With the rash of recent appointments by President-elect, Donald Trump, this seems like a good time to ask this question. While there are leadership books abound to attest to the skills needed for successful transitions, change management and leadership development, making the transition from business to government has its challenges.

We can point to a number of successful transitions. Who would have thought an actor from California, Ronald Reagan, would be a successful president? But, we don’t have to go that far back to find successes.

Here are some recent examples of businessmen who have become heads of government in the U.S.:

  • Mitt Romney was governor of Massachusetts from 2003 to 2007.
  • Jon Corzine was governor of New Jersey from 2006 to 2010.
  • Michael Bloomberg was mayor of New York City from 2002 to 2013.
  • What kind of conclusions can we make about the effectiveness of business leaders who become political leaders?

    Let’s take a look at a recent appointee.

    President-elect Donald Trump's choice of fast-food leader Andy Puzder as the next U.S. Secretary of Labor is receiving accolades from legal experts. Known to not support the $15 minimum wage initiative, Puzder believes we should focus on driving a $50,000 sustainable wage path.

    "Andy's an excellent choice," says Michael Lotito from Littler Mendelson and co-chair of Workplace Policy Institute. "He is an individual who saved jobs when Hardee's was about to go bankrupt. Andy has also created jobs, but even more importantly, he has created opportunities for people." Lotito notes that most workers rising through the CKE ranks started as crew members, including the current COO.

    It's clear the transition from business leader to government leader may have more to do with point of view and knowledge of the field than just business or government policy making.  What are your thoughts? We recommend reading “Reinventing Leadership” by Barbara Kellerman, which can be found at:  https://www.amazon.com/Reinventing-Leadership-Connection-Politics-Business/dp/0791440729

    --By Catherine Upton


    Published in Insights

    If knowledge is power, then organizations who are able to effectively and quickly tap into it and distribute it to its employees are already a leg up on the competition. Organizations that are able to distribute the power to affiliates beyond its employee base may have an even greater competitive advantage.

    In the context of learning, extended enterprise is learning offered to non-employees such as customers, partners and other affiliates. Aberdeen Group defines it as “learning specifically for customers and/or partners, beyond just internal stakeholders like employees and management.” It can include training, knowledge, certification or performance support to a “beyond-the-wall” group of constituents.

    Many may use the terms or variations of terms “extended enterprise” or “extended enterprise learning” while some, such as Moodle use “multi-tenancy” interchangeably. The concept is the same in that multiple affiliates both inside and outside of the organization’s wall can access one learning management system (LMS) instance as separate tenants.


    The impact of learning is powerful, it closes skills gaps and it’s a way to keep up with ever-changing technology. If executed correctly, not only will organizations keep up with the pace of change, but they can use to be an agent change agent. What happens when you shift the mindset away from training employees to building a strategic and unified global network with all company affiliates? There is an even greater potential with broad thinking and its more profitable potential; one that may earn a seat at the executive table. While the knowledge base of internal employees will increase, there is a genuine opportunity for organizations to save and make money simultaneously by extending learning beyond the walls.

    Nearly a quarter of organizations cite that extended enterprise learning was one of their top goals according to an Extending Enterprise Learning: Educating the Channel to Improve Results, an Aberdeen Group study. Furthermore, “organizations with extended learning in place found a 17 percent greater year-over-year improvement in revenue per full-time equivalent [full-time employee].”

    So, who is using extended enterprise learning?

    Seventy-four percent of respondents offer learning to customers and 47 percent deliver extending learning to reseller/channel partners and supply chain partners, according to the 2016 Learning Platforms Study conducted by Elearning! Magazine. Some believe that if you’re not offering extended enterprise, you’re already behind your competitors.

    Why aren’t all organizations taking advantage of this potentially lucrative extended enterprise learning?

    Target audiences for an extended enterprise solution vary by industry but generally fall into the following categories: customers and prospects, channel partners and resellers, contingent workers and supply chain organizations. Organizations may extend learning for free or for a fee by utilizing an e-commerce component of the LMS, the latter being the heart of the solution. Additionally, certification, recertification, advanced training and accreditation programs are all potential areas for an added revenue stream or simply added value.


    Customers, end users and prospects fall into this category and the return on investment is a compelling argument in its favor. “Companies that extend learning to customers experienced an 800 percent greater year-over-year increase in revenue per full-time employee than companies that don’t extend learning to its customers,” according to Aberdeen Group. Online reference libraries, product trials, training and demonstrations, and online and instructor-led courses all contribute to a number of benefits.

    Have you ever considered training as a lead source for your organization? This is especially helpful if your learning is relevant to the prospect and/or if your product is in fact, learning. Universities, content providers and continuing education organizations can all benefit by giving to receive. “As customers educate themselves they voluntarily absorb knowledge about products and services without costly active involvement from the sales force or channel,” reports Talent Learning’s CEO, John Leh.

    The benefits of extending learning to customers and end users include:

    >> Increased brand awareness

    >> Increased product/service knowledge

    >> Increased engagement

    >> Accelerated sales cycle

    >> Increased customer retention

    >> Increased customer satisfaction

    >> Increased customer experience

    >> Improvement in relationships between customers/prospects and products

    >> Reduced costs in customer and technical support


    Japan-based manufacturing company Mori Seiki, reveals the competitive advantage in offering extended learning to customers. Mori Seiki had a customer without a machine operator quit unexpectedly with contracts to fulfill. This customer couldn’t wait for a machine engineer to train an employee in-person to run it, so the owner and supervisor accessed online training. With their baseline knowledge of the machine and the information they obtained in the training, they were able to get back online with production with little down time. The deal was saved!

    Cloud-banking company nCino, a 2016 Learning! 100 winner, extended learning beyond its walls to customers and channel partners. Doing so helped them save thousands of dollars from the reduction of printed training materials and now more efficiently disperses needed training.


    There is data supporting the positive return of offering training to this group. According to Aberdeen Group, “Companies who extend learning to partners experienced nine times greater annual improvement in revenue per FTE than those who don’t.”

    Imagine if your partners were involved in your new product launch. How would that reduce time, human resources and costs if the launch was executed concurrently through an LMS? With training offered at the same time as the internal organization, you’ll have an opportunity to increase speed to market.

    Especially in situations in which channel partners bring home the most bacon, it’s imperative that a comprehensive, scalable solution is available to provide the information needed to continue selling. Security technology company McAfee delivers highly specialized training for 85,000 channel partners who need certifications before selling the respective products. This is important because these partners are responsible for 75 percent of the company’s revenue.

    Extending learning to channel partners offer the following benefits:

    >> Increased knowledge and collaboration

    >> Improvement in relationships between companies and partners

    >> Increased speed to market


    This group comprises contractors, laborers, consultants, independent agents, and seasonal workers, etc.

    The contingent workforce accounts for up to 30 percent of the staffing at some large enterprises, according to Bersin by Deloitte. And, it is on the upswing. If you aren’t supporting this group of workers now, you will be in the future.

    Today the contingent workforce isn’t always treated like full time employees. Including them in an extended enterprise solution would help to bridge communication gaps, increase product knowledge and in some cases, help to instill in them the company culture and purpose. Extending learning to contingent staff benefits include:

    >> Increased knowledge and collaboration

    >> Decreased safety incidents

    >> Expedited onboarding

    >> Well-coordinated company-wide rollout

    >> Increased speed to market


    Zumba Fitness needed a certification course launched to its Zumba Instructor Network (ZIN) members. The courses were deployed worldwide to thousands of users in multiple languages. Training is now available sooner and more cost-effectively to the instructors than before. Additionally, Zumba Fitness benefits from the added revenue stream.

    “We see how well our instructors are responding to the platform and are engaging in the content. We are super excited to continue to build programs that will continue to inspire our instructors around the work,” says Joy Pouty, Director of Education, Programs and Training, Zumba.

    Autodesk, CAD software publisher, provides teacher training to support its Autodesk Certified Instructor (ACI) Program created for anyone who teaches Autodesk software. There are 11 regional distributors across the globe managing their respective courses using an assortment of online and classroom-based training as well as user-generated content.

    “We wanted a global approach because the ACI program is global, content is global and we manage this at the global level [with a system that] allows us to manage it in regional silos,” says Rickard Lautrup, Global Projects Manager at Engage Global Solutions, Autodesk.


    This group is made up of manufacturers, wholesalers, and distributors, etc. This group understands dependencies and has a genuine interest in helping you succeed. You can quickly see how extending learning to this group has a domino effect on all sides of the supply chain.


    Klein Tools, a leading manufacturer of professional hand tools and occupational protective equipment, offered training to its tradesmen in their respective professional fields. By using incentives and syndicating their courses with seven association universities, Klein Tools got the visibility, exposure, and participation they wanted. Partner benefits include:

    >> Increased knowledge and collaboration

    >> Increased process efficiencies

    >> Increased communication of value proposition


    There are several indications that extended enterprise is here to stay, if not, grow. There are three key drivers that point to this conclusion.

    1 Future LMS purchases are being based on it.

    Nearly a third (29.4 percent) say an LMS purchase in the near future must have e-commerce to support for partner/customer training according to the 2016 Learning Platforms Study conducted by Elearning! Media Group.

    2 There is an influx of vendors in the space.

    We will be seeing more of extended enterprise according to Leh. “Lots of LMS companies are entering the market because the barrier of entry is a lot lower than it ever was before.”

    3 Vendors themselves are seeing growth, making enhancements and re-positioning the solution.

    While the solution has been around for a while, SumTotal now offers extended enterprise as part of the Talent Expansion® Suite the organization unveiled in early 2016.

    Kristy Sadler, Chief Marketing Officer at Docebo says extended enterprise is an area where they are seeing incredible growth and opportunity.

    Rory Cameron, Managing Director, Litmos by Callidus Cloud points to the company’s 32-percent increase in revenues in the second quarter of 2016 as evidence of the market’s growth.

    And this is just the tip of the iceberg. Many vendors offer training solutions beyond the wall. Training companies are also aggregating content and selling it under umbrella brands like Upside Learning. As extended enterprise learning expands, human resources and learning leaders will be revenue generators as well as strategic business partners, earning a seat at the table.

    If your company doesn’t have an extended enterprise initiative deployed, or an LMS to support it, this may be some extra incentive for implementing one. If you are in the majority of medium-to-large sized organizations that already have one, find out if your provider offers an extended enterprise solution. It may be well worth your time to consider your future training needs and determine whether or not your organization, affiliates and bottom line would benefit from an extended enterprise learning solution.

    Published in Top Stories

    Neuroscience Should Be Changing the Way You Design Sales Training


    Suppose you had the chance to be present at the very moment of a world-changing discovery? Imagine sitting next to Marie Curie in her lab as she discovers the power of radioactivity or walking with Neil Armstrong on the moon. Maybe you are seeing the DNA double-helix for the first time with Watson, Crick, and Wilson. If you had the chance to be a part of one of these great moments of discovery, would you take it?

    Right now, we all are embarking on a great adventure. We are discovering how the brain really works by watching it in the very act of cognition. We are expanding our understanding of how the human brain, a quivering bundle of more than 400 billion neurons, uses electrical charges to transmit and store sensations, feelings, decisions, fears, thoughts, and even our sense of self, on a constant and ever-changing basis. Someday soon, we’ll unlock the code that allows our brains to retrieve the sights, smells, and sounds of your seventh birthday as vividly as the first time you experienced it. And we’ll start to figure out what this wonderful, beautiful landscape of neurons, dendrites, and axons means to those of us who strive to help people learn.

    For the past decade, advances in neuroscience have shed new light on how the brain learns. While this science is still in its infancy and there are more questions than answers right now, many teachers, instructional designers and trainers are implementing brain-aware techniques into their work as educators. Yet a quick review of the top 20 sales programs in 2016 offers pretty much the same solution selling approach that has been in vogue for decades. While the rest of the education and training profession is finding new ways to apply the expanding understanding of how brains work, sales trainers often seem stuck in the past. This would be fine if the selling techniques of the past were actually working, but new research shows that people often make a major purchase decision in spite of the sales person, rather than because of him or her. If you want to give your organization a competitive advantage, here are some practical applications of brain science you can use today to revitalize your sales training programs.


    Think about a major purchase decision you made recently. You probably conducted careful research online, compared feature sets, searched for product reviews, sought out the opinion of friends and colleagues, and ultimately, made what you consider to be a logical decision. At least, that’s how you felt during the process. But you might be surprised to learn that the brain processes emotional and purchasing decisions in the same place — revealing that our emotions factor into any major purchase.

    Recently, two different research teams at Duke University discovered that they were studying the same part of the brain to understand two brain functions that were previously thought to be completely unrelated: emotion and high-value purchasing decisions. The region that is getting all this attention is the vmPFC (ventromedial prefrontal cortex), which is located between the eyes in the front of the brain. By watching this region while people are making decisions, scientists have discovered that it’s most active when the subject is asking questions such like: “Is this product or service really worth the price I would have to pay to acquire it?” “Will I regret this decision later on?” “Is this really the very best choice I can make in this situation?”

    In answering questions that appear to be about discoverable facts, the vmPFC considers some expected factors, such as the cost of one product compared to a similar product with similar features, expected financial benefits from the acquisition and use of the product, and so forth. But it also factors in some less quantifiable considerations, including status, emotional satisfaction, excitement, and small rewards such as snacks or prizes. This was quite surprising, because the scientists expected to see the cerebral cortex, the seat of our conscious thought, running the show. It turns out that the cerebral cortex doesn’t become involved in the decision until much later in theprocess. What’s considered the logical part of the brain starts coming up with reasonable sounding explanations for a purchase decision after it has been made at an unconscious level. In other words, by the time you can explain the pros and cons of two competing products to yourself or another person, your brain has already decided.

    So, did you buy that expensive human capital management application because it would give you more hard data about the effectiveness of your leadership development program, or because it would make you feel smarter than your peers? The answer is most likely a bit of both. If sales people are too focused on making a logical case for their customer, they may miss significant opportunities where the buyer is responding emotionally to the perceived benefits of a particular choice. As a sales professional myself, I am imagining a few readers right now nodding their heads and thinking, “Ah, so that’s what happened to the sale I was sure I had sewn up.”

    As early as 1994, Antonio Damasio made the case that emotions are a critical part of the brain’s decision-making process. Because emotions and logic are linked in our decision-making process, we must teach our sales people to allow time for buyers to process the emotional content related to their decisions. Remember that these emotions are happening at an unconscious level, so it may take some prodding to help the buyer bring these feelings up to the surface where they can be examined and discussed.


    Many sales training programs focus on the skill of influence. The reasoning is that if you can persuade the buyer to have the same enthusiasm for your product that you display, he or she will be buy it. An interesting study has studied the process of influence by observing brains trying to sell ideas to other people. One group was assigned the role of the intern. Group members were told to bring movie ideas to members of the other group, the producer, and convince these people to make movies from their ideas. Interns were assigned these ideas, which they were supposed to sell.

    By viewing a live MRI scan during the experiment, scientists discovered that they could accurately predict whether or not a producer would buy an idea by looking at two responses in the brain: anticipated reward and what’s considered the salesperson effect. If the intern believed that her idea would be accepted, her brain anticipated this success and produced dopamine, delivering a positive feeling of success. She literally experienced her success in her mind before it happened. If the intern did not believe the idea would be accepted, it generally wasn’t. This is pretty much what common sense might tell us, right? We’ve all been told that positive thinking yields better results than negative thinking, and this research confirms that intuitive belief.

    In addition to the reward-behavior predictor, scientists found that some people were just more convincing than others. When these people spoke about their ideas, the same area of the brain was stimulated in the intern’s brain and in the producer’s. In other words, the presenter was able to trigger the reward stimulus in another person’s brain. The scientists called this the salesperson’s effect.

    It isn’t clear if this effect is the result of some sort of innate ability or brain structure, or something that can be developed over time. Further studies likely will answer those questions.

    Soon it may be possible to hire salespeople by watching their MRIs as they attempt to sell something to another participant. We might be able to determine a leader’s communication skills by measuring the strength of his salesperson effect on team members’ brains. If we can discover the mechanism that is triggering this effect, we may be able to even train people to enhance this ability. What we do know is that when two people are communicating well, they are literally in sync, in that their brain waves produced by the electro-chemical communication between neurons is modulating at the same frequency. In a video from a neuroscience conference in Amsterdam, several pairs of people sit quietly and use the feedback coming from sensors that picked up their brain waves to synchronize, which is indicated by the color (or wavelength) begin produced by their brains.

    Daniel Goleman, expanding on his initial work in emotional intelligence, has discovered that the brains of two people who trust each other have a remarkable symmetry — their brains are so in sync that they exhibit high levels of brain activity in the same parts of the brain at the same time. The same synchronicity has been found in couples dancing and musicians playing together. Many successful sales professionals have sensed this syncing of brain waves when things are going extremely well in the sales process.


    Neuroscience suggests that the less we trust the salesperson, the riskier we believe the purchase decision and the less likely we are to act, regardless of the product’s benefits. Approach-avoidance conflict is a term used to describe a major decision that has both appealing and unappealing elements to it. Since most people inherently mistrust salespeople, nearly every major purchase decision falls into this category. How can we feel good about a deal we’ve just made with a perceived devil? Neuroscientist Paul Zak was one of the first to identify the neurotransmitter oxytocin as an indicator of a high degree of trust toward a stranger, as exhibited by heightened levels of oxytocin. Oxytocin and other “messenger molecules” are released in response to internal and external stimuli, flooding specific parts of the brain and triggering specific emotional reactions. Zak found that the more oxytocin is coursing through your brain, the more likely you are to trust people. It stands to reason that if we can stimulate oxytocin in the buyer’s brain, we can overcome the deeply ingrained tendency to distrust a sales representative. Here are a few behaviors that stimulate oxytocin and make us believe that an individual is trustworthy.


    The Power of Touch

    Being touched by another human being stimulates oxytocin and other transmitters and increases the feelings of trust toward that individual. Zak found that hugging, in particular, generates high degrees of trust in both participating brains. Handshaking can also improve the degree of trust between two individuals and make the prospect of striking a deal more likely.


    Storytelling Builds Trust and Connection

    Stories have a profound effect on the brain. Brain imaging studies have shown that when we are immersed in a story, our brains respond as though we are the protagonist of the narrative. Therefore, stories about others buying and using the product can help buyers see themselves making the purchase decision and generate positive emotions about the product and the salesperson.


    You Can’t Fake Trustworthiness

    Some sales training companies try to give sales representatives a list of behaviors which, if practiced, will increase their ability to generate trust and build relationships. If only it were that simple. In “The Selfish Gene,” Richard Dawkins explains that our brains are highly tuned survival machines, so at some point in our evolution it must have become necessary to detect lies in order to stay alive. Today, our brains are capable of detecting false statements or actions within milliseconds. We may not be able to express the reaction in words, but we know at “a gut level” (really a brain level) that some people are not genuine. Trustworthiness cannot be faked; your buyer’s brain will detect the falsehood every time. Turning again to my review of the top 20 sales training organizations, I see a familiar pattern. Their content seems to focus on external behaviors that will make salespeople appear more credible. Neuroscience tells us that we should focus instead on teaching sales professionals to be genuine, sincere, and trustworthy — a much bigger challenge with a much greater potential payoff.


    We’re still figuring out how to use the exciting information coming out of neuroscience, but we can start applying these and other insights now, to make our sales training – and all our training programs – more brain-aware. It’s a brave new world and learning professionals have the opportunity — and the responsibility — to continue to adapt as new information becomes available. Whether we realize it or not, we are observers to one of the greatest eras of discovery in the history of the human race. We’re living in the early days of the age of discovering our true selves, and it is going to change not only how we view the sales profession, but how we understand ourselves.

    —Margie Meacham is the Chief Freedom Officer, Learningtogo. She helps people learn and improve performance by applying our evolving understanding of how the brain works, as revealed through neuroscience.

    Published in Top Stories

    CEOs and senior-level executives report growth as their main priority with customers now ranking second according to “The Year Of Digital Tenacity,” a new report by Gartner. Fifty-four percent of respondents prioritize growth, 31 percent prioritize customers and 27 percent prioritize workforce. According to Mark Raskino, vice president of Gartner Fellow, there was a noticeable increase in the word “customer” in the survey responses highlighting rising concern over customer satisfaction. He says that CEOs believe their customer value percentage is currently at 30 percent but will rise to 46 percent by 2019.

    —Learn More: https://www.gartner.com/doc/3275917/-ceo-survey-year-digital
    Published in Trends


    If you've ever had the urge to hit the refresh button on your career, you're not alone.

    Two-thirds of U.S. working adults sometimes feel their careers are stalled, and more than half have regretted a career misstep, according to a 2016 University of Phoenix School of Business survey.  Nearly half also admit to having no clear plan moving forward.  This is particularly concerning considering that in today's economy professionals are expected to adapt and respond to the rapidly evolving needs of businesses, which often requires advancing their skill sets throughout their careers.

    In the 21st century job market, workers are staying in their careers longer than ever, and will likely face the reality that no single degree will meet their employer’s needs for the entirety of their career. Professionals across every industry are looking for courses to help them gain a competitive edge and grow their industry or professional skills to avoid career stagnation.

    At all stages of your career, whether you’re just starting out, are a seasoned employee, or nearing retirement, it’s important to acquire new skills related to your job and passions. Expanding your knowledge means more than enhancing your value; it also demonstrates versatility and broadens your options should you decide it’s time to look at not just changing jobs, but changing careers.

    Professional development courses can cover a range of management, leadership, marketing, human resources, business operation and technology skills that allow professionals with deep subject knowledge in an industry to get important training in managing people, staff conflicts or processes. Professionals not in a management role might beneft from a better understanding of how to use office productivity tools such as Microsoft Outlook, messaging and presentation software or learn to gather and analyze data to make better informed decisions.

    Many working professionals may be intimidated by the time commitment required to pursue a full bachelor or graduate degree program. However, obtaining advanced certificates can be a highly effective option to stay competitive with the job market. Business certificates can provide a deeper exploration into areas such as human resources, project management, health administration, accounting and technology, and are increasingly aligned with industry standards and employer needs. University of Phoenix, for example, works with the Society of Human Resources Management and the National Retail Federation to help ensure programs prepare students to address industry demands.

    Understanding the best education option for you takes some honest self-assessment. Examine your own skill gaps by reviewing professional development blogs, web articles and other resources that outline the background you’ll need for the job you desire. Take measure of the knowledge gaps that may threaten your organization’s growth and plot a path to professional development for yourself. Whether you grow your skills by taking on new projects at work for continued on-the-job learning, this underscores your commitment and ability to think strategically. Once the road map is in place, ongoing professional development and training can serve as markers you can follow to put you in a productive, happy and fulfilling workplace destination. Flexible options, online learning and professional development courses can make educational goals achievable and provide professionals with the opportunity to refresh — rather than restart — their careers. Learn more at phoenix.edu/programs/gainful-employment.

    Sources: The Harris Poll on behalf of University of Phoenix School of Business, Feb. 29 - Mar. 2, 2016.

    Published in Ideas


    Author Dr. James Ware notes that the 21st century is the age of networked knowledge: connecting in a meaningful way with others, whether you do it via email, Twitter, Facebook, and other forms of social media, or by using plain, old-fashioned face-to-face conversations.

    “The nature of work itself has changed,” observes David Coleman, founder and managing director of Collaborative Strategies Inc., “along with where we work and how we work. It is this change of work paradigm and a new generation (digital native) workforce that is driving the changes in leadership.”


In his blog, Coleman points to Ware’s definition of the 10 different types of meetings, each with a specific purpose: informing, sharing, exploring, planning, problem-solving, designing, producing, decision-making, persuading and inspiring. Most meetings, he notes, combine two or more purposes.

    >> Here are a few of Ware’s tips for conducting successful meetings:

    >> Focus on broad goals that everyone agrees with.

    >> Respect individual differences, and understand that everyone has their own individual circumstances (this means trying not to put meeting members in difficult circumstances).

    >> Participants should strive to be open and curious.

    >> Build on agreement and commonality.

    >> As the meeting leader keeps things on track, be firm but flexible.

    >> “Small talk” is a quick way of meeting members to establish trust, to understand each other’s circumstances, and to get everyone present and into the moment.

    >> Tell stories rather than overwhelm the meeting with data.

    —More info: http://collaborativeshift.com


    Published in Latest News

    Every day new learning technologies and practices are born. Which are fads and what have staying power?

    Join Catherine Upton in this session when she reveals the results of the E-learning User Trends Study.  What drives investment in learning and development. Which tools are learning leaders investing in and why?

    Catherine will also be joined by Becky Sterling who will discuss several e-learning trends, predictions and practices.  Share insights with Becky who is on the front lines of development and implementations. Bring your questions and challenges to share and discuss: The role of e-Learning in the consumerized world, Learner-directed learning and enablement, Evolution of learning ecosystems, and how to leverage technologies to create the engaged workplace.


    Please login or register to access

    Published in On-Demand

    Every organization has a diverse range of core business, professional and technical skills their employees require for success. Among these skills are leadership, manager and supervisory skills, new manager training, sales, customer service, communications, problem solving, and desktop computing. We could probably name more, but you get the idea, right? Organizations require foundational skills development across many different competencies and topic areas.

    Further complicating the job is the fact that there are three levels of content needed for most training:

    Level 1 – Basic off-the-shelf content designed to provide a foundational level of mastery of a specific skill or competency.

    Level 2 – Content designed to illustrate the application of Level-1 content to an organization’s industry, business, processes or challenges.

    Level 3 – Content that is 100 percent customized, based upon subject-matter expertise that is unique to the organization and/or industry.

    How do we find the right mix or blend of these levels of content to deliver the right training content to our employees? We believe the best mix is a ratio of 10/2/1. So you want to provide about 10 off-the-shelf courses (Level 1), two moderately customized courses (Level 2), and one fully customized course (Level 3). This mix may vary depending upon your unique needs, but this ratio will serve as a useful starting point.

    A good way to see 10/2/1 in action is to tell a story:

    ABC Widget Corp. manufactures a unique widget. Its customers love the product and are continually finding new ways to use it. These creative uses posed challenges for product-support specialists. Customer satisfaction ratings of the product remained good, but there was a slip over six months as support reps struggled to answer new product questions from customers.

    So ABC licensed an off-theshelf collection containing thousands of courses that included customer service, telephone skills, problem solving, dealing with difficult customers, and listening skills. It worked with the vendor to create a curriculum of 10 micro-learning videos on topics that would improve key support skills. Based upon the managers’ review of customer calls, ABC developed two additional videos to show the support team how to apply the foundational problem solving, customer service and listening skills to the calls coming in about the product. These videos helped the reps uncover more effectively and efficiently the root cause of customer problems and facilitate much faster resolution of requests for help.

    ABC finally built one entirely customized course explaining the product itself: its design, intended use and how customers could maximize value from the creative ways customers were finding ways the widget could work.

    This 10/2/1 approach allowed ABC Widget Corp. to do some very important things with the content and training team.

    >> The Level 1, off-the-shelf, content provided skills training on the foundational skills employees needed to quickly and effectively solve customer service problems. By having access to a broad selection of content, each employee could focus on an individualized approach to improvement while freeing valuable training-team resources to develop more complex content.

    >> Level 2 content allowed the training team and managers to illustrate how mastery of core customer-service skills worked in their company culture, using their systems and process to handle customer calls quickly and effectively.

    >> The fully customized Level 3 content allowed ABC to take advantage of its unique subject-matter expertise and not waste time developing foundational training courses that were readily available in their OTS collection.

    —To learn more about incorporating off-the-shelf content into your learning program, download BizLibrary’s complimentary e-book, “Got Content” at http://goo.gl/lu46KP.

    Published in Top Stories


    New-leader failure rate consistently ranges from 40 percent to 50 percent, and half of new senior leaders fail to succeed in their roles within two years. As outlined in the Leadership Crucible’s whitepaper on executive integration, this costs the firm not only in profitability but also in search fees, recruiting costs, relocation expenses, downtime, turnover, stock options, and much more.

    “The tragedy is that most organizations adopt a ‘sink or swim’ approach when it comes to onboarding senior leaders,” says the Leadership Crucible’s Michael Burroughs, author of “Before Onboarding: How to Integrate Leaders for Quick and Sustained Results.”

    “On the other hand,” he notes, “the best firms adopt a structured approach to senior leader onboarding that takes the guesswork out of integration and accelerates the time to performance in the new role.”

    The outcomes of executive integration are to:

    >> Compress the new leader’s ramp-up time

    >> Avoid costly, preventable, and potentially career-ending mistakes

    >> Minimize staff productivity declines and turnover related to leadership changes

    >> Accelerate team cohesiveness with the boss, peers, and direct reports

    >> Rapidly gain credibility with other key stakeholders such as customers, vendors, and board members

    >> Make the transition as efficient as possible

    >> Sustain the new leader’s success over the long-term

    —More info: http://seniorexecutiveintegration.com/


    Published in Latest News

    Survey says learning leaders should be preparing their employees for the future as well as the here-and-now.

    By Chris Osborn

    Each year, multiple organizations publish reports about the state of the training industry featuring data points developed by asking questions from the organizational perspective. The value of some of that benchmarking should not be diminished. It’s important to know that investments in employee training are rising, and that organizations are telling the industry that they are making a certain amount of training available to employees, and that some training topics are more important than others. But we think another perspective is important, too.

    Now consider nearly every other industry. How do they report on their health and vitality? How about electronics? Automotive? Telecommunications? Entertainment? Without exception, every other industry asks its consumers about the products and services it delivers to gauge the effectiveness and health of its respective industry. How much credibility would any of us give a report about the state of the cable industry, if the only people surveyed are cable providers? Aren’t we really most interested in how the consumers of cable services feel?

    Since there isn’t much widely published data on what consumers (employees) of the training industry’s products and services think, we thought that kind of research would be invaluable. Therefore, starting in early June of this year and running until early August, BizLibrary gathered 1,821 survey responses from employees about their employer-provided training programs. The respondents answered three strategic questions:

    1  How effective is your employerprovided training program at teaching you new things?

    2  How effective is your employerprovided training program at improving your performance?

    3  How effective is your employerprovided training program at preparing you for the future?

    The responses were separated into two broad categories: 1,002 who work at organizations that are not clients of BizLibrary, and 819 who work at BizLibrary clients (the “control group”). For the purposes of this conversation, it’s less important who provides the solution. What is relevant is the type of solution the employees use. The control group uses a solution with the following characteristics:

    >> Heavy emphasis on technology-enabled learning
    >> Video-based content >> Primarily micro-learning (seven minutes is average length of the most recently added 2,500 courses)
    >> A completion average of 4.8 courses per month
    >> LMS’s that are designed expressly to maximize impact of video
    >> LMS and video that’s all fully mobileready and mobile-optimized
    >> A wide selection of content topics, and generally a high awareness of content availability
    >> Minimum of 5,000 courses, and in some organizations 14,000-plus video courses
    >> Low emphasis on ILT, though most organizations use some classroom instruction

    The broader public participants reported a wide range of content-delivery tools, with ILT being the dominant form. The public participants reported some access to technology-enabled learning including traditional e-learning (click-and-advance PowerPoint-style courseware), virtual classroom and online videos. These participants generally reported fewer content options than the control group. In other words, the public participants generally reported access to traditional employee training programs.


    Question 1: How effective is your employer’s training program at teaching you new things?

    Employee learning is about acquiring new skills and knowledge. For training programs, this should be a foundational competency. Every employee learning program should be effective or very effective at teaching employees new things.

    The chart on the below compares the responses for the public participants to the control group in response to Question 1.




    There are significant differences between the public responses and the control group responses. When we combine the responses “Very Effective” and “Effective,” control group employees report that their training programs are 23.77% more effective at teaching them new things than nonclient employees (69.79% to 56.39%). The negative ratings are also lower.

    Question 2: How effective is your employer’s training program at helping improve your performance?

    Employees should perform at higher levels of mastery after they have been trained. That’s a given. Unfortunately, not all training programs deliver improved performance, and the survey confirms that employees believe many programs substantially under-perform.

    Once again, the difference in the top two tiers, “Very Effective” and “Effective,” are striking. The control group employees report they believe their training programs are “Very Effective” or “Effective” at helping improve their performance at a combined rate of 66.41%, but 50.90% of public employees report the same levels of effectiveness for their employers’ training programs. The difference is 30.47% (66.41% “Very Effective” and “Effective” combined, compared to 50.90%).

    Question #3: How effective is your employer’s training program at preparing you for the future?

    Control group employees report even greater disparities in how their training programs help prepare them for the future: 34.99% better than their peers at other companies. In the top two tiers, 58.33% of employees at control group companies say their training program is either “Very Effective” or “Effective” at preparing them for the future. Only 43.21% — less than half — of the public participants said the same thing.

    Of the three strategic questions in the survey, this question about preparing employees for the future elicited the fewest positive responses across the board. This ought to be an area of concern for all of us in the learning and development and training industry. Teaching employees new things and improving performance are outcomes that benefit our organizations in the here-and-now. However, preparing employees for the future is something that we should be working toward for the ongoing success of our organization.

    The top graph below summarizes the differences between the public responses and the responses of control group employees. When the survey was launched, we did not expect to see this much of a difference between the perceptions of the control group (BizLibrary client employees) and employees at non-client organizations. The differences are real and rather dramatic — the product of substantive distinctions between the ways employees access learning resources. We believe this because we asked some details about the training programs of the survey participants.




    Doubtless, much more research is needed. In fact, you can learn more about this research at http://goo.gl/crrCo5. But we need data on actual performance.

    Data from this survey tells us an important story about what employees think — and they don’t think traditional training programs work very well. Employees tell us to give them more choices, more video and to minimize the use of classroom delivery. Does this data prove the effectiveness of the methods employees prefer? Not conclusively, but when employees are engaged in the training methods, there is a far greater likelihood of success than when they are checked out and not engaged in boring, out-of-date training methods.


    Think carefully about critical jobs and professions that most organizations need. They rely on professionals with expertise in Web design, user interface, social media recruiting, and inbound marketing. More jobs or critical job skills (depending upon your specific industry) are likely “hard to find.” Some of these jobs and skills simply did not exist as recently as five years ago. The reality of today will certainly not be the reality of tomorrow. That’s why it’s so important we help employees — and, by extension, our organizations — prepare for the future. We can get ahead of some of this by shifting our training efforts to develop skills and competencies around things like adaptability, learning agility and change leadership. If we can make that strategic shift in our development focus, we might see the next round of answers to this question be more favorable.

    —The author is vice president of Marketing for BizLibrary

    Published in Top Stories
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