Monday, December 30, 2013

Instead of Sending an Email...I Blog It

Every day at work, I look at my email inbox less and less. Why? There are fewer emails in it. How? Because more communication is occurring in the context of our work rather than in this separate communication tool we call, “email.”

Let me give you just one brief example:

Last week, I finished up a major milestone for a client project. It took a lot of work from me, and from people throughout the company. To mark the milestone, I wanted to send an email to everyone who helped. I also wanted to include their managers, so managers would know how much I appreciated help from their teams.
Reminder: Blog, Don't Email!!

I started to write the email. Then I started thinking of everyone to send the email to? Bob? Janet? Wait, did I leave anyone out? Do I really need to include Terry?

Yikes!

So, I just wrote a blog post and published it on an internal system so everyone could see it.

Now that’s better. Anyone who wants to read it... can, the message is now searchable by anyone who cares to find it, and no one gets another email in their inbox.

Yes, that’s much better.

I blog more to tell people what is happening in my work than I send emails. I using internal blogging to thank people, update project statuses, and even to tell interesting stories about what is going on around the company. It is way more inclusive than email, and it is a great way to make people feel part of the overall company…especially in our global, distributed working environment.

Informal Learning Does Not Have to Be Formal

This post was originally published on the Daily Mindflash blog. Included here is the lead and a link to full post.

One of the biggest problems with social learning is that it is an informal type of learning and organizations can’t help but to try to formalize it in any way possible. It is understandable because a free-for-all in any function is hardly an effective way to run a business. While a free-for-all learning strategy might not be the most effective way to run a training department, Stephanie Ivec argues for keeping informal learning, informal, “Trying to turn informal learning into formal learning diminishes [its] unique benefits” writes Ivec.

If you are trying to get your head around how you can leverage informal learning in your organization, consider three ways in which Mindflash can help you do just that.....

Friday, December 27, 2013

The Must-Have Tool for the Modern Workplace: A Learning Plan

This post was originally published on the HumanCapitalist blog. Included here is the lead and a link to full post.

Generally speaking, I am against setting strict rules in the workplace. But when I was a young manager, I had one unequivocal rule for everyone on my team: You cannot earn the highest rating on your performance review unless you have done something significant to improve yourself, learn a new skill, or otherwise do something to grow professionally. I kept the professional development part vague on purpose. I did not want to constrain my employees; I wanted to leave the “what” and “how” up to them.

This is not to say that someone who learned a valuable skill, but was an average performer, would earn a top rating. Not at all. An employee had to perform great and develop herself. My belief is that someone who earns a top rating does more than her job. A top performer performs great at her current role, while also continuously developing herself for the next role. And that is what I tried to communicate with this rule.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

We Are Looking at Knowledge Management the Wrong Way

There is much in the industry press, scholarly literature, and books on Amazon.com about the perils of a retiring baby boomer generation taking their collective knowledge with them. For one thing, there are not enough of us Gen-X’ers or Millennials. And apparently younger generations cannot survive without this knowledge.

So professionals espouse the critical need to capture this departing knowledge before it vanishes forever.

I don’t think we are looking at this in the right way.

Why are we clamoring to capture yesterday’s knowledge. We should be steaming full-speed ahead with new ideas to compete in tomorrow’s world.

Ask yourself these questions. When was the last time you:
  • Wanted to know what a know-it-all knows?
  • Cared about how it “Used to be done”
  • Cared why it was "always done that way."
Didn’t Dee Hock say, “The problem is never how to get new, innovative thoughts into your mind, but how to get old ones out?”

I think this panicked approach to capturing knowledge just adds more friction to getting old ideas out.

Of course, there are things we need to learn from experienced people. A ton!! But can’t we learn what’s valuable through ongoing and meaningful conversations about important issues in our companies? Isn’t an initiative to Capture Knowledge just a lot of overhead and extra work to capture things that are not valuable anyway?

Image Credit: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1182569

Friday, December 20, 2013

Now Hiring: Director of Training Evaluation

I am in favor of measuring the success of training initiatives as much as the “next guy,” but this article, How to Set Up an Internal Training Evaluation Department, made me bang my head on the desk. The first thing I thought of was, “Beautiful! More overhead.”



Why are we creating more non-value added services? No wonder training is the first thing to go during a down turn.

If a company is big enough to create an Internal Training Evaluation Department, the company has a corporate finance group. Guess what corporate finance people do?

They value assets. All day long, they ask what is the ROI of this investment? What is the net present value of that investment? What the cost/benefit ratio of investing in that new thing? If learning has any credibility in your organization, it will be looked at as an asset just like any other. After all, an investment is made in training and people expect some return in the form of a result from higher performing people.

Why isn’t corporate finance doing the evaluation? They know a think or two about evaluating an investment. Isn’t training an investment?

Overhead. 

Friday, December 13, 2013

How the ‘Internet of Customers’ Is Changing Employee Engagement

This post was originally published on the HumanCapitalist blog. Included here is the lead and a link to full post.

Marc Benioff, the CEO of Salesforce.com, talked a lot about customer service during the company’s annual Dreamforce conference last month, and his insights got me into thinking: Could these same insights, applied to the workplace, solve the problem of employee engagement?

I think so.

At Dreamforce, it became clear to me that companies need to develop deep personal relationships with their customers or risk failing. Benioff called this “The Internet of Customers,” which essentially refers to how Big Data is fundamentally reshaping the relationship that marketers have with their customers.

We’re already seeing it. A doctor can receive an X-ray image on a phone and add some analysis while shopping with the family on Saturday afternoon. An account executive can ........ 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Software Training Focused on the Work, Not the Tool

This post was originally published on the Daily Mindflash blog. Included here is the lead and a link to full post.

Much of my training career has been about designing and delivering training on new software implementations. These software implementations included financial software, CRMs, and many internally developed tools designed to help people do their jobs in organizations. Most of what I did was teach people how to use the tool. You know, click here, enter data there, save that before you move on to the next task. Particularly in new software implementations, I mostly taught the mechanics of using the tool and not so much about how to do the job.

[Read Full Post]

Monday, December 9, 2013

JIRA Fundamentals: JIRA Filters are the New To-Do Lists

This post was originally published on the ServiceRocket blog. Included here is the lead and a link to full post.

One reason I love using Atlassian JIRA is that I can create my tasks as issues and work collaboratively with many others. The best part is that my tasks now rarely fall through the cracks. “How is this possible?” you ask?

Simple.

Once I learned how to effectively set up and use Filters in JIRA, keeping track of my work has become so much easier. In fact, JIRA Filters is changing the way I work entirely. For example, when I get an idea or think of something I want to start working on, I enter it in JIRA. Even if I just think I want to do it, I put it in JIRA. OK, not always. But the point is, I have a long list of tasks in JIRA that never go away.

This is a good thing and a bad thing, of course.

The good thing is that I can create a complete collection of ideas and tasks that I can always find easily. The bad thing is that the list can grow fast and get so long that it can become overwhelming. You know the problem, your “To Do” list grows faster than your ability to check things off of the list.



Friday, December 6, 2013

How to Make Your Training More Entertaining

This post was originally published on the Daily Mindflash blog. Included here is the lead and a link to full post.

Over the past two weeks, I have been experimenting with ways to create more entertaining eLearning tutorials. The belief is that entertaining training will hold people’s attention better and people will learn more. In fact, research tells us that this is true.

So, when I saw this piece in Training Magazine by Jeff Havens about how to create truly entertaining training, it got me thinking about some of the tools out there that can help you execute on Haven’s advice. Certainly tools are not the full answer to theproblem of boring training, but tools can help. And since the tools below are easy to use and offer free trials, there is no excuse not to add them to your quiver of eLearning development tools.

[Read Full Post]

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Writing this way is good and severe discipline

"If I started to write elaborately, or like someone introducing or presenting something, I found that I could cut that scrollwork or ornament out and throw it away and start with the first true simple declarative sentence I had written.... I decided that I would write one story about each thing that I knew about. I was trying to do this all the time I was writing, and it was good and severe discipline." - E. Hemingway

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

LX Design Lesson from Dreamforce 2013 Keynote with Marissa Mayer

I was fortunate enough to attend the Dreamforce conference at the end of November 2013. I attended many sessions and will be writing more about what I learned from many of them. In the post, I share one lesson I learned from Yahoo CEO, Marissa Mayer about LX design. 

Simplicity

The one important lesson I learned from that keynote is a focus on simplicity. It is important to design by either removing all non-essential “stuff" or not adding extra “stuff" in the first place. In product design this “stuff” is features. In LX design, this “stuff” is learning modalities. Too many of them distracts learners and can even impair learning effectiveness. Don’t believe me? Look at the research in this area. Cognitive load matters.

An Important Reminder: Less is More

It is not that I (we) don’t know that less is more. It’s just that we forget. I do. When I write a training course or a blog post or a white paper, my first drafts usually have too much stuff in them. I write, and I write, and I write. My mindset is, “All this stuff has to be covered.” A product manager would be thinking, “Users need all these features, we gotta get ‘em into this release.”


Sometimes (not always, unfortunately) during the editing process, I remove as much of the extra stuff as I can. Ironic, isn’t it, that creating less takes more work than creating more. Mark Twain said it best (paraphrased):

“I would have written a shorter letter, but I did not have the time.”

Take this advice, as I try to do, and keep all non-essential learning modalities out of your work. Or better yet, try not to add it in the first place.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

What Learning Designers Can Learn from Marissa Mayer About Design


This post was originally published on the Daily Mindflash blog. Included here is the lead and a link to full post.

I attended the Dreamforce conference recently in San Francisco and was blown away by the size and scope of the conference. Over 135,000 people registered for the the conference, and sessions were held over four days at the massive Moscone Center and in several hotels throughout the area.

Although the conference topic was not directly related to eLearning or training, the Keynote interview with Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer and Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff offer some important lessons about design that I think are relevant to what eLearning designers do every day. Specifically, there are three things learning designers can learn from the Mayer interview....

Monday, December 2, 2013

Best Practices are Overrated: Empower, Enable, Educate

This post was originally published on the HumanCapitalist blog. Included here is the lead and a link to full post.

Employees often go through a gauntlet of training on how to interact with customers, but once they’re put in the hot seat, these “best practices” usually fly out the window.

It is not that the employee has disregarded what has been learned, it is that there is a disconnect between the learning department and the customer interaction. Once the employee learns — they are on their own to assume the practices they’ve been taught. The larger learning departments get, the more centralized and further from the customer interaction it becomes. This centralized learning function begins to focus on its own mission, its own strategy, its own goals, and its own processes rather than on how the employee can best serve the customer.

In short: business goals and learning goals have become disjointed when the learning becomes overly centralized.

[Read Full Post]

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Why CEOs Should Miss the MOOC Train at Their Peril

Coursera just raised another $20 million in funding as the MOOC market continues to gain traction in the marketplace. The money that has been raised by Coursera, EdX, Udacity, and Udemy is at least an indicator that more and more people are seeking this channel for learning new things.

This trend has powerful implications, going far beyond higher education. Corporations are beginning to leverage the power of massive open online courses. I have written about this trend several times over the past year taking a very specific perspective…that corporations can use MOOCs to train employees. I also have written how companies can design MOOCs to that they are effective as possible.

Below is a brief summary of these posts. I think you will find them valuable. At the very least, you will find them thought provoking.

MOOCs as High Potential Breeding Ground
Leadership development is a perfect topic that can be facilitated using the structure of a MOOCs. After all, many organizations have leadership in multiple offices and scheduling live sessions is a logistical challenge. It is also very expensive. But using a MOOC structure, companies can develop current leaders and potential leaders at scale and on an on-going basis. I describe how in this post.

Why You Might Consider MOOCs to Teach Company Values
Company values is another topic perfect for MOOCs. Many companies claim that their culture and company values are unique and a competitive advantage. A MOOC structure is a great tool for executive teams (especially founders) to get their message across in a learning environment so employees can learn directly from the founder, CEO, and/or Executive team.

CEOs Can (Should) Use MOOCs to Align and Engage
In this piece, I argue that every CEO should run six week MOOCs in on-going cycles, open to all employees on the subjects of company strategy, customer-focus, goals, and any other top priority of the business. There is no excuse for executive teams of companies of any size to not have a directly communication and learning channel to all employees. Not with the power of the MOOC so easily accessible.

How to Design a MOOC in Your Company
In this post, I lay out specific ways to design MOOCs in a company so they can be run effectively. It is not nearly as difficult as you think.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Three Things You Can Do to Increase Social Learning Participation

This post was originally published on the Daily Mindflash blog. Included here is the lead and a link to full post.

The problem with anything social (social media, enterprise social, social learning) is the 90-9-1 rule which states that 90% of people will not participate. These “lurkers” are content to read what the other 10% are producing and/or commenting on. This might not be a problem in social media as a whole, but it is a problem in corporate learning when we want 100% participation.

The good news is that you can increase participation on social learning, and there is evidence in the science that says so.

A recent research study demonstrated a positive relationship between social presence and online instruction. In short, when there was a high level of social presence, people learned better in an online environment. So that’s good, right?

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Ask Not How to Get Rid of Email...

...ask how to communicate better in the context of your projects.

There is some good advice in this Forbes piece on how to get rid of email in your company. I am all for reducing my time using email, but perhaps we should ask a different question. I think the question should be: 
How can we get more/better work done through better communication?
A tool is just a tool. Certainly we can all agree that there is a need to communicate with people in our companies to get work done. We don’t need email for that. There were plenty of billion dollar companies before email. Sure, email made communicating easier, faster, and better. And perhaps enterprise social networks will take it to another level. I certainly think so. But if we just change the question from how to get rid of email to how to work better, it opens up an entirely new set of possibilities. 

Think about all of the work tasks we perform every day that require communication. From kicking off a project to working on a proposal to getting people to review training course content, we have a continuous need to work with others to get our jobs done.

The point is that communication should be done in the context of the work, not outside of the work. With email we remove a work product from where it lives (Share drive, local hard drive, thumb drive, etc) and place it in an email and send it all around. With enterprise collaboration technologies, the document stays where it is (Box, Confluence, etc) and people are pulled into the document to work on it.

So, the next time you want to send an email asking someone to contribute to a task, stop and ask yourself, "How can I pull them into the task rather than sending the task to them."


Friday, November 15, 2013

Don’t Be a Hammer: How to Integrate Human Performance Technology into an Organization

This post was originally published on the HumanCapitalist blog. Included here is the lead and a link to full post.

As a business learning professional, I often hear this cry for help from managers: “These people need training. Their performance is not where it needs to be.” Very often, the managers’ presupposed solution is rarely the answer to the performance problem. Out of expediency, we create the training, deliver it, and later wonder why performance has not improved.

Training can sometimes be the right solution to a performance problem — but not always. The true enemy of high performance is a presupposed solution to an assumed problem.

[Read Full Post]

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Continuos Learning: The Best Way to Adapt to Change

It is not the strongest of the species that survives, not the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.”
- Herbert Spencer
One of my favorite sayings (and I apologize, but I forget the reference. Please comment below if you know it) is “Change is great, you go first.” Change is hard and few are willing to embrace it. There are many reasons that have been addressed in research and in popular business books. But my favorite tactic for helping people be better at adapting to change is from the book, Developing Employees Who Love to Learn: Tools, Strategies, and Programs for Promoting Learning at Work by Linda Honold.  

This is one of my favorite books on the learning topic. It offers many great ideas for developing people who love to learn. One of the main points made in the book is the idea that the people who adapt to change best are those to are continuously learning.

This is an important point.

Think about it. The more you learn, the more interesting you find new things and the more willing you are to try new things. Trying new things is, by definition, changing.

From my own experience, when I was reading a lot, I was most open to and adaptable to change. When I was not reading a lot, I dismissed new things as crazy or stupid, things I wish I had not dismissed. This is a big lesson for me.

So, if you want to be more adaptable to change, start learning new things now and continuously.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Social Learning: How to Build Conversations into Your eLearning Courses

This post was originally published on the Daily Mindflash blog. Included here is the lead and a link to full post.

One of the major problems with eLearning is that people cannot interact with each other. No matter how interactive you make an eLearning course, it is still a matter of a screen delivering content and a person consuming (reading, watching, listening, clicking, etc) that content. In general, eLearning does not afford the benefit of the follow-up question or leaning over to the person next to you and asking, “What did the instructor mean when she said….?” That is the bad news about most eLearning. 

The good news is that your eLearning courses do not have to be one-way....


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Fix Your Own Skills Gap Problem

Of course employers are not fixing the skills gap problem. It is expensive and trends show that people leave jobs more often, so they are unlikely to stay long enough for the employer to receive a major payoff from the investment in training people in skills they need. 


If that is your belief then you have no right to complain about the so-called skills gap. 

Look, if you have a skills gap, you have a choice. Fix it yourself or live with it. Rackspace is investing heavily in solving it's skills gap, and they are thriving.
It can be done.


Friday, November 8, 2013

Data is Everything, Except Useless Without Insights

In my learning plan, I set a goal to learn more about big data. It's not likely I'll go so far as to learn Hadoop; however, I do want to learn more about what big data really is and how I can use data to make better decisions in my work. 
Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work, and Think
Data is useless without insights,
but you gotta have the data.

I have just started reading Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work, and Think. And so far so good. 

We learning and development pros too often make recommendations based on what we think is best, based on our experience and personal observations. Not to discount our experience, but if we don't start making recommendations based on evidence from data, we will be toast. 

This is not to say that our experience and interpretations of the data not not useful. They are. In fact, data is useless without insights, and insights come from people.

But you gotta have both. 

When I wrote my book two years ago about the five critical skills learning professionals need now, I did not included a chapter in big data. I should have. It should have been the first skill. Learning pros...seriously....get more analytical. Ask, "Where is the data on that?" Say, "Here is what I recommend and here is the data behind it." 


Thursday, November 7, 2013

Fix the System, Not the People (Most of the Time)

If you put a good person against a bad system, the systems wins every time.                                                                                  - Geary Rummler
There is certainly nothing wrong with customer service training, and I have no beef with any industry using customer service training as a means for improving

The problem I have with this prescription is that it pre-supposes that the problem with customer service in the airline industry is that the employees are delivering bad customer service.

We have all experienced bad service with an airline. But ask yourself this. Was the bad service a result of the person or the policy/system the person was supporting?

Think about it.


Do you consider it bad customer service when the agent at the airport says, “I’m sorry, but it is our policy that we now charge a $75 to fly standby, even though the earlier flight is empty and on-time, and the flight you are booked on in 2 hours is full and delayed by 2 hours.”

You might be upset with the agent, but strictly speaking, the airline policy has set that agent up to fail with you. What else can this person say?

OK, fine, we can train that agent not to say “it’s our policy, “ but the root cause of your dissatisfaction is the system. The policy itself. Not the agent.

If you really want to improve customer service in the airline industry, get them to operate like Costco or Nordstrom and make it very easy to do business with them.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Is your eLearning On-the-Job Training Friendly?

This post was originally published on the Daily Mindflash blog. Included here is the lead and a link to full post.

Whether or not we can prove it, most of us “know” that we learn most of what we need to know about our jobs through some form of informal learning. Most of us will cite experience or on-the-job (OJT) training as the most popular form of learning we use to learn our jobs. However we define it, OJT plays a major role for how people learn their jobs. Elliott Masie raises this issue in a Chief Learning Officer Magazine post, discussing the vital importance of OJT training, how learning professionals under report its importance, and what the future of OJT might look like.

[Read Full Post]

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Let's Review: Most Popular Posts in October 2013

Lot's of great posts on the October Most Popular list. From implementing social learning with Atlassian's new product, Confluence Questions to designing eLearning with no lecture section at all. This list of popular posts from the LXDesigner blog is sure to provoke thought...and perhaps even action. Enjoy.



Social Learning Requires Work Context
This was by far the most views post on The LXDesigner blog in October. In fact, it was four times more popular than the second most popular post. I suspect there is great interest in this topi because too little practical advice is out there about how to actually implement social learning. I simply suggest in this post how a product like Confluence Questions from Atlassian can be a simple, and practical means for fueling social learning in organizations.

L&D Pros: Not Mathematical? Well, Get Mathematical
Inspired by A VC post about getting technical and a CLO Breakfast Club event on Big Data, I writing about the gaping hole in our willingness to admit that our inability to embrace mathematics and analytical thinking is the reason no one understands what the heck big data actually is. We need to stop making the excuse that “numbers can’t tell the whole story.”

How Linking Social Learning to Performance Advances Scientific Knowledge
Although this post was published in March 2013, I think its popularity grew off the back of the most popular most of the month (listed above). There is very little evidence that social learning relates to job performance. My dissertation is designed to seek that evidence.

You’re Either Growing Or Your Dying, There Ain't No Third Direction
I enjoyed writing this post, so I am glad it made the popular list. If career development is one of the most important criteria for employees, why don’t employers pay more attention to it. People are leaving jobs over it, and companies complain about the talent shortage? Think about it.

Consequences of Making a Mistake and the Motivation to Learn
I learned an important lesson about eLearning design in this ASTD Golden Gate South Bay Interest Group meeting. You really can create learning that skips the lecture and goes right into practice, allowing people to learn from practice and from their mistakes.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Beyond the Tool: How to Achieve Outcomes for Stakeholders

This post was originally published on the HumanCapitalist blog. Included here is the lead and a link to full post.

Let’s face it, once a new technology system is handed over to employees, it’s expected to be used. This hand-off, though, breeds a not-my-problem attitude from vendors and HR managers alike, leaving the tools misused or not used at all. Instead, HR managers and technology companies need to track progress and help employees integrate these tools into the company culture. But how?

During the week of October 21, I attended the Technology Services World conference put on by the Technology Services Industry Association (TSIA). TSIA launched a new book at the conference called B4B: How Technology and Big Data Are Reinventing the Customer-Supplier Relationship. The book is aimed at disrupting the way technology services are sold.

[Read Full Post]

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Are You Willing to Bet Your Future on Achieving Outcomes for Your Stakeholders?

I know it is the HPT’er in me, but the new book, B4B: How Technology and Big Data Are Reinventing the Customer-Supplier Relationship, which was launched at the Technology Services World conference, scratched me right where I itch.

In one of the keynote addresses, co-author J.B. Wood made the point that technology services companies better be ready to bank their entire company’s future on achieve outcomes for their customers (rather than selling a technology solution).
This is what human performance technology (HPT) is all about…achieving improved performance (outcomes) for stakeholders no matter what the intervention (solution) is. Learning and development professionals should think hard about this, and ask yourselves this question:

Are you willing to bank your professional future on achieve outcomes for you stakeholders?

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

You're Either Growing or Your Dying, There Ain't No Third Direction

According to this particular survey the number one reason people in the finance and account profession leave a job is due to a lack of career development. What is most interesting is that only fourteen percent of hiring managers are will to negotiate career development opportunities as part of the hiring process.
You're either growing or your dying, there ain't no third direction.

This is insane. 

And negotiating career development could be a huge win for both parties and potentially less expensive for the employer than a negotiation focused on salary and bonus.

Think of it this way, you can go back and forth with a candidate over two or five or ten thousand dollars in the salary, make some of it bonus and some in salary, and haggle over small percentage points of proportion. Or you could just say:
“How about this, you seem to value career development. How about I just give you an annual budget of $5,000 to use specifically for career development that you can use on conferences, certification programs, professional association members, and travel expenses associated specifically with these endeavors? You decide the nature of the development and as long as it is reasonably professional in nature (not a spring break trip to Cancun an ashram or to learn new poses from a yoga guru) the expenses will be reimbursed to you up to $5,000 per year.”
Sold!
People want to grow and learn. They don’t just want a job. So, help them get that. The proof is in these two quotes.
“Even if you are on the right track, you will get run over, if you are standing still.” - Roy Rogers
"Any business that tries to wait it out will be just that, out. In auto parts, you're either growing or you're dying. There ain't no third direction." - Big Tom Callahan

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Like Short Book Chapters, Short eLearning Courses are Better

This post was originally published on the Daily Mindflash blog. Included here is the lead and a link to full post.

In 2003, I worked on a project to break up long eLearning courses into shorter versions. In an early meeting to discuss how we would tackle the problem, the idea came up to “chunk” up the courses, so we called the project, “Chunky Monkey.” The catalyst was that we were getting direct feedback that the courses were too long, and in a call center, taking people off the phones is not something to do unless there is a darn good reason. We thought that by breaking up our eLearning courses into short modules, they could be completed during idle times between customer calls.

We had a specific reason for breaking up our eLearning course, but there are plenty of other reasons. Here are three. First, people have short attention spans. Second, they like a visible sense of accomplishment. Third, creating short, independent eLearning modules allows content to be repurposed for multiple uses.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

So You Think Your Software Doesn’t Need Training? Think Again

This post was originally published on the ServiceRocket blog. Included here is the lead and a link to full post.

On Tuesday, October 15, I attended the Yammer Working Social Tour in San Francisco. I have used Yammer in previous jobs as part of learning programs I have designed, and I was interested to learn how far Yammer has come since then. And since my in progress dissertation is on social learning, I like to keep up on enterprise social networking.

One of the sessions I attended was a customer panel focused on ways to adopt Yammer and a social way of working in organizations. One of the lessons from this session was about training and how much training is needed. One of the customers, Jonathan Anthony, Director of Corporate Communication at Teekay, stated that he wished they did much more training upfront to increase and speed up adoption.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Enlightened Self-Interest and Customer Success

On Wednesday, I wrote about the billion dollar phrase at Rackspace. Today I share you with you another point that Graham Weston made about the importance of focusing on customers.

He told the audience that you have to listen to you customers and give your customers what they want. OK fine, I thought. That sounds good, but everyone says that.

Then Weston explain that when they listened, Rackspace customers said that they did not want to be tied down or locked in to anything. But traditionally software (and services) companies work hard to lock customers into multi-year contracts and and even lock them into their technology stack.

Rackspace listened and decided to put its technology stack into an open source foundation and made it freely available.

That's right focus, OpenStack (created by Rackspace) was born out of listening to customers.


Just reflect on this for a minute.

Reflect on the action Rackspace took to freely give away its technology based on their customers' best interest and not on Rackspace's best interest. Customers didn't want to be locked into a technology standard and at the mercy of Rackspace. So Rackspace said, "Fine, here you go. Do with our technology whatever you wish."

Of course Rackspace has benefited greatly from this move. Weston called this, "Enlightened Self-Interest."

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Rackspace Founder Calls 'Fanatical Support' Billion Dollar Phrase

One of the keynote speakers at #TSW13 was Graham Weston, the Chairman and Co-Founder of Rackspace. He made a powerful point demonstrating the vital importance of customer focus. One of Rackspaces values is Fanatical Support. Weston calls Fanatic Support a billion dollar phrase. 

He credits that phrase with Rackspaces success. 

Furthermore, Graham, stated proudly that Fanatical Support came from people on the front lines in support and not from the marketing department.

It goes to show the power of customer focus.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Stop Conducting Training Surveys

This post was originally published on the Daily Mindflash blog. Included here is the lead and a link to full post.

Earlier this month, I wrote a blog post about five ways to make your training survey questions more effective. This week, I’d like to discuss whether we should do survey questions at all? Seriously. Part of me thinks we should not conduct training surveys at all.

Radical thought, I know. But here me out.

The reason I suggest we should not conduct training surveys is based on a point I made in that previous blog post in which I state, “The most important [training survey] principle is to write questions that seek responses on which you can take action.” The problem is that we don’t always take action on survey results, and if we do not take action on the data, we should not collect the data, right?

You Cannot Evaluate at One Level

Don't get me wrong, I believe in spending time evaluating whether a training program is effective. The four or five step processes that comes from the Kirkpatrick or Phillips methods can work well, but if you look at the numbers, very few organizations use all four or five levels.

If you only use some of the levels, you cannot know whether your training was effective. Well, you can if you use intuition. But in a big data world, intuition will not get the job done.


Here is the problem with only using some of the levels.

Level 1: If you only ask people whether they "like" your training, you will not know if they learned anything.

Level 2: An assessment will show whether someone learned the content of your training, but you will not know whether people have changed their behavior or apply what they learned.

Level 3: If you determine that people have changed their behavior and applied the concepts learned in your training, you will not know whether the application was effective….or resulted in performance improvement.

Level 4: Even if you determine whether performance improved, you will not know whether the performance improvement resulted in gains that out weight the investment you made to develop and deliver the training.

The lesson here is that if you really want to know whether your training is effective, you need to evaluate it using all five levels. I am almost ready to state that if you don't do all five, you should not do any.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

L&D Pros: Not Mathematical? Well, Get Mathematical

On Thursday, I went to Chief Learning Officer Magazine Breakfast Club in San Francisco. It was an excellent event, and I met some very smart people. The topic of the discussion was on big data. If you can, you should attend one of these events.

My overall impression from the discussion is that no one seems to know what it is, but everyone has an opinion on it. The moderator frequently had to move us along before all audience questions were addressed. It is quite a popular topic.

A working knowledge of statistics, my friends,
is a minimum requirement for making better
decisions using data. 
One of the discussion questions asked during the event was about the new skills needed of learning and development professionals. Not one point was made about learning mathematics or statistics or anything related to using data to make better decisions.

Shouldn't one new skill be to have at least a working knowledge of statistics? Isn't that a minimum requirement for anyone who wants to use data to make better decisions?

For example, let's say you implement a new sales training program (or a significant change to an existing sales training program)? How do you know whether it worked (however you define worked)?

With a working knowledge of statistics we understand that we can test the results to see whether there were any significant changes in the data (whether it worked)…that sales went up and went up enough that it mattered.

In it's simplest form, we would compare two groups. One group being the group of people who participated in the new program. The second group being sales people who did not.

We can use a simple statistics test (can be done in Excel, for Pete's sake) to compare the sales results of the two groups…..and draw a conclusion, with reasonable confidence, whether the results of the group that attended the training differed significantly from the group who did not attend the training.

There are far more complex procedures that statistics offers for analyzing data, and I certainly have only a foundational knowledge of statistics, but isn't thinking like this a mandatory minimum? Shouldn't we be thinking that way, when it comes to evaluating the results of training programs we design?

Most L&D pros will say no. But I think that is why all discussions of big data in the learning and development community skip the topic of big data entirely.

The headline of this post was inspired by a blog post from A VC called, If You Aren't Technical, Get Technical

Friday, October 18, 2013

A Few Rules of Management for Playing the Gamification Game

This post was originally published on the HumanCapitalist blog. Included here is the lead and a link to full post.

I’ll admit — I’ve got mixed feelings about the hype around gamification that’s currently sweeping through world of management and HR. On one hand, it isn’t all hype. It’s easy to see how many people would focus more on accomplishing important tasks at work if they were somehow made more engaging and game-like. I based this solely on the obsessive lengths people go in the pursuit of frequent flier miles.

On the other hand, I agree with the notion that gamification will only get people to do what they would already do on their own. In my view, gamification is simply about motivation. And the larger the organization, the harder it is to motivate people at scale....

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Consequences of Making a Mistake and the Motivation to Learn

On Wednesday, I attended an ASTD Golden Gate Chapter meeting on the subject of agile instructional design. The speaker was Steve Lee, who is co-founder of Allen Interactions, a leading learning design firm. His talk about about their learning design methodology SAM which is documented in Michael Allen's (the Allen in Allen Interactions) book Leaving ADDIE for SAM. I have read the book and found it quite useful.

I was surprised to learn this book is ASTD's number one selling book.

There was one thing I learned at the session last night form Steve Lee that did not come across to me in the book. And that is the idea that with very little content, a learning program (course, class, whatever) can be prototyped to test the learner's knowledge of a subject specific so that they would fail and then learn from their mistakes.

Here is the tweet I sent quoting Steve Lee in the moment.

It hit me like a ton of bricks. You really can get someone to learn a subject but having them try an activity before they know much about it. They try it, make mistakes, and then can be prompted to learn what mistakes they made, so they can try again and get it right.

It really is scaring people into showing them they are not as smart as they think they are.

It is about showing them the consequences of making a mistake of motivation for learning a subject.



Tuesday, October 15, 2013

A Graphic, Audio Narration, and the Quest for Better eLearning

This post was originally published on the Daily Mindflash blog. Included here is the lead and a link to full post.

We all do it. We begin creating a training class, eLearning course, or presentation by sitting down at the computer, typing bullet points of the important things we need to present. If we are in a groove, we can create five to ten slides pretty quickly in a rough first draft. When we get to a stopping point, we look back and can be quite proud of our first draft.

It might not be perfect, but we got our initial ideas down, and that is progress. It sure beats staring at a blank screen for twenty minutes trying to think of something to write.

Here’s the problem.....

Monday, October 14, 2013

New Skills I Intend to Learn This Year

I like to set goals on regular cycles. Short term (weekly and monthly) and long term (yearly and beyond). Sometimes they are simple lists. Sometimes my goals are SMART, and other times that are not. Sometimes I go weeks without regularly reviewing my goals. Hey…what can I say, discipline is a B#$%^.


Occasionally, I go back to look over old lists, I notice something: a good bit of the goals I wrote down got accomplished. Who knew? I just did this exercise over the weekend morning and found quite a few goals I had set months and years ago, got accomplished. 

So now I am thinking about a few news goals to set over the next year.

Among many goals I'd like to tackle, I'd like to learn some new skills. In the next 12 months I want to learn a few new skills, and I want to create a learning plan for doing it. 

Here is a list of things I want to learn:
  1. Sales - How to sell and sell better.
  2. Running a Business - How to run a profitable business.
  3. BigData - I want to learn what Big Data is, what can be done with it, and understand implications.
  4. Cloud Computing - I don't want to learn how to program in Hadoop or how to spin up and administer a cloud of virtual servers. I want to learn the big picture, so I can discuss cloud computing beyond the argument, "Wasn't E*TRADE and Yahoo Mail! doing cloud computing back in the 90s? What's the big deal?" 
  5. Programming Language(s) - I am thinking C, HTML/CSS, Javascript. As a kid on a TRS-80 at school and on my Apple IIe, I learned to program BASIC. And in 1995 and 1996, I learned HTML and even built a few websites back then. So learning a programming language shouldn't be much of a stretch, should it?
  6. How to run 2 ultra marathons per year - I want to learn how to create a training plan, proper nutrition, and to run injury free. I'd also like to learn how to stay at a consistently lean body weight and how to train consistently over time.
In typical fashion, I want to learn more things than are reasonable, given the time I have. And some or all of these goals might get derailed by other priorities that inevitably arise, but if I didn't set goals because of those reasons, I'd never get anything done.

Next step is to create a plan for how I will learn these new things.

What new things do you plan to learn over the next 6-12 months?

Friday, October 11, 2013

Five Ways To Write Effective Training Survey Questions


This post was originally published on the Daily Mindflash blog. Included here is the lead and a link to full post.

When it comes to writing training survey questions, the most important principles is to write questions that seek responses on which you can take action. After all, isn’t that the point of survey responses? You want to collect feedback so that you can improve your training course. Yet, too often, we write questions that no one answers or that seek responses on which we have no way of making improvements. Either way, we have survey data that is useless except that we can tell our stakeholders and check the box: Yes, we survey our learners.

With a little effort, we can improve the effectiveness of our surveys so that more get completed and we get the information we need to take action. Here are just a few ideas that can improve your surveys.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Don’t Flip Out! Flipped Classrooms Work

This post was originally published on the ServiceRocket blog. Included here is the lead and a link to full post.

Unless you have been living under a rock for the past three years, you have heard about the flipped classroom model. Since Khan Academy popularized it, classrooms all over the world have begun trying it. Although many have adopted the model, there are skeptics who believe the flipped classroom has too many problems and will not work....

Monday, October 7, 2013

Social Learning Requires Work Context

Though there is very little research on social learning and whether it is effective in helping people learn (beyond self-reported survey question responses), we do know that in order for social learning to be effective, there must be a context. What do I mean by context? Context is the general or specific setting in which the learning occurs.

So, in order for social learning to be effective in a business, the learning activities (whatever they are), must be centered around the work of the business, whatever that is.

And the problem with most social learning, networking, and collaboration tools is that most are designed to required people to either leave their work to come learn or that people must bring their work into the "social" space.

What should happen is that "social" learning should be brought to the work or as close to the work as possible.

Bring Learning to the Work

Last week, I spent some time at the Atlassian Summit Conference in San Francisco. During some of the new product announcements, it dawned on me that Atlassian products are designed perfectly to bring learning to the work.

In short, Atlassian designs collaboration software that helps software developers write better software. That is their target, but anyone who works with a team to produce a work product, could use Atlassian products. Teams can create projects plans, create documents, solve problems, and track work in easy-to-use collaborative software.

By the way, this is how social learning happens.

But one of Atlassian's latest product announcements takes the promise of social learning and brings it a giant leap forward: Confluence Questions.

Learning is Only a Means to an End

Confluence Questions is a new addition to Atlassian's collaborative intranet solution and is billed as a way to accomplish three things:
  • Seek knowledge
  • Retain Knowledge
  • Find experts
Atlassian did not seek to create informal or social learning tools. They set out to create tools that enable software developers to create better software (or just about any work, for that matter)? And how is better software created? Through smart developers working together towards a specific ends.

The focus is on the result. Better software. Not on the learning. Learning is just a means to an end.

And that might be the fatal flaw in most enterprise social solutions and in learning management systems. They are trying to launch social solutions that require people to leave the context of their work to collaborate in an ESN or LMS. Where as with Atlassian products…the collaboration is occurring in the context of the work being produced.

That is the secret sauce.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Let's Review: Five Most Popular Posts in September 2013


A lot of older post got some play in September. Either my old stuff is really good or the new stuff has not been as great. I just don't analyze it enough to know (or care, too much).

Here are the five most popular posts in September:

How Linking Social Learning to Performance Advances Scientific Knowledge
This piece is derived from my dissertation research plan. As many of you know, I am working on my dissertation in enterprise social learning. So this is a lot of what I think about. My goal is to advance scientific knowledge of how social learning relates to job performance.

Poll Results: How Long Does it Take to Learn a New Job
Except for one smarmy comment from a consultant who says he cannot afford to take more than a few days to learn a new job, most people said it takes 3-12 months to learn a new job. That is a long time. And an expectation we should all heed when starting a new job.

HR Manager: I Don't Need Big Data, I Have a Feeling
This was one of my favorite posts to write, so I am happy it made the popular list. We ignore data for our vague hunches and we call that analysis. And in my cases, which I show in this post, we do it intentionally. Crazy!

Great Social Learning Requires Great Design
Back again. This popular post keeps popping up. Looks like people need help designing social learning. Everything else they are reading likely contains vague prescriptions that are not actionable.

Performance Improvement Through Continuous Feedback Loops
Feedback is a wildly underused process for learning and improving job performance. There is so much potential here that I am surprised it does not come up more often. Here is the low-down sensible dirt on using continuous feedback loops to develop people and improve job performance.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Mobile Learning: What to Know Before You Make the Leap

This post was originally published on the HumanCapitalist blog. Included here is the lead and a link to full post.

Recently, I’ve had several clients ask about mobile learning. Everyone wants their learning and training content available everywhere. And why not? We use our mobile devices for just about everything — getting directions, finding a restaurant, reading the news, and even learning how to cook with chia seeds. So if we do all of these things with our mobile devices, why not take a training course, too?

Not so fast.

[Read Full Post]

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Simple Way to Write eLearning Quiz Questions

This post was originally published on the Daily Mindflash blog. Included here is the lead and a link to full post.

There you are, sitting at your desk, trying to finish your eLearning course. You only have one more thing to do before it gets reviewed. Write a few quiz questions. The problem is that you are stuck. You don’t know where to start, so you scroll through each page of your course looking for questions to ask. You find a slide, write a quiz question, and then skip a few more slides looking for the next topic.

“Am I skipping important material to test?” you ask yourself. “How do I know if I am testing what is important?”

These are common questions among eLearning designers, and they can be easily solved with a simple system for writing quiz questions.

Here’s what you do.
[Read Full Post]

Friday, September 20, 2013

Do You Know Whether Your eLearning is Effective?

This post was originally published on the Daily Mindflash blog. Included here is the lead and a link to full post.

Two questions any eLearning designer should ask when designing a course are, “How will I know if this eLearning course is effective and how will I define effective?” Certainly every professional, no matter what the field, is concerned about doing great work and knowing how he/she will know when that great work is achieved. A surgeon wants to know whether a procedure is effective. A mechanic wants to know whether a repair works. An eLearning designer wants to know whether a training course is effective.

In some fields the question is easy to answer and in others it is more difficult. If a surgical procedure is effective, the patient recovers. If a car repair is effective, the car operates properly.
[Read Full Post]

Friday, September 13, 2013

How Great Design (and Clear Purpose) Drives Great Social Learning

This post was originally published on the HumanCapitalist blog. Included here is the lead and a link to full post.

As a lot of HR higher-ups hopefully know — but many others still don’t — nearly 80% of learning in organizations happens informally, not formally. Yet most organizations fail to get a handle on all of that knowledge-sharing and learning, despite having an array of cool new tools and apps at their fingertips today for knowledge management, performance support and enterprise social networking.

The challenge isn’t the technology; in my opinion, the real problem in ramping up informal learning is a lack of purposeful design.

[Read Full Post]

Thursday, September 12, 2013

eLearning Design and the Fight Against Multi-Tasking

This post was originally published on the ServiceRocket blog. Included here is the lead and a link to full post.

There are many problems with eLearning: poor design, boring topics, and a major underuse of evidence-based learning techniques. These examples are prevalent, but they center entirely on the design of an eLearning course. There are two sides to every coin, and no one talks about learner behavior as contributors to bad eLearning.

A conventional definition of bad eLearning is when a learner does not learn the material or apply what was learned. On this, we blame bad design. But what if someone doesn’t retain anything because they were checking email, listening to music, or shopping on eBay during the online course?

Ah, multi-tasking. The key to hyper-productivity and high performance, right?

Wrong.

[Read Full Post]

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

How Learning Designers Can Overcome Writer’s Block

This post was originally published on the Daily Mindflash blog. Included here is the lead and a link to full post.

Writing a training course is not much different than writing a blog post, an article, or a book. At some point, you will need to sit down and just plain start writing. Anyone who creates any type of content has had to face the dreaded writer’s block. Even learning designers get to a point in which they are sitting at the computer staring at a blank screen, and asking themselves, “OK, what do I write now?”

We have all been there.

Much has been written about how to overcome writer’s block, but last week, I read one of the best lists for how to overcome it, and I wanted to share it with you. In 10 Rules for Writing First Drafts, Demian Farnworth presents a list for how to write first drafts. I found it so useful, I printed it and taped it up on my computer monitor rack for inspiration.
[Read Full Post]

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Let's Review: Five Most Popular Posts in August 2013

Ah, the dog days of summer are in full swing. The good news is that at least some of you are reading my blog. Thank you for reading. I appreciate it.

Here is an idea of what you were reading on The LXDesigner blog lately.

The five most popular posts in August.

Announcement and Four Reasons I Joined ServiceRocket
I started a new job this summer and instead of sending an email to people I knew, I decided to write a blog post. At least, now I know many of you read it.

Great Social Learning Requires Great Design
This post was published way back in March, but a few of you found it again. Social learning is a hot topic and people are not sure how to make it happen in their organizations. I think the model I present in this posts puts some structure on an inherently unstructured practice: social learning.

Experimenting with Theming My Days
Written in 2011, this remains one of my favorite blog posts. It also remains one of the most challenging aspects of managing my work. How to decided that types of things to work on from day-to-day.

Running an Ultramarathon and the Importance of Goals Despite the Unknown
I don't know if the goal setting angle attracted people to reading this post or whether it was the ultramarathon. Frankly, I don't care about the reason. This is good piece about setting goals when you have no idea how something might turn out.

Stanford Study Suggests Exercises First, Lecture Second
It is always rewarding when people read posts that are serious works and cite important research. I still think this study has potential to change the way we help people learn new software.

Friday, August 30, 2013

The Case for Investing More In Training, Not More Trainers

This post was originally published on the HumanCapitalist blog. Included here is the lead and a link to full post.

When companies are forced to slash costs, budgets allocated for employee training tend to be among the first on the chopping block. For many managers and executives, making training cuts seems like a relatively pain-free way to reduce expenses in the short term. Long-term, however, cutting back on training programs can hurt a company’s recruiting practices and send the wrong message to existing employees.

It seems that companies are catching on. According to the research firm Bersin by Deloitte, organizations spent 12 percent more on corporate learning and development in 2012, despite the still-sluggish economy.
[Read Full Post]

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Two Simple Ways to Improve Action from eLearning

This post was originally published on the Daily Mindflash blog. Included here is the lead and a link to full post.

Too many eLearning courses are lectures in the form of slides with content that learners must either read or listen to. The content usually contains abstract topics, such as processes, that learners are then expected to apply in real life. The problem is that there is a gap between a concept in a course and applying it in action.

If this gap is too large, what is learned may not transfer to new behaviors, actions, and job performance.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Close the eLearning Completion Gap

This post was originally published on the Daily Mindflash blog. Included here is the lead and a link to full post.

One problem that faces learning and development professionals is that people do not necessarily flock to your course catalog to complete the eLearning you worked so hard to develop. Sure they may complete the required courses after receiving a third and final message with the word MANDATORY in the subject line, but they do not seem to be taking the other valuable courses in your catalog.

This problem is not unique to eLearning.

What’s so special about eLearning? Nothing, and Everything

This post was originally published on the ServiceRocket blog. Included here is the lead and a link to full post.

What is so special about eLearning? Well, if you look at the evidence, nothing. Here’s what I mean. Numerous studies that show no significant difference in the effectiveness of learning between live, classroom training and online training.

This is what I mean when I say there is nothing special about eLearning. It is no more or less effective than live, classroom training. On the other hand, when you consider that many people *believe* eLearning is not as effective as classroom training, then the fact that evidence shows eLearning is every bit as effective as classroom training is remarkable.

[Read Full Post]

Thursday, August 15, 2013

‘Culture Decks’ vs. MOOCs: What’s Better for Teaching Company Values?

This post was originally published on the HumanCapitalist blog. Included here is the lead and a link to full post.

Company “culture decks” are big these days: Netflix got huge raves for its own slide show (“Netflix Culture: Freedom & Responsibility”) – applauded by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg as “the most important document ever to come out of the Valley.” Then Hubspot made a similar splash with its “Culture Code“ deck earlier this year. Zappos, too, is another darling of this new model for sharing a company’s vision and values.
[Read Full Post]

Monday, August 12, 2013

Three Simple Ways to Improve Your eLearning Courses

This post was originally published on the Daily Mindflash blog. Included here is the lead and a link to full post.

No matter how good we get at something, there will always be times when we either get lazy or stuck in a rut. This is certainly true with talented eLearning designers who can fall into a pattern of using the same old techniques in their courses. It is a good idea, from time-to-time, to stop and ask yourself whether you are falling into this trap. This simple act, can help you continuously make improvements to your eLearning courses.

Improvements do not have to be difficult or time consuming to implement. In many cases, small, simple changes can make a big difference. For example, there are three simple things you can do to improve your eLearning courses.

[Read Full Post]

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Running an Ultramarathon and the Importance of Goals Despite the Unknown



On Sunday, August 2013, I will run my first ultra-marathon...the Skyline 50K. It is a 50 kilometer trail running race in the San Francisco east bay mountains stretching from Castro Valley to Moraga. Though I have trained fairly well for the race, running 40-50 mile weeks through most of 2013, there is a big, fat, whopping unknown beyond the 40 kilometer (24-25 miles or so) mark.


Create Maps or search from 80 million at MapMyRun


I just don't know how I will handle the last 10K.

Even though I don't have any idea how I will do, I want to set some goals. So the question is, "How does one set goals when they have no idea what an outcome will be?"

It is not like I can set a big, hairy audacious goal like, "Finish in sub-4 hours." That is un-attainable and un-realistic. That kind of a goal would be the biggest violation of SMART goal setting in the history of, well......in the history if I don't know what.

So how do I set goals for this race. I need to base the goals on something I know. So here is what I know.

I know that:
  1. I can run 21 miles on a flat route, on tired legs in about 9 minutes and 45 seconds per mile pace.
  2. I can run 20 miles on a mountain course with 3,000 feet of cumulative ascent and descent at a roughly 10 minutes and 50 second per mile pace on extremely tired legs.
  3. The race tomorrow is 10 miles longer than the above references.
  4. The race tomorrow has about 4,000 of cumulative ascent and descent.
  5. I rested all week, so I would have fresh legs.
Based on this here are my goals for tomorrow:
  1. Just finish. Even if I have to walk, who cares what my time is. If I can make it to the finish, on my own two legs, under my own power after 50 kilometers, I will have accomplished something which is a decent-sized whoop.
  2. Finish between 6 and 7 hours. 
  3. Stretch Goal: Finish sub-6 hours.
So there you have it. I have three goals for Skyline 50K. 

Now all I have to do is go out and do it.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Announcement and Four Reasons I Joined ServiceRocket

Many of my friends have been asking what I have been up to lately, as it appears I have experienced a lot of changes over the past few years. So, I just want to clear things up and make an announcement about a new job I have taken. 

I have recently joined the training team at ServiceRocket. The move brings me (and my family) back to California, which is great for all sorts of reasons both personal and professional.

My role at ServiceRocket is to help build the training line of business, which targets fast growing software companies who are looking to build skills among their customers. These are software companies that want to build a training function, but also realize their core competence is developing their product not building training programs. That's where ServiceRocket comes in.

I cannot tell you how excited I am to be a apart of the team at ServiceRocket.

Here's why I joined:
  1. The people are great (Cliche, I know. True nonetheless).
  2. Help grow a business: I have been an internal training leader for many years, and this opportunity is a chance to go back to my roots and build a business.
  3. Help companies build their training function: I have always thrived in build-mode, and it is hard to see how this role can get stale, if we are constantly helping clients build their training functions.
  4. On the cutting edge: Whether it is learning about open source web server technology, OpenStack, BigData, mobile app development, or Git, this role is a chance to help companies help their customers build skills in emerging technologies. I find that very rewarding. Software runs just about everything and knowing how to use software is a vital skill for future growth and opportunity. 
Helping people build skills, knowledge, and know-how in "new things" has always excited me. I simply could not pass up the opportunity to do that at ServiceRocket.

I have never made an announcement like this, and I do not mean it as a self-promoting post. I simply want to update friends an colleagues about my new role.

And be honest, do you really need another email?