Education Current Events

How to Boost Your Training Effectiveness

What is your reaction to a headline that reads “Quarter of all training fails to deliver significant performance improvement?”
My guess is it would be one of amazement. However, I am not so confident I could predict why. Are you amazed that as much as “a quarter” of all training is effectively wasted? Or are you amazed that it is only “a quarter” – i.e. as little as 25%?
How much training is really wasted?
I confess that I fall into the latter camp. Thus I would have said it was more likely to be the other way round. In other words training is closer to being only 25% effective and 75% wasted; although that isn’t to say the figures are quite as bad as that. Nor am I maligning the quality of trainers here. Rather it is simply a fact of life, for, when we get back into routine we simply revert to old ways. It is practice that embeds knowledge and if people do not get the opportunity to practice what they learn on training courses when they get back to work, it is inevitable that the benefits of the training will dissipate.
(I should also make it clear that I am talking here about formal work-related training only and not all education.)
My opinion that training is considerably more than 25% ineffective, may have its origins in the harsh reality that I am a bit slow! However, although clearly subjective, I formed it as much by observing others as from my own experience over nearly 30 years. I find it fascinating to observe how quickly we forget lessons and fall back into our old ways. It’s rather like New Year Resolutions. No matter how good our intentions, we fall short.
The costs are the real issue
So regardless of the percentage, there is a problem. The headline, from HR Magazine, was for real! And even more disturbing is that the report states this 25% ‘failure’ costs £9.5 billion a year, which is a steep price to pay for nothing. And if you share my more skeptical view, then these costs are likely to be considerably greater. This makes proposals to make regular training an employee’s legal right a real concern. It is dangerous for a number of reasons.
Firstly, it makes training more of a fixed cost, rather than a variable one. One of the (possibly many) reasons the UK government is proposing this, is that training is one of the first items dispensed with in recessionary times. Whatever the justification for this (and we will look at this question more closely further on) it will mean that businesses will need to look elsewhere and dig deeper to find cost savings in any future recession. This makes it likely that more people will lose their jobs than would otherwise be the case. It is thus hardly a good solution to the employee engagement problem that is currently causing so much concern.
Secondly, it reduces the likelihood of proper cost-benefit justification for training. And cost-benefit justification for training is already weak. Certainly you spend a great deal of effort on the cost side of the equation. No-one can undergo training unless there is a budget and/or the costs are pre-approved. But nothing like the same attention is given to the benefit side.
Ah, yes, you do devote effort to assessing needs through formal training needs analyses, and you could argue this equates to benefit analysis. However this ignores the obvious point that satisfying needs, and delivering benefits, is not the same thing. This point is reinforced by the earlier point about training being the first expense cut during tough trading times. This suggests that the benefits are not really factored into the equation.
The case for this is reinforced by two points: the value of the waste as described by the article, and the lack of any proper training effectiveness analysis. Training is an investment. Yet the lack of effectiveness measurement suggests this is not fully recognised. The fact is that a large proportion of this training waste can be avoided. All it requires is more emphasis on measuring the benefits – the return on investment.
Now you may argue that this is fine in theory but in practice measuring this is too difficult, time-consuming and costly, and so would make the problem worse. You might even claim that some of the benefits are intangible anyway in so far as they simply improve employee engagement. Perhaps, but the point is not worth arguing about.
How to effectively measure the return on training investment
Certainly it is not easy, and it would be disingenuous to say it was. But, if people are valued as assets and their training costs, or a portion of them, are capitalised and added to their individual asset value, then you would have a basis for more effective negotiation between manager and employee to justify the training as well as a measure of gauging its effectiveness. The net change in bottom line over the gross increase in Human Asset Value, gives you a perfectly empirical formula for calculating the return on investment. It may not be perfect, but it is at least as good if not better than anything we currently have.
Whatever the waste percentage, this formula certainly gives you a lever for eliminating a large chunk of it. Furthermore, as the rules need to be properly defined and agreed, it is not subjective and so cannot be easily manipulated. This will help build up trust and teamwork within the organisation. It will also encourage practice and so help to embed the knowledge. And, even better, it also provides a communication bridge for HR and Finance. Now, for the first time right brain (HR) and left brain (Finance) dominated people will be to communicate effectively. That has to be good news and great for business.

Education Current Events

5 Ways to Encourage “Sharing” to Create a Workplace of Choice

Share your toys! This was a message many traditionalist parents shared with their toddlers and somehow it goes from that to ‘play to win’ and ‘knock out your competition’.

Although Zoomers have been slogging away in work environments where ‘play to win’ and ‘knock out your competition’ were solid goals in the eighties and nineties they do not hold a lot of allure for the Gen Y’s entering the workforce.

Gen Y’s expect sharing when they get to their workplace and they are not motivated by knocking someone else down so that they can win. They are more motivated by group focus on a goal, group achievement with individual recognition of outstanding efforts. They realize that competition exists but they see it more as co-opetition where we cooperate with our competitors while gaining market share.

Even though Gen Y has grown up on video games and they fight and compete their way to win the game they get points for helping others and for saving the world.

All generations benefit from ‘sharing in the workplace’ specifically when it comes to the sharing of knowledge. Here is a list of sharing that goes a long way to create a happy workplace:

Sharing knowledge- generously downloading what you know to everyone on your team in order to help them do their jobs better and to gain skills

Sharing resources- cross-departmental sharing of what they have available to them such as technology, people, solutions and ideas

Sharing people- cross training and cross sharing people keeps the company dynamic and evolving and continues the learning curve for all three of the generations

Sharing clients- often a client who buys from one department is a great client for another department think Nike (basketball, soccer etc.) or Best Buy

Sharing updates- using social media such as Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn to share what is going within the company as a constant connection tool to potential buyers and happy customers

Some questions to ask yourself in regards to sharing in your workplace are:

What could we share more often that would increase camaraderie and team within our culture?

What resources are we hoarding? (For example does one department have access to information and resources that would significantly help another?)

What can we do to share our people? How can we formalize cross training and cross department learning?

Are we sharing positive messages via social media about our company?

Sharing isn’t a concept anymore it is something that is required to live in order to create workplaces where all of the generations want to work and want to share.

Education Current Events

18 Requirements For Success With CRM – Business Relationship Management System

Organizations rarely go it alone when they implement a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) strategy and its supporting technology. That’s because it can get overwhelming: business strategies, technology, budgets, operational processes, change management issues, and more.
Good CRM practices and principles apply to companies across many industries. One core tenet of CRM is customer centricity.
Companies must instill a customer-centric focus throughout the organization to make a CRM initiative successful and to get the most “bang for the buck.” Essentially, companies must not only focus on cutting costs and improving productivity, they must also enhance the experience of customers across all customer touch points.
To obtain the success you deserve with CRM- consider the following requirements:
1. Get Executive Buy-In
Management must believe in a new CRM system and lead by using the system themselves. Support throughout all echelons of upper management affirms the company’s commitment to the initiative, which will motivate all stakeholders below management. Success will come for a manager who realizes the value of CRM, understands the problems it’s going to solve, and dedicates time and energy to making it happen. It’s incredibly important to be involved directly.
2. Establish Measurable Business Goals.
Define specific business benefits that you expect the CRM initiative to deliver. Is it to decrease the customer churn rate or decrease the sales cycle time by a specific percent? Is it to increase the win-to-loss ratio of sales opportunities? Maybe it’s to decrease the time that a service/support request is unresolved.
3. Let Business Goals Drive Functionality
Will a particular feature help your company better serve customers, improve efficiency in business processes, and lead to results that over-achieve the goals? Convert that big list of ‘features’ to benefits you hope to obtain by achieving the desired goals.
4. Avoid Automating Chaos
CRM Project leaders need to gain a 360-degree view of their own business first. Which business processes need to be rebuilt or simply need a little touch-up? What derails CRM initiatives very often is the lack of focus on the people and business processes.
Make sure you are not using technology to automate the same old ‘cow-path’.
5. Consider All the Stakeholders Affected by the System
Understand what everyone stands to gain or lose. Actively involve end users in the solution design. Solicit and act upon end user input by providing WIIFT–“What’s In It For Them.” A change to being “customer-centric” from product- or operations-centric involves management of the change process among all users. Make sure the whole team knows what it means to deliver customer value.
6. Align All Departmental Strategies
Each department, whether customer service, marketing team, or sales force, has its own requirements and goals. They are also, however, all part of an entity that should communicate a consistent message and brand experience across all customer touch points. Make sure all your departments’ strategies converge on the customer as you intend.
7. Strategy First, Technology Second
The software is there to enable implementation of a CRM strategy, not the other way around. Reorganizing business process efficiencies and bolstering revenue are good drivers of a CRM strategy. Find out how your company’s customer touch points can maximize those ideas, then give customers applications that work with them.
8. First, Use as Much Out-of-Box Functionality as You Can
Then customize for additional needs. By getting up to speed with core functionality you get faster ROI. By learning the CRM’s functionality you’ll be able to determine if there is a business process that needs changing or if customization is required. Refer to #4.
9. Use Experienced, Expert CRM Consultants
Your business success comes from knowing what you do best. Likewise CRM consultants live and breathe CRM and know what works and what doesn’t. Ask the expert when faced with a problem, whether it’s customization, functionality, or deployment strategy. CRM-specific knowledge will produce ROI faster.
10. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
Keep people informed of the goals, objectives, and progress. People feel better during the management of this big business change if they know what’s going on. Communicate the “quick wins” as they occur to fuel enthusiasm.
11. Invest in Training
Training helps to empower end users and helps them become involved. Training should not merely focus on demonstrating how to use the software’s features. Instead, training should teach employees how to effectively execute the business process enabled by the CRM system. Give your end-users as much time as needed with the new solution before going live – it makes the transition much easier. Over time, additional reinforcement training will provide even more benefits.
12. Phase-In the Roll-Out
Focus each phase on a specific CRM objective that’s designed to produce a “quick win” – that is, meaningful results in a reasonable amount of time. Smaller, more manageable phases can yield more momentum and higher end-user adoption. You are building a holistic approach, using a step-by-step process.
13. Start with and Maintain Quality Customer information
Behavioral data is the lifeblood of CRM. CRM requires accurate customer information, so start by cleaning up any migrated data and duplications. Do this before a roll-out. Make it easier for people to tackle the tough job of data quality, access, and maintenance.
Enhance personalization by identifying the customer’s social network links – identify their LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter handles.
14. Minimize Financial Risks
It’s important that executives come to grips with the fact that CRM is not a one-time investment. As more and more users access the system, additional functionality will be found useful and other benefits become evident. CRM is a journey not a destination.
15. Consider Migration Paths
Understand where your company is heading. Make sure the software vendor you’ve selected can provide the additional functionality you might need in two or three years. Select one that will enable your CRM software to grow as your company grows. Make sure it can be customized for your business and personalized for the desired customer’s experience.
16. Plan for Disruptions – Companies Change
Companies change. They make acquisitions or they get acquired, sections are sold off or outsourced, and executives get replaced. When implementing a CRM strategy, management must be ready for these kinds of changes. Refer to #15.
17. Measure, Monitor, and Track
Once the system goes live, your company must measure, monitor, and track the system’s effectiveness, with an eye to continuously improving performance. Changing behavior is a long-term process, so monitor to track progress.
18. Choose a Champion of Change
When you’re making a full-suite implementation, start with a single department and let the dominoes fall into place. Choose a department with a manager who’s behind the implementation, realizes its benefits, and whose department will also find the most success early on. Nothing jump-starts a CRM implementation more than a manager who always has that can-do attitude. CRM success can be contagious.

Education Current Events

Option Trading – A Guide For Novices

Trading is a complicated process that involves a real knowledge base from the beginning to be successful. This means that even a starter needs to know what to expect. There are also different kinds of trading, so it is imperative to know the kind of trading you are interested in. In other words, lacking a fundamental knowledge of options trading, you will not get to enjoy success. A person who desires to make a meaningful profit in options trading has to improve his/her knowledge base for this field at all times.
What follows are some options trading thoughts that will start you off on the right foot:
1. Take the time to get to know and comprehend options trading talk. The language used in options trading is very different than the day-to-day speaking, which can be a big discouragement for people getting into this form of trading. However, with a slight effort in learning the basics of the lingo, you will begin to comprehend the trading a lot better. While just having some familiarity of the lingo of this type of trading is not enough to ensure you will see gains, it will enable you to get started in the field.
2. Put time into attending online and offline workshops and seminars. Workshops and seminars, whether online or offline, are a crucial resource for rapidly adding to your knowledge base of trading options. There are even online tutorials you can take advantage of. Options trading seminars are designed to be useful for all knowledge levels. For the beginner, it is important to only try to understand the basics when you start going to seminars and then build on this knowledge base by continuing to attend more seminars.
3. Use online tutorials as a knowledge resource. There are numerous companies online that give you the opportunity to subscribe to online tutorials which will benefit you greatly. Online tutorials typically provide you with an interactive module that allows you to learn by doing.
4. Find books you can read on options trading, whether through buying or through borrowing. As you begin your research, you will note that there is a ton of information on this type of trading on the World Wide Web, but it will not take long to see that most of the information is the same no matter where you look. This is where reading books focused on this type of trading can be very useful. There are hundreds, or even thousands, of books on options trading available today. However, just because you quickly found a book, do not feel it will give you the information you need. You want to find books that have experts, who are renown in the field, to be the author of the books you read. It is important to get your knowledge from people who know the best techniques.
Reading quality books will teach you methods to use for understanding technical analysis (like using charts), understanding the various marketing analysis tools, recognizing valuable trade options, and planning a strategy that will result in the best profits.

Education Current Events

Is Knowing What You Know Worth Anything Today?

How is Knowing what you know by the way of experience worth anything today, when anyone can read the shorthand version and put it out there as if they own it? Most seekers will undoubtedly never have the real sweat and tears version, the version that spells out with emotion the process dirty hands and all.
The cuts and bruises suffered along the way, the scraped knees of trial and error are the high prices paid for the knowing a story could tell yet don’t translate well enough to matter. Someone completely talking through their (hat) lol can own the end result with a little study so everyone understands them to be an expert.
How is a seeker to know what to look for, when a shortcut artist can just paint a copy, throw some chrome and fast looking wheels hook on it leaving no one the wiser till crunch hard enough at this juncture but the fact that they are backed up and promoted by folks (to them, it sounds good) that lack the knowledge of specifics within a given topic, like its okay if your information is wrong as long as it reads right to them spelling, paragraph and punctuation correct.
Little do the seekers know how much is lost in translation between the experienced and someone who read it some where in a magazine. It is the lost part that will get you every time, the point not driven home, that pivotal subtlety left on the table because it wasn’t sticky or large enough in the sift of information and fell right through, that little golden nugget fell right through, the one that makes everything right and not for naught slipped right through un-noticed.
It can be costly to a seeker for they have no way knowing until it is too late (hell it sounded good) they are missing the return spring on the gas pedal as they gas on! right into I don’t know what happened it wouldn’t stop. I have seen craftsmen work their magic in many instances throughout life, magic born of experience that permeates everything they do as they pull all the pieces together into a highly regarded result which to me is the only version a seeker should be subjected to.
I can understand to a great extent the needs of someone looking to make a buck, to do the best with what they have and if you have nothing then you must get creative one way or the other, hell or high water. What I don’t understand is pretending to know something and selling it like your are the last word when it comes to that something which by the way just happens to be your middle name, how could that be wrong?
I guess this is just the voice in the ego driven part of me that knows better, that part of me that should not be seen and should not be heard. Yes I can go along with blinders on and just get over any opinion I might be harboring about anything that might matter to me and what about this question I’m asking, is knowing what you know worth anything today, should it matter?

Education Current Events

The Power of Satan is Dismissed

Lets begin with knowledge. Why? Because Jesus built his church upon knowledge. As a matter of fact this is the only church that Jesus built. OK. So now you can understand that knowledge must be a primarily important  factor?  But wait. Is there such a thing as secret knowledge? If so, Where is it and how do you get it? God is all knowing. God teaches man through man. Man is the teacher of man. God sent prophets, who were men of flesh and blood, to show man the path to eternal bliss. Jesus was a man. By his own words the son of man. Wait. Does that mean we are like the prophets? Are we like Jesus? Yes. We are all Children of God.

” Of All Men, Born of woman, From Adam Till John the Baptist, No One is Greater Than John. Although I Say to You, He Who Finds the Kingdom of thy Father, They Will Become Greater Than John the Baptist…”        – Jesus  –

“What You Do to the Very Least of Your  Brothers You Do to Me…”  –  Jesus  –

Jesus spoke of unity, a brotherhood among men. Gods light is in all men. ” A house divided cannot stand…” The evil is that which keeps men apart from his soul, and his brother. You have a choice. You can allow evil to control your life, or you can control your own life. God has given you a mind, which is controlled by you and no one else.

Feel the power that God has given to you. Reach for your soul, let it grow and let it show. You will see all your earthly challenges diminished and eventually disappear. Earthly sins will no longer exist, as they are born from fear. At this point man will be a great contribution to the Universe”