This past month has been a busy one. I have found myself in discussions with a number of companies that are seeking a Chief Learning Officer (CLO), or the equivalent. Many of the discussions have originated with the company’s need to move their internal training; up from some ad hoc structure into a more highly systematized educational system.
What has surprised me is the hesitancy of the companies in taking the ‘step’ to a true training program, and hiring the CLO who would be responsible for it. It seems that many of these firms [and their management] look at training as a ‘cost center’ and has minor or irrelevant impact on the profitability of the firm. They could not be more mistaken.
It has been my response to point out the four main attributes to a high-end training program. These attributes are often overlooked and lost on management. The reasons for the short-sightedness may be many, but seem to cluster around:
1) Rapid ramp-up for new employees — getting them up-to speed in dramatically quick fashion. Far to many companies do not recognize or even tracking the value of taking new hires and fail to measure the value in reducing the time it takes to make them proficient and revenue creating. Far to many management teams treat this function as an HR program. Wrong, wrong, wrong. This is a sales and marketing matter. Improving the time it takes to making an employee a revenue generating component is not only measurable but valuable to the bottom line.
By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On July 28, 2009 NO COMMENTS
“Relationships are the foundations to all business success” my father would constantly drum into me. He would give me constant examples of how services (products) were sold, wherein the difference between the winning vendor and the losing one was not product specific, but relationship related.
If relationships are so important, why do so many firms downplay the development of tools and methodologies that develop this skill?
In the business world, we often refer to building relationships as ‘networking’. The traditional method for networking revolves around meetings and events with the sole purpose of business card collecting. This system of collection falls short of the true method of networking. It is a similar to what occurs on many social networking sites, collecting friends without really developing those friendships. Far to many business relationships have the shallow basis that exists in most of these social sites. We attempt to collect friends and business cards, believing that having lots of them confirms our popularity and value. The sad reality is that most of those business cards will not even get your phone call, or email, returned. The reason for this is that you have not offered any value to these people.
Networking and relationship-building requires work. Based on my experience, there are five steps to making your networking more effective:
1. Stay engaged with those you seek to have a relationship. Listen to what they have to say, especially if it is not business related. Networking with others increases solution opportunities.
2. Develop yourself as a source as a knowledgeable resource. As the old says goes, “”Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care.” you must give to the relationship prior to withdrawing from it.
3. Create a positive experience. When we go on our first date with someone, we always put our best face/foot forward. In business, we call that best-practices. What are you doing to both develop and nurture your business relationships by employing best-practices?
4. Creating sustainability in these relationships. Effective networking only succeeds if there is an element of sustainability in them. It is not what you can offer me today that is of value, but what can you offer to me over time this has a high correlation to sustainability. Do your efforts increase confidence? Do you promote others for the benefit of of those you want to build these relationship with? Have you done anything to assist them in expediting solutions for them?
5. Resolve to making the relationship value to them. It is already understood that they represent something of value to you. But, what is your value to them? When approaching your networking efforts, be specific about what you want and expect. Share with them your self as well as your products.
Be original, no one likes a copy, but everyone loves the original. Allow for yourself to be engaged, articulate, selfless and original. These are the things that will make your networking and relationship building more effective.
This all may sound like a lot of work and it is. Like most things in life, the value of what we work on is only reveled in the time and energy we deliver to it. At that point, the real value unfolds in front of us, and those relationships become long term and valuable.
By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On November 15, 2008 NO COMMENTS
Is success really about who you know?
Or is what you know more important in today’s marketplace?
“It is more about who you know than what you know.” If you have been in any type of business for any length of time you have probably heard this old gem a thousands times. “It’s not what you know, but who you know that counts.” Well, while at one time this aged-old sentiment may have made some sense, it is certainly not true today.
Yes, some time ago, it was simple: the perfect average couple with a median income, 2.4 kids, B+ credit and a 20% cash down payment, came wide-eyed and bushy tailed to the real estate and mortgage professional looking for guidance. Sure enough, in that old-boys-club, good buddy era if you could name-drop a few important or familiar people; you got the business.
By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On October 24, 2008 NO COMMENTS
By following five best practices, you can maintain an efficient and high-performing training organization. The practices by which training organizations operate are as numerous as training organizations themselves. Training best practices can reach the most detailed level of every day operations, but there are five broad-based practices that can help you set up an efficient and high-performing training organization.
Training starts with the design and development of the programs. Whether you have an instructional design staff, a training staff that does design and delivery, or even if you do it all yourself, there is a simple best practice associated with design. Team with subject matter experts (SME’s), the people who do the jobs and manage the jobs, in order to produce accurate content. Some training organizations believe that a trainer or designer who did a job previously is qualified to write content, and this may be true in some cases. But by engaging the field, you are creating the assurance that the content will be the latest and the “realest” content available. How many times have your trainees returned to the job only to be told “we don’t do it that way out in the field”? You are also creating the constant dialogue between the field and training that must occur regularly to ensure buy in, accurate content, and assistance in making changes if necessary.