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For the term "Organizational Performance".

Absenteeism at Work and its Implications for Organizational Performance

This article tackles the trend of employees being absent from work without informing the managers and without taking permission or authorization. The key themes discussed in this article relate to the perils and the consequences of absenteeism for the organizations and the reasons why many managers are increasingly taking offence to absenteeism. Further, the article also examines absenteeism from trainings and corporate events where the HR managers take a dim view because presence during such events is a prerequisite to smoother organizational communication.

Performance Management Progress

In addition to being the most powerful person in the world, the person elected president of the United States also is the chief executive officer (CEO) of the executive branch of government. Ordinarily, the organizational results buck stops at a CEOs desk, but recent presidents have seemed more inte…

Keys to Successful Performance Measurement

For many years, leaders have waited for real-time, easy-to-use performance data. Thanks to technology, that time has come. Now, the question is, What do we do with it? Performance measurement initiatives have emerged in all organizational sectors and at all levels within organizations throughout the past century. The concept of p…

Changing the Game: The 9-Vector View of Human Performance

As the federal government seeks to maximize resources amid mounting deficits, organizational change is a top priority. In the private sector, the slow economic recovery is forcing companies to reevaluate their current business practices and explore new approaches for enhancing productivity and increasing profitability….

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

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

How Not to Conduct a Performance Review

(From The Huffington Post) — For better or worse, performance evaluations are a reality in business. But just because they are necessary, it doesn’t mean they are being done in a way that produces productive and constructive results. In fact, at their worst, they can cause employees to recoil, spreading insecurity, self-consciousness and fear. No matter what type of organization, performance evaluation goals should be fairly consistent across the board. Mainly, they should be used to communicate how well an employee’s performance meets the needs and demands of his or her role within the organization. So, yes, it is a performance management tool, but it is also a vital communication vehicle. If companies would see it as such, the process itself would improve markedly and net much better results. At its core, employees need to walk away from their evaluation understanding what effect their past behavior has had on the business and also, what they can do going forward to ensure they continue contributing to their own growth as well as to that of the company’s. Perhaps the most far reaching cause for problems during any type of performance management in general, and evaluation specifically, is the inherent discomfort and resistance that managers experience in having to deliver what they perceive as “bad news.” So, before further analysis can be devoted to what makes a review succeed or fail, one must first be clear about what organizational results this evaluative process needs to produce. Read more.

Canada: Feuding and Failure vs. Performance and Innovation

(From PRWEB) — Psychometrics Canada, a leading assessment publisher and consultant for the development and selection of people in business, government and education, today announced the results of its study of leadership in the Canadian workplace. In many cases strong leadership has resulted in dramatic effects on work engagement, team performance and innovation. However, the report also shows that poor leadership has negative effects on employee morale, project success and working relationships. The study, which involved a poll of 517 human resources (HR) professionals across Canada, confirms that leadership is seen as an important area of organizational functioning and development. The majority (63.2%) see leaders as having a lot of influence over their organizations’ success, with only 2.5% reporting that leaders have very little influence. The most common effects of good leadership are increased motivation (85.5%), improved working relationships (85.1%), higher team performance (80.7%), better solutions to problems (68.9%), and major innovations (41.6%). Read the full release.

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

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

The Neuroscience of Creating High Performance Cultures

‘Culture’ is a hot topic in organizations, but what is culture? And, how does one change culture? This session will share new research about how to measure and change a key aspect of an effective company culture: Trust. It is based on 10 years of neuroscience research in the laboratory and in businesses. If leaders do not manage culture, it will manage them. This session presents organizational research data that establishes a link between the trust hormone oxytocin and team and organizational…

Moving from Training to Performance

Are you being asked to change to a performance-based focus at your company? Are you interested in moving into a performance consulting role but not sure where to start? Do you want to be more informed when people discuss performance improvement methods? In this webcast, Joe Willmore, expert performance consultant and author of ATD’s Performance Basics, will share his insights and then answer your questions in a more informal discussion of the topic; when you register for the webcast, be sure to submit your question for discussion. During this webcast, you will learn: – basic principles of a performance-based approach to consulting – how performance consulting differs from training, organizational development, and process improvement – what has changed in the field of performance improvement – steps to take to build your performance improvement skills.

Humanized Analytics How Healthcare Uses Real-Time Feedback to Drive Performance

Healthcare organizations are under increasing pressure to deliver effective care to patients, conduct financially viable operations, and report favorable outcomes to government and accrediting bodies. To combat these pressures, healthcare organizations are turning to technology and analytics to improve performance in complex, urgent environments. Join us in exploring how healthcare is adopting real-time feedback among its employees to improve communications and organizational performance. In this webcast, you will: – Discover how improved communication between physicians, nurses, residents, and staff translates to improved organizational performance. – Use competency-based, real-time feedback data to drive patient satisfaction, improve outcomes, and simplify and enhance government and accreditation reporting. – Accurately measure employee development, increasing your ability to effectively develop and coach employees into leaders.

Creating a High Performance Organization Using the Ultimate Development Toolbox

Helping our organizations deliver outstanding business results, while contributing to the skill development and career management of others, is our biggest thrill as training and development professionals. This session will describe how to connect four popular T&D industry tools to create the ultimate development toolbox. Using these tools together creates an airtight organizational commitment to development. You will build better leaders and increase your organization’s talent bench by…

Bob Tobias – 21st Century Federal Performance

Join ASTD for a free webinar that addresses a central issue for 21st Century Federal Performance: What role, if any, should the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) play in: Creating a performance management system that links organizational outcomes

Organizational Intelligence Surveys

June:
While surveys in general are commonly used for varied purposes in the context of workplace learning and performance and human capital management, organizational intelligence surveys are an entirely different breed of survey that account for strategic factors that enable or inhibit employee engagement, and other important organizational outcomes.

Organizational Culture

March:
Workplace learning and performance professionals understand that culture can easily limit much of what we need to do. But, because culture is hard to pin down in practical terms, let alone to effectively change for the better, it remains a baffling issue.

Cultural Audits: Supporting Organizational Success

Sometimes an organization’s culture can stand in the way of its success, which is why culture audits can be important tools for identifying deep-seated and persistent performance problems. This issue will explain the basics of a culture audit, and introduce the next steps in the process of conducting one within your organization. This process will determine if the time is right for a culture audit in your organization, help you sell the concept of a culture audit to management, and show you how to select the audit tool that is most appropriate for your culture.

Needs Assessment for Organizational Success

Needs Assessment for Organizational Success links the fundamental training design technique of a needs assessment as a basis for all organizational improvement initiatives. Needs Assessment for Organizational Success provides new insight in managing the needs assessment process to structure performance improvement across all aspects of measurement and supportive decision-making tools.

Building A New Performance Vision

Use the HPI model to unite your organization in a single human performance improvement approach.It can be difficult to shake the silo mentality that encumbers any organizational advancement in performance improvement. Building a New Performance Vision uncovers how all business functions can be united under a single performance process. Step-by-step instructions, tools, tips, and job aids help you organize efforts and champion a unified approach.

Role of HR Consulting in Redesigning Organizational Structure

Organizational structure is the driving force behind the performance and growth of the organization. An HR Consulting Firm can diligently perform the task of analyzing and redesigning the structure of the organisation in accordance with the strategic goals, objectives and mission of the organization.

Objectives of Performance Management

Performance Management aims at developing individuals with the required commitment and competencies for working towards the shared meaningful objectives within an organizational framework.

Managing Employee Performance

Managing employee performance is one of the key drivers for organizational success in the present context of firms trying to adopt a resource centered view of the organizational.

Leadership Development and Performance Management

Leadership development process has evolved as a facilitative and a strategic process aiming at improving the organizational and individual performance by identifying and developing the leadership talent in a planned and integrated manner.

Performance Improvement Programs and Their Implications for Organizations

An often overlooked but vital organizational policy is that of the PIP or the Performance Improvement Plan/Program. This article discusses the nuances of the PIP and the roles of the various stakeholders in actualizing the same. The key theme in this article is that though the PIP is undesirable but a very real and potent aspect of organizational policy.

Benefits of a Performance Management System

An effective performance management system works towards the improvement of the overall organizational performance. Let us discuss about the benefits of an effective performance management system.

Improved Trust Fosters Improved Results

On many occasions, I have referred to communication as the lubricant that enables organizations to function smoothly. However, trust in organizations is even more fundamental. Without trust, effective communication is impeded and organizational performance suffers. Stephen …

The Big Deal About Employee Engagement

For several years, employee engagement has been a hot topic in the executive suite because there’s mounting evidence that employee engagement correlates to individual, group, and organizational performance in the areas of productivity, retention, turnover, customer service, and loyalty. It also has captured t…

Learning About M-Learning

A review of Designing mLearning: Tapping Into the Mobile Revolution for Organizational Performance by Clark N. Quinn

Bridging the Skills Gap: New Factors Compound the Growing Skills Shortage

“Bridging the Skills Gap” is the third report from ASTD to cover the growing importance of talent to organizational performance and the skills gap that threatens so many organizations today. This report updates the picture, including the role of job losses during the current recession, and examines the influence of Web 2.0…

What Types of Organizations are Active in Executive Development?

Executive development is a multi-billion dollar business endeavor and a critical component to an organization’s long term growth and survival. Organizations invest significant resources to develop today’s leaders into tomorrow’s executives, often with little information on what other organizations have found to be successful (or unsuccessful). A new study by ASTD, sponsored by Booz Allen Hamilton, examined how organizations handle executive development, how much they spend on the programs, who is involved, how are the participants selected, what makes these programs most effective, success stories and lessons learned. [more]One of the key findings of this study was that the executive development “playground is dominated by the big kids.” Most Larger organizations with substantial resources are much more likely to have an executive development program than smaller firms. Most organizations have one of two distinct approaches to executive development: either ‘heavy’ or ‘light’. Executive development programs in firms with high revenue and multinational or global operations are more likely to be characterized as heavy programs. The study found that an organization with a heavy program likely: Companies with only a national reach often have light executive development programs. A company with a light program can be characterized by: Furthermore, organizations with heavy programs reported much better organizational performance than organizations with light programs. The full report, Executive Development: Strategic and Tactical Approaches, contains more in-depth and expanded findings, including best practices and actionable recommendations from ASTD and responding organizations. Source: Executive Development: Strategic and Tactical Approaches (ASTD/Booz Allen Hamilton) Click here to learn more about ASTD Research.

Walt McFarland Named Chair-Elect of ASTD Board of Directors

Walt McFarland, Founder of Windmill Human Performance, LLC, and former executive at Booz Allen Hamilton, will serve as the 2012 Chair-Elect of the ASTD Board of Directors and will assume the role of Board Chair in 2013. Mr. McFarland created Windmill Human Performance after completing a one year sabbatical during which he studied human and organizational performance, multi-cultural talent management, and organizational change at several institutions and organizations including Oxford and Harvard universities and three Fortune 300 organizations. Prior to taking his sabbatical, Mr. McFarland built a $125 million Human Resource (HR) and Learning consulting business in the federal market for Booz Allen Hamilton. He has consulted for the Internal Revenue Service, Department of Homeland Security, the FBI, Department of Defense, and National Institutes of Health among others. Prior to joining Booz Allen, Mr. McFarland led the HR and Change Management business of Hay Management Consultants where his clients included the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, Marriott, and the Federal Reserve System. He served as an employee of the Federal Government, with his last role as a Special Assistant to the Secretary of Defense.

Strategic Workplace Learning in the Public Sector – Part II

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

RWD Partners with HP to Enhance Support of the Application Lifecycle

BALTIMORE, February 22, 2010 – RWD Technologies, LLC (RWD), a global company that develops and implements human and organizational performance solutions, today announced integration between RWD uPerform and HP Quality Center. As a new Silver Partner within the HP Enterprise Management Alliance Program, RWD now enables organizations to combine the content generation and management capabilities of RWD uPerform with the quality assurance and software testing capabilities of HP Quality Center. A typical application lifecycle follows a development and implementation process composed of several phases, multiple teams, many documentation outputs, and a plethora of content systems. This current way of doing business often translates to significant and redundant effort to create and manage project documentation. By introducing RWD uPerform early in the application lifecycle, organizations can save time and money via one-time capture of steps in the target application to produce both learning and testing output. One of these outputs, a test script, can be uploaded to HP Quality Center for use by test teams during current and future application rollouts. Read more.

Learning Executive Confidence Index (LXCI)

LXCI December 2008: The ASTD Learning Executives Confidence Index (LXCI) for December 2008 was 52.1 based on responses from 115 LXs to an online invitation-only survey, demonstrating that collectively LXs expect their learning functions to remain the same or marginally improve over the next six months (for those unfamiliar with the LXCI, a detailed explanation appears at the end of this report). The outlook for LXs’ own organizational performance has declined, with only 39% reporting their industry will remain the same or improve over the next six months, down from 52% in November. Those LXs who anticipate their own organization to have moderately to substantially worse profits in 12 months compared to today had an LXCI of 33.1, while those who expect their organization’s profits to be moderately to substantially better had an LXCI of 80.3.

In Tough Economy, Healthy, Productive Workplace More Important Than Ever

(WASHINGTON, March 2 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/) While the impact of the economy can be felt across all industries, workplaces that continue to invest in employees during tough economic times reap rewards for employer and employees alike, reported the American Psychological Association (APA) at its Psychologically Healthy Workplace Awards ceremony yesterday. Five organizations were recognized by the APA for their comprehensive efforts to promote employee health and well-being while enhancing organizational performance. ( Read the entire article.)

Executive Development – “Playing with the Big Kids”

Does your organization have an executive development program? If not, they are representative of the 34% of organizations recently sampled in the Executive Development: Strategic and Tactical Approaches report that have no active executive development program. Only 38% of participating companies have an active executive development program, while 23% have a program that is activated as necessary. The executive development “playground” is dominated by “the big kids” – large organizations with substantial revenues. As annual revenue increases, so does the likelihood of having an executive development program. Executive development is a costly investment, with the average amount spent on each employee participating in a program reaching $12,370. [more]This average amount is 1,021% higher than the overall average learning expenditure reported in the 2008 ASTD State of the Industry Report. This finding is not surprising given the intensive demands of cultivating new executives and high-level personnel required for the efforts. It highlights that organizations with an active approach to executive development tend to have large workforces and hefty annual incomes. They have sufficient funds allocated to executive learning and development, which provides employees with the learning opportunities necessary to cultivate skills for running a successful organization. Nearly half the companies that reported having an active executive development program had annual revenues of $3 billion or more. Two approaches to active executive development programs have also been identified: “heavy” and “light”. Organizations with “heavy” programs tend to operate at a global or multinational level, have large revenues, and report better-than-average organizational performance. They have a tendency to spend more on each participant in learning, have a higher percentage of the workforce in executive development and rely more on outsourcing for executive development. Conversely, organizations with “light” executive development programs tend to have national operations, generate less revenue, and report poorer organizational performance; these organizations subsequently spend less, have a lower percentage of employees in executive development, and rely more on internal resources for their executive development initiatives than on external resources. Source: Executive Development: Strategic and Tactical Approaches (ASTD/Booz Allen Hamilton) Click here to learn more about ASTD Research.

The Learning & Development Revolution We Need to Have

Learning & Development (L&D) is charged with supporting an organization’s success, and increasingly, that success is due not only to optimal execution, but continual innovation L&D is not doing all it can and should be doing and, worse, what it is doing it is doing badly. Most of what we see in training isn’t aligned with how we actually learn, and we’re not looking at other, often more effective, ways of supporting organizational performance and innovation. In fact, L&D has not caught up with…

Four Leadership Behaviors That Build or Destroy Trust

Trust continues to be identified as a missing ingredient in today’s workplace. As surveys show, only a small percentage of today’s workers strongly agree that they trust their leaders. To ensure high levels of organizational performance, leaders need to tackle trust head-on. The key is to demonstrate the behaviors people most associate with trust. In this webinar, Blanchard trust practice leader Randy Conley will show you how leaders can improve the levels of trust in their organization by…

Emotional Intelligence as a Leadership Predictor

We are all familiar with emotional intelligence, but how do we leverage it in our practice as learning leaders and utilize it as a measure of potential leadership success, and ultimately organizational performance? Emotional intelligence (EQ) requires effective communication between the rational and emotional centers of the brain; it represents the path between feeling and reason. The four skills that together make up emotional intelligence include self-awareness and self-management, which are…

ATD Needs Assessment Certificate

Learn a systematic approach for conducting your own assessment of the individual and organizational performance needs that drive requests for learning and development solutions. Learn more about this course or register here: http://bit.ly/29nwRI9

Change Management

Trainers must be comfortable with managing change to be effective organizational performance partners. Use this Infoline as a primer on change management tactics and the skills needed to facilitate change. This issue includes useful tools, hands-on examples, and models for change practitioners to use. In addition to a six-phase change strategy model, you will find a list of needed implementation skills, a performance issue analysis tool, and other important advice that will smooth the way of change and reduce barriers. Author: Stella Louise Cowan
Product SKU: 259904 ISBN: 978-1-56286-242-8
Pages: 16 pages Publisher: ASTD Press
Format: Booklet

Learning Everywhere

Focused on creating solutions that increase organizational performance no matter the content type or instructional need, this book is truly about Learning Everywhere.

Models of Transformational Change

This article provides a description about the Practitioner Model and Theoretical Model of Transformation along with its relative strengths and weaknesses. It further explains the commonalities between these two models and its implications on organizational performance.

Fiedlers Contingency Model

Fred E. Fiedlers contingency theory of leadership effectiveness was based on studies of a wide range of group effectiveness, and concentrated on the relationship between leadership and organizational performance.

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Overview of Role of Chief Learning Officer

Chief Learning Officers are often found at larger organizations where the human resources department is broken out into various specialties. CLOs, who are sometimes called chief knowledge officers, usually report either to the top talent officer or the chief executive officer (CEO). A CLO’s responsibilities may include on boarding, training courses and materials, employee development initiatives, executive coaching, knowledge management and succession planning. CLOs may also supervise the selection and implementation of learning technology, such as learning management systems (LMS). CLO Job Responsibilities: Develops an organization’s educational process Promotes knowledge management Institutes effective training strategies Directs large scale change management...

Training is NOT Snakeoil

After reflecting upon the recent topic of Snakeoil for a while I have decided that it simply does not jive with the facts. Laurie Bassi’s research shows that organizations that make large investments in training do much better than others. This is because training has both a direct and indirect effect upon the organization: Her research is so powerful, that it actually shows that organizations that make large investments in training return 16.3% per year, compared with 10.7 for the S&P 500 index. In the Human Equation, Jeffery Pfeffer writes that “Virtually all descriptions of high performance management practices emphasize training, and the amount of training provided by commitment as opposed to control-orientated management is substantial” (p85). On the very next page Pfeffer writes that in times of economic stringency, many U.S. organizations reduce training to make profit goals. Why? Because if we as trainers have no faith, then why should the decision-makers? Yet training works! It is one of the best predictors of organizational success! So why do we on the inside, who perhaps should know better, bash training just as readily as those on the outside? Perhaps because we deal with the most complicated organization of matter in the known universe — the human brain. The brain struggling to understand the brain is society trying to explain itself. – Colin Blakemore Training works…but not as we always predict…and the reason we cannot always predict it is because we are trying to get a set number of neurons in the human brain to light up at exactly the right time…yet we are not quite sure which neurons actually need to light up…a complicated thing training is indeed…yet for the most part, we do quite well…thats pretty good since we are learning ourselves…and the most exciting part is that we are not there yet…we are still learning…

The “What” and “How” of Selling Skills

As promised, part 3 of our three-part series about data found in last year’s ASTD’s State of Sales Training research study is here. Part 1 focused on the importance of aligning sales training with other corporate training as well as corporate goals and initiatives, while part 2 focused on the “who, what, and how” of sales training. Today, part 3 will focus on the “what” and “how” of selling skills. Today’s sales trainers are more focused on “softer,” more people-oriented selling skills. This means that consultative skills, listening skills, and relationship building skills are taking the place of “hard-sell” persuasion and negotiation skills typically associated with sales professionals. About six in 10 respondents said that their selling skills training includes consultative-selling skills (60.5 percent), listening (59.8 percent) and relationship building (58.7 percent) to a high or very high extent. Not only does the data show the trend of increasing “soft skills,” it also shows evidence that stereotypes of “smooth-talking” salespersons are likely outdated. Over one third of respondents indicated that persuasion and negotiating are either not included or only included to a small extent in their selling skills training. In other words: used car salesman with the loud suit, cheesy smile, and greased-back hair? Your days are numbered. However, while consultative selling skills has the highest incidence in training programs, it doesn’t appear to have any significant correlation with sales success. On the other hand, the skills that have less chance of being highly integrated in a training program, persuasion skills and negotiation, at least show a relationship with sales performance. So it looks like “hard skills” still have their place in the sales environment. Training Ethics One surprising piece of data is that a large number of respondents say they don’t receive any training in ethical decision making. Studies have shown that ethics training for all employees was considered an important internal practice for ensuring an ethical corporate culture (AMA and i4cp, 2006), so is this cause for concern? Or is it that organizations who strongly believe in ethics already believe that they have ethical teams who don’t need the training? In other words, do they think that other companies and competitors should receive ethics training? Regardless of the reasoning, sales team members communicate directly with prospects and customers. The inclusion of ethical decision-making in selling skills training may still be worthwhile. How Sales Teams Learn Now that we’ve established what sales teams focus on learning, the next best question is: how do they learn it? Interestingly enough, of the top five ways respondents said they learned selling skills, only one of them is tied to classroom learning. Sharing tips with one another plays an important role in learning skills, as does trial-by-fire. More than half of those surveyed (53.9 percent) answered that they learn selling skills by being formally mentored or coached. Does e-Learning apply to Sales Teams? While relationship-based and immersion approaches, respondents are less likely to consider leveraging technology to share their knowledge about selling skills techniques. More than six in 10 respondents (61.6 percent) said that sales team members do not learn selling skills through Web 2.0 tools at all (30.1 percent) or only to a small extent (31.5 percent). This includes bulletin boards, wikis, portals, and other similar vehicles to facilitate knowledge-sharing. Likewise, 58 percent of respondents said selling skills are either not learned at all (29.0 percent) or only to a small extent (29.0 percent) by using a technology platform. This could present a golden opportunity for companies to take better advantage of technology to share knowledge among sales team members. The only condition is that the technology has to be able to help in the highly interactive person-to-person selling environment. Additional analyses were performed to determine if respondents’ views about learning differed depending on their organizational role. Specifically, our analysis showed that respondents with a sales focus were significantly more likely than other respondents to report that sales team members learn more by reading and were significantly less likely to report that they learn by attending classes created within the organization. Conclusions Learning professionals might be concerned by this finding. It suggests that while they believe classes add value, sales team members don’t agree. Learning professionals might benefit from exploring this apparent skepticism about classes and trying to determine the underlying causes by pursuing certain questions: can reading be done faster than taking a class? Or is reading simply associated with greater scheduling flexibility?

The Q2 ASTD LXCI Report is Now Available

LXCI Highlights -Q2 2011 Learning executives continued to report positive expectations for the learning function following the first quarter of 2011. The LXCI for Q2 was derived from the responses of 357 learning executives to an online, invitation-only survey. The overall LXCI score for the second quarter of 2011 is 67.1, decreasing slightly from Q1 2011 (67.3). The score demonstrates that collectively, LXs expect the organizational learning function to improve over the next six months. Like Q1, Learning executives expressed considerable optimism in all key indices, suggesting stability, if not growth, for the learning function in the coming months. Dropping slightly from 90 percent, 87.4 percent of learning executives expect the same or better performance for their particular industry in the next six months. Over half (58.8 percent) of respondents predicting that their ability to meet learning needs will be substantially or moderately better in the next six months. About half of LXs expect staffing levels to remain stable over the next six months. 24 percent predict staffing level increases while another 25 percent predict decreased staff levels. LXs are least optimistic about travel for training purposes and 12 percent predict a substantial decrease. The next LXCI report (2011 Q3) is scheduled for release in October 2011. The Learning Executives Confidence Index is available for free at the ASTD Book Store.

The Economic Downturn: Learning’s Time to Shine

How can there be light during a downturn? By using their expertise, workplace learning and performance (WLP) professionals have been given a torch, to help their organization survive the downturn and allow them to emerge in a stronger competitive position when the economy recovers. In the current economic downturn, organizations have been forced to use cost cutting strategies. Departmental budgets are being trimmed, with the learning function being no exception. Learning and development functions are not only being pushed to economize spending on learning activities, but to simultaneously continue to build critical skills and knowledge. A new report by ASTD and i4cp, Learning in Tough Economic Times, indicates that between a fifth and a quarter of respondents said that, to a high or very high extent, the down economy has had a negative impact on each of the following: However, there has been a benefit which WLP professionals need to monopolize, with nearly four-in-ten respondents saying that their firm placed a stronger emphasis on learning during this downturn than previous downturns. Organizations that place a stronger emphasis on learning were also more likely to point to higher market performance, highlighting the bottom-line benefit. Conversely, reducing learning resources during tough economic times was associated with poor market performance. Organizations appear to be learning from previous experiences and realize that eliminating learning opportunities can be crippling for an organization. One respondent to the survey used an impactful analogy to describe this from a previous experience: “turning off the educational tap leaves a company dehydrated with no ability to grow – no way to give the company nutrients”. Experts agree that during these economically difficult times, learning professionals have the opportunity to show the strategic business value of workplace learning and performance. Talent management has never been more important than during this economic downturn, and learning professionals have a significant influence over its success, with expertise in competency management, skills assessment, and organizational development. Thus, the onus is on WLP professionals to demonstrate learning’s effect on developing talent in organizations by ensuring there are processes in place to find, hire, and keep talent. WLP professionals need to partner and collaborate with organizational leaders to demonstrate how learning can positively impact corporate performance and ensure survival through the economic downturn and allow them to emerge in a strong competitive position when the economy recovers. Learning needs to focus on what impacts the bottom line and is business crucial, and a direct cause-and-effect relationship needs to be evident between learning initiatives and results. Source: Learning in Tough Economic Times (ASTD/i4cp) Click here to learn more about ASTD Research.

Strategic Workplace Learning in the Public Sector

Strategic Workplace Learning in the Public Sector A little less than two years ago on this blog, I entered a curmudgeonly post on “The Non-Strategic State of Workplace Learning” (See Agile Bureaucracy, June 16, 2008 – http://community.thepublicmanager.org/cs/blogs/agile_bureaucracy/archive/2008/06/16/the-non-strategic-state-of-workplace.aspx ). My snarky premise was that even though since the mid-90s government at all levels had begun requiring strategic goals, measurable outcomes and periodic reporting on results, “this shift (hadn’t) yet made a noticeable dent” in aligning training and development investments with agency mission or management priorities. For example, I noted, “In a post-silo organizational culture, Chief Human Capital Officers (CHCOs) would be fully involved in the organization’s strategic planning and management systems (and such T&D) activities would be (integrated) to meet priority challenges.” Designing Strategic Leaning Efforts I also speculated that indicators of this integration might appropriately include the training community’s involvement in designing learning efforts to: foster an organization-wide performance culture improve oversight and accountability behavior recruit, engage and retain young professionals – among other priority HR challenges help IT professionals and non-technologists alike keep pace with expanding E-expectations help managers transcend boundaries of federal, state and local governments and foster collaboration among public, private, and nonprofit sectors assure that transparency becomes an organization-wide value help agency managers plan to share responsibility for achieving results – with other governmental levels, internationally and the private sector prepare managers for and respond more collaboratively to catastrophic disasters Again, the unflattering picture I painted two years ago didn’t include much evidence that the T&D community even had a seat at the table on these matters. To be sure, some of the feedback (and blowback) I received suggested that I had painted too bleak a picture. (After all, even the Dutch Masters included a few swatches of thick, white oil paint on their invariably dark canvases.) Nevertheless, few colleagues – trainers, HR leaders, and other public management professionals – could point to instances where training figured as an integral part of strategic public sector initiatives. Strategic Workplace Learning Observed Well, in searching for such illuminating examples, I’m beginning to see some light. In fact, the theme of the summer 2010 issue of The Public Manager is strategic workplace learning – with likely articles featuring case illustrations from such government organizations as: the US Departments of Defense, Energy, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, Transportation, and Veterans Affairs; and New York State, among others. Moreover, many of these public sector workplace learning innovations will be presented in interactive or workshop-style sessions at the American Society for Training and Development’s (ASTD’s) 2010 International Conference & Exposition to be held in Chicago, Illinois, May 16-19 ( http://www.astdconference.org/ ). Here are brief highlights from just two of these training efforts – both involving the US Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA): Enabling Success in Afghanistan: Building Cultural Expertise at the US Department of Defense As the United States geared up to send thousands of troops into Afghanistan, the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) faced the challenge of preparing hundreds of intelligence analysts to enter the country knowing something of the history, culture, politics, and governance of the region. The Afghanistan-Pakistan Regional Expertise Training Program was developed to deliver cultural expertise training to intelligence professionals and operations personnel across the Intelligence Community and US Department of Defense. This case study considers how the DIA responded to a time-critical, far-reaching problem that crossed agency and coalition lines. It examines how to meet the need for an immediate solution while addressing questions of funding, format, location, and ideal content – in effect, how to create and evaluate a sustainable model for preparing employees to operate in a range of countries and cultures. Creating a Collaborative Culture at the Defense Intelligence Agency After the terrorist attacks of September 2001, the members of the Intelligence Community (IC) needed to transform from a stove-piped culture, where employees viewed knowledge as power, to a collaborative culture, where employees saw knowledge sharing as their personal responsibility. Creating such a culture begins with an effective onboarding program. In 2004, the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) leadership directed the development of an orientation and acculturation program to bring together all junior-level, professional-grade employees, regardless of job responsibilities. The 5-week program develops an understanding of how all elements of the DIA work together to support US National Security objectives and Department of Defense operations, and to collaborate with other Intelligence Community (IC) members. This program is innovative among IC onboarding courses by its attendance policy, the length of the course, the curriculum, and the instructional methodology. DIA recognized that new employees could be effective change agents and designed its onboarding program to help establish a knowledge sharing culture. The recitation examines training techniques DIA has used to foster a culture of collaboration across organizational lines, explores the challenges within organizations that inhibit collaboration, and identifies the role of senior leadership in transforming the culture and the onboarding process. Share Your Observations In subsequent posts, I’ll be sharing more examples of how government organizations are aligning training efforts with strategic agency goals. If you know of other examples of how public sector organizations have begun to align workplace learning efforts with priority mission and management challenges, please let me hear from you. Better still, encourage trainers and managers in these organizations to comment on this blog directly and weigh in with their own best practice T&D stories. I’ll make sure to share these examples with a larger audience.

Selling Sleuth? The Secrets of Gathering Intelligence

Gathering Intelligence – An Insightful Sales Competency Business is an intelligent game and to win you have to gather intelligence about the marketplace. As a Sales Trainer, you will teach the sales team gathering intelligence as a sales competency. Your sales training program will present them how to define, analyze and learn about competitors, products, customers, distributors, industries, technologies and field research. Much of this teaching analysis should integrate and accentuate your sales management curriculum. It will also show how environmental and macroeconomic intelligence data is used to make financial decisions. Talent management and organizational development strategies are also linked to business intelligence when teaching sales strategies. According to Sales Training Drivers, once you acquire intelligence, you can: So, what do you do once you have gathered the intelligence and want to use it in the classroom? Keep your Competition Close In sales, gathering intelligence will be a big asset to assessing prospect problems. First you can isolate the data to come up with qualifying questions that give you answers to pain challenges and budget constraints. Use the data to create a behavioral question interview that will help you keep the prospect engaged in objective conversation to uncover weaknesses that you can solve with your product or service. Now, you are on a real fact finding mission with your prospect! Implement action oriented blended learning tools into your teach back that keeps the class motivated on isolating and organizing the business resources effectively. The best way to keep the class on their heels is to turn the learning function into a real world test role play! Establish ROI with all sales data points Another hard line sales management learning objective would be to use the intelligence to teach the class how to design an ROI analysis report that will sell a Decision Maker. That will always get the class up and moving! Focus on gathering business intelligence that is of interest to the decision makers you are calling on. For example, look at all the companies in your selling market that have had a sales decrease, but could really benefit from your product or service in terms of making or saving money. Why are they experiencing a sales decrease? Formulate a short ROI analysis outline using resourced intelligence to raise an eyebrow based on what you think you can do for that prospect to increase their revenue, productivity and performance.

Sales Training Management Dilemmas

Sales Training Management Dilemmas Do you really know your sales organization? Most people don’t realize that the sales culture created in the organization is actually built upon bits and pieces of the sales profession. By that I mean, each person that has had a critical decision to make has uniquely crafted the sales organization… based upon their own understanding of the profession. With that understanding, they have infused both good and bad practices. These practices can be traced to several distinct sales eras. Each era, can leave a lasting impression on your organization — thanks to the people who infused the sales culture from the beginning, until today. Here is each of the eras: The Time Period Era of… Late 1800’s -1920 Sales Science 1920 – 1945 Sales Process 1945 – 1985 Sales Confersations 1985 – 2005 Sales Technology 2005 -?? Sales Performance For each of these eras, please read my other articles. The sales eras are important for historical reasons, but there is a practical reason for understanding that they survive until this day. Much of the knowledge new salespeople attain is grounded in the Era of Sales Process. Much of the knowledge on client decision making comes from the Era of Sales Conversations, and much of the advances in managing information flow appeared in the Era of Sales Technology. It’s interesting to note that each selling era precedes the other. If you’re just starting to analyze a sales team, you can start with the work required to accomplish a single transaction while Identifying how the sales team is organized, how quotas are assigned, and who reports to whom (Era of Sales Science). From there, move into identifying the processes, systems, and tools in place that support the sales team as they attempt drive multiple transactions (Era of Sales Process). Next, move into understanding how the sales team supports client decision-makers as well as how they help clients justify purchase decisions (Era of Sales Conversations). After that, you can analyze the technology in place designed to support and align the sales team (Era of Sales Technology). Finally, you can move into understanding the individual and organizational competencies required of the various levels within the sales team (Era of Sales Competency). Think about it! Entering the Era of Sales competency requires all other eras to exist first. Therefore, identifying theses eras can be accomplished even if you have a new sales team that lacks the history, but needs processes, tools, and systems to align to the client. So, is your sales organization ready? Welcome to the Era of Sales Performance — seriously. The age of the millennial salesperson… In today’s complex business environment, a need continues to exist for sales professionals who can build relationships, truly understand the customer, and bring value to the client. It may be true that remnants of preceding sales Eras still exist in your organization. While most organizations would argue that they are working diligently to understand the customer and consult with them to develop win-win solutions, this continues to be extremely difficult. These difficulties require a holistic approach and understanding of the complex environment sales teams operate within. This complexity has created today’s sales era. This era is built upon a platform of salesperson competency. Because buyers are demanding more and more unique answers to their complex business problems, salespeople of today must be able to customize and personalize the information and knowledge from the previous Sales Eras to create their own unique selling approach. This requires a holistic understanding of knowledge, skills, and abilities required to succeed. Are you working in a high performing sales organization? – Does your organization spend time on developing the right transaction, at the right time, with the right prospect and support salespeople with a holistic approach with sales, support, and services all working together? – There is an increased emphasis on how deals are done, not just what the end result is. – Salespeople are encouraged to personalize their approach within a standard sales process. – Salespeople are enabled to develop self-directed learning approaches and given the flexibility to pursue the right training for them. – Salespeople are taught not only about their client’s industry, but the industry of their client’s customers. – Salespeople are required to attend a training program focused on different levels of their career – Sales training is broken into categories such as selling skills training, product training, industry training, and technical (administrative) training. ——-

Our Next Complimentary Webcast: Selling with Brand Power

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

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.

New ATD Research Examines a New Age of Learning through Instructional Design

The failure of senior leaders to grasp the importance of instructional design is a big stumbling block for organizational learning and development efforts, according to a new study from the Association for Talent Development (ATD), formerly ASTD. Instructional design (ID) is critical to effective organizational learning and today the field is navigating an abundance of new tools, technologies, and evolving learning delivery methods. Organizations that want their employees to engage in learning initiatives that enhance performance on every level, must value the essential role instructional design plays. In the report, Instructional Design Now: A New Age of Learning and Beyond, ATD teamed with the Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp) to gather insight from instructional designers and learning professionals worldwide to assess the current and anticipated future states of ID and its contribution to business success. When ATD and i4cp collaborated for the 2010 report, Instructional Systems Design: Today and in the Future, the main focus was instability in organizational learning, complicated by ongoing technological advances and globalization. Today, those factors still exist, however, the new research indicates that ID professionals must become faster, more strategic, global, and tech-savvy. The research also indicates that buy-in from senior leaders has remained low due to the lack of competencies, which has led to low funding. Key findings from the Instructional Design Now: A New Age of Learning and Beyond include: Instructional Design Now: A New Age of Learning and Beyond, is available on the ATD store. Visit Instructional-Design-Now.

May T+D: Learning’s Earnings: 2008 Salary Survey

ASTD’s learning and performance professionals are well-compensated, earning on average more than $35,000 more than the national average of $48,000. However, as with past ASTD salary surveys, men are earning more than 16 percent more on average than women. The ASTD market research department conducted surveys with more than 590 members in 2008, providing a snapshot of salaries across areas of expertise, job responsibilities, and industry. The top earners reside in larger companies, manage larger budgets, are more experienced, and have significant management responsibilities. Facilitating organizational change and managing the learning function are the top-paying areas of expertise, but human performance improvement and delivering training are increasing in importance and compensation level. As in past years, men are outpacing women in earnings (16 percent more), which is in line with the national average (17 percent). Men make more money than women at every level, with the average for men at $93,377, compared with $79,051 for women. The survey shows that more women are making $100,000 or more, but the men who are making $100,000 or more are making approximately $14,000 more than women on average. Read more in the upcoming May T+D.

March 2014 Letter to the Community

This month I am really excited to talk about a few new things on the horizon. First there are two fantastic new titles available for pre-order: The ASTD Handbook, 2 Edition, and the Leaving ADDIE for SAM Field Guide. Both of these highly anticipated resources are launching at ASTD 2014, and the authors will be in the ASTD Store to sign your books and chat about what makes their respective titles so very must-read. Speaking of the Handbook, the L&D Blog is featuring a series of sneak-peek articles written by Handbook chapter contributors, starting with Patti Shank and Renie McClay. Renie offers some highlights from her chapter, detailing how the globality of work is affecting the L&D field, and performance support guru Patti reminds L&D professionals that they need to know whether training is the answer to the actual performance problem. Not to be missed! And lastly, I am pleased to be among the first to let a very big cat out of the bag. You have probably seen the Science of Learning track making its first appearance at ASTD 2014. The great news is that this track is just one offering from the new Science of Learning Community of Practice, which launches officially in May. Get in on the ground floor of this community for practitioners interested in research-based approaches to designing and delivering learning and improving performance. Sign up for the newsletter to stay on top of developments in human cognition, neuroscience, organizational behavior, and more, and discover new ways to apply the evidence to your practice. You can view the full March newsletter as a web page here. If you are not yet singed up for Inside L&D, now is a great time! See you in April!

Listen to the Voices of Measuring and Evaluating Training: Roger Kaufman

The ASTD Handbook of Measuring and Evaluating Training, edited by Patti Phillips, has just released. This book serves as a comprehensive go-to reference and a roadmap to developing effective processes. Each chapter is written by an expert in the field, chosen for their experience and actual results in specific areas. From evaluation planning and data collection, to data analysis and measurement, you’ll gain insights and practical advice from individuals who have applied their tools and methods in organizations worldwide. At the end of the book, a special section called “Voices” hosted by Rebecca Ray features summarized interviews with eight world-renowned gurus. These complete interviews are available as podcasts online! Our next highlighted legend is Roger Kaufman, PhD, professor emeritus of Educational Psychology Learning Systems at Florida State University and a recipient of the Professional Excellence Award. He is also a distinguished research professor at the Institute of Technology in Mexico. A Certified Performance Technologist, he spent years in human resources, training, and engineering positions and served two terms for the U.S. Secretary of the Navy’s Advisory Board on Education and Training. He is past president and member for life of the International Society for Performance Improvement and was the recipient of the society’s Thomas S. Gilbert Professional Achievement Award. Recognized by ASTD for distinguished contribution to workplace learning and development, he is the creator of the Organizational Elements Model and consults worldwide. He has written more than 265 articles and 39 books on strategic planning, management, performance improvement, needs assessment, and evaluation.

Leverage the Sales Process

Salespeople work hard. They try to be better. Do things faster. Make more calls. Get more appointments. Feed the sales funnel. Fill the pipeline. Drive to close. Drive to open. Drive. Drive. Drive. What can they do in order to accomplish more with less? Is ‘more’ even the right focus? Do they really have ‘less’? More what? Less what? The answer is not continually beat up a sales team for the reasons why a sale wasn’t booked. What’s important is to understand how you can help the salesperson with their selling style and their target’s buying style; and how they can integrate. What does it take to make a sale lately? Salespeople focus on the “Sales Cycle.” The problem with the traditional definition of the ‘Sales Cycle’ is that it is focused on the sales team and not on your prospect first. More recently, the focus has shifted to the ‘Buying Cycle’ and learning how to synchronize it to gain a win-win relationship. To sell successfully in today’s market, your focus must be on the integration of the ‘Sales Cycle’ and the ‘Buying Cycle’ into an overall sales system based on trust, ethics, win-win, and driving towards a transaction. This “commerce cycle” is rooted in the buying and selling relationship, with special emphasis on value – the value that both the buyer and seller each bring to the relationship. Driving your sales means to understand “What” the sales profession is. To do that, salespeople must continuously improve and seek the help of books, tapes, seminars, and others. Find the “what” as it pertains to you – the truth is out there. What is selling? Do you know how buying and selling integrate and how to help salespeople within that relationship? Just like the laws of nature, for every action there is an opposite reaction. The same holds true for sales. To effectively sell, help the sales person realize: 1) the buyer(s) and his/her buying cycle(s), 2) their sales cycle, and 3) how and when the two intersect. Accomplishing these three points will ‘reduces the sales cycle.’ Understand the buyer(s), and the buying cycle(s), and the salesperson will understand the commerce cycle – then he or she will be widely successful. All sales professionals, no matter their functional area of expertise should be able to understand the strengths and weaknesses of their selling abilities in their various markets. Having a “universally functional” understanding will help you attain higher levels of sales success. Various examples of universal functionality may include: solution selling methodologies, commodity selling methodologies, high volume selling methodologies, and methodologies used when selling a service. It’s a cluttered sales world out there, and you need to help develop a model that helps you better understand the balance of selling and buying in today’s global economy. The model you develop must be rooted in an understanding of the seller’s activities and the buyer’s activities. Strive to make your model open and flexible to account for faster or slower sales cycles. From the CEO to the front-line sales representative, the key is to develop an organizational understanding of the processes and framework of professional selling. Professional sales people are the revenue generating engines of any company. Yet few sales people are measured on standardized metrics of performance. Often, a “what works for you, won’t work for anyone else” approach is taken when it comes to training and nurturing the professional sales person.

Korn/Ferry International Named HR Consulting Firm of the Year at China Staff Awards 2010

(From PRNewswire) — Korn/Ferry International, a premier global provider of talent management solutions, has won the HR Consulting Firm of the Year award in the category of Talent Management at the recent China Staff Awards 2010. Organized by CCH, a Wolters Kluwer business, the China Staff Awards, established in 1998, recognizes individuals and companies whose dedication to the HR profession is acknowledged by their peers. “We are thrilled to win the award for HR Consulting Firm of the Year under the Talent Management category,” said Jack Lim, managing director of Korn/Ferry’s Leadership and Talent Consulting business in Greater China. “The award is a testament and recognition of the work we do with our clients to help them continually build their capabilities and talent pipeline, in order to remain agile in a fast changing environment.” In recognizing Korn/Ferry, the panel of judges noted that “Korn/Ferry’s research-based talent management solutions have come at a critical time in the China market and worldwide. We recognize them for their quality services in the areas of identifying best fit talent, leadership assessment, and customized development programs. Korn/Ferry leverages unique methodologies to attract, identify and develop high-potential leaders who learn quickly, navigate change and drive the changes needed in the market.” The HR Consulting Firm of the Year award recognizes the firm that offers cohesive and effective HR management solutions in areas such as HR Strategy, cost & budget, organizational development, leadership development, succession planning, HR technology and workforce planning. These solutions must not have only helped clients create a high-performance work environment, but also proved to result in measurable benefits to the client company. Previous winners of this award include Hewitt Associates Consulting and Mercer Human Resources Consulting. Read more.

Is your Training Effective after 90 days?

In an article posted by Achieve Global in 2008 entitled “Does Training Rely Too Much on Coaching by Managers? it isdiscussed that “training and coaching needs to be long-term companions in developing employees.” Sales Training Drivers is in agreement here and it is centered on the Sales Training Drivers core mission. 1. Integrate Sales Management with Talent Management 2. Create a Dynamic Sales Learning Culture 3. Increase Revenue and Maximize Sales Performance The question of whether sales training is effective after the employee receives it – is an emotional debate on its’ own. Coaching, Training and Managerial Effectiveness has had to change for the better in the Workplace over the past few years to respond to employee conflicts, and behavioral dysfunction between employees and managers. Unclear long term employee action planning is also a detriment to specific business results. Many trainers still do not understand how to tie specific business objectives to individual employee training to determine the impact of organizational revenue and performance productivity. Employee turn-over is the most costly of this mis-managed metric. And, if the Trainer does understand how to deliver at this level, is there enough time, a budget, resources and open communication with management to address such concerns? Sales Training Drivers will be discussing the evolution of this human performance improvement challenge in more detail in up coming blogs. Stay tuned for a lively conversation. We will take a look at the history of training and the different aspects of how it impacts HPI. (Human Performance Improvement).

Increase Business Capacity to Increase Sales

Analyzing Organizational Capacity Analyzing Capacity within a business organization can be one of the most challenging of the sales training foundational competencies. The reason is because a positive cash flow from sales revenue generated by a high performance sales force ensures that the company can afford to risk making strategic market decisions. It needs to be able to service and deliver quality products that can be sold to grow the business. What is the function of Business Capacity? Business capacity involves analyzing, monitoring, measuring, evaluating, managing, and planning all functions of the company for financial, statistical, and behavioral data. This process allows business leaders to clearly identify how to grow and sustain the health of the organization. This includes: technological, operational and human performance. You can perform activities that align and maximize capacity measurements and improvements within any part of the organization. According to the ASTD World Class Selling, the definition of “Analyzing Organizational Capacity is to: “Assess and weigh competing requirements against available resources to minimize risk, ensure quality deliverables, and balance capabilities with capacity.” Key actions would include: 1. Assessing resources accurately 2. Balancing risk with goal achievement when determining next steps Should I integrate the capacity of my SALES or TRAINING department? Absolutely! It is extremely valuable for you to understand the financial, operational and human requirements and costs to run your training department. As a Sales or Talent Management Sales Trainer, you are responsible for the knowledge management of the sales team and its’ performance outcomes. The health of your own training department is vulnerable to business capacity shifts and changes. The better you understand how analyzing capacity works the better your departmental efforts will be measured for your own success as a Trainer! How does this relate to Sales Training? Your sales team’s performance in any given month will reflect the increases or decreases in the “capacity” to which the organization can utilize internal or external resources. In this case, we are talking about the companies’ ability to access financial resources that come from new and existing sales revenue. Sales revenue is the anchor of life for all business, The company will suffer in capacity when a sales organization is not strong. The business must be able to “afford” to adapt constant change and if it cannot do that without strong sales leadership, revenue increase and consistent sales productivity. If the organization be able to adapt to capacity changes or sustainability is threatened.

Global Employee Satisfaction Continues to Lag in 2011

(From PRNewswire) — Workforces worldwide are reaching their tipping point as employee satisfaction, or engagement, continues to be sluggish and remains at the lowest level since 2008, according to analysis recently released by Aon Hewitt, the global human resource consulting and outsourcing business of Aon Corporation. At the end of the third quarter, Aon Hewitt analyzed its Employee Engagement Database of more than 5,700 employers, representing five million employees worldwide. The findings reveal an engagement level of 56 percent thus far in 2011, which is the same as 2010, but lower than 2009 (60 percent) and 2008 (57 percent). Traditionally, engagement levels between 65 percent and 100 percent represent a high-performing culture; 45 percent to 65 percent indicate the workforce is indifferent to organizational success or failure; and anything lower than 45 percent represents a serious or destructive range. According to Aon Hewitt, the largest drop in engagement this year is employees’ perception of how companies manage performance. Workers worldwide believe their employers have not provided the appropriate focus or level of management that would lead to increased productivity, nor have they connected individual performance to organizational goals. Read more.

Free Gift! – Take the ASTD Sales Survey!

Attn: ALL (Active) Sales Professionals: Take a 10 min Sales Survey and get a FREE Digital Sales Training Book (and other free stuff) from ASTD! Sales Training Drivers is committed to your success in sales.We want ALL of you to access the BEST strategies that show “how” to develop high performance selling skills. The American Society for Training & Development (ASTD) is conducting a comprehensive study on sales effectiveness. This survey is intended for active sales professionals only. ALL SALES TRAINERS: Please FORWARD this survey link to sales professionals (including Managers) in your organization. http://survey.confirmit.com/wix4/p1221164556.aspx?vid=BL. All sales professionals and Managers – (excluding trainers)- who complete the full survey will receive: Confidentiality Statement: ASTD has an unblemished record of maintaining confidentiality of survey participants. Individual and organizational responses will remain confidential.The published report from this study is expected to be priced at $695 or ($395 for ASTD members). All respondents completing the survey will be eligible to receive a discount of the report. Thank you for your participation. We believe the findings will be productive and valuable for you and your organization. The survey link will remain open until June 1, 2010. The ASTD Sales Training Drivers Team

Employee Learning Week is 5 Days Away – How are You Celebrating?

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution recognizing Employee Learning Week. Several ASTD chapters have secured proclamations from their local cities, counties, and states also declaring Employee Learning Week 2010. Some businesses are hosting learning fairs, others are holding lunch & learn events, still others are tying performance reviews to the organization’s learning initiatives. Individual learning professionals are planning to send learning tips to their clients. Training departments around the country – and across the globe – are planning activities to recognize the critical role that learning and development plays in organizational success. So what are YOU doing? ASTD is holding several events for our own employees. And we’re also hosting a FREE webcast on The New Social Learning, the book by Tony Bingham and Marcia Conner. The webcast is December 8 and there are still a few spots left, so be sure to register. We’ll be posting some other great resources for you to take advantage of in future blog posts. Remember — Employee Learning Week is a great time to celebrate the value of what learning professionals do every day. And it’s a great week to treat yourself to some learning opportunities too! Be sure to let us know what you do to celebrate #elw10 (if you’re going to tweet about your activities, please use this hash tag!). Email elw@astd.org so we can send you a Champion of Learning certificate!

Employee Engagement: Key Indicator for Greater Satisfaction in Life and Work

(From PRWEB) — According to Right Management, 84% of employees say they plan to look for new jobs in 2011 – up from 60% in 2009. Now, only 5% say they definitely intend to remain in their current position. For companies to keep employees from searching elsewhere and to execute on their growth and innovation plans, employers must focus on improving employee engagement, a central factor in the performance and success of organizations. “Employee engagement is sinking to record lows. For corporations to flourish in this challenging economic climate, it is critical that they maintain focus on employee engagement to sustain a thriving workforce,” said Zack Lemelle, Managing Partner, Corporate Engagement Services, of the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC). “The key for driving employee engagement is directly connected to leadership engagement. Leaders must be prepared, and supported, to fully engage in all aspects of their position – not only in driving the typical bottom line results, but also in building powerful, dynamic teams and a supportive organizational culture. Only through a dedicated engagement strategy for leaders and employees can corporations avoid the consequence of high-employee turnover that can result in losing talented workers and the costly training of new staff.” Read more.

Do You Know What it Takes to Build an Engaged Workforce?

When it comes to Employee Engagement, do you know what your challenges are and what to do to adopt and implement the right engagement practices? A new playbook by the Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp) and ASTD provides actionable strategies for employee engagement that were established through a comprehensive global survey of industry respondents. The Building an Engaged Workforce Playbook highlights the problems that organizations face in regard to engagement and the potential solutions for addressing those problems. [more]The 2008 study showed that on average, executives viewed only about a third of employees as highly engaged whereas nearly one in four were seen as minimally engaged or disengaged. The largest portion of employees – about four of 10 – was viewed as only moderately engaged. Since engagement was significantly correlated with better market performance, clearly there is justification for improvement. One solution to the engagement challenge involves making managers at all levels of the organization responsible for engagement. Few stakeholders say their leaders take effective actions to improve employee engagement, though most say their leaders should actually do so. Good relationships between employees and immediate supervisors are seen as the most important driver of employee engagement with a whopping 91% of respondents saying it drives engagement to a high or very high extent. Building an Engaged Workforce Playbook presents solid evidence about how to help develop or enhance current strategies regarding your organization’s approach to a topic which supports organizational effectiveness and overall long-term success. The Building an Engaged Workforce Playbook is available for purchase from the ASTD Store.

DDI: Best-Practices in Building the Leadership Pipeline

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

DDI Announces Online Assessment System Manager Ready

Development Dimensions International (DDI) announces the launch of Manager ReadySM, an online frontline leader assessment that combines the efficiency of a technology-driven process with insights of live assessors-leading to a realistic participant experience and in-depth insight into leadership capability and performance. This real world simulation provides organizations with critical information used to make decisions about who is ready for frontline leader roles and how people can develop in those roles to be more effective. Through the use of a computer-based simulation that utilizes streaming audio and video, candidates experience a ‘day-in-the-life’ of a frontline leader and are given the opportunity to respond to problems and inquiries presented through open-ended emails, video voicemails, planning activities and problem-solving exercises. These various data points contribute to a high-quality diagnosis of an individual’s leadership capabilities, giving companies more than 900 participant performance data points that roll up to 9 critical core leadership competencies that determine how a global leader will perform on the job. “Frontline leaders are more critical today than ever. They make the day-to-day decisions that make or break the business,” Scott Erker, Senior Vice President of Selection Solutions at DDI said. “We hear more and more that they’re not ready for the job the organizations needs them to do. Our goal, with this innovation, is to identify the gaps between what skills leaders have-and what skills they need to be successful.” Manager Ready incorporates the high-touch method of extracting real behaviors through simulations and trained assessors scoring those behaviors. In the past, this type of information would require a significant investment-Manager Ready provides high-value diagnosis at a fraction of the cost. Unlike multiple choice tests where participants choose actions from a static list, Manager Ready participants respond in open-ended formats, allowing candidates to reply exactly as they would on the job. The advantage is that it is more realistic to participants and the responses are more reflective of how they handle challenges in the real world. “This data has some teeth, which in an organization like ours is hugely important,” said Tim Toterhi, senior director of global organizational design for Quintiles. “Part of the reason we like Manager Ready is that it gives us robust, fact-based data to help enhance the decision-making process for selecting people-either for promotions or for hiring them into the organization.” Manager Ready participants are scored on how they resolve conflicts with customers and coworkers or how they coach a direct report through a difficult situation. In turn, organizations receive insight into how the candidates perform in these tasks, and measure a participant’s readiness for leadership across nine critical managerial competencies: Coaching for Success, Coaching for Improvement, Managing Relationships, Guiding Interactions, Problem Analysis, Judgment, Delegation & Empowerment, Gaining Commitment, and Planning & Organizing. These competencies were chosen based on more than 700 frontline leader job analysis studies conducted by DDI across the world as well as the millions of leaders trained and assessed by DDI over the last 40 years. “Manager Ready gives organizations deeper insight into the strengths and development needs of their current and future frontline leaders, ensuring better hiring and promotion decisions and improved diagnosis for accelerating development,” Erker said. “The bottom line is that organizations need to find leaders who are ready to take-on the challenges of the new economy.” About DDI Founded in 1970, Development Dimensions International, a global talent management expert, works with organizations worldwide to apply best practices to hiring/promotion, leadership development, performance management and succession management. With 1,000 associates in 42 offices in 26 countries, the firm advises half of the Fortune 500. For more information about DDI visit http://www.ddiworld.com/aboutddi

Corporate pandemics of 2006

Inspired by a batch of recent frustrating consulting gigs, a battery of medical check-ups and the current buzz about pandemic preparedness, here are my predictions for six emerging corporate pandemics that trainers will have to deal with in 2006: 1) Ulteriorsclerosis – the clogging of an important initiative by personnel or policies, for spurious reasons that mask more pernicious ulterior motives. Widespread ulteriorsclerosis will lead to the demise of several organizations in 2006. The disease, once it takes hold and starts to spread, can only be cured by surgical OD interventions. It manifests itself in the right projects not being approved, or not moving forward, for apparently good reasons which, with persistent investigation, turn out to be fatuous. Ulteriorsclerosis is typically artificially induced by the idle, the desperate, or the power hungry, and can be career threatening to diagnose. 2) Nearly Ubiquitous Wireless Mobile Informal Learning Syndrome (NUWMILS) – the propensity to instantly learn only what one needs to learn in order to perform, when and where the performance is required. Also referred to as Schizogooglia, it will evolve in cultures where networked knowledge links of known quality and reliability become so intuitively accessible that it will be like having multiple brains in your head. Sporadic outbreaks have been occurring with increasing frequency, and now seem set to attain pandemic status in 2006. Once it loses its stigma and is accepted as a blessing rather than a curse, NUWMILS will be renamed “ambient learning” and at least three gurus will claim to have invented the term. 3) Mailanoma – the unrestrained metastasizing of productivity-sapping email, texting, and instant messaging, leading to complete breakdown of one’s ability to communicate. While much of this has been from externally inflicted spam, as 2006 progresses there will be increasing volumes of malignant messaging that are internally generated through quite unnecessary cc-ing, bcc-ing, and e-messaging of people sitting whispering distance apart. As communication is the life blood of organizations, malfunctioning of the system can cause a serious breakdown in performance – and in the ability of training to have an impact. 4) Infobesity – the deleterious effect of excessive data consumption on the fitness and agility of individual and corporate minds. With the volume of new data being produced doubling every three days (vs. every three decades a few generations ago), Infobesity will become dramatically debilitating, though it will stimulate the growth of technology filtering tools. Those who master infofiltering will jog confidently through the fog, while those who don’t will keep staggering into lampposts. Employees and teams with calcified knowledge filtering modes will become alienated and resentful, unable to compete, and decreasingly productive. Fortunately for them, they make up most of upper and middle management, and still dominate the shareholders of most large companies. So they will hold onto legacy processes and implement new glass ceilings to keep info-savvy juniors from gaining power (often by inducing ulteriorsclerosis in the relevant area). Unfortunately for their companies, the info-savvy are subversive, mutate rapidly, are well networked, and will job hop into smaller, more fluid entities that will collaboratively run competitive rings around the big corporations. 5) Organizational Incontinence – the involuntary leaking of things you’d rather not have others see. As the networked world brings on premature aging in organizations, they will start to leak at increasingly alarming rates. They will leak knowledge (IP Incontinence) as their walls become porous and their employees network outside of the company to gain the insights they need to get things done. They will leak processes, as much that used to be done in-house becomes outsourced. They will leak secrets, as staff start to blog and podcast without the censoring filter of Corporate Communications. And they will suffer from increasing motivational incontinence as employees finally lose all sense of belonging to a cohesive caring organizational family. This in turn will lead to the leaking of valuable employees. Organizational Incontinence, in all its forms, may require a significant rethink of the role of learning services, and its repositioning as an aid to the enhancement of an individual’s market value. 6) Learning Impact Myopia – the failure to expect or demand that learning initiatives have lasting effects. Like most other things in corporate life, training activities will be evaluated more and more on what effect they have on each quarter’s financial results, rendering longer term impacts irrelevant, and in turn making the development of long-term programs pointless. When trainers struggle to develop interventions that have lasting impact, they will be told that such esoteric stuff simply does not matter, and will be pressured into providing instant gratification to the bean counters. Learning Impact Myopia and Schizogooglia both seek faster short-term solutions to the expertise problems, but for different reasons. Trainers may have to selectively succumb, while still fighting for some strategic surgical impact. [Paradoxically, Surgical Learning Impact Myopia (SLIM) — the deliberate implanting or nurturing of e-learning 2.0 where appropriate — may give SLIM organizations added vigor and longevity]. Be prepared! The future will be a dangerous place if you relinquish control of your integrity to the organizational pandemics. Compliments of the season to all, and may your 2006 be filled with health, wealth, and happiness! Godfrey Parkin

Be a Leader of Change! Resistance is Futile.

Facilitating Change is a World Class Sales Competency that needs attention! This subject is so COMPLEX and CHAOTIC that it is very difficult to explain, manage or measure. As a Trainer, it is critical now for you to be able to understand how change affects your company and is reflected in your training. Let’s keep this SIMPLE! Your company is most likely affected by harder economic conditions today and will be driven to improve efficiency, productivity, and service quality. The training methods and outcomes you present to your employees will be a measuring stick for these improvement changes.Change happens CONSTANTLY and you must be able to ADAPT to it. Business Change – Sales Training In Sales Training, be sensitive to teach your team about the size and scale of any management decision. – small to large – and how it affects operation, sector, location, history, and employee population. Change is about moving an organization from a current position to a future condition, for the purpose of marketplace strategy and employee workplace performance alignment. Evaluating sales and marketing change strategies can be done by looking at other company case studies and ROI analysis. But, beware! “Tested” sales strategies and implementations that have been tried before by other organizations may not be the best one for your company or for your team to experience! Also, be careful to look at the effects of bringing in other Subject Matter Experts or Consultants who have had successful outcomes using “tried and true” methodologies that have worked for them in the past. These too may not work in your particular organization. Make sure that the new change initiative is a process to be facilitated rather than a plan that can be dictated to the employees The People vs. YOU! Facilitating change through people is very TOUGH because people are TOUGH and generally RESISTANT to anything that is different than what they are used to – especially if they have created a habit or routine that seemingly makes their life easier. People are more reactive than proactive and changing anything in their world (personal or work environment) can be confusing to deal with! However, through honesty and being straightforward about your change strategy, you can break through any resistance that people give you. The TRUTH will always set you free, even in business where money seems to be king over the people. Nothing could be farther from the truth! You cannot run a business without the power of people. The love of people is the root of successful business in sales! If there is a change initiative approaching where people are involved, brace yourself for the resistance. You can guarantee that too many opinions will be involved! So, like the good Boy Scout or Brownie, “Be Prepared” to brace yourself emotionally and intellectually for the upcoming change challenges presented in front of you. People present problems all the time at the top, middle or bottom of any organization – that will need to be dealt with if the company is to succeed overall. Many organizational studies say that the best change efforts are better left to employee engagement and creative teams rather than top down leadership. Many change efforts have failed because the company demanded the change process to be handled and controlled by corporate policy and procedure with little or no creative thinking allowed. According to Hank Garber, CEO of National Risk Managers in Long Island, NY, (natlriskmgrsltd@aol.com), one way to engage employees in facilitating organizational change is to “make your employees your partners in the process of change”. He also states that you can gain “greater and more effective communication- internal & external- by working to create a sales orientation that permeates every part of a business, leading to increased revenue, client retention, and loyalty by customers and employees. The focus of change should be for the betterment of everyone in the organization as it relates to increase business results that sustain organizational growth.

ASTD Unveils Latest Research on Mobile Learning at ASTD 2011

Mobile technology has revolutionized the way people access information. In 2008 for the first time in history, mobile access to the Internet exceeded desktop computer access. The implications for the workplace learning and development profession are profound, which is why today ASTD unveiled its latest research on mobile learning at the 2011 International Conference & Exposition – a gathering of more than 8,000 learning practitioners from around the globe. What does the penetration of mobile technology mean for learning professionals and the learning function? How will it affect instructional design? What influence, if any, will device manufacturers, platform providers, and software developers have on mobile learning’s future? ASTD and the Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp) partnered to investigate the topic, and the resulting report Mobile Learning: Learning in the Palm of Your Hand addresses these questions and many others by examining the existing literature, and speaking with practitioners and thought leaders from organizations that are adopting mobile learning applications in an effort to increase organizational learning and performance. This report provides the foundational knowledge for organizations to “get smart “on the current state and future of mobile learning, which has been found to be directly correlated with high performance. Recommendations for formulating a mobile learning initiative are included in the report. Some of those recommendations are Mobile Learning: Learning in the Palm of Your Hand is available through the ASTD Store.

ASTD REPORT: TOUGH ECONOMY CREATES STRONG NEED FOR LEARNING

A new report released by the American Society for Training & Development (ASTD) shows an overall commitment to the learning function exists in the current tough economy and learning budgets are not being reduced as drastically as in previous economic downturns. Analysis of the report’s data also indicates that a substantial reduction in learning resources was correlated with lower market performance and lower learning effectiveness. The ASTD/i4cp report, “Learning in Tough Economic Times: How Corporate Learning is Meeting the Challenges,” found that while four in ten respondents said the economy had forced them to reduce learning resources to a high or very high degree, extensive cuts to learning programs or content was the exception not the rule. The majority of survey respondents (67.2 percent) indicated they are looking for ways to be more efficient and effective on tighter budgets, while 37.9 percent said their firms emphasized learning to a greater extent in this economic downturn. The new report also shows that only slightly more than one-quarter of survey respondents said the learning function’s ability to meet organizational learning needs has suffered in the current economic downturn to a high or very high degree. Other key findings include: The report also notes best practices being used for learning in a down economy, with three themes emerging: involving subject matter experts in the learning process; leveraging technology better; and raising awareness of cost issues. Two specific best practices include crafting learning around smaller chucks of content by honing focus and presentation times, and staying the course realizing learning will bring benefits in employee engagement, retention, and overall organizational strength. Click to read the executive summary of “Learning in Tough Economic Times.”

ASTD Presents 21 Excellence in Practice Awards

During its 2010 International Conference & Exposition held here, the American Society for Training & Development (ASTD) presented the Excellence in Practice Awards and Citations to 38 organizations from eight countries: England, Hong Kong, India, Philippines, Taiwan, The Netherlands, Turkey, and the United States. The Excellence in Practice Awards program recognizes organizations for results achieved through learning and performance practices and solutions. From 131 submissions, 21 awards and 38 citations were given in nine categories: career development, diversity and inclusion, learning technologies, managing change, organizational learning, performance improvement, training management, technical training, and workplace learning and development. “The winning organizations advance the knowledge and strategic importance of the training and development profession,” notes Tony Bingham, ASTD President and CEO. “The accomplishments demonstrate how the alignment of learning to organizational goals and strategies increases the performance and success of organizations worldwide.” The Excellence in Practice Awards are presented to those organizations with proven practices that have delivered measurable results in achieving organizational goals. The organizations and their partners selected to receive Excellence in Practice Awards are: The Excellence in Practice Citations are presented to those organizations with practices that have shown that they will demonstrate measurable results. The organizations and their partners selected to receive Citations are:

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/.

A Cliffside View of Government Oversight

Having mused over The Public Manager’s fall 2010 forum (presently in layout) on lessons learned from Katrina and the more recent BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico – it’s hard not to get sick over government’s failure to see in advance that something was terribly wrong, about to go over the cliff. Within the past several months, I’ve read in the morning newspapers articles like: “$8.7 billion in Iraqi cash not traceable” – the subtext being “An audit finds the Pentagon cannot account for the money meant for reconstruction” “FBI director says he doesn’t know the extent of cheating” – the subtext being “(does) the FBI know its own rules for conducting surveillance on Americans?” “On Day 100, lessons learned from the (BP) spill” – one of the biggest being “Regulators shouldn’t sleep with industry” “Offshore drilling to require stricter environmental scrutinyending a practice in which government regulators essentially rubber-stamped potentially hazardous deepwater projects” “(US) Coast Guard OK’d frequent use of dispersants, reports indicate” – subtext being despite the Obama administration’s direction and the EPA’s urging to restrict use of dispersants to ‘rare cases’ upon appeal, “the approval process (administered by the Coast Guard) appears to be somewhat pro forma” “Feds urged work on pipeline in Mich. Spill” – the subtext being despite urging from the US Department of Transportation’s pipeline safety agency (Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration) that the Canadian company operating the system check for corrosion problems in the 1900-mile network, the work wasn’t done and an estimated 1 million gallons of crude oil escaped into the Kalamazoo River in southern Michigan. Compared to these “downers,” I also read one article that actually caught public managers getting their oversight function right. Such as “Area beaches mostly clear of pollutants, testing shows;” – the subtext being “Palm Beach County (FL) exceeded standards for two types of harmful bacteria…” Yea, we’re testing and disclosing our research findings timely!! As someone who spent virtually all his government career in federal Executive Branch agencies – mostly in program operations – my view of oversight responsibility is that it starts at the front lines. That is, with organizations having delegated authority for implementing programs and related “legislative and appropriated authorities.” Yes, even those programs not run directly by career federal civil servants, but through states and localities, nonprofit grantees, and private sector contractors. Alongside these line organizations (mainly the cabinet departments and their sub-cabinet off-shoots, such as FEMA, IRS, the SEC, and the Federal Reserve, for example), are organizations that serve the President, Department Heads, and the Congress in their own oversight of our front-line overseers (e.g., OMB, OIGs, GAO, etc.). Moreover, these same line organizations are stewards of the public trust – protecting our nation’s resources, assets and the unique missions embedded in their organizations’ charters. For example, the US Department of the Interior’s National Park Service and Fish & Wildlife Service; the Department of Commerce’s National Weather Service, Bureau of the Census, National Institute of Standards & Technology and Patent & Trade Office; the Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service, Animal Plant Health Inspection Service and Food & Nutrition Service; the Department of Health & Human Services’ Children’s Bureau, Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, and the Food & Drug Administration; to name but a few at the federal level that make the local newspapers and, on occasion, 60 Minutes whenever something goes awry. So…we should have lots to talk about on the matter of oversight and stewardship – hopefully with a focus on systems in place and organizational cultures prepared to keep things from going awry. Sort of a ‘Catcher in the Rye’ subtext, you might say. All of this is good news if what we’re after is an open dialogue on the full range of oversight and stewardship responsibilities exercised at every level of government. We’ll do our part by having more on the theme of “Best Practices in Oversight, Stewardship and Accountability” in the winter issue of The Public Manager, on our Web site ( www.thepublicmanager.org ) and in events through the remainder of 2010 and into 2011. In the meantime. let us hear from you on what your organization is doing to raise the bar on its oversight and stewardship performance to keep its charges from going over the cliff. – Warren Master, President & Editor-in-Chief, The Public Manager

4 Ways Sales Coaching Can Help New Hires

Many sales managers try to build their sales team with experienced salespeople who have a proven track record in their industry in a way to help them “hit the ground running.” But what if you are unable to find highly skilled salespeople for your industry? Even if sales managers have the ability to assess critical success indicators in their sales recruits (such as personality, drive, ambition, or compatibility, etc), how can sales managers help their new sales team members decrease ramp up time and the time required to achieve their first sale? Even if salespeople are hired because they can bring an extended rolodex of contacts with them, how can sales managers help them achieve success and leverage that contact list with the most effectiveness? These three examples of real-world sales challenges (finding the right people, deceasing ramp up time, and helping salespeople leverage their strengths) point to a dynamic, challenging, and non-standardized selling process. The approach that sales managers take to address these challenges (and others) must support uniqueness — the organization is unique and the salesperson is unique. Let’s face it, no matter how solid the recruiting, and selection process is, sales managers still need to support their sales team members — nobody can do it alone. A key measurement indicator to this reality is sales team turnover. Within the United States, high sales team turnover is an unfortunate reality faced by many sales managers. Why does sales turnover exist? Many factors, such as a sales recruiting process that isn’t fully aligned, or a sales training program that is less than adequate can contribute to increased turnover. To combat high turnover rates, more and more sales managers have turned to sales coaching as a way to help the sales team increase their competency and capability with the sales job they’re in. Sales coaching can help address three important questions: – Does the salesperson’s purpose fit with your organizations’ vision? – Does the salesperson’s character fit within your organization’s culture? – Does the salesperson’s ability fit within your organization’s sales process? Does the salesperson’s purpose fit within your organization’s vision? A well thought out sales coaching program can help identify if a sales team member’s purpose is in alignment with the organization’s vision. The purpose of a salesperson is typically comprised of his or her needs and personal vision. More importantly the factors that motivate him or her are the catalyst that fuels their quest to fulfill their purpose. Individual need for achievement and personal goals are analyzed within the context of the client company vision, organizational values, and organization goals. If the individual cannot find the inner motivation to help the organization attain its future goals and vision, then the ability to help the firm grow is hampered and the candidate would most likely not be a good fit. A good sales coach must be aware of this. Does the salesperson’s character fit within your organization’s culture? A well defined sales coaching program can help assess if the individual’s character is in alignment with the organization’s culture. A person’s beliefs and ethical mindset must fit within the culture of the firm where they will work. Most sales managers understand that the “character fitting the culture” dynamic is a key contributor to success (or failure). A good sales coaching program can help the salesperson fit in and have an impact to their organization. The culture of the organization will often challenge a sales coach to help the salesperson identify critical team values, norms, and beliefs. More importantly, the sales coach can help the salesperson as they try to attain critical business goals. The vision of the organization must be embraced by the individual. And remember, that character is comprised of their personality traits (such as extroversion, openness, agreeableness, etc) and their emotional intelligence. Does the salesperson’s ability fit within your organization’s sales process? A great coaching program for sales teams is a key driver of sales competence. Sales competence is defined as the salesperson’s knowledge, skills, or abilities to perform. Sales skills are based on a sales person’s knowledge of their position requirements as well as their capacity to perform the necessary work. For sales positions, these abilities could include the ability to understand where the future customer is in their buying process as well as what type of buying style they are using. Abilities are also comprised of the underlying knowledge needed to succeed. Different types of knowledge are needed for different types of sales environments and sales processes. As an example, the knowledge needed to sell into the federal government is different than the knowledge needed to sell commercially. Both the individual’s skill and the business outputs are assessed through past experience and track record. Past performance is important to determine applicable skill of the individual as well as the viability of the company. Let’s face it, sales training programs can fall short on helping new salespeople make ‘heads or tails’ of their organization. A new salesperson may have critical questions that they need to address in areas of culture, process, character, vision, and competency. A well designed sales coaching program can help sales managers stay focused on the most important levers that will help attain revenue, while addressing the real-world aspects of selling that can cause confusion, lack-of-focus, or a lack of motivation. Through effective sales coaching, organizations can better support their sales training programs through reinforcing key sales training knowledge out in the field, where the action is. Sales managers, coaches, and trainers, should build their sales training with sales coaching in mind, and solid tools, processes, and job-aids from reputable organization can help fast-track sales coaching success.

Lifting Leadership and Changing Culture Through Project Management Excellence (TU113)

Project Management Excellence (PMX) is a cultural transformation using leadership development and project management to enhance already formidable skills to deliver projects. It’s more than technical training; it requires aligning leadership mindsets and building leadership skills across organizational levels, from sponsors to project managers. The mix of leadership alignment, a robust technical approach, and customized leadership development are the heart of creating both high performance and…

Driving a Championship Healthcare Culture by Leveraging a Role-Based Operational Management Platform

Healthcare workers want to do their best, but working in a complex system without the right tools can lead to frustration and even bullying, affecting interpersonal dynamics. Workers need a talent management tool that will both facilitate collaboration and humanize the workplace. This webcast will describe how an efficient performance management and talent management program can combat workplace bullying and toxic work environments, leading to a championship culture. We will illustrate the direct relationship between communication and workplace culture and the barriers to achieving organizational excellence.After attending this webcast, participants will be able to: define workplace bullying articulate the impact bullying has on the patient, employee, and organization identify the manager’s role in influencing workplace culture review solutions to combat bullying and toxic work environments.

The Case for Measuring Intangibles

August:
Beyond the standard business metrics of revenue and margin lay a spate of organizational intangibles, which must be measured before they can be managed.

The August 2011 T+D podcasts are sponsored by MHS, predicting and improving human performance.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009

February:
The ARRA has presented countless opportunities for organizational, business, education, and community renewal nationwide. The experience of Yuma Private Industry Council highlights notable opportunities for creating organizational renewal and growing a skilled workforce.

This podcast was sponsored by RWD, a leading provider of human and operational performance improvement solutions that help employers maximize the return on their investments in people, processes, technology, knowledge, and customers; http://www.rwd.com

Knowledge Management

Capturing and using all the knowledge and expertise in an organization is the ultimate goal for performance professionals. This Infoline offers a great starting point for your journey by defining knowledge management and posing key questions to help you identify the intellectual capital you need manage. It introduces the new roles, opportunities, and the baseline technology need to begin this daunting task. Key sidebars include an organizational analysis for knowledge management, 12 ways to measure intellectual capital, a planning worksheet, and a listing of competencies to manage knowledge. Author: Amy Newman
Product SKU: 259903 ISBN: 978-1-56286-241-1
Pages: 16 pages Publisher: ASTD Press
Format: Booklet

Informal Learning

Informal learning can pack quite a punch in terms of boosting workplace performance and efficiency. But what is it, and what can you do to promote informal learning in the workplace? According Bob Hoffman, informal learning is anything that is not recognizable as formal training and performance support, such as organized classes, workshops, individualized instruction, and job aids. Informal learning is just-in-time, contextual, individualized, personal, chunked, and limited in scope; in other words, it’s exactly what you need at exactly the moment you need it. This issue describes 13 modes of informal learning, including information gathering, help desk use, and mixed teams. Furthermore, it presents ways that you can evaluate and promote these modes to fit your organizational context.

Creating an Internal Certificate Program

One of the most effective ways to address a knowledge or skill gap is through an internal certificate program. These programs can help an organization strategically and thoughtfully develop its talent while aligning with organizational goals and performance. But how do you know if a certificate program is right for your organization and where do you start? The “Creating an Internal Certification Program” Infoline will show you how to:

Appreciative Inquiry

Appreciative inquiry (AI) is a form of organizational analysis and development based on understanding what currently works well and then building on strengths to make an even better organization. This Infoline describes principles of AI, including using positive language and storytelling to cause change; the 4-D model of discovery, dream, design, and destiny; and the HPI-AI model, which enables workplace learning and performance professionals to apply AI in the context of performance. The issue also provides general tips for using AI, a sample appreciative interview, and other helpful tools and information.

Targeted Evaluation Process

A flexible, six-step process to determine the success of any performance solution. The Targeted Evaluation Process offers six steps including communicating with stakeholders, understanding the organizational context, asking the right questions, choosing the right tools to carry out the analysis, and reporting the results, and a simple project management frame work for conducting an accurate, concise evaluation.