Posts Tagged ‘Steve’

Classroom training is still the predominant method for formal corporate training. Seminars and workshops are still very popular especially for smaller companies that aren’t ready or able to do a lot of elearning or web collaboration. I’d say that classroom training definitely has it’s strengths and limitations. To be an effective learning leader, I always recommend clearly articulating when and how to use classroom training. I’m going to start out with a few ideas or principles and maybe others will fill in the rest.

1. Interaction with Peers
I’ve seen literally thousands of comments written about workshops and seminars. The number one things that participants say they value is the interaction and networking with peers. Almost no one lists this as a primary objective but maybe it should be number 1.
2. Content Delivery
Retention levels are so low with lectures and expert delivery of information that it’s almost not work doing. I would guess that if you took an SAT today you wouldn’t remember most of it.

3. Feedback
Many things require that you get direct feedback from an expert in order to learn how to do something. Starting this feedback in the classroom is effective if it carries to the job.
4. Demonstrations
Some things you just have to see up close in order to really appreciate all the complexities. This is especially true if learning requires more than sight and sound.

Okay, that’s four…it’s your turn.

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Mike Tyson said, “Everyone’s got a plan until they get hit.” This is a very important concept for training and explains why a lot of training doesn’t stick or transfer to the job. Consider what happens to customer service training when an employee fresh out of training picks up the phone and gets an irate customer. Everything they learn tends to go out the window. They will tend to question their training and say it doesn’t work and go back to the old ways. Usually training isn’t intensive enough to really master a skill in all the critical situations. One or two role plays in a sales class isn’t enough to do more than just get a feel for how to use a new sales process. It may take 50 to 100 real calls with real customers. So I’d look at any training program and ask the question, “Is there enough real practice (getting hit in the face), to make training stick.

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I think one of the starting points for leading a learning organization is to write down a set of learning principles. I define a Learning Principle as something that you believe is absolutely true about how people learn. For example, you might have a principle that states that everyone has a different learning style or people learn by doing.

The list should be about 5 to 10 items and what you believe and not me. This now let’s you communicate to others in the organization and vendors what good training is all about and that anything that doesn’t fit these principles isn’t acceptable. I’d make these formal so you can communicate them easily. This is part of becoming viewed as the learning expert in your organization.

So the question is, Do you have a written set of learning principles? What would you put on the list?

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The first question is how does social media change or effect the way salespeople can and should prospect?  On everyone’s prospecting plan there should be a strategy for networking and in many cases, social media can be faster, more wide ranging and effective than traditional approaches such as association meetings or even trade shows.  The advantages are:

  1. You can network everyday 24/7.
  2. You can reach a larger pool of prospects especially internationally
  3. You can link activities together such as a blog, twitter, facebook, linkedin, etc. so one action is multiplied

The big disadvantage is that you can’t reach those who are not social media literate or willing.  I’m sure today this is a large pool of people but it’s shrinking.

In adding it to sales training, I think there are a few things to consider:

  1. Social media etiquette
  2. How to write discussion question and other posts
  3. How to build your credibility using social media
  4. How to build your presence in various social media

This are just a few of my thoughts.  Please add yours.

As an extra, here are a couple of articles on  using twitter you might like:

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Thinking about a green belt or brown belt project around training or employee development?  Here’s the key.  You have to think about learning as a process and not an event or series of events.  If you map out from end to end how you actually learn something to a high level of proficiency, you will have the steps in a process.  Consider how you learn to make an effective presentation.  You might take a course or series of courses, but you also have a lot of practice, feedback and coaching required.  It takes more than one role play to master presentation skills.

Once you have a process, you can apply all the process improvement tools to do four important things from a quality perspective, 1 reduce time, 2 eliminate waste, 3 decrease variability and 4 cut costs.  Take just the area of variability.  If everyone learn how to do something in a slighty different way, you have a high degree of variability on the job.

There is a lot more to this, but this is the logical start.

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