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For the term "Business Planning".

New Survey from Krauthammer: Around 80% of businesses feel resistant to current difficult business climate

KRAUTHAMMER | London, UK 80% of international businesses feel relatively resistant when it comes to the worsening business climate. 55% will defend their investments in ‘behavioural development’ programmes in areas such as leadership, management and sales. On the downside, 20% say that they will cut their budgets. This and other findings are the results of a probe conducted by Krauthammer in late Autumn 2008. 34% of the respondents forecast a poor business climate for 2009. Around 20% believe they have “low resistance” to a difficult business climate and are planning to cut their behavioural development budgets in line with their predictions. However, over twice as many – 55% – feel resistant – and 42% even plan to raise development budgets. “The news is mixed. The most positive signal we can distill from our probe is that companies will prioritise initiatives with a real and measurable impact. So consultants that excel in sophisticated forms of body-shopping will probably be hit as hard as temporary personnel providers”, comments Ronald Meijers, Co-chairman of the Board of Krauthammer. *) body shopping typically implies filling temporary competence gaps rather than structurally improving a company’s performance. The respondents will defend training and coaching more vigorously than they will consulting. And as many CEOs admit their difficulties in predicting results for 2009, leadership training will be most defended – by 53% of respondents, followed by sales training (47%) and management training (42%). Crossfunctional training such as IT- and language skills will be least defended, the probe suggests. When it comes to coaching, too – leadership, management and sales coaching will be most defended. Overall, training seems less vulnerable than coaching – training will be cut by fewer numbers of people than its coaching equivalents. According to the probe, consulting budgets will be defended by around a third of businesses. Least popular, the probe suggests, will be consulting in “hard issues” such as strategies, operations and structures – only 19% of the respondents would defend it. A combination of “soft” and “hard” issues such as sales effectiveness will be most resilient of consulting propositions – 33% of respondents say they will protect budgets in this area. Nick Girling Senior Consultant, Office Leader UK, Krauthammer Tel: +44 20 8770 7200 Mobile: +44 7900 5648 79 E-mail: nick.girling@krauthammer.com Coaching, consulting and training company Krauthammer assists clients worldwide in successfully uniting permanent people development and sustainable business performance. It offers major change implementation and human capital development programmes at the individual, team and corporate levels optimising the personal effectiveness of leaders and managers, salespeople and negotiators, trainers, coaches, consultants and support staff. Established in 1971, Krauthammer International has 300 consultants and employees, delivering services in over 50 countries, in 15 languages. International consistency and the ongoing professional development of the consultants are ensured by four annual Krauthammer University sessions where every consultant spends between 2 and 3 weeks per year. www.krauthammer.com

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.

Exhibiting 101: Risky Business

An expensive server rack commits suicide off a 4-foot-tall shipping dock. A forklift skewers a carton of exhibit graphics. Demo equipment gets stolen in transit. What do all three of these situations have in common? They have all happened to me. Thankfully, in every case I had planned ahead and placed insurance on my clients’ exhibit properties to cover their losses. As exhibit managers, insuring against losses that we might incur isn’t usually on the top of our to-do lists. Logistics, deadlines, and troubleshooting often take precedence over identifying, evaluating, and managing the financial risks of exhibiting. But trade show-related disasters are bound to happen. Author and risk-management expert Charles Robert Tremper says, “The first step in the risk-management process is to acknowledge the reality of risk. Denial is a common tactic that substitutes deliberate ignorance for thoughtful planning.” There are basically four types of coverage exhibitors can secure to mitigate common exhibiting risks. Read the entire article.

A Business Case Built to Last: The GREAT Pyramid of Training

Building a Business Case: Your Final Answer. Building a business case is a sales competency of the ASTD World Class Sales Competency Model. Designing a business case can be a useful management tool that is pivotal to an organization’s success. It is used in supporting the overall planning and decision making for both operational and financial decision making that surrounds company products, services and solutions. Build Cross Functional Learning Systems As a Sales Trainer and Sales Learning Professional , developing a firm understanding of business operations and cross functional relationships will help you collaborate with others who work with you.A Sales Trainer can teach many things to the sales team to help build sales competencies. Show Proven and Tested Methodologies Learn to teach proven approaches and closing techniques that establish the business value of your proposal with credibility and impact. Sales Trainers can design practical training modules in business case selling. Use a business case to help decision makers follow a predetermined process or format to cover all factors being considered. This would include showing complex data that proves your case and helps justify the decision to close even when there may be several decision makers involved to review the case. A strong business case can also be used as a performance management tool to identify sales and strategic opportunities, and manage best practices. It can turn sales data into action oriented intelligence to drive engagement, measurement, and accountability to drive business value. Sales Leaders can help the team set goals and measure progress more accurately. The Sales Team can collaborate more effectively by following the process mapping which will improve their ability to compete. Using sales training methods and key performance indicators that follow the ASTD Sales Training Competency Model framework, you will be able to provide ways to help Sales Leaders to gain insight make better decisions and take more effective action using real time Key Performance Indicators (KPI) to better track and manage the sales process – getting to the root cause of a particular sales issue.

Strategic Account Planning: The 5 Imperatives

Account planning is an essential part of a high-performing sales organization. It brings together critical information about your customer, your competitors, and your strategy to win business. The account plan forces the team to acknowledge the larger revenue and product goals and agree on a set of actions to move your team toward those goals. The act of incorporating a new activity into an already saturated schedule is tough. The route to making this planning into a long-term habit is crowded…

10 Steps to Successful Strategic Planning

Create a dynamic strategic plan, central to your organizations ability to make critical business decisions, with this step-by-step walk through the strategic planning process. 10 Steps to Successful Strategic Planning offers a simple 10 step process to assessing your priorities, organizing your goals, and getting your organization on the path to planned success. Loaded with worksheets, exercises, tips, tools, checklists, and other easy-to-use and interactive learning aids, this title guides you through the entire strategic planning process.Part of the ASTD 10 Steps series .

Getting Ready to Start Your MLM Business

With detailed planning and preparation, you will find it smoother to get started with the Multi Level Marketing business. Lets discuss the various points that you should keep in mind before starting your own MLM business.

Analyzing Business Decision Making Process

Business decision making is a critical process. While decision support systems are built to support managerial decision making, a lot goes into planning and designing of these systems. This article discusses the need and process for evaluating business decision making, which is required to build bespoke decision support system software to ensure ‘good’ decision making in an organization.

Business Process Reengineering and Best Practices

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Business Process Re-engineering (BPR) evolved at the same time. Both are related to radical redesign of an organization at a relatively short period.

Sales Planning Starts with Product Profile Detailing

In case of consultative selling, you need to gather and study all details of your product and your business so that you are very well conversant with your product or service.

The Use of Enterprise Resource Planning Applications in Finance and HRM

ERP or Enterprise Resource Planning Software integrates the whole lifecycle management processes and provides the top management with a high altitude view of the different business processes. In addition, cost control and autonomy can be achieved as well as making the employees work easier by automating routine and specialized tasks.

BPI Project Planning – Process Overview

Business Process Improvement (BPI) Planning begins with formation of the Executive Implementation Team and Process Improvement Team. Lets understand the BPI Project Planning process in detail.

PPM 101: Identifying Projects

During the business planning process, each department must determine the project work they think is important for execution within the portfolio. Identification of these medium and large projects will come from carryover projects, mandatory projects and tactical or strategic projects.

Why is a Mobile Learning Strategy Important?

With mobile learning getting a lot of interest recently (roughly 50% of businesses surveyed say they have plans to implement some form of mobile learning in the foreseeable future), it’s becoming clear that many companies don’t have a plan to successfully create a sustainable, robust mobile learning strategy. This is evidenced by the quick jump from talking about goals and roadmaps to the proverbial “We need an app for that!” conclusion that is being reached in meetings and boardrooms across all industries and company sizes. This rush to deploy without proper planning is a big oversight and will ultimately make it difficult to understand if your mobile efforts are successful. A mobile learning strategy can help give your work grounding and a solid base on which you can build. This approach helps you bring mobile in where it will provide the biggest impact. A metered, reusable framework is far more useful than a scattershot approach. When apps are pumped out and then discarded it’s often because they didn’t perform as expected. These apps likely don’t fix the problems that were considered but not dealt with fully during the design phase. Perhaps the app shouldn’t have been built at all. Maybe its focus should have been narrower, or altogether different than what it turned out to be. A mobile learning strategy’s importance is not only limited to savings during the design and development of the applications that may be created. Real, actionable metrics can only be established for individual efforts when the bigger picture is considered. What will you measure? How will you know when you are successful? What sorts of changes are you able to and prepared to make when you start to get data back from your learners? The creation of a strategy will allow outside stakeholders to help weigh in on your anticipated mobile learning efforts to come, giving your work a much needed validation. The strategy’s strengths will help build support throughout your organization, creating trust between your partnering departments and content creators allowing them to create great work. The concerns that could arise about the focus of the efforts or how it fits in with or aligns with other work will already have been addressed. This proactive approach works with other facets of business planning, why would mobile learning be any different? Over the next few weeks, we’ll investigate topics related to this, covering the building blocks for a mobile learning strategy, the effects of creating one, what happens when you neglect to create one, and then finally how to get started on implementing your completed strategy. Come back and check out our next installment.

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Unfocused Questions, Unfocused Answers

It is this writer’s belief that business intelligence fails at the earliest and most important step in the BI process: planning. In order to answer the questions your company has, you will need to clearly understand what they are looking for–which is a lot easier than it sounds.

Topic Teasers Vol. 91: Calculating Benefits?

Question: Recently, my job has expanded to include helping management look into the future to calculate the benefits from investing in a project today. I vaguely remember doing these formulas to get my PMP, but to be honest I have not really used them in an actual project planning situation. Other than just the math, how do these figures help me recommend amounts that can and should be invested toward projects?

A. The economic marketplace is so dependent on stakeholder interpretations of the news and political events that it is impossible to try to predict the value of organizational projects in the future. Since 2011, businesses no longer use the present and future monetary calculations in their strategic planning.

B. When choosing projects, the one which will offer the highest return on investment is always the best one to choose. Financial value, even if it is delayed longer into the future, is always the wisest way for an organization to direct its investment dollars.

C. Present Value (PV) and Future Value (FV) can be used to see how much business value a project can provide to the organization in the future. It allows mathematical calculations to pinpoint amounts rather than just predictions of good “growth” or “return.”

D. There are many types of value for a company to consider. Each project can be focused to lead to whichever type of value is most important to the organization, but only one of four portfolio value categories for projects can be met by a single project.

Pick your answer then Test Your Knowledge!

The Journey from Idea to Implementation: A PMI Volunteer’s View on the Development of a New Certification (Part 1)

In this article series, Beth Ouellette talks about her experience working on PMI’s Requirements Management Steering Committee. This group helped to perform the work that eventually created the PMI Professional in Business Analysis (PMI-PBA)SM certification, which officially launched in September, 2014. As Beth explains, the work and planning that goes into the creation of a PMI certification begins long before it’s made public. In Part 1, she shares her background with PMI.

Think Scenario/Event Conditional Plans for 2011

The year is almost half over, so it’s time to think about needs and objectives for next year. Follow these planning guidelines for CIOs to make sure you have all your business bases covered.

Topic Teasers Vol. 86: The Failure Repository

Question: I’m not in IT, but I’m heading a project to implement one of those big name software packages that is supposed to place all the corporate information in one application. We’ve rolled it out, but as a 24-hour organization it seems that we have departments unable to access their information at all hours of the day and night. Our vendor is on call for the fixes, but the outages interrupt our business. I’m discouraged, angry and exhausted. How do I manage these issues?

A. With a big name supplier, the responsibility to keep things up and going is on their shoulders, not yours. Contact upper management and ask to have any payments to them stopped until all areas of your organization are up and running with no down time for at least six weeks.

B. Each department was probably given a chance to express what connectivity they needed before the customization of this overriding package was finalized. Get the name of each person who was part of the planning team and subsequently had an outage in their area and report them to their own manager.

C. Ask your own IT team to get involved in solving these issues. Obviously, the vendor does not have competent people on its staff who can manage an install like yours. If your own internal staff takes over the responsibility, you will have better communication and a team that understands the high stakes when your systems go down.

D. The reality of any install that must switch over an entire organization at one time is that there are going to be hiccups. But as a non-IT expert, the most productive path for you is to create a way that the failures can be grouped and tracked so that past problems can be easily accessed to provide faster solutions to new outages or feature failures that occur.

Pick your answer then Test Your Knowledge!

Turning Plans Into Action

What are you doing? If you’re like most American businesses, you aren’t doing anything except talking and planning. Here’s the message: It you want something done, just do it.

Turning Plans Into Action

What are you doing? If you’re like most American businesses, you aren’t doing anything except talking and planning. Here’s the message: It you want something done, just do it.

Enterprise Project Management

The definitions and the roles of the project management office (PMO) today are very diverse, and it is therefore important to examine and understand the evolving role of the PMO in a dynamic global business environment. The role of enterprise PMO is as important as any other corporate function, equivalent to other corporate functions such as strategic planning, finance, or audit. In addition, an organization can maximize the value of project management by standardizing the practices and consolidating the initiatives across the enterprise.

Common Ground Through PPM

The most effective project portfolio planning brings IT managers and business leaders together to prioritize, scope and staff initiatives as a single team with common goals. In doing so, the process fosters better working relationships — and provides a roadmap for delivering value to the organization.

The Song Remains the Same

We tend to think of planning as a scheduling- and scope-driven activity. But as Microsoft’s Sendak project proved, successful planning cannot occur without a solid business case.

To Be Continued

Business continuity planning is about much more than data recovery, and it should be conducted with a project management mindset. A financial institution’s experience after Hurricane Katrina provides some how-to (and how-not-to) tips for developing a business continuity plan. It could be you and your company’s most important project … you just never know.

Infrastructure Improvements: Guidance on How to Be Successful

Software infrastructure such as databases and core applications must be available 24/7 to support the business. As these infrastructure elements age, you should start planning when they will be updated or replaced. Take a look into three main areas of achieving this—making decisions, design success and selecting vendors.

Opportunity for Alignment

Annual IT planning doesn’t have to be just another business-related hoop to jump through. Think of it as a great opportunity to get your IT department in line with organizational business goals and objectives. Here’s how to seize that opportunity.

In Capable Hands

Simply controlling and measuring the expenditure of project resources — score-keeping — provides little value to the business in the inevitable presence of change and uncertainty. This is why capability-based planning is a helpful alternative to linear, or waterfall, project management methods. Here’s an introduction.

IT Offshore Outsourcing in Capital Markets (Part 1)

Offshore outsourcing is no longer an experimental option. It’s the direction of the industry and it makes business sense to execute it the right way. This two-part article serves as a guideline for IT managers planning to move development offshore, and the issues discussed are from an outsourcer’s perspective.

Enterprise Agile Scaling: The Future is Here!

How do we scale agile to adapt to the flourishing ecosystem while facilitating business sponsors, steering committees and PMOs interested in creating project-related decision frameworks, selecting specific projects based on those frameworks, planning the delivery of those projects or investments, tracking those investments at a high level and reporting on these activities?

Agile Development: Great for Engineers, Not So Much for Project Management

With over half of companies using a blended agile and waterfall approach to development, it’s critical to be aware of how an agile approach affects planning and alignment with the overall business strategy. Here are the most common challenges in enterprise agile development–and some tips for how smart companies are navigating the new landscape.

Back to Basics of Disaster Recovery

Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity Planning are no longer optional. Protecting infrastructure and information assets of an organization is one of management’s primary duties. Here are some ideas and options for making sure you don’t fall down on the job.

No PM, No Strategy

When project managers aren’t part of the strategic planning processes, strategic plans aren’t likely to leave their bulky binders and become part of the business reality. This holds true no matter how small or large a project — be it planning a blood drive or implementing enterprise-level financial software.

No PM, No Strategy

When project managers aren’t part of the strategic planning processes, strategic plans aren’t likely to leave their bulky binders and become part of the business reality. This holds true no matter how small or large a project — be it planning a blood drive or implementing enterprise-level financial software.

Collaborative Effort

Collaborative technologies have been looming on the horizon for some time, and now with fresh impetus from Web 2.0 and other developments, they are playing a greater role in the planning and execution of various business initiatives. That’s because application development requires many entities to coordinate their activities and collaboration–whether virtual or otherwise–and has become a ubiquitous way of software development.

The Journey from Idea to Implementation: A PMI Volunteer’s View on the Development of a New Certification (Part 3)

In this article series, Beth Ouellette talks about her experience working on PMI’s Requirements Management Steering Committee. This group helped to perform the work that eventually created the PMI Professional in Business Analysis (PMI-PBA)SM certification, which officially launched in September, 2014. As Beth explains, the work and planning that goes into the creation of a PMI certification begins long before it’s made public. In Part 3, she forms a task force.

Changepoint Acquires barometerIT

The deal bring barometerIT’s SaaS-based software maps for integrated portfolio planning and analysis to Changepoint’s business execution management platform, including PPM solutions.

First Steps to a Lean Portfolio

A large petrochemical site is taking steps to create a lean project portfolio, including a lightweight approach to building a business case and “smart release” planning, which breaks larger initiatives into smaller “waves” that can be interrupted by more urgent projects. The early returns have been positive.

Managing Virtual Events

By creating an online environment for teams to collaborate and companies to interact with strategic partners and customers, virtual events have become an indispensable part of doing business for many companies. Here are best practices for planning and managing them.

Opportunity Matrix Reloaded

Meet the Opportunity Matrix, the tool that provides the bridge between the business objectives of the organization and the IT programs required to help achieve them. It is also where high value opportunities are identified and qualified. In short, the Opportunity Matrix provides the basis for both short- and long-term IT planning and portfolio management, and is a key tool for successful IT managers.

IT Project Lessons from Titanic (Part 14)

Many IT projects completely ignore anything during the post-implementation period, whether disaster recovery or business-continuity planning. But if the project team has to consider a recovery/continuity plan early on in the project, it would probably shift the thinking through the design process. Just look at the Titanic as proof.

Realizing an Enterprise Strategy (Part 1)

Too often, enterprise-wide strategies fail to meet expectations because all aspects of the organization are not considered when planning a strategy. It is extremely important that management, business processes, culture and technology are all considered from a holistic perspective. This is the first part of a two-part article discussing the realization of an enterprise strategy. This article focuses on issues that need to be considered in devising an enterprise-wide strategy.

Architecture and Design Practices for Agile Project Management

An agile architecture and design should be right-sized to fit the scope of the release plan and no more. This is true whether the architecture is created in a traditional top-down or agile bottom-up style. This means that an agile architecture and design can be visualized within the initial release planning phase when a lightweight plan is created–and the most business value to a customer is achievable. Here are some of the practices for agile architecture and design.

Scope Changes Within the Agile/Scrum Framework

The approach to scope changes used within the agile/Scrum framework provides a stable environment so the development team can focus on getting work “done.” Frequent feedback about the product allows for less upfront planning and means the Scrum team can quickly adapt to changes. Delivering business value early and often results in increased customer satisfaction.

Best-Laid Plans

Companies must change their focus from “doing, doing, doing” and create a cycle of planning, doing and reviewing. By following a few important steps, project managers can conduct meaningful analysis and create a solid business case for any project. There’s just no getting around the need for pre-project planning.

The Journey from Idea to Implementation: A PMI Volunteer’s View on the Development of a New Certification (Part 2)

In this article series, Beth Ouellette talks about her experience working on PMI’s Requirements Management Steering Committee. This group helped to perform the work that eventually created the PMI Professional in Business Analysis (PMI-PBA)SM certification, which officially launched in September, 2014. As Beth explains, the work and planning that goes into the creation of a PMI certification begins long before it’s made public. In Part 2, she helps build the foundation for a new certification.

4 Ways to Sabotage Your Office – BestSkills

How to Sabotage Your Office. Sabotage is a deliberate act to damage or destroy property and disrupt business. If you are planning to sabotage your office, it’s important to remember that your actions may have far-reaching consequences,…

3 Ways to Start an Event Company – BestSkills

How to Start an Event Company. Event planning can be a fun and rewarding type of business to run. Choose what events you want to focus on and promote your company as much as possible. Gain experience and build a name for yourself through…

Top 25 personal productivity books

  The 4-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss The New York Times bestselling author of The 4-Hour Body shows readers how to live more and work less, now with more than 100 pages of new, cutting-edge content. Forget the old concept of retirement and the rest of the deferred-life plan–there is no need to wait and every reason not to, especially in unpredictable economic times. Whether your dream is escaping the rat race, experiencing high-end world travel, or earning a monthly five-figure income with zero management, The 4-Hour Workweek is the blueprint. Getting Things Done by David Allen “A completely...

5 Ways to Become an Event Planner – wikiHow

How to Become an Event Planner. Want to be part of a worldwide, $500-billion industry? Entrepreneur, How to start an event planning service, http://www.entrepreneur.com/startingabusiness/businessideas/startupkits/article37892.html If…

How to Open a Nightclub (with Pictures) – wikiHow

How to Open a Nightclub. Have you ever dreamed of running a nightclub business? Though it takes careful planning and a considerable amount of time, a properly managed nightclub can be a very profitable business for years to come. If this…

How to Quit Your Job Graciously (with Pictures) – wikiHow

How to Quit Your Job Graciously. Whether you are trying to begin a new business or career, or are just fed up with your present employment, quitting a job without burning your bridges or losing your home takes planning and tact. Learning…

How to Get an MBA (with Pictures) – wikiHow

How to Get an MBA. If you’re planning a career in business, getting your Masters in Business Administration (MBA) can help further your goal. This versatile graduate degree can help open doors for you, whether you’re planning to go into…

Is Franchising Right For Me?

Franchises are often the best way to go, especially for new entrepreneurs who are looking to be their own boss. What type of business are you planning?

Financial Career Resources and Advice – Best Skills

There’s a lot of money to be made in finance… but if it were easy, everyone would do it. Learn how to get a job in finance or start a financial planning business, and find out what kind of education, training, and certifications you’ll need.

Self-Employed Retirement Plans – Best Skills

Running your own business is full of twists and turns. Now, add retirement planning to the mix. Like the rest of your business, retirement planning opportunities abound, and making the right decision is critical. Learn about SEP-IRAs, solo 401(k)s, Keogh plans, and SIMPLE IRAs.

Road Warrior

Before leaving on a road trip or planning a vacation, most people plan the route they’ll take, the places they’ll visit, and the hotels they’ll stay in along the way. Having a plan eases stress and makes the journey more enjoyable. According to three leadership gurus, executives must have a plan to succeed in the business…

Creative Leadership for the Win

The recession and the state of business these days has left many organizations in transition, but what exactly are CEOs, especially successful ones, planning strategically in future terms? While 60 percent of leaders are currently experiencing a high to very high level of complexity within the economic environmen…

What would you like to see in a Leadership Handbook?

Yesterday, we had a great meeting with Elaine Biech to start talking about a new project that we are planning for next year: a Leadership Handbook. Having worked on the ASTD Handbook for Workplace Learning Professionals, I am excited to get the chance to expand that product into new areas (we are also working with Patti Phillips on a Handbook for measuring and evaluating, but I will talk more about that in another post where I will also introduce her forthcoming blog). Some of the ideas we tossed around in the meeting included at least three sections (development, characteristics/competencies, and tasks or roles of leadership). We came up with a huge list of potential contributors. We also thought about opening up the scope of the book to include chapters on leadership that focused on the military, politics, global politics, the ministry, as well as specific business sectors such as financial, healthcare, and so forth. As a bit of a news junky, the idea of opening up the scope like that sounds like big, juicy, exciting fun. (At least, until we get into the nitty gritty of editing, proofreading, managing the schedule, bugging the authors for answers to queries, and so forth!) At present, no outline exists, the topic list is wide open, and only a loose timeline is in place. Those of us who attended the meeting have been tasked with coming up with five to six contributor names or topics to give Elaine as fodder for her ideas, so I thought I would cheat a little and see if any of you have any thoughts on what you’d like to see covered in a Handbook on Leadership.

What Makes Successful Salespeople

What do sales coaches need to know in order to help their salespeople succeed? More importantly, what does a complete, well-rounded, super-star sales professional do anyway? Surely, if you cornered one of these high-performing sales professionals at a social event and asked them what they actually did as a sales professional, there would be more to it than “I help people.” What exactly is it that salespeople DO anyway? I’m talking about what they actually do, not what their company does or what their value proposition is, but what THEY DO day in and day out as a sales professional? To be a complete sales professional, their daily activities should be in support of creating customer satisfaction and loyalty. What are these daily activities? I have analyzed the outputs and deliverables of thousands of sales professionals. I found that these tasks can be grouped into eight key areas. The idea is to help them become highly competent (i.e. superstar) sales professional through helping them: 1. Manage Themselves – highly competent salespeople keep their personal life in check. They stay healthy. They set goals, they make plans for your future. They keep their finances in order. They find stress-reducers. 2. Manage the Sales Cycle — The highly competent sales professionals seek out continuous comprehensive training and education to support their sales process. You should also be able to initiate, plan, and execute a sales process in order for your product or service to be assimilated into the buying organization. There are many systems out there to choose from. 3. Manage Opportunities – Highly competent sales professionals understand how to identify, manage, develop, and close the right sales opportunities. To do this, they’re experts at opportunity planning, territory management, opportunity development, and closing. 4. Manage Relationships- Highly competent salespeople become a trusted advisor to the buyer only happens when the sales professional is successful at building relationships, communicating, distributing information, and influencing others ethically through collaborative dialogue. Building relationships within your own organization is just as critical. Make sure that you take the time to forge relationships with your support teams, delivery teams, management or any other party that is involved in your sales process. 5. Manage Expectations – Highly competent salespeople continue their relationship after the sale. Providing top-notch service to buyers ensures repeat business and a solid sales reputation. 6. Manage Priorities – Highly competent salespeople understand the crucial elements of managing personal time to achieve ones goals and objectives. Great sales professionals understand that they must define the right tasks for the day or month, prioritize them, schedule them and execute. 7. Manage Technology – Highly competent sales professionals utilize technology in order to maximize personal and organizational effectiveness. 8. Manage Communications – highly competent sales professionals understand their choices in selecting, delivering, and leveraging communications strategies and mediums in order to effectively get their message across. There are many people that wonder why sales professionals are “harried,” have short attention spans, are always too busy, or seem a “little flustered”. Perhaps by identifying and understanding these eight areas, you have a new found appreciation and an understanding of why? So the question is, does you sales coaching program help salespeople become better in each area? How can you help them understand which area they are the strongest in? Or which area they are the weakest? A well designed sales coaching program provided by a reputable organization can help sales managers and sales coaches build action steps and coaching programs that help salespeople improve in each area every single day.

What Does a Good Mobile Learning Strategy Look Like?

Last week we established a few baseline expectations of the benefits of a mobile learning strategy. We talked about how it affects your immediate team, your external stakeholders and how it improves the long-term success of your mobile learning efforts. With those points in mind, you’re probably ready to get your efforts underway in creating a strategy. Hold on there, partner. Before venturing in this direction it’s vital to get a good understanding of what components comprise a great mobile learning strategy, what you need to avoid, the basics on what it takes to get started and what resources are out there to help you on all of this. What’s in a Strategy? In essence, a strategy is a comprehensive high-level view of your mobile learning roadmap and technology landscape. The roadmap for a successful mobile learning should take in account your learners, their goals, the organization’s pedagogy and value on training/learning, the focus placed on just-in-time learning and performance support, and the companies views on augmentation. These topics should be considered in terms of where they are now, but also with an eye to the future, possibly thinking out 6 months, 1 year, or maybe 2 years. Planning much further out than that would be very difficult due to the constantly quickening pace of the mobile landscape. The practicality of estimating where technology will be that far out, when you yourself are not one of the technologists inventing it is a fruitless exercise. The technology landscape can be comprised of the Six P’s of a Mobile Technology Strategy, published by Float, here. These six P’s are: Platform, Procurement, Policies, Provisioning, Publishing, and Procedures. By carefully weighing your options in these areas, completing the necessary analysis, and then choosing a recommended path or paths in each of them, you will know you are making the correct steps to achieve success. A strategy is useless unless it can be implemented, so in that light, be sure to ground your planning in the practical and don’t get too theoretical. You’ll need to make sure that scope, schedule, and budget are always aligned with your business strategy, resources, and funding you have available to you. What’s Not In A Strategy? It should be clear that a strategy should be full of big ideas tempered with implementation practicality as a backdrop. A strategy is not an app, or really for that matter a series of apps (though it could potentially be, depending on your analysis outcome, natch). A strategy is not an edict of platform nor policy, though these are likely to be components of your larger effort. A strategy should not be a dead tree. This mobile world moves quickly. What was once unthinkable becomes reality with the next major keynote by a hardware or software vendor. What was once only the territory of an app becomes possible on the next OS revision’s improved webbrowser. Mergers happen, OSes evolve, consumers’ buying habits change. Speaking of consumers, your strategy needs to take into account the likelihood that your learners will be bringing their own devices into the workplace, and that this pattern is likely to increase as IT deals with pressure to support more and more smartphones, tablets, and other form factors. A strategy missing this point will be seen as having a gaping hole in understanding the learners’ profiles. Basics Make no mistakes, an effort of this scale takes time and hard work. You’re going to need to dig in. Research the market place. Investigate where your competitors are going. Talk to other like-minded departments in your organization. Survey your learners. You’ll likely find common threads in your discovery process. It’s important to be expansive in your thoughts at this point. Then once you’re ready, start the analysis. We’ll go deeper into detail on this topic in a subsequent post in this series. Finally, you’re going to have to consider how to present your findings, curating, and then collating the important content. Keeping the deeper findings in order to back up your analysis and provide a sold foundation for the team that will implement your strategy is crucial. Business cases, estimations of the work to be done, and considerations on the skills and whether or not you will need to enlist outside vendors to produce the work should also be included in this body of findings. Until Next Time Well, we’ve covered a lot of great ideas here. Be sure to come back next week, when we’ll discuss the effects you’ll start to see after you’ve created and begun the implementation of your strategy.

U.S. Tech Industry Likely to Lose Thousands of Experienced IT Professionals to India

(From PRNewswire) — U.S. companies might face a brain drain as thousands of Indian IT professionals contemplate returning to their homeland according to a new survey conducted by Corp-Corp.com, one of the fast-growing U.S.-based technology job portals. They conducted a survey recently among the Indian IT professionals in the U.S. about returning to India trends. “The results are very important for American businesses because they may face challenges in filling the gap of these resources,” said Prabakaran Murugaiah, CEO of Corp-Corp.com. “Businesses cannot replace an experienced workforce overnight.” Over 1,000 responses were received and the results reveal that almost half of the IT professionals of Indian origin are planning to return to India. 50% of the people who responded said that they will be returning to India soon, while 6.4% of them have already returned to India. The survey participants include permanent residents, citizens and visa holders. The survey results show 69% of visa holders and over 57% permanent residents or citizens intend to return to India. Read more.

UAE consortium formed for INSEAD Executive Leadership Programme

(From AMEinfo.com) — Translating the UAE’s leadership vision of establishing the country to be the centre of leadership excellence in the region, Du, Dubai Holding, DUBAL and First Gulf Bank have formed a UAE-based consortium of principal companies in the country, and launched an Executive Leadership Programme in collaboration with INSEAD, one of the world’s largest and leading graduate business schools. The INSEAD Executive Leadership Programme (ELP) was conceived and designed to bring a higher level of training to executives at the Vice President and above levels in the UAE. “INSEAD’s Executive Education Programmes create an environment where individual, group and organisation-wide learning is achieved simultaneously. We are honoured to partner with the consortium made up of leading UAE companies, in order to bring comprehensive leadership training to future leaders,” said Dipak C. Jain, Dean of INSEAD. With an aim to expound upon the skill set already demonstrated by those in senior executive managerial levels, the ELP, which will be delivered by INSEAD, will hone the attributes necessary to becoming a company leader, focusing on Strategy and Planning; Customer Centricity; Financial Management; Strategic Human Resources and Supply Chain Management. In addition, the course develops team building leadership and incorporates personalised executive coaching, with participants taking part in live case studies and CEO panels.

Top Five Ways to Advance Your Training Career in 2011 – Number 1

This is the first in series of five podcasts on how to be the most effective training professional you can be by producing business value for your organization. Dr. Jim Kirkpatrick shares a valuable tip with you in each podcast of 10 minutes or less. Dr. Jim Kirkpatrick is the son of Dr. Don Kirkpatrick, the creator of the Kirkpatrick Four LevelsTM training evaluation model. Kirkpatrick Four LevelsTM Developed in the 1950s, the Kirkpatrick Four Levels, also known as the Kirkpatrick Model, have become an industry standard for measuring the value of training. Jim Kirkpatrick carries on the work of his father by teaching the true and correct four levels. He has also expanded them with the Kirkpatrick Business Partnership ModelTM, which shows how the four levels apply during the planning, execution and demonstration of value phases of any initiative. The first podcast in this series is entitled “Align Training Efforts with Level 4 Results”. It explains how to use the Kirkpatrick Four Levels during the planning phase of an initiative. Click to listen to the podcast: http://www.kirkpatrickpartners.com/Resources/tabid/56/Default.aspx

Tool Usage to Support Learning

The newly released ASTD/i4cp research report, Instructional Systems Design: Today and in the Future, found that most organizations have Instructional Systems Design (ISD) programs that are, at best, moderately effective in achieving both learning and business goals, and are not positioned well enough for the future. ISD is adapting to the current, fast-changing learning environment and the uncertain future. The learning environment is constantly evolving, with companies’ operations expanding globally; learners coming from increasingly diverse backgrounds and cultures; and technological advancements constantly changing the ways in which learning occurs. What tools are ISD professionals using and considering using, in order to help them adapt for the future? Classroom instruction is not being substituted for emerging technologies and informal learning. In fact, 97 percent of respondents reveal that their organizations currently use classroom instruction, with less than one percent saying they no longer use it. New forms of instruction will not replace classroom learning-at least in the short term-but rather supplement and shape such learning. Learning today is becoming much more customized, informal, just-in-time, and technologically mediated. The study shows that the trend towards blending classroom learning with technological tools has become well established. More than two-thirds of respondents say their organizations use blended learning (combinations of synchronous and asynchronous, classroom, and e-learning). Although this study confirms the finding from ASTD’s The Rise of Social Media: Enhancing Collaborations and Productivity Across Generations study, that most companies have not yet systematically embraced social media technologies for the learning function, there is evidence that these technologies are gaining momentum. A significant percentage of participants say their companies are planning to use them in the future. In fact, fewer than 5 percent of respondents do not think the use of social media will increase over the next five years. Mobile learning, social networks, podcasts, and wikis are the top four tools being considered for use in the future. A complimentary copy of the report’s executive summary can be downloaded and members can download their free copy of the report from the store.

The Workforce Investment System that Works!

Since participating in the public workforce system many years ago, I can see the successes that both the organization and individuals have achieved working through it. Unfortunately, many in our community were not as aware of the accomplishments of the local workforce boards (WIB) or the Career One Stop Centers (One Stop). Now that is about to change! The National Association of Workforce Boards (NAWB), roughly 600 state and local workforce board members, have designed a site and a process to collect success stories from the public workforce system. The site is designed to help policy makers when making decisions on funding and other policy priorities within the system. Here are the key messages NAWB would like the site to find and promote, according to their campaign toolkit: 1. The system is working for America. 2. We are a network of workforce experts. 3. We make investments that count. 4. Our mission is all about workforce talent. How can ASTD participate? We are a membership organization of workforce experts! We could always help the system by becoming active in the system. There are many opportunities for engagement, and I encourage you to check it out. You can engage can be as a policy maker on a WIB or even as a career coach in a One Stop. If you currently are a volunteering in the system, here is an opportunity for your group to share success stories with others. Just follow the directions on the www.workforceinvestmentworks.com. The site also has several sections where you can find workforce information. The sections will be: 1. Why workforce investment videos. 2. Find workforce experts. 3. Legislative corner. 4. Workforce stories. 5. Business champions. 6. Sponsors. It looks to be a great place for system participants, key stakeholders, policy makers and the general public to get current, relevant information and stories about what is really happening in the public workforce system. We will continue to monitor the site and keep you posted on progress as this project moves forward. The web site is planning to go live mid-February, just in time for NAWB’s annual conference and Capitol Hill meetings. This will be a good tool for those going to the conference in speaking to successes of the public workforce system.

Survey: U.S. Workers to Receive Largest Merit Increases Since Start of Financial Crisis

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–U.S. employers are planning to give employees this year the largest merit increases since the start of the financial crisis, according to a new survey by Towers Watson (NYSE, NASDAQ: TW), a global professional services company. The survey also found that the hiring freezes that were put into place during the recession are beginning to thaw, especially for professional and technical workers, and positions that require employees with critical skills. The Towers Watson survey found that companies are optimistic and are budgeting merit increases of 3.0% for 2011. That compares with the 2.7% merit increase awarded to employees overall in 2010 and is the largest merit increase since before the financial crisis when increases typically averaged 3.5 – 4.0%. Though the horizon is brighter for most companies, the survey also found that 5% of companies plan to freeze salaries for all workers this year, the same percentage as last year. However, 13% of companies plan to freeze salaries for executives while 12% plan to freeze salaries for hourly workers. Both figures are down sharply from 2010. “Most companies have turned the corner and are now in a much stronger position financially to recognize and reward employees, especially their top performers,” said Laura Sejen, global head of rewards consulting at Towers Watson. “Throughout the recession and even afterwards, companies made it a high priority to provide better rewards to those employees who performed at the highest level and made the highest contributions to their organizations.” Read more.

Survey: How Small Companies Respond to Recession

SAN LEANDRO, Calif.–( BUSINESS WIRE)–As the U.S. recession deepens and monthly job losses reach historic highs, a recent survey of more than 400 white-collar small businesses is shining a light on how small employers are evolving their human capital management practices in a down economy, and how employer practices are directly influenced by whether the small business owner is considered an “economic optimist” or an “economic pessimist.” Conducted by TriNet, a leading provider of human resources outsourcing and consulting services to small businesses, the TriNet Recession Practices Survey polled businesses in the technology, financial and professional services fields. The survey found that nearly half of the respondents fall in the category of being “economic optimists” and saw market conditions as least as good as in 2008. Of the economic pessimists, 34 percent viewed the economy as worse and 18 percent viewed it as much worse than 2008. When it comes to hiring and talent acquisition practices for white-collar small businesses, the survey found that hiring plans are still on the table, but are being scaled back overall, with more than half of respondents saying they will hire fewer employees in 2009. Just as consumer confidence influences the performance of the market, employer confidence influences their business’s response to it . Specifically, 28 percent of economic optimists are planning to hire more employees in 2009 than the previous year and only 4 percent of economic pessimists are planning to hire more in 2009. ( Read the entire release.)

Study: Certain IT skills in demand despite economy

Chris Kanaracus, IDG News Service. Thirty-eight percent of U.S. companies are planning to trim IT staff this year, but certain skills remain hot, according to a new study by the IT staffing company Veritude. The poll, taken in the fourth quarter of 2008, shows that companies’ hiring plans plunged dramatically in recent months. In a study Veritude conducted during the second quarter of last year, just 4 percent of respondents planned to make cuts. In addition, the new survey found that only 38 percent of companies intend to add staff, down from 52 percent in the previous study. One silver lining is that the anticipated cuts are not especially deep; 22 percent of those who plan to reduce staff said they would eliminate between 1 percent and 5 percent, Veritude said. But workers with business-intelligence skills and expertise in C, C++ and C# programming should fare especially well in the weakened job market, according to the study. Also, 17 percent of companies are now looking for Mac developers, more than tripling the previous survey’s finding of 5 percent. But demand for enterprise architects has declined significantly, indicating that companies are both reluctant to shoulder the larger salaries such individuals receive, and also scaling back on long-term project planning. Meanwhile, the percentage of respondents that intend to hire workers on a “temp-to-perm” basis shot up to 56 percent from 27 percent in the previous study, which suggests that companies planning to add jobs are doing so tentatively. Story copyright 2009 IDG News Service Inc.

Skillsoft Study Reveals CEOs in the UK Are Willing to Pay Extra for More Training in Less Time

Skillsoft recently announced the results of a study which reveals that in the current global economic climate, CEOs increasingly believe in the value of learning, with 93 percent of business leaders in the United Kingdom stating that they will either maintain or increase their training budget over the next 12 months. Only 13 percent listed cost as their most important consideration. The study, conducted by OpinionMatters on behalf of Skillsoft, surveyed 503 CEOs of businesses with more than 250 employees, across 13 business sectors, on topics that included recruitment, leadership, learning, succession-planning and staff turnover. Reflecting the time constraints in today’s competitive business marketplace, 42 percent of the CEOs interviewed for the study said the length of a course was a more important deciding factor than its content. They prefer shorter courses that require less time and allow for employees to remain productive while receiving necessary training. “This research shows that business leaders increasingly appreciate the value of learning,” said Kevin Young, managing director of Skillsoft EMEA. “However, while training budgets themselves are not being cut, the time businesses have available to undertake training sessions is clearly shrinking. Courses need to be more succinct and to-the-point than ever, delivered in highly relevant, bite-sized pieces. Cost may not be a priority for the CEO, but it will and should matter to the training and development team, and we work hard to set the standard in cost-effective learning with a measurable ROI,” Young added The study also found that measurable return on investment from training mattered most to only seven percent of respondents. Also, the format of delivery was largely irrelevant with only six percent listed this as an important factor in choosing training. But the study did show that innovative technologies are starting to impact the workplace, with 61 percent of CEOs responding that they have a mobile learning strategy in place, with 24 percent planning to embrace mobile learning in the near future. A detailed analysis of the research can be found in the latest Skillsoft whitepaper titled CEO perspectives on people: leadership, recruitment and skills which can be downloaded on http://www.skillsoft.com/emea/documents/Research_Whitepaper_A4.pdf

SimWord of the Day: Rush (or Tank Rush)

For those of you who play Real Time Strategy games, to rush is to, early on in a scenario, build a large, mobile army and attack an opponent, hopefully catching them unaware while they are still building up their infrastructure. This term is increasingly used in real business situations, both for people internally planning to get support for their idea “let’s do an email rush before the report is released,” and externally, “it is not enough to be an early mover. We have to do a tank rush to dominate the store shelves.” This is typically an all or nothing strategy, that if fails, leaves the attacker in a vulnerable situation.