Social Learning Strategies

I work as a Consultant Partner with a company called NetSpeed Learning Solutions.  Yesterday they offered a webinar to potential clients called “Learning Strategies for a Transparent World.”

With the public engaging in social media (like these blogs) not to mention Facebook and LinkedIn, statistics are showing that the average worker is spending nearly 22% of their time interacting in these environments to learn and exchange information.

Training Managers are now being challenged to figure out how best to use social media as a learning tool.  But rather than reading my interpretation of this webinar, I want to give you all the chance to watch the recorded version.

It takes awhile to download as it is a large file, but you can pause and watch the entire 60-minute event for yourself at CLICK HERE

You will note at the very end of the webinar, it offers you the chance to take a free test drive of a really cool social learning environment called NetSpeed Fast Tracks.  AND because I am a Consultant Partner with them, you need only email me at for the registration link and code for your FREE 30-day Premium Membership.


Training Department Performance


I asked a CEO yesterday how often she has evaluated the performance of the training department, which is different from individual performance evaluations.  She said they had never looked at the function and asked me what she would evaluate.

I emailed her a list of questions and suggested that if she found even two of the areas to come up as “No” answers we should talk further.  It then occurred to me that I had missed a few things and decided to post this list at the website. 

This morning I received a call from the training manager at this company.  We know each other, and she told me that her CEO had called her about a couple of things “that sounded like Jim had been talking to her about.”  I laughed, and acknowledged that we had talked.

The Training Manager was concerned that the CEO was learning too much about how her department was supposed to be functioning, and said she was unable to provide some of the information.  I told her that the whole idea of a Training Physical is to Diagnose, Treat and Cure a Training Department, not to shut it down.  The healthier the training department is, the healthier and more successful the company can be!

Time will tell how this particular situation works out, but I am finding this dynamic on a regular basis.  The Senior Manager rarely knows or has thought about if the training department is functioning at top speed.  The Training Manager is often in a panic when they are being held accountable because they either know what they are not doing or do not know how to do certain things.

In today’s economy no company can ill afford to pass over evaluating the performance of the training department.  If they are not performing well then they are hurting the company.  However, nothing that is under performing cannot be fixed.  No matter the health of the training department, we can improve the health, thus improve the bottom line of the company too.

Time to Train Managers

If you have been reading the training world position on management training lately, you have no doubt read or the urgency to focus on basic management development skills.  In the past several years as training budgets have been slashed, only technical skills have been trained and we are starting to feel the pain of avoiding the communication aspects of development.

In an advertisement I read recently in CLO magazine, DDI Inc quoted:

“Leaders have two roles to play.  Building relationships and getting work done through others.  Both demand strong essential interaction skills.  Leaders have to learn to listen, empathize, involve and support before they can learn to coach, influence others, build partnerships, and gain commitment.  And when they don’t develop these essential skills up front, they don’t develop into great leaders.”

If we are to solve the big problems that face our companies and fix our economy we need to learn how to communicate with each other face to face.  Although the tech world allows us to talk or type instantly our ideas and thoughts, we need to get back to the basics of one-on-one and group discussions.  We need to learn to motivate and help others succeed individually so we all can be successful.

For those of you involved in managing the training function, I want you to set a goal of implementing basic management training in the first quarter of this year.  If you need help finding a turn-key solution, let me know.  But first you need to develop a strategy for getting everyone on board so that the training you provide actually gets used.

Did Training Survive 2011?

We are not even finished with the first week of the new year, and I’ve already heard of two training directors that were terminated at the end of 2011 “to improve the company’s efficiency ratio.”  I found it odd they both used the same words, so it must be some kind of management consulting phrase to disguise or mislead the real reasons.

Bottom line, neither of these training organizations and training directors were doing their jobs at the level necessary to demonstrate a return on the investment being made.  If a company wants “to improve it’s efficiency ratio,” it does not have to eliminate training first.  In fact, by eliminating training and not replacing or curing the health of the training function, they are declaring that the company and employees are unrepairable.

The interesting thing with both of these companies is the reaction from the training directors.  Both in similar fashion told me all the things they had been doing this past year.  The lists were long, and yet when I asked how management connected these tasks to company results, they both didn’t know the answer.  It was like it was the CEO’s fault and not theirs for doing a poor job of painting the pictures and connecting the dots.

So folks if your training survived into 2012, I suggest you obtain a copy of The Training Physical and perform a mini-audit on the health of your organization.  You’ll have about 6-9 months to make an impact to prevent being on the elimination list in 2012.

Good Luck!