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For the term "Mentoring".

Mentoring and Career Development

Mentoring is a process of developing formal relationships between junior and senior members of the organisation, in certain cases mentoring also takes place between peers.

Big Blue PMO

Supporting more than 26,000 project managers worldwide, IBM’s project management office has quantified its value over the years, including a 25 percent drop in troubled projects. Global mentoring and knowledge-sharing programs have helped “personalize” its huge PM community, putting people skills above formulaic processes and spreading best practices. Developing responsiveness and handling increasing complexity are the next challenges.

Advice on Advice

Mentoring is an excellent way to share knowledge among your professional colleagues, and the benefits are numerous as well as mutual. But it can be challenging to know what advice to follow and what advice to reconsider.

When Good Leaders Make Like Rats on a Sinking Ship

It’s time to check the ship for leaks, sailor, because the rats are hopping overboard. Technical people with good leadership potential are leaving for higher positions in other ships. Mid- to high-level leaders who have reached a career plateau are seeking opportunities in other ports. Many other employees are taking the leap because their managers are so unprepared. There is a common cause to these problems in most cases: Lack of an effective mentoring program.

How to be a Better Mentor

Mentoring others is one of the best ways to pay it forward, and can be beneficial to all involved (even experienced PMs!). Here are four tips for being a mentor that can make an impact.

Agree to Disagree

The first rule of business and all successful relationships is to choose your battles carefully. In professional relationships, there is yet another dynamic to that sage advice, and that is to know how long to fight those battles! I’ll give you a hint: You won’t win all of those battles. In Human Resources, we get requests for training and mentoring on one skill more than any other: Communication in Professional Relationships. Let’s review how to approach a situation where you disagree with a peer, need to present your ideas or concerns to that person in a constructive manner and, most importantly, when you need to realize that it may be time simply to stand behind your decision and rally the troops.

Social Good Program Success: An Award-Winning Outline

The winner of the PMIEF Community Advancement Award as an Individual Project Manager shares more on a Speed Mentoring program for veterans—and a project plan that can be rolled out across the country, serving any number of communities.

Social Good Program Success: An Award-Winning Outline

The winner of the PMIEF Community Advancement Award as an Individual Project Manager shares more on a Speed Mentoring program for veterans—and a project plan that can be rolled out across the country, serving any number of communities.

Does Your PMO Mentor?

Almost half of the respondents to this month’s Projects@Work survey say their project management offices do a poor job of training and mentoring or don’t do it at all. That’s a missed calling as PMOs can be a nerve center for knowledge-sharing and best practice efforts. Here, two experts share their thoughts on developing mentoring programs within a PMO, and getting the most from them.

Coach Class

Project managers that make coaching and mentoring part of their daily jobs inevitably spark improved teamwork and better project performance. Here is a four-part coaching “toolkit” that should be brought to every project.

Five Things My Mentors Taught Me

Career development and training go hand in hand with mentoring. If you can find a few good mentors in your career, you’ll be much better off than having to experience the pitfalls of the work world all alone. This writer has been fortunate to have several formal and informal mentors help him along the way, and here he shares the top five bits of career advice that he still keeps fresh in his mind.

Food For Thought

Project management is not a discipline easily mastered by reading books or memorizing formulas. At McDonald’s, an apprenticeship program emphasized structured mentoring and skills validation to accelerate the integration of project management theory into on-the-job expertise.

Be Part of a Mastermind

Investing time and energy in a cross-mentoring group can pay dividends in your professional development as a project leader, providing a safe sounding board, invaluable advice, diverse feedback and a steady dose of inspiration. Not to mention, you will also benefit from sharing your own strengths to help others.

Give And Get

After all the training and certification, project managers ultimately learn by doing, which is why mentoring programs can be invaluable. When senior project leaders share their knowledge and experience with junior counterparts in a real-world context, both the individual and the organization benefit. The best programs combine flexibility, follow-through and recognition.

Mentor, Shmentor!

Stop making such a big deal about mentoring! It’s considered to be so important, but can it make or break a career?

PM Conversations

Challenge but don’t penalize. Be positive, not naïve. Oh, and act like a snowplow. That’s some advice to project managers from A.C. Fred Baker, who has been managing and mentoring in the project world for 35-plus years. Here, he reflects on his career and shares a couple pet peeves.

How are Project Managers Made?

The best formula for a PM is to gain assistance and guidance through lengthy training and mentoring. But this is often not the recipe used, and many project managers’ careers are slow in starting without this valuable direction.

Advice for Working With a Business Mentor – Best Skills

Once you have chosen your mentor, the fun has just begun! A great mentor will become not only your advisor, but likely your friend and confidante, as well. That doesn't happen instantly, though. Building trust and personal interest takes time. You set the tone at the outset of the relationship by demonstrating your commitment to the process. How, then, can you best establish the base on which to build a solid mentoring relationship?

Can a Government Wide Mentorship Program Work

What if there was a virtual, government-wide mentoring program that not only reached out across the varying levels of government (federal, state, and local), but also bridged the expanse between agencies, experience, and geographical distance?

Those Who Lead, Mentor

The first decade of the century is behind us, and we are on the threshold of a new one, having learned many lessons about mentoring and leadership during the last 10 years. Perhaps the most significant is that study after study has shown that the majority of leaders attribute their success, in whole or in part, to the…

Setting Up for Career Success

Students who participate in mentoring and experiential learning during college are more likely to be engaged in their jobs after graduation.

Point-and-Click Guidance

According to a report by Triple Creek Associates called “Impact of Web-Based Mentoring on Productivity and Effectiveness,” 88 percent of respondents agreed that their productivity and effectiveness at work increased due to e-mentoring experiences. Eighty-eight percent of respondents were also satisfied overall…

Make Mentors, Not Harassers

Confront sexual harassment in your organization by creating a culture of mentoring that advances junior staff, especially women.

Lois Zachary

In this Q&A, Lois Zachary, President of Leadership Development Services, discusses the future of mentoring, how to select a mentor, and how to encourage a mentoring culture.

AI Lite

Bob, a district sales manager for Acme Corporation, once dreamed of rising to the top and mentoring eager young business suit – clad men and women. But his dreams shatter daily under the stress of fixing one issue at a time. For every great quality he saw in each of his people in the interview room, he seems to find one eq…

Workflow learning vs. the “me-focus” culture

The idea of workflow learning is surprisingly controversial. I attended the “Innovations in E-learning” symposium last week, put together by George Mason University, the US Naval Education and Training Command, and the Defence Acquisition University. I was interested in hearing what Jay Cross, Clark Aldrich, Harvey Singh and Ben Watson had to say about workflow learning, collaboration, and simulations, since these are things I have always been passionate about. Jay’s presentation, as usual, was delightfully challenging, non-linear, evocative, and provocative. But the presentation on “embedded learning” by Michael Littlejohn of IBM astonished me. He provided a well-structured overview of the practical deployment issues of embedded learning. My surprise was not so much at what he said, but that it was being said by IBM. If Big Blue is advocating it, then workflow learning has come a long way, baby. I did a piece on this on my own blog, and have already had a lot of back-channel skeptical feedback. In all that I have read about workflow learning, I have yet to hear anyone argue that it is not a great idea conceptually, but there are a whole lot of people who can’t believe workflow learning will ever work in practice. They are blinded by their culture. It reminds me of the mid-to-late 1990s when I was promoting online learning to a resistant training community, who could not believe that anyone would prefer a computer to a classroom, or that any online learning could be as effective as that delivered by a trainer. Many were also desperately afraid of having to re-invent themselves. At the time, my mantra was “it’s warmer on the web,” because I was trying to get through to trainers that online learning was all about connecting people, building communities, mutual mentoring, and sharing experience. To a largely techno-skeptical audience numbed by the self-indulgent atrocities of CD-ROM courses, online learning was never going to fly. The key that unlocked the e-learning Pandora’s box, unleashing a few gems within a cloud of pestilence, was a culture shift. Corporations started taking for granted ubiquitous desktop computing and internet connections, and started looking to leverage them to improve business processes and cut costs. Trainers started to get as myopically starry-eyed about e-learning as they had about PowerPoint. Workers started to appreciate the need to keep themselves current, valuable, and marketable because it became clear that companies were not going to provide more than the basic essentials. Training vendors saw a need to defend against more tech-savvy competitors, as well as an opportunity to broaden markets and raise margins. Quite a lot of learners had a few good e-learning experiences, mind-sets started shifting from resistance to acceptance, if not enthusiasm, and e-learning was airborne. Workflow learning requires similar, though probably more dramatic, organizational and personal culture changes. A major prerequisite for workflow learning is a culture that fosters collaboration and sharing, that rewards (rather than punishes) individual support initiatives, that builds a fundamental responsibility for informal coaching and mentoring into every employee’s job description, and that places as much value on time spent helping others perform as it does on time spent performing. Another prerequisite is a widespread personal attitude toward supporting others that values highly the giving of both time and knowledge – two things most workers jealously protect. It’s not about the technology or the processes (though of course they are important), because without the individual will and the corporate mandate, the technology will gather dust. To change corporate culture, you need to demonstrate to senior decision-makers how much money can be made or saved (preferably this quarter) as a result of the proposed change. If they buy into the financial reward, corporations can move mountains. But how do you formalize, in a way that bean-counters will accept, the ROI from something as apparently fuzzy and informal as workflow learning? IBM advocates thinking small and running a pilot. That may be a starting point, but it’s not a strategy. Do you need to get conceptual buy-in at CEO level and have a bold shake-up, top-down, in order to achieve any sustainable culture shift? Or do you abdicate and wait for a bottom-up worker-driven evolution that effectively bypasses formal learning systems? However you do it, without a culture shift away from the “me-focus” that most organizational review/reward systems instill, and toward a “we-focus,” workflow learning just ain’t going to fly! Godfrey Parkin

What Exactly Is the Mentor’s Role? What Is Mine?

Working with a mentor can be an invaluable experience for both you and your mentor. The two of you will likely learn new things about yourselves and each other that will help move you toward your career goals. Mentors take on several roles throughout the relationship. As a mentee, you have your own responsibilities in the relationship, including: In your first mentoring conversations, you will want to discuss and clarify expectations with your mentor regarding roles and responsibilities.

The Who, What, and How of Sales Training

Are the proper people in your company offering the right sales training? Are they using a delivery method that creates the most impact with your sales force? Ever wonder how your organization’s sales training efforts stack up or compare with those of your peers? Some of the info below may give you reason to rethink your sales training strategy in order to build a world-class sales team that drives increased revenue. In part two of this three part weekly series discussing the findings of ASTD’s State of Sales Training report, we will look at the “who, what, and how” of sales training. “Who” defines those accountable for sales training in an organization, while “what” addresses the 5 categories of sales training, and “how” covers the methods of sales training delivery. As you recall from last week, if you can closely align your sales training with corporate training and goals, your revenue will increase. Who Let’s begin by taking a look who delivers the sales training. As you can see from the figure above, in many organizations it appears that learning executives are in more of a supporting role in regards to sales training, while sales executives tend to own the delivery. What When conducting the research, the team identified and validated a mix of 5 sales training categories: selling skills, product training, industry training, company specific training, and sales management. The pie chart below shows the percentage of training hours dedicated to each category. As you can see, it is clear that the highest priorities in sales training are teaching employees how to sell and about what they’re selling. How Finally, how did our research participant’s organizations deliver sales training? Take a look below: [Note: “on-the-job” at 17.6%/18.3%/17.0% and “coaching/mentoring” at 12.9%/10.7%/17.2% made up a majority of the remaining delivery methods] As you can see, despite the prevalence of technology and the continued discussions of Web 2.0 technologies, technology based training takes a back seat to instructor led training. Based on the data, we can assume that the human touch is essential to the delivery of sales training. Conclusion What other conclusions can we draw from this? As mentioned previously, if you can closely align your sales training with corporate training and goals, your revenue will increase. So it seems counterintuitive to have a sales executive deliver the training. Why does this occur? Could it be that sales executives can provide that human touch needed by sales people? Or that sales executives know how to train selling skills since they have “carried the bag”? What are your thoughts? Where does your organization fit? What conclusions do you draw from this data? Let us know in the comments section!

The Power of Us

For anyone who has heard me rant about the power of the Internet being it’s ability to connect people together on a scale previously not possible it is invigorating to see that the June 20th US edition of BusinessWeek is all about this topic. The cover story, titled ” The Power of Us” is an excellent article about how the Internet can connect all of us in new and exciting ways (there are also some online exclusives like Tour the Collectives of Cyberspace which are well worth checking out). Continuing this theme of collaboration Sam Adkins wrote an article called “Innovations in Collaboration” for the latest issue of the Chief Learning Officer magazine which is a great indepth review around the state of collaboration for learning (I have known Sam from his early days at Microsoft where he created the Microsoft Online Institute! (my first company, scholars.com, was a founding partner with Microsoft)). I’m happy to see that more and more people are starting to realize that the Internet is more than connecting people to websites, it is about connecting people to people to leverage their existing knowledge so we can learn/work better faster (for anyone following the writings of Jay Cross ( blog), this kind of collaborative mentoring is an essential part of his concept of workflow learning ( website)). Of course the challenge is that for collaboration to be effective it needs to be linked back to something, like an underlying event or topic (i.e. something that provokes collaboration versus being just passive). Collaboration for the sake of collaboration just doesn’t work anymore (just look at the state of the commerical social networking companies out there). Patti Anklam has it right when she talks about “object-centered sociality” in her blog posting ” Linking Out and Looking for Objects”. Effective mentoring (rant – collaboration to me is a guy using a nickname to go into an AOL chatroom to talk about essentially nothing; collaborative mentoring is about forming deeper long term relationships where something of value is exchanged) is more than technology, it is focused around optimizing the connections both between users and the collaboration technologies. You need things like eBay’s rating system or Amazon.com’s feedback forms when you start connecting tens of thousands of people together; the vast majority of whom do not know one another and thus have no context for evaluating interactions (this notion of trust and reputation). Heck, it is about making the whole process scaleable because the value of the network increases exponentially based on the number of using (basically known as the ‘network effect’) so you need a lot of people in order to get effective knowledge sharing occuring across all types/groups of people. You think learning objects (i.e. *content* objects) was/is exciting? Wait until this kind of collaboration gets (better) integrated into the process of learning! What do you think? Is the collaboration in online learning today good enough or do we need to improve it (or does it really matter?)

The Effective Use of Stories in Army Leadership Training

Written by Jeffrey Horey in the September ’09 issue of T&D Magazine… Facing high-risk and turbulent external environments, leaders at all levels make decisions paramount to long-term organizational success, particularly in the U.S. Army. Recently, frequent deployments and decreased opportunities for institutional learning have placed a premium on the effectiveness of multi-source feedback, mentoring, and other methods to accelerate development of Army leadership competencies and to inculcate Army values. Amid resource constraints, the Center for Army Leadership (CAL) strives to improve leader development through acceleration of competency acquisition. Stories, as exemplars, present a powerful and motivational tool for leaders at all levels to better understand what the Army expects from them. Meaningful stories are easily remembered and have long been a device to transmit the culture, beliefs, and history of an organization. However, relatively little is known about how the content and context of an exemplar is related to individual learner development and retention. CAL and ICF International are currently developing a library of leadership exemplars to better communicate effective leadership behavior throughout the Army. The intent is for the stories to be concise and clear examples of various doctrinal competencies. This article reports the results of an examination of how exemplar gender, timeframe, rank, and situational context affect perceptions of the story effectiveness. Exemplars come from a variety of sources such as books, videos, and blogs, and include leaders in a range of levels and circumstances. Each exemplar can typically be reviewed in less than 10 minutes. The library could be used for individual self development or in the classroom. Click here for the entire article. ***Access to full article is available to ASTD members. Please contact me if you are unable to log in.

Technology and the Education Industry

Ever since the SnakeOil post a lot of us have been watching and waiting for the inevitable changequake to occur in the education business. Content is king The medium is NOT the message Analagous to the way technology – digitasl technology – has changed whole industries seemingly overnight The changquake in the recording industry – the music is what they want not the package you force them into buying music on demand music consumers vs music producers The changequake in the photography industry Edwin Land was right People want the picture and they want it now 90% of film development labs have gone out of business Kodak, an iconic company, almost went out of business (and still might) as they swing entirely away from the old analog model pf picture taking to the new digital photography This is extending into the film industry in ways not yet known until broadband big pipes become more widespread the telephone industry is in the crosshairs at the VOIP crossroad. same about to happen in the television industry technology again is changing everything television on demand without commercials television consumers versus television producers control of time – time shifting – anytime control of space – location shifting – anyplace content control – on demand when will technology channge the education industry to give us on demand learning anytime and anywhere? The pieces are in place. When will the information consumers tell the information producers what they really want? The technology will become part of the background. As musicians and producers are learning in the recording industry and television writers and producers and directors are learning in the broadcasting industry, it’s not the station that counts, it’s the show. It’s not the CD label or artist that counts, it’s the tune. So it’s not the educational technology that will count, it’s the content. And some of the gates will be – Interactivity and Engagement; Relevance; Timeliness; Ease of Absorption – Adopt and Adapt; Collaboration and Community of Practice; eMentoring and eTutoring (to carry the content from the formal end of the contuinuum to the informal side (where 80% 0f the learning occurs). What will help me learn to do my job when I need it the most? How can I access the knowledge right now? Who can give me the know-how when I will be on the job and need it by tomorrow?

Summary of Original Snake Oil Comments

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

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.

Snake Oil Revisited

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

Sims Without the Cord

” Computer games are more effective learning tools because they sustain interest and attention in settings where people are normally bored.” Marc Prensky I was visiting Plymouth University in the UK last year and I was looking in on one of the classes on Principles of Accountancy. There were four tables, surrounded by four students, all standing and intensely playing Monopoly. Looked like they were having what Marc Prensky overheard one of his students call “hard fun”. Later I asked the Professor why Monopoly? He told me it was a great sim that taught his students some very important principles of accounting that he had added to the game: deferreed revenue, depreciation of assets, accounting for liability, property maintenance costing and more. His creativity had taken a very simple game, added in some complex real-world concepts, and turned it into a wonderful simulation without needing to be plugged in. Some points worth noting: From the limited research so far, when you need to learn something, especially a process, simulations teach more effectively than work done in a classrooms or with elearning. The only approach that seems better right now is eMentoring (one-on-one learning) especially on-the-job. Simulations seem to work best when they are fun, and when they do not have too high a price tag attached to success or failure. This price tag phenomenon seems to be pervasive. SAT scores for example go up when the students taking the test do not equate the score with admission to college. Extrapolating from Dr. Isabelle Mansuy’s work at the The Neuro Science Center in Zurich on a neurochemical level, sims seem to work so well. In a more relaxed environment, the brain consolidates short-term memory into long-term learning more effectively. At the level of brain enzymes, a relaxed environment causes a decrease of a protein called phosphatase-1 (PP1). PP1 has been implicated in everything from being unable to remember where you put your keys to Alzheimers Disease. It’s the protein in the brain that seem to help us forget. It increases with age so Senior Moments are a natural occurrence. Like the Wizard of Oz behind the curtain, I think pedagogy is looking at the effect and not the cause. Sort of like the magician who waves one hand to take attention away from the other. Now what’s that called? If we are ever to really understand how to help people learn, I think we need to understand the natural learning process, you know, the one that took millions of years to perfect. Then find ways to develop learning programs – like simulations -that work to enable rather than disable that “natural learning process”. What has been your experience with natural learning? How have you successfully (or not) created programs, activities, things to do, games to play, that helped people get into the learning zone? And do you even think this perspective has any merit? Or is it back to the one room schoolhouse and all stick and no carrot?

Rewards of ‘Gen-Blending’

Human resources consultant Bette Price has developed the term “gen-blending” to describe the mixing of people from various generations at workplaces. These employees work together as equals to address company issues. “The goal is to collectively brainstorm in order to identify problems and get a broader vision of the company,” says Price, who is publishing a book on the topic. Gen-blending typically involves three generations–Baby Boomers born in the 1940s and 1950s, Generation Xers born in the 1960s and 1970s, and Millennials or Generation Yers born in the 1980s and 1990s. In 2008, media firm Time Warner started a program called digital reverse mentoring where university students tutor senior executives about using such tools as Facebook and Twitter. Similar efforts are emerging in sectors like finance and commercial services, but are mostly concentrated in energy, engineering, and technology companies, says Price. This is because there is a greeter need for knowledge transfer at those firms. where there is greater need for technical knowledge transfer. Many firms continue to offer traditional programs where senior employees mentor junior employees, which experts say lets senior employees feel engaged. Click Here to read the entire Financial Times article by Rebecca Knight. Happy Learning!

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.

Merger mania in and around eLearning

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

Herding Cats or Managing Informal Learning

Kineo, a consultancy in the UK, published an interesting report earlier this year entitled 13 Ways of Managing Informal Learning. This white paper authored by Mark Harrison posits some very interesting principles in an effort to drive more attention to managing informal learning in the workplace. The strengths of this report come in a solid list of how new technologies can be used to better manage informal learning and in an extensive set of profiles outlining how to approach different types of employees (senior managers, new starters, experienced staff) to motivate them to participate in the creation and capture of informal learning. Harrison also provides some very good ideas on assessing the current state of informal learning. I haven’t heard much talk about coming to understand how exactly informal learning plays out in the enterprise currently. One of the strongest aspects of this report is that Harrison makes a strong point that informal learning has many facets and must be approached with a multi-faceted strategy. He centers much of his arguement as to why learning professionals should focus on informal learning on data from a Atos KPMG Consulting study that he represents in a table like so: My first thought was “that’s it?” In essence, 2 types of informal learning? And where is the non-business gossip or the discussion about the best ski resort for a weekend getaway? Certaining new information is learned in these conversations, but it’s likely to have little benefit that can be tracked to the bottom line or the strategic plan of the company. My puzzlement expanded when Harrison in defining what informal learning is through a negation of what formal learning is states: “It does not include: …. – Coaching ……” But the table lists “Mentoring & Coaching” as one of the forms of Informal. Which is it? His other major argument in favor of pursuing informal learning is ‘80% is alot of stuff and informal learning is quick and cheap.’ I’ve been wondering for some time now, how much of that 80% do we really want to data mine and save for posterity. I’m quite sure we don’t need the drafts of this blog posting if we were to start building a content repository. The distribution between informal learning and formal learning is more likely to be 40% Informal, 20% Formal and 40% Trash. The assumption that dealing with informal learning will be “quick” is more wishing that it were so than it is a rational conclusion from what we know about design of learning interventions. Any instructional designer can tell you that instructional designs which are are less transparent, more realistic, more “doing vs. learning” take far longer to create than simple, non-contextualized lessons. Informal interventions will often border on covert at times. Instructional designers will be pushing new boundaries to create experiences in which the learner is influenced without perceiving they are being influenced. Finally, I’m concerned that we are painting ourselves into a corner in regards to the “cheap” label that has been attached to informal learning initiatives. This perception of informal learning being cheaper is based on the now well flogged data in the chart above. 20% of the average learning budget is going to enhancing informal learning which makes up 80% of all workplace learning. But the main reason for informal only taking up 20% of the normal budget is that we haven’t been paying attention to it. It is true that Informal Learning will happen whether we tend to it or not and it will happen most of the time for free. But our focus is to try to nudge that learning so that it aligns with the needs of the enterprise to meet it’s strategic goals. technorati tags: informal learning, formal learning

EDGE: Weekly Training & Development, From Bloomberg Businessweek

(From BusinessWeek.com) Across the globe, two significant workforce trends are colliding to create a critical need for leadership development training over the next 5 – 10 years. A new generation of skilled workers are entering the labor market in droves – many without previous work experience – while a large group of seasoned leaders are approaching retirement (estimates show that employed individuals between the ages of 55 and 64 will increase by 11 million in the U.S. alone by 2010). In the midst of this growing leadership gap, market conditions are making the need for innovative and strategic leaders more critical than ever. How can companies continue to engage, retain and develop high-potential employees when resources are more constrained than ever? Given the current pace of change in business, how can companies put leadership development in context of what’s happening now? The answer: through agile leadership development programs and on-the-job training programs such as Bloomberg Businessweek’s EDGE. EDGE combines the world-class, insightful content found only in Bloomberg Businessweek with a cutting-edge, weekly training guide incorporating interactive and self-assessment learning activities. EDGE synthesizes headlines, news and trends impacting global business and extracts key learning concepts that can be incorporated in leadership development. Our future forward content is developed each week in real-time so that participants are learning about the impact of business decisions as they happen. EDGE is available to corporations to increase their bench-strength and grow their high-potential leaders. Bloomberg Businessweek’s Executive Development Guide & Extract (EDGE) is an innovative leadership development program that can increase your company’s bench-strength and develop your high-potentials. Written by leadership development experts, EDGE offers your employees robust, continuous learning opportunities – giving them a broader business perspective, igniting their thinking and stimulating collaboration. New content each week makes EDGE flexible and scalable – you can use it however learning happens within your organization. EDGE can be integrated into existing programs or used as a foundation to create new ones: * Formal leadership development programs. * Lunch and learn / One hour power hour – Organize “Lunch and Learn” or “Power Hour” training sessions on a regular basis. * Mentoring program – Incorporate key learning’s into networking, mentoring or coaching sessions. * Informal training sessions – Facilitate informal training sessions with peers or direct reports to share articles, EDGE extracts, etc. Bloomberg Businessweek’s EDGE includes: * A one-year subscription to Bloomberg Businessweek for each participant. * One year of the Executive Development Guide & Extract (EDGE) – e-mailed weekly including unique activities and key learning points designed around six articles in the current issue of Bloomberg Businessweek focusing on executive competency areas such as: * Leadership & Management Skills * Strategic Thinking * Personal Skills * Best Practices/Lessons Learned * Global/Technology Trends * Business/Financial Acumen To learn more about integrating EDGE into your corporate learning programs, contact us at: bwgroup@bloomberg.net

Back to the Future

Clark Aldrich, in his insightful blog several months ago, said “As I work with organizations in developing e-learning, I am increasingly aware of dead elephants in the room, large reference points that we have to avoid because we can’t wrap our minds around them.” He then went on to give several examples, where we talk about one thing (the traditional approaches and methods), and do not bring up the related Dead Elephants of e-learning (the new, innovative tools and techniques). Clark ended his post by asking readers “What are some other dead elephants?” In the 10 comments that followed, Godfrey Parkin touched upon what I think is not only a dead elephant, but the huge rotting carcass of a Wooly Mammoth. He said “One very large elephant that nobody wants to talk about is the increasing marginalization (and ultimate demise) of centralized training, and its implications for training departments as we have known them.” That was the point of the Snake Oil post. Back then, when it was first published, it was a wake up call for those of us who worked in corporate training departments. Back then, a lot of people paid attention and responded. As I understood the post, the purpose was to start a dialogue, to try and build a business case and discover a migration path from what Sam called “Snake Oil” – training that had been proven NOT to work – to new approaches that DO work (e.g. affective and cognitive learning, mentoring, collaboration, database-driven embedded and portable WIFI ‘performance’ systems, etc.). In Sam’s words, it was an opportunity for us to be ” rated on whether you save or make money (or both) for the company.” Two years later, after the alarm was sounded, it seems as if many of us have not only gone back to sleep, we’re disappearing. People left inside corporate training organizations are still selling Snake Oil. To quote a friend of mine, “This is professional suicide.” The new (now old in PC years) learning and knowledge transfer methods that the Snake Oil post listed are still not being discussed or widely adopted. The reason I thought the Snake Oil post was so important – I remember forwarding it to almost everyone on my email contact list – was that it was a chance to bring the Dead Elephants to life and have them enter the room. By doing so, I thought we could move away from the old Snake Oil approach, and begin to employ and incorporate the more readily measurable methods and tools into our work. The net result would have been several years of providing corporate education that would have had a more visible impact upon performance and profitability. Because we did not take the Snake Oil post either to heart or to work, that window of opportunity is lost. And the consequences are apparent. I recently read some research about our industry by Ambient Insights that shows that we – corporate trainers – are gradually going away. We are moving from inside the corporation, where we might have had a tremendously valuable impact, especially in the Knowledge Economy, to the outside. In 2004, there were about 75,000 corporate training professionals in this country. The trends towards off-shoring, outsourcing, downsizing and capsizing indicate that by 2008 there will be about 45,000 of us left. Most of us will be working for companies outside the corporation. As an outside vendor, our influence and impact upon corporate decision making, with regard to education and training, will be minimized. And if the trend continues, and we cannot break away from using Snake Oil, more than 75-80% of us by 2011 will be looking in from the outside, as we develop and deliver corporate training programs . The upshot of all this is that 6 years from now, by 2012, only 20,000 of us (or less) will be working inside companies as part of a training department. As Godfrey Parkin said, we will be even more marginalized, our ideas for innovation and new approaches even more discounted, and our primary role will be as project managers of outsourced contracts. The majority of us will work for outside companies as low paid and/or contract workers. And becasue there will still be money in Snake Oil, that’s probably what they will sell. I had high hopes, when the original post was first published, that we could change direction. I knew that we were NOT on the right path every time I bent over backwards, using some clever new system, to try and prove an ROI for a training program. I was looking forward to a new and exciting dialogue about the different role we could play. I was envisioning a more rapid adoption of the innovative methods of learning that were surfacing as part of the Digital Revolution. I had even hoped we could broaden our scope to learn what was going on outside the workplace, look at what was being done in the government, the military, Grades K to 12, and post-secondary schools. My goal back then was to reverse the trends, move away from just being ‘the training department’, jettison the canned Snake Oil approach, and move onto a better track that could help us become more valuable and valued by our companies. And so, two years later, the infamous Snake Oil blog is posted once again. I still believe, despite the trends, that it’s not too late, that those of us inside the company can still change what we are proposing and doing, get away from what measurably does no good (Snake Oil), to what works better if not best. I look forward to ‘walking the talk’, using the newer and more collaborative technology of the wiki, to discuss the possibilities posited by the Snake Oil blog. As Andrew Williams wrote in his response, perhaps the original post can still be viewed as “an inflection point” in the history of this industry.

ASTD Presents its Lifetime Achievement Award in Workplace Learning and Performance Award to Bob Eichinger and Mike Lombardo

The American Society for Training & Development (ASTD) presented Bob Eichinger and Mike Lombardo with its Lifetime Achievement in Workplace Learning and Performance Award on May 17 at the ASTD 2010 International Conference & Exposition held here. This ASTD award recognizes individuals for a body of work that has had significant impact on the field of workplace learning and performance. Eichinger and Lombardo are recognized for creating some of the seminal works in the workplace learning and performance profession, including FYI: For Your Improvement and Eight-Eight Assignments for Development in Place. Their collaboration with Morgan McCall at the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL) led to one of the foundational concepts of human resource development: the 70/20/10 learning model, which postulates that 70 percent of learning and development takes place from real-life and on-the-job experiences, tasks and problem solving; 20 percent comes from other people through informal or formal feedback, mentoring, or coaching; and 10 percent comes from formal training. A fortuitous course taught in 1991 at CCL put them on the map. CCL gave the two men permission to release a competency tool they developed and they formed Lominger, Inc. the same day. The tool, called the Career Architect, has since generated more than $100 million in sales. Eichinger and Lombardo continued their partnership and devoted themselves to producing research-based and experience-tested tools and materials that would be useful to the workplace learning profession. “We were always very interested in how people solve real-world problems, and how effective people differ from average performers,” says Lombardo. Eichinger notes the pair has noticed a “significant gap between research and practice” over the course of their partnership. In 2004, the pair co-authored a book with Dave Ulrich titled 100 Things You Need to Know: Best Practices for Managers and HR. The book covers practices in recruitment, assessment, selection, development, and feedback, includes short summaries of each, and then poses a multiple-choice question that the authors answer with research findings as a backup. Eichinger and Lombardo’s firm, Lominger, was acquired by Korn/Ferry International in 2006.

ASTD Presents Beverly Kaye with its Distinguished Contribution to Workplace Learning and Performance Award

The American Society for Training & Development (ASTD) presented Beverly Kaye with its Distinguished Contribution to Workplace Learning and Performance Award on May 17 at ASTD’s 2010 International Conference & Exposition held here. This award is presented in recognition of an exceptional contribution of sustained impact to the field of workplace learning and performance. Kaye describes herself as a “lover of learning.” In her early career as a college dean Kaye watched students take a passive approach to their careers. Her observations shaped the work she has done for the last 30 years as an expert in career planning, employee retention, and engagement. Her first book, Up is Not the Only Way, foretold the effects that leaner, flatter organizations would have on workers who would need to take charge of their own careers. The book was instrumental in establishing career development as a professional practice area. Love ‘Em or Lose ‘Em, published in 1999, was Kaye’s rallying cry to employers and managers about the importance of employee retention. The book is now in its fourth edition and has been translated into 25 languages. The companion book written for employees, Love it, Don’t Leave It: 26 Ways to Get What You Want at Work is a bestseller and continues the overarching theme of Kaye’s work: people must take charge of their own careers. Kaye’s work extends well beyond her bestselling books. She has created learning solutions for managers and employees to work together to help employees achieve their developmental goals. She has developed innovative approaches to mentoring. The founder of Career Systems International, she is finalizing a new and comprehensive learning solution – CareerPower3.0 – that appeals to all generations and offers multiple methods of delivery in the area of career development.

ASTD: Instructional Systems Design Still Relevant, Needs to Adapt

Most companies 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, according to a new research report from the American Society for Training & Development (ASTD). The research also found that while there are many challenges facing the world of learning and ISD practitioners, the need for instructional systems design still exists and will continue to as the field adapts to the demands of the contemporary learner and a global workforce. The report, Instructional Systems Design: Today and in the Future, includes a survey of major ISD practices and interviews conducted with experts and business organizations. The Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp) partnered with ASTD in the research. The study reveals that the traditional classroom course, often reported as being irrelevant, is still used by most organizations, with 97 percent of respondents saying they currently use the classroom to deliver workplace learning. Other key findings from the study include: The report finds that many ISD professionals believe their processes are not as effective as they could be and that indicates a necessary shift in how practitioners approach the field. The future of the profession lies in formulating instructional programs or products for not only the classroom, but also for other learning approaches like mentoring, coaching, online and offline simulations, asynchronous and blended learning systems, mobile learning, and serious games. This will require instructional designers to have a broad range of competencies, and overcoming resistance to new tools will be a necessary skill. The report also suggests that change is necessary at the university level where tomorrow’s designers are prepared. Instructional Systems Design: Today and in the Future provides a data-driven foundation for course designers who wish to adapt to the changing learning environment, and take advantage of new technologies. The full report can be accessed via the ASTD Store. This report is free to ASTD members.

Training Managers on Budgeting Basics

This webcast will discuss how to structure a training program to bridge the knowledge gap, leveraging the use of technology, live instruction, and mentoring to increase the ability of managers to prepare and monitor their budgets more effectively.

Finding and Working With a Mentor

Join us for this members-only Ask-a-Coach session with Jenn Labin, author of Mentoring Programs That Work, for an interactive discussion on mentoring from a mentee’s point of view.

Empowering Mentors to Supercharge Results

Mentoring programs succeed or fail based on the skill of their mentor population. Do the mentors in your program know how to drive momentum and boost the performance of their mentees?

How Can You Ensure Good Mentor Relationships?

Jenn Labin, author of Mentoring Programs That Work, talks about the challenges of creating matches between mentors and mentees, and what you can do as the program manager to avoid those issues.

Sinking Fast

A high-impact sales enablement mentoring program was developed after managers reported trouble staying afloat.

Meet Your Match

If done the right way, mentoring programs can have long-lasting, positive effects on participants.

Filling in the Blanks

Informal mentoring is about being in the right place at the right time and fostering boundless professional support and guidance within organizations.

This podcast was sponsored by Peck Training Group, linking people to their potential through formal and informal learning options, such as training, webinars, coaching, and online tools; www.pecktraining.com.

Creating a New Mindset

Mentorship looks very different now than it did 10 years ago. Understanding these changes will help you communicate the value of mentoring in today’s workplace.

Begin With the End in Mind

Setting SMART mentoring goals ensures a successful learning experience for mentors and mentees.

Evaluating Trainer Effectiveness

Recruiting, selecting, training, and developing quality trainers and instructors is always a challenge. This issue presents a generic model for evaluating the effectiveness of trainers, including tips on how to select the best trainers for your project. It describes strategies for developing training skills such as certification, mentoring, and plan development, and explains how to improve trainers’ credibility.

Learn Like a Leader

Learn Like a Leader portrays the power of storytelling in teaching, training, and mentoring.

Developing Effective Leadership Programs (In Action Case Study Series)

Todays work environment is more collaborative, more team based, and more cross-functional. Managers can no longer rely on the authority of their positions to command results; they must elicit willing cooperation and active participation from their staffs to achieve goals. People at every level are expected to know about and contribute to multiple aspects of their organizations activities. This book presents 12 case studies with various approaches to developing leadership potential, including training interventions, executive coaching, and individual and mentoring strategies that fit a wide range of settings.


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Introduction to Leadership Development

Leadership development involves nurturing, encouraging and mentoring prospective leaders. It is a two way process which is beneficial for both the organization and the candidate showing an inclination to be groomed as a leader.

The 9 Mentors You Need | Ed4Online

Whether you’re looking for career advice or need insight on some other big change in your life, mentors are there to help you navigate the journey. Below are definitions of nine different types of mentors. Make it your goal to have these different types of people as part of your mentoring team to help you succeed. In addition, strive to fill one or more of these roles in someone else’s life. The rewards are tremendous! The Challenger