect of travel and in person

Mary Glowacka:

interactions. So that was an immediate thing that we knew and

Mary Glowacka:

that we agreed on. And that was our first assumption. And but

Mary Glowacka:

then, of course, there was an element of okay, well, we now

Mary Glowacka:

need to revisit some of the content and validate whether any

Mary Glowacka:

changes to the content need to be made in order for the content

Mary Glowacka:

to lend itself for virtual delivery, as opposed to

Mary Glowacka:

classroom delivery. And we know right, that if you've planned a

Mary Glowacka:

group exercise in classroom, you can also achieve this on WebEx

Mary Glowacka:

or zoom, right, you can create a breakout room. But perhaps you

Mary Glowacka:

need to give people different instructions, right. So there is

Mary Glowacka:

always some element of content to redesigned. It can be 10%, it

Mary Glowacka:

can be 50%. But there is always that element. I think one other

Mary Glowacka:

important thing that I should add at this time is the

Mary Glowacka:

facilitators who went through the train the trainer program

Mary Glowacka:

and got accredited, you know, fantastic professionals, but not

Mary Glowacka:

professional facilitators, not professional facilitators. So

Mary Glowacka:

reason why I'm sharing this as well is because that was one of

Mary Glowacka:

the biggest elements of the complete change in strategy that

Mary Glowacka:

we had to work through. Because I think you made that comment

Mary Glowacka:

earlier, Tom, actually, absolutely. Our facilitators

Mary Glowacka:

were so excited. They understood the weight and the importance

Mary Glowacka:

and the prominence of this project. The Train the Trainer

Mary Glowacka:

program for four months that they went through was really

Mary Glowacka:

phenomenal. The Thrive Global team did such a great job with

Mary Glowacka:

them. And it was, you know, it was it was world class, Train

Mary Glowacka:

the Trainer program. And really, they were so emotionally

Mary Glowacka:

attached to this program, our facilitators, I will never

Mary Glowacka:

forget what their reaction was in the first couple of weeks.

Tom Moriarty:

What was it? How did they react?

Mary Glowacka:

Well, first, it was first it was disbelief.

Mary Glowacka:

Right? And first from the facilitators, what we heard,

Mary Glowacka:

okay, let's just wait a couple of weeks, you know, let's just

Mary Glowacka:

wait a couple of weeks and postpone the launch and we'll do

Mary Glowacka:

it, you know, even if a month later yeah. Then when of course

Mary Glowacka:

the decision was made to change the strategy in terms of how

Mary Glowacka:

this program is delivered. Everyone was very professional,

Mary Glowacka:

but there was an element of disappointment, you know, and I

Mary Glowacka:

can understand, you know, they put their heart and soul into it

Mary Glowacka:

on top of their day to day jobs as well and they were selected

Mary Glowacka:

for a reason for this program to be our facilitators. So I can

Mary Glowacka:

completely understand. People put a lot of work and passion

Mary Glowacka:

into it, and suddenly we're saying, it is going to

Mary Glowacka:

completely change. And then there was an other element, I

Mary Glowacka:

believe of fear. Facilitation in classroom is very different to

Mary Glowacka:

facilitate to virtual facilitation, some skills that

Mary Glowacka:

you need, or are common, but they, but there are some skills

Mary Glowacka:

that are different. So for them, it was also that fear of, first

Mary Glowacka:

of all, I don't know how to do it virtually. So it's so that

Mary Glowacka:

it's engaging and effective to is it really going to be a good

Mary Glowacka:

experience? If I'm not with the people in the room? Right, you

Mary Glowacka:

know, and again, we know, you know, learning and development

Mary Glowacka:

professionals know that you can create a great discussion, a

Mary Glowacka:

great session virtually. But I could also I could understand

Mary Glowacka:

their perspective, they just couldn't imagine how it would

Mary Glowacka:

work, how it would be an impactful program when they

Mary Glowacka:

deliver everything over WebEx, because we were using WebEx at

Mary Glowacka:

the time, right?

Tom Moriarty:

I mean, I'd imagine from their perspective,

Tom Moriarty:

they're taking a lot of pride, they put a lot of effort in,

Tom Moriarty:

Well, my approach in situations like that, typically, is you

Tom Moriarty:

right. And I think that there's a little bit of deep down in

Tom Moriarty:

there, especially if you haven't facilitated over zoom, you know,

Tom Moriarty:

there's probably a little bit of human ego, which everyone has in

Tom Moriarty:

there that says, you know, like, I need to help be in the room

Tom Moriarty:

and, you know, make eye contact and see and have an awareness

Tom Moriarty:

and try to, you know, build on some of those facilitation

Tom Moriarty:

skills that I took the time to learn to create an effective

Tom Moriarty:

environment, because I know how important this is for the

Tom Moriarty:

organization and how high profile it is. How do you help

Tom Moriarty:

them through that? How do you help, you know, get the

Tom Moriarty:

facilitators from a place of fear and concern about their

Tom Moriarty:

ability to effectively deliver the content over zoom? You know,

Tom Moriarty:

how do you had to help them cross that hump?

Tom Moriarty:

need to first of all apply a lot of patience and compassion

Tom Moriarty:

towards people. And with that mindset, take next steps. So

Tom Moriarty:

first of all, you know, I played a role in helping them visualize

Tom Moriarty:

what you know, the redesigned experience could look like. So

Tom Moriarty:

really talk to people about specifics how it can

Tom Moriarty:

specifically work and share your own experience with them, show

Tom Moriarty:

them, tell them, engage them, yes, show them some past

Tom Moriarty:

examples to again, because otherwise, people build stories

Tom Moriarty:

in their heads, you know, they conceptualize and they go off on

Tom Moriarty:

a tangent, because they don't have that particular experience.

Tom Moriarty:

So they're just making up things in their head basically.

Tom Moriarty:

Right, as we all do.

Mary Glowacka:

So to mitigate some of that fear, I believe,

Mary Glowacka:

show them past examples, right? Engage them in that way. And

Mary Glowacka:

then also, again, for me, it's, it's important that, you know,

Mary Glowacka:

you engage these key stakeholders in co-creating the

Mary Glowacka:

plan and the strategy with you for that new program. So they

Mary Glowacka:

were part of building the strategy, I thought it was

Mary Glowacka:

important that they have a voice. Because they ultimately

Mary Glowacka:

are accountable for delivering the content, so co-creating and

Mary Glowacka:

engaging them in that way. And the other thing was that the we

Mary Glowacka:

put them through another train the trainer program. So that was

Mary Glowacka:

another element of reassurance that look, you already have the

Mary Glowacka:

subject matter knowledge, because that was also part of

Mary Glowacka:

their fear, then, are we going to have to repeat four months of

Mary Glowacka:

this program, our accreditation program, and absolutely not,

Mary Glowacka:

because you already have the subject matter knowledge, right,

Mary Glowacka:

you already know the information that you need to relate to your

Mary Glowacka:

audiences, it will be a different way in which you will

Mary Glowacka:

do it. So we will focus, we focus on the the additional

Mary Glowacka:

Train the Trainer purely on those remote facilitation

Mary Glowacka:

skills. So what that meant is, again, we reassured them that

Mary Glowacka:

hey, you know, more than you feel or think you do at this

Mary Glowacka:

point in time, and we're not gonna put you through the paces.

Mary Glowacka:

Again, we will focus on your virtual facilitation skills.

Tom Moriarty:

Obviously, I think there's a lot of facilitators

Tom Moriarty:

out there in our audience, listening, you know, they've

Tom Moriarty:

had, obviously, over the last 24 months, a lot of opportunity to

Tom Moriarty:

start to build those facilitate virtual facilitation skills, but

Tom Moriarty:

if there was like one or two very specific takeaways we could

Tom Moriarty:

offer for them that maybe was in that train the trainer that you

Tom Moriarty:

did for Are all the facilitators that you were teaching to make

Tom Moriarty:

for a very effective virtual facilitation? What are like one

Tom Moriarty:

or two key key things you would give to our virtual facilitators

Tom Moriarty:

out there that they can be doing to make sure they're as

Tom Moriarty:

effective as possible when when, you know, facilitating a class

Tom Moriarty:

virtually?

Mary Glowacka:

Well, you know, to be brief, I think one thing I

Mary Glowacka:

would say is the operative word for me here is intentionality.

Mary Glowacka:

It's a bit of a tongue twister for me. But intentionality. What

Mary Glowacka:

I mean by that is a little bit like with hybrid work in

Mary Glowacka:

general, when you're at the office, or in a classroom, yes.

Mary Glowacka:

When we talk about training, there are moments that happen

Mary Glowacka:

spontaneously and communication and exchange of thoughts,

Mary Glowacka:

opinions, sometimes this happens spontaneously, right? You, you

Mary Glowacka:

catch someone's eye in the room, and you you know, exchange a

Mary Glowacka:

couple of thoughts or someone spontaneously makes a comment in

Mary Glowacka:

the room because you know, you feel you feel the room, right?

Mary Glowacka:

When you're on your own, like I am now in my house, I don't have

Mary Glowacka:

anyone around me to interact with. So I need to be more

Mary Glowacka:

intentional with how I interact with people. So perhaps, you

Mary Glowacka:

know, whatever application use Zoom, WebEx, MS teams doesn't

Mary Glowacka:

matter. But post something or ask a question and say, pop your

Mary Glowacka:

answer into the chat box or raise your hand or maybe you do

Mary Glowacka:

a little poll for for 30 seconds, you know you for me,

Mary Glowacka:

it's that intentionality. And those very, very small but

Mary Glowacka:

consistent and constant throughout your session

Mary Glowacka:

interactions. So we're not there to talk to people. So so that

Mary Glowacka:

intentionality, I still think that one of the things that's

Mary Glowacka:

common is, as a facilitator, the energy that you give to the

Mary Glowacka:

room, whether it's a physical room, or it's a virtual room,

Mary Glowacka:

people feel it, you know, if you project that energy, they will

Mary Glowacka:

absorb it and give some of that back to you. Whether you're in a

Mary Glowacka:

classroom or in a virtual environment.

Tom Moriarty:

Yeah, I think those are two great takeaways to

Tom Moriarty:

recap, I wrote that down and just be intentional on driving

Tom Moriarty:

engagement, you have to be maybe a little bit more thoughtful of

Tom Moriarty:

it than when you when you're facilitating in person, because

Tom Moriarty:

when you're facilitating in person, it's almost something

Tom Moriarty:

that's like, unconsciously competent, you don't even think

Tom Moriarty:

about it, you just do it, right. And maybe in a virtual

Tom Moriarty:

environment, you're more consciously competent, you have

Tom Moriarty:

to think about it to be doing it. But make sure you're being

Tom Moriarty:

intentional about that engagement, you're driving with

Tom Moriarty:

your audience, and then be the energy. And I couldn't agree

Tom Moriarty:

more I you know, it's something, you know, definitely not a

Tom Moriarty:

learning and development professional by trade, although

Tom Moriarty:

I've worked with them constantly over the last 10 years in my

Tom Moriarty:

career, but in a sales or customer facing perspective, I

Tom Moriarty:

think that's one of the biggest things I tell my team all the

Tom Moriarty:

time is you are the energy that you bring. And so are your

Tom Moriarty:

customers, right? They're gonna react to the energy that you

Tom Moriarty:

bring to any discussion. So make it positive, make it fun, make

Tom Moriarty:

it enjoyable, because, you know, why not enjoy ourselves while

Tom Moriarty:

we're here?

Mary Glowacka:

Exactly right. And your audience will feel it

Mary Glowacka:

as well, if you're enjoying it.

Tom Moriarty:

One thing, just to get back to something you

Tom Moriarty:

mentioned earlier, you touched on all of the changes that you

Tom Moriarty:

guys needed to do to convert the program to virtual and one of

Tom Moriarty:

the ones you touched on was the content itself. Can you tell us

Tom Moriarty:

about some of those content changes that you guys had to

Tom Moriarty:

make to the program to allow it to be more effective to deliver

Tom Moriarty:

virtually?

Mary Glowacka:

Oh, goodness, I guess I remember a couple of

Mary Glowacka:

things from that. Again, when we introduced to more of those

Mary Glowacka:

smaller interactions. So like, do a little poll, for example,

Mary Glowacka:

you know, every every five or 10 minutes, you know, to keep the

Mary Glowacka:

engagement whereby in the classroom, you want to just, you

Mary Glowacka:

know, you would just I don't know, ask people to stand up for

Mary Glowacka:

two minutes. And, you know, and walk around a little bit. You

Mary Glowacka:

know, sometimes trainers do these things in the room, which,

Mary Glowacka:

you know, which which are a little bit rogue, but they're

Mary Glowacka:

also needed, and, you know, they keep the people engaged, right,

Mary Glowacka:

something I didn't mention, but that had a little bit of an

Mary Glowacka:

impact on the content as well. Well, not necessarily on the

Mary Glowacka:

technical subject matter information or knowledge, but

Mary Glowacka:

some of the positioning of some of the key messages because

Mary Glowacka:

let's remember, originally, our strategy was to target the

Mary Glowacka:

manager population with with this program, and managers would

Mary Glowacka:

get a couple of additional resources from us and then

Mary Glowacka:

managers would go back to their teams and they did however they

Mary Glowacka:

wanted, right. But one of what I believe was actually the...the

Mary Glowacka:

greatest benefit of us changing the strategy again, through, not

Mary Glowacka:

through, you know, us being intentional about it, but

Mary Glowacka:

through external, external factors. But I believe that that

Mary Glowacka:

was one of the biggest Silver Linings there is that we

Mary Glowacka:

proposed if we've got no traveling costs, if we've got no

Mary Glowacka:

venue issues, because also remember, you know, you've got

Mary Glowacka:

to have rooms big enough to, to help these people in right?

Mary Glowacka:

Look, long story short, we opened the program to all

Mary Glowacka:

employees all two hundreds thousand- over 200,000 of them,

Mary Glowacka:

because suddenly, if your strategy is completely virtual,

Mary Glowacka:

why not open it up to everybody? Why not. And it's become the

Mary Glowacka:

most inclusive program across the bank. That was literally

Mary Glowacka:

there was nothing else from a learning and development

Mary Glowacka:

perspective at the time that every and any employee in the

Mary Glowacka:

bank could take advantage of, not to mention that the topic of

Mary Glowacka:

emotional wellness and mental health and well being is

Mary Glowacka:

applicable to all of us, you know.

Tom Moriarty:

Especially in the context of the times.

Mary Glowacka:

Absolutely, yes.

Tom Moriarty:

Yeah, that's great. I think, you know, as it

Tom Moriarty:

as it as another takeaway there, I think that that highlight of,

Tom Moriarty:

of being thoughtful about those small interactions and those

Tom Moriarty:

breaks in, in heavy technical subject matter. And building in

Tom Moriarty:

more of those little micro breaks or engagements for that

Tom Moriarty:

virtual audience is a is an important and, you know,

Tom Moriarty:

thoughtful content design change that people out there out there

Tom Moriarty:

in the audience can hopefully take away and consider if

Tom Moriarty:

they're not doing today already, and in how this, you know,

Tom Moriarty:

modify programs from instructor led in person to more virtual

Tom Moriarty:

programs. You know, you mentioned, I think that that's,

Tom Moriarty:

that's a great takeaway, it actually kind of answers starts

Tom Moriarty:

to be an answer to one of my, one of my other questions, what

Tom Moriarty:

are some of the outcomes you believe that you guys were able

Tom Moriarty:

to achieve because it was virtual, that maybe weren't

Tom Moriarty:

planned or you didn't, you weren't able to see during that

Tom Moriarty:

pivot?

Mary Glowacka:

First thing is speed of implementation. And

Mary Glowacka:

what I mean by that is, again, in the original plan, you know,

Mary Glowacka:

there was an element of travel and to, you know, obviously,

Mary Glowacka:

you're planning within the means that you have as well. So we

Mary Glowacka:

were using internal facilities, available in all those different

Mary Glowacka:

hubs. So we were, in many ways limited by by the sizes of the

Mary Glowacka:

rooms, and we couldn't have more than a particular number of

Mary Glowacka:

people in those rooms. So again, accelerate a little bit. And as

Mary Glowacka:

you can imagine, again, this was a multi year program, so no one

Mary Glowacka:

expected us to run with it within a year and finish it. But

Mary Glowacka:

it was going to be multi multi, a multi multi year program,

Mary Glowacka:

which again, suddenly, we were able to reach people much

Mary Glowacka:

faster, because we could have unlimited number of people at

Mary Glowacka:

every session, because again, that's how it was designed,

Mary Glowacka:

really, in the very short instance, that we didn't have to

Mary Glowacka:

limit the number of participants in the session. So so so you

Mary Glowacka:

can, you know, you can reach your audience is much faster.

Mary Glowacka:

And then when you think about the subject matter, you do want

Mary Glowacka:

to reach people fast when it comes to mental and emotional

Mary Glowacka:

health support. At the best of times, because we know how much

Mary Glowacka:

how big a challenge globally around the world, you know,

Mary Glowacka:

mental health is really these days. So let alone that but also

Mary Glowacka:

think about the timing. It was at the start of the pandemic,

Mary Glowacka:

people were panicking, I remember very well because I

Mary Glowacka:

worked with people who when they heard that they will need to

Mary Glowacka:

work from home now. They they had feared they would come to me

Mary Glowacka:

and say, "I've worked at the bank for 15 years, and I never

Mary Glowacka:

worked at home once I don't even know how I how do I start,

Mary Glowacka:

right? Where do I start?" And so that's speed and especially when

Mary Glowacka:

you consider the importance of the topic. And on top of that

Mary Glowacka:

you add the timing, you know, then to me that speed is even

Mary Glowacka:

more important to get getting through to people as quickly as

Mary Glowacka:

possible. And I again, I remember, as we started, you

Mary Glowacka:

know, when we finally launched and we started running with it

Mary Glowacka:

and we start getting feedback, we will get feedback from people

Mary Glowacka:

that this was the best learning experience in their life. I had

Mary Glowacka:

feedback that someone, I will never forget it, said, "this

Mary Glowacka:

changed... this will change my life." It's because I think

Mary Glowacka:

completely differently about me as a human being right now,

Mary Glowacka:

because that's how it was all designed to create those aha

Mary Glowacka:

moments to show people that, you know, for example, if you say

Mary Glowacka:

you can function properly on four hours of sleep, that's

Mary Glowacka:

biologically not possible, you know, you will start struggling

Mary Glowacka:

at some point, you know, because, because you will, and

Mary Glowacka:

there are reasons for it. Anyway, so we, the program

Mary Glowacka:

really aimed to not only arm people with tactics and

Mary Glowacka:

strategies for building personal resilience and looking after

Mary Glowacka:

yourself, especially in difficult times, but also to

Mary Glowacka:

hopefully change some of your beliefs about your own limits as

Mary Glowacka:

a human being when it comes to health.

Tom Moriarty:

Yeah, that's I mean, that's the two I take away

Tom Moriarty:

there are the, you know, I think that the, I think, you know,

Tom Moriarty:

there's one, there's that that perfect storm, right, it

Tom Moriarty:

actually, you know, at the beginning, it probably looked

Tom Moriarty:

terrifying and daunting and frustrating to have worked so

Tom Moriarty:

hard for so long on such a large, large program, that you

Tom Moriarty:

had a clear plan for that you're going to execute that you're

Tom Moriarty:

going to deliver, and then have to flip it on its head. But I

Tom Moriarty:

think the benefits of what happened after doing that with

Tom Moriarty:

the speed in which you guys were able to get it out on such a

Tom Moriarty:

important topic at such an important time in the world. And

Tom Moriarty:

then the accessibility change that existed by being able to

Tom Moriarty:

reach directly reach as much of the bank as possible, which

Tom Moriarty:

wasn't even a practical consideration in the original

Tom Moriarty:

design of the program. You know, it almost, it's almost as if the

Tom Moriarty:

benefits, and those outcomes of that change probably, in

Tom Moriarty:

retrospect outweighed the challenge of having to change

Tom Moriarty:

and having to pivot.

Mary Glowacka:

I would add one other thing, I think it's quite

Mary Glowacka:

important, actually about consistency as well, because

Mary Glowacka:

again, if you think about it, the original strategy was

Mary Glowacka:

designed that trained, accredited, professionally

Mary Glowacka:

trained for four months facilitators would deliver it to

Mary Glowacka:

managers, and then managers who are not trained to that extent

Mary Glowacka:

would take those messages to their teams. And with all due

Mary Glowacka:

respect, there would be managers who do a great job, there will

Mary Glowacka:

be managers who wouldn't, for a number of reasons.

Tom Moriarty:

Yeah.

Mary Glowacka:

And in the new strategy, we were consistently

Mary Glowacka:

giving the same message to everybody. And that message was

Mary Glowacka:

given by people who weren't professionally trained for four

Mary Glowacka:

months to do it.

Tom Moriarty:

That's a great one. That's super, I'm glad you

Tom Moriarty:

jumped in. I'm super glad that you added that because it is

Tom Moriarty:

that's a hugely important difference, right? I think that

Tom Moriarty:

if our audience wants to take one thing away, that, to me

Tom Moriarty:

stands out is here, regardless of what the next 24-48 months of

Tom Moriarty:

our worlds look like, you know, there's a tool here that a lot

Tom Moriarty:

of people started to exercise some muscles in. And that is

Tom Moriarty:

hybrid delivery. That if you're thinking about supporting an

Tom Moriarty:

audience, that is needs to be, you know, a piece of delivering

Tom Moriarty:

a piece of content that needs to be widely accessible, that needs

Tom Moriarty:

to get out to an audience quickly, where you need to

Tom Moriarty:

ensure consistency of communication. And this is a

Tom Moriarty:

tool in your belt, it's a benefit of what's happened over

Tom Moriarty:

the last 24 to 48 months, if you if you've learned how to

Tom Moriarty:

exercise the muscle of delivering hybrid learning, you

Tom Moriarty:

know, don't forget to assess your strategy. And if the

Tom Moriarty:

requirements of your program include, you know, speed to

Tom Moriarty:

market, easy accessibility for a large audience and consistency

Tom Moriarty:

of delivery. So you've got a good tool for that. And you've

Tom Moriarty:

probably gotten really effective at delivering using a hybrid

Tom Moriarty:

model or virtual model in the last, you know, 24 to 48 months.

Tom Moriarty:

One other question. You know, this was a very visible program,

Tom Moriarty:

as we started out earlier, I don't want to lose sight of the

Tom Moriarty:

fact that you are leading a program that's co sponsored,

Tom Moriarty:

right? Working across a number of stakeholders managing that,

Tom Moriarty:

what was the perspective of the sponsors on the program after

Tom Moriarty:

the pivot? They obviously had goals and business outcomes they

Tom Moriarty:

were expecting your CEO was expecting to achieve? What kind

Tom Moriarty:

of feedback did you...we've heard of the amazing feedback

Tom Moriarty:

from the facilitators from the learners themselves. What kind

Tom Moriarty:

of feedback did you get from the stakeholders?

Mary Glowacka:

Pretty similar in nature, to be honest, because

Mary Glowacka:

actually, we as part of the kickoff, and the very start

Mary Glowacka:

first, we invited our top executives from the bank to go

Mary Glowacka:

through it and feedback from them was was really glowing. And

Mary Glowacka:

I know that sounds like Nirvana. But look... Again, I believe I

Mary Glowacka:

believe that ultimately, and normally, I believe, I believe

Mary Glowacka:

because of my experiences that ultimately to someone like your

Mary Glowacka:

leadership teams in the business, it doesn't matter

Mary Glowacka:

necessarily how exactly you're going to do it, as long as it

Mary Glowacka:

brings about the results that they were all expecting. And,

Mary Glowacka:

and in fact, we exceeded their expectations if you think about

Mary Glowacka:

it, because first of all, again, something we didn't mention, but

Mary Glowacka:

you know, a little bit more detailed. The plan was really

Mary Glowacka:

that it will take us about three years to go through this to

Mary Glowacka:

complete this program. And then when you think about cost of

travel:

it's travel, it's hotels, it's providing food. I

travel:

mean, that's, that's a huge budget. We also saved a lot of

travel:

time, because, look, I am all for a human-to-human connection

travel:

I am, I love getting together with people, I love the energy

travel:

that a group of people can generate when they are in one

travel:

room together. But again, many people think, Oh, it's so fancy

travel:

to travel, you know, on the one hand, maybe it is. But a lot of

travel:

the time, the reality is that, you know, especially back in the

travel:

day that you would go to a two-day course, ultimately,

travel:

you're using four days in your week, because you might take one

travel:

day to travel, two days of the course, one more day to travel,

travel:

depending on how you know where you're going, how your flights

travel:

are organized, and so on. So, yeah, so really, and the quality

travel:

of the output was still exactly what we expected, you know, same

travel:

content is delivered differently, delivered by people

travel:

who are professionally equipped and prepared to do this cost

travel:

time reduction. In inclusivity, increase speed to market I mean,

travel:

you know, it's a whole list of benefits, really, if you think

travel:

about it.

Tom Moriarty:

Yeah, yeah, that's great. I mean, it's, I think

Tom Moriarty:

it's great. But at some point, I didn't want our listeners to

Tom Moriarty:

miss, right, because I think that to your point, it's not

Tom Moriarty:

just the benefits to the team executing the program, through

Tom Moriarty:

the change, because there was clearly benefits there. It's not

Tom Moriarty:

just the benefits to the learners. But there's clear,

Tom Moriarty:

quantifiable benefits to the stakeholders that are supporting

Tom Moriarty:

and funding this effort. And I think also the takeaway of, of,

Tom Moriarty:

for a program that's large, you know, make sure those

Tom Moriarty:

stakeholders are in the first class, and that they're bought

Tom Moriarty:

into the delivery as you continue to roll that out. I

Tom Moriarty:

think that's a, an actionable thought that our audience can

Tom Moriarty:

take away after, if that's not something that they're already

Tom Moriarty:

doing.

Mary Glowacka:

Really, business sponsorship, and leadership

Mary Glowacka:

sponsorship for any learning and development programs, since

Mary Glowacka:

we're focusing on programs here today, is is incredibly,

Mary Glowacka:

incredibly impactful. If the business leaders don't care

Mary Glowacka:

about your programs, or teams will not care about the program,

Mary Glowacka:

and vice versa.

Tom Moriarty:

Yeah, I've seen that myself. Even in in, we've

Tom Moriarty:

brought in over the course of my career at Mimeo, we've brought

Tom Moriarty:

in outside agencies, customers, in fact, to help deliver sales

Tom Moriarty:

training to our organization. And, you know, one that I can

Tom Moriarty:

think of, we did with Richardson and all of our leaders did it

Tom Moriarty:

first. We were super, we loved it, like we, we had so much fun,

Tom Moriarty:

we were like, "Oh, I can't wait for our teams do this." And it

Tom Moriarty:

was great. Our team still, I still have people who bring that

Tom Moriarty:

up all the time. Right. And I think that that is a difference.

Tom Moriarty:

So I think that's a huge takeaway. Mary, I just want to

Tom Moriarty:

stop and say kudos to you and your entire team. I mean, that's

Tom Moriarty:

a it's an incredible story. I really appreciate you sharing

Tom Moriarty:

it. And that's quite the accomplishment, the end of the

Tom Moriarty:

day. I mean, you guys did I think what any professional

would do:

you looked at the reality of the situation, and

would do:

understood what the requirements were and you move forward to the

would do:

best of your ability and the outcome that you guys were able

would do:

to achieve with you know, improved speed to market reduced

would do:

budget, travel expense, accessibility to even more of

would do:

the bank with content that was super important at a super

would do:

important time. Not just professionally, but personally

would do:

for the people that work for you guys. I mean, that's something

would do:

awesome and I can only imagine the impact that had you know,

would do:

for the team and the employees at Bank of America. So thank you

would do:

for for sharing the story. There's a... I guess one last

would do:

thing before we wrap here today, you've shared a lot you've got a

would do:

lot of experience if our if our listeners want to learn more

would do:

about you or reach out or learn more about the story and

would do:

specifics where where can they find you socially on LinkedIn or

would do:

anything like that? What's the best way for our listeners to

would do:

reach out and learn more about you and your story?

Mary Glowacka:

Yes, I'd love to connect with anyone who who

Mary Glowacka:

would like to as well. I love collaborating and and and

Mary Glowacka:

meeting new people as well. So would be fantastic is you can

Mary Glowacka:

find me on LinkedIn. Well just pop in my name and my last name.

Mary Glowacka:

And you'll find me if any of you are members of the Josh Burson

Mary Glowacka:

Academy. I'm also their senior faculty there. And you can find

Mary Glowacka:

me in the Hacking HR community as well. So if you are not

Mary Glowacka:

familiar with that community, also check it out on LinkedIn.

Mary Glowacka:

We've got over 200,000 followers, I think. So Hacking

Mary Glowacka:

HR. But yeah, I'm on LinkedIn. So please connect.

Tom Moriarty:

That's great. Awesome. Well, Mary, thank you

Tom Moriarty:

so much for your time today. Thank you for your story. And

Tom Moriarty:

thank you for your you and your team's contribution to you know,

Tom Moriarty:

the wellness of 200,000 Bank of America employees. I think it's

Tom Moriarty:

an awesome story and really appreciate it.

Mary Glowacka:

Well, it's a you know, it takes a village to

Mary Glowacka:

deliver a project but thank you so much for listening and for

Mary Glowacka:

being here with us today. I really enjoyed it. Thanks, Tom.

Tom Moriarty:

The Secret Society of Success is hosted by Mimeo,

Tom Moriarty:

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Tom Moriarty:

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Tom Moriarty:

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