Hiring for Cross-Functional Teams

Many hiring managers have practice in assessing broad technical skills. But strong, creative and capable teams result only when those T-shaped people can work interdependently, self-manage, solve group problems and learn together. That implies another set of skills to look for when hiring for a cross-functional team–interpersonal and collaboration skills.

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Developing Real Skills for Virtual Teams

(From UNC Kenan-Flagler) — If estimates from the Telework Research Network are correct, there’s a good chance that as you read this paper, you are sitting in your home office, catching up on some reading on your designated telework day. According to the network, regular telecommuting grew by 61 percent between 2005 and 2009, and based on current trends, the organization estimates that the number of telecommuting workers will grow to nearly five million by 2016 – a 69 percent increase (Lister & Harnish, 2011). With the growth of telework – increasingly called virtual work – is the inevitable growth of virtual teams, groups of people who are geographically dispersed but who work together virtually through the use of technology such as teleconferencing and videoconferencing, e-mails, text messages and telephone. Today, you would be hard pressed to find an organization that doesn’t have one or more virtual workers and virtual teams. Download whitepaper.

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Objectives of Conducting a Group Discussion

This article attempts to highlight information about the major areas of evaluation which is involved in a selection GD. A Group Discussion tries to assess the following strengths of an individual: Subject knowledge, Oral Communication skills, Leadership and Team Management Qualities. Coverage is provided for the key purposes which can be served from a GD and the benefits of a Group Discussion in the present scenario.

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The Bottleneck – A Lack of Succession Planning in HR

We are all faced with a hobbling paradox. Most agree that employees make or break an enterprise, but the HR team often seems to be constantly catching up. Business leaders complain that they have to “break in” new HR people, and that individuals with HR degrees in college are not overly useful. Finally, when business leaders do praise HR, it is an individual person who gets praised, not the department. Obviously, this impacts Training and Development efforts directly. Any real effort to develop Big Skills requires a trust on the sponsor’s part and a competency on the deliverer’s part that too often are just not there. And any T+D efforts not around Big Skills is just treading water for the training group. As I work with global organizations, I have recently been aware of a staggering truth. Most HR groups have no succession planning for themselves. This is true even when HR works hard to create succession planning for every other part of the enterprise. If this is true, it both provides an explanation and a surprisingly easy remedy for the Hobbled HR group. And best of all, HR is already good at it: they know the tools of identification, rotational assignments, fast tracking, retention for strategic talent, partnering with business groups on critical projects, and global exposure. We have all heard the jokes about the lawyer who died without leaving a will, or the shoemaker’s children going barefoot. So maybe it is time for the doctor to heal thyself.

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Survey: The Best Companies for Leaders Demonstrate How to Weather Economic Storms and Prepare for the Upturn

(PHILADELPHIA, BUSINESS WIRE) The world’s Best Companies for Leaders-among the world’s most respected-are focused on developing leaders who will not only survive and thrive in the current financial crisis but will be well positioned for growth once the economy improves. The 2008 Best Companies for Leaders survey-conducted by management consultancy Hay Group and Chief Executive Magazine-identifies the top 20 best-in class companies (see below) as well as the attributes that make these companies known for great leadership. The research suggests a number of best practices to help organizations and their leaders navigate the significant challenges brought on by the economic downturn as well as key tips to prepare for the upswing. Surviving the downturn When asked what organizations value the most in leaders, 83 percent of the best in class organizations as compared to others said “execution”. Organizations value leaders who can achieve results through others. These leaders create a climate in which people know exactly what is expected of them. In ideal times, the survey results showed, people value authoritative and democratic styles of leadership in comparison to the other four styles of coercive, affiliative, pacesetting and coaching. In tough economic times, employees’ desire more communication and clarity around goals. They want their leaders to become more visible and to be leading from the front. Typical leadership styles which accomplish this include authoritative with some coercive and pacesetting when needed. During tough economic times, best-in-class companies create clarity, encourage development, drive accountability and recognize successful leaders. 65 percent of the top twenty companies on the list hold senior managers accountable for commitments versus 36 percent for all others. 63 percent create a sense of purpose for employees by communicating values versus 43 percent for all other companies. 45 percent honor leaders within the organization versus 32 percent for all other companies. In addition, 62 percent of respondents indicated that matrixed roles are increasing in their organizations. Managing in a matrix poses its own set of challenges, including the need for collaboration, creating a cohesive team, not having authority over resources, managing conflicts over differing agendas, goals or priorities, and minimizing confusion over roles, decision-making and accountability. Hay Group says that there will be an increased emphasis on the skills needed to work in a matrix environment. Relationship building, influencing, adaptability, interpersonal skills and collaboration skills will all be more important in the future workplace. “The conventional top-down chain of command is yielding to decision-making that’s spread across business units, executive teams with far-reaching authority and other activities that reflect a brave, new, flat business world,” said Rick Lash, Hay Group’s national practice leader for leadership and talent. Preparing for the upswing The Hay Group/Chief Executive survey reveals that the top 20 best companies for leaders make leadership development a priority. 70 percent of the top 20 companies say they have a formal process to identify individuals for leadership roles, versus 37 percent of all companies. 65 percent of companies say that talent management is driven by a clear business strategy versus 39 percent of all other companies. 55 percent have formal programs to accelerate leader development versus 34 percent of all other companies. “What we have been seeing in these uncertain times is that organizations are not pulling back on their development of leaders, primarily because organizations recognize they don’t have the depth of leadership they need to meet future demands,” said Lash. “This year we have seen the best in class organizations become more focused, investing their assessment and development on their best leadership talent, rather than providing across the board development for everyone,” he said. “The Best Companies for Leaders are making serious investments in leadership development,” said Lash. “Development opportunities include special projects, assignments, and online training programs.” Hay Group is a management consulting firm that works with leaders to transform strategy into reality. We develop talent, organize people to be more effective and motivate them to perform at their best. Our focus is on making change happen and helping people and organizations realize their potential. We have over 2600 employees working in 85 offices in 47 countries. Our clients are from the private, public and not-for profit sectors, across every major industry. ( Read entire release.)

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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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SimWord of the Day: Coach

Unlike, say, in branching stories, more dynamic simulations, from interactive spreadsheets to practiceware, need live coaches. Coaches are critical members of any simulation community, and of any sim deployment, and both technology and process must be built to support them. Coaches can be co-located or remote, synchronous or asynchronous. At least three factors drive the need for coaches SimuLearn has two master-level coaches, Graham Courtney and Tom Parkinson (Tom seen here with an US Army group). Their mantra is: “Our role is 99% to motivate. Let the simulation do the teaching.” This is really hard for so many people with training backgrounds, who are, by necessity, control freaks. Coaches can give specific assignments, break students into teams, ask students to redo, or skip ahead. They can run facilitated group sessions. They can sometimes explain parts of the simulation. They can make issues more specific (many of our coaches review 360 data before students begin taking the simulations). They can do live After Action Reviews or review uploaded or submitted AAR data hours or days later. And they can still grade. Preparing coaches requires a facilitator’s guide and even a train the trainer program, all typically part of the simulation deliverable. This role, from being a traditional instructor to be a coach, has often been talked about. But simulations provide a transition strategy for instructors to leverage many of their traditional skills to increase their own value considerably to end-learners.

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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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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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OnLine Gaming As A Learning Tool

Fist, I want to reveal my bias in this area. I believe the gaming world is way ahead of the corporate world in all aspects of collaboration, social, behavioral, technical, etc. So I am looking to see what is transferable from the gaming environment to the corporate environment in terms of collaboration and learning. In addition, I am an old gamer, and in my 30’s spent a number of years playing D&D (Dungeons & Dragons). A few months ago I saw a presentation by Byron Reeves of Stanford who is doing some really interesting research using an FMRI ( like a CAT scan) to look at areas of brain activation when game players are faced with certain tasks and situations. He found that: – People were more excited when they got to pick their own avatars rather then getting assigned one – People were more excited in a rich media environment – The story for the game had a big effect on excitement What he found from his research that can be applied to work situations is: – Don’t underestimate the value of fun! – Reinforcement in multiple time domains is important – Many of the game social and management skills learned are transferable to work situations Byron’s group has applied a game called The “three Ring Pirate’s Gamne” components to a call center application with great success. My Experince in Applying Gaming Principles I am wondering if some of the results of this type of research apply to learning. In my own experience I have found that to teach about collaboration and collaboration technologies, talking about it (lecture) was not adequate, and that I had to create the BTG (business transformation game), which was a hands-on, scenario-based, role-playing game that helped people learn about collaboration technologies as well as their behavioral interactions by actually using a variety of technologies in a scenario we created. I have done this for a number of clients and have found that the level of learning from those that play the BTG is much higher then those that just recieve a lecture. More About Games Today there are 60 million active gamers in the U.S. today. Although most of them are males 14-34, that population has been rapidly shifting both towards women and older populations. There are real benefits that gamers can get from playing games. For instance, increasing their ability to deal with spatial rotation, or people with Asberger’s syndrome getting better in social interactions. From my point of view an even larger and more tangible benefit comes from the fact that these online games provide a variety of people the chance to try on and work in roles that they might not normally get until many years later in their career. In a game your group or team can deal with lots of different challenges and those on that team get experience in dealing with a situation that they probably would not experience. However, if this unlikley situation does come up in the real world , then they are more prepared to deal with it. Much like a simulation, some of these games may really be some type of immunization against the future! There are all types of learners; auditory, visual, kinesthetic, etc. I believe games engage all types of learners and provide them with not only new information but a “practice area” to try on new roles and behaviors before they have to use them in a critical situation in real life! What do you think?

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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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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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From Learning Tree: Managing Global Projects

RESTON, VA (March 10, 2011) Learning Tree International (NASDAQ NGM: LTRE) has announced the introduction of a new course entitled Managing Global Projects. In today’s growing global workplace, managers are often called on to lead projects and teams that span multiple continents and cultures. In this course, an expert instructor will teach attendees exactly what they need to know to effectively manage a geographically dispersed project. Additionally, attendees are shown the necessary skills for addressing cultural barriers unique to global projects, and how to build and communicate with a multicultural team. This course is structured around a dynamic style of learning created by Learning Tree called RealityPlus-an immersive experience that engages attendees in authentic tasks within a simulated real-world context. Throughout this three-day course, an expert instructor will lead attendees through an immersive case study and individual and group activities, providing the skills to meet the demands of managing a global project. Activities include: Learn more.

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Free Coaching Seminar and Networking Opportunity for Federal Government!

The Federal Special Interest Group will be hosting a workshop: How Coaching Can Strengthen Employee Engagement In the Federal Workplace. If you supervise employees, your relationship is a primary factor in the degree to which they feel engaged. Find out how coaching skills can strengthen your relationships with employees and lead to increased productivity, and measurable development in individuals and teams. Lisa Nabors, a Professional Certified Coach (PCC) and a Certified Professional Facilitator with over 20 years of experience will be the presenter of this seminar. Please join the discussion on Wednesday, September 30, 11:45 AM to 1:15 PM at the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, Postal Square Building, First Street entrance, lower level, conference facility. If taking metro, use First Street exit at Union Station red line Metro Station and walk across the street to the building. RSVP to Jack Malgeri, jrmalgeri@aim.com. Please also provide your organization’s name and office telephone number for building security entrance purposes. Feel free to contact me for more details. Happy Learning!

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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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ASTD Sales Training Virtual Conference Series: Successful Sales with Tracy Tibedo

In this complex world, it seems that every successful sale is complex. What I mean by a successful sale is this: you get the order, the product is delivered, and the bill is paid. For some sales this may mean a long series of demonstrations, a detailed installation, user training, and possibly a trial period. In others, a box arrives and a bill is paid. But in all sales, the sales representative is not the only one involved. Sales representatives are surrounded by team of people that must work together to ensure the entire sales process is completed. Think of the simplest sale, not only is the sales rep involved but so is order entry, shipping, accounts receivable, management, perhaps quality. With more complex sales, like those that occur where I work, there are product and market specialists involved, management, demonstration scientists, and often a dozen or more people. So how does a rep manage this network of resources? There is a real danger of wasting time with some people while not spending enough time with others. What if you are one of the support people, perhaps a product specialist? There will be some sales representatives you need to spend a lot of time with, maybe they are new to the company or unfamiliar with a particular product or market. Other, maybe more seasoned sales professionals, dont need as much help, if any. Product specialists are always in danger of spending time with the wrong person, which minimizes their effectiveness. In my ASTD Sales Training Virtual Conference presentation, I share with you some of the tools and tactics we use at Waters to help both sales professionals and product or market specialists maximize their effectiveness in the field by maximizing the use of their resources. Tracy Tibedo began his sales and marketing career selling radioactive chemicals for New England Nuclear (DuPont) in 1983. Since that time he has held positions in sales, sales management, product management and even regulatory affairs. With over 15 years of direct sales experience and numerous awards Tracy entered the world of sales training in 2003 and was moved to the manager slot in 2007. His group has designed award winning e-courses that help sales representatives translate complex technical details into readily understandable business benefits. Tracy has also developed several sales skills programs and has delivered these programs throughout the US, Latin America, Europe and Asia. Tracy earned a bachelor degree in Biology at Northeastern University. He lives with his beautiful wife, three wonderful kids and two over friendly Labrador retrieves in central Massachusetts.

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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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3 Trends You Want to See in Sales Training in 2011

January is the month of resolutions and predictions. Keeping that in mind, we posed a question on our Twitter and LinkedIn group: what do you think will be 2011’s biggest trends for Sales Training? And judging from the response, this is something you’ve all spent time thinking about! Here are three of the recurring trends you’d like to see for sales training. Reinforcement Plans will (finally) catch on. It’s not news that training fades without reinforcement. It’s just human nature to go back to habits you had before. But when those bad habits are actively costing you money in training, retraining, and headaches when you need to train again, you need to change them. Reinforcement plans help changing those habits in two ways. The first is it lets you catch small issues before they snowball into large, costly problems. In other words, if you keep the content fresh in a sales reps’ mind, they’re likely to keep trying it. Reinforcement plans also help you weed out ineffective training programs. When you can rule out the possibility that sales teams just aren’t using the new information, you can start to see how effective the training really was. And what’s the result of more informed decisions? More applicable training. Web-based training will surge. The largest advantage of web-based training is it can be done anywhere at any time. This helps every field, but most of all sales. Looking for something to do at lunch? Brush up on your listening and questioning skills. Up late at night worried about closing a big deal with a client? Take a refresher course on closing. Best of all, instead of wasting valuable selling time during the day taking a class, you’re free to take it on your own time. Of course, this is talking about web-based training as asynchronous (a fancy way of saying it’s recorded instead of live). In terms of synchronous learning though, it still enables a mass sales force to be trained all at the same time across the world. What more can you ask for? The big question about web-based training is what’s going to end up being more popular? “Bite-sized” training meant to reinforce, or large-scale training plans that replace the classroom? Sales Coaching will overtake Sales Training This was one of the more surprising trends we noticed, but it makes sense. As one commenter so aptly put it: “Training is for products and processes. Coaching is for working with the individual and helping them apply their style to the product and process.” Sales coaching allows for individualized treatment as opposed to broad general instruction. When you’re asking for a sales rep’s input as opposed to simply telling them what to do, they’re also more likely to be invested in the answer. After all, they came up with it. Not only that, but it allows you to bring the best out of what’s already there instead of putting something new in that might not work for them. So, what do you think? Is it time to do away with the classroom and invest in the web? Should we be changing our name to “Sales Coaching Drivers”? Let us know what trends you see for 2011 in the comments section. Photo credit: macbeck (http://www.flickr.com/people/macbeck/)

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WeVideo – Bring video editing into your digital classroom

WeVideo is a powerful, yet easy-to-use,cloud-based collaborative video creation platform. Student-Centered Learning for Video Editing and Technology As a cloud-based collaborative video creation platform, WeVideo encourages student creativity, storytelling, engagement and multimodal learning. Video projects construct deep knowledge about a topic by forming skills like collaboration, communication and critical thinking. Small-Group Collaboration Through Project-Based Learning […]

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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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