Arnold Palmer, one of the original kings of golf, had a saying, "Your worst putt is better than your best chip." In other words, if you are off the green, you are better off putting from the fringe or light rough than chipping. So it is with any new initiative or project. In this spirit, I propose a new phrase, "Your most poorly planned action is better than your best strategy unexecuted." OK, so I have some work do on that phrase, but you get my point. You are better off taking a small action, before you have thought through every little detail (which you cannot do anyway) than to spend weeks or months coming up with a great strategy in which everyone approves (which is nearly impossible).
I have never been a fan of sales coaches. Yes, sales performance is just about the most important function in any business. Yes, top performing people in any field need a coach. And yes, sales people should constantly improve their skills to stay on top of their sales game. However, my belief is that it's the sales manager's job to coach sales people, and if that is the manager's job, why is a sales coach needed? In other words, it reminds me of a Tom Peters quote, "Banking is necessary. Banks are not!"
When deciding how to spend your learning investments, consider what the CEO cares about. In broad terms, the CEO wants grow the business and make it more efficient. In very specific terms, it mean increasing revenue and reducing costs. Simple, right? The problem is, we learning and development professional are often turned off by talk of profitability, choosing to believe we have a higher purpose to improve people effectiveness. However, our only reason for improving people effectiveness is to grow the business and make it more efficient.
On Thursday, August 18, I attended the first ever Evernote Trunk Conference in San Francisco. I have been a light user since early 2010, but recently I have taken on so many projects that I have been searching for an organization system that works for me. I have heard of people using Evernote for all kinds of reasons up to and including "putting everything in Evernote." I wanted to learn more. At the conference, talking to people, and listening to the speakers, I started to think about how learning professionals could use Evernote to design and deliver better training.
There is an exciting case study in the August issue of Chief Learning Officer Magazine about how Coldwell Banker uses social learning to get to the learning that is occurring most closely to the actual work in the organization. Realizing that discussions in the classroom often stay in the classroom, Coldwell Banker implemented social learning that relies mainly on user-generated content and participation rather than structured content from instructional designers in order to better serve its disperse workforce of independent agents throughout the world.
There is a lot of talk about using social media in training or about social learning in the workplace, but frankly there is not a lot of action. There are many reasons for this inaction, but anyone who has worked in an organization knows there is an incredible amount of inertia keeping things the way they have always been done. Learning experience designers need to break free from the gravitational pull of "we have always done it this way" and try something new. There is no substitute for experimentation.
Last week, I renewed my annual membership to the American Society of Training and Development (ASTD) and got to thinking why I joined in the first place, and why I continue to participate.
Last week I had the great pleasure of hearing Ram Charan speak at the Bay Area Executive Development Network meeting. The theme of Charan's talk was how the Chief Human Resource Officer (CHRO) can add value and build a people engine that will help the business achieve its objectives.
Sometimes creative ideas hide in the darkness, and we, as designers, can fall into a routine of producing the same types of designs that we always do, using the same formula, and the same process. This leads to ho-hum programs. Sometimes we need to inject something into the mix to get new ideas flowing.
Each week, a group of learning professionals gathers for at Tweet chat called #lrnchat to discuss issues and ideas in the workplace learning space. I try to join the sessions as often as I can because it keeps me in tune with what forward-thinking individuals are doing in training, e-learning, and instructional design.