A Higher Plane: Tapping Into Team members’ Spiritual Intelligence

Spiritual intelligence is considered by some as an essential component of both personal and professional development. This article discusses how project managers can tap into team members’ spiritual intelligence to create close ties to the project and improve creativity, motivation and performance. It explains the concept of spiritual intelligence and details how it is related to Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. It shows how organizations that use bottom-of-the-pyramid motivational levers run the risk of inadvertently keeping their employees at the wrong end of the motivational spectrum. The article then explores how spiritually intelligent team members identify with and feel engaged by the broader mission of their organization. It overviews Danah Zohar’s book SQ: Spiritual Intelligence, the Ultimate Intelligence and explains how negative drivers such as fear, greed, anger, etc., often lead to destructive behavior, while project managers who lead according to spiritual intelligence result in more positive behaviors. The article concludes by listing do’s and don’ts when tapping into teams’ collective spiritual intelligence. Accompanying the article is a sidebar listing the 12 indicators of spiritual development.

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Take The Guesswork Out Of Peformance Assessments

Replacing a team member can be a difficult and time-consuming process, from sifting through endless resumes to conducting interviews to on-boarding the new person. By effectively conducting formal reviews, supplanted by informal evaluations, project managers can address team members’ weaknesses, reward their good work, set future goals and implement an improvement plan, thus rendering the replacement of a team member less likely. This article explores ways to take the guesswork out of three evaluation conundrums when it comes to assessing team members’ performance. In doing so, it reports the results of a 2011 study–conducted by Harris Interactive–showing that organizations risk 250 percent of an employee’s salary in turnover costs because of poor performance management processes, including performance reviews. It then identifies three challenges that come up frequently during the review process and provides a solution for each challenge. Accompanying the article are two sidebars: The first sidebar lists three questions for every review; the second sidebar details the perfect type of review.

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Understanding the Path Forward in Federal Human Capital

Efforts to refine the government’s pay and promotion system have floundered. How can we develop and bring a new model to the majority of government employees? Most federal employees work and are paid in a General Schedule system that has been in place since 1949, when a vastly different group of occupations, skill sets, and management principles were practiced. In the last decade, The Performance Institute, a think-tank in performance management and accountability for…

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Motivated by the Mission Or by Their Careers

One of the most persistent questions facing leaders of government organizations is how to keep employees engaged, productive, and committed to serving the public. Leaders who understand and address what motivates their employees are more likely to hold on to their best people and maximize performance. In many cases, employee engagement rests on how well a manager understands employees, their reasons for working in the government sector, and how that information can be used to address employee…

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Why Strengths Matter in Training

(From Gallup Management Journal) — Companies spend millions training and developing their employees. But does it really pay off? Sure, such investments can enhance skills and boost effectiveness and innovation. But far too often, leaders and managers overlook a crucial element: complementing employees’ knowledge, skills, and experience by maximizing the power of their innate talents. Toward a strengths-based solution Not everyone can excel at a particular task, regardless of training and effort. Though training can help people improve, most employees won’t achieve excellence performing a task unless their talents make them naturally inclined to perform that task at excellence in the first place. Gallup research shows that people who know and use their strengths — and the companies they work for — tend to be better performers. In a study of 65,672 employees, Gallup found that workers who received strengths feedback had turnover rates that were 14.9% lower than for employees who received no feedback (controlling for job type and tenure). Moreover, a study of 530 work units with productivity data found that teams with managers who received strengths feedback showed 12.5% greater productivity post-intervention than teams with managers who received no feedback. And a Gallup study of 469 business units ranging from retail stores to large manufacturing facilities found that units with managers who received strengths feedback showed 8.9% greater profitability post-intervention relative to units in which the manager received no feedback. Companies that want to boost productivity and innovation must help employees apply their natural abilities to the day-to-day requirements of their role. Implementing a strengths-based approach often demands a fresh mindset; the old ways won’t do. The questions below can help employees figure out how they can best apply their talents in their role — and can help managers and leaders learn how to use a strengths-based approach to boost company performance. Read more.

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What’s different about mobile learning?

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

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What Organizations Spend on Learning

In the 2008 State of the Industry Report, ASTD Research reported on the amount of expenditure per employee on workplace learning and performance in three categories of organizations: members of the ASTD Benchmarking Forum, winners of the ASTD BEST Awards, and a consolidated sample that contained Forum organizations, BEST Award winners, and submissions to the WLP Scorecard. The average direct expenditure per employee in the consolidated sample of organizations rose to $1,103 per employee in 2007, an increase of 6.0 percent from 2006. The average learning expenditure per employee in both Benchmarking Forum and BEST organizations was higher than the consolidated average. For Forum organizations, average direct expenditure per employee was $1,609 in 2007. The BEST Award winners spent an average of $1,451 per employee on learning and development. Source: ASTD2008 State of the Industry Report Click here to learn more about ASTD Research.

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What Form does Informal Learning Take in the Workplace?

In 2008, ASTD partnered with the Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp) to help organizations better understand how to tap into informal learning. For the purposes of this study, informal learning is defined as a learning activity that is not easily recognizable as formal training and performance support. Generally speaking, it takes place without a conventional instructor and is employee-controlled in terms of breadth, depth, and timing. It does not include activities such as organized classes, workshops, and conventional job aids. [more]The ASTD/i4cp Tapping the Potential of Informal Learning study respondents clearly agreed that informal learning is taking place in their organizations. The survey data established the prevalence of informal learning in almost all organizations, and it revealed some of the better processes and tools for fostering informal learning. As many in the modern workplace would expect, e-mail emerged as the top-ranked informal learning tool at 68%. Accessing information from a company Intranet came in at a close second, with 65% of respondents citing its use to a high or very high degree. These responses reinforced that technology is a driving tool to create informal learning. Despite the growing recognition that informal learning is valuable, the firms surveyed reported only a small percentage of training budgets are devoted to informal learning. More than a third (36%) of respondents said they don’t allocate any learning expenditure to informal learning, and another 42% said they only allocate between 1% and 10% of their budgets to the process. These figures highlight the difficulty managers have in utilizing informal learning, even though the firms surveyed agreed there is value in this type of training. Source: Tapping the Potential of Informal Learning (ASTD/i4cp) Click here to learn more about ASTD Research.

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Walt McFarland Named Chair-Elect of ASTD Board of Directors

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

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Training Pays Off

CDW does not just let new telephone reps loose, first they must complete a six and half week training course. And their training continues with a six-month Academy and then a Master’s Curriculum. While the stock market has gone down over the last five years, CDW’s stock price is up fifty percent. This is because they, like others, see training as an investment rather than an operating expense. Laurie Bassi, one-time professor of economics at Georgetown University and former vice president of ASTD says that organizations that make large investments in people do much better than others. She further says that the education and training variable is the most significant predictor of an organization’s success as compared to price-to-earning ratios, price-to-book statistics, and measures of risk and volatility. Bassi puts her theories to the test — her and a fellow partner launched an investment firm that buys stocks in companies, such as CDW, that invest heavily in employee training. It has returned 24 percent a year over the past two years, topping the S&P by four percentage points. In the Human Equation, Jeffery Pfeffer writes, “Virtually all descriptions of high performance management practices emphasize training” (p.85). Yet, on the very next page he writes that in times of economic stringency, many U.S. organizations reduce training to make profit goals. Training works, yet it remains at the bottom of the pole in many an organization. But my guess is that it will not remain this way for long. The baby-boomers are starting to retire. There may be quite a few people out of work now, but when the pool of workers slowly starts to dry-up, then it is going to make the labor shortages of the late 90s look like a small bump in the road. How do we best prepare for it? Cheers, Donald Clark For more on Bassi, see: Carnahan, Ira (2005). Forbes. “Blame the Accountants”. April 25, 2005, p. 48. Delahoussaye, M & Ellis, K. & Bolch, M. (2002). Training Magazine. “Measuring Corporate Smarts.” August 2002, pp. 20-35.

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The “What” and “How” of Selling Skills

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

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Talent Management Playbook

A majority of high-performing organizations use talent management to help them identify, develop and leverage the core talent that is critical to the current and future performance of their companies. Mastering talent management helps companies differentiate themselves and provides them with a competitive edge. However, developing a cohesive talent management program, which successfully integrates its various components and aligns high-potential employees with company goals, is challenging for business leaders. The Talent Management Playbook is based on a survey commissioned by ASTD and i4cp that examined various aspects of talent management, including how organizations define talent management, the components they value, the people they choose, those they delegate to benefit from it and they ways in which they measure the success of its outcomes. Challenges that organizations commonly face with regards to talent management are addressed and potential actionable strategies are discussed; enabling organizations to take a holistic approach for the employees and company. Some of the challenges discussed include: There is no universal consensus on the definition of talent manage, and its meaning can vary even within organizations. Organization that integrate talent management are more effective and successful, yet few organizations report they have successfully done so. An organization may lack the measurement tools need to accurately track and assess talent management processes. This easy-to-use research guide also includes real-world examples of how companies have addressed some of these talent management issues. The Talent Management Playbook can be purchased from the ASTD Store.

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Talent Management Is a Top Priority for 2010

Philadelphia, PA (PRWEB) — With the economy cautiously turning the corner, senior leaders are focused on hiring and developing talent, according to a survey of more than 450 senior executives on LinkedIn by Right Management. 94 percent of executives said talent management is a top priority for 2010. Right Management is the talent and career management expert within Manpower, the global leader in employment services. The findings present good news for employees and job seekers. Employers are preparing themselves for growth opportunities as the economy rebounds and are looking for ways to enhance performance and productivity. One-third of the senior executive respondents will be hiring new talent in 2010, while 36 percent will focus on developing current talent. Twenty percent reported that increasing employee engagement is a top priority. Career development opportunities and efforts to increase engagement typically improve retention, which may explain why only 4 percent of senior leaders indicated they would be focusing efforts on retention. Read the full release.

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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.)

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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!

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Strategic Workplace Learning in the Public Sector – Part II

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

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Strategic Workplace Learning in the Public Sector

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

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Strategic Sales Training

It’s time for some new thinking in sales training. Clearly, there is a need for more comprehensive approaches to increasing individual competency and building sales capacity. The current approach just isn’t working. Let’s look at some of the newest trends in sales and sales management, and how they can help: Talent management. Studies have shown that a deliberate approach to talent management, including the recruitment, selection, orientation, engagement, and retention of top sales performers, results in annual sales force turnover of less than 10 percent (BPT Partners). Top sales organizations focus keenly on the proper identification and selection of new sales team members who have the best fit for building the sales team. That means they fit withing the sales culture, selling system, and types of products being sold. S kills development. Training is conducted with the purpose of helping salespeople increase their knowledge of the business and developing higher level skills, not just focusing on one element of the sales training mix such as product knowledge. Sales leaders coach and develop their team members. Sales process execution. Once equipped with the appropriate knowledge and skills, salespeople must be free to use them. They must be permitted – and expected – to take initiative, use good judgment, and make ethical decisions. Yet, 81 percent of sales organizations say that they don’t have a consultative sales process or are not following the one they have. Foundational selling skills. Skills such as presentation skills, speaking, closing, and follow-up – seem to be less important in today’s selling climate. Don’t get me wrong, salespeople do believe that addressing tough customer requirements, leveraging industry knowledge, and troubleshooting complex business problems provide the right customized experience for the buyer. Salespeople can provide value to buyers through a collaborative approach that co-creates a solution through a complex sales cycle. These approaches require salespeople to develop a wide variety of skills to keep pace with the increasing sophistication of the market and of their offerings. A competency model can help to define and guide that development. A competency model. A sales competency model can serve as an objective foundational starting point that can help to forecast and address knowledge and skills issues that arise due to the changes in markets and demographics. Consider the impact of a younger workforce: Will the only gap be one of turning knowledge into skill? How will companies turn the raw, undeveloped abilities of these younger players into consistently applied talent? What resources do we have for the bright, knowledgeable sales-team member who lacks the interpersonal skills to form lasting relationships with customers? And how will we address the loss of accumulated knowledge and years of experience when our most senior salespeople retire – many of them within the next five to ten years? If the experience of maturing workers is important to a company’s success, how can that experience and expertise be captured and transferred to younger, less experienced workers? Sales trainers, sales managers, and company executives must be more concerned with providing a holistic learning and development progression rather than relying on ad-hoc sales training activities. Furthermore, management must take a more proactive role in promoting the importance of this development and supplying adequate resources. Right now, many companies’ leaders are getting in the way of their sales teams’ success: In response to the ASTD survey, 44 percent said that there was a lack of management buy-in to sales training in their organizations, and 42 percent said that management’s short-sighted focus on results was an obstacle to successful sales training. To engineer world-class sales performance, sales team development must be holistic, all-encompassing, and proactive. There must be a paradigm shift in thinking, from “sales training” to “sales development and performance.” Sales training must quickly and deliberately evolve from a sometime activity by sales managers to an intentional, qualified effort that is directly tied to business strategy and measured according to business outcomes. Its practitioners must be knowledgeable, dedicated, and guided by a competency-based approach. A quantum shift to sales development and performance will bring sales team members together with professional sales trainers to create positive, progressive change by balancing human, ethical, technological, and operational considerations. A competency-based approach can help organizations attain business outcomes and results by focusing on sales-team member knowledge, skills, values, attitudes, and actions in relation to the workplace environment. For example, a competency-based approach allows sales development and performance professionals to work with a hiring manager to select new employees who demonstrate the agreed-upon competencies and expertise required to be successful in the position. These competencies then become part of the performance management system to monitor and evaluate the individual’s performance on the job. Finally, these competencies serve as the basis for guiding future development. A competency-based approach applied to the sales organization can provide a firm foundation by which sales team members can develop. With this approach, development efforts aimed at helping sales team members gain basic skills, technology skills, or even management skills are designed to be immediately applicable. Salespeople must continually develop new skills in order to contribute to the growth of their companies. The only way for companies to grow and compete in a rapidly changing global business environment is to have a skilled sales team that is innovative, understands the economic environment and marketplace, and is driven to excel within their industry. This requires the right people, with the right skills, at the right time. The tools and systems created by a competency-based approach to sales-team development can help organizations overcome many of the barriers cited here and maximize the potential of their sales force.

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Sometime I Feel Like a Dine-Oh-Saur

I remember my Dad’s buddy Tony who – aside from a stint as my Father’s shipmate in the Pacific during the Big One – had spent most of his working life in a Pittsburgh steel mill before he was laid off forever. He kept telling my Dad he was too old to change and “…felt like one of them Dine-oh-saurs” I feel like that sometimes lately. I feel like that when I talk to people who develop ‘learning’ programs or even when I read some of these blogs. I guess what I’m realizing is that the way things used to be done, is done. Every now and again you read a piece by someone and you say “Spot on!”, or whatever you say when that person hits an emotional mark, somewhere deep inside you. Here’s what I read by Dr Allison Rossett, San Diego State University, Professor, Department of Educational Technology. She writes about the evolution of training: “In the good old days, we wrote courses. We scheduled them. We taught them, or found somebody good to do it. Maybe we made a video or bought one. Maybe we evaluated the classes. Mostly we didn’t. Everything is different today. US Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan put it this way, “Human skills are subject to obsolescence at a rate unparalleled in American history.” Effective organizations are running at warp speed in a global and fiercely competitive environment. New software, new products, new customers, new competition, and new possibilities demand our attention. If employees do not feel well served by us, they can reach beyond us to online classes, communities, modules and e-coaches, no matter the physical locations. Technology thus presents tasty opportunities for workforce learning and support. Consider blended approaches, online assessments and self-assessments, performance support, informal learning, knowledge management, communities of practice, and captology. What are some of these intriguing possibilities and how do they change what’s possible for employees and what’s expected of us?” Indeed, I can only echo what she wonders when she asks ‘what are some of these intriguing possibilities, how do they change what’s possible for employees and what’s expected of us?’. Sometimes I think everything I’ve learned about learning needs to be relearned. Sometimes I feel like a dine-oh-saur. Do you ever feel like a dine-oh-saur? Maybe it’s time you should … let me know.

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Social Networking at Work Can Transform Businesses

San Francisco, CA ( PRWEB) March 26, 2009 — Innovations International Inc. announces the release of Small Acts of Inclusion- Creating Cultural Transformation. This “must have” booklet teaches employees how to create equal opportunities for success as individuals and for the organization as a whole by engaging in social networking both in person as well as through technology. Connecting with instant messages, email, and in small group settings mirrored in social networking sites can foster a sense of cultural inclusion and commitment. “Technology has provided us with tools to increase communication and collaboration between coworkers and business partners in ways never seen before. Solutions to problems occur through small interactions that coworkers and employees have on a daily basis. Small acts have the ability to make a large difference in a company performance and profitability.” – Dr. William Guillory, Author ( Read the entire release.)

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Social Media And The Workplace: Virtual Worlds and Legal Realities in 2011

(From Transworld Business) Radical revolution. Breaking boundaries. Peak performance. Sounds like the last ten years in surfing, skating or riding, right? Probably. But that also describes the advances in personal communication platforms. These changes have altered how we all play, live and work. What was once spoken, or written and edited, is now instantly uploaded for all to see and hear. Coupled with eroding workplace boundaries, employers face new challenges with employees. This article briefly discusses how these personal communication platforms (i.e., social or new media) are impacting the workplace. And potentially increasing liability risks for employers. Read more.

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Sales Quota Anyone?

The Myths of Salesperson Competency If you stop any sales person on the street and ask them if they are good at what they do, chances are, they will all say “yes!” But ask their manager, marketing department, customer service area, human resources department (or any other function of the firm), and chances are the answer is “no.” The difference in defining sales competence is a matter of perspective. Compounding the problem are two myths regarding measures of competency in sales. Myth#1: Quota performance does not equate to sales competency – A salesperson’s quota is usually determined by management. More often than not, the quota is set as a way to attain a goal of an increased share price or its just pulled out of the air as a “nice-to-have-number” that is bigger than last year. It’s a rare organization that can articulate how a quota was set. It’s even rarer to find an organization that sits down to do the sales math and determine the realistic quota and stretch quota for their salespeople. Without this understanding, how do you know if the quota is too high? How do you know if it is too low? You don’t! Therefore the salesperson that hits quota in an organization that doesn’t know how to set one is not proving his or her competence. Myth#2: Activity level does not equate to sales competency – Many organizations set sales activity goals. They will ask their salespeople to accomplish X sales calls, X phone calls, and X proposals a day. These types of measurements, and constantly hitting them, do not mean the person can sell. Sure, there is a positive correlation between activity and selling, but if I play the lottery every single day I probably won’t win. If I play X lottery games, in X states, and with X amount of money, it doesn’t mean I’m driving towards a win. It simply means I’m increasing my chances. I’d rather have someone that knows exactly what they are doing and not playing the lottery with their sales territory. So what exactly is sales competency? Competence is defined as someone’s knowledge, skill and internal motivation. Knowledge is the building block of competence. Effective sales professionals are continuously learning and they have developed a framework and process for accessing their knowledge. They have a solid knowledge foundation and they understand their strengths and weaknesses. Skill is determined by the knowledge a salesperson has gained plus their experience level. The most skilled sales professionals have stayed in one vertical market or industry for a longer period of time. They have also stayed in the same sales role for a longer length of time (such as outside sales). They have also followed a defined career path with increasing levels of responsibility and complexity of sale. Internal motivation is someone’s self talk, drive, and purpose. Their passion for the product, zeal for the organization where they work, and their positive attitude form the cornerstone for the ability to overcome objections, handle rejection, or deal with poorly set sales quotas. A competent sales person has the ability to move into any organization and gain the trust of the decision-makers. They work to create a situation where buying can occur within an ethical environment at a fair price. They have the knowledge to speak to a CEO, the front-line manager, or the newest employee about what issues and challenges they face. Most of all they strive to increase their knowledge, skill, and motivation so they can be the best at what they do.

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Sales Operations

Your critical sales dashboard for aligning measurement and effectiveness… Sales operations is an over overlooked area of the professional selling system. Sales operations team members are responsible for a helping sales team members attain success by designing processes, tools, and controls to support the sales process. An effective sales operation function supports sales management decision-marking by helping to monitor current business processes and sales productivity tools for adequacy. Sales operations staff also develop and drive strategic infrastructure planning efforts by collaborating with business planners, functional leaders, and sales management team members. Sales operations employees are also responsible for driving or supporting infrastructure change and alignment. Therefore, collaboration with sales and operational management is very important in order to develop change management strategies and programs. Think about it: When does the sales process begin? When does it end? Sales operations helps you align sales effort to performance and determine exactly what it takes to improve selling efforts.

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Sales Moves by Jeffrey Gitomer: Getting training in order. The correct order.

Many companies are considering training programs for the new year. New budgets. New needs. New opportunities. And most companies will concentrate on it. Whatever it is. More sales, a new product launch, customer service, internal operations, diversity, or whatever is pressing. All of that is wrong or should I say, out of order. Before you train ANYTHING, before you launch any new program or initiative, ask yourself these two questions: 1. How positive are the attitudes of our people? 2. How attitudinally receptive will our people be to this training? If the answer to Hows our attitude? is Not too good or Inconsistent or My attitude is great, its everyone elses attitude thats the problem! then the training will be met with resistance, and will fall short of your expected outcome. Way short. The answer to this dilemma is very simple, yet its overlooked at most every company in the world: Train attitude first. Positive attitude. YES! Attitude. Positive attitude is not a program or an initiative. Its an imperative. Its not the flavor of the month. Its the feeling of and for a lifetime. Your lifetime. Attitude is the mood of every employee. Positive attitude leads to positive productivity and positive communication. Attitude is both foundational and fundamental. Attitude is foundational to all aspects of corporate productivity, communication, and harmony. Its the basis for what is erroneously known as morale. Its NOT morale its attitude. Low morale is a symptom poor attitude is the problem. Attitude is fundamental to all aspects of job performance. How much more profitable would your company be if EVERY employee (including you) had the attitude of yes? These days attitude is easily deteriorated. Cutbacks, budget cuts, over-tasked employees, poor leadership, lower profits, and increased pressure to do more with less. Yet attitude is virtually ignored by every company HR and training department. Why? Its hard to measure the ROI. Pity. Youve heard the expression: Attitude is everything. Let me break it down for you so you can have a better understanding of how everything attitude really is: Your attitude rules your mood. Your attitude rules your self-esteem. Your attitude rules your communication. Your attitude rules your interactions. Your attitude rules your thought process. Your attitude rules how you perceive things. Your attitude rules how you perceive people. Your attitude rules how others perceive you. Your attitude rules your service. Your attitude rules your sales. Your attitude rules your career. Your attitude rules your family. Your attitude rules your life. In your business, your attitude rules your sales, your service, your communication, and internal morale. And at the end of positive attitude in your business is a ton of referrals and a great reputation. Pretty important, huh? Well, if your attitude is so important, how come you dont spend 15 minutes at home each morning building it? Or 15 minutes in the morning when you get to work? What are YOU doing to ensure that every employee gets a daily YES! message? Here are a few more attitude insights: Attitude starts at home with your family. Attitude is personal. Its not about other people or other circumstances. Attitude is ALL about you. Attitude is selfish. You do it for yourself FIRST. Then and only then can you give it, or pass it along, to others. Attitude is a choice. You are ALWAYS free to choose: How you give value. Doing what you love. Having the right attitude. Attitude is a gift and a blessing self-given and self-imposed. And it is my greatest hope that you discover that truth and bless yourself forever. Maybe its time to invest in attitude training. Jeffrey Gitomer is the author of The Sales Bible, Customer Satisfaction is Worthless Customer Loyalty is Priceless, The Little Red Book of Selling, The Little Red Book of Sales Answers, The Little Black Book of Connections, The Little Gold Book of YES! Attitude, The Little Green Book of Getting Your Way, The Little Platinum Book of Cha-Ching, The Little Teal Book of Trust, The Little Book of Leadership, and Social BOOM! His website, www.gitomer.com, will lead you to more information about training and seminars, or email him personally: salesman@gitomer.com. 2012 All Rights Reserved – Dont even think about reproducing this document without written permission from Jeffrey H. Gitomer and Buy Gitomer . 704/333-1112

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Rules of Engagement for Bank Staff

At a recent national conference for community bankers sponsored by the American Bankers Association, at least three speakers examined ways to improve staff performance. Roxanne Emmerich, CEO of the Emmerich Group, said employees need to be enthusiastic about their bank as well as serving customers. The right attitude involves certain “non-negotiables, she said, such as “we dont whine, we dont make excuses, and we dont hurt other people with our words.” Emmerich added that the right attitude starts at the top. For instance, when a CEO walks by the teller line, he or she should make eye contact with staff rather than look straight ahead. The CEO can also set an example by spending a few moments making casual comments. Daniel Pink, a best-selling author and Wired contributing editor, observed that team spirit is increased when employees believe their day-to-day work is purposeful. To spur creativity, he cited an Australian software company that allows staff to work on anything they want 20 percent of the time as long as these efforts will be beneficial to the employer. Cathy Berch, president of the Center for Practical Management, and Jo Kinsey, senior vice president of Country Club Bank, said employees can improve their performance by going through several progressive steps–clarifying, tracking, setting goals, planning, reinforcing, and coaching–where the skill level rises at each step. Source: BankNews, Vol. 111, No. 3, P. 28 Author: Bill Poquette Web Link Copyright 2011 INFORMATION, INC.

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Recognition a Viable Strategy for Fostering Innovation in the Workplace

(From PRNewswire) — Companies leveraging new ideas and innovation will be able to distinguish themselves from competitors in the global marketplace. No longer the purview of only Research & Development departments, innovation may spring from any employee – especially when they are encouraged and motivated by management, says the new Performance Perspectives executive briefing, released today by Madison Performance Group. “In companies with innovative environments, employees feel management is open to new ideas and experimentation. These companies understand that new strategic ideas come from all levels of an organization,” says Mike Ryan, Senior Vice President of Madison Performance Group, a premier global reward and recognition design and consulting firm. Research shows, according to the Madison briefing, that innovators flourish at workplaces where employees are rewarded for idea development. “Companies that give positive attention to new ideas demonstrate to employees that it’s okay to experiment and develop new ideas – even if they aren’t ‘perfect’ the first time around,” adds Ryan. “In fact, showering positive attention on new ideas is considered a best practice at innovative companies. And because innovation is often a project-based activity, the simple recognition of a new idea by a manager can kick start its adoption into a firm’s work processes.” Read more.

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Putting Together the Pieces of the Talent Management Puzzle

Talent management has become a top priority for organizations, highlighting that the optimization of talent in the workforce directly affects everyday operations and in turn drives the bottom line. The ASTD-i4cp Talent Management Practices and Opportunities Study found that 19.9% of organizations reported that they manage talent effectively to a high or very high degree, with an additional one fifth admitting that their companies were effective users of talent to only a small extent or not at all. Talent management is anticipated to grow: over 80% of participants predict a growth in the next three years. What does the talent management puzzle look like? With talent management expected to become more important in the near future, it is essential to have a clear understanding of what talent management comprises and how the pieces of the puzzle fit together. According to many study participants, talent management should be a holistic initiative made up of integrated parts that create a synergy amongst the components. Ideally, talent management comprises a whole that exceeds the sum of its parts. The more integration that occurs between the elements, the more cohesive and effective the talent management program becomes. This is what distinguishes talent management from an array of conventional HR programs that have less connectivity. Only 18.7% of the survey respondents indicated that their companies integrated talent management components to a high or very high extent, and only 19.7% said their firm had the technological capability to do so. The element that was most integrated into the talent management program was performance management, with 63.7% of respondents citing it as being integrated to a high or very high extent in their organization. Learning/training was a close second (61.7%), followed by leadership development (59.1%), high-potential employee development (52.8%), and individual professional development (44.4%). All the components showed positive correlations with talent management effectiveness, with employee engagement (r=0.56) having the strongest correlation. As a high level of integration is positively and significantly correlated with the ability to manage talent effectively, organizations that wish to further integrate their programs and approaches have significant opportunities to improve their talent management function. Source: Talent Management: Practices and Opportunities (ASTD/i4cp) Click here to learn more about ASTD Research.

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Preventing Injury Upturn During the Downturn

OJAI, Calif., April 7 /PRNewswire/ — On Tuesday, global safety consulting firm BST announced five recommendations for business leaders wishing to protect worker safety and health during the economic downturn. The recommendations, released in a new white paper titled “Leading Safety in a Downturn,” outlines the effects of a recession on workplace safety and proposes five actions to address them. According to the paper, common downturn events, such as job reassignments and layoffs, can increase employee exposure to injury just as many organizations have fewer available resources to manage those risks. According to BST vice president Don Groover, fewer resources are only part of the problem. “A downturn can also have significant cultural implications for a business,” he says. “What leaders do now with respect to safety and the business sends a message to employees about what really matters. That message will resonate long after the outside situation improves.” In the paper, BST recommends that leaders: 1. OPEN UP AND COMMUNICATE WHY SAFETY MATTERS NOW. Employees anxious about the impact of the economy on the company, and on them personally, can be at increased risk for injury. Leaders need to be out front, demonstrating concern, listening, and taking appropriate actions. 2. CONSIDER THE EFFECTS OF YOUR ACTIONS ON THE CULTURE. How leaders “do the hard stuff” – layoffs, job assignments, budget cuts – will dictate how people engage in safety and the business now and down the road. 3. REFINE YOUR STRATEGY. Oftentimes safety performance can become bogged down, both financially and functionally, by legacy systems that no longer meet the needs of the business. Many companies find that their actual needs dictate an investment in fewer (or different) systems than they have right now. 4. WORK THE FUNDAMENTALS. Survival in a downturn, for any part of the business, is about targeting the core elements that sustain the enterprise. In safety performance, that means protecting the lives and livelihoods of employees. Life-altering injuries and fatalities must be a primary concern. 5. DEMONSTRATE – AND DEVELOP – TRANSFORMATIONAL LEADERSHIP. Leaders who use a transformational style are more successful at creating the will to go “above and beyond” self-interest and give people a sense of purpose, belonging, and understanding regarding the work they do. The full paper and recommendations are available at BST’s website: http://www.bstsolutions.com/perspectives.

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One from the Vault: Sales Quotas and Competency Myths

As we wrap up the year here at Sales Training Drivers, we decided to take a look back at some of our previous posts. This one stuck out, because even though it was written over a year ago, the principles still apply today. So we ask: what are some ways to dispel these myths? What can companies do to create effective and meaningful quotas? Is cold calling the best use of a salesperson’s time? Let us know in the comments! If you stop any salesperson on the street and ask them if they are good at what they do, chances are, they will all say “yes!” But ask their manager, marketing department, customer service area, human resources department (or any other function of the firm), and chances are the answer is “no.” The difference in defining sales competence is a matter of perspective. Compounding the problem are two myths regarding measures of competency in sales. Myth#1: Quota performance does not equate to sales competency – A salesperson’s quota is usually determined by management. More often than not, the quota is set as a way to attain a goal of an increased share price or it’s just pulled out of the air as a “nice-to-have-number” that is bigger than last year. It’s a rare organization that can articulate how a quota was set. It’s even rarer to find an organization that sits down to do the sales math and determine the realistic quota and stretch quota for their salespeople. Without this understanding, how do you know if the quota is too high? How do you know if it’s too low? You don’t! Therefore the salesperson that hits quota in an organization that doesn’t know how to set one is not proving his or her competence. Myth#2: Activity level does not equate to sales competency – Many organizations set sales activity goals. They will ask their salespeople to accomplish X sales calls, X phone calls, and X proposals a day. These types of measurements, and constantly hitting them, do not mean the person can sell. Sure, there is a positive correlation between activity and selling, but if I play the lottery every single day I probably won’t win. If I play X lottery games, in X states, and with X amount of money, it doesn’t mean I’m driving towards a win. It simply means I’m increasing my chances. I’d rather have someone that knows exactly what they are doing and not playing the lottery with their sales territory. So what exactly is sales competency? Competence is defined as someone’s knowledge, skill and internal motivation. Knowledge is the building block of competence. Effective sales professionals are continuously learning and they have developed a framework and process for accessing their knowledge. They have a solid knowledge foundation and they understand their strengths and weaknesses. Skill is determined by the knowledge a salesperson has gained plus their experience level. The most skilled sales professionals have stayed in one vertical market or industry for a longer period of time. They have also stayed in the same sales role for a longer length of time (such as outside sales). They have also followed a defined career path with increasing levels of responsibility and complexity of sale. Internal motivation is someone’s self talk, drive, and purpose. Their passion for the product, zeal for the organization where they work, and their positive attitude form the cornerstone for the ability to overcome objections, handle rejection, or deal with poorly set sales quotas. A competent sales person has the ability to move into any organization and gain the trust of the decision-makers. They work to create a situation where buying can occur within an ethical environment at a fair price. They have the knowledge to speak to a CEO, the front-line manager, or the newest employee about what issues and challenges they face. Most of all, they strive to increase their knowledge, skill, and motivation so they can be the best at what they do.

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New Zealand: New subsidy to boost workplace productivity

(From The National Business Review) — The government has announced a fresh initiative to boost workplace productivity. The new ‘High Performance Working’ initiative will provide a pool of $1m per year to fund a network of specialist business consultants, who will work with businesses to promote more effective use of time and skills in the workplace. “Achieving greater employee engagement and developing sound workplace practices is crucial to growing a successful business,” Labour Minister Kate Wilkinson said in a release today. It is expected that about 70 firms per year will receive between $10,000 – $15,000 in consultant services under the new scheme, which is designed to complement New Zealand Trade and Enterprises’s new training and development voucher programme. Read more.

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New York State Office of the State Comptroller Redefines Standard of Business Analysis Excellence

Background The New York State Office of the State Comptroller (NYSOSC) in Albany maintains a broad scope of responsibility unmatched by similar offices in the United States. As the state’s chief fiscal and accounting officer, the Comptroller is a separately elected state-wide official whose primary duties include managing and investing the State’s cash assets, auditing government operations, paying all NYS employees, reviewing State contracts, overseeing the fiscal affairs of local governments including New York City, and operating two of the state’s retirement systems. As an agency charged with monitoring the effective financial operation of numerous other agencies and entities, the NYSOSC understands the need to carefully maintain its own project management (PM) and business analysis (BA) capabilities. Therefore, the Office engages in regular self-assessment and performance improvement in these areas. The ChallengeNYSOSC has built a reputation for continually advancing project management best practices through its PM Center of Excellence (CoE). However, realizing that enhanced business analysis practices can also increase project success and user support, as well as heighten customer satisfaction, the agency has sought, since 2006, to improve its business analysis practices by instituting a Business Analysis Center of Excellence (BACoE). NYSOSC performance improvement programs had primarily benefited PM teams prior, and support had not been available for the advancement of BA teams. By promoting BA competencies, knowledge management, enterprise analysis skills and practices similarly to the PM program, NYSOSC sought to achieve comparable, positive results. Strategic PlanningThe agency’s cross-division Business Analysis Work Group completed a strategic report in 2006 presenting the benefits of advancing NYSOSC’s use of business analysis and making next-step recommendations, including the launch of a BACoE. In 2007, the second phase of the project was launched to begin to develop and support business analysis as an organizational resource. Kevin Belden, Deputy Comptroller and CIO, and Kirk Schanzenbach, Director of the Program Management Office (PgMO), were executive sponsors; and Barbara Ash, Assistant Director for BA in the PgMO, was the project manager. The project team consisted of numerous representatives from BA units across the agency. To provide counsel on industry best practices, and to resolve issues that were impeding progress, the project team enlisted the help of ESI International. “Having worked with ESI in the past to build our project management and business skills capabilities,” said Schanzenbach, “we were confident that they were the best partner in achieving our BA goals.” ESI began by working with NYSOSC leadership and the project team to outline unifying objectives for BA and PM skills areas, including the need to: The Solution In cooperation with ESI, NYSOSC determined the key strategies to ensure a successful program. Foremost among these were: To support the program launch, ESI designed and delivered a two-day, project kick-off workshop that centered on the program’s four-part learning framework and targeted development of knowledge, skills, ability and attitude. Day one introduced the program to senior management and focused on developing best practices in alignment with BACoE operating standards. Executive activities included competitive, interactive group exercises that helped to define and prioritize goals around developing the BACoE. Day two introduced the program to front line business analysts and ensured a common understanding of BA concepts and executive directives. Following the kick-off, the team worked in subcommittees on project deliverables, received best practice advice, and exercised skills and competencies through coaching exercises. Special attention was also given to evaluating and treating such problematic areas as standards and methodologies topics for the BA group. “This intensive learning experience was very well received as a serious enhancement to the traditional instructor-led effort.” said Ash. “Participants also felt that it accelerated the program launch significantly compared to previous programs.” Toward Change In the early months of the program, ESI participated in regular group meetings and calls in order to provide coaching and to reinforce goals and specific training targets. While ESI continues to deliver essential counsel, the NYSOSC has quickly achieved the competency to offer coaching and mentoring using internal resources. Other significant program accomplishments and benefits to date include: Championed by executive sponsors Belden and Schanzenbach and project manager Ash, the internal team continues to recommend and oversee BA learning programs and progress, as well as support the advancement of BA maturity.

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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

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New Project Management Benchmark Study Confirms Value of Training Initiatives

(From Business Wire) — A new benchmark study from project management firm PM Solutions, on “The State of Project Management Training,” found that the average firm invests US $2,211 per year per employee for project management training. Multiplied across a department, division, or enterprise and this figure can swell into a major line item. Is it effective? Is it worth the expense? The results of PM Solutions’ study confirm that project management training – particularly courses that are instructor-led – is worth the investment. Firms reported an average 26% improvement across eight measures of project and business performance as a result of training initiatives. PM Solutions surveyed 262 high-level project management employees from 247 large, midsized, and small organizations in various industries including manufacturing, health care, technology, professional services, finance, and government. The primary purpose of the study was to identify factors that may lead firms to make better decisions regarding their project management training initiatives. The results point to the specific training methods used and their effectiveness, the revenue invested and the goals accomplished, and the improved business results demonstrated. “You can’t overestimate the importance that well-trained employees have to an organization – training and experience have as much or more impact as even the best technology or processes,” said Matt Light, Research Vice President at Gartner Inc., the pre-eminent advisory firm to the global information systems industry. “As enterprises grow increasingly ‘projectized,’ studies by Gartner and other industry thought leaders show that training in project management is essential to improving performance.” Read more.

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

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

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Most Managers Failing at Coaching Duties

(From PRWEB) — A new report by Impact Achievement Group has revealed that the vast majority of managers and supervisors in organizations today receive a failing grade in coaching. The report, “Performance Coaching: The One-Size-Fits-All Dilemma,” surveyed human resource and training professionals, managers and chief executive officers on the impact their managers were having on the engagement and discretionary effort of employees. Among other findings, the report uncovered that: Read more.

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More Than Half of Large, Downsized U.S. Businesses Plan to Rebuild Their Workforces to Pre-Recession Levels by 2012

(From Business Wire) — More than half (54 percent) of large U.S. businesses that reduced staff in the past 12 months plan to rebuild their workforces to pre-recession levels within two years, according to a study released today by Accenture (NYSE: ACN). “The Accenture High Performance Workforce Study” found that among all U.S. companies surveyed, only 13 percent of executives said that they plan to reduce their employee base over the next 12 months. “The outlook is improving,” said David Smith, managing director of the Accenture Talent & Organization Performance practice. “But as companies grow their staff, it is more critical than ever that they understand their skills needs and approach the expansion of their workforces strategically.” The survey confirmed that companies are shifting their focus away from cost control and returning to growth. The percentage of U.S. companies focused primarily on cost control will decrease from 41 percent in mid-2009 to 18 percent in 2011, according to the study. And the percentage of U.S. companies focused primarily on investment in growth-oriented activities, such as hiring, will increase from 24 percent today to 37 percent within the next 12 months. However, as companies focus on growth, a shortage of high-quality skills may be cause for concern for many businesses. Only 15 percent of U.S. executives surveyed described the overall skill level of their workforces as industry-leading. “A lack of relevant skills may present a hurdle for companies as they position themselves for growth,” said Smith. “Companies need to rethink how they equip employees with the skills required to be competitive today. They must also consider new strategies for hiring and developing untapped talent currently available in the market.” Read more.

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Mismanaging Workplace Conflicts

(From Human Resource Executive Online) — Handling workplace tensions should be a priority for frontline managers, but many employees believe that their bosses are not up to the job, according to a survey of 2,700 employees released this month by Healthy Companies Intl. in Arlington, Va. Nearly half — 41 percent — of employees responding to the survey think the person to whom they report does not deal well with workplace conflicts. In fact, of 20 managerial behaviors that the survey asked respondents to rate how much they trusted their immediate supervisor to master, handling workplace conflicts ranked last in the survey. Stephen Parker, president of Healthy Companies Intl., says that HR leaders should “first and foremost” model the behavior that best facilitates conflict management: they should “objectively and calmly” summarize the situation for the manager; acknowledge that there are different perspectives and interests in the situation; be honest about their own interests and preferences; and commit to honoring the manager’s decision regardless of the outcome and model team work behavior afterward. “These behaviors make it easier for even the most reluctant boss to manage workplace conflicts,” Parker says. Some managers are in denial because they wrongly think workplace conflicts are a negative reflection on them, he says. However, managing workplace conflict is a core management responsibility, and delaying or avoiding only makes matters worse. Marie Holmstrom, a director of talent management and organization alignment at Towers Watson, says part of the problem is that the role of immediate supervisors has become so complex that managers are now “overloaded” with responsibilities — supervising direct reports, coaching them within talent management programs, completing administrative tasks such as employee-performance reports or expense reports, and also “delivering” on the work-at-hand themselves. “We’ve been working with companies and talking to HR leaders, having them take a hard look at the manager role and redefining the role to better handle workplace conflict,” says Holmstrom, who is based in Charlotte, N.C. “They need to have more time in their day to be able to pay attention to how work gets done, how the team is performing, and to proactively identify potential sources of conflict so they can more easily and quickly mitigate it.” Some of managers’ administrative duties can be offloaded to other players on their team, or they could be given information management software systems, so they don’t have to data crunch or perform other administrative tasks by hand, she says. Managers should also be trained on how to handle workplace conflict. Read more.

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Meet the Metrics! Sales Management Madness.

YOUR SALES MANAGER IS NOT AVAILABLE TO ANSWER THAT QUESTION. YOUR EXPERIENCED SALES REP JUST LOST ANOTHER SALE. THE TEAM NEEDS TRAINING…(AGAIN). What is the problem here? The Sales Team has many needs for accomplishing its objectives. As Sales Trainers, your responsibility rests on your ability to teach your sales reps and sales managers HOW to manage those objectives. This can be done by isolating the specific metrics, processes and competencies. What are those objectives? What processes do you design that meet business goals? What metrics are you focusing on to drive performance? What competencies have you identified in EACH of your sales team members? WHAT EXACTLY IS YOUR SALES TEAM DOING, SAYING AND ACCOMPLISHING AFTER YOUR TRAINING IS OVER? It is important now for Sales Trainers to keep on top of the details of sales by focusing on training teams how to execute the right sales activities at the time, with the right knowledge, and building up the people you hire on the sales force the right way. The benefits of focusing on training impact are well worth the impact study: The amount of money gained, time savings and team performance increases are too high to ignore. A Sales Trainer can develop training systems that keep sales management operations manageable and profitable. IS YOUR SYSTEM WORKING? The end result of how your sales management team operates depends on how masterful you are at teaching, duplicating and re-focusing on the metrics, processes and competencies that drive your sales performance results. If the trainer does not monitor this closely, the impact of their training will not likely produce a successful outcome long term – and is usually seen in the unstable monthly sales revenue results and costly turn over in sales employees. This is not a good testimony for sales training – and unfortunately it exists in far too many organizations. Sales Training Drivers is committed to helping you identify these challenges and offering real world solutions to drive sales.

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Majority of American Workers Not Engaged in Their Jobs

(From Gallup) Seventy-one percent of American workers are “not engaged” or “actively disengaged” in their work, meaning they are emotionally disconnected from their workplaces and are less likely to be productive. That leaves nearly one-third of American workers who are “engaged,” or involved in and enthusiastic about their work and contributing to their organizations in a positive manner. This trend remained relatively stable throughout 2011. These findings are from a special Gallup Daily tracking series conducted on an ongoing basis since the fourth quarter of 2010 to explore American workers’ engagement levels. Gallup’s employee engagement index is based on worker responses to 12 actionable workplace elements with proven linkages to performance outcomes, including productivity, customer service, quality, retention, safety, and profit. Further research shows significant linkages between engagement at work and health and wellbeing outcomes. Read more.

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Lumesse: Inspiring Talent 2011 Global Survey Report

(From Business Wire) — Lumesse, a global leader in integrated talent management solutions, today announced that it is making available as a free download the final detailed report on its global survey Inspiring Talent 2011 at www.lumesse.com/talentsurvey2011. The survey reveals that despite employee happiness at work, 29% of workers expect to leave their companies within five years. Four out of five employees also felt that their skills were not fully utilized, while almost half reported that their performance appraisal process was of little or no value. Based on a survey of almost 4,000 employees in larger companies in 14 countries, including the US, UK, Germany and China, the report examines employee attitudes to their jobs and employers in areas such as loyalty, job satisfaction, workplace pride, training opportunities and salary perceptions. Lumesse CEO Matthew Parker noted: “Some consistent messages come out of this free report regardless of age, gender and geographical location. It’s clear that many people feel their skills are not used as well as they could be, and that many employers are not using effective performance appraisal techniques to help people contribute more. For many people the solution is going to be a move to a new job. That’s a pity because overall the survey shows good levels of workplace pride and satisfaction. If employers can combine that happiness with better career management then the benefits are obvious – better retention, better performance and higher productivity.” Read more.

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Leaders Top Improvement Need: Ability to Energize Others

(From PRWEB) — Checkster, the leading talent assessment vendor leveraging collective intelligence, today released a study analysis that details the biggest misperception and area of improvement for leaders: the ability to energize their team. Based on an analysis of more than 17,000 business, non-profit and government employees, the consistently number one area where people lacked performance and were rated lower by their colleagues was the ability to energize those same colleagues. Interestingly, it was also the dimension with the second largest discrepancy between managers’ self-perception versus the perception of their colleagues about their leadership competencies. But it comes often undetected, as many colleagues experienced them as better than they actually believe, and an equal number perceive them as worse, so the difference its cancelling itself out in the same team. This conclusion seems to show that leaders could benefit from using new ways to reach the people they are leaving cold and unmotivated. Read more.

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Jeffrey Russell Author Chat May 16 at 2010 ASTD International Conference and Exposition

ASTD is excited to remind you of Jeff Russell’s author chat! Join him in the ASTD bookstore in Chicago on Sunday, May 16 from 12:00-1:15 pm to hear him discuss employee-centered performance reviews at his author chat. Jeff will also be signing his 2009 ASTD Press book, Ultimate Performance Management, after his chat, so don’t miss it! Haven’t registered for this year’s International Conference and Exposition yet? Do it now! Stay updated on more ICE news and events on the ICE Twitter page.

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Is your Training Effective after 90 days?

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

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Intrepid Receives Five-year Contract from Boeing to Provide Training Delivery Services

Seattle, WA September 14 2010 – Intrepid Learning Solutions, Inc, a leading provider of learning and performance solutions, has been awarded a five-year agreement with The Boeing Company to provide training delivery, skill assessment and support services in support of Boeing’s Learning, Training and Development (LTD) enterprise requirements. The contract includes delivery of training solutions across a range of topics including environmental health and safety, industrial skills for new employees, industrial skills certifications and re-certifications, manufacturing engineering, production systems, as well as training required when an employee requests a transfer from one job to another. “We are very proud to receive this contract from The Boeing Company,” said Intrepid CEO Vikesh Mahendroo. “This contract is a testament to our long-term partnership, and our total commitment to providing Boeing with industry-leading, expert aerospace training services of the highest quality. We pride ourselves not only for our strong execution track record, but also our flexibility and service mindset. We appreciate the opportunity to continue to serve The Boeing Company.” In recognition of Intrepid’s high level of performance, earlier this year Intrepid received a 2009 Boeing Performance Excellence Award. The Boeing Company issues the award annually to recognize suppliers who have achieved superior performance in the delivery of mission-critical services and solutions. Intrepid maintained a minimum Silver composite performance rating for each month of the 12-month performance period from October 2008 through September 2009. This year, Boeing recognized 486 suppliers who achieved either Gold or a Silver level Boeing Performance Excellence Award. Intrepid is among 358 suppliers to receive the Silver level of recognition. Industry analysts recognize Boeing’s award as one of the most significant learning outsourcing contracts of the year, and one of the most strategic among active learning business process outsourcing partnerships between a client and a supplier. “Intrepid once again demonstrates that exceptional talent, learning expertise and trusted partnership keeps them at the forefront of the training industry,” said Doug Harward, learning industry analyst, Founder and CEO of TrainingIndustry.com. “The Boeing Company’s continued confidence in Intrepid is evidence to that trusted partnership and their impact on Boeing’s business performance. Boeing only works with the most respected and qualified business partners; making this a landmark relationship for the training industry.” About Intrepid Learning Solutions Intrepid Learning Solutions is a dedicated provider of award-winning learning solutions that drive business performance. Founded in 1999, Intrepid offers consulting, technology and managed learning services to companies worldwide. In addition, the company offers innovative learning solutions that leverage mobile, agile and virtual technologies to support individual learner preferences and broader business goals. For more information, visit http://www.intrepidls.com.

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

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

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India: How Competition at Work Benefits You

(From Silicon India News) — Competition is inevitable at workplace. Each employee is trying to outdo another employee in his or her performance levels. Appreciation rewards and to get noticed from employers has become a very important aspect in one’s workplace. It is but natural, that everyone face competition at a workplace but stiff competition always prepares you for something tougher. Competition in the workplace is a double-edged sword. Used correctly, you can get results; used ruthlessly, you can kill morale. A fine line exists between a competitive spirit and being aggressive hence you need to follow a healthy competition which will benefit you in many ways. Read more.

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Honesty, humility best predictors for job

(From UPI.com) — Employees who have the highest combination of honesty and humility have the highest job performance, U.S. researchers say. Dr. Wade Rowatt, associate professor of psychology and neuroscience at Baylor University, said the honesty-humility personality trait was a unique predictor of job performance. “Researchers already know that integrity can predict job performance and what we are saying here is that humility and honesty are also major components in that,” Rowatt said in a statement. “This study shows that those who possess the combination of honesty and humility — those who exhibit high levels of fairness, greed-avoidance, sincerity and modesty — have better job performance. In fact, we found that humility and honesty not only correspond with job performance, but it predicted job performance above and beyond any of the other five personality traits like agreeableness and conscientiousness.” Read more.

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Global Assessment Trends Report Reveals Shifts in Talent Management Focus

(From PRWEB) — PreVisor, the global leader in employment assessments and talent measurement solutions that connect employment decisions to business results, released its 2nd annual Global Assessment Trends report summarizing findings from over 230 companies headquartered throughout the world. Co-sponsored by ADP, this year’s report aims to provide HR and business audiences with an up-to-date perspective on practices and trends related to talent measurement programs used for hiring, career development and succession planning. Highlights of the 2010 Global Assessment Trends Report (GATR) include key HR trends related to assessment, an overview of talent measurement practices around the world, and changes observed in comparison to the 2009 report results. “The report findings confirm what we’ve witnessed in the past twelve months: that many of our clients, while recognized as leading HR practitioners, continue to feel pressure from the economic downturn”, observed Noel Sitzmann, PreVisor CEO. “However, the data also indicates that many organizations have made the necessary adjustments to move forward with effective talent measurement and management programs that will contribute to business growth going forward. These are exactly the kinds of strategic initiatives we work hard to support.” Among the key findings from the report: 1) The emergence of performance management and career development In the top talent priorities for 2010; 2) The economic recovery impact showed most companies (68%) indicated concern about employee retention; 3) A focus on Quality of Hire, as 70% of respondents feel pressure to demonstrate ROI for the use of assessments in the staffing process; 4) Social Media for hiring received mixed results. While almost 70% of organizations plan to use various social media sites in their recruiting efforts, 50% remain unsure if the efforts are effective. Only 24% of companies agree that social media websites have a large impact on talent management. 5) Applicant reaction was considered critical, but was not always tracked. Eighty-four percent of companies agreed that applicant reaction to the hiring process is important; however, only 41% obtain feedback from candidates. And 6) Formalized Post-Hire talent programs could improve. Only half of respondents use assessment tools with their current workforce. Less than 30% have established formal career development for employees. Read the full release.

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Formalize Your Commitment – “Join Me and We can Rule the Universe!”

Formalizing Commitment WHAT does “formalizing commitment” (or any other sales competency) mean to an executive, corporate behavioral psychologist, or sales trainer? These Leaders want to build a BEST Sales Company. They are concerned about building a sales culture that focuses on business sales education, human performance and ROI measurement of training. WHAT vs. HOW The ASTD Sales Training Drivers World Class Competency Model defines the “WHAT” in sales training not the “How To”. It outlines a “framework” of competencies by which sales management can be managed. It also provides a “learning function” for building the sales organization and defines the roles that ensures sustainability. Formalizing commitment is a “competency”. It is NOT just about “closing the sale” which is a “how” factor in sales execution. There are plenty of books and research on “how” to close the sale. The World Class Competency Model supports an educational culture or departmental business “backbone” so that executing the “how” strategies ( like “closing the sale” or “overcoming objections, or teaching the team how to “bond and build rapport” can be taught effectively! Explaining to you what formalizing commitment means is just way of defining how a sales competency “fits” into the creation of a World Class Sales Organization. There are 5 actions that define the sales competency of “Formalizing Commitment”. Sales Trainers will also want to integrate teaching commitment concepts that integrate with human performance skill building including: business behavior modeling and building trust to ensure a successful long term client relationship. Try exposing your sales team to many forms of written contracts to formalize our relationships. Written literacy and laws, seals, signatures, and value of exchange via bills, checks, bearer certificates and accounting /bookkeeping systems are other examples ways we formalize commitments. The contract is the foundation of a strong marketplace whether it is a retail, wholesale, commercial, residential, corporate or a consumer sale. It can be a legal binding agreement for the exchange of a good, service or a barter, Formalizing commitments are also key when safeguarding or resolving potential conflicts that may arise from misunderstandings. NEVER make an agreement in business based on verbal commitment if you can help it. As trust is an issue here, in this age of marketplace exchange, business transactions are vulnerable to security breaches and hearsay judgment calls by unscrupulous types with fraudulent intent. Information security is a very important reality today that must be adhered to during business transactions. The Internet has allowed business professionals to secure new kinds of relationships in this new environment, just as contract law, business forms, and accounting principles have formalized commitments and secured business relationships on paper. Always be careful to use common sense when getting involved with any financial transactions. Make sure that all parties are in agreement and signatures are verified by 3 party witnesses. Listed below are areas where formalized commitment will exist in a sales and marketing business environment where employees and clients are involved. Sales Trainers will want to review this list with HR to make sure they are in compliance with delivery of training of sales professionals. While many of these guidelines are put in place to control sales and marketing actions and decisions, it may be difficult to enforce them within larger organizations. You may not be able to cover every situation in the daily conduct of a sales professionals many varied activities.

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Executive Development – “Playing with the Big Kids”

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

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Excellence in Practice

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

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Engaged Workers Report Twice as Much Job Creation

(From Gallup.com) — Employees who are in engaged in their work and workplace are twice as likely to report their organization is hiring new workers as those who are actively disengaged. Workers who are emotionally disconnected from their work and workplace are far more likely to report their organization is letting people go than those who are engaged. Americans report these substantial differences in their organization’s hiring practices even though, collectively, Gallup finds overall U.S. job creation holding steady in recent months. These findings are from a special Gallup Daily tracking series conducted January through June 2011 to thoroughly explore American workers’ engagement levels. Gallup’s employee engagement index is based on worker responses to 12 actionable workplace elements with proven linkages to performance outcomes, including productivity, customer service, quality, retention, safety, and profit. More recent research has found significant linkages between engagement at work and health and wellbeing outcomes. Read more.

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

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

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DDI: Best-Practices in Building the Leadership Pipeline

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

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DDI Announces Development Program for Individual Contributors

As organizations look to the future of business, the performance of every employee will be critical for business growth. So global talent management expert Development Dimensions International (DDI) has created a development solution to help individual contributors boost the skills that will improve both individual and group effectiveness DDI’s program, Interaction Management: Exceptional Performers (IM: ExPSM), includes eight courses to build the skills of professionals and emerging leaders, from financial whizzes to engineering gurus. “Organizations can’t afford to ignore this group of professionals that aspire to be the technical experts as well as the next generation of leaders,” said Jim Davis, Vice President of Workforce and Service Development for DDI. IM: ExP uses interactive learning experiences to build skills that result in positive behavior changes in employees, resulting in a more productive and more engaged workforce. The course list includes: Communicating with Impact, Embracing Change, High-Impact Feedback and Listening, Networking for Enhanced Collaboration, Navigating beyond Conflict, Valuing Differences, and Working as a High-Performing Team. Read more.

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CPP, INC. JOINS ASTD PARTNER PROGRAM; APPROVED FOR CONTINUING EDUCATION BY TOP PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZATIONS

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., March 15, 2010 – CPP, Inc., announced today that it has been selected by the American Society for Training & Development (ASTD), the world’s largest association dedicated to training and development, to participate in its newly launched Professional Partner program. Additionally, CPP announced that its new public Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and CPI 260 Certification Programs have been awarded approval for continuing education credits by the HR Certification Institute (HRCI),* International Coach Federation (ICF), and National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC).** ASTD’s Professional Partner program is designed to encourage employee learning and development by connecting training professionals with the performance improvement-related products and services they need to accomplish their goals. CPP, which provides a full suite of products and services to help people and organizations be their best, will offer ASTD members solutions, guidance, and support ranging from team building, leadership development, and coaching to conflict management, career development, selection, and retention. “Understanding of individual preferences and styles is a key ingredient in the ongoing effort to re-skill a severely disrupted U.S. workforce,” said Jeff Hayes, President and CEO, CPP. “This partnership, as well as these qualifications, represent significant strides in CPP’s efforts to enable the U.S. workforce to continue adapting to changing conditions worldwide so that it remains competitive in a remade world economy.” Read more.

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Corporate pandemics of 2006

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

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Business Results Through People: Power of Mission and Community as Part of Human Value Connection

(From PRNewswire) — Regardless of their age and stage in life, most people place great emphasis on their relationships. Relationships make the world go round whether they are personal, professional or accidental. In this digital age, the rapid growth in the use of social media is built largely on the basic human need for relationships – even if they only occur in the Ethernet. So, it is no surprise that relationships are also very important in the work environment. In a world still reeling from the profound effects of a great economic recession, employers anxiously looking for ways to seize emerging business opportunities have come to realize the true value of their best and brightest talent. They know that the success they seek is driven by people so they are looking for ways to strengthen their investment in human capital. Just in time to help business leaders cope with the challenges of motivating a multicultural, multi-generational, virtually-connected work force the concept of “employee enrichment” has emerged offering a strategic approach that encourages employers to focus on both the work and non-work factors that will enhance their employees’ lives. The employee enrichment principle centers on the belief that truly valuing an employee’s well-being will ultimately result in better performance. The Forum:Business Results Through People, affiliated with Northwestern University, recently conducted a study to identify the best practices of companies that emphasize and encourage high levels of human value connection. The study consisted of personal interviews with high-level managers at SAS, Edward Jones, the American Red Cross, McDonalds, Mayo Clinic, Aflac and Nick’s Pizza & Pub (IL). The study revealed that generating positive human value connections is essentially a byproduct of a number of strategies and practices, rather than a direct and deliberate effort on the part of the organizations. Despite the differences in the businesses studied, several common key practices emerged that allow human value connections to flourish. Read the whitepaper here.

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Blackboard Offers Solution for Corporate Learning through Salesforce.com’s Enterprise Cloud Platform

Dreamforce 2010 — Blackboard Inc. (Nasdaq: BBBB), a global leader in education technology, today announced plans for an improved learning management solution for corporations and other learning focused organizations that will emphasize training for sales teams. The announcement will be made today at Dreamforce 2010, the cloud computing event of the year. To support the improved solution, Blackboard will develop a new application on Force.com, salesforce.com’s enterprise cloud computing platform that will add a range of administrative capabilities to its flagship learning platform, Blackboard Learn(TM). Already noted for its flexibility, ease of use and low cost of ownership, Blackboard Learn will gain stronger certification, reporting and tracking abilities commonly associated with more complex and costly corporate learning management systems. As a result, customers will be able to more closely align employee learning and development programs with key corporate initiatives and priorities and ensure that they have a larger, more measureable impact on employee behavior, business goals and company performance. “This new application combines the strengths of leaders in education and cloud computing to provide an improved solution for corporate learning and training that better supports business goals,” said Michael Chasen, president and chief executive officer at Blackboard. “Force.com provides the fastest way to bring Blackboard’s leading learning and training platform to the cloud. Now Blackboard’s customers will be armed with the tools and capabilities of the next generation of cloud-based learning and training,” said Kendall Collins, chief marketing officer, salesforce.com. Blackboard Learn is currently used by thousands of institutions worldwide including hundreds of corporations of all sizes, government agencies, nonprofits and associations. The platform includes a range of powerful capabilities, social learning tools and web 2.0 innovations to more effectively engage and develop learners, and can be enabled for use on mobile devices with a range of native applications for smartphones and other devices including the Apple(R) iPad(TM). “Blackboard offers a flexible option for corporate learning that is highly focused on ease of use and learner engagement,” said Josh Bersin, president and chief executive officer, Bersin & Associates. “Combining the strengths of Blackboard and salesforce.com will give sales and service teams an easy to use learning platform designed for both formal and informal learning.Training is one of the largest segments of corporate learning and this solution will greatly expand the availability of training offerings for small and mid-sized businesses.” “With deep roots in education, our understanding of how knowledge is acquired and shared in support of business goals has helped us grow quickly in corporate and professional learning in the last few years,” said Tim Hill, president of Blackboard’s Professional Education group. “Working with salesforce.com, we can quickly bring a more robust offering to a wider range of organizations, departments and teams that seek a more flexible solution.” Chasen will join salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff on stage today at Dreamforce 2010. The keynote will be available online at www.salesforce.com/live beginning at approximately 9 a.m. Pacific time. For more information about Blackboard’s work to support corporate learning, please visit http://blackboard.com/Solutions-by-Market/Corporate.aspx. About Blackboard Inc. Blackboard Inc. (Nasdaq: BBBB) is a global leader in enterprise technology and innovative solutions that improve the experience of millions of students and learners around the world every day. Blackboard’s solutions allow thousands of higher education, K-12, professional, corporate, and government organizations to extend teaching and learning online, facilitate campus commerce and security, and communicate more effectively with their communities. Founded in 1997, Blackboard is headquartered in Washington, D.C., with offices in North America, Europe, Asia and Australia

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Blackboard Offers Improved Solution for Corporate Learning on Force.com

SAN FRANCISCO, Dec. 8, 2010 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ — Dreamforce 2010 — Blackboard Inc. (Nasdaq: BBBB), a global leader in education technology, today announced plans for an improved learning management solution for corporations and other learning focused organizations that will emphasize training for sales teams. The announcement will be made today at Dreamforce 2010, the cloud computing event of the year. To support the improved solution, Blackboard will develop a new application on Force.com, salesforce.com’s enterprise cloud computing platform that will add a range of administrative capabilities to its flagship learning platform, Blackboard Learn(TM). Already noted for its flexibility, ease of use and low cost of ownership, Blackboard Learn will gain stronger certification, reporting and tracking abilities commonly associated with more complex and costly corporate learning management systems. As a result, customers will be able to more closely align employee learning and development programs with key corporate initiatives and priorities and ensure that they have a larger, more measureable impact on employee behavior, business goals and company performance. “This new application combines the strengths of leaders in education and cloud computing to provide an improved solution for corporate learning and training that better supports business goals,” said Michael Chasen, president and chief executive officer at Blackboard. “Force.com provides the fastest way to bring Blackboard’s leading learning and training platform to the cloud. Now Blackboard’s customers will be armed with the tools and capabilities of the next generation of cloud-based learning and training,” said Kendall Collins, chief marketing officer, salesforce.com. Blackboard Learn is currently used by thousands of institutions worldwide including hundreds of corporations of all sizes, government agencies, nonprofits and associations. The platform includes a range of powerful capabilities, social learning tools and web 2.0 innovations to more effectively engage and develop learners, and can be enabled for use on mobile devices with a range of native applications for smartphones and other devices including the Apple(R) iPad(TM). “Blackboard offers a flexible option for corporate learning that is highly focused on ease of use and learner engagement,” said Josh Bersin, president and chief executive officer, Bersin & Associates. “Combining the strengths of Blackboard and salesforce.com will give sales and service teams an easy to use learning platform designed for both formal and informal learning.Training is one of the largest segments of corporate learning and this solution will greatly expand the availability of training offerings for small and mid-sized businesses.” “With deep roots in education, our understanding of how knowledge is acquired and shared in support of business goals has helped us grow quickly in corporate and professional learning in the last few years,” said Tim Hill, president of Blackboard’s Professional Education group. “Working with salesforce.com, we can quickly bring a more robust offering to a wider range of organizations, departments and teams that seek a more flexible solution.” Chasen will join salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff on stage today at Dreamforce 2010. The keynote will be available online at www.salesforce.com/live beginning at approximately 9 a.m. Pacific time. For more information about Blackboard’s work to support corporate learning, please visit http://blackboard.com/Solutions-by-Market/Corporate.aspx.

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Be a Leader of Change! Resistance is Futile.

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

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ASTD REPORT: TOUGH ECONOMY CREATES STRONG NEED FOR LEARNING

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

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ASTD Releases 2009 State of the Industry Report

The 2009 State of the Industry Report revealed that workplace learning and performance has withstood the challenges of the difficult economy. Although investment in training was stable in 2008, organizations achieved positive outcomes and successfully contributed to their employees’ development with more formal learning opportunities while using fewer resources. Although many organizations were forced to cut costs wherever possible, workplace learning and performance did not suffer disproportionately to any significant degree. Investment in employee learning and development remained steady through the end of 2008. Although the average annual learning expenditure per employee fell from $1,110 in 2007 to $1,068 in 2008 – a 3.8 percent decrease – it was not large by any means. The commitment to learning is also evident from the figure for average learning expenditure as a percentage of payroll: it increased from 2.15 percent in 2007 to 2.24 percent in 2008. Another consistent trend is decreased spending on outsourcing to external services such as consultants, workshops, and training sessions. Since 2004, organizations have relied less on outsourcing each year. The average percentage of the learning budget allocated to external services was 22.0 percent in 2008, down from 25.2 percent the previous year. Instead, organizations are relying on internal resources for their workplace learning and performance initiatives more than in the past. The average percentage of learning expenditure dedicated to internal resources was 66.1 percent in 2008. Learning professionals successfully found ways to manage learning content while cutting costs in 2008. Learning departments were serving a larger constituency than in the past: the average number of employees per learning staff member was 253 in 2008, up from 227 in 2007. On average, there were 353 hours of formal learning content made available per WLP staff member. Additionally, the average cost per learning hour available decreased 8.0 percent: from $1,660 in 2007 to $1,528 in 2008. Source: ASTD 2009State of the Industry Report Click here to learn more about ASTD Research.

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ASTD Presents its Dissertation Award to Sewon Kim

The American Society for Training & Development (ASTD) presented Dr. Sewon Kim its Dissertation Award on May 23 at a ceremony during the ASTD 2011 International Conference & Exposition held here. This ASTD award recognizes an outstanding dissertation that holds major implications for practitioners of workplace learning and performance. Dr. Kim’s dissertation, titled “Managerial Coaching Behavior and Employee Outcomes: A Structural Equation Modeling Analysis,” examined employees’ perceptions of the relationship between their mangers’ coaching behavior and employee affective and performance-related responses, an area which lacks empirical research. The study focused on a state government organization, and measured six outcomes: role clarity, satisfaction with work, satisfaction with manager, career commitment, organization commitment, and job performance. Collected data revealed that managerial coaching directly affected employee satisfaction with work and role clarity, and indirectly affected satisfaction with work, career commitment, job performance, and organization commitment. Results also indicated that role clarity, as a direct outcome of managerial coaching, influenced job performance. Study findings demonstrate that managerial coaching motivates and satisfies employees, and improves their commitment and performance toward designated goal achievement, further supporting existing theories. This research gives a clearer picture of managerial coaching practices in organizations, and can potentially guide the use of managerial coaching competency for hiring and developing effective managers. Dr. Kim received his PhD in August 2010, and is currently an assistant professor in the Business, Management, and Economics department at the State University of New York (SUNY) Empire State.

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ASTD Offers New Training Resources for Public Sector Professionals

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

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Inspiring Happiness: The Science of Leveraging Positive Psychology at Work (TU109)

New research in the fields of neuroscience and positive psychology is showing the ripple effect positive communication, and the practice of embedding happiness into our work routines, can have on our work environments and culture, including employee engagement, productivity, and happiness at work. In this session, you will explore the seven principles of positive psychology that fuel success and performance in the workplace, and create your own personal plan for incorporating happiness into…

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Engagement Vs. Disengagement: What It Does to Your Company and How to Get Your Managers to Enhance Engagement

Studies show that 45 percent of employees are only partially engaged in their work and 26 percent are completely unplugged. Low engagement leads to low performance, which leads to less success for your organization. So, what is engagement anyway? And how do we get employees to truly engage? This webcast will show you the ramifications of engagement and disengagement and how everyone in your company can become truly engaged. You will learn how to: Identify individual employees who need to maximize engagement, and how to provide it to them. Deputize managers in enhancing engagement. Create strategies to help your company lead from the top and align executives to employee engagement efforts.

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E-Learning Is So Yesterday: How Onboarding New Managers Just Got Personal (SU400)

New managers are expected to get up to speed on the company’s management processes quickly. Processes such as hiring, compensation, performance management, and dealing with employee exits come with policies and procedures that are critical to execute. New managers must be ready to take action on these processes at the right time. Full-day sessions to learn these processes in one sitting don’t work, with most of any learning forgotten by the time employees need to apply it. This session shows a…

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

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

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Coaching Best Practices for Leaders

High-potential leaders bring a great deal of value to any organization. Ensuring they are properly coached and guided into leadership roles can provide a crucial competitive advantage. What is the best way to coach these employees to deliver their greatest performance and give their maximum contribution, while taking into account their individual differences? This webcast will share how to coach high potentials for lasting impact, help high potentials step into leadership roles with ease, and…

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