Impact of Quality in Project Management

Many projects are unsuccessful and fail to get completed within budget and timelines. One of the underlying causes for their failure can be attributed to unaligned and weak processes that result from a combination of problems such as feeble project management, poor cost estimation, poor planning and scheduling, inadequate requirements management, and inappropriate contingency planning, as well as many others. To maximize a project’s performance and enhance the probability of its success, every organization needs to build a better project management process dedicated to meeting the customer’s most important needs.

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Project Management in Emerging Economies

Globalization has had multiple effects on emerging economies. The per capita income has risen, and the underlying facets of project execution and delivery are subject to these changes in the economy. The emerging nations have provided relatively abundant low-cost, English-speaking labor that could deliver under tough constraints. In these circumstances, project management has been focused primarily on meeting the bottom line, as opposed to focusing on the other values and methodologies required for managing projects. However, the cost-driven outsourcing of earlier years has changed to value-driven outsourcing in more recent years.

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Mobile working vital to talent management

(From fresh business thinking.com) — To deliver the best software we need the best people. We are headquartered in London but recognised very early on that not all the top professionals are clustered around the capital. At ChangeBASE we have some of the world’s leading experts in our field and we simply could not attract such a high calibre team if we forced people to work from one central office. So in order to recruit the right staff we offer employment to people all over the UK and the world – and we are only able to do this by introducing flexible processes to support remote workers. Although we are a relatively small company, we are recognised as having the leading products in our industry. Mobile working has allowed us to compete with larger organisations due to our ability to attract the very best professionals from every region we operate in. As a company that is growing rapidly we need our business to be agile. We plan to add over 50 new staff members this year and because we have put processes in place to support remote staff, it is easy to integrate new starters into the team regardless of their location. We have also benefited from increased efficiency. As employees are not tethered to their desks, they can operate in an environment which is more suited to their style of working. Productivity has increased significantly as our staff can work while travelling to meetings and engagements. Read more.

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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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Topic Teasers Vol. 62: Refractive Retrospectives

Question: While I know that the retrospective step in the agile process is said to be important, I must admit that my team dreads these meetings. Is there a way to focus our time so that instead of silence when we are asked “what we could do better,” we are actually able to have some meaningful discussion? I know what we do each iteration is far from perfect.

A. If your team responds with silence when the ScrumMaster or team lead opens the retrospective meeting for discussion, it is because you have actually done an excellent job during the preceding iteration and there is nothing to be discussed or changed for the next one.

B. Perhaps having a list of questions that you follow in each retrospective meeting will give the team a focused way to evaluate what happened in the last week or weeks. Knowing the questions ahead of time may also influence the data people tuck away while it is happening, in anticipation of the next sharing session.

C. The difficulty with being honest about team failure during an iteration can be due to the presence of leadership or customers. Only the team itself should be allowed to attend the meeting. Then they are free to talk openly about the success and challenges of the project work, as well as the impediments presented by management.

D. A team responding to a retrospective opportunity with no comments means that the meetings are taking too much time away from the work of the project. Limiting this group discussion to no more than 10 minutes will free participants to quickly present their problems and walk away while the ScrumMaster or team lead solves them.

Pick your answer then Test Your Knowledge!

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Staking Out the Stakeholders

Project management is all about meeting expectations. The right people must be involved for this to happen–and that means you must be sure to identify all of the stakeholders involved in a project. How? By formally tracking stakeholders and their relationships. If you do this, the ability to manage the project is greatly enhanced, and you can prevent problems of vampirish proportions from sucking the life out of your efforts.

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Topic Teasers Vol. 26: Agile Construction

Question: I work in the construction industry and am under some pressure from management to make my projects “more agile”. It makes no sense to me that IT processes would be of any use when building actual residences, industrial sites and office buildings. What am I missing?

A. You are correct is thinking that building a tangible construction is very different than creating a software application that is only electronic bits. The methodologies for each are at odds with each other.

B. If you change the wording, such as “customer demos” to “site inspections” and “constant quality testing” to “meeting technical requirements”, you will find that SCRUM, TDD and other IT methodologies can be used in construction and have extensive training available to you.

C. It is a mistake to believe that agile IT practices are the entirety of what the methodology has to offer. If you investigate the true methodology, you will find there is much to blend with your current processes to add to construction project success.

D. You can use part of the agile philosophy in your construction projects, but plan for extra time and cost to accommodate the changes the customer is now entitled to add as you go.

Pick your answer then Test Your Knowledge!

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The Power of Less

“Essentialism” is more than a time-management or productivity technique. It is a systemic discipline that drives us to ask questions that go deeper than “Is this meeting important?” and venture “Is this project actually going to make a difference in our organization?” And it requires the scheduling of “blank space.”

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Topic Teasers Vol. 78: Breaking Stalemates

Question: We are at a stalemate! Executives keep asking for more and more projects to be done, yet our resources do not have enough spare time to do them. We look bad, but when we say we don’t have enough time to do these requested projects, management doesn’t really “hear” us. I’m not officially a project manager, but is there any way I can step up and help my organization through this standoff?

A. If you are not a project manager, this is not your problem. Continue to do your daily work and spend whatever few hours a week you can working on projects as they are assigned by the boss of your department.

B. Ask to make a plea in the next executive meeting. When you present your case, let them know that everyone is too busy to do more projects and, realistically, it will a long time before the current ones are finished. It is important to set expectations.

C. Ask your immediate manager if you can work with your colleagues to try to capture the free time available for projects and then prepare information for him to present to the executives. In this way, you may be able to realistically show some options for moving forward with organizational projects.

D. Work to reduce the number of hours you spend on your current daily tasks so that you can focus more of your energy on important projects. Projects are the future, so they should be completed even if it is at the expense of the operational tasks that keep the company running in the present.

Pick your answer then Test Your Knowledge!

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Topic Teasers Vol. 18: The Agile BA

Question: Today a person appeared at my desk saying he was the new Business Analyst for the team and he set up a meeting with me for next Tuesday. I didn’t want to appear stupid, so I just said okay. We’re an agile team, so is he replacing me as ScrumMaster, or what? Should I be worried about my job?

A. The Business Analyst (BA) certification is the replacement credential for the old Project Management Professional (PMP), but with an agile flavor. Check online to see how quickly you might get this new certification if you hope to continue on with your organization.

B. Rather than replacing a project manager or ScrumMaster, the BA is the representative of the Customer or Product Owner who is funding or authorizing your project. He will benefit the team, as he may have more availability than the actual Product Owner.

C. The BA is a junior version of a Quality Assurance team member, and can help you finish your projects more quickly since he does not have the test backlog of a seasoned QA person.

D. The ScrumMaster reports to the Functional Manager whose department will benefit most by the completed project deliverable. Perhaps the BA made an error in contacting you.

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Topic Teasers Vol. 99: The Emotional Payroll

Question:I’m an agile lead working with a traditional project manager on a hybrid project for an outside customer. Each time we all three meet, the PM brings out so many risk charts—and explains the potential pitfalls and recent statistics in such a negative way and with such an emotional tone and facial grimacing—that the customer is almost panicky when he leaves. Agile is all about embracing the potential for risk, but how can I speak to someone on my peer level about changing his behavior and message so that the customer feels appropriately informed while still confident in the team and our progress when he leaves?

A. Agile teams may work for some types of small software projects. However, other projects cannot possibly be completed successfully without careful preparation and constant monitoring of analysis checklists, risk registers and SWOT analyses. The information gathering techniques and diagramming techniques can also deteriorate the project if the correct ones are not implemented.

B. The suggestions in A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) are only intended to be suggestions. In reality, no actual projects use them. Instead, a project manager will have the highest percentage of successful undertakings by simply relying on the already existing practices found in the organization. They are the reason this enterprise thrived in the first place.

C. You need to talk to your co-lead on this hybrid team about being on the emotional payroll and why his current behavior is not good for the project. It’s uncomfortable talking to a peer about this, but it is better than the entire project failing or the customer experience being negative and thwarting future contracts with this client.

D. Since agile and traditional project management are so different, you two should take turns meeting with the customer for the updates. In this way, you won’t have to witness the behavior that you find unacceptable. If the customer does panic at the unconsciously scary message of doom and gloom delivered by your colleague, he can take it up with his boss.

Pick your answer then Test Your Knowledge!

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Topic Teasers Vol. 60: Adding to Agile Proposals

Question: In our attempt to move to an agile-driven organization, management has asked my team to be involved with responding to a proposal that, if we get it, could provide an increase of 50% in our gross income this year. Since we’ve always complained that we weren’t consulted before contracts were signed, now the pressure is on for us to be very wise regarding what we add to the company’s submission. Are there any rules of proposal development for agile teams?

A. Yes. Just like rules for creating speeches can make the difference between wowing the crowd and expounding to a bored audience, learn the correct way to write proposals. Hint: It is better to win the business than look good and have a fancy document.

B. Yes. Many colleges and universities have degrees in contract writing. At least one person on the team should have at least 12 hours of formal education before you include the team’s ideas in the proposal. The good thing is that this training can also be used for PDUs.

C. No. Those who become skilled in contract negotiation and responding to proposals are housed in a special procurement department. They have eked out their skill sets through years on the job. While you can sit in on meetings, don’t risk looking foolish. Always defer to their ideas and decisions.

D. No. There is so much political intrigue and price fixing involved in Request for Proposals (RFP) or other versions of how organizations solicit bids that not much depends on the actual proposal submitted by your organization. See if anyone on your team knows anyone in the potential customer organization who could leverage the decision to your advantage.

Pick your answer then Test Your Knowledge!

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Topic Teasers Vol. 31: Change Rests On You!

Question: We have a massive internal change coming, and lucky me…I get to head the project! We have tried this before and had to pull back because of negative employee reactions. I know that this time we need some change management processes, too, but who is responsible to do that part of the project?

A. The good news is, it’s you. You need to take the responsibility and coordinate the change processes in with your usual team activities.

B. The good news is, it’s not you. Focus on the project and on meeting your metrics of time, cost and quality as usual. Corporate management is responsible to make sure employees accept and use these new changes.

C. The PMO is “where the buck stops” when endeavors move from simple projects to create products or software and billow out to vague objectives like “employee acceptance” and “corporate compliance”..

D. Ask your manager. Your project charter is limited to producing the usual product or services and your team is not skilled or experienced in change management processes. Your manager can deal with getting the changes accepted and getting them to stick.

Pick your answer then Test Your Knowledge!

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Topic Teasers Vol. 97: Missing Important Questions?

Question: I’m so frustrated! On almost every project, no matter how carefully we prepare, there inevitably arises an issue that we didn’t think about in the beginning. Despite all our planning meetings, people were either afraid to speak up or were not engaged enough to bother. How can I improve my chances of covering all the crucial questions from the beginning?

A. Look at the types of communication preferred by the people on your team and the managers involved. Have a pre-planned checklist to cover the types of things that should be brought out in the conversations for each category of person. If all the germane topics aren’t raised by the group, find a way to make sure they become part of the dialogue in the meeting.

B. It is a fallacy to think that all of the potential issues with any project can be addressed from the beginning. Continue as you have in the past and don’t be so hard on yourself if you overlook a potential risk or hidden trap. That’s why we have project managers—to clean up the surrounding mess when activities don’t go as anticipated.

C. Have you considered a contact consultant? These people sit in on all of your important meetings that are larger than three people, and they slip you notes when you are overlooking the body language of the people assembled. Then you can ask people by name why they appear uncomfortable or disinterested during your time to communicate as a group.

D. Purchase project management software that lists all of the possible questions that can be asked about any undertaking with a traditional or agile structure. By faithfully filling in all of the cells for the type of project you will do, the industry you work in and the methodology you have chosen to follow, you will be assured of having all of the necessary information you need.

Pick your answer then Test Your Knowledge!

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Topic Teasers Vol. 13: The ScrumMaster Role

Question: I’ve just been chosen as ScrumMaster for my agile team. I know I “remove obstacles”, but I’m concerned about what I can do on a daily basis and what is overstepping my role and moving back to traditional project management. How can I make this a better team?

A. The ScrumMaster role is non-technical, which is a reward for outstanding technical performance in the past. In essence, you retire at full salary.

B. The ScrumMaster has a key role in improving team performance, so find your own way to structure the team processes and to facilitate team development.

C. Since the team is self-directed, wait until team members present obstacles at daily scrum meetings and then tell a manager to remove them.

D. Find an experienced ScrumMaster in the organization and ask if you can shadow them for two days a week. Then, follow their directions so that all the agile teams are working alike.

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Topic Teasers Vol. 74: Rescuing Failing Projects

Question: A major strategic project in my company has failed! The current project manager has been reassigned and I have been asked to take over. The spotlight will be focused on me and my team, and while we have the chance to be heroes, we can also end up tarnishing our own reputations. Any innovative ways to pick up a messy assignment mid-stream and up our chances of beating the odds for success?

A. Start by meeting with the previous project manager to ascertain which people, vendors, stakeholders and unavoidable events led to the failure. As you plan your own Work Breakdown Structure, restaff with new, more competent employees and other surrounding people.

B. Start by calculating how much you have left in the budget and on the timeline and make sure the plans you create will not further stretch the company financially. This is the most important factor in having your outcomes ultimately checked in the “success” column.

C. Often, teams picking up previously failed projects start with what went wrong, who is to blame and how to avoid making the same mistakes. Find a more innovative approach if you want to have the outcome be positive this time.

D. A savvy first step that will jell your worth in the mind of management is to question whether or not this project should be completed at all. If you can convince them that it is an impossible quest, too expensive or beyond the scope of what your internal team can undertake, they may cancel it completely, leaving you without the risk of failure.

Pick your answer then Test Your Knowledge!

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Topic Teasers Vol. 90: Is Agile Japanese?

Question: Our management team is extremely agile resistant, saying that there is no research or history to this practice—or no link to better productivity, despite recent statistics that disagree. What can I tell them to show that this is actually a way to engage millennials, the largest section of the current workforce? And to show that it also has a proven track record of maximizing high productivity, even if it wasn’t called by the same name?

A. Since agile was conceived in 2001 in Snowbird, Utah, it is 100% American in origin. The rest of the world had never tried these practices until the results of this famous meeting were released through a series of speeches, articles and conversations.

B. Agile principles rest on the behaviors Douglas McGregor believed to be basic to most workers, called Theory X. Because it suggests that people dislike work and try to avoid it, the more lax workplace of an agile team tricks them into thinking they are in management.

C. Dr. W. Edwards Deming developed the earliest agile-like philosophy, which he called the Hierarchy of Needs. If a manager can meet all of the needs for the employee, productivity will soar. If even one is left unfulfilled, project outcomes will be subpar.

D. Agile actually is an outgrown of the Japanese motivational theories of Dr. William Ouchi’s “Japanese Management” style from the 1980s. By now, the concepts have been well tested and proven to be effective in the modern-day workplace, first in Japan and then in other locations around the globe.

Pick your answer then Test Your Knowledge!

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Topic Teasers Vol. 88: Chalk and Cheese Teams

Question: We are now part of a project that will use both an agile and a traditional waterfall team. As our British associates say, “It’s like chalk and cheese.” Is there a smart way we can work with this other group since none of our processes will match, none of the timing will be the same and, frankly, we each believe that the others are seriously misguided in having chosen their approach to project work?

A. There is a reason for the “chalk and cheese” expression. When you mix them you either forfeit a beautiful drawing or you miss a delightful appetizer. While multiple teams can work successfully on a common deliverable, it is vital that all teams are using exactly the same approach.

B. By now, 15 years after the meeting to create the Agile Manifesto, all teams should be aware that in today’s marketplace the only way to keep your organization competitive and protect your own job is to work in an exclusively agile environment. Most of the newsworthy business closings or serious curtailing of products are in industries that refuse to go agile.

C. It is not only possible for an agile team and a traditional team to work together successfully, it’s probably going to become the norm for more and more projects in the future. The secret it to understand where you can sync your work and where you need to use the parts of your preferred approach freely in order to have the best end outcomes.

D. While agile works situationally in software, the traditional methodology espoused by A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) has the advantage of a 55-year history. The knowledge amassed within that length of trial and error makes waterfall the preferred approach for all industries that want to make projects successful.

Pick your answer then Test Your Knowledge!

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What’s different about mobile learning?

As the doors open to a new era of mobile learning and performance support, it’s a good time to step back and think about the new mindset required when designing for mobile. Although a mobile pedagogy will continue to evolve, we already know quite a bit about how people use mobile devices and some of the advantages of mobile learning. Mobile is Supportive It doesn’t take much deep thought to realize that mobile devices are an ideal medium for supporting performance at work. When an employee runs into an unsolvable problem, requires information to complete a task or needs step-by-step advice, this type of need can often be filled through mobile performance support. Mobile is Collaborative Learning and support at work can be provided through one’s network of professional colleagues, both internal and external to the workplace. Using mobile devices, the geographically dispersed workforce can help each other solve problems and make decisions in real time when the desktop is isn’t convenient. And of course, mobile devices can also be used for voice communication. That’s an old-fashioned and highly collaborative approach. Mobile is Gestural The gestural user interface (UI) for interacting with a smartphone or tablet seems like another universe when compared to one-finger clicking on a mouse. The gestural UI removes the intermediary device (mouse, pen, etc.) so that users can directly manipulate objects on the screen. Objects are programmed to move and respond with the physics of the “real world.” This opens up a new world of design possibilities for creative imaginations. Mobile is Learner-centric Learner-centric experiences occur when a person seeks the answer to an internal question. At this moment of need, the individual is highly motivated to learn and remember. When this occurs, it circumvents the need for extrinsic motivational techniques. Instead, it demands more effective information design, to provide quick and searchable access to content. Mobile is Informal Although there are bound to be an increasing number of Learning Management Systems that track mobile learning events, the mobile medium seems better suited to informal learning. Because mobile devices are often ubiquitous as well as always connected, they are ideal for learning in a variety of ways to fit a particular time and place. Mobile is Contextual Unlike other types of learning, mobile learning on a smartphone or tablet can occur in context. Only 3D simulations come close to this. Mobile learning may be initiated in the context of a situation, such as a few minutes of instruction prior to a sales call or quickly looking up a technical term at a meeting. Mobile learning may be initiated in the context of a location, such as augmented reality to learn about a place while traveling or getting directions to the next technical service call. And if employees “check in” to a location-based site, they can find each other anywhere around the world. Mobile is User-Generated By taking advantage of smartphone and tablet hardware, users can generate content by taking photographs and recording video and audio. Through these multimedia capabilities, your workforce can send and receive information from the field. A healthcare worker in a rural area can send photos of a patient’s skin condition and ask for help with a diagnosis. An agricultural expert can create a photo album for farmers, showing conditions that indicate soil erosion. Rather than take notes, a trainer can voice record his or her thoughts on how to improve a workshop. Then use this recording back at the office. Mobile is Fun The most popular apps in iTunes are games. With mobile devices, games don’t need to be limited to the phone. They can take in the larger world and be situational. For example, at a call center technicians receive digital badges through a mobile app for every satisfied caller. Badges are cashed in for various rewards. Think about ways to improve performance through challenges, team competitions and gamification. Mobile is Sensitive and Connected Take advantage of the hardware features of mobile devices. They have sensors for detecting touch, motion and device orientation. There is hardware for connecting through your carrier’s network, and through WiFi and Bluetooth. Some mobile devices can be used for tethering, which involves connecting the phone to a laptop with a cable and using the carrier as a modem to connect to the Internet. Mobile devices are also beginning to use Near Field Communications (NFC), so that devices can transmit information by touching them or coming into close proximity. Conclusion How can we leverage all that’s unique about mobile devices and their use and at the same time, avoid the pitfalls? It will take time, thought and a high-level strategy to get it right. Your thoughts? Connie Malamed (@elearningcoach) publishes The eLearning Coach, a website with articles, resources, reviews and tips for learning professionals. She is the author of Visual Language for Designers and the Instructional Design Guru iPhone app.

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What Happens When You Neglect to Create a Mobile Strategy?

So now that you have the building blocks of your strategy in your sights, it important to maintain focus. Now is not the time to get caught up in discussions about building your first app or what type of devices the IT department is going to be buying. You need to stay in the driver’s seat and craft the strategy to match the technology landscape of the community at large and also find a healthy mix of progress and protection to meet your business goals. What The Strategy Provides More than anything else, the mobile learning strategy gives you a compass on which to guide your team’s efforts (maybe more appropriately, a GPS). This aerial view of the mobile learning plan you have in mind prevents distractions. Think of wasted time in meetings, hours writing RFPs, designs and wireframes destined for failure. This strategy helps you continue making progress, not wasting efforts. It allows you to see the proverbial forest for the trees. The Trees Oh the trees! They’re beautiful! With mobile there are just many of them. Every time a new tablet comes out, a tree! With every OS or SDK update and beta distribution, another tree! A press release from a company regarding their plug-ins status on mobile, there’s yet another. You see where I am going with this, right? Reading mobile industry news sites is a great idea of course; it keeps you informed as to where the leaders are headed. Attending conferences and webinars is also a great thing to help you see where technology is going. However, to take a single news story or a single bullet point in a keynote speech and seize on it as the cornerstone as your entire strategy will surely lead you to ruin. Each of these aforementioned ‘for instances’ is insignificant in the bigger picture and should be weighed and considered in light of all the other news items, customer or user inputs, and so on in order to help create your larger strategy. When the trees keep popping up quicker than you can cut them down, you know you are in trouble. You’ll constantly be issuing statements to your management about what the latest development means to them and your work. You’ll start to lose credibility with your stakeholders and designers as well. You must elevate and think big! The Forest Step back for a moment and take a look at the trees from a distance. What direction is the wind blowing through them in your line of work? I’m talking about big ideas, concepts, and trends. Are tablets growing in popularity? Is a particular platform taking over or dwindling rapidly? Are users demanding notifications and content just-in-time? Are advanced hardware features like cameras, geolocation, 3D graphics, etc., a now expected featureset? Are regulations hampering progress in your business? Are the stakeholders ready to make decisions and contribute? Is the mobile web winning over hearts and minds in your IT department due to scalability and ease of deployment and support? These are the telling signs that let you understand where you need to spend your efforts. These signs show you the true shape of your forest. Until Next Time Now that we’ve gone over why a good Mobile Learning Strategy is important, what one looks like and you also have a good idea of what happens when you neglect to use one, we’ll talk implementation next week!

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The New Hierarchy: First, learning to BE; second, learning to DO; and only then, learning to KNOW

I had a high school teacher who observed that the male students seemed to spend a lot of time trying to figure out how to be male students, and the female students seemed to spend a lot of time trying figure out how to get male students. As I work with companies implementing both social networking and simulation technology, I have observed a new hierarchy of needs. 1. Learning to Be People strive to know who they are. What do they like to do, and what do they hate to do? With whom are they most comfortable, or motivated, or depressed? Who are their role models? How can they get satisfaction and sustainability out of life? What are their priorities? What is a good day and what is a bad day? Where do they fall on the issues of the day? Is it better to be directive or participative? As people figure this out, they want to test this new personality out on the world. They make comments online, and post pictures. They speak up at meetings. They give suggestions and then orders of their co-workers, friends, and subordinates. They strive understanding and validation. To a large degree, this has been the drive of much of social networking and web 2.0, as well as pop culture, and “Cosmo” and Match.com self-tests. People today strive for self definition increasingly globally, not just defining themselves by where they live, where they work, or as a friend or enemy of the next door neighbor. 2. Learning to Do People then want to have a impact on the flow of their world – to change the course of activity in a positive way because of what they do. This is where the big skills, such as leadership, stewardship, project management, and innovation come in. This is where people put forth some blood, sweat, and tears, and experience ownership This is where simulations play a critical role. Immersive learning simulations, especially practiceware, have the ability to give people ten years of distilled experience in 15 hours. Sims develop an awareness of the all-critical “active knoweldge” trinity of: 3. Learning to Know At this point comes the learning to know. This might be cultural literacy/history, or organizational history, or trivia. This is where we try to make sense of the world we inherited – to piece together the giant puzzle. This is where books and the History Channel become so interesting. It is around this third category that academics has built both their curricula and their research process, one of the reasons I have so little hope for the role of Ph.d dominated Foundations to add significantly to the first two. I say again that what we teach is limited by what we can teach. The exciting thing about this new media order is that we have more power at our fingertips for development than ever before.

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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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Second Life is not a teaching tool

Every week or so I hear about a company looking to Second Life as a teaching environment. First, I have to say that Second Life is a great Web 2.0/massively multiplayer environment. I respect the ability of people to make money in Second Life. I respect the ability of people to “hang” in Second Life. I think it is great that companies are prototyping visual and structural designs in Second Life. I suggest everyone listen to the Business Week podcast. Having said all of that, Second Life, as is, is not a teaching tool. It is content free. It is closer to a virtual classroom tool, or even a real-world meeting room or water cooler (without the actual water). Any content has to either bubble up from spontaneous conversations (great when they happen, but not predictable or scalable enough to provide an intellectual payoff), or be “brought in.” From a teaching perspective, it is like grabbing a bunch of employees, putting them in the middle of Times Square, each with a laptop and Internet connection, and maybe a box of Lego, a pad of paper, and some crayons. Will magic sometimes happen? Absolutely, as Jay Cross will point out. Will it be a program that is continued and expanded over the years (my own primary metric of success), either bottoms up or tops down? No. And mostly, I worry that educational simulations will be lumped together with Second Life. When the “Second Life as Teaching Environment” fails due to randomness of value and experience, people will say, “Ah, avatars! Not so good after all.” The reason for my Simword series here is to highlight that the opportunity for educational simulations, and even perhaps subsequent versions of Second Life, to help people rethink Only by thinking in this new way do we realize why our ability to teach the most important skills, like leadership, relationship management, stewardship, and innovation has been unnecessarily hobbled by an invisible context of linear content. Having said all of that, maybe the best of all models will be a structured educational simulation front end experience to drive more focused behavior in the virtual worlds. Now that would be blended learning! P.S. Speaking of Web 2.0, someone showed me Virtual Leader on YouTube! I don’t know who put it up, but freaky!

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Schools hate businesses, businesses hate schools

As a gross generalization, schools hate business and businesses hate schools. Let me defend that: Schools hate business 1. Many academics view any skills that empowers an individual outside of academics as either “vocational” or “turning students into drones of capitalistic societies.” (Yet they have no problem rewarding skills that turn students into drones of academic environments.) I mention teaching subjects like “project management”and”solutions sales” to teachers and they recoil. 2. Professors are even encouraged to downplay their consulting to corporations. Even in b-school environment, what consulting is done, according the school mythology, is prostitution, a pursuit of lucre at the expense of integrity, unless it is done at the board level of a Fortune 500 company. 3. A lot of academics smile when the stock market dives, vindication of both their world view and their own personal career choice. Businesses hate schools 1. Businesses rail against classrooms, even their own training classes. Corporate people love to complain about training classes. “Classes don’t work!” “Training doesn’t teach anything.” “No one ever learned anything of important in a classroom.” Many training books and training professionals love quoting high profile individuals (such as CEO’s or brand-name consultants) hacking at classrooms, thinking “beyond the classroom.” If you listened to all of them talk, you would assume that employees are spending half of the lives trapped in basement lectures. Most people spend less time in classes than they spend waiting in line at their organization’s cafeteria. It reminds me a bit of the supporters of the a flag burning amendment. I wish people wouldn’t burn the American flag as much as anyone, but as far as I can tell, there is just not an epidemic of flag burning. And there sure is no epidemic of too much classroom training. The railing is really just posturing. 2. Business people love talking about academic reform. But when a company is performing sub-par, business people don’t talk about Xerox reform or corporate reform. They talk about change management, growth, and re-invention. They talk about “taking a short-term profit hit” to “restructure.” 3. Even amonst the corporations that do the most training, I have never seen a business sponsor an internal remedial history class, or art class, or literature class, or any kind of liberal arts experience. They say they respect it on a resume, but if you don’t arrive with it, they are sure not going to give it to you. 4. And businesses fight hard for tax breaks, which come out of school pockets. All with a big smile But both sides hide their animosity reasonably well. The development side of schools want donations from businesses. They talk to parents about preparing students for the future. Businesses want to appear helpful and benevolent and part of the community. It is only after the love-fest meetings and PR events do the real feelings emerge. And I believe the friction, the misalignment, this cold war between these two hurts students, hurts our GDP and standard of living, hurts schools, and hurts business. The Hope of T+D In our profession, literally of the people reading this blog, lies either the opportunity to bring these two worlds together, or to create a bigger wedge to push them apart. It is an opportunity (and yes, responsibility) that I hope we all consider as we present our ideas, shape our strategies, postore, define ourselves, and invest in and execute our plans.

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Sales Leadership Anyone?

Many sales managers fall into the trap of being “deal troubleshooters”. How does you sales management training cope with this? Does your sales management training help sales managers become better people leaders? Sales Leadership Considerations: Do people want to become excellent and well-respected leaders? How do you know for sure? Can salespeople help each other succeed, or is it really an individualistic and autonomous occupation? How effective is your sales training at helping people understand the leadership skills they bring to the table? How does your sales culture support (or impede) the development of individual sales leaders, at even the most entry-level positions (or is that even worth thinking about)? A solid and unified team of sales professionals is a key factor to meeting the company’s targets and achieving its long-term goals. Developing sales leaders would are able to communicate well with the rest of the team and gain team member support is critical.

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Sales Leaders: Born or Made

I recently attended the Sales Management Associations (SMA) first annual conference where I had the privilege to speak with many thought leaders and practitioners in the area of sales leadership. A recurring topic of conversations throughout the many networking opportunities was whether great sales reps make great sales managers. When someone brings this subject up, many people let out a sigh. They think back to a situation where one of their successful sales peers was promoted to sales manager and bombed. Was this the fault of the recently promoted sales rep? I think not. The onus lies with the company to vet and prepare future managers for the position. In any other area of the company, it would be unthinkable to promote someone into a position of leadership without properly training them with the skills to be leading others. Sales managers, much like their corporate peers, need skills like business acumen and ethics. They must also be prepared to coach, conduct successful meetings, and do periodic performance reviews. All of this in addition to meeting the team quota. All too often, newly minted sales managers think back to what made them successful and simply try to impose these behaviors on others. This doesnt always work. And when all else fails, the manager simply jumps in and closes all the deals. (Note: Some successful sales reps do go on to successful sales management careers.) As a sales enablement professional, Im encouraged to see organizations such as SMA put forth excellent resources for the success of our sales management peers. Let me get your thought on the topic of sales leaders. Are they born or made?

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One Version of the Future

Per Mindy B’s request, here’s my version of our future. I can elaborate a little now. As to a longer focus on workflow learning, we have several members of the LCB Blog Squad who are very involved in such efforts. I’ll encourage them to post some of their thoughts. Jay Cross and Tony O’Driscoll laid out a more detailed vision of workflow learning in the February Training. From a very high overview, I think we’ll see changes in what learning interventions are and changes in what the Learning and Development function does. Supervisors at all levels will be held responsible for the development of their employees. My growth strategy (versus developmental plan) will be focused on building my strengths and will be a matter of public knowledge so my colleagues will be able to help me meet my personal goals while we work together. Employees will be given opportunities to learn whenever, however they need. Let’s say I’m a marketing director with budget responsibility for my department. A week from today there’s a meeting to launch the budgeting process for next year’s budget. When I logged onto my work portal this morning my tablet PC reminded me of the meeting with to do’s from my supervisor’s memo. It also has organized last year’s budget, my budgeting notes, a guide from finance on corporate budget strategy for this year – with my bosses reactions and directions included. My system also gives a list of requested initiatives from my notes for meetings with my business partners, industry benchmarking numbers for similar initiatives and a reminder that I never took the training for the forecasting component of our new financial software – with a link to the online training. Outlook has even identified that my staff can meet with me at 3PM on Monday and is holding the time on everyone’s calendars waiting for my approval. Finally, I have my comments regarding budget processes for each of my direct reports culled from our reviews over the past year, L&D’s suggestions for materials to share with each, and coaching tips for me. To guide the development of interventions that anticipate employee needs, we learning professionals will have to become proficient in systems thinking, business processes, change management and strategic planning. We’ll get so close to our business partner that we’ll become one of them. Needs analysis will truly be about what is needed and what the best solution(s) is – not the best training solution. Assessment will become focused on helping employees develop self-awareness of what they need to know to execute on their business objectives and pave the way for where they want their careers headed. You asked who the vendors will be. Some will be the vendors you know today – SumTotal, GeoLearning, SAS, Oracle, etc. But don’t be surprised if you’re learning business process tools from Hyperion or Verity, synchronous meeting tools from Interwise or Skype, team/community enablement tools from UberGroups or Google and data mining and content management tools from Documentum or Fatwire. So what do you think Mindy? Are you prepared for the change?

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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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Merger mania in and around eLearning

First, on Monday, WebEx buys intranets.com for $45M in cash then today SumTotal buys Pathlore for $29M in cash and $19M in stock. And then I hear that back on July 27 Premiere Global Services announced that it was buying Netspoke for $23.2M in cash details. So a virtual meeting company buys a collaboration company. A LMS company buys another LMS company. And a communication services company buys a collaboration company. Looks like the convergence that Elliott Masie has been talking about taking place is finally happening. Anyone familiar with my posts and company knows that I am a big believer in the power of collaboration (and ideally done to such a level of integration that it results in mentoring not just with ‘experts’ but also with your peers) so it is heartening to see that finally we are moving past ‘simplistic’ collaboration (i.e. like stand-alone web meetings) in learning with WebEx+intranets.com and PGS+Netspoke while the fragmented LMS sub-industry is getting so much needed consolidation with SumTotal+Pathlore (and remember that SumTotal is the March 2004 merger of Docent and Click2learn). All of this comes of the heels of SkillSoft releasing SkillSoft Dialogue, their version of a virtual classroom and NETg buying KnowledgeNet last year for their virtual classroom technology/LMS resulting in their Knowledge Now suite. Are we finally getting to the point where educational content is merging with collaboration technologies which is merging with learner management infrastructure? Collaboration is important as it allows learning to become a continuous process and acts as a quality feedback loop while helping to generate new content out of the resulting interactions, all of which sits on top of the learning management system. It has been long neglected in the eLearning industry due to it’s complexity (trust me I founded scholars.com and struggled with the scalability of it’s mentoring model long after SmartForce bought it) for it has been far easier to manage content objects than collaboration objects. I always said while at SkillSoft/SmartForce/CBT Systems that the value of SkillSoft is not the 5000+ hours of training but the fact that you could potentially tap into the collective knowledge of their 3 million users. Of course the Internet bubble burst and they went back to the tried-and-true model of producing generic content. Anyway … sorry for the rant but I have been concerned about the health of the eLearning industry over the last 2 years and I am glad to see this much needed consolidation taking place. Hopefully it will result in some truly innovative stuff versus people scrambling to get into liferafts. Think social networking analysis, workflow learning, collective intelligence, presence awareness, expert locating, communities of knowledge (made up of smaller communities of practice) … Or as BusinessWeek recently put it – The Power of Us. If you haven’t read their cover story on how mass collaboration is shaking up business you should as they talk about how large scale collaboration has changed the delivery of services like auctions (eBay) and product like books (amazon.com) which makes you think about how mass collaboration could change the sharing of knowledge which until recently has been done on a small scale, typically geographically driven, basis or through static content. PS – for those that care it is interesting to note that the 2 collaboration acquisitions were basically done at 2x trailing 2004 revenues (Netspoke) and 3x projected 2005 revenue (intranets.com) while the LMS acquisition was done at 2x trailing 2004 revenues (Pathlore). These multiples are indicative that there is a resurgence of interest and hence increased value.

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Is Attention Important in Learning?

A recent CNET article noted that the typical office worker is interrupted every three minutes by an e-mail, IM, phone call, etc. If you are working on something creative, it takes about 8 minutes for our brains to get into that state. With all these distractions how is anyone able to get anything done? The result, says Carl Honore, journalist and author of “In Praise of Slowness,” is a situation where the digital communications that were supposed to make working lives run more smoothly are actually preventing people from getting critical tasks accomplished. Chris Caposella a VP in the Microsoft Information Worker Business Unit says that “People are ultra connected. And you know what? Now they are starting to realize, ‘Wow, I want to actually stop getting interrupted.'” Dan Russell, a researcher at IBM’s Almaden Research Center, turns off the instant notification of e-mail and only looks at e-mail 2X a day and has cut the time he spends with e-mail in half. Other organizations, like Veritas Software have implemented “no e-mail Fridays.” Employees can’t e-mail one another on Friday, but they are allowed to e-mail customers or other parts of the storage company if they have to. The result? Workers spend more time connecting face to face. A study by Hewlett-Packard earlier this year found that 62 percent of British adults are addicted to their e-mail–checking messages during meetings, after working hours and on vacation. Half of workers felt a need to respond to e-mails immediately or within an hour, and one in five people reported being “happy” to interrupt a business or social gathering to respond to an e-mail or phone message. Even airlines are starting to offer broadband Internet access. So how will we be able to deal with this tidal wave of communications? “With Office 12, we will do things to make it a lot easier for people to be more effective in the way they manage all of these communication mechanisms,” Capossela said. IBM also is looking at solutions to manage scheduling for the next version of Lotus Workplace, part of IBM’s collection of software that rivals Office. But technology may not be the solution. Like many issues in collaboration it is the “people and process issues” that are the crux of the problem. “The problem, Russell said, is that there are only certain types of tasks that humans are good at doing simultaneously. Cooking and talking on the phone go together fine, as does walking and chewing gum (for most people). But try and do three math problems at once, and you are sure to end up in frustration.” Attention Management I have written a lot about what I call “attention management” and what everyone else calls “Continuous Partial Attention (term coined by Linda Stone).” Stowe has been blogging about this for months, and he and I have had a few discussions on the subject. Basically, he believes that your social networks are your filter for information overload. If A likes it and I like and trust A, then I should like it. I agree with Stowe to a point, in that social networks only deal with part of the problem. I do not believe that you will be able to filter enough through these networks to stop the overwhelming of your bandwidth for both information and attention. I believe that the problem needs to be attached also from the other direction. That is to augment a person’s ability to “attend” to content and events. In my view of the future there are a variety of technology solutions that might help. But I don’t think the scheduling tools that Microsoft and Lotus are building are it. I believe that you will need to multiply your bandwidth and attention by multiplying your self. Some type of virtual agent that not only knows where you are, what you are doing and what collaboration programs or devices you have, but it also has a subset of your personality and is assigned to deal with specific types of tasks demanding your attention. For example, this virtual agent or avatar can deal with lower-level requests for attention and decisions around what to pick up at the grocery store. It knows your likes and dislikes, what is in the refrigerator and what is not, and you have empowered it to make those shopping decisions, and have the groceries delivered to your house at 6:00 pm (it knows your schedule and that you are due to have dinner with your family by 7:00 pm). This leaves you free to deal with critical requests for your attention from your family, your boss, negotiating with a client, dealing with a crisis, etc. Since many fewer items fall into these “critical” categories your bandwidth and attention are on overwhelmed, and yet all of these other demands on your attention are also being satisfied. Blue Sky or Tomorrows Solution? I realize that I lot of what I have written about is theoretical. The the days of intelligent agents that can augment my attention may be far off, but the tsunami of information and demands for my attention are here today. One of the biggest issues I had in school was paying attention to the teacher, especially if I was bored or had already done the work. I don’t see online learning, or virtual classrooms (the way they are today) as a good solution to that problem. What do you think?

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Hot Off the Press: The New Social Learning

Hot Off the Press The New Social Learning By Tony Bingham and Marcia Conner Foreword by Daniel H. Pink Training often gives people solutions to problems already solved. Collaboration addresses challenges no one has overcome before. Beyond the hype, buzzwords, and entertainment value of reconnecting with old friends, people in organizations across the globe use social media to collaborate and learn. Emerging technologies enable a new kind of knowledge-building ecosystem with people at its core. Classic business models presumed that relevant information is created and shared either through management or training. But classic isn’t enough: there’s too much to know and make sense of, too little time to gain perspective, and information changes too fast to dispense. A virtual water cooler becomes a gathering place to share ideas and ask questions beyond the limits of formal organizations, company meetings, or classrooms. Our inherent drive to learn together…Read More about The New Social Learning

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Help Manage Priorities

Do You Help Your Sales Team Manage Priorities? The added structure, processes, and tools you create can sometimes backfire. How? It can make each team member aware of how much time is being wasted. They can begin to focus on the wrong things instead of the right things. You have to be able to help your sales team members begin to respond to communication within the appropriate time frame, without even needing the clock in front of them. You work should help them build tools and systems that will become a part of their daily routine, so more time can then be spent on making sales calls. Time management considerations: Depending upon your sales force, and whether or not they are in the office or out in the field, each has their own technique in business to utilize their time more efficiently. Holding monthly meetings and asking your sales team for input will help provide you with a guideline and offer additional training and time-saving techniques for the whole team.

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Groundbreaking Book Explains the Power of Social Learning for Organizations

Most writing about social media focuses on how to use it for marketing, but there’s a larger story to tell, according to Tony Bingham and Marcia Conner, co-authors of The New Social Learning, set for release in late summer. This book is for those who are interested in how social media helps people in organizations learn quickly, innovate fast, share their knowledge, and engage with peers, business partners, and the customers they serve. Co-author Marcia Conner spoke on the subject of social learning today at the Enterprise 2.0 Conference. Co-published by ASTD and Berrett-Koehler, The New Social Learning explains why classic business models, which assume that relevant information is created and shared through management or training, isn’t enough today. There’s too much to know and make sense of, too little time to gain perspective, and information changes too fast to dispense. A virtual water cooler becomes a gathering place to share ideas and ask questions beyond the limits of formal organizations, company meetings, or classrooms. Using examples from a wide range of organizations-including Deloitte, IBM, Mayo Clinic, TELUS, and even the CIA- The New Social Learning shows how people in organizations across the globe are using social media to collaborate and learn. More so than any other technology, social media allows us to embrace the needs of changing workplace demographics and allow people of all ages to learn in ways that are comfortable and convenient for them. And, as the authors assert, emerging technologies enable a new kind of knowledge-building ecosystem with people at its core. Connect with the authors online at http://thenewsociallearning.com .

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Great Networking – Up Close and Personal

On Monday, June 28th, I had the pleasure of attending the New York Metro chapter’s “Gather and Share” networking event. This is a monthly program hosted by the chapter that brings together the best and brightest in the field to shake hands, exchange cards, share great ideas, and make meaningful connections. The event was hosted in the bottom floor of a Midtown Manhattan bar, facilitating a comfortable, tight-knit atmosphere. Unlike similar events that often find attendees intertwined with a general happy hour crowd, this area was specifically designated for ASTD attendees. Before the event began, the chapter’s Consultant SIG (special interest group) had their meeting in an adjacent room downstairs, allowing a round of networking before the networking. This helped energize many of the attendees, who hit the ground running with ideas as soon as they let out and met the other participants. The “a-ha” moment from the SIG meeting came as a member shared the underlying theme of the group: When meeting people who have a need for a consultant, the response is often “That’s not something I do, but I know someone who does.” The sense of community these meetings foster is invaluable. Once the SIG attendees came together with the rest of the group, people began organic conversations that took on a number of different directions. People discussed career transitions, branding, breaking into the field as an outsider, marketing, financial management, and innovative thinking. A spread of hors d’oeuvres provided by the chapter drew everyone to a central location, allowing new introductions and people to seamlessly transition from one interesting conversation to another. As opposed to many networking events that are structured in a “speed dating” format, this was free-flowing and found the attendees engaged in far more meaningful conversations than the usual five minute introductions. Everyone I spoke with came away with several actionable takeaways, and each of them intended to return to the next event. Additionally, many expressed an interest in inviting a friend/colleague to the next meeting as well. Kudos to the New York Metro chapter for an outstanding event, and best wishes to all as you engage your members through similar networking functions!

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Getting Started Creating the Mobile Learning Strategy

Well, alright. We have the rationale behind creating a strategy, we know what to avoid, and we understand what can happen when you fall of the tracks. What’s next you ask? It seems that it’s time to get started on the creation of the strategy! Creating the team As with any project, you’re going to need to assemble a team of experts that can assist you in the creation of the end product. In this case, the team needs to be dedicated, focused, and ready truly contribute. You don’t need experts in mobile, but you will need people with domain expertise in a wide variety of disciplines. Depending on your organization size and overall goals a typical team like this will be headed up by people from the following areas of your company: Each one of these individuals may have a number of people working under them to assist with surveying, research, and resource or information gathering. That said, I would recommend not having any more than this core group of individuals at any single group status meeting. Plan for a recurring status meeting during the course of this project, with you leading the meeting and providing the agenda to the core team. If follow-up or “off-line” discussion needs to be done with sub groups later in the week, that’s great, but always keep those meetings focused and make sure that the agendas are always hashed out in advance. You don’t want drive-by meetings or sightseers popping in to these meetings. Everyone there needs to have a purpose. If there are “to-dos” from any of these meetings, you will also be ultimately responsible for sending the recap of the meeting along with the results or findings from any previously resolved content. Setting goals With your team in place, the first conversations should be centered around framing what a successful effort looks like when completed. How will you, your team, and their managers know when you have hit the target? Each group is going to have distinct priorities and your major responsibility will be weighing these and prioritizing them in overall big picture. Make sure these goals are largely quantifiable and can be distilled into talking points when you are called on to report on your progress. Research You can’t create a strategy in a vacuum. You and your team will likely need to survey and * gasp* talk to people in order to learn more about where you need to go to achieve your goals. When framing up these discussions keep a few things in mind: 1. People are usually terrible at articulating the best solution, but are great at identifying their problems. Get people to talk about how certain aspects of their job are painful and you’re destined to find some great nuggets you can build on. 2. Keep implementation details off the table. People will inevitably start to say things like “We need an app for this,” or “How will IT get that information to us?”, but your job must be one of constant redirection. 3. Keep things positive. If you can’t keep people from referencing a botched attempt that everyone remembers the last time your company tried something like this, you may need to preface the conversation or survey with a bit of a change management effort first. Remember, here, you are the dreamer of dreams and the makers of music Not the harbingers of doom and gloom. 4. Always use your bigger picture goals as a foundation for the survey. People’s time is valuable, don’t waste their time or your time on a lot of “What-ifs” that are never going to happen. Remember from our prevous post that this strategy MUST BE IMPLEMENTABLE. If it’s not realistic that your IT department procure 1,500 iPhones for your entire company, don’t hinge your strategy on that. If you have no competency internally in Android development and have no intentions to train or hire your developers to build apps, then don’t propose that. Off to the races Here we are! Ready to get started? You have a solid team, have outlined your goals, and created a lot of great research, now it’s time to distill that information and make your pitch. You’ll need to find a way to weigh the pros and cons of what you’ve found and then turn it into something you can use. Don’t get hung up analyzing which “measuring stick” is the best, just line up some options, talk it over with your team, and then choose one and stick with it as you firm up for your results. Approach this step with confidence in knowing you’ve done your best work and always keep an eye towards establishing ROI and you’re bound to make a mark for yourself. It’s a big step, but you can do it! If you are looking for more information on how to build a mobile learning strategy, continue to read our posts at Floatlearning.com. We’re posting regularly on topics like this. – In closing, a note of thanks to the fine folks at Learning Circuits. It’s been great working with you over last few weeks.

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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: First Online-Only Course via AnyWare

RESTON, VA (March 1, 2011) Learning Tree International (NASDAQ NGM: LTRE) has announced the introduction of a new course titled Time Management Essentials: Getting the Most from Every Minute. Available only online via Learning Tree AnyWare, this live, instructor-led two-day course provides participants with the strategies, tools, techniques and tips to set priorities and manage the daily pressures of meeting important and urgent commitments associated with their job. AnyWare enables participants to fully interact with their instructors and classmates through a media-rich interface that integrates live classroom video, audio and chat features, as well as the ability to view instructor demos. In addition, participants collaborate with their peers and perform hands-on course exercises. During the Time Management Essentials course, participants are immersed in extensive individual and group activities, empowering them to take control of their unique time management challenges. This course incorporates the following tools and technologies: Chat pods to maximize individual contributions Custom-made streamed video Virtual whiteboard for sharing ideas with peers Online audio breakout rooms for team collaboration Technology-based job aids Interactive live surveys Real-time instructor feedback Virtual time management toolkit Learn more.

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Excellence in Practice

Could partnering with your Senior VP of Sales allow you to see improvements in your sales team? Maybe hiring a professional training manager could provide you with a fresh perspective. How would your sales team improve if you found a more effective coaching platform? IBM, Knology, Inc., and MetLife have all developed award winning sales programs in the fields of (respectively) career development, workplace learning and performance, and workplace learning and development. Read how three winning programs of the Excellence in Practice award have helped these companies to find success as they seek to develop better sales teams. IBM Sales Learning Armonk, New York Class: Sales Eminence Over the last 100 years, IBM has transformed its workforce many times, often creating a leading workforce within the technology industry. Through its Sales Eminence partnership, the learning team joined with the senior vice president of sales to transform its sales force, increase client value by setting the agenda for client’s ever-changing needs, and ensuring IBM’s continued leadership in the market. The partnership focuses on enhancing the skills and expertise of sales professionals and a sales career model that simplifies jobs into three career paths: industry, solution, and technical. Knology, Inc. West Point, Georgia Class: Call Center Frontline Leadership Development At Knology’s customer care centers, frontline supervisors often gained their positions through superior technical capabilities, but they were frequently ineffectual due to a lack of leadership skills. Recognizing this developmental gap, the executive director hired a professional training manager who created a four-stage program addressing the vital areas of essentials of leadership, effective team building, performance management, and coaching for top performance. Training focused on classroom academics, between-class activities, and manager coaching interventions. Subsequently, frontline performance has significantly improved, both representatives and supervisors exhibit more positive attitudes, and everyone is working more effectively and efficiently – directly increasing the bottom line. Metlife El Segundo, California Class: Sales Coaching Excellence Program The Sales Coaching Excellence Program was developed to provide a comprehensive, consistent, and effective coaching platform for MetLife’s Annuity Product Wholesaling Sales Desk and Field Development function. The goal of the program is to offer sales coaching strategies, tactics, and tools to the Sales Desk Managers to improve the performance of all inside sales reps. Managers are trained on conducting high-impact sales meetings, conducting monthly goal-setting meetings, delivering performance feedback, and conducting sit-along coaching. Direct results of implementation have been impressive. In less than eight months the program has had a direct impact on the company’s sales results, employee productivity, and business growth. So, what are you doing to improve your sales training programs? Are your learning and performance solutions worthy of recognition? If you think you have an award winning program, submit here.

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Do You Brag About Your Personal Learning Network?

One of the best things about being an instructional designer right now is that now more than ever we feel that our field is in the zeitgeist of what’s happening in the media and technology worlds. What we do (rather, how we do it) is influenced greatly by technologies that support more flexible means of communication and collaboration. Social media and mobile technologies have turned the spotlight on social learning concepts, which in turn have made more of us think about the large, ill-charted dark matter of culture: informal learning. Of course, our response to this turn of events should be elation – finally, Charles Jennings can stop talking about 70-20-10! We can explain communities of practice without once using the phrase “well, no, that’s not really an example of what i’m talking about…”! (bonus: we can avoid awkward tittering by wholly avoiding the name ‘Wenger’ in a classroom setting). Everyone in the Internet Time Alliance can retire to tropical islands. Their work here is done, because everyone in your care now understands the value of social and informal learning. Except maybe they don’t. Maybe you’re having trouble convincing your boss that her task force is not a community of practice. Maybe your top-down Yammer implementation has yielded more tumbleweeds than users. Perhaps it’s because, in fact, no one is making the connection between the breakthroughs in networking that they can plainly see and whatever it is that you do. Maybe you should brag about your personal learning network. In this new world, those in our care probably find it harder – not easier – to square the existence of this wikiHow entry and your job as conductor of whatever they’ve been led to think formalized training is. Do you exemplify the benefits of social and informal learning in your own work life? Do you document successes of social learning? Are you watching and listening to the concerns of your co-workers, providing the right nudge when needed, and openly sourcing your information? Are you connecting your peers with relatable thought leadership or community resources that you’ve found valuable? How about using technology to make spaces for serendipitous learning – loosely organized, de-escalated learning, free from expectations but endowed with purpose? As I’ve said before, I love our kind of people, and not just for their unfailingly sparkling personalities. Every day, they are useful to me in my work, and every day I make it known that I am bringing fire to those in my care because of my associations. In design meetings, I nip errant learning styles talk in the bud. I stay up-to-date on the development of Project Tin Can and use what I know to rethink learning management systems. I experiment with Google Hangouts. I make it easy for myself to be a node in the network and I make sure that people know that part of my value is being as connected as I am. While I probably spend more time talking about #lrnchat than I do participating in it these days, I’ve been known by more than one boss as ‘the Twitter guy.’ I’m proud that I eventually stopped being ‘the Twitter guy’ – that is, I stopped being just a tolerated, quirky evangelist for the platform when I stopped telling people how valuable Twitter is and started using it very publicly to inform my discourse in the workplace. (As Jane Bozarth says, “Google gets you links. Twitter gets you answers.) As a result, the questions that I get around social media are less of the “what good is Twitter?” variety and more about how to use social learning tools to their best effect. As I rely on a large, diverse learning network to help me be competent and prescient, I hope to show (not tell) that I am here to solve problems, not simply build courses or teach classes. I can suggest and employ social and informal learning strategies in part because they’re already working: social media tools, content curation, collaboration, and networked learning are making me better at what I do. Craig Wiggins has been helping people create and manage learning experiences for the last 10 years. He is the eLearning Instructional Design Strategist for the Corporate Executive Board’s Corporate Leadership Council, where he manages the creation of meaningful distance learning and performance solutions. Craig holds a B.A. in anthropology and an M.Ed. in curriculum development, and spends a lot of time thinking about how to sneak usability, accessibility, and proper task analysis into the mix. In his natural habitat, he is usually storyboarding on wall-sized whiteboards or pontificating on Google+.

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Cornerstone OnDemand White Paper Examines Why Employee Empowerment is Crucial to Business Success

(From Business Wire) — Workforce empowerment should be a priority for businesses if they want to retain top talent and stay competitive as the market recovers, according to a new white paper from talent management software provider Cornerstone OnDemand. “The Empowered Workforce: Crucial to Success in the New Economy” explores the notion of empowerment – what it means for employees, why it matters for the bottom line, and how organizations can leverage learning and HR strategies to foster employee empowerment. “Closing the empowerment gap is about providing employees with the tools they need to learn and grow, encouraging them to make their own decisions and enabling them to contribute to the success of the business,” said Charles Coy, Director of Product Marketing for Cornerstone OnDemand. “Empowerment also is a key driver of engagement, which can result in higher customer satisfaction, increased productivity, improved retention and a boosted bottom line.” Research from the Gallup Organization shows that companies that had higher-than-average employee engagement also had 27 percent higher profits, 50 percent higher sales and 50 percent higher customer loyalty.1 “Ultimately, every company wants employees who are engaged in their work and empowered to succeed in their roles,” said Nina Ramsey, Senior Vice President of Global Human Resources for Kelly Services, a leading provider of global workforce management services. “Our customers want to work with front-line people who are fully capable of meeting their needs and are committed to delivering excellent service. It’s Kelly’s job to prepare our employees and ensure they are equipped to make key decisions that will help create loyal customers and, in turn, impact the success and profitability of our company.” Read more.

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Black and Decker nails down quicker learning

(From peoplemanagement.co.uk) Shorter training courses are the answer to making the most efficient use of training budgets during the recession, according to toolmaker Black & Decker. The company has introduced two-hour “Learning Bite” courses to get more immediate results. Jenny Daley, learning and development project manager, said it was a more “creative” way to use the training budget. Learning Bites offers sessions led by senior company business champions who give workers support with practical skills. While Daley said it was too early to see monetary results, she said they were working on a measurement system to gauge the effects. Daley said: “The scheme would have had its place regardless of what’s going on in the economy, because it’s logistically easier to do, and new session topics can be drawn up and rolled out really quickly. The courses are easier to set up because they are two-hours long, so they can be completed over a lunchtime or included as part of a longer meeting. Its flexibility is an advantage.” Read the entire article.

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ASTD’s Riding the Tiger makes MSNBC article!

Eve Tahmincioglu writes about Riding the Tiger in her article, Surviving Your Company’s Mistakes. The section “Truth and lies” reads as follows: “?Alas, sometimes it’s hard to distinguish between truth and lies. In 2005, Ed Cohen left his job at Booz Allen Hamilton. His wife, Priscilla, left her consulting practice to take jobs in India with Satyam Computer Services, a top global IT outsourcing company. Satyam’s Chairman and founder, Ramalinga Raju, “was the most generous person we had ever encountered,” said Cohen. “He would speak of ethics and integrity at every leadership training meeting.” It turned out, Raju was actually cooking the company’s books. He was arrested in 2009. “At the time the allegations came up, I thought it was a joke,” Cohen said. Cohen, who was the chief learning officer responsible for talent management of Satyam’s 53,000 global workers at the time, said many of the employees, including himself, seemed to go through the stages of grief that people coping with death often face – betrayal, anger, depression, and eventually, acceptance. The experience prompted Cohen and his wife to write a book about their experience titled, ” Riding the Tiger: Leading Through Learning in Turbulent Times.” “It was like we were in a war,” he said. “When you’re in war, your adrenaline is pumping, you’ve got to keep things going, but when it’s over the post-traumatic stress kicks in.” Whole article here.

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ASTD Offers New Training Resources for Public Sector Professionals

Government agencies, like private sector organizations, continually look for ways to increase efficiencies and improve agency performance. Having a knowledgeable, skilled workforce is a critical step in meeting those goals. To help managers and learning professionals build their talent, the American Society for Training & Development (ASTD) has several new offerings tailored specifically to the needs of professionals in the public sector. One certificate program, “Managing Talent for Mission Success,” is designed for managers and supervisors, training and development practitioners, and HR specialists in the federal government. This practical two-day workshop will enable participants to better leverage their role in the organization to more effectively inform, influence, and lead talent management in support of mission achievement. Participants will explore a six step process: Other ASTD certificate programs explore topics relevant in the public sector like training design and delivery, coaching, human performance improvement, managing organizational knowledge, and measuring and evaluating learning. ASTD offers other beneficial resources to public sector employees. Through its content licensing program ASTD enables agencies to deliver learning libraries to agencies’ protected websites, providing employees with access to cutting edge training materials. The Public Manager, a quarterly journal dedicated to encouraging professionalism and high performance in all levels of government, gives public managers and executives the opportunity to write and share ideas about critical public management issues. ASTD Press offers books that can help managers and training professionals in the public sector such as High-Impact Middle Management: Solutions for Today’s Busy Public Sector Managers, written by Lisa Haneberg. More information about ASTD’s resources for the public sector is available at http://www.astd.org/ASTD/Government/.

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Are your Sales Goals “Unachievable”?

According to an article on a Bloomberg BusinessWeek blog, posted 5April 10 by Josh Setzer, He comments on the advice of a Coach he interviewed entitled: “Run Your Stars Hard”. After asking several sales people in a survey about meeting expectations, 73% of reps believe that their sales goals are unachievable. WHY? Sales organizations do ask a lot from their sales representatives, particularly in an economic slump, and as Sales Managers continue to push them to drive performance harder, burnout is a risk – which leads to gross under-performance.Where is the positive psychological SALES MANAGEMENT BALANCE in this? From a Sales Training perspective, it sounds severe. There are logical arguments for slowly growing the behavior of your team members through practice and patience. But, there is an ROI to worry about when you are investing in your sales performers. Is it FAIR to push your Sales Reps and set them up to think they have unrealistic goals? Should high expectations after training be enforced (or else)? or Should training be based on individual Human Performance assessments to build each team member? or Should the company tell the Sales team member that their performance is being monitored against business ROI? POST A COMMENT and let us know! We will discuss it!

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Activity, Activity, Activity

How Does Your Training Help Manage Sales Team Activity? If you have been a sales manager or sales leader, you know that managing sales person activity is never easy. Therefore, the sales training you develop should help sales management stay on top of tactical actions that lead to real-world results. More importantly, your efforts should help make the sales organization aware of whether or not the team is meeting its targets and sales goals. Keeping your sales team focused and ahead of the game also helps them feel more confident. Ideas for helping your sales management team focus salesperson activity include:

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25 Things You Didn’t Know PowerPoint Could Do (SU103)

Even though PowerPoint is one of the most ubiquitous software packages in the training world, many users are merely scratching the surface of its capabilities. In this session, you’ll uncover some of the best PowerPoint features for saving time, enhancing your look, and engaging your audience. Whether you are making presentations in management meetings, teaching in the classroom, or creating e-learning programs, this session will help you take your designs to the next level. You’ll move past…

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Bloomz – Teacher-parent communication tool for pre-K to 8th grade classes

What is Bloomz? Bloomz is the easy to use, secure app that connects parents, teachers, and school administrators to build stronger communities around children.  Bloomz helps teachers save time in their communication with Parents.  Parents stay engaged with their school community, and on top of their child’s world.  And, schools can deeply connect and coordinate […]

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