Sunday, June 30, 2013

Soapbox: Developing Leaders at Walmart

By Damian McKinney

Early in Walmart’s history, most store managers began their careers working at the register or another entry-level position. Through a gradual process of working their way up the corporate ladder, these employees were promoted to store manager in seven to 11 years. This process served the company and its employees well, providing a secure predictable career path and producing knowledgeable, loyal people at the middle-management level.

However, today, boasting 10,000 retail units in 27 countries, Walmart is faced with the demand to open stores faster than it can produce qualified managers. Recognizing the importance of overcoming this obstacle, Walmart determined that the company must collapse the time frame, discover talent faster, and train them more efficiently, without sacrificing quality.

To transform its management training approach so it could accelerate the preparedness of leaders and cultivate managers fast enough to meet rising demand, CEO Bill Simon enlisted the help of business execution experts McKinney Rogers. Using the British Military Staff College model, an operator-led team of McKinney Rogers consultants designed and directed a comprehensive leadership development system for identifying employees with great potential and training them to be highly prepared, successful managers.

As a result, after three years of perfecting its leadership development tool, Walmart brought its Walmart Leadership Academy (WLA) in-house permanently as the retailer’s center of excellence for developing accelerated leadership skills in its managers.

The Walmart Leadership Academy Program

Together, Walmart and McKinney Rogers created a leadership training process that has generated unprecedented career opportunities for the company’s future leaders by cultivating highly trained management from the inside.

The program takes each participant through a series of developmental, training, and inspirational experiences that cause them to think of themselves as leaders. Over four months, the participants spend every third week immersed in the program for a total of six weeks of instruction. Training consists of on-the-job experience, master classes, virtual classroom environments, instructor-led events, self-paced study, student-led activities, experiential exercises, service projects, distance learning, and small group discussions. The course follows a series of themes such as communication, leadership, international scoping, and global thinking. Increasing in complexity each week, these themes and others are examined and revisited throughout the program in the context of each week’s curriculum focus. For example, during the week that focuses on “Delivering Business Results and Productivity,” the instructors teach the communication theme in the context of results and productivity by examining negotiations, communication tools, presentations, and by studying successful business case studies from innovative companies such as Zappos.

The outcome is an alumni network of graduates who identify themselves as leaders, collaborate and work together in an integrated fashion as high-performing teams, and continue to develop and lead across a variety of circumstances. Crucially, in line with the Staff College model where selected mid-career high-potential officers are trained, leaders at all levels are made to think “two levels up” in the context of the business and across functional areas.

By combining development, training, and operational activities in the context of the company’s day-to-day needs, the Walmart Leadership Academy delivers greater impact and relevance than generic management training. Critical to the integrated approach to business leadership is that the course leverages the principals of the McKinney Rogers Mission Leadership philosophy. This emphasizes keeping everyone aligned to the mission, but trained and empowered to make decisions independently.

Transformative Results

Since its implementation, the program has generated approximately 500 graduates across the U.S. and delivered more consistent, confident, and thoroughly trained store, market, and regional managers. As Celia Swanson, senior vice president of Talent Development for Walmart U.S., explains, “We know our associates are our greatest asset; investing in the development of our future leaders is essential. Through the Leadership Academy, we have developed talented leaders, managers, and associates around the country—providing immersion training and broader development for our leaders. We appreciate the partnership with McKinney Rogers and its support in developing a world-class training program that focuses on building high-performing teams relevant in today’s business environment.”

The WLA has transformed Walmart’s management and has expanded the program into a multi-function and multi-level high-potential talent initiative. In addition to store managers, the system has expanded to develop market leaders, senior merchants, and executives. It’s producing both the quantity and quality of leaders needed to sustain and drive growth.

Walmart has exceeded its goal of producing highly trained leaders in less than two years. Not only have 74 percent of graduates been promoted one, two, or three levels up within just 18 months of graduation, but they’re outperforming their peers and producing real business results. Stores and markets led by these graduates have posted higher sales growth numbers than the rest of the company every quarter since entering their position [typical store revenue is approximately $100 million, and markets bring in up to $1 billion].

WLA has emerged as more than just a program for advancement. It is recognition and the promise of a more fulfilling career. Its impact bears more resemblance to a scholarship than a training program. Those selected say they feel valued and empowered, because they know that within a short time frame after graduation, they could be promoted. They are given the mandate to “pay it forward” across their teams and pass the training along.

WLA has achieved the holy grail of development programs: true behavioral change. Graduates have testified to their personal and professional transformation with enhanced performance. Today, entry-level employees aspire to be selected to the program, while graduates aspire to return to teach; the best graduates are brought back to help lead the future training classes.

Businesses around the globe are starting to recognize that a unified solution to leadership development such as the WLA is the best way to rapidly flood their organization with quality leaders at every level.

Damian McKinney is the author of “The Commando Way” (LID Publishing, He spent 18 years as a Royal Marines Commando before setting up his own company in 1999. McKinney Rogers leverages lessons from the military to help align international businesses and deliver exceptional results.

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ACA/Health Benefits Surveys: Lack of Communication Intersects with Compliance Confusion

Deb Whitworth recalled a recent conversation with her son-in-law regarding health care benefits.

The young man was complaining about his company's coverage. It was an expensive high-deductible plan that wasn't providing the coverage he thought he needed. His plan? Drop his health care. Completely.

"I told him that no matter what, in 2014 under health care reform, he'll be required to have coverage," said Whitworth, a director for the Society for Human Resource Management's state council in Maine and an employee of consultancy Mercer. "His company never communicated that to him."

According to dual studies released by SHRM on June 16 during its annual conference in Chicago, offering health care benefits is crucial to attracting and retaining top talent. Yet HR practitioners continue to use old-school methods to communicate health care benefit options and are simultaneously struggling to get their arms around the basics of the Affordable Care Act—much of which will take effect Jan. 1.

"It's interesting that 25 percent of organizations say they are having trouble keeping up with regulations; understanding the ACA is an issue," said Alex Alonso, SHRM's vice president for research in detailing the organization's annual 2013 Employee Benefits Research Report and the corresponding Health Care Reform—Impact on Health Care Coverage and Costs.

Alonso said many organizations have yet to embrace social media to communicate benefits options.

"They're still using the same means of communication—send out hard copies of an information packet," he said, adding that there's really no way to determine whether the communications are successful.

"There is no clear-cut test to ensure the employee knows what they should know," he said.

Among other findings in the benefits research report:

Paid-time-off plans and wellness benefits continued to increase in popularity, while housing and relocation benefits were less common.Employee referral bonuses have gained in popularity over the last year, with 47 percent of surveyed organizations now offering such bonuses, up from 38 percent in 2012.Organizations are developing their employees' skill sets with professional development opportunities (offered by 88 percent of employers), cross-training to develop skills not directly related to employees' current jobs (44 percent) and formal mentoring programs (20 percent). Offsite professional development opportunities are offered by 85 percent of organizations surveyed.It's worth noting that more organizations recognize workplace flexibility models are critical to managing top talent, Alonso said.

"It's not just allowing employees to work from home," he said. "A variety of strategies are critical to retain high-performing employees."

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A Classroom in the Cloud

By Thomas M. Koulopolous

One of my favorite YouTube videos is of a toddler with a magazine on her lap, looking perplexed as she tries to operate it by touch—to her a magazine is a defective iPad.

Why do I bring this up in the context of education? Simple. If you want to know how we will work, live, and learn in 20 years’ time, then just look at how your kids play today. Tomorrow’s workers are being trained to expect a level of instant and always-on collaboration free from the physical constraints of time and place, or even the notion intellectual property ownership. These kids shun the assumption that any knowledge is owned or that anything can be learned without constant sharing and transparency. As a result, the way we educate is in a state of intense change.

Institutions of higher learning, such as MIT, already have open-sourced the entirety of their curriculum by making course content free and available to the public. At Stanford, three professors have opened up their classes, at no charge, to anyone who wants to access them online. One of these classes, An Introduction to Artificial Intelligence, had 160,000 registrants, 35,000 of whom stuck it out and continued the class. The class now ranks as the most widely attended online university class in the world. While non-paying students do not get college credit for the class, they do get a certificate of completion signed by the professors. For many, that is more than enough to demonstrate their ability to themselves and potential employers.

In the critically important segment of K-12, schools in the United States are investing heavily in the concept of Innovation Zones, which are experimenting with personalized courses, virtual learning, and intense interschool collaboration geared to students’ strengths and weaknesses.

New institutions such as the University of Phoenix and Kaplan Learning have started to disrupt traditional classroom education by offering courses online. While these for-profit enterprises often are critiqued for not being as well equipped with traditional Ph.D.-level academic professors, they also are much more likely to be able to scale their business model and leverage talented instructors who are much closer, from an industry perspective, to the materials being taught in a classroom. The point is not that traditional education is at the end of its lifecycle but rather that a blended model is needed, which, according to Robert W. Wrubel, Chief Innovation Officer at Apollo Group, the parent company of the University of Phoenix, “redefines education as a journey that is not episodic—a separate time when you are part of an intensive learning experience, and then you pull out, and you go into the job and workforce—but instead a lifelong process.“

None of this is meant to imply that we should throw out traditional learning. Early parts of the learning process still benefit from a traditional classroom in parts of the world where access to brick-and-mortar classrooms is available and cost-effective. There is nothing like an inspired and passionate teacher to motivate students. I’ve been party to both sides of that equation as student and professor, and I value that interaction immensely. But I’ve also seen the power and reach of learning in the cloud, where knowledge is shared freely in open communities.

Simply put, we should not make the shift from traditional education to learning in the cloud a zero-sum proposition. Instead, we need to look at the merits of both and use each where needed, while also using each to leverage the other.

Yet, for most, the dream of an open virtual university is still just that, a dream. Like the promise of flying cars, it is a vision of the future that always seems to be just a few decades away.

In large part, this is because of the fundamental social and cultural role classrooms and campuses play. Few of us can imagine replacing the bond of trust and intimacy created by the face-to-face interaction of our school experiences fully with any technology.

But, as with any dramatic shift, what we fail to appreciate is the value added after the shift has occurred and the expectations that we bring to the new experience.

In the case of education, we are in the process of retooling a global workforce on a scale never before seen in the history of mankind. You could argue that putting a classroom in the cloud may not provide the sort of intimacy you and I grew up with, but you cannot argue the benefits of providing access to primary, secondary, and post-secondary education to every human being. In addition, we have to accept that the traditional role of education as a means of preparing for the certainty of life is at least equal to, and will soon be surpassed by, the role of education in helping us to deal in the moment with the increasing uncertainty of life.

Again, to put it simply, this means that learning in the cloud is available to every human being, on demand without regard to economics, time, or location; that the interaction with the learning system must provide real-time access to learning throughout our lives, and lastly, that it provides a quality of visual communication that conveys the nuances of an in-person interaction when an in-person interaction is simply not possible.

While that may sound like a stretch, I’ve seen all of this in the experiences of my kids, my students, and myself.

My own children expect that learning not only can but should be instantaneous. In their minds, all knowledge is only seconds away. Whether that means a YouTube video, Kahn Academy, or Skype, there is simply no excuse for ignorance of any topic. My students will Google and fact check me as I lecture, bringing real-time context and information into the classroom rather than expecting my case notes to provide a definitive answer. For my own work, the ability to be constantly connected with a global network of experts has created a richness to my lifelong learning that I never expected to experience.

And don’t dismiss the ability of technology to replace the vast majority of situations that you believe require physical proximity. Leading-edge approaches being developed by companies such as Cisco have created video capability that not only rivals face-to-face but also brings in the full context of the learning experience in a way real-world interactions never could.

Perhaps most important of all is the expectation that we are developing around the notion of intellectual property. My graduate students are consistently split down the middle when it comes to the concept of patent protection, with half arguing vehemently that it only serves to stifle innovation. My undergraduate students are almost entirely opposed to patents. Yes, I know, you’re thinking, “such na├»ve heresy on that part of these youngsters.” Yet it is their expectations that will shape tomorrow.

These dramatic changes in education, which are being shaped by the cloud, may appear to take time as at least two current generations grasp even tighter traditional views of education. After all, we are disrupting a system thousands of years old. But ultimately, the cloud will be the greatest force in altering not only the way we experience education but life itself. It will set the standard for what our personal and professional interactions should feel like.

Still struggling to accept all of this change? Take heart, here’s the good news: To imagine what that future will look like, you only need to venture as far as your nearest 12-year-old. The behaviors and expectations are already firmly in place.

Adapted with permission from “Cloud Surfing: A Way to Think About Risk, Innovation, Scale and Success” by Thomas M. Koulopolous (Bibliomotion, May 2012).

Tom Koulopoulos is the author of nine books and founder of Delphi Group, a 20-year-old Boston-based think tank. Delphi provides advice on innovation practices and methods to Global 2000 organizations and government agencies. Koulopoulos is also an executive in residence at Bentley University, past executive director of the Babson College Center for Business Innovation, and past executive director of the Perot Systems Innovation Lab, which was acquired in 2009 by Dell Computer. For more information, visit and

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HR: Follow the Data, Not the Process

By Mike Cerniglia, Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, MicroPact

Stop for a second and think about your household shopping list. How did you come up with that list? Did you start by mapping out the optimal process for conducting your grocery shopping or did you start with the list of items you need to purchase? Like most people, you probably came up with the list of items you need to purchase and then determined where to go to get those items. Rarely in our daily lives do we start working toward a goal by asking, “What is the process here?” Yet in business, for better or worse, this is often the first question people ask.

For many large businesses, especially those in highly regulated industries, data—like content—is king. Human Resources departments are no different. HR managers rely on employee data to track growth and succession plans, document performance reviews, maintain updated contact information, track complaints, and in many cases, provide reports to the federal government. So why then, when people begin designing systems (software applications) for managing organizational data, do they begin with mapping out the process?

Organizations and their HR departments need to consider a data-first approach when implementing case management systems. Starting with the data instead of the process offers a means of reducing clutter and redundancies while managing employee data quickly, economically, and effectively.

The Limitation of a Process-First Approach

Getting caught up in the process of how data is collected often overshadows what should be the more important goal: collecting accurate data in a usable format. For many organizations, the focus has been on business process management (BPM); however, what HR departments need is case management.

There are times when using a structured system with limited outcomes is the appropriate solution; traditional BPM offerings focus on the process of collecting information featuring a fairly rigid series of events and milestones. For example, the processing of accounts billable and receivable is often routine. With a defined set of steps that lead to one of two final outcomes—paying an invoice or receiving payment from an invoice—implementing traditional BPM software gets the job done.

For activities such as employee recruitment and retention or skills assessments, however, related data is much more varied and layered. In these cases, implementing a strict, process-focused solution might preclude a company from seeing beneficial results.

The Benefit of Shifting the Focus to Data

In a data-first approach, the data—not the process—drives the operation forward. Systems designed to focus on data tracking requirements are familiar and translate into a system that captures essential information, presenting it in a format relevant to all users. A data-first approach lends itself to iterative development. Rules and processes are injected and modified on an ongoing basis to suit the changing needs of the organization.

Case management solutions offer flexibility. In situations such as recruitment and training, where there can be exceptions and events that require additional input at any point in the process, a rigidly structured system cannot accommodate additional data inputs. At these junctures, it is essential to pay attention to the data—lapses of time, individual scenario details, and so on. Focusing only on the process, essential information can get overlooked—potentially at tremendous risk to the organization. This can include information needed to stay ahead of EEO claims before they are initiated, avoiding penalties associated with time delays, saving health-care costs, or winning a court case.

Following data captured via case management initiatives enables organizations to simultaneously enhance workforce development. By analyzing data patterns, companies can uncover areas for improvement or weaknesses within their workforce, empowering them to proactively make changes that ensure corporate success and avoid future problems. First, however, organizations must ensure that the data being captured is the right data—the primary goal of a data-first approach.

Make Informed Decisions: Follow the Data, Discover the Process

HR processes are only as effective as the information entered into them. Implementing a case management system built on a data-first approach enables companies and users to crunch useful and real-time data as they see fit, whether to generate reports or track a status. It also allows users to identify trends, spot potential problem areas, and ultimately improve the process.

Because the primary goal of the project is always at the forefront, organizations can use case management solutions to save time, increase revenue, improve efficiency, and streamline processes across the board. A case management approach results in a solution that is effective, intuitive, and adaptable.

Mike Cerniglia has been with MicroPact since its inception and currently serves as executive vice president and chief technology officer. He has spearheaded the company’s transition from a predominantly services-based organization to offering enterprise-class software and services. Cerniglia has played a vital role in bringing MicroPact’s products to market, including entellitrak, entellidoc, and icomplaints. Business Process Management (BPM), Case Management, and Document Management products developed by the team led by Cerniglia are used by more than 140 federal agencies, as well as many Fortune 500 organizations.MicroPact’s open architecture, on-premises or cloud-based products can be implemented immediately and configured continuously, enabling customers to get to work quickly while keeping costs low. For more information, visit

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Employees Finding Their Financial Fitness Footing

Recent survey results from Financial Finesse show employers are providing more financial tools, but also employees are asking for help in greater numbers, too.

Workers are more proactive in determining their financial future, but not without a little help from their employers, a new study shows.

Financial Finesse Inc., a financial education company, creates quarterly financial wellness scores from its client database. For the first quarter this year, the El Segundo, California-based company saw employee financial wellness scores improve to 5.2 out of 10—up from 4.9 a year ago.

While the bump may seem small, employees took large steps to improve their financial picture in the first quarter of 2013. Results showed nearly half of workers evaluated their investment risk tolerance, up from 43 percent in the first quarter of 2012. Meanwhile, 39 percent of workers say they felt confident with their investment lineup compare with 33 percent last year. And, more employees—40 percent—are using retirement calculators compared with 37 percent in 2012.

It has been a compelling shift to follow, says Liz Davidson, Financial Finesse’s CEO and founder. Ten years ago, only a handful of workers took advantage of financial education tools, she says. Now that the majority of employers sponsor self-directed accounts such as 401(k) plans, workers are realizing they need to be more self-reliant, but need access to financial education. At the same time, employers see they can’t fully fund health care or provide employer-run defined benefit plans, so they are looking for other ways to help workers reach financial goals.

“Two things are causing this change,” Davidson says. “Employers are providing more [financial] tools, but also employees are asking for help in greater numbers.”

This collision happened recently for Black Hills Corp., a natural gas and electric utility company based in Rapid City, South Dakota. In 2010, the company froze its defined benefit plan to new employees, and offered these workers a 401(k) plan, says Deb Bisgaard, retirement services manager.

In making the switch, Black Hills conducted a survey to find out whether employees needed financial education.

“With the shift to a defined contribution plan, we wanted to make sure people wanted the education necessary to manage their finances,” Bisgaard says. “We found our employees were hungry for this information. They wanted to know ‘When can I retire, how do I know when I can retire, and what do I need to know about retiree health care?’ ”

Because it normally takes four years of training for Black Hills to replace skilled workers, the company had a significant interest in getting employees to be on track for retirement, says Lynn Burton, Black Hills human resources senior administrator.

In working with Financial Finesse, Black Hills rolled out a pilot program for workers age 50 and up in 2012. The financial education program had three steps for eligible employees: a mandatory, online wellness assessment; a voluntary group retirement plan workshop; and—for a $100 fee—a financial planning meeting with an adviser.

About 56 percent of the eligible employees attended the workshops, and nearly a quarter of those completed the one-on-one planning meetings, Bisgaard says.

Black Hills hasn’t yet evaluated results since the meetings recently concluded. The next step for Black Hills is to roll out the program to younger workers, and to keep the program going on a biannual basis, Burton says.

“Word of mouth got out, and so we are expecting this to be a very popular program,” she says.

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Saturday, June 29, 2013

Gamification Strategies for Developing Air Force Officers by Fil J. Arenas and Andrew G. Stricker

Developing a high degree of problem-solving skill appropriate to each career stage is an important function of military training from the recruit level onward. The ultimate goal of this training is agile, adaptive military professionals, particularly the leaders. This is more critical now than ever before.

The US Air Force Air University’s Squadron Officer College (SOC) develops company-grade officers (CGO) into effective leaders (CGOs are second lieutenants through captains). “The Air University uses technology innovations to transform learning environments in an effort to keep them efficient, effective, relevant, and adaptable to tomorrow’s challenges,” according to Lt. Gen David S. Fadok, commander and president of Air University.

In keeping with the commander’s vision, SOC must continually search for available technology conducive to the learning management system now in use. After exploring several virtual world platforms (Second Life, OpenSim, and Unity), it became evident to SOC staff that Second Life was the right one for our needs. Working with outside resources, and using Second Life as the primary virtual-world platform, SOC has designed several multi-player educational role playing games (MPERPGs) that support their basic curriculum. In this article, we will describe how these MPERPGs evolved, their relevancy to the SOC curriculum, and their importance to future development.

While people define the term virtual world differently in various settings in the professional literature, for our purposes virtual world refers to a learning platform in a computer-based environment. In these platforms, a third-person avatar represents the individual learner. (Nelson & Erlandson, in the References at the end of this article, provide additional discussion of the virtual world as learning platform.)

In today’s lean times of dwindling resources, all Air Force organizations must seek creative solutions to meet mission requirements. Over the last few years, the Squadron Officer College has been exploring alternatives to costly state-of-the-art technology to support their curricula.

SOC embarked on a quest to acquire affordable multimedia in 2008. Initial efforts used Flash-based avatar vignettes (scenarios) developed by Carley Corporation to support professional military education (PME) requirements.

Those first avatar vignettes were comprised of short scenes depicting typical situations in an Air Force environment (flight line, hangar, clinic, administrative, etc.). The scenes highlighted various subjects within SOC’s PME lessons. The vignettes (Figure 1) typically run two to five minutes and culminate with a multiple-choice slide to elicit student responses at the comprehension level. For self-directed distant learners, the vignettes also provide short textual feedback.

Figure 1: Early avatar vignette (2009)

Later vignettes are longer, with more content, and their design makes them useful for distance learning as well as for resident environments. Beginning in early 2009, the primary use of the avatar vignettes was in a self-directed distant learning course; nearly 14,000 students to date have used this material. In 2011, SOC delivered these Flash-based vignettes via Blackboa… Subscribe or log in to read the full article.
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Talent Tips: Positive Leadership: Being and Doing

By Roy Saunderson

As a child I loved going to the library and discovering new books that challenged my thinking. One book that stood out for me was “The Power of Positive Thinking” by the late Dr. Norman Vincent Peale. While it has a religious foundation to the principles highlighted in the book, it was the introduction for me to thinking more positively about my life and especially my work.

Now, in my working life, I have gained greater insights from social scientists in the study of positive psychology such as Dr. Martin Seligman and his ground-breaking work on “learned optimism,” and more recently on happiness and well-being; Dr. Barbara Frederickson and her classic research on “positivity” and just this year on the science behind “Love 2.0”; and Dr. Kim Cameron and his powerful focus on the subject of “positive leadership.”

Dr. Cameron points out in his book, “Positive Leadership: Strategies for Extraordinary Performance,” that leaders must not only lead individually with vision, they also must create a positive workplace environment. This goes beyond just a few people doing the right things for the right reasons; it involves everyone within an organization collectively performing positive practices that naturally have an impact on both people and business results.

The chain of reaction and results from Dr. Cameron’s research suggests a linear linkage, namely: Positive Practices at Work > Positive Effect > Positive Individual Behavior > Organizational Effectiveness.

What must a leader do to achieve positive practices that produce high levels of organizational effectiveness? What does it take to be a positive leader?

Standing on Positive Higher Ground

We probably have known someone who is genuinely happy and positive and have seen people around them mirroring these qualities. Similarly, we’ve been around grumpy people and the dark cloud that seems to follow them and rain on everyone’s parade. The emotions of others have been proven to affect people’s thinking and decision-making skills, along with interpersonal relationships within an organization.

Leaders must learn to dig deep within and be brutally honest with themselves in what they believe and what they stand for. It requires humility and transparency to acknowledge one’s strengths, as well as one’s weaknesses. Armed with this introspection, they must lead out with living positive practices for the right reasons of, what Dr. Cameron calls, virtuousness or an abundance culture.

When people know where a leader truly stands, they can more openly and willingly choose to follow them and be prepared to positively act. Leaders can only bring people up if they are standing on higher ground first.

Taking Positive Steps Every Day

Leaders must lead out with an attitude of gratitude and a deep desire to emulate the right actions every day. Positive leaders focus on the strengths of others to move people forward and help build upon any negative realities that come along in life. They enlist everyone’s support and passion for the job at hand because they put greater meaning into what everyone is doing. There is never a mundane or ordinary task to these leaders. Any job position is a positive and contributing experience when you look for the core purpose within it.

Everyone can be a positive leader. All we need to do is treat fellow employees as friends, and demonstrate genuine passion and concern for each person’s well-being and that of their family or significant others. Friends always work harder for other friends.

We must demonstrate respect for each individual regardless of their title or position in life. This becomes foundational for showing the care and appreciation people desire to receive. When you respect a person, you are kind to them. Respect garners respect, and then a reciprocity of positive actions flows.

Lifting People Up

Dr. Cameron’s research does not identify one specific positive practice that influences performance more than another. Rather, it appears to be the sum of the collective whole, of the total positive climate and multiple actions that makes the most difference.

Positive actions include compassionate support for employees all the time; honoring people for their contributions at work and providing authentic recognition in acknowledging them; learning from one another and especially when people make mistakes; and finding a higher meaning and purpose behind every employee’s role. These, and many other positive practices, assist leaders in motivating and lifting their people up.

No manipulation or carrots or sticks are required. All it takes is authentic positive practices that influence the good in all of us.

Each of us can learn positive leadership by looking beyond ourselves and finding the good in others while serving them.

Roy Saunderson is author of “GIVING the Real Recognition Way” and Chief Learning Officer of Rideau’s Recognition Management Institute, a consulting and training firm specializing in helping companies “get recognition right.” Its focus is on showing leaders how to give real recognition to create positive relationships, better workplaces, and real results. For more information, contact or visit

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Mission Critical

Developing effective onboarding and knowledge transfer programs is a challenge faced by many organizations, particularly for those who continuously struggle with high turnover, shorter retention and an overall lack of employee engagement. In high consequence industries such as health care, oil and gas, and aerospace, these programs are critical to the success of the business. Read full White Paper

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Preparing a Highly Skilled Workforce Through Partnerships and Technology

The skills gap is widening in today’s economy. The focus is no longer on a lack of jobs, but instead on the employer’s challenge to find qualified, skilled workers to fill available positions. As a result, colleges are finding innovative solutions to prepare a highly-skilled workforce to meet the demands of the marketplace. By using labor statistics and analytics to streamline the job search process, colleges are able to analyze the current status of the job market, as well as predict future employment needs. In this article, we will explore how forming valuable partnerships with corporations creates a competitive advantage.

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Suppliers in the Certification Development Marketplace

There are thousands of organizations, associations, institutions, companies and governments worldwide that offer certification. But, there’s little by way of a guide as to the suppliers that are available to service the certification development needs of these organizations.

The certification development supplier marketplace encompasses companies and professionals whose primary focus is on developing and delivering certification programs for associations, organizations, governments and companies (this article does not focus on education assessment/ development suppliers or third party certification exam providers).

There are few resources available to guide those wanting to develop a certification program that provide direction regarding the suppliers that are available to help with; creating, implementing and maintaining a program. You’ll learn who the top four players are that dominate the marketplace, and the stratification of the remaining players in niche areas from planning to software services.

This white paper provides you a compass, a guide to the range of service categories required from end-to-end and an organized listing of supplier services. Hear from industry experts on; the revenue value placed on the certification marketplace today, upcoming technology impacts and certification conferences you should be aware of to increase your team’s bench strength and broaden your program’s impact.

Click here to download your free copy now.

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Throwing the Baby Out with the Bath Water Part 3

This article is the final part of a three-part series. The first segment discussed how the idiom “don’t throw the baby out with the bath water” is analogous to threats to instructor-led training. Additionally, the seven problems inherent in using traditional instructor-led training today and how ILT’s problems impact training’s stakeholders were discussed. Part Two discussed four of the six attributes of a revolutionary systems approach to ILT that fixes its problems and how to make it more workable and impactful in today’s workforce: e.g., 1) build a training system, not a program; 2) establish a platform better suited for today; 3) standardize the delivery timeframe and format; 4) use a participant-centric training approach. This segment discusses the final two attributes to fix ILT’s problems and make it more workable and impactful for today’s workplace: e.g., 1) provide all the components and tools needed; 2) build in better cost controls. The problems inherent in using traditional instructor-led training today are pervasive and impact all stakeholders. However, given its long-tenured utility, I contend that before we get rid of ILT (throwing the baby out…, if you will), we fix the problems and make ILT much more workable and impactful for today’s workplace by making revolutionary changes.

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Friday, June 28, 2013

Forces Influencing the Workplace and Training

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Forces Influencing the Workplace and Training

-Need for leadership
-Increased value placed on knowledge
-Attracting and winning talent
-Quality emphasis
-Changing demographics and diversity of the work force
-New technology
-High-performance model of work systems

Assumptions of Training Design Approaches

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Training design is effective only if it helps employees reach instructional or training goals and objectives.

Measurable learning objectives should be identified before training.

Evaluation plays an important part in planning and choosing a training method, monitoring the training program, and suggesting changes to the training design process.

Training Design Process

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Training Design Process

1. Conducting Needs Assessment
2. Ensuring Employee Readiness for Training
3. Creating a Learning Environment
4. Ensuring Transfer of Training
5. Developing an Evaluation Plan
6. Select Training Method
7. Monitor and Evaluate the Program

What is training?

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Training refers to a planned effort by a company to facilitate employees’ learning of job-related competencies.

The goal of training is for employees to master the knowledge, skill, and behaviors emphasized in training programs, and apply them to their day-to-day activities

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