How Can You Improve Sales?

The top 5 Issues Facing VPs of Sales Every year millions of dollars are spent investigating and pursuing ways to grow sales. Any business owner knows that sales are the life blood of the company. If there are no sales there is no company, it is that simple! A past study of 2,663 sales organizations by Think Training, Nightingale Conant, and Trainique uncovered five areas that shed light on what separates the best from the rest. Issue one – A poorly defined sales process. 82% of all CEO’s said their sales organization had a process that was poorly defined or a process that wasn’t being followed. A sales process is like a road map. If you pay attention it helps you determine if you are in heading in the right or wrong direction. A well defined sales process does the same thing. It should be consultative in nature, have defined steps that allow both parties to develop a better understanding of each other and a set of questions that help you qualify or disqualify. Issue two – Lack of essential skills. 42% of CEO’s said their salespeople lacked the essential basic skills needed to do their job properly-ouch. During the 70’s and 80’s it was common for large corporations to hire new sales recruits and put them through a 12- 18 month intensive sales development program. Those days are gone, leaving a huge skills gap! Odds are if you are younger then 40 you never received the type of training you really needed. Issue three – Failing to focus on the right kinds of activity. 90% of CEO’s said their salespeople focused on low payoff activities or called on the wrong people. It is a common mistake to confuse being busy with being productive. Top performers know what they are doing, why they are doing it and whom they are doing it with. Issue four – Allowing “self talk” to sabotage your efforts. 86% of CEO’s said their salespeople had negative thinking or self talk that was damaging their sales efforts. There are hundreds of examples but the most obvious has to do with discounts. Over and over again I hear salespeople say they have to be the lowest price to win the business. Every study I have ever read says that there are 4 – 6 other issues ahead of price but we have been “programmed” to think price is the issue. It is critical to understand how you have been programmed and how some of thoughts are working against you! Issue five – Sales management not developing their people enough. 67% of CEO’s said that their sales managers were not spending enough time coaching and developing their salespeople. The job of a sales manager is to coach their people just like in professional sports! Unfortunately if we don’t have a sales process, salespeople with undeveloped skills or the wrong people coaching becomes impossible. For salespeople taking responsibility for our own professional development is the key! Have a process, hone your skills, focus on the right kinds of activity, be aware of your thoughts, get some coaching, join a sales mastermind group, or join an association dedicated to your success. Good sales professionals realize their strengths and weaknesses and create a plan that addresses their abilities. Great sales professionals repeat this process over and over.

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Herding Cats or Managing Informal Learning

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

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Government Organizations Must Learn to Collaborate

Strategic workplace learning and its role in achieving priority outcomes for public sector agencies gets the spotlight treatment in the summer 2010 issue of The Public Manager, a quarterly journal devoted to furthering knowledge and best practices at all levels of government. Aligning training to meet strategic business goals is a key driver for private organizations and it is increasingly so for the public sector as well. This issue of The Public Manager details a transformational effort at the National Park Service that won The Graduate School’s Edwards Deming Award. Other best practice articles that highlight the value of aligning training with priority outcomes include features on improving business analysis through integrated learning in the New York State Office of the State Comptroller, and scenario-based training that improves state trooper performance in New Jersey. Change in the public sector workplace, and how to manage that change, are also discussed in this issue of the journal. Topics include: strengthening civic skills; budgeting federal labor costs; the government workplace of the future; service learning through colleges and universities; bridging the skills gap; and how executive coaching is boosting leadership development in the federal government. The full text of the journal articles, and a searchable archive of more than 2,500 past articles, are available through subscription at www.thepublicmanager.org. The website also features electronic forums and blogs, including a blog partnership with GovLoop, a social network of 30,000+ people in the government community. About The Public Manager The Public Manager offers readers practical solutions for emerging public administration and policy issues from experienced professionals. A forum for developing and disseminating best practices, it encourages continuing excellence in government and nonprofit organizations. The Public Manager is published by The Bureaucrat, Inc., an affiliate of the American Society for Training & Development (ASTD), the world’s largest association dedicated to the training and development field whose members work in thousands of organizations in the public and private sectors.

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Getting From At-Home to On-the-Job, Even Now

(From the Wall Street Journal) When a mothers’ group huddled on Laurie Witt’s screened porch last summer over sandwiches and iced tea, they wanted more than leisurely chit-chat. As their children played nearby, the women grilled each other in imaginary job interviews, tore apart each other’s resumes and told tales of rugged job-market forays. All had former careers-in consulting, marketing or finance-and all were intent on returning to work after years at home. The biweekly career-coaching sessions “built confidence and helped us develop a stronger game plan,” says Ms. Witt, of Wellesley, Mass. Three of the four regular participants have since found jobs. Few job seekers face higher hurdles than at-home parents trying to return to the work force. Mothers at home full-time crested in 2004 at a recent high of 31.2%, among married-couple families with children, government data show; at-home dads, who often face even greater bias than returning mothers, make up about 5%. Many of these parents now need or want to get back to work. Beyond the recession and employer bias against dropouts, many also are burdened by outdated skills and self-doubt. Those who succeed are using savvy job-finding tactics, including some particular to at-home parents. Some are mining neighborhood networks in new ways, drawing on other out-of-work professionals for career coaching. Others choose volunteer work strategically, to hone skills. Still others invest heavily in training and credential-building. In sum, returning parents “are taking a more sophisticated approach,” says Carol Fishman Cohen, an author and co-founder of iRelaunch.com, a Web site on the topic. They also need a measure of luck, of course, to find employers who aren’t biased against taking career breaks. Read the entire article.

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Get sample chapters from forthcoming ASTD Press books!

Phew! Another exciting day here in Books World! After narrowly escaping a gruesome fate between a semi and another semi this morning, I arrived to discover I had to whip up some new books web pages for some books that ASTD Press will be publishing in the very near future. I managed to get them done and provided a little taste of each book in the form of sample chapters. The three new books are The Learning Advantage: Blending Technology, Strategy, and Learning to Create Lasting Results edited by Karen Mantyla Karen Mantyla’s book presents a series of case studies from organizations such as Accenture, Microsoft, Caterpillar University, and the U.S. Department of Labor. These case studies show how to make the connection between learning and an organization’s bottom line. The point of doing this? To protect the training and learning department’s budget, which is pretty important in these economic hard times. 10 Steps to Successful Coaching by Sophie Oberstein The 10 Steps series is designed to get you started on new tasks past and give you the comfort and ease of a step-by-step process to success. Sophie Oberstein’s book does just that for coaching. In her preface, Sophie talks about her initial doubts about her own skills as a coach early in her career. However, in the course of her training work, she came to recognize just how powerful one-on-one coaching could be, set out to learn more, and created her own coaching process. The book provides tips, tools, and techniques for helping others to produce new and exciting results, while in the process becoming happier in your own role. Career Development Basics by Michael Kroth and McKay Christensen Finally, Kroth and Christensen address career development from the perspective of building career development systems in organizations. They dispel the myth that an organization’s goals and an individual’s goals are always divergent, claiming instead that an organization that is able to steer individual aspirations toward company goals is going to have more success in getting and keeping “the right people on the bus” (as Jim Collins puts it in Good to Great). Career Development Basics looks at the ways focusing on career development can benefit organizations and individuals and explains how to successfully create a career development initiative.

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GET A GRIP! Resolve Issues that Hinder High Performance Selling.

Resolving Issues As a trainer, we want to work with others to quickly resolve solutions to problems. But, many times, it is difficult to resolve issues when you don’t know HOW TO solve the problem! In the day-to-day sales function, problems and conflicts arise all the time. How do you handle these performance issues? Problems and conflicts can develop from inconsistencies and errors in your sales strategy, process, tools, technique, behavior, or attitude. It could be a problem resulting from the actions or decisions of a customer, team member, sales manager or senior staff leader! (And you thought they were perfect, right?) You should monitor situations for potential problems and challenges. You should then develop associated contingency plans. “Take an active interest in the success of a solution and monitor the milestones in the plan.”There are several areas to watch out for when resolving sales performance issues.Be ready to offer some solutions to these problems when training sales professionals. Strategy Strategy must ensure that daily sales actions are converted to high performance results. Be specific about your daily sales objectives before you start your day! This will prevent wasting valuable time prospecting which can be the most challenging psychological task in maintaining a funnel of qualified leads and new business sales. Processes / Tools Make sure that you are standardizing your sales process during training so that all representatives have a duplicable system can be benchmarked, measured and evaluated to develop best practices. Competency What happens when your sales team is not performing and not meeting their sales quota or the sales management begins to stress from pressure to perform? Consider developing a training class that teaches first line Managers how to coaching and leadership skills through behavioral assessment, questioning and self-discovery team building. There are bound to be some slight behavioral and elevated incidents that may need to be addressed with workplace interventions and coaching. Take a look at Blooms Taxonomy Learning in Action Wheel and the Wikipedia -Here you will find solutions to designing specific learning objectives in your sales training that ensure performance standard results. This can help you in benchmarking of your sales teams performance. Measurement Is your current sales training aligned with your sales performance issues? Consider learning how to calculate the impact of your sales training with ROI Analysis.(Return on Investment). Jeff Hardesty, President of JDH Group, as sales improvement expert has given the industry a good example of how to calculate sales training performance. Use an ROI Analysis to determine the impact of your sales training for: Jeff Hardesty states that “As a sales management leader, methodically discovering sales issues first and then running ‘Quantitative’ sales performance numbers to check for feasibility, worthiness, and return on sales training investment will differentiate you from the pack.

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Free Webinar on Maximizing Sales Training ROI!

Effective sales results are critical to growth, and outmoded training and development approaches represent a very real barrier to that growth. Adopting a holistic, strategic, competency-based approach to sales training and development will help tear down that barrier. From Functional Support to Strategic Business Partner: Maximizing Sales Training ROI leverages the Sales Profession Competency Model, providing best practices on how to maximize impact in Architecting and Facilitating Sales Force Learning and Coaching to dramatically improve the return-on-investment that companies obtain for their sales training dollars. In terms of what to focus on, here’s what presenter Mark Myette has to say. “The number one area that impacts sales performance is expectations, feedback, and information. That means that roles and performance expectations are clearly defined, clear and accurate guides are used, and that performance management systems guide the sales team towards the proper development So if we’re focusing on just that area, chances are you’ll have a positive impact on sales performance.” Register to view today!

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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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Evolution of E-Learning

I feel a need to chime in. I think the whole e-learning space has gone through an evolution in the last 4-5 years, and we’ve created a four-stage taxonomy to describe it (www.bersin.com/stages). In stage 1 ( Getting Started) organizations adopt e-learning to save money. And yes, e-learning does reduce the cost per delivery of instructional hour. But we now have data to prove that in reality e-learning does not save money, it increase reach and range. Costs which were variable (instructors) become fixed (LMS and infrastructure), allowing greater reach – but total costs dont go down. Most organizations spend a year or two in this phase and they often start with catalog programs. In stage 2 ( Expansion) organizations expand, they build lots of custom programs (beyond the typical catalog content) and start implementing blended programs. They realize they need an LMS, so they bite the bullet and implement something. Yes, the LMS market is evolving and LMS systems do not do everything, but they do manage learning programs well. Here they find that the demand for online content far outweighs capacity and organizations start to realize that much of what they build is not being consumed. This leads to stage 3: ( Integrate and Align). In this stage the organization now realizes they have so much content available that it has grown out of hand, and they spend time on competency-based learning, more focused job-related content, integration with the performance management process, and perhaps the implementation of an enterprise-wide LMS. This is the toughest stage, and I think most mature organizations are here today. At this stage organizations realize that their e-learning programs are more than programs, they are “content” which can be reused and repurposed for many uses. They also realize that the traditional concept of an online course must be complemented by communities of practice, coaching, and other forms of online support. We call Stage 4 Learning on Demand. This is the stage which vendors like to write about but few organizations have yet reached. At this stage companies have to build or buy a true content management system and they develop standards for content development. These standards enable searchable learning and the deployment of small pieces of content, rather than complete courses. The problem most organizations have today is that they are locked in stage 2 or 3 and find that it will take 2-3 years to “unlock” their content to get to stage 4. Nevertheless I believe this is inevitable, and we talk with many organizations working hard right now to implement an on-demand learning model. Throughout these stages, vendors tend to try to fit their products and solutions. Some vendors try to stay true to the market they serve, others try to create visions of reaching across all four stages. For each stage there are challenges and opportunities, and frankly I have not found any organization that can jump from Stage 1 to Stage 4 in less than 3-4 years. I recommend anyone trying to understand all these trends to read our report, it is designed simply to help people understand this complex space and form a basis for making decisions.

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

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

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Embracing Diversity – Women.

POST a REPLY COMMENT at the END! Your VOICE is the SALES TRAINING Industry! Sales Training Drivers is proud to bring you quality content to help build World Class Sales Organizations (no matter how many employees you have) you are all World Class to us! In the May 2010 issue of (T+D) Training and Development Magazine, an article written by ASTD correspondent writer, Aparna Nancherla, entitled “Career Pipeline Bears Pipe Dreams for Women”, was alarming at best and further builds a case for the need of higher quality coaching and diversity training for Managers (and that includes Sales Training Mangers). What does that say about the HR / Training industry? According to a report by Catalyst Director Catherine Silva, “We’ve studied the barriers facing women in their careers for years – for example, stereotypes or presumptions about their abilities or interests – we had an opportunity (with a recent study) to test whether this held true. Sampling 4,143 women and men with MBA’s, focusing on women with the same aspirations, conclusions are that men STILL had higher salaries in their first post-MBA jobs than women. Catalyst Research also showed that there are “entrenched barriers to women’s advancement, such as gender-based stereotypes, exclusion from informal networks, and lack of role models.” The Catalyst Research study further reports input suggestions from CEO’s and Senior Leaders to explore the reasons on how to work toward a solution. Here are some of their suggestions: 1. Offer additional training when employees first get people management responsibilities. 2. Examine demographics and life choices of employees. 3. Check against unconscious bias. 4. Review salary growth metrics when taking on a new position or role. 5. Make assignments based on Qualifications, not presumptions. 6. Acknowledge the inequities that are destroying the pipeline (of qualified candidates for jobs). Conclusion? WAKE UP! Say’s Catherine Silva, “Don’t expect that inequity will disappear just by giving it time and waiting it out”.

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EDGE: Weekly Training & Development, From Bloomberg Businessweek

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

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Decision Makers LOVE Me!

People prefer to do business with people they like!How do you do that? One of the most rewarding aspects of great sales training is teaching others how building great relationships with prospects, customers and their client referrals. This article is about building relationships. Building relationships is foundational to performance improvement and transcends all areas of your life at work, play and at home. A good Trainer will teach that the most important person in a conversation is the other person! Steering and focusing the conversation on what is happening in the other persons life will be 90% of the conversation in the sales process. The other 10% will be the sales person questioning and gathering feedback. (Yet, statistics will show you that 80% of sales professionals still do not do this even after training because the skill is not practiced enough!) These statistics show that Sales Trainers and Talent Management still have a lot of collaborating to do! Sales Training Drivers.com is committed to helping the Workplace Learning Industry foster more of this collaboration and help sales professionals stay on target to meet their professional and personal goals. The business goal of building relationships is to teach how to move the sales forward for mutual benefit. Show your sales team that building rapport is broken down by value percentages representing the highest amount a prospect will likely receive and absorb your message during conversation. Rapport is comprised of your ability to use: 1. Words (7%) – 93% of people only listen to 7% of what you say and only remember 3%. 2. Tonality (38%) – the tone of your voice matched with someone else’s level of tone 3. Physiology (55%) body language, facial expression, posture, stance, composure, movements, gestures Learning how to use words and body language is crucial to successful selling (and training!). It must be done over practice sessions, one on one coaching, role plays, and measured evaluations. Practicing the use of specific words, tonality and physiology during the sales process is an art in itself. Less than 10% of sales professionals ever fully master it! Your ability to present yourself appropriately and ask questions will prompt people to give you the personal answers you need to solve their issues and sell them. Teach active listening skills and questioning techniques that check for agreement. It will show your sales team how to look at the prospects problem from their point of view. Have your sales team learn how to present your product or service as a valuable addition to the security, comfort, and enjoyment of your prospects life. Teach them how to become interested in their prospects lives. (family, job, and recreation activities, and financial concerns). This takes a lot of practice in building transferable behavioral skills in relationship building. We all want to feel special and we all want to feel OK. Many customers will go miles out of their way to do business with someone they like and will make them feel happy and appreciated. Once someone likes you, they will bring you into their inner circle of influence and their friends will become your friends. Your business will grow much faster while other sales people who do not build quality relationships are vulnerable to the ups and downs of the economy, trends and budgets.

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DDI Announces Online Assessment System Manager Ready

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

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Creating a Leadership Handbook: Part 2

Thanks for your comment to last week’s post, Jenn. I appreciate your vote of confidence. We ended last week with a couple of questions: Who would you select to author a leadership handbook? What topics would you select for a leadership handbook? How would you ensure that a leadership handbook was useful? Which Comes First the Authors or the Topics? Let’s address the first two questions: who and what? How do you start a project of this magnitude? Do you select the authors first? Or the topics first? This is one of those chicken or the egg questions. My process is not an “or” but an “and.” That is, I implement an entangled process that considers both at the same time and weaves back and forth, and constantly remaining open to other forces. For example when contemplating the topic of leadership several influential and respected names immediately come to mind: Kouzes and Posner, Jack Zenger, Bill Byham, Ken Blanchard, Bill George, Frances Hesselbein, and others. In addition, several topics immediately come to mind: building a team, strategic planning, ethics, leading change, getting results, leadership development, coaching, authenticity, globally savvy, and women in leadership. When comparing the two lists, you can see there are some immediate matches: Bill Byham and leadership development; Ken Blanchard and ethics; Bill George and authenticity. But who can address the other topics? There is only one person who can be considered for leading change: John Kotter; likewise for getting results: Dave Ulrich and Norm Smallwood; and coaching: Marshall Goldsmith. Now we still have other leadership experts without a topic. Why not let Kouzes and Posner write about what they know best: the practices of exemplary leaders. The same is true for Jack Zenger: the engaging and inspiring leader; and Frances Hesselbein: leading the workforce of the future. Rounding Out the Table of Contents The table of contents is beginning to build. But what about the other topics that we deemed essential? Find the best and most experienced author you can. For example, Len Goodstein has been writing about strategic planning for 30 years or more, and didn’t Patrick Lencioni write a couple of great books about leadership and teams? Remember the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL) has been doing marvelous work about women in leadership for dozens of years. In fact, should ASTD even publish this book without partnering with CCL. After all, look at the “L” word in the name! Nine CCL authors will write six chapters. Well, you get the picture. This is how the Table of Contents for The ASTD Leadership Handbook was born. The end result is 32 chapters by 42 extraordinary authors. The chapters are starting to arrive: six are early, two authors have asked for extensions (that’s okay because I can’t read them all on the due date anyway), and several others have assured me that their chapters will arrive on time. To say that this is exhilarating is an understatement! Next Up: Make it Useful Next week I’ll address what we are doing to make The Handbook useful and practical for you the readers. Post your thoughts and I will work them into my comments.

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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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Conducting great performance reviews

Even though I do my job pretty well and I have a great relationship with my manager, I dread that annual performance review. It just gives me an icky feeling: now it’s time to talk about stuff that’s not going well, or to listen to feedback about how I can do better. Even positive feedback makes me feel a little squirmy and embarrassed. So it’s not something I look forward to. In terms of how I improve as a performer, it frequently leads to a lot of short-term activity surrounding the review (sort of like that short-term activity surrounding those New Year’s resolutions), which then tapers off until work settles down to the usual. (Basically this sort of curve is true for a lot of activities that we do to improve performance; think about training: you attend a training event, when you are done you do lots of things to try to apply it, and then things slowly settle down again. Maybe a few things stick, but a lot goes by the wayside and isn’t that frustrating?) Anyway, back to the performance review: I guess that I am not alone in feeling pretty uncomfortable about the annual review. I certainly know that Jeffrey and Linda Russell, authors of Ultimate Performance Management, a new book that addresses just this topic, do. So they came up with a solution, a new way to approach to managing performance that goes way beyond the annual check-the-box performance review. They came up with the Great Performance Management Cycle and the concept of performance coaching conversations. These are ongoing processes that enable employees like me to get better and better at their jobs and allow managers like my awesome boss (I know, I am totally sucking up, aren’t I?) to get better and better results from their people. I am not going to explain this cycle though, I am going to let the authors do it themselves in the sample chapter that’s available on their book webpage. Now, this sample chapter is unusually long and I argued with myself a while before putting it up there, but I think the contents are really interesting while the real value of the book is in the application . Ultimate Performance Management provides everything you need to know to assess, implement, and train people on this way of improving people’s performance. You get all you need to be able to put on five workshops, including learning activities, tools, handouts, training instruments, as well as processes and procedures. This is a book that has real potential to improve the ways that people work, so check out the sample and see what you think.

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Back to School, Back to Basics

Despite the impassioned pleas by millions of children across the nation, it’s that time again. School is back in session. Even though they may never admit it, children are actually excited about the upcoming school year. Every year brings a new range of possibilities. Yet before they do anything else, they must do one thing: go back to basics. As adults, we may forget the amount of time that we spent at the beginning of every school year reviewing what we had already learned. Sometimes, it was just a simple review. Other times though, that second chance at learning was just what we needed to understand the topic at hand. In the spirit of going back to school, here are five “back to basics” lessons for sales trainers from some of our Sales Training textbooks. Lesson 1: Develop good habits, because every little thing matters (10 Steps to Successful Sales ). Good habits don’t appear out of thin air. They’re behaviors that must be cultivated every day. We’re all aware of the big things that can make or break us, but how often are we late for meetings, or forget to return phone calls? These small details can often add up to create a big problem. Get to work building the right habits for the little things, and you’ll be amazed at how often they diffuse disasters before they can even start. Lesson 2: Partner with Your Sales Team (Sales Training Basics). The only thing learned in an “us vs. them” classroom setting is how quickly nothing will get done. An easy way to partner with your sales team is to identify their number one goal for the year and focus on how to help them achieve it. While working towards this goal, make sure your training is concise, relevant, and immediately applicable. If you have feedback or criticism, try to keep it positive and offer solutions to the problems you see. Lesson 3: Teach good listening skills (Sales Training). Just as you can’t train your salespeople if they’re always talking, customers can’t make a purchaseif they are never given a chance to speak. Instead of preparing what you have to say, listen intently and ask questions. A client doesn’t want to waste hours trying to solve problems, so they’ll likely tell you what they need quickly. The faster you can quickly identify a client’s needs, the faster you can start your pitch. If you practice this enough times, you’ll realize how successful you can be without saying a word! Lesson 4: Organize your salespeople by priority (Sales Coaching). You should break your salespeople up into three categories: the crisis zone, the command zone, and the develop zone. Your “crisis zone” includes your salespeople who are underperforming. Address the reasons for this and aggressively work to get them back on the right path. Your superstars belong in the “command zone.” More often than not, they’re still not at peak performance, so work with them to reach their maximum results. Lastly, your “develop zone” defines your average salespeople. They have the potential to become your superstars, so your focus here should be to draw out their personal strengths and cultivate them. Lesson 5: Use the right metrics for evaluation (Sales Training that Drives Revenue). In order to be successful, you first have to define success. Some possible ways to measure success are through the number of accepted proposals, increased size of orders, or increase in gross or net revenue. Try to avoid personal scores from the salespeople, as this is subjective and can vary from person to person. Overall, ensure that you know whether the information you’ve provided is being applied. Going back to basics from time to time can be a good thing. It gives you an opportunity to review things you already know and approach other items with a different perspective than the first time around. So with that in mind, start learning and start training!

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ASTD Sales Training Virtual Conference Series: Can the Virtual Classroom Replace the Traditional and Physical Classroom for Sales Training? with Martyn Lewis

Only a few years ago if I had been asked if we could move sales training from the physical classroom to the virtual I would have replied with a resounding no! At that time my company would have trained some 35,000 sales professionals and sales managers, every one of them in a classroom, conference center, or hotel meeting room. I would have questioned the level of engagement, participation, and collaboration in the virtual classroom. I would have questioned how we could incorporate role plays andexperiential learning in the virtual classroom. Since then the world has changed. In just a few short years we now work in a far more networked, collaborative, and mobile world. I have personally now seen what can be accomplished in the live virtual classroom. Imagine that we no longer need to hold our sales force hostage in a classroom where we fire-hose them information that likely will have little impact on their actual job performance. Imagine that we can now deliver training to them wherever they may be in more of a drip feed fashion. And then after each bite-sized learning module they then get the chance to put new ideas into immediate practice, and also collaborate with their own peers and coaches.Imagine that we can deliver subject matter experts into the classroom, from wherever they may be to further collaborate and share best practices. Imagine that we can integrate the learning, with the doing, and with coaching. Imagine that we can engage our learners with the same level of intrigue that TV has been doing for over 100 years to convey information and ideas. This is not just the promise, this is the reality. We have now delivered in excess of 700 training programs from our studios in the San Francisco Bay area to sales teams all over the world. So, now, my own thinking has been changed. I am no longer focusing on what we used to do in the physical classroom and thinking about how we do it virtually. I have now seen what we can do in the live virtual classroom that we could not have done in the physical. The very notion of putting a sales team into a physical classroom for several days to me seems antiquated. Caution is required, though.The siren call of PowerPoint and WebEx enables many to deliver poor content in an equally poor way. Dont let the speed and apparent low cost of providing sales training over the web lead you into these deep and dangerous waters. There needs to be a greater focus and higher level of expertise applied to the design and delivery of sales training that will be delivered in the live virtual classroom. However, the returns for those who get it right are significant. In a recent and most comprehensive survey focusing on virtual sales training published by ES Research Group, the shift away from the physical classroom is clearly spelled out. www.ESResearch.com/virtual-report. The survey concludes that the barriers to entry (to virtual training) are predominantly attitudinal rather than factual. So, next time you hear someone lamenting the passing days of sales training in the physical classroom maybe they, like myself a few years ago, have simply not seen the possibilities and experienced the results possible in this new world. Martyn Lewis is the Founder of 3g Selling LLC as well as the President and CEO of Market-Partners, Inc.In these roles he has worked with sales leaders and teams across a broad range of industries, from start-ups to industry giants. Prior to 3g Selling and Market-Partners, Martyn had extensive executive, sales and marketing experience, including President and CEO for Drake International in North America where he led a large, multi-divisional sales force to reverse the companys rapidly declining revenue. Martyn also served as VP of Marketing and Sales Services for Digital Equipment of Canada, where he led several hundred sales professionals. Martyn acts as an advisor to a number of executives in the high technology industry and is active on several advisory boards and boards of directors. He has developed a reputation as a dynamic speaker and authority on live virtual sales training, as well as sales and marketing processes.

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ASTD Presents Ram Charan with its Champion of Workplace Learning and Performance Award

The American Society for Training & Development (ASTD) presented Ram Charan with its Champion of Workplace Learning and Performance Award on May 17 at the ASTD 2010 International Conference & Exposition held here. This ASTD award recognizes individuals whose advocacy, commitment, or actions in support of workplace learning and performance has influenced groups of individuals, organizations, or society. “Without learning, there is no growth,” says Ram Charan, business advisor, author, and leadership expert. Charan has spent his career studying strategy and leadership. In his 2007 book, Leadership at All Levels: Deepening Your Talent Pool to Solve the Succession Crisis, he advocates for the apprenticeship model, and calls for assigning stiff challenges to high potential employees to accelerate their growth. He believes great leaders have personal traits and skills that cannot be impacted by time in a classroom. “If you want to impact both,” he says, “you must create assignments that will take people beyond their comfort zones to discover what is inside. These apprenticeships allow absorption from other people and the learning is largely on the shoulders of the apprentice.” Charan’s introduction to business came from working in the family shoe shop in the small town in which he was raised. That background combined with decades of observing and working with successful leaders shaped his belief that business leaders learn best through a combination of experience, feedback, and self-correction. He has worked with top executives at some of the largest companies in the world, including GE, Dupont, Novartis, and Bank of America. He developed his research and observation style early in his career as a faculty member at the Harvard Business School and GE’s Crotonville Institute. Charan has sold more than two million books in the past five years. Leadership in the Era of Economic Uncertainty was published in 2009. His newest book, coauthored with Bill Conaty, is Masters of Talent and it will be published in October 2010. Through his books, as well as teaching and coaching, Ram Charan demonstrates his conviction that workplace learning is crucial to business success and affirms that people are value-added contributors.

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

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

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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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ASTD Member Meeting in the UK

Here’s a blog post from guest blogger Neville Pritchard, from ASTD International Partner The Learning Sanctuary in the UK: The Learning Sanctuary held its second meeting for ASTD members and prospective members at Olympia on January 26. The room was kindly donated by Principal Media Ltd, the organisers of Learning Technologies Conference & Expo held at Olympia on the following two days. Once again we had over 30 attend a lively and interesting meeting where discussion was extensive. We opened with Gordon Bull (ASTD Board member) explaining how to maximise ASTD e-membership benefits before we split into sub groups. We explored technology based learning developments and when to utilise what; the need to focus on performance impact and to utilise an appropriate mix of measurement models depending upon the purpose of measurement and reporting; the increasing need for L&D to ensure high quality consulting skills; trends in the use of coaching and the need for individual and coach responsibility; links to informal learning and ‘letting go’; the need for collaboration, coordination and integration in implementing L&D initiatives; considered goodpractice.com research into leadership development trends; and explored the group’s pressing issues within the management of learning. Each topic was visited twice as groups rotated around a choice of subject every 20 minutes with facilitation being delivered by members with specific expertise and interest in the subject areas. As a full group we also considered what research we felt would help take the profession forward. An example amongst a number of topics we included was: – What types of learning delivery actually lead to best improvement and response from learners? – How do different types of role or function influence this? – Is this influenced by the type of industry an organisation operates within? – Content/training methodologies different to roles, types of business, types of department – Comparing delivery models It was a fabulous meeting with high quality debate and an opportunity for members in the UK to network and consider key issues with other L&D professionals. Neville Pritchard

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ASTD: Instructional Systems Design Still Relevant, Needs to Adapt

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

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A New Language to Describe the Knowledge of Experts

As I get sucked into conversations about simulations with developers and researchers, both here in the states and in other countries, I am increasingly aware of the influence of the languages of several different communities. Critical words and phrases are coming from computer game design, project management, computer programming, nutrition, engineering, TQM, environmentalism, systems theory, even golf coaching. There is a new pidgin emerging – a new language for capturing domain expertise. At the highest level, it ties together systems with interface with story. Below that, it involves constructs like transformers (things that turn one resource into another), communities, units (autonoma with competencies and will), mapped spaces (from geographical to conceptual), interface design, perspectives (how different people see the world), and more detailed views of work (from producing widgets on one end to problem solving processes and innovation on the other). If people are interested, I will share more detailed notes with this community.

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3 Trends You Want to See in Sales Training in 2011

January is the month of resolutions and predictions. Keeping that in mind, we posed a question on our Twitter and LinkedIn group: what do you think will be 2011’s biggest trends for Sales Training? And judging from the response, this is something you’ve all spent time thinking about! Here are three of the recurring trends you’d like to see for sales training. Reinforcement Plans will (finally) catch on. It’s not news that training fades without reinforcement. It’s just human nature to go back to habits you had before. But when those bad habits are actively costing you money in training, retraining, and headaches when you need to train again, you need to change them. Reinforcement plans help changing those habits in two ways. The first is it lets you catch small issues before they snowball into large, costly problems. In other words, if you keep the content fresh in a sales reps’ mind, they’re likely to keep trying it. Reinforcement plans also help you weed out ineffective training programs. When you can rule out the possibility that sales teams just aren’t using the new information, you can start to see how effective the training really was. And what’s the result of more informed decisions? More applicable training. Web-based training will surge. The largest advantage of web-based training is it can be done anywhere at any time. This helps every field, but most of all sales. Looking for something to do at lunch? Brush up on your listening and questioning skills. Up late at night worried about closing a big deal with a client? Take a refresher course on closing. Best of all, instead of wasting valuable selling time during the day taking a class, you’re free to take it on your own time. Of course, this is talking about web-based training as asynchronous (a fancy way of saying it’s recorded instead of live). In terms of synchronous learning though, it still enables a mass sales force to be trained all at the same time across the world. What more can you ask for? The big question about web-based training is what’s going to end up being more popular? “Bite-sized” training meant to reinforce, or large-scale training plans that replace the classroom? Sales Coaching will overtake Sales Training This was one of the more surprising trends we noticed, but it makes sense. As one commenter so aptly put it: “Training is for products and processes. Coaching is for working with the individual and helping them apply their style to the product and process.” Sales coaching allows for individualized treatment as opposed to broad general instruction. When you’re asking for a sales rep’s input as opposed to simply telling them what to do, they’re also more likely to be invested in the answer. After all, they came up with it. Not only that, but it allows you to bring the best out of what’s already there instead of putting something new in that might not work for them. So, what do you think? Is it time to do away with the classroom and invest in the web? Should we be changing our name to “Sales Coaching Drivers”? Let us know what trends you see for 2011 in the comments section. Photo credit: macbeck (http://www.flickr.com/people/macbeck/)

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The Humbling Experience: Why Leaders Need It to Grow (SU205)

After 20 years of coaching leaders and watching their leadership paths unfold, the speaker noticed a pattern emerge. Leaders who were arrogant typically experienced a setback that she defines as The Humbling Experience. But even more interesting was the learning that came out of it for the leaders. Through a combination research and storytelling, this session will show you how leaders can use The Humbling Experience to grow.

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Talent Development for a New Age: Bringing Hard (Neuro)Science to a Soft Topic (TU203)

How can neuroscience help us develop global talent better? How can it be used in coaching to accelerate learning? What can we learn from sports performance metrics? In this session, you’ll see how technology can be leveraged to understand the human thought process in a more scientific way. Neuroscience research enables us to validate existing psychological theory and offers the opportunity to inform and involve the workforce in the very change that affects them. By evolving the leader/follower…

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New and Innovative Learning Trends in Healthcare

Catholic Health Initiatives and Slalom Consulting have partnered together to create a lean learning approach to a baseline manager development program called, Exceptional Managers for Exceptional People©. Specific content areas, Coaching, Change Management, Business Acumen, etc., that used to take individuals out of their job for days at a time have been redesigned to provide just in time content, aimed to support the day to day needs of line level managers. This program supports all people…

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Influence Emotion to Motivate Action: Communication Techniques to Engage Any Audience

In a recent ATD study, 83 percent of respondents indicated that communication is the most important skill area related to managerial success. The poll defined communication as the exchange of information and feedback between managers and their direct reports and the willingness to engage in three types of essential conversations with employees: disciplinary, coaching, and praise. For managers as talent developers, effective communication — including targeted, actionable feedback — can build…

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Creating a Professional Development Action Plan Using the ATD Competency Model

What specific skills do you need to stay valuable? Learn how you can prepare for the future faster by aligning your professional development plans to The ATD Competency Model, which defines what talent development professionals need to know and do to be successful across a wide range of roles. This session will introduce you to The ATD Competency Model. The presenter will cover all 10 areas of expertise, including three of the most critical: coaching, integrated talent management, and change…

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5 Strategies for Building a Winning Sales Team (SU408)

Maximizing profit for your organization starts by building and sustaining a top-producing sales team. Geared toward director- and manager-level management at organizations worldwide, this session will explain five hiring strategies to recruiting and developing top talent, the tools that sales teams need to achieve long-term goals, and ideas for improving company culture through ongoing coaching and training.

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Learning Assisted Service

October:
The carwash company gives customer loyalty and satisfaction a steady boost by using coaching, certification, and social media to develop its employees.

This podcast is sponsored by Pfeiffer, an imprint of John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Pfeiffer serves the professional development and hands-on resource needs of training and human resource practitioners and gives them products to do their jobs better. They deliver proven ideas and solutions from experts in HR development and HR management, and offer effective and customizable tools to improve workplace performance. Lean more at www.pfeiffer.com.

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Knowledge Delivered in Any Other Form

May: Informal learning, with its reach into every part and aspect of the organization, is here to stay. Increasing numbers of learning professionals are taking steps to shore up support and harness the strengths of this dynamic and flexible information movement. This podcast was sponsored by Peck Training Group, linking people to their potential through formal and informal learning options, such as training, webinars, coaching, and online tools; www.pecktraining.com.

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Filling in the Blanks

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

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

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Determining What Is Necessary

June: Learning executives need to take certain variables into play when determining the degree of executive support for learning initiatives. This podcast was sponsored by CPP, the exclusive publisher of the Myers-Briggs instrument and a group of people committed to improving the performance of individuals and organizations around the world through team building, leadership and coaching, conflict management, career development, selection, and retention; https://www.cpp.com.

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Stories Trainers Tell

Make challenging concepts more memorable, even unforgettable! Telling stories is a powerful way to make a point, especially when the stories are compelling, well-constructed, and poignant. This book captures thought-provoking stories contributed by trainers, nationally known speakers, consultants, business leaders, educators, and professional storytellers that help make challenging ideas and abstract concepts stick.The stories are organized around major organizational development and training themes, such as leadership, diversity, teamwork, performance and coaching, and customer service. Accompanying each story are tips, debriefing questions, key points, and a follow-up activity to maximize its impact and learning potential.

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New Supervisor Training

In New Supervisor Training, training legend Elaine Biech presents innovative two-day, one-day, and half-day training workshops that help supervisors embrace their new roles and develop supervisory skills in five key areas: promoting communication, guiding the work, leading the workforce, coaching employee performance, and developing themselves.

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Effective SMEs

Content expertise isn’t enough for the training room. Partnering with subject matter experts can really pay off. SMEs (we pronounce it smees) bring credibility and relevance to live training. They enrich learning programs with their insight and depth of experience. But content expertise alone isn’t enough to deliver effective training. . . .SMEs want to do well in the classroom, but it’s often unfamiliar terrain. They’re authorities on content, not talent development. Without guidance, they may overshare or find themselves unable to facilitate a productive discussion—all of which frustrate learners. But, with the right approach, you can bring SMEs into the training room successfully, in a way that makes learners, instructors, and managers feel like their goals are being met. Effective SMEs: A Trainer’s Guide for Helping Subject Matter Experts Facilitate Learning is the blueprint to managing SME-led training. Authors Dale Ludwig and Greg Owen-Boger offer first-rate advice gleaned from decades helping presenters, instructional designers, and SMEs become better communicators. Underlying all their tips is their belief that SMEs and instructional designers must get comfortable with each other’s role. The authors lay the groundwork for you, describing the fundamental principles of a successful training event and the personal approach they contend every SME and ID bring to the training table. You’ll discover how to design learning events with the needs of SMEs in mind. And you’ll try out best practices for coaching SMEs to deliver training efficiently and effectively. The authors also share detailed and relatable workplace scenarios drawn from their vast business experience as well as job aids to assist you in a variety of learning situations. Effective SMEs is the rare book that addresses both designing for SMEs to deliver training and coaching them to be effective once they’re in the training room. Don’t plan your next live training event without it.

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Developing Effective Leadership Programs (In Action Case Study Series)

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

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LessonCast – Web-based software to connect professional learning and classroom practice

The LessonCast Story In January of 2010 Nicole Tucker Smith designed the LessonCast process to support an innovative professional development practice she invented while serving as an assistant principal in a zero-based school. She and her engineer/marketer husband Khalid Smith built the first version of a service where teachers could create and collaborate using this […]

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Teamie – positive representation of the type of learning environment

Teamie brings the power of social networking to education to make learning collaborative and fun. Teamie was founded with the idea of enhancing collaboration & sharing between students themselves, and with other stakeholders in the Education system (Teachers, Parents and Management). Teamie aims to improve the learning process by enabling teams of learners collaborate and […]

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Overview of Role of Chief Learning Officer

Chief Learning Officers are often found at larger organizations where the human resources department is broken out into various specialties. CLOs, who are sometimes called chief knowledge officers, usually report either to the top talent officer or the chief executive officer (CEO). A CLO’s responsibilities may include on boarding, training courses and materials, employee development […]

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