UK: Older workers still neglected over training and performance issues

(From hrmagazine.co.uk) — As the Pensions Bill makes its way through The Commons, older workers are still often neglected when it comes to training and performance management according to a report this week from the CIPD. The Employee Outlook: Focus on an Ageing Workforce survey of 2,000 employees found less than half of workers (46%) aged 65 and above report they have had a formal performance appraisal either once a year or more frequently, compared to 65% of all employees. In all 44% of employees aged 65 and above have not had a formal performance appraisal in the last two years or never, compared to a survey average of 27%. Older workers are also much less likely than younger workers to have received training, with 51% of those aged over 65 saying they had received no training in the last three years or never, compared to 32% across all age groups. Read more.

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Study: Long-held view of ‘bell curve’ in performance measurement proven flawed

(From Indiana University) — The dreaded bell curve that has haunted generations of students with seemingly pre-ordained grades has also migrated into business as the standard for assessing employee performance. But it now turns out — revealed in an expansive, first-of-its-kind study — that individual performance unfolds not on a bell curve, but on a “power-law” distribution, with a few elite performers driving most output and an equally small group tied to damaging, unethical or criminal activity. This turns on its head nearly a half-century of plotting performance evaluations on a bell curve, or “normal distribution,” in which equal numbers of people fall on either side of the mean. Researchers from Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business predict that the findings could force a wholesale re-evaluation of every facet related to recruitment, retention and performance of individual workers, from pre-employment testing to leadership development. “How organizations hire, maintain and assess their workforce has been built on the idea of normality in performance, which we now know is, in many cases, a complete myth,” said author Herman Aguinis, professor of organizational behavior and human resources at Kelley. “If, as our results suggest, a small, elite group is responsible for most of a company’s output and success, then it’s critical to identify its members early and manage, train and compensate them differently from colleagues. This will require a fundamental shift in mindset and entirely new management tools.” Read more.

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Research: Emotional Intelligence Promotes Positive Business Performance

Highlands Ranch, Colo. (PRWEB) June 3, 2009 — Research indicates a strong relationship between business performance and emotional intelligence. In recent years, interest in emotional intelligence has grown as research shows impact on a variety of business measures, including recruiting and job selection, sales results and leadership performance. Emotional intelligence is the ability to perceive, control and evaluate emotions to improve work and personal life. In a new whitepaper titled, “Emotional Intelligence: What’s New, What’s True – Improving EQ with Behavioral Styles,” the TRACOM Group explores the importance of emotional intelligence and its direct link to critical business measures and individual success, more so than traditional measures such as IQ. The complimentary whitepaper can be downloaded at http://www.tracomcorp.com/forms/eiwhitepaper.html. The whitepaper also explores the genetic disposition people have for emotional intelligence and the affect it has on improved leadership and managerial performance. However, research also shows that emotional intelligence, just like technical skills, can be developed through a systematic and consistent approach to training and development. ( Read the entire article.)

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Performance management re-emerges as a priority for employers

(From International Business Times) — The expansion of unfair dismissal rights to all employees, initiated by the Fair Work Act 2009, has encouraged a resurgence in performance management. As a result of the act, employers need appropriate performance management systems in place if they are considering dismissing an employee on the grounds of non-performance. However, performance management shouldn’t just be treated as a necessary step towards potential dismissals. It can directly increase the effectiveness of businesses, improve management control and result in fresh and motivated employees, according to The El Group CEO Ben Thompson.

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GET A GRIP! Resolve Issues that Hinder High Performance Selling.

Resolving Issues As a trainer, we want to work with others to quickly resolve solutions to problems. But, many times, it is difficult to resolve issues when you don’t know HOW TO solve the problem! In the day-to-day sales function, problems and conflicts arise all the time. How do you handle these performance issues? Problems and conflicts can develop from inconsistencies and errors in your sales strategy, process, tools, technique, behavior, or attitude. It could be a problem resulting from the actions or decisions of a customer, team member, sales manager or senior staff leader! (And you thought they were perfect, right?) You should monitor situations for potential problems and challenges. You should then develop associated contingency plans. “Take an active interest in the success of a solution and monitor the milestones in the plan.”There are several areas to watch out for when resolving sales performance issues.Be ready to offer some solutions to these problems when training sales professionals. Strategy Strategy must ensure that daily sales actions are converted to high performance results. Be specific about your daily sales objectives before you start your day! This will prevent wasting valuable time prospecting which can be the most challenging psychological task in maintaining a funnel of qualified leads and new business sales. Processes / Tools Make sure that you are standardizing your sales process during training so that all representatives have a duplicable system can be benchmarked, measured and evaluated to develop best practices. Competency What happens when your sales team is not performing and not meeting their sales quota or the sales management begins to stress from pressure to perform? Consider developing a training class that teaches first line Managers how to coaching and leadership skills through behavioral assessment, questioning and self-discovery team building. There are bound to be some slight behavioral and elevated incidents that may need to be addressed with workplace interventions and coaching. Take a look at Blooms Taxonomy Learning in Action Wheel and the Wikipedia -Here you will find solutions to designing specific learning objectives in your sales training that ensure performance standard results. This can help you in benchmarking of your sales teams performance. Measurement Is your current sales training aligned with your sales performance issues? Consider learning how to calculate the impact of your sales training with ROI Analysis.(Return on Investment). Jeff Hardesty, President of JDH Group, as sales improvement expert has given the industry a good example of how to calculate sales training performance. Use an ROI Analysis to determine the impact of your sales training for: Jeff Hardesty states that “As a sales management leader, methodically discovering sales issues first and then running ‘Quantitative’ sales performance numbers to check for feasibility, worthiness, and return on sales training investment will differentiate you from the pack.

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Charles Fred, Founder of The Breakaway Group, Joins ASTD Board of Directors

The American Society for Training & Development announces that Charles Fred, founder and CEO of The Breakaway Group, is joining the Society’s Board of Directors for a three-year term, 2012-2014. In his role as CEO of The Breakaway Group, Mr. Fred has led the organization in significant growth from its initial startup to a leading position in healthcare IT adoption services. He has a proven track record of success in both education and enterprise software companies, and served as the CEO of Omega Performance and Avaltus before those companies were acquired. Mr. Fred is the author of the best-selling book Breakaway, which is used today in many leading universities’ curricula to reinforce innovative methods for instructional technology and simulation. The eight-year research effort that resulted in the publication of the book also provides the foundation for The Breakaway Method used in service to healthcare organizations worldwide. Featured at the Smithsonian Institute and the International E Learning Expo in Paris, Mr. Fred is one of the healthcare and corporate education industry’s most renowned keynote speakers. Mr. Fred holds a bachelor’s of science degree in mechanical engineering and technology from Montana State University, and completed the Aerospace Industry Manufacturing Program from the University of Washington’s Graduate School of Business.

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ASTD Presents Ram Charan with its Champion of Workplace Learning and Performance Award

The American Society for Training & Development (ASTD) presented Ram Charan with its Champion of Workplace Learning and Performance Award on May 17 at the ASTD 2010 International Conference & Exposition held here. This ASTD award recognizes individuals whose advocacy, commitment, or actions in support of workplace learning and performance has influenced groups of individuals, organizations, or society. “Without learning, there is no growth,” says Ram Charan, business advisor, author, and leadership expert. Charan has spent his career studying strategy and leadership. In his 2007 book, Leadership at All Levels: Deepening Your Talent Pool to Solve the Succession Crisis, he advocates for the apprenticeship model, and calls for assigning stiff challenges to high potential employees to accelerate their growth. He believes great leaders have personal traits and skills that cannot be impacted by time in a classroom. “If you want to impact both,” he says, “you must create assignments that will take people beyond their comfort zones to discover what is inside. These apprenticeships allow absorption from other people and the learning is largely on the shoulders of the apprentice.” Charan’s introduction to business came from working in the family shoe shop in the small town in which he was raised. That background combined with decades of observing and working with successful leaders shaped his belief that business leaders learn best through a combination of experience, feedback, and self-correction. He has worked with top executives at some of the largest companies in the world, including GE, Dupont, Novartis, and Bank of America. He developed his research and observation style early in his career as a faculty member at the Harvard Business School and GE’s Crotonville Institute. Charan has sold more than two million books in the past five years. Leadership in the Era of Economic Uncertainty was published in 2009. His newest book, coauthored with Bill Conaty, is Masters of Talent and it will be published in October 2010. Through his books, as well as teaching and coaching, Ram Charan demonstrates his conviction that workplace learning is crucial to business success and affirms that people are value-added contributors.

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ASTD Presents Michael Allen with its Distinguished Contribution to Workplace Learning and Performance Award

The American Society for Training & Development (ASTD) presented Dr. Michael Allen, chairman and CEO of Allen Interactions, Inc. with its Distinguished Contribution to Workplace Learning and Performance Award on May 23 at a ceremony during the ASTD 2011 International Conference & Exposition held here. This ASTD award recognizes an individual for an exceptional contribution of sustained impact to the field of workplace learning and performance. Allen’s belief in the potential of e-learning technologies guided his more than 40 years of professional, academic, and corporate experience in the development, sales, and marketing of e-learning support systems. His time as director of Advanced Educational Systems R&D within Control Data Corporation’s PLATO project inspired him to found Authorware in 1984, the company that produced the first industry-standard e-learning authoring tool. “Technology enables, but also leads. It amplifies whatever you do,” notes Allen. “We can do a lot of damage, wasting time and money and possibly teaching the wrong thing, but when we get it right, we can do more good than ever.” Allen’s career demonstrates a commitment to developing tools that enable meaningful, memorable, and motivational e-learning experiences. Founded in 1993, Allen Interactions designs, develops, and implements interactive educational simulations for the world’s largest corporations. Allen serves as a high-level consultant for multimedia design and production groups wanting to take full advantage of interactive technologies. His numerous books, including Michael Allen’s Guide to e-Learning, feature interviews with pioneers in the field. Currently an adjunct associate professor at the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health, Allen is working to develop e-learning curriculum focused on reducing the spread of HIV and AIDS.

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ASTD Presents its Lifetime Achievement in Workplace Learning and Performance Award to Jack Zenger

The American Society for Training & Development (ASTD) presented John H. (“Jack”) Zenger, co-founder and CEO of Zenger Folkman, with its Lifetime Achievement in Workplace Learning and Performance Award on May 23 at a ceremony during the ASTD 2011 International Conference & Exposition held here. This ASTD award recognizes an individual for a body of work that has had significant impact on the field of workplace learning and performance. Zenger is recognized for his expertise in leadership development and a career that spans more than five decades across corporate, academic, and entrepreneurial functions. His career includes roles as vice president of human resources for Syntex Corporation, group vice president for the Times-Mirror Corporation, CEO of Provant, faculty member at the University of Southern California and the Stanford University School of Business, and founder of Zenger-Miller and Zenger Folkman. “Working in these three areas has given me a unique appreciation for the role of leaders in organizations,” says Zenger. “Working internally in corporations helps me understand client needs now, and academia gave me the opportunity to see the big picture. Plus, it is an enormous reward when students say that I have helped them. I really enjoy giving people new skills that can help them on the job and in their private lives.” Zenger’s seminal works on leadership development include Results-Based Leadership, with co-authors Dave Ulrich and Norm Smallwood (1999); The Extraordinary Leader: Turning Good Managers into Great Leaders, with co-author Joe Folkman (2003); and The Inspiring Leader: Unlocking the Secrets of How Extraordinary Leaders Motivate, with co-authors Folkman and Scott Edinger (2009). In 2002, Zenger teamed up with Dr. Joseph Folkman to form Zenger Folkman, a professional services firm that provides consulting, leadership development programs, and implementation software for organizational effectiveness initiatives, all grounded in data backed by practical ideas. Zenger says his lifelong interest in leadership development can be traced to his childhood observations about how new leaders influenced the functions of the hospital where his father worked as an administrator.

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Group Process Tools

Building effective, high-performance teams that solve problems and make decisions is an essential strategy for most organizations. This issue will show you how to improve small-group problem solving and decision making dramatically. You will find practical methods of motivating, energizing and focusing teams as well as tips on clarifying problems, setting priorities, generating solutions and evaluating outcomes. Author: Rona J. Vrooman
Product SKU: 259407 ISBN: 978-1-56286-192-6
Pages: 16 pages Publisher: ASTD Press
Format: Booklet

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The 2005 ASTD Training & Performance Sourcebook

The 2005 edition of the ASTD Training and Performance Sourcebook draws on the knowledge and expertise of 42 top-flight trainers and consultants to present a comprehensive toolkit of the best training activities, group learning exercises, assessment instruments, handouts, and other essential guides for todays busy training and performance professional. The tools presented here cover a wide range of topics from e-learning, communication skills, diversity, and management development. The field-tested guide offers fully reproducible tools contained on the accompanying CD-ROM that will enable you to implement the most up-to-date training programs for your clients quickly and efficiently.

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Why Small Teams Win

Size isn’t everything. If it takes more than two pizzas to feed your project team, it could be a good indicator that the team is too large. Here are eight compelling reasons why 8-to-12-person groups more often lead to higher productivity and performance. Plus: 12 tips for creating and nurturing these two-pizza teams.

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Unleashing the Power of the PMO

When a project management office (PMO) is leveraged to its full potential, it can foster strategic alignment, improve project performance, develop future project leaders and support the success of the entire organization. But if the same PMO is left to languish without leadership and support, it can become a burden on the bottom line. This article examines how a successful PMO can be the difference between an average and a world-class organization. In doing so, it reports the results of a 2012 survey conducted by The Hackett Group, showing that of 200 large global organizations those with high PMO use had higher IT costs and failed to deliver projects with higher ROI. It describes the challenges facing organizations including implementing a PMO as well as implementing a PMO that works. It defines a successful PMO as one that works toward delivering concrete strategic benefits to the organization. The article discusses how engaging with business owners to ensure the PMO’s work aligns with the organization’s strategic goals and reviews how leaders need to outline the standards, processes and practices that projects across the organization will follow. It notes how to measure a PMO’s effectiveness and discusses how measurement and accountability are the primary drivers of an effective PMO. It also notes how top-performing organizations invest in the training and development of their project talent, which can help increase an organization’s project management maturity and boost its bottom line.

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Topic Teasers Vol. 56: Beyond Usual Team Tools

Question: I’ve been placed in charge of setting up five remote teams in other countries–four internal, company-owned ones and a fifth from a third-party consulting group. Once set up, we’ll work together on large projects. I’ve already researched, planned and acquired our space, hired personnel and purchased conferencing technology. My budget is pretty much maxed out, but are there any other tools I might have forgotten to acquire?

A. If you have a safe, comfortable office space and the technology to hold online conferences with these remote teams, you have all that you need for successful performance even in other countries.

B. While you have the major necessary items covered, there are several free tools that can make a big difference in project success when these teams begin to work together.

C. Whatever money is left in your budget should be invested in lessons for you to learn the native languages spoken in each of these four countries. Otherwise, you will not be able to lead.

D. Invest whatever budget dollars remain in a state-of-the art translation tool. That way each team can work and create documents in their own language and you can auto translate them yourself.

Pick your answer then Test Your Knowledge!

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Leading to Success

To enhance performance and get a jump on their competitors, companies no longer need managers, they need leaders. Leadership has become a widely examined topic of academic research, especially within business schools. There is now a substantial body of research and literature on all aspects of leadership: what it is, how it influences the behavior of individuals and groups, and how it achieves its effects. Here we take a look at leadership competencies and project results.

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Topic Teasers Vol. 6: Leading Without Authority

Question: I work for a non-profit organization and am leading a five-year project supported by a grant. Four years in, I’m still unable to get cooperation from the participants (paid). How do I get them committed so that we have something to show for the five years of work?

A. There is no way to achieve performance goals in only five years unless you have full authority over these people. Ask the funder for another three years of funding.

B. Find a few participants who you can pay extra to cooperate, and then use them as examples to shame the rest of the group into compliance.

C. Create a clear performance structure with an irresistible payoff at the end, but be prepared to abide by your own rules if you want to change the participant’s behavior.

D. Non-profit organizations are not planning to receive the expected outcomes promised, as they know from experience that only profit-driven projects can be successful.

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Enterprise PLM Data Migration: A Project Management Challenge

Data migration is a challenging part of any information technology enterprise implementation. The authors present a case study of an endeavor recently undertaken at a major manufacturing company with global presence. A project management methodology was put in place and honed through progressive deliberations and continuous effort. As a result, the data migration track was transformed into a high efficiency and high performance group.

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Topic Teasers Vol. 87: Comparing Project Managers

Question: I think I’m doing okay as a project manager and my company is pretty successful using my projects and those of our other project managers. But although I can compare myself to my own colleagues, I’d love to know how I am doing—and how we are doing as an organization—against some wider statistics. Is that crazy to say?

A. It is helpful for us all to know how we are doing when rated next to a larger group of project managers. It’s also good to know if there are places where our organizations are missing out on key improvements that would increase return on investment. Measure yourself and your company and pass along any places where your statistical performance could be improved.

B. Comparing yourself to others is an odd desire. There is no way to see if you have the same training, certifications and experience, so any comparisons would be meaningless. Plus, should someone at your company see that there are other higher performers out there, your job might be at risk.

C. Organizations, especially management levels, want to believe that they are the best at everything they do. If you should find places where other businesses, especially competitors, are doing things better than within your workplace, it is important to keep that data to yourself. You don’t want to be blamed for the poor project performance shown in the statistics.

D. It’s not about how you do projects, or even the outcome, that matters. Each and every place of business is so unique that it is impossible to compare them to each other. However, study any statistics you can find through PMI and on the internet. Places that have higher ratings may be better places for you to look for a job.

Pick your answer then Test Your Knowledge!

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Understanding the Path Forward in Federal Human Capital

Efforts to refine the government’s pay and promotion system have floundered. How can we develop and bring a new model to the majority of government employees? Most federal employees work and are paid in a General Schedule system that has been in place since 1949, when a vastly different group of occupations, skill sets, and management principles were practiced. In the last decade, The Performance Institute, a think-tank in performance management and accountability for…

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Revitalizing a Post-Conflict Government in Liberia

Several years of conflict in Liberia destroyed the civil service and ruined a merit-based system. The conflict allowed leaders to ignore standards and procedures and recruit unqualified individuals based on the patronage and largesse of various armed groups that exacerbated the civil conflict. This situation created an inefficient public service, adversely affecting performance and contributing to poor service delivery. Simply put, the civil service lacked the professional clout and…

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Anders Gronstedt

An interview with Anders Gronstedt, President, The Gronstedt Group Inc. Anders Gronstedt is an established management consultant and speaker whose global firm specializes in improving frontline performance through the use of customized simulations, podcasting, Second Life virtual experiences, and other innovative learning solutions.

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Washington Post Features Winter Issue of The Public Manager

In today’s issue of The Washington Post, Federal Diary writer Joe Davidson calls out some content from the forthcoming issue of The Public Manager in his reporting about the Obama administration’s personnel efforts. The article “Obama personnel policies draw generally high marks” contains the following quote: “It’s about that time when performance evaluations of Barack Obama’s first year as boss-in-chief begin coming in. It helps when the evaluators are a nonpartisan group of experts who know something about the area on which they judge the president. Fortunately, that’s the case with several articles on Obama’s management agenda — written by a team of analysts, including industry and former government executives — that appear in the winter 2010 issue of the Public Manager, which will be available Friday at http://www.thepublicmanager.org. This quarterly journal is published by the (sic) Bureaucrat Inc., which describes itself as “a not-for-profit organization chartered and devoted to furthering knowledge and best practice at all levels of government. The authors don’t have a dog — or a donkey or an elephant — in the fight over Obama’s reputation. They’re Democrats and Republicans who push a good-government agenda.” The winter issue of The Public Manager will be released tomorrow, January 15. An Interview on Federal News Radio’s show “In Depth with Francis Rose” will also be tomorrow. For more information on The Public Manager, go to the website www.thepublicmanager.org.

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Top the 7 myths about the sales profession

Top the 7 myths about the sales profession Selling is the most complicated profession in the world. Many people believe they know what the profession entails…many myths have continued throughout time due to these misperceptions, despite the sales and marketing statistics that show otherwise. Here are some of my favorite myths about selling. Myth 1: Marketing and Selling are the Same Thing! One of my professors I had while taking my Master’s Degree once told me that you can only do one of three things in business: make it, sell it, or count it. The problem is the definition of “selling it” comprises two divergent but inextricably entwined functions — sales and marketing. The more appropriate elements (especially in today’s world) should be, in business you can only: make it, grow it, or count it. I say grow it, for two reasons. One reason is the marketing department and the other reason is the sales department. The problem with the two professions is each of believe that their occupation is the dominant half of the pair. Marketers generally think of salespeople as golf-playing monkeys or pushy placement professionals whose sole purpose is to repeat the same sales pitch (that they have developed) over-and-over again to new prospects. Salespeople generally think of marketers as lazy liberal arts graduates who use the words “focus groups” and “corporate brand” to describe activities that is nothing but “a colossal waste of money.” Ultimately each function needs the other if the company is to GROW. To that end, sales and marketing are separate but equal professions from a business perspective. What’s less obvious is how we should all work together. Marketers believe that marketing should play the dominant role. After all, marketing defines the product, articulates the positioning, and creates all the sales tools (ranging from glowing CEO profiles in “Fortune” magazine to the ubiquitous corporate logo wear that serves as the de facto currency of the modern professional). All salespeople have to do is to follow orders, right? Salespeople believe that selling should play the dominant role. After all, selling is where the rubber meets the road, where the tough get going, where everyone gives 110 percent, and where slogans reign supreme. Salespeople bring home the bacon. All marketers do is provide brochures and take all the credit. The truth is more complicated but more rewarding. Suffice it to say, let’s just say that selling and marketing are NOT the same thing. What both departments SHOULD agree on is the need to stay focused on what the client’s and customers want, in an effort to provide them value. Can’t we just stay focused on that? That’s another book too. Myth 2: Selling is about Winning Over Your Customer! Selling isn’t about winning over anyone. It’s about helping your customer win. If you think of making a sale as “winning”, that means someone has to lose. If you are winning and your customer’s are losing, you’ll be selling a very, very short amount of time. It’s about both you and your customer winning. Enough said. I just wish that prospects and buyers thought that all the time too! Myth 3: Selling isn’t a Real Profession! If you’re embarrassed about being in selling, this is the myth you’re subscribing to. You have to be proud of being in selling in order to be successful. One way to do this is to realize the important people you’ll be working with on a daily basis. When sales professionals sell, they are often sitting across the table from the following formalized professions: Chief Financial Officer (formalized by the American Finance Association) Legal Counsel (formalized American Bar Association) Project Manager (formalized by the Project Management Institute) Marketing Professional (formalized by the American Marketing Association) Information Technology Professional (formalized by numerous associations and organizations) Procurement Professional (formalized by the Institute of Supply Management and the National Association of Purchasing Management) The question is, what exactly is a “formal” profession? Myth 4: Selling isn’t That Hard! Anyone Can Do It! Selling is a hard profession to master. It’s one of the most complicated professions in the world. Where else do you have to understand organizations and individuals with such depth and clarity? Where else do you have to build rapport with so many different types of people, in so many different locations, buildings, or business types? On top of this complexity is the reality that Selling is one of the few real pay-for-performance professions, with over of the compensation “at risk” or based on commission. A lot of sales professionals feel stress in their jobs. In the engineering profession, stress results from the application of a constant force to an immovable object. In selling, the force is your “quota” and the immovable object is your customer’s expectations. If you guess, you stress. It’s that simple. Selling is about taking the guess work out of what the future will hold. True, it isn’t as much as it sounds for real sales professionals. The key is to learn about the truth of the sales profession and banish the myths. When you accomplish this, you will find selling concepts that make sense that can immediately put into practice. Above all else, you will persevere when so many others will quit, and that’s what will make the difference to your company’s bottom line. Myth 5: Selling is a “Numbers Game”! Undoubtedly, you will hear this one within your first week of selling: “Selling is a numbers game.” Make the calls, make the presentations, and work your way through enough people, and eventually you will make a sale. You’ll hear it within three hours of being on your first job in Sales. Someone will say “it’s a number game” I guarantee it. It goes something like this. The more phone calls you make, the more sales you will make. “So, make 100 phone calls” someone will say. “Of those 100, send 10 proposals. And of those 10, you will close 2. The more numbers you have the more you will sell. Now, there’s your phone. Good luck!” Remember this always! Quality supersedes quantity. Your goal in selling must be to find prospects that have a propensity and a motive to buy your product or services. If they don’t want to buy or need to buy your product or service, then I don’t care about the numbers! I would rather make two phone calls and close two sales than make 100 like our example above, wouldn’t you? If someone is tracking your progress, how do they know you are calling the right people, with a want and a need? I know of a large insurance sales organization, which provided sales reps with contact lists for life insurance and investments. The only problem was most prospects lived in a low income area and were highly unlikely to buy any life insurance because they didn’t need, or want it. I don’t care if you call 1,000 people that don’t fit the profile. You’re still wasting your time. Quality over quantity. Rather than buying into the myth that selling is a numbers game, think of a game of darts. By aiming your effort (the dart) at a clearly defined target (your pre-qualified prospect on the dart board) your chances for hitting the mark (a sale) are greatly enhanced. Contrast that mindset with a pure numbers game, where you stand outside and try to get hit by lighting or crossing your fingers multiple times with the hope of attaining good luck. Myth 6: You Must Like Rejection! Many sales courses, sales books, and sales training will tell you to keep a very stiff upper lip when you get “rejected.” A rejection can occur when you are rebuffed on the phone, not granted an appointment, or simply told “no.” These courses will also tell you not to let a “no” get you down. The problem with this approach is the fact that once you accept the simple proposition that you have been rejected in the first place, you have given up the psychological high ground and put your self-esteem into retreat! Simply put, your sales team needs to reject the notion of rejection. Once salespeople understand that all they are doing is helping people, every outcome should be the same. If prospects don’t want your help or choose not to deal with your company for whatever reason, it is not your salesperson’s problem. He or she simply has to locate another prospect that needs your company’s products or services. Regardless of the response prospects give, the salesperson is still the same person with the same amount of product knowledge, experience, and competence. When you teach your team to stop actually linking their activity to a prospect’s response (no matter how subtly), selling ceases to be hard work and instead becomes a game. In general, the healthiest mindset for you to teach is: “You, Mr./Ms. Prospect, have made a decision to move forward without my services. I’ll be here when you come to your senses and change your mind. It’s not my responsibility to straighten you or your company out.” Myth 7: Selling is a Dead End Job! Did you know that 85 percent of the company leaders and entrepreneurs in America today were once salespeople? They carried sample cases, made cold calls, dialed for dollars, did product demonstrations and handled objections. Today, they’re the majority of corporate presidents, CEOs and the like. Selling is a dead-end job all right–especially when you consider that the end may be at the very top of an organization!

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Summary of Original Snake Oil Comments

Initially, the thought of summarizing the 60 comments that came in reaction to Sam Adkins’ Snake Oil post was daunting. But the reality turned out to be a joy. As I worked my way through the 39 pages of comment for the 3 time over the weekend, I felt some how privileged to be taking the time to listen to such passionate, well reasoned arguments. A comment by Peter Isackson seems, at least at first, to be delighted with the diverse dialogue: Sherlock says you are what you sell. Godfrey says you are what you design. And Dave says you are what you get lost in. I think Godfrey would agree with the even more existential proposition that you are what you learn and that, as a training professional, it’s also possible to sell what you learn (once you have learned it). Peter also happened to hit upon four of the major themes ran throughout the comments. WHAT’S WRONG WITH SNAKE OIL? First Sherlock (one of those masked bloggers who give the Blogosphere some of it’s character) chimed in with a post in what I’m calling “What’s wrong with snake oil” theme. He takes a pragmatic, but somewhat cynical position by saying, “I’ve long since stopped thinking in terms of learning – these days I see myself as a solution provider. I sell things that appeal to training managers, regardless of whether or not they ACTUALLY work!!!” I almost like his, ‘hey I’m just a guy trying to get by” tone. Almost. Frank Hughes too has a cynical read on the situation but takes it much more negative tone that was more inline with Sam’s thinking. Frank said,” Most trainers/teachers want to be a star, standing in front of a class, no matter how effective it is. Most managers want to “track” their employees learning, and the only way to do that is with formal classroom and elearning courses. Most employees like classroom classes not because they learn, but because they are social occasions that get them away from their desk.” Ouch! Then there were a few folks that fell in line with Beth Friedman who said that of course we’re selling snake oil. It’s early in the game for elearning. It’s still new to us. Graeme Dobson summed up yet another group who said: My experience shows the old 80:20 rule applies – that is only 20% of performance problems are fixable or should be addressed by a training solution.So you see it doesn’t really matter how good (or bad) a training method is – if you apply it to those 80% of performance problems where training is the wrong solution IT WON”T WORK! DON’T BLAME THE TECHNOLOGY, IT’S THE DESIGNERS! Godfrey Parkin chimed in with, “My point is that “training” is not at fault, but the design and implementation of it is clearly (on aggregate) inadequate.” Lisa Galarneau agrees, “Sure a lot of what professes to be training is terrible, but he end result is simply reflective of the approach.” Jack Pierce rallies to the defense of the designers by pointing out a program he’s involved with that had trained almost 40,000 learners in two years with 95% reporting greater sales, better product understanding. “What’s the secret?” he asks. I’d say an understanding of the user, combined with an understanding of the technology, and hard work.” Vicky Fisher (processes) and Jennifer Turner (salaries) blame cuts to design budgets as to blame. Howard Davis says that he holds hope for eLearning and Blended Learning, but not the way they are being used. “The irony of course is that even with our latest tech tools we’re still stuck in using ineffective teaching and training models.” Marcuss Oslander agrees, “A delivery mechanism is only as good as the material it intends to deliver. We need to lighten up – to stretch the technology – to make learning fun!” Although, I think my Blogmeister’s Choice award for best metaphor goes to Keith with this one, “Would you use a Ferrari to go to the store?? Maybe, but would you use the Ferrari to take all the neigbourhood kids to soccer. I guess not. It remains a question of the right tool for the job.” WHAT SHOULD WE BE SELLING, THEN? Godfrey Parkin points out that first generation products seldom live up to the expectations set for them. He continues by saying, “The internetworked world gives us an opportunity to rewire the corporate mind, and to change from within the way an organization thinks and behaves. To me, that is the real promise of e-learning. And I think we will all survive the snake-oil phase of our evolution.” “Only when the corporate training world gets back to the basics and understands that each student has a unique learning style and that only a training approach that recognizes that fact will succeed, will we, the instructional designers and trainers, also succeed,” was the challenge C. Michael Hecht set down for us. Chris Brannigan says there’re a cause waiting for a leader and tries to recruit Sam! “Thus we come back to us – what can we, the ‘believers’ (in some cases) or ‘committed citizens’ do to break the complacency? Do we want to? I think that a lot (enough) of practitioners would. Articles like yours may herald the start. VENDOR FUNCTIONALITY IS THE PROBLEM Right after the quote from Peter Isackson that I used to open this post he adds, The irony of our business – and the terrible paradox Sam has highlighted — is that efficiency rather than performance dictates its inexorable law: it’s better to invest in designing and selling than in learning about what customers really need. Profitability dictates that we should spend our time and money on marketing what we’ve already designed (or decided to design) than to discover what we should be designing. So before we can “learn” anything that will go towards meeting the “need” for learning, we find ourselves in the position of “teaching” the buyers to believe in our goods, from which we’ve learned nothing (apart from how best to market them). Vicky Fisher seemed to like that answer, “I wholeheartedly agree with Peter. There are learning products out there that suck, and there are (some) learning products out there that work.” And David Fisher piles on, “The economics and vested interests of classroom training make it difficult for training suppliers to reengineer their offering to really be blended. Adding in non-integrated e-content cannot compensate for this. In this form, it will inevitably fail.” The last nail in the coffin comes from Alan Stewart, “Why are we taking the heat for the failure of providers to give our organizations/clients the learning solutions they really need. If you’re not sure what the need is then aim for a solution that delivers ‘Just-in-Time’, ‘Just-Enough’ and ‘Just-for-Me’ learning and you won’t go far wrong. Like any market, training/e-learning etc. providers are demand-driven so perhaps its time we started to be more demanding. Now don’t you feel better? Those big bad vendors can’t hurt us any more! DEFINITIONS: Can We Agee about what We’re Talking About Finally, the last of the most common theme we’ve chosen to tease out of the original debate is an age old one in argumentation – definitions. Some commenter accuse Sam of having too narrow of a focus when talking about training or elearning. Other terms that were discussed as having been ill defined included: blended learning, training, what should be evaluated, e-content vs. e-learning, mentoring, etc. These five categories composed a great portion of the discussion two years ago so we thought they’d be great topics to renew a discussion around. Tomorrow we will introduce the Learning Circuits Blog’s Beyond the Blog Discussion Wiki in which Don Clark, David Grebow, Godfrey Parkin, Mark Oehlert, and myself will moderate discussion around each of these topics for however long you which to discuss them. So check out the new wing of LCB tomorrow!

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Study: CEO Pay Levels Dialed Back in 08

PHILADELPHIA–( BUSINESS WIRE)–Top U.S. companies reduced compensation levels in a year of remarkable turbulence for executive pay, according to results from The Wall Street Journal/Hay Group 2008 CEO Compensation Study released today. The Wall Street Journal partnered with Hay Group for the second year on its annual study, which examines how large companies were compensated across all forms of pay in fiscal 2008. For the first time since 2001, CEO compensation levels showed declines in 2008, with overall cash compensation decreasing 8.5%. Driving this change was a double-digit drop in annual incentives, which fell by 10.9%. Not surprisingly, the sharpest declines in CEO compensation levels were seen in financial services companies, where total cash compensation decreased 43.1%. These declines tracked overall company performance as the median company declined 5.8% and the median financial services company declined 38.2% in net income from 2007. “During a year when companies lost significant shareholder value, CEO pay followed suit,” said Irv Becker, National Practice Leader of Hay Group’s U.S. Executive Compensation Practice. “However, the changes we’ve seen to the executive compensation landscape in 2008 will likely pale in comparison to what’s to come. Shareholder, governmental and public pressure will continue to shape the way compensation committees evaluate executive pay.” For the second year in a row, performance-based plans outpaced stock options as the most prevalent long-term incentive (LTI) compensation among large company CEOs – an outcome that had never occurred before 2007. While 2007 marked something of a milestone in executive pay, 2008 further established performance-based plans as the top vehicle to compensate CEOs for long-term performance, with 73% of companies using them. “Seeing performance plans displace stock options would have been unimaginable only five years ago,” noted Becker. “Their rise is a sign that boards are being more responsive to shareholder concerns about paying for long-term company performance.” ( Read the entire release on BusinessWire.)

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Strategic Workplace Learning in the Public Sector – Part II

My last post on this blog highlighted two recent public sector training efforts that demonstrated strategic alignment with priority agency outcomes – both in the US Department of Defense ( http://community.thepublicmanager.org/cs/blogs/agile_bureaucracy/archive/2010/03/29/strategic-workplace-learning-in-the-public-sector.aspx): enabling success in Afghanistan by building cultural expertise at the US Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) creating a collaborative culture at DIA through an effective onboarding program in which employees learn that knowledge sharing is their own personal responsibility Other Public Sector Case Illustrations Here are brief highlights from other government training efforts that tackle a wider array of challenges – many of which will be featured as articles in the summer 2010 issue of The Public Manager and presented at the American Society for Training and Development’s (ASTD’s) 2010 International Conference & Exposition to be held in Chicago, Illinois, May 16-19 ( http://www.astdconference.org/): Business Analysis Center of Excellence: NY State Office of the State Comptroller This case illustration explores the New York State Office of the State Comptroller’s intensive, cross-agency learning experience aimed at more effectively aligning business analysis with management initiatives. With the assistance of an outside management consulting group (ESI International – www.esi-intl.com), the state organization developed key strategies – including coaching and mentoring programs complemented by skills assessments and other learning programs that continue to refine business analysis (BA) best practices. Education Transformation for Results: Sandia National Laboratories This case study at Sandia, one of the US Department of Energy’s prestigious national labs, demonstrates an approach to begin the process of transforming corporate education into an effective education partnership between an organization’s executive and line management and its HR organization. Sandia Labs’ focus on fostering a learning culture drove its transformation of the Labs’ education process to enhance individual capabilities and behaviors that produce tangible results. It offers a blueprint of how a line management and human resources team, commissioned by the organization’s leader, can create a charter, establish a plan, gather and analyze data, prepare and present recommendations to executive management for action. Practical concepts, checklists, and tools are explained as application opportunities, and innovative approaches to obtain and sustain executive engagement and partnering early in the transformational education process are identified as essential success factors. Pushing Management’s Buttons to Improve Performance at the US Coast Guard This case study highlights several of the most powerful, but under-utilized, approaches to improve workplace performance. The old maxim: “If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail” rings true in the workforce performance field. If all you have is a training solution, then everything is a skills-and-knowledge problem. Yet, research and common sense have demonstrated that oftentimes the performance problem isn’t with the people in the organization, but with the organization itself. This experience brings focus to many of the areas the organization’s leadership should examine before assuming a problem will be solved through training. It includes real-world examples and case studies from the US Coast Guard on how a true performance perspective results in quantifiable and cost-effective returns in individual and organizational performance. Share Your Observations I’ll continue sharing examples of how government organizations at all levels are aligning training efforts with strategic agency goals. If you know of others that align workplace learning efforts with priority mission and management challenges, please let me hear from you.

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Social Networking at Work Can Transform Businesses

San Francisco, CA ( PRWEB) March 26, 2009 — Innovations International Inc. announces the release of Small Acts of Inclusion- Creating Cultural Transformation. This “must have” booklet teaches employees how to create equal opportunities for success as individuals and for the organization as a whole by engaging in social networking both in person as well as through technology. Connecting with instant messages, email, and in small group settings mirrored in social networking sites can foster a sense of cultural inclusion and commitment. “Technology has provided us with tools to increase communication and collaboration between coworkers and business partners in ways never seen before. Solutions to problems occur through small interactions that coworkers and employees have on a daily basis. Small acts have the ability to make a large difference in a company performance and profitability.” – Dr. William Guillory, Author ( Read the entire release.)

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Snake Oil Revisited

The Great Snake Oil Post Here’s one of the most popular posts ever posted on LCB. Reposted with the Blogger’s permission. My hat’s off to the Author Sam Adkins. Two years later and it’s still a wake-up call… We are the Problem: We are selling Snake Oil I read these long tortuous posts bewailing the malaise of our educational systems. The problem is not “out there”. We are the problem. We are selling snake oil. We now have ample data to show that: Training does not work. eLearning does not work. Blending Learning does not work. Knowledge Management does not work. Yet we collectively reify our denial and project the root of the problem out to an external institutional framework. We are the source of the problem because we are selling snake oil. It doesn’t work but there is still plenty of money in it. Caveat: My data relates solely to the corporate market. In the corporate world performance is rated on whether you save or make money (or both) for the company. Your value as “intellectual capital” rests exclusively on that. Training does not work. The data is mounting that very little of training makes it back to the workplace. The noise inherent in the knowledge transfer to learning transfer process obliterates up to 80-90% of any usefulness of the training on the job. Less than 30 percent of what people learn is actually transferred to the job in a way that enhances performance. (Robinson and Robinson) “85-90% of a person’s job knowledge is learned on the job and only 10-15% is learned in formal training events”. (Raybould) We have known for 20 years that classroom training only produces very high results for only 2% of the students (Bloom). The famous 2 Sigma variance accomplished with Intelligent Tutoring systems confirms that only individualized mentoring produces effective knowledge transfer. Only in the government has this data been openly communicated. “About 20 years ago, research by Prof. Benjamin Bloom and others demonstrated that students who receive one-on-one instruction perform two standard deviations better than students in traditional classrooms. (Stottler Henke Associates, Intelligent Tutoring Systems: Using AI to Improve Training Performance and ROI, 2003). We spend about $65 billion every year in the US for training that has a dismal knowledge transfer ratio (2%), a dismal learning transfer rate (20-30%) and only accounts for 10% of the way we acquire knowledge. What’s wrong with this picture? eLearning does not work. We have been in denial about this for about two years. The drop-out, no-show rate is peaking at 70-80% and we continue to ignore this. Users hate it because it is a learning product that is fundamentally incompatible with the workplace. “Just-in-time” really means “do-it-in-your-own-time”. Work always trumps any other activity. First-generation elearning is snake oil. Snake oil vending machines (LMS and LCMS) work perfectly. The snake oil cures nothing, the snake oil vending machines work flawlessly. There are now (at least) six learning form factors that co-exist in the corporate market: Text is experiencing a resurgence due to XML and fusing it directly into workflow (see Safari, Outsell and Books24x7 ROI studies). Even when elearning courses are accessed, they are being used as reference. Elliott calls this “successful non-completion”. eBooks are selling like hotcakes in what DCLabs calls “stealth mode”. In the first half of 2002, eBook sales revenues were up by 30% and unit sales up by 40% over the same period in 2002. This compares to an annual growth rate of just about 5% in traditional print publishing. (Open eBook Forum, OeBF). Contextual Collaboration is hot. Cisco buys Latitude. Microsoft buys Placeware (now called Office Live Meeting). Macromedia buys Presedia (Now called Breeze). Why would any worker voluntarily suffer through an elearning course when they can get access to an expert via IM, chat, web-conferencing, expertise mining or presence awareness? Prior to Microsoft’s acquisition, Placeware indicated that 70% of their customers used the technology for training. The data shows that about 40-50% of knowledge needed by workers to perform tasks resides in another human’s head. (Lotus & Delphi Group). Simulation is hot. The high-end industry is booming. The value of the VizSim/VR industry in 2002 was $36.2 billion; over 308,000 VizSim/VR systems were sold in 2002; the most valuable applications in terms of industry revenue are: Energy exploration and productions, Psychotherapy research, Other Medical Research, and Computer Science research (CyberEdge). Simulation tools are now “sexy” compared to courseware authoring tools. Macromedia buys eHelp. Microsoft is working on Sparkle, a Flash killer. SVG is primitive but maturing fast as an XML-native simulation technology. XStream now sells an SVG authoring tool. Visio 2003 supports XML and SVG. Gartner says by 2006 over 70% of elearning will include some type of simulation. So why would we call it elearning then? At what point when you dilute a substance does it cease to become that substance? Simulation is still the only viable way to deal with the affective learning domain. SimuLearn’s Virtual Leader is in a class by itself. Simulation is also the only ethical way to provide experience in hazardous activities (flight training, truck driving, nuclear waste, mining, lumber mills, etc). Wireless is very hot. Even the academic markets are adopting this very fast. The world is changing fast. Our minds are not. Sales Force automation, augmented reality, field-force workflow are selling extremely well. Burst learning is embedded into the real-time workflow. Microvision sells 4,500 Nomad systems to Honda. Mechanics complete tasks on average 50% faster using the hands-free augmented reality systems. Paper-based medical systems generate an average of 40% error rates (39% at prescription, 12% at transcription and 11% at dispensing). Handheld support technology virtually eradicates this error rate. Workflow Learning is brand new and flying off the shelves. Knowledge Products grew by 70% last year and went from $15 million to $25 million in revenues (during a recession and IT spending slowdown). PeopleSoft’s OEM deal with Knowledge Products just took Workflow Learning mainstream to 11,000 PeopleSoft customers. RWD, Epiance, Ultimus, Lombardi all experiencing 40-70% revenue growth. These products across the board are being used to eliminate training altogether. They generate cost savings, productivity increases, and lower cost of ownership by an average of 50%. Microsoft’s InfoPath 2003 now brings bottom-up workflow authoring to 400 million Office users. Hmmm. Must be a fad, huh? Why would customers want learning products that save money, save time, eliminate training, and increase quality and productivity? Courseware is experiencing negative growth and is under siege from low customer demand and the outsourcing trend (See Paul Harris’s stuff in ASTD, IDC, Gartner). Yet we blame it on the economy. Like it will come back next year, huh? The big training outsourcers are winning larger and larger contracts. They take centralized training departments and immediately wean companies off of low-yield, low-margin, high-cost form factors such as classroom or courseware-based elearning. No emotional attachment to legacy training formats, just effectiveness and profitability (Smelling salts to those in denial). Blended Learning does not work. How could it? If snake oil does not work, how could bottling it in a variety of different containers increase its effectiveness? Look at the messaging of any vendor using the term “Blended Learning”. It is a thinly veiled effort to sidestep any complaint over a specific form factor. Customer complains about one and the conversations shifts to another. Clever. Knowledge Management does not work. File management systems work. Content management systems work. Knowledge is not housed in hardware or software. It is a product of wetware. The industry is still hot in Europe but imploding in the US. Vendors are rapidly migrating their products to expertise management, social networking, advanced data visualization and enterprise content management. All of the new second-generation products are very sophisticated (Autonomy, Tacit, AskMe, Insight Experience, Inxight, et al). KM and elearning will never merge. It is too late and doomed to failure. KM is now anathema to customers and elearning is being replaced by collaboration, simulation and real-time workflow products. Merging two mythical creatures just gets you a hybrid mythical creature (shades of Chimera). One final caveat. The vending machines (LMS & LCMS) can easily replace conventional snake oil inventory with these new forms of products. It would be a mistake to equate the failure of training and elearning with a forecasted demise of the learning technology industry. At the June 2003 eLearning forum with all the major LMS vendors, none of them would touch the drop-out problem. “Not our problem” was coming across loud and clear. (Actually, one vendor said to me, “content, what do we care about content?”) Reblogged with permission from original posting by Sam Adkins

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Sales Training Competency Models

Why are sales competency models a good idea in your sales organization? So, what’s ailing your sales organization? What keeps you your Sales VP up at night? Perhaps a salesperson doesn’t have the time or ability to perform all the work that needs to be done? Maybe the rewards in place are not giving salespeople the proper incentives? What are some causes of the skills gap in the sales team? What can an organization control or not control when it comes to unleashing what salespeople know and what salespeople do to be successful? Find out…. Usually, a gap in performance that your organization can control stems from the absence of the right activities, beliefs, or competencies that will lead to the desired level of performance. These are the building block of a sales competency model. Activities are visible outputs that a salesperson creates. These outputs can take the form of something communicated, something thought, or something created. Beliefs are internal thought patterns that lead a salesperson to accept something as “true”, especially a particular tenet or a body of tenets accepted by a group of persons (i.e. that all salespeople are bad people, etc). Competencies are comprised of a sales team member’s knowledge, ability, and skills: As a learning or development professional, you have a unique ability to understand why a skills gap exists. More importantly, you have the tools necessary to define what the sales team member can control within that gap or what the organization must do to help. Sales trainers and learning and development professionals should objectively and appropriately define specific ways to close the skills gap by addressing the root cause (activity, belief, or competency). To accomplish this, they create learning solutions that help sales team members take advantage of formal and informal learning activities.

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Rules of Engagement for Bank Staff

At a recent national conference for community bankers sponsored by the American Bankers Association, at least three speakers examined ways to improve staff performance. Roxanne Emmerich, CEO of the Emmerich Group, said employees need to be enthusiastic about their bank as well as serving customers. The right attitude involves certain “non-negotiables, she said, such as “we dont whine, we dont make excuses, and we dont hurt other people with our words.” Emmerich added that the right attitude starts at the top. For instance, when a CEO walks by the teller line, he or she should make eye contact with staff rather than look straight ahead. The CEO can also set an example by spending a few moments making casual comments. Daniel Pink, a best-selling author and Wired contributing editor, observed that team spirit is increased when employees believe their day-to-day work is purposeful. To spur creativity, he cited an Australian software company that allows staff to work on anything they want 20 percent of the time as long as these efforts will be beneficial to the employer. Cathy Berch, president of the Center for Practical Management, and Jo Kinsey, senior vice president of Country Club Bank, said employees can improve their performance by going through several progressive steps–clarifying, tracking, setting goals, planning, reinforcing, and coaching–where the skill level rises at each step. Source: BankNews, Vol. 111, No. 3, P. 28 Author: Bill Poquette Web Link Copyright 2011 INFORMATION, INC.

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Research Findings on Emotional Intelligence

Highlands Ranch, CO ( PRWEB) April 8, 2009 — Intellect and functional skills are clearly important in the workplace. However, research shows that emotional intelligence (EQ) is an even more important factor in effective leadership and high performance. Colorado State University, in collaboration with the TRACOM Group, recently conducted a research study showing the link between EQ and TRACOM’s measure of Versatility. Both EQ and Versatility have been shown to relate to workplace performance. Emotional intelligence is the ability to perceive, control and evaluate emotions to improve your work and personal life. TRACOM will present the results of the study during a webinar titled “Emotional Intelligence: What’s New, What’s True – Improving EQ with Behavioral Style.” The webinar will be broadcast live on Wednesday, April 29 at 11:00 a.m. Eastern time. ( Read the entire release.)

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Recognition a Viable Strategy for Fostering Innovation in the Workplace

(From PRNewswire) — Companies leveraging new ideas and innovation will be able to distinguish themselves from competitors in the global marketplace. No longer the purview of only Research & Development departments, innovation may spring from any employee – especially when they are encouraged and motivated by management, says the new Performance Perspectives executive briefing, released today by Madison Performance Group. “In companies with innovative environments, employees feel management is open to new ideas and experimentation. These companies understand that new strategic ideas come from all levels of an organization,” says Mike Ryan, Senior Vice President of Madison Performance Group, a premier global reward and recognition design and consulting firm. Research shows, according to the Madison briefing, that innovators flourish at workplaces where employees are rewarded for idea development. “Companies that give positive attention to new ideas demonstrate to employees that it’s okay to experiment and develop new ideas – even if they aren’t ‘perfect’ the first time around,” adds Ryan. “In fact, showering positive attention on new ideas is considered a best practice at innovative companies. And because innovation is often a project-based activity, the simple recognition of a new idea by a manager can kick start its adoption into a firm’s work processes.” Read more.

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Our Next Complimentary Webcast: Selling with Brand Power

How Will You Give Your Sales Force the Competitive Advantage in a Knowledge-Based Selling Environment??? Wednesday, February 22nd at 1:00pm E.T. Success in the future will go to those salespeople who are positioned in the minds of their customers as subject matter experts, thought leaders, and solution providers — and who are an active, visible presence in the marketplace. As a sales or training leader responsible for optimizing sales performance, your role will likelytransition from skill-builder and product-trainer to “brander”, where you will help your salespeople design and implement strategies that leverage their insight, capabilities, knowledge, client successes and more. Join David Topus and team members Diane Crompton and Jennifer Eggers of the TOPUS organizationfor the one hour webinar “Selling with Brand Power” as they lay out what may very well be the last frontier of branding — a future where salespeople themselves are a central part of the company’s value proposition, and differentiation comes from how well they are positioned, packaged and promoted to customers. Learn… 1. What dynamics are causing this shift from skills and product knowledge to personal brand as differentiator 2. What a well-branded salesperson looks like 3. How social media presents new opportunities to achieve competitive differentiation 4.What tools are available for raising salespeople’s visibility and credibilityin the eyes of customers 5. The cultural and organizational considerations in building a well branded sales force 6. What this means for you as sales or training leader, and how you can turn this evolving opportunity into a game-changer for your sales team David is a nationally-recognized consultant, trainer and soon-to-be-published author who has been helping companies and individuals communicate their value propositions more effectively. Since 1990 he has worked with hundreds of companies and thousands of salespeople across dozens of industries in sales messaging and readiness. He wrote and produced the Victory! sales training curriculum used by Fortune 1000 companies around the world, and was the founding general manager of ExecuNet’s personal marketing services group. HIs first book, “Talk to Strangers; How Your Everyday Random Encounters Can Expand Your Business, Career, Income and Life”, is due out in April from John Wiley and Sons. As he so aptly describes it, he “takes the mess out of people’s messaging and put the art in their articulation”. Register for the webcast here: https://astdevents.webex.com/astdevents/onstage/g.php?t=a&d=598653884

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New York State Office of the State Comptroller Redefines Standard of Business Analysis Excellence

Background The New York State Office of the State Comptroller (NYSOSC) in Albany maintains a broad scope of responsibility unmatched by similar offices in the United States. As the state’s chief fiscal and accounting officer, the Comptroller is a separately elected state-wide official whose primary duties include managing and investing the State’s cash assets, auditing government operations, paying all NYS employees, reviewing State contracts, overseeing the fiscal affairs of local governments including New York City, and operating two of the state’s retirement systems. As an agency charged with monitoring the effective financial operation of numerous other agencies and entities, the NYSOSC understands the need to carefully maintain its own project management (PM) and business analysis (BA) capabilities. Therefore, the Office engages in regular self-assessment and performance improvement in these areas. The ChallengeNYSOSC has built a reputation for continually advancing project management best practices through its PM Center of Excellence (CoE). However, realizing that enhanced business analysis practices can also increase project success and user support, as well as heighten customer satisfaction, the agency has sought, since 2006, to improve its business analysis practices by instituting a Business Analysis Center of Excellence (BACoE). NYSOSC performance improvement programs had primarily benefited PM teams prior, and support had not been available for the advancement of BA teams. By promoting BA competencies, knowledge management, enterprise analysis skills and practices similarly to the PM program, NYSOSC sought to achieve comparable, positive results. Strategic PlanningThe agency’s cross-division Business Analysis Work Group completed a strategic report in 2006 presenting the benefits of advancing NYSOSC’s use of business analysis and making next-step recommendations, including the launch of a BACoE. In 2007, the second phase of the project was launched to begin to develop and support business analysis as an organizational resource. Kevin Belden, Deputy Comptroller and CIO, and Kirk Schanzenbach, Director of the Program Management Office (PgMO), were executive sponsors; and Barbara Ash, Assistant Director for BA in the PgMO, was the project manager. The project team consisted of numerous representatives from BA units across the agency. To provide counsel on industry best practices, and to resolve issues that were impeding progress, the project team enlisted the help of ESI International. “Having worked with ESI in the past to build our project management and business skills capabilities,” said Schanzenbach, “we were confident that they were the best partner in achieving our BA goals.” ESI began by working with NYSOSC leadership and the project team to outline unifying objectives for BA and PM skills areas, including the need to: The Solution In cooperation with ESI, NYSOSC determined the key strategies to ensure a successful program. Foremost among these were: To support the program launch, ESI designed and delivered a two-day, project kick-off workshop that centered on the program’s four-part learning framework and targeted development of knowledge, skills, ability and attitude. Day one introduced the program to senior management and focused on developing best practices in alignment with BACoE operating standards. Executive activities included competitive, interactive group exercises that helped to define and prioritize goals around developing the BACoE. Day two introduced the program to front line business analysts and ensured a common understanding of BA concepts and executive directives. Following the kick-off, the team worked in subcommittees on project deliverables, received best practice advice, and exercised skills and competencies through coaching exercises. Special attention was also given to evaluating and treating such problematic areas as standards and methodologies topics for the BA group. “This intensive learning experience was very well received as a serious enhancement to the traditional instructor-led effort.” said Ash. “Participants also felt that it accelerated the program launch significantly compared to previous programs.” Toward Change In the early months of the program, ESI participated in regular group meetings and calls in order to provide coaching and to reinforce goals and specific training targets. While ESI continues to deliver essential counsel, the NYSOSC has quickly achieved the competency to offer coaching and mentoring using internal resources. Other significant program accomplishments and benefits to date include: Championed by executive sponsors Belden and Schanzenbach and project manager Ash, the internal team continues to recommend and oversee BA learning programs and progress, as well as support the advancement of BA maturity.

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Most Managers Failing at Coaching Duties

(From PRWEB) — A new report by Impact Achievement Group has revealed that the vast majority of managers and supervisors in organizations today receive a failing grade in coaching. The report, “Performance Coaching: The One-Size-Fits-All Dilemma,” surveyed human resource and training professionals, managers and chief executive officers on the impact their managers were having on the engagement and discretionary effort of employees. Among other findings, the report uncovered that: Read more.

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Marketing sector appears strong

London, UK ( PRWeb UK) 2 November 2009 — Figures from the Ashdown Group Jobs Index show it is one of the best performing sectors of the month. Demand has been driven by a number of factors, including a recent upsurge in online and search engine optimisation (SEO) positions. Figures from data analyst firm IT Jobs Watch show the number of SEO vacancies rose by a massive 50% year on year. John Lynes, director of marketing recruitment agency the Ashdown Group, said, “There has been a scramble for marketers with a strong understanding of online marketing, as businesses of all sizes wake up to the need to be found online.” Online jobs are booming as individuals spend increasing amounts of time on the Internet. Shopping online has become the norm for many people over the last five years as Internet retailers continue to attract more consumers away from the high street. This trend is set to continue, with experts predicting a strong Christmas performance for online retailers. Online retail sales have grown by 14% year to date according to the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index. Read more.

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LinkedIn and Twitter!

( Join our LinkedIn Group!). ( Follow us on Twitter) Get LinkedIN to Sales Training Drivers: We provide a virtual networking community throughout the entire world so you can get answers to your toughest sales training and performance challenges. We have built one of the world’s largest virtual networks of sales professionals (sales managers, sales trainers, sales people, sales operations team members, and sales executives) and we want you to be a part of it! Follow us on Twitter: This is just another quick reminder that for those of you who are on Twitter and want to stay on top of all the latest happenings with sales training, sales development, and sales performance, you can follow us! Become a Premium Member: Please join us as premium member where you receive this benefit AND many others benefits only professional membership can give.

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Learn to be a Problem Solving Expert!

Solving Problems According to the World Class Selling book “New Sales Competencies”, Solving Problems involves “Creatively bringing new or alternative perspectives forward to overcome difficulty or uncertainty.” How do we make it easier for you to manage solving problems? Let’s break it down to a manageable effective action. The best way to approach solving challenges creatively is to find a fresh perspective and focus on the key actions that bring about change. Change and knowledge transfer can be can be effective with the right focus and planning. Access Resource Intelligence to Solve Problems Learn about changes in your business from all angles possible. Salespeople need to be PROACTIVE. You need to respond quickly to change in the marketplace and find problems to solve that your product and service can address. Watch or read community and industry news reports, subject matter content and published customer opinion discussions where you can introduce the use of your products, or services to provide valuable solutions. Business research done externally and internally will always show you business challenges that you can inquire about. Be creative and have fun getting the “who, what, where, why, when and how”. Set Your Daily Top (5) PRIORITY Objectives Bring value to your customers. Decision makers and customers want to understand how to reduce costs, increase revenue and optimize performance. Know what Decision Makers want ahead of time There are many types of decision makers. To solve their problem you simply need to find out their pain and what challenges they are experiencing that can be directly addressed by the product or service you are selling. Decision makers want you to get to the point. Make sure you know AHEAD OF TIME how to ask the RIGHT questions that will get them emotionally involved in sharing their challenges with you. This can be done by analyzing the behavior of other decision makers in their industry and offering solutions. But, more importantly, you must get involved in making them tell you what their personal challenges are. Otherwise, your efforts are pointless and you will not sell a thing to them. Identify and Develop Options for Decision Making Identify ways to make quality assessments during the decision making process and how to act on decisions. Understand how do develop a key word SWOT Analysis and marketplace review with the PEST Analysis. Group workshop programs and online virtual conferences are great problem solving “think tank” resources! Look for ways to assess and grow your sales skill level. Become more creative, learn new decision making techniques, hone in on your language clarity, sense of timing and judgment, and LEARN HOW TO IMPLEMENT action plans. This will separate you from the rest of the Sales Experts in your industry.

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Latest Research Finds Onboarding Improves New-Employee Engagement and Productivity

(From Online PR News) — According to a recent Aberdeen Group study sponsored in part by SilkRoad technology, inc., the leading provider of Talent Management solutions, 63 percent of organizations with a formal Onboarding process experienced employee performance improvements within the first year. Aberdeen interviewed 466 human resources professionals for the study, “Onboarding: The First Line of Engagement,” and concluded companies with a formal onboarding process (with a dedicated strategy and objectives) had a 60 percent greater year-over-year improvement in revenue and a 63 percent greater year-over-year improvement in customer satisfaction than those with an informal or ad-hoc onboarding process. The 466 executives identified the most important goal of onboarding as ensuring employees are engaged and assimilated into the company’s culture and to make them productive as quickly as possible. Out of the companies Aberdeen found to have “Best-in-Class” performance, 85 percent have a formal onboarding process in place. Of those top companies, 67 percent also supported onboarding processes with formal learning and development, and 66 percent evaluated its onboarding impact at least annually. Read the full release. For more information on onboarding, consider attending the session From Knowledge Hoarding to Collaboration: New Employees Lead the Wayat the ASTD 2010 International Conference and Exposition!

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Integrated talent management, good HR and leadership

(From Canadian HR Reporter) — i4CP sent a newsletter recently commenting on the need for “integrated” to be added to the term “talent management” in order to update it and make it more powerful as they suggest in a new book. They mention the number of providers in the area changing names – StepStone Solutions to Lumesse and PeopleClickAuthoria to PeopleFluent. It sometimes seems as if every update of strategy requires a new name, though the new ones sometimes don’t seem much more enlightening than the old. It got me to questioning the use of the term talent management itself. I have always taken it to be an umbrella that takes in finding, recruiting, orienting, developing, managing and tracking performance and then moving people up through effective succession planning all the way through their careers. That definitely calls for integration of many HR functions and beyond, since line managers have to be central in many of the pieces – from supportive coaching on the development side to career planning conversations with individuals. They are definitely needed for effective succession planning discussions among groups of managers so everyone agrees on how to rotate people through progressively challenging assignments across different divisions to season their leadership knowledge and skills. Read more.

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Engaging Employees Pays Off

(From Human Resource Executive Online) — Australian research has shed new light on the importance of employee orientation to a company’s bottom line. Employee orientation has more of an impact on a corporation’s financial performance than a focus on any other individual stakeholder — including shareholders, customers, suppliers or the community, according to Most Valuable Stakeholders: The Impact of Employee Orientation on Corporate Financial Performance, by Nigel de Bussy, a marketing and business professor at Curtin University in Perth, Western Australia. The key managerial point to take from his work is “engage your employees [from the start of their employment], pay attention to your employees, and you’ll make more money,” he said in a July 14 speech at the BledCom symposium, a global gathering of academicians and practitioners exploring communications and public relations management issues. In his research — which encompassed two separate studies of 491 Australia-based chief financial officers conducted in 2004 and 2010 — de Bussy measured how strongly orientation toward the different stakeholder groups influenced corporate financial performance, resulting in an employment-orientation coefficient measurement of 0.84, compared to 0.36 for customers, 0.32 for communities and 0.08 for shareholders. Read more.

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Dragon Night Dinner

Here’s a blog post from Wei Wang, international relations manager: Among the many networking opportunities at the ASTD 2009 International Conference, the Dragon Night Dinner facilitated networking among conference participants from Asia and other countries and regions. The 2009 gathering was the third annual Dragon Night Dinner. On May 31, after an exciting first day at the conference, we gathered at one of the Chinese restaurants in Chinatown. This year, we had the most diverse group by far. The guests came from 8 countries, including Australia, UK, Hong Kong, India, Taiwan, mainland China, Singapore, and Saudi Arabia. We enjoyed great Chinese food and networking. The highlight of the night was the game “rock, paper, scissors”. Although we all came from different cultures, that game was known to all! Ronald Hu from Taiwan won the final prize – complimentary access to the ASTD International Learning and Performance Virtual Conference. Pictured below is Ms. Lauren Forgacs, Director of International Relations, presenting the gift certificate to the happy winner.

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DDI: Best-Practices in Building the Leadership Pipeline

Organizational focus on succession management will continue to grow as a result by the limited and narrowing skilled labor market, according to recent research by Aberdeen Group, a Harte-Hanks Company (NYSE: HHS), underwritten by Development Dimensions International (DDI). How Best-in-Class organizations address the pressures of a tightened labor market, as well as the results they’ve achieved by doing so, are highlighted in the new benchmark report by Aberdeen Group, Succession Management: Addressing the Leadership Development Challenge. Aberdeen revealed that the foundation of an effective succession management program lies in a solid competency framework as well as a standardized performance management process. In fact, organizations that achieved Aberdeen’s Best-in-Class designation for this study are 45% more likely than all other organizations to have clearly defined success profiles (knowledge, experience, competencies and personal attitudes) for key positions. “When it comes to identifying high-potential talent, it is critical to evaluate their performance equally,” said Jayson Saba, senior research associate, human capital management at Aberdeen. “Viewing succession candidates through the same looking glass allows organizations to compare apples to apples and make better decisions for selecting leadership candidates.” Moreover, this research highlights the importance of establishing accountability at the management ranks for ensuring a qualified leadership pipeline. To this point, Best-in-Class organizations are 62% more likely than Laggard organizations to have a systematic process where senior managers regularly review the performance and progress of high-potentials enrolled in development programs. According to Kevin Martin, Aberdeen’s vice president and principal analyst for human capital management, “this research compliments and reinforces research we’ve conducted across other elements of talent management, specifically performance management and learning and development, where we see Best-in-Class organizations view employee development more as a collective effort rather than an individual’s sole responsibility”. The research also found that integrating succession data with other talent management elements has yielded great benefits in terms of workforce knowledge management. Best-in-Class organizations are more than twice as likely as Laggards to integrate succession data with performance management and learning and development applications. Saba added, “Integrating talent management data provides organizations more visibility into the development of high-potentials and improves their decision-making ability when it comes to determining promotion readiness.” Read more.

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DDI Announces Development Program for Individual Contributors

As organizations look to the future of business, the performance of every employee will be critical for business growth. So global talent management expert Development Dimensions International (DDI) has created a development solution to help individual contributors boost the skills that will improve both individual and group effectiveness DDI’s program, Interaction Management: Exceptional Performers (IM: ExPSM), includes eight courses to build the skills of professionals and emerging leaders, from financial whizzes to engineering gurus. “Organizations can’t afford to ignore this group of professionals that aspire to be the technical experts as well as the next generation of leaders,” said Jim Davis, Vice President of Workforce and Service Development for DDI. IM: ExP uses interactive learning experiences to build skills that result in positive behavior changes in employees, resulting in a more productive and more engaged workforce. The course list includes: Communicating with Impact, Embracing Change, High-Impact Feedback and Listening, Networking for Enhanced Collaboration, Navigating beyond Conflict, Valuing Differences, and Working as a High-Performing Team. Read more.

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Congratulations to the August Chapter of the Month: New Mexico!

How many chapters service the fifth largest state in the U.S.? Only one – the New Mexico Chapter! Serving such a large geographic area and varied constituency is just one of the things that sets apart this month’s Chapter of the Month award winner. The chapter recently celebrated its 50th anniversary, serving a state that one board member describes as “not a highly formalized environment.” Those who witnessed the New Mexico Chapter board’s “dance performance” during a lunch break at the 2008 ASTD Chapter Leaders Conference know very well that this is a group who likes to have some “festive” fun. The New Mexico Chapter also likes to bring real value to its community and found an interesting way to do that and grow membership too. The chapter is being recognized for a membership building program that traded on the value of a popular annual conference to attract new members. The chapter offered a free annual membership to any conference registrants who were not already members of the local chapter, including many area professionals. According to one board member “many of the individuals who registered for the conference as non-members were pleasantly surprised by the additional value.” The chapter takes care of its local members with value-laden programs and high-caliber presenters. An improved job posting effort is another way the New Mexico Chapter is serving its members in the challenging economy. Congratulations to the hard working and dedicated members of our August Chapter of the Month: New Mexico!

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Coaching Up and Down the Generations and How it Applies to Sales

ASTD recently released Coaching Up and Down the Generations, a book tackling the question of how to coach when four generations are working together. We’ve talked briefly about the differences between the generations in the past, so we sat down with the author, Lisa Haneberg, to discuss typical problems that sales professionals can run into when trying to coach and the best ways to solve them. Common Pitfalls of Coaching One of the biggest problems that sales managers can have with coaching is simply not knowing what a coach is supposed to be. For starters, a coach is not meant to be a cheerleader. You should be motivating your sales team, but if you want them to be successful, you have to give feedback too. Successful coaching isn’t storytelling either. In other words, that look on your salesperson’s face is boredom, not captivation. So what’s the best way to look at coaching then? Lisa says that you’ll be a more effective coach “when you approach every coaching conversation from the viewpoint of a facilitator versus a sage.” This means that a coach isn’t meant to impart wisdom, but to bring out the best of what’s already inside someone. One great way to be a coach is to do something most sales managers are already familiar with: asking questions. If you ask questions, you’re enabling the salesperson to figure out their own answer. Instead of passively listening to your advice, they’re actively trying to solve their own issues. Empowering is the key to coaching. And, just like when you ask your customers questions, there’s no such thing as asking too many. Developing Your Own Coachability One problem sales managers may face before they can be effective coaches is that they may need to work on their own ability to be coached (their “coachability”). Here’s what Lisa had to say about developing your own coachability: “To be great learners, sales professionals need to be open, curious, and willing to explore many possibilities. The key to great coachability, then, is to see the time you invest in learning from others as an investment, not a cost… Highly coachable sales people improve their performance and results by sharing best practices and innovating.” In other words: if you’re not willing to listen and learn from others, why should others be willing to listen and learn from you? The key to being a good coach is also the key to being a good learner. Facing the Inevitable: Coaching Someone Older Than You You’re going to have to face it: sooner or later, you’ll end up with the often uncomfortable task of coaching someone who is old enough to be your parent. One of the first things you need to realize is that no matter what, the salesperson is likely to be embarrassed about the prospect of someone younger and likely less experienced trying to coach them. And unfortunately, there’s not every much you can do to change that. What you can do though is recognize the opportunity that this awkwardness can create; that is, that you have no choice but to be a facilitator instead of a sage. By coaching through open-ended questions instead of advice, you’ll significantly reduce the amount of friction that this situation may bring. Lisa notes that while coaching with “humility, appreciation, and patience” is always important, they become much more integral to success when the coach is younger than the learner. Coaching Up and Down the Generations looks at the key processes of transferring knowledge, developing teams, and collaborating, and examines how different age groups can better learn from each other and even experience major breakthroughs that will improve their progress – despite disparate backgrounds. Buy your copy at the ASTD Store today !

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Blackboard Offers Solution for Corporate Learning through Salesforce.com’s Enterprise Cloud Platform

Dreamforce 2010 — Blackboard Inc. (Nasdaq: BBBB), a global leader in education technology, today announced plans for an improved learning management solution for corporations and other learning focused organizations that will emphasize training for sales teams. The announcement will be made today at Dreamforce 2010, the cloud computing event of the year. To support the improved solution, Blackboard will develop a new application on Force.com, salesforce.com’s enterprise cloud computing platform that will add a range of administrative capabilities to its flagship learning platform, Blackboard Learn(TM). Already noted for its flexibility, ease of use and low cost of ownership, Blackboard Learn will gain stronger certification, reporting and tracking abilities commonly associated with more complex and costly corporate learning management systems. As a result, customers will be able to more closely align employee learning and development programs with key corporate initiatives and priorities and ensure that they have a larger, more measureable impact on employee behavior, business goals and company performance. “This new application combines the strengths of leaders in education and cloud computing to provide an improved solution for corporate learning and training that better supports business goals,” said Michael Chasen, president and chief executive officer at Blackboard. “Force.com provides the fastest way to bring Blackboard’s leading learning and training platform to the cloud. Now Blackboard’s customers will be armed with the tools and capabilities of the next generation of cloud-based learning and training,” said Kendall Collins, chief marketing officer, salesforce.com. Blackboard Learn is currently used by thousands of institutions worldwide including hundreds of corporations of all sizes, government agencies, nonprofits and associations. The platform includes a range of powerful capabilities, social learning tools and web 2.0 innovations to more effectively engage and develop learners, and can be enabled for use on mobile devices with a range of native applications for smartphones and other devices including the Apple(R) iPad(TM). “Blackboard offers a flexible option for corporate learning that is highly focused on ease of use and learner engagement,” said Josh Bersin, president and chief executive officer, Bersin & Associates. “Combining the strengths of Blackboard and salesforce.com will give sales and service teams an easy to use learning platform designed for both formal and informal learning.Training is one of the largest segments of corporate learning and this solution will greatly expand the availability of training offerings for small and mid-sized businesses.” “With deep roots in education, our understanding of how knowledge is acquired and shared in support of business goals has helped us grow quickly in corporate and professional learning in the last few years,” said Tim Hill, president of Blackboard’s Professional Education group. “Working with salesforce.com, we can quickly bring a more robust offering to a wider range of organizations, departments and teams that seek a more flexible solution.” Chasen will join salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff on stage today at Dreamforce 2010. The keynote will be available online at www.salesforce.com/live beginning at approximately 9 a.m. Pacific time. For more information about Blackboard’s work to support corporate learning, please visit http://blackboard.com/Solutions-by-Market/Corporate.aspx. About Blackboard Inc. Blackboard Inc. (Nasdaq: BBBB) is a global leader in enterprise technology and innovative solutions that improve the experience of millions of students and learners around the world every day. Blackboard’s solutions allow thousands of higher education, K-12, professional, corporate, and government organizations to extend teaching and learning online, facilitate campus commerce and security, and communicate more effectively with their communities. Founded in 1997, Blackboard is headquartered in Washington, D.C., with offices in North America, Europe, Asia and Australia

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Blackboard Offers Improved Solution for Corporate Learning on Force.com

SAN FRANCISCO, Dec. 8, 2010 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ — Dreamforce 2010 — Blackboard Inc. (Nasdaq: BBBB), a global leader in education technology, today announced plans for an improved learning management solution for corporations and other learning focused organizations that will emphasize training for sales teams. The announcement will be made today at Dreamforce 2010, the cloud computing event of the year. To support the improved solution, Blackboard will develop a new application on Force.com, salesforce.com’s enterprise cloud computing platform that will add a range of administrative capabilities to its flagship learning platform, Blackboard Learn(TM). Already noted for its flexibility, ease of use and low cost of ownership, Blackboard Learn will gain stronger certification, reporting and tracking abilities commonly associated with more complex and costly corporate learning management systems. As a result, customers will be able to more closely align employee learning and development programs with key corporate initiatives and priorities and ensure that they have a larger, more measureable impact on employee behavior, business goals and company performance. “This new application combines the strengths of leaders in education and cloud computing to provide an improved solution for corporate learning and training that better supports business goals,” said Michael Chasen, president and chief executive officer at Blackboard. “Force.com provides the fastest way to bring Blackboard’s leading learning and training platform to the cloud. Now Blackboard’s customers will be armed with the tools and capabilities of the next generation of cloud-based learning and training,” said Kendall Collins, chief marketing officer, salesforce.com. Blackboard Learn is currently used by thousands of institutions worldwide including hundreds of corporations of all sizes, government agencies, nonprofits and associations. The platform includes a range of powerful capabilities, social learning tools and web 2.0 innovations to more effectively engage and develop learners, and can be enabled for use on mobile devices with a range of native applications for smartphones and other devices including the Apple(R) iPad(TM). “Blackboard offers a flexible option for corporate learning that is highly focused on ease of use and learner engagement,” said Josh Bersin, president and chief executive officer, Bersin & Associates. “Combining the strengths of Blackboard and salesforce.com will give sales and service teams an easy to use learning platform designed for both formal and informal learning.Training is one of the largest segments of corporate learning and this solution will greatly expand the availability of training offerings for small and mid-sized businesses.” “With deep roots in education, our understanding of how knowledge is acquired and shared in support of business goals has helped us grow quickly in corporate and professional learning in the last few years,” said Tim Hill, president of Blackboard’s Professional Education group. “Working with salesforce.com, we can quickly bring a more robust offering to a wider range of organizations, departments and teams that seek a more flexible solution.” Chasen will join salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff on stage today at Dreamforce 2010. The keynote will be available online at www.salesforce.com/live beginning at approximately 9 a.m. Pacific time. For more information about Blackboard’s work to support corporate learning, please visit http://blackboard.com/Solutions-by-Market/Corporate.aspx.

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Being the “Port in the Storm”

Over the past year, many chapters have expressed concern about the impact the economy would have on their chapters, and this concern has been especially pronounced over the past eight months. With people losing their jobs, companies cutting back on sponsorships for professional memberships and people being forced to work longer hours, the question for many has become: How will our chapter get through this? It’s times like these when I remember that in the Mandarin language, the character used to depict tragedy is the same character for opportunity. Therefore, rather than looking at the economic downturn as a source of hardship for your chapter, it’s important to view these circumstances as being ripe for growth and prosperity. This is the time when your chapter can step forward and become the “port in the storm” that your members so eagerly seek. When someone has been laid off, has had their client base dry up, or is in an uneasy position at work, their first natural instinct is to get their name out and expand their professional network of contacts. For someone in the workplace learning and performance field, nowhere can this be accomplished as well as through their local chapter. It is there they will find like-minded individuals in a similar predicament as well as those who are in a position to give them a leg up professionally. In this age of online social networking, the true value of face to face networking is often overlooked, though it remains the most important type of connection one can make. Positioning your chapter as a “one stop shop” for professionals in transition will ensure that your members receive optimal value at the most critical time. Offering resume assistance, transition Special Interest Groups (SIGs) that meet independently, and panels with career search experts are some ways your chapter can be this “one stop shop.” Most importantly, it gives your members the sense that although they are going through a difficult time personally, they’re not alone and there is a larger network out there that has their best interests at heart. Serving as a haven for members in uncertain times is also a sound long-term investment on the part of the chapters. Members who were helped by the chapter in their time of need will renew their memberships and be excellent candidates for leadership positions themselves. Additionally, they will be your chapter’s greatest advocates to others. This second-level marketing will help your chapter grow tremendously over the long term and expand its reach into previously untapped markets. At the end of the day, you want your chapter’s ASTD brand to be synonymous with a welcoming, caring and family environment where each of its members are valued as an integral part of the organization. By positioning yourselves as the “port in the storm,” you are laying the groundwork for the immediate success of the chapter and beyond.

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ASTD Sales Training Virtual Conference Series: Can the Virtual Classroom Replace the Traditional and Physical Classroom for Sales Training? with Martyn Lewis

Only a few years ago if I had been asked if we could move sales training from the physical classroom to the virtual I would have replied with a resounding no! At that time my company would have trained some 35,000 sales professionals and sales managers, every one of them in a classroom, conference center, or hotel meeting room. I would have questioned the level of engagement, participation, and collaboration in the virtual classroom. I would have questioned how we could incorporate role plays andexperiential learning in the virtual classroom. Since then the world has changed. In just a few short years we now work in a far more networked, collaborative, and mobile world. I have personally now seen what can be accomplished in the live virtual classroom. Imagine that we no longer need to hold our sales force hostage in a classroom where we fire-hose them information that likely will have little impact on their actual job performance. Imagine that we can now deliver training to them wherever they may be in more of a drip feed fashion. And then after each bite-sized learning module they then get the chance to put new ideas into immediate practice, and also collaborate with their own peers and coaches.Imagine that we can deliver subject matter experts into the classroom, from wherever they may be to further collaborate and share best practices. Imagine that we can integrate the learning, with the doing, and with coaching. Imagine that we can engage our learners with the same level of intrigue that TV has been doing for over 100 years to convey information and ideas. This is not just the promise, this is the reality. We have now delivered in excess of 700 training programs from our studios in the San Francisco Bay area to sales teams all over the world. So, now, my own thinking has been changed. I am no longer focusing on what we used to do in the physical classroom and thinking about how we do it virtually. I have now seen what we can do in the live virtual classroom that we could not have done in the physical. The very notion of putting a sales team into a physical classroom for several days to me seems antiquated. Caution is required, though.The siren call of PowerPoint and WebEx enables many to deliver poor content in an equally poor way. Dont let the speed and apparent low cost of providing sales training over the web lead you into these deep and dangerous waters. There needs to be a greater focus and higher level of expertise applied to the design and delivery of sales training that will be delivered in the live virtual classroom. However, the returns for those who get it right are significant. In a recent and most comprehensive survey focusing on virtual sales training published by ES Research Group, the shift away from the physical classroom is clearly spelled out. www.ESResearch.com/virtual-report. The survey concludes that the barriers to entry (to virtual training) are predominantly attitudinal rather than factual. So, next time you hear someone lamenting the passing days of sales training in the physical classroom maybe they, like myself a few years ago, have simply not seen the possibilities and experienced the results possible in this new world. Martyn Lewis is the Founder of 3g Selling LLC as well as the President and CEO of Market-Partners, Inc.In these roles he has worked with sales leaders and teams across a broad range of industries, from start-ups to industry giants. Prior to 3g Selling and Market-Partners, Martyn had extensive executive, sales and marketing experience, including President and CEO for Drake International in North America where he led a large, multi-divisional sales force to reverse the companys rapidly declining revenue. Martyn also served as VP of Marketing and Sales Services for Digital Equipment of Canada, where he led several hundred sales professionals. Martyn acts as an advisor to a number of executives in the high technology industry and is active on several advisory boards and boards of directors. He has developed a reputation as a dynamic speaker and authority on live virtual sales training, as well as sales and marketing processes.

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ASTD Member Meeting in the UK

Here’s a blog post from guest blogger Neville Pritchard, from ASTD International Partner The Learning Sanctuary in the UK: The Learning Sanctuary held its second meeting for ASTD members and prospective members at Olympia on January 26. The room was kindly donated by Principal Media Ltd, the organisers of Learning Technologies Conference & Expo held at Olympia on the following two days. Once again we had over 30 attend a lively and interesting meeting where discussion was extensive. We opened with Gordon Bull (ASTD Board member) explaining how to maximise ASTD e-membership benefits before we split into sub groups. We explored technology based learning developments and when to utilise what; the need to focus on performance impact and to utilise an appropriate mix of measurement models depending upon the purpose of measurement and reporting; the increasing need for L&D to ensure high quality consulting skills; trends in the use of coaching and the need for individual and coach responsibility; links to informal learning and ‘letting go’; the need for collaboration, coordination and integration in implementing L&D initiatives; considered goodpractice.com research into leadership development trends; and explored the group’s pressing issues within the management of learning. Each topic was visited twice as groups rotated around a choice of subject every 20 minutes with facilitation being delivered by members with specific expertise and interest in the subject areas. As a full group we also considered what research we felt would help take the profession forward. An example amongst a number of topics we included was: – What types of learning delivery actually lead to best improvement and response from learners? – How do different types of role or function influence this? – Is this influenced by the type of industry an organisation operates within? – Content/training methodologies different to roles, types of business, types of department – Comparing delivery models It was a fabulous meeting with high quality debate and an opportunity for members in the UK to network and consider key issues with other L&D professionals. Neville Pritchard

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ASTD Announces 2010 International Conference & Exposition

The American Society for Training & Development (ASTD) will hold its annual International Conference & Exposition May 16-19, 2010. The event, which attracts thousands of workplace learning and development professionals from around the world, will be held in Chicago, IL at McCormick Place. The ASTD 2010 International Conference & Exposition will feature keynote addresses by leaders in the field including: Daniel H. Pink, the author of four provocative, bestselling books on the changing world of work. His latest book, Drive: The Surprising Truth about What Motivates Us, shows that the secret to high performance and satisfaction in today’s world is the deeply human need to direct our own lives, to learn and create new things, and to do better by ourselves and our world. Dan is a respected business and technology analyst and regularly lectures on economic transformation and the changing world of work. Charlene Li is an influential thought leader and guide on emerging technologies, with a specific focus on social technologies, interactive media, and marketing. She is the co-author of the business best-seller, Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies. Named “One of the Most Influential Women in Technology” by Fast Company magazine, Charlene is the founder of Altimeter Group which provides speaking and consulting services to organizations looking to understand and thrive in a new economy driven by social media tools and techniques. Second City Communications is the world’s legendary improv theatre and training school, developing talent such as Alan Arkin, Jim Belushi, Steve Carell, Tina Fey, and Gilda Radner Second City Communications relies on the core competencies of The Second City – engaging audiences and improving performance – to develop training and internal communications programs, ranging from leadership development to sales force effectiveness to ethics and compliance awareness. In addition to these presenters the 2010 International Conference & Exposition will feature more than 300 educational sessions and workshops in five tracks led by experts in workplace learning and development. A world-class EXPO will include hundreds of suppliers who will feature the industry’s latest products and services. For more information about ASTD’s 2010 International Conference & Exposition, please visit www.astdconference.org. Media inquiries should be directed to press@astd.org.

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As President Obama Considers Government Reorganization, The Public Manager Journal Shares Expert Insight to Guide the Way

With the recent news that President Obama received recommendations on a reorganization of the federal government, the summer issue of The Public Manager couldn’t be more timely. Available June 15, it spotlights the topic of government reorganization for the 21st century. The Public Manager, a nonpartisan quarterly journal about federal executive leadership at all levels of management, presents an 11-article forum organized by former Commerce Department executive Alan Balutis that explores ways to manage government reorganization. From the importance of Oval Office outreach to Congress, to planning whether to take on mega-, Cabinet-, or agency-level reorganizations, The Public Manager marshals experts who have executed federal reorganizations before and can offer valuable tips and insights. Collectively they ask: Is President Obama Thinking Outside the Box? Other feature articles in the journal focus on how the government can avoid a fiscal crisis, closing leadership gaps, improving performance reviews, implementing a groundbreaking food safety law, and a look at how the Veterans Affairs agency is taking care of business by committing to training. “We call it Federal Leadership That Works,” says new editor Ilyse Veron of The Public Manager’s practical offerings, which are augmented throughout the year at www.thepublicmanager.org. This summer issue also debuts two new features: Exchange and Visionaries. Exchange showcases interviews, also available as podcasts, with newsmakers in the field such Charlene Li, the author of Open Leadership: How Social Technology Can Transform the Way You Lead. In Visionaries, the new back page, the journal will present innovations and ideas from award-winning or standout public managers starting with the Service to America finalists chosen by the Partnership for Public Service. About The Public Manager The Public Manager is a unique, independent, and nonpartisan quarterly journal about federal government leadership that works. Produced in print and electronic format with related podcasts, blogs, and events, it communicates best practices, innovations, and techniques for learning at all levels of government. The Public Manager is affiliated with good government groups such as the Partnership for Public Service, GovLoop, Young Government Leaders, the Graduate School, the American Society for Public Administration, and others. It is published by The Bureaucrat Inc., a not-for-profit organization owned by ASTD that is chartered and devoted to furthering knowledge and best practice in government. The Bureaucrat, Inc. maintains its own corporate officer and Board of Director structure. For more information about The Public Manager and the new summer issue, visit www.thepublicmanager.org.

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A Dialog with Thomas Gilbert

Thomas F. Gilbert has graciously suspended his pursuit of heavenly activities to start this dialog on performance, or “worthy performance” as he likes to call it. Clark: First, I would like to thank you for being here. You coined the term, “The Great Cult of Behavior” — can you explain what you mean by it? Gilbert: In the great cult of behavior, the appeal is to control or affect behavior in some way. There is little or no technology of ends and purposes. Indeed, behavior itself is viewed as an end rather than a means to an end. It sees its enemy as people, because it puts great store on how people behave regardless of what they actually accomplish. To be able to shape behavior is considered the highest virtue. Clark: I believe you were once a member of this cult? Gilbert: I confess that I was once devoted to classifying people by how they behave and making assumptions about their potential through various IQ, personality, and behavior predictor instuments. But as a reformed member of the behavior cult, I must now insist that the enemy is not the people. Thus, it must be exorcised absolutely. Clark: Could you give us an example? Gilbert: OK — how about a true story? Clark: Oh, that would be great! Gilbert: At Fort Jackson, a million GIs had spent over a half-billion pieces of lead in one firing range over a 9 year period. A chap by the name of Barton Hogg got a contract to clear out the lead. There must be $100,000 lying about for him to gather he thought — all he had to do was get a few people to sift it out. He trained a crew of 60 labors to work in cadence at the task: a shovel of sand into the hardware-cloth box, a sifting of the box, and then a dumping of the lead into a milk pail. However, he was worried, although the 60 labors were lined up just as he deployed them and looked busy enough; they were just not getting the lead out as fast as he had planned. So he brought in a crew of 50 college students on summer break. Since he had worked out the cadence himself and was quite pleased with it, he taught the college students to do the same. After the training, he deployed them in a straight line and told them to start working in the cadence he had just taught them. Before long the students had broken off into small social groups that were formed around radios they had brought with them. Before long, there was no order at all — most of the students had discarded their shovels and were scraping their sieves directly into the sand. He tried to shape them up and put them back in order, but soon their derisive hoots chased him away. After lunch he tried a motivation talk. He talked about how he fed them well and asked them if they did not believe in a honest day’s work? He talked about a person they all admired and asked them what this person would think of their behavior? But it was all to no avail for soon they were back to their old ways. At the end of the day he yelled at them and then fired them all. He gathered up the buckets of lead and noticed something quite strange — the college students had collected three times as much lead as the other set of labors! When he went back to try to recruit them and perhaps a few other students he found out that he had been boycotted — no one was willing to work for him. Clark: So Hogg’s mistake was looking at performance from the wrong vantage point? Gilbert: Exactly! Human competence is a function of worthy performance (W), which is a function of the ratio of valuable accomplishment (A), to costly behavior (B). It is expressed as W=A/B. Clark: Thus the way to achieve human competence is to increase the value of our accomplishment while reducing the energy we put into the effort? Gilbert: Exactly young Mr. Clark — you are a good learner! Thus the true value of competence is derived from accomplishment, not from behavior. Clark: Thank you sir! Where could one learn more about this subject? Gilbert: Why by reading my book, Human Competence: Engineering Worthy Performance. Clark: Thank you for your time. By the way, is it true you get to spend all your time in Performance Heaven by pursuing leisurely theorems? Gilbert: Oh yes indeed. As the old Taoist Maxim goes: Only those who take leisurely what the people of the world are busy about can be busy about what the people of the world take leisurely. More on Thomas Gilbert.

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Determining What Is Necessary

June: Learning executives need to take certain variables into play when determining the degree of executive support for learning initiatives. This podcast was sponsored by CPP, the exclusive publisher of the Myers-Briggs instrument and a group of people committed to improving the performance of individuals and organizations around the world through team building, leadership and coaching, conflict management, career development, selection, and retention; https://www.cpp.com.

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Level 3 Evaluation: Application

Measuring on-the-job performance after a training intervention has become a standard and expected measurement by many organizations. This issue examines in depth how to measure on-the-job application of training through a variety of techniques including questionnaires and surveys, follow-up interviews, focus groups, and on-the-job observation. Included are useful checklists and other tips to ensure success and the ultimate credibility of your evaluation efforts. Authors: Jack Phillips, William Jones, and Connie Schmidt
Product SKU: 259815 ISBN: 978-1-56286-237-4
Pages: 16 pages Publisher: ASTD Press
Format: Booklet

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Evaluation Data: Planning and Use

How do you show that your training and performance improvement program meets the needs of the learners and the organization? This issue gives an easy-to-follow, eight-step process to assist in planning for, and getting results from, any performance or training intervention. The helpful tips, tools, and worksheets provided will enable you to save time and money, improve the quality and quantity of your data, ensure that all stakeholder groups are addressed, and fine-tune your budgeting process.

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Measuring Return On Investment Vol. 3 (In Action Case Study Series)

Measuring Return on Investment, Volume 3, presents a variety of approaches to evaluating training and performance improvement programs in HRD. Most of the cases focus on evaluation at the ultimate levelROI. Collectively, the cases offer a wide range of settings, methods, techniques, strategies, and approaches. Although most of the programs focus on training and development, others include organization development and performance management. As a group, these cases represent a rich source of information about the strategies of some of the best practitioners, consultants, and researchers in the field.

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TeacherMatch – Uses analytics as a hiring and professional development tool

TeacherMatch was founded by a group of dedicated, passionate educators with a wealth of experience who understand that teachers are the most critical factor in: Fostering whole student development Increasing measurable student academic growth and achievement Advancing district/school performance and reputation Their four co-founders worked together in the K-12 public education system — where they […]

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QwertyTown – Web-based keyboarding app, uses gamification and social learning elements

QwertyTown is a modern keyboarding web app. It provides a safe, teacher-controlled environment where students can communicate with their classmates, teachers, and friends. While becoming fluent with a keyboard, students are learning how to interact in a digital environment. This environment prepares them with a fundamental skill set essential for academic and professional success in […]

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Blue Ribbon – Create or adapt assessments using multiple question types

What is Blue Ribbon Testing? An online assessment engine, with over 20 question types, providing baseline assessments tied to Common Core Standards for K-12. Don’t settle for multiple-choice assessments. Use Blue Ribbon to experience many interactive question types, like those on the high stakes tests.However, every district is unique, so why accept a “one size […]

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Overview of Role of Chief Learning Officer

Chief Learning Officers are often found at larger organizations where the human resources department is broken out into various specialties. CLOs, who are sometimes called chief knowledge officers, usually report either to the top talent officer or the chief executive officer (CEO). A CLO’s responsibilities may include on boarding, training courses and materials, employee development […]

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