October 05, 2010

Absolutely! Enterprise Wiki Live Demo

By now everybody knows that wiki and social media foster collaboration.  The sad truth is that these tools also lack framework and structure needed in the corporate world. They also lack motivation to stay the course and NOT to turn work- and learning-related communication channel into a virtual water cooler spot.  At the same time, traditional knowledge management software is great for organizing, preserving and distributing knowledge, but lacks incentives to contribute and collaborate.  

Can we have the best of both worlds?  Absolutely!

I want to invite you to take advantage of a free trial / live demo offer of Absolutely! --  a new type of software that combines benefits of enterprise wiki and KMS. I think it is great for today’s business environment and would appreciate your comments.

Absolutely! Enterprise Wiki Live Demo

October 22, 2009

Corporate Training and Collaboration

I just completed a video trailer for a mine and Gary Woodill's book. We, at AHG, do a lot of simulations and general Second Life projects (including shooting video in Second Life!), but when it comes to editing video I will not pretend to be a pro. Hope, you still enjoy the show! More info on www.TheVirtualWorldsBook.com  




March 11, 2008

How Will You Fill the Talent Gap as Boomers Retire?

Mass Exodus?
Well, this is it—2008—the year that the first of the baby boomers are eligible to retire. Much has been written about the impending talent crisis—the leadership gaps, the sudden exodus of years of experience and knowledge.


Are you seeing that yet in your organization? Are you ready for it? Do you have a plan?

Sadly, more than 2/3 of companies do not have a succession plan.

So, what can you do?

Here’s a three-step process we use to identify potential and develop talent for upcoming leaders:

  1. Predict—Assess your talent pool to predict high potential and job fit for critical positions
  2. Plan—Create a plan for talent placement, development, and succession
  3. Perform—Align the right people with the right responsibilities at the right time to allow people to perform at their highest level

Moving past the pithy three Ps, let’s see how this works:

1. First, use a validated assessment-based approach to provide objective data for identifying high-potential talent.
Selecting talent based on past performance, reputation, and familiarity may seem like a solid approach, but in fact it's fairly subjective and may be misleading. Using valid assessments instead provides an objective underpinning to your search for talent.

To start, key stakeholders (people who fully understand the requirements of the job being assessed) complete a 20-minute Skills Importance Survey to help them:

  • Prioritize the importance of various skills within a job
  • Specify a benchmark of high-performing individuals in similar situations with which to compare candidates
  • Establish a job profile to objectively measure candidates

Then potential candidates take the LH-STEP™ assessment, which combines select measures of background, personality, skills, cognitive ability, and attitudes to provide a whole-person assessment. Backed by 40 years of research and over 90 validation studies, this assessment has been found to be more valid than personality tests, more reliable than opinion surveys, more relevant than performance evaluations, and more flexible and faster than competency mapping. It takes candidates about 2 hours to complete this online assessment.

Finally, candidates’ supervisors complete a Performance Rating Survey.

2. Next, analyze the candidates against the benchmarks.
The surveys and the assessment form the basis for a 9-box promotability matrix that allows you to:

  • Evaluate potential and skill fit across the candidate pool for a given job profile
  • Objectively measure your bench strength
  • Determine who your “ready now” candidates are
  • Compare any candidates against any job profile

This data should give you a fairly clear, and more importantly objective, picture of who your high-potential candidates are.

3. Now, what will it take to get those candidates ready for leadership roles? 
A critical output of the process, Individual Development Plans (IDPs), allow you to see existing skill gaps both at a group and individual level, with specific suggestions for ways to develop the necessary skills. The result is a solid action plan for performance management.

The prospect of filling all those soon-to-be vacant slots can seem daunting, but if you have a plan, you’ll be ready. And if you use objective data, your planning becomes more predictable, valuable, and easy.

Want to learn more?
On March 18, Josh Bersin of Bersin & Associates will be addressing this topic in more detail at a half-day workshop in Chicago, entitled:
Uncovering Potential Through Strategic Assessment: Talent Management that Drives Business Results

Claudia Escribano is a Senior Instructional Designer for Vangent, Inc. a human capital management firm that helps organizations create a high-performing workforce through customized blended, instructor-led, and e-learning solutions

July 22, 2007

What You See Is What You Get

Once there was an employee who rarely if ever spoke up at meetings. She never shared ideas, never contributed. She did what she was told to do but nothing more. She stammered when asked probing questions. She avoided leading meetings. She didn't seem to care too much about her work.

And once there was an employee who always had great ideas and was quick to make recommendations and then get to work implementing her ideas. She pioneered new approaches, led initiatives, and lobbied for innovations. She loved to facilitate meetings and training sessions and discovered she was good at that. She was highly motivated and always one of the first to volunteer for new assignments.

Two very different employees. Same person. Both me--at the same company in the same role.

What was the difference? Two very different bosses.

The first boss was judgmental and quick to criticize. If I proposed an idea, he quickly tore it to shreds with probing questions. If I dared to speak up, he sarcastically belittled my contribution. If something important needed to be done, he did it himself because he didn't trust me to do it. And when I tried to lead a meeting, he publicly criticized me, even in front of clients. He expected me to fail, and I began to oblige him.

Luckily, through various reorganizations, I got a new boss. And this boss saw potential in me. He saw what I could be and set performance objectives for me to develop my skills. I could tell just by the look in his eyes that he believed in me. When I got up the nerve to pitch an idea to him, he supported me and coached me on how to implement the idea. When I facilitated a training class or meeting, he assisted, even jumping in to tear off tape and hang up flipcharts. When things went well, he was the first to congratulate me and celebrate my achievements. He always looked out for me.

It's amazing how much power managers have over the success of their employees. Amazing how the look in someone's eye or the tone of their voice can boost or wither performance. In his book, Quiet Leadership, David Rock provides current brain research that shows that people need positive feedback to perform. This is not a psychological notion but a physiological fact based on how our brains work.

Rock talks about how our own internal fears and criticism can quickly overload our neural circuits when we are trying something new. Acknowledgement and encouragement from others can actually help to remove those negative thoughts from our minds so that we can focus on what we're trying to accomplish, with better chance of success. The research he cites shows that the brain needs positive feedback in order to make the long-term neural connections that translate to performance.

If you think in these physiological terms, it's easy to see that my first boss was actually shutting down my brain's functions, while my second boss was helping me to form new neural circuits that allowed me to achieve goals successfully.

Over 200 years ago, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe said it best:
"If you treat an individual as he is, he will stay as he is, but if you treat him as if he were what he ought to be and could be, he will become what he ought and could be."

Could you change someone's performance simply by changing what you see in him or her?

Claudia Escribano is a Senior Instructional Designer for Vangent, Inc. a talent management firm that helps organizations create a high-performing workforce through customized blended, instructor-led, and e-learning solutions.

October 19, 2006

Keeping It Going

By Rhonda Brown

Someone once said to me, “Oh, you do leadership development? Develop ME!” I laughed, because my mind’s eye saw a roll of film grabbing a photographer by the shirt, begging to be made into brilliant photos.

But I guess leadership development IS kind of like when you take your film to the pharmacy to get it “developed” (or at least how we used to do it, before the age of digital cameras)—what happens?

Continue reading "Keeping It Going" »

October 06, 2006

Create SMART Goals--And Reach Them

By Shannon Lear Martin

As part of our focus on performance measurement, I'd like to demonstrate how employees and managers can learn to write "SMART" goals. When creating a  goal, answer each of the following questions. If the answer to the question is anything other than "yes," the goal needs to be refined (or in some cases, abandoned):

Nvtech_vc0081971. Specific: Does the goal have a single, well-defined result? Compare a sales manager's goal of "Plan meetings for next week" with "Prepare agenda for scheduled sales, management and staff meetings so that all discussion is completed in less than 60 minutes per meeting." I'd even propose a higher goal: "Increase sales revenue by 5 percent" or "Decrease product returns by 2 percent" where the meetings include discussions and training on how to achieve these goals. In truth, planning meetings is not even a goal for this manager—it is an activity required to monitor how well his team and staff are doing toward achieving the goals.

2. Measurable: Can I clearly tell when it has been accomplished? Is there a date by which I will have it accomplished? Next month is definitely measurable but I'd encourage you to go one step further : "Sign 15 new clients by June 30." To keep you on track, create a dashboard of activities that can be measured to help you monitor progress and report results as you go.

Continue reading "Create SMART Goals--And Reach Them" »

October 03, 2006

Fresh Thinking on How, Not Just What, to Train

By Amy Peeler

20060911_creatingsuccess_trI recently read a quote which really resonated with me from a new book by Michael Allen, Creating Successful E-Learning. He wrote, “We need not only fresh ways of thinking about learning, but also fresh ways of making it happen.” (Read the review on Training Magazine).

A fresh idea we’re pushing is webcasting to deliver training information from our corporate headquarters to both local employees and those throughout the world. We are first identifying the basic information that needs to be captured. The need is great, so we’re looking to start small with things like new employee orientation, benefits and legal updates. Next we’ll bite off sales training and then training for our channel partners. Getting people comfortable with a new way of delivering information is an important part of launching this new initiative successfully.

Continue reading "Fresh Thinking on How, Not Just What, to Train " »

September 22, 2006

Do Good Intentions Lead to Results in Performance?

By Shannon Lear Martin

Setting goals are key to improving performance, but how often do people set goals then never measure them or quit halfway? A better way to approach goal-setting is to decide what your intentions are (i.e. what kind of performance you expect) and start from there.

According to Jeffrey Gitomer, “What you intend to do is what you actually do. Goals notwithstanding, it's all about your intentions."

In the world of personal growth and development, it’s generally accepted that goals and intentions are linked. Intentions actually precede goal setting. If you fall short of intention, or don’t focus on your intention, you are not likely to achieve the goal you set.

The same is true in the business world.  Sometimes, the intention is so off the mark that the identified goals (and subsequent results) take business performance way off track. The best example of this I’ve ever seen was reported in the April 16, 2001, issue of FORTUNE magazine about Gateway Computer:

Continue reading "Do Good Intentions Lead to Results in Performance?" »

September 08, 2006

Incentives: Fast Track to Performance Improvement?

By Shannon Lear Martin

The eternal question in any business with employees is how to increase performance effectively. Will monetary offers improve employees' output? In the United States alone, organizations spend almost $120 billion annually on work-related incentive programs.

In 2003, Harold Stolovitch organized a research team to cut through the confusion and derive clear conclusions about incentives. The study was supported by a grant from the Society of Incentive and Travel Executives Research Foundation and was sponsored by the International Society for Performance Improvement.

Some of the key findings:

Continue reading "Incentives: Fast Track to Performance Improvement?" »

September 01, 2006

Training Presentation Skills

By Catherine Kaputa

Speaking—whether in a small meeting or a large forum—is one of the most important business skills, one that can make or break an executive career. Good presentation skills can make the difference between selling your proposal, recommendation or company, or striking out. Good presentation skills can the one factor that distinguishes an executive who goes all the way to the top of an organization, and one who gets stuck in a mid-level job mid-career.

So what separates the average communicators and presenters from great ones? And how can you train people for successful speaking?

Continue reading "Training Presentation Skills" »