Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Five questions you have to answer before your next change initiative.

We all are part of change initiatives and interestingly the majority of them fail to deliver the results expected or projected. When we look back at the ones that failed to deliver, we find many that were destined to fail from the beginning because of the way the change was unveiled and communicated to the affected individuals. Below are five question that are crucial to answer upfront, repeatedly, and through multiple medias. I will demonstrate the questions using a hypothetical Enterprise Asset Management System (EAM) or Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) implementation as the example and share a few elements that satisfy a portion of the questions.  
1. Why are we doing this? 
 Example: Tell them about the transparency the new EAM provides.  You might also share the fact that it is connected with all of the other management systems from procurement and human resources and it allows the business to be better managed by tearing down the walls between these departments. In the end it will make the business more efficient and will help us to surpass our competitors. 
2. What does this look like?
Example: Show them the master project plan for the EAM roll out with the dates and areas of focus. Allow them to drill down into the plan so they can see the details where it is of interest. This will help with the next question. 
3. How will it affect me? or What's in it for me?
Example: Show them how the new system will change their current role. Hopefully you can show them areas where the new system is easier and better for them. This can be done with the work flow process maps or the RASI or RACI documents that were created during the blueprinting phase of the EAM implementation.  If RASI or RACI is a new acronym check out this post here.
4. What do you expect from me?
Example: This is where you can take them through specifically the "R's" or Responsibilities relating to their role. These are shown in the RASI documents. These responsibilities are what is required for the process to work effectively and it shows what you need for them to do specifically to meet the needs of the change.
5. What can I expect from you?
Example: This is where you might share the "R's" that you own and what you will also provide from an "A" or accountability standpoint.
These examples only begin to scratch the surface of the information that you need to provide but should give you some context for each question. Please take the time to plan out how you are going to communicate each of these points out to all the different groups that will be affected by the change.
 If you have other questions that we should consider please add them in the comments below. 

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The What Is Series: What is Blended Learning?

Blended Learning is a phrase that we are starting to hear more and more about both in university and corporate training environments. Let us look at what it is. Wikipedia defines it here as combining both traditional face to face instructor led training and computer based e-learning in order to create opportunities for improved student data collection and customization of instruction and assessment. This allows the instructor to better cater to the individual students needs and desires.
We at Eruditio take it a step further and create an advanced form of blended learning using our Applied Learning Process where we combine multiple medias including:
  • Face to face instruction
  • Live action and computer animated video
  • Interactive 3D environments
  • Real world examples
  • Traditional e-learning
  • One on one virtual coaching
  • Augmented reality 
  • Gamification
  • Project based learning
This lead to a superior student experience, higher material retention and a documented return on investment for the training efforts.  You can see a few testimonials from both students and corporate leaders here. They will share with you how this type of education has changed learning and culture in their facilities. Please reach out to me if you want to discuss how we might create packaged and custom Blended Learning for your site or company.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Five Things That Could Be Killing Your Training Efforts

Here are the five areas where I see huge mistakes made that kill even the best designed and delivered training programs.
The first huge mistake stems from a lack of supervisor understanding. We take the time to train the individuals but no one explains the concepts to the supervisor and managers. If he or she does not have an understanding of the content how can we expect them to ask the right questions or provide the right support? Take the time to either put them through the training or develop a short course to get them up to speed on what they need to know to make it effective.
The second big mistake is caused by “leaders” who don’t train because in their words “if I train them they will leave.” That means every day they stay they continue to do their job ineffectively or even worse continue to introduce additional failures due to ignorance.
The third big mistake is that the “leaders” do not create a learning environment where learning is expected and encouraged. The pace of change continues to increase and because of that we have to create continuous learning environments. If not the changes in technology will pass us by leaving us in the dust of our competitors.
The forth big mistake is the sites where they do not reinforce or refresh training on a regular basis. Some suggest that your job specific training needs to be refreshed at least every other year. I prefer a continuous process as referenced above but this still leaves us with something to think about. This can be done with single point lessons, elearning modules, and videos as well as tool box topics and traditional face to face review.
The fifth big mistake I see is the sites that just check the box on training without identifying required skill needs. They spend training dollars on the people who ask first not on the ones who need it the most. The sites don’t evaluate the skills needed and the levels of proficiency that exist. Without this step how would you know where to spend your training dollars?
Are any of these five things killing your training?

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

I Wish My Boss Were Here For This Training!

I hear the title quote "I wish my boss were here for this training" or "My boss needs to hear this" after almost ever training session we do. Sometimes it is a leadership or communication class other times it is reliability or manufacturing improvement sessions but the response is nearly the same every time.
I take this quote to  mean at least two things:
  • first the student agrees with the content (which is nice) 
  • second they wish their boss either did agree or was more supportive of the concepts put forth.
So what can we do as students to build support and understanding with our boss?
The perfect solution would be to of course have the boss join you in the training but this is not always possible.
The second best solution is to have the training provider deliver a condensed but powerful "executive workshop" before the general training. In this session the trainer would provide key elements, key benefits, critical risk to implementation of the concepts, and key questions to reinforce the training with the larger participant group among other things.
But, what if you can not make either one of these things happen? How can you up-skill your boss? Below are 3 ideas that you can play around with to help get your boss on board and supporting the training which will drive a larger return on the training dollars you are spending.
First, if you can't convey the training in terms that connect with the concerns of your manager then you have already lost. Ask yourself "if I were them what would keep me up at night?" Does the training session or concepts taught mitigate that concern or at the very least reduce the risk in that area? If so lets use those points to begin the conversation.
Second can you convey the key points of the training, building off of the managers concerns, in approximately 2 minutes (think elevator speech). Key here is do you know it well enough to confidently articulate it in their terms concisely enough to get their interest before they get distracted?
Third tell them what you need. Tell your boss what is required for the training to be successful. Don't just focus on the resources that you need. Tell your boss what you want to be held to task on or asked about regularly. This takes trust but, you know what you need to do to make the training successful in changing the behavior of the organization. You also know the parts that will be hard for you and where you might need a little extra motivation or help to keep things moving.
There are other tools like A3 charters and Single Point Lesson that can help as well but we can save those for another post or a conversation.
I hope this helps you to help "your boss to hear" during your next training session. Just remember you have to sell it with confidence and passion while meeting the bosses needs and reducing any potential career risk to them that might be associated with what you need them to support.