Why Change Projects Fail

In a previous article, Learning to Lead Change, I argued that because of the increasingly rapid and complex nature of change in the lives of modern organizations, learning professionals must rise to the task of learning to lead change and then bring those skills to bear throughout the organization. Doing so, however, requires a better understanding of why change projects so often fail. Continue reading

Learning to Lead Change

Change happens. The problem is that the nature of change has itself changed in recent decades. It was in the late 1980s that leadership and change guru Peter Vaill coined the phrase “permanent white water” to capture the essence of change in modern times. In his book, Learning as a Way of Being: Strategies for Survival in a World of Permanent White Water (Jossey-Bass, 1996), that both the pace and complexity of change have increased. Continue reading

Big Data Training for Learning Professionals

As a learning professional in your organization, your days are consumed by figuring out the best ways to facilitate outstanding learning outcomes in your organization’s workforce. But when’s the last time you engaged in your own learning and development? If you’re feeling pressure from higher up in the organization to leverage big data for better learning but feel overwhelmed by that prospect, chances are good that you need to improve the analytical capabilities on your learning staff. Continue reading

Training for Analytical Skills

There’s a significant gap in analytical skills facing the global economy that holds companies back from making the most of big data in every context, including learning, training, and development efforts. In 2011, McKinsey estimated that the United States alone needed at least 1.5 million more workers capable not only of analyzing big data, but knowing how to leverage it for better decision-making. You can’t fill this gap by hoping you’ll hire more analytical employees, because the educational system is lagging way behind the need, which is both real and immediate in the 21st century. You need to be training your people for analytical skills. Continue reading

Assessing Analytical Capability

If you’ve read my previous article, Laying the Foundation for Leveraging Big Data in Learning, then you already know how important it is to assess the analytical capabilities of everyone on your learning department’s staff. It’s a foundational piece in laying the groundwork for being able to leverage big data for better learning. But how do you go about actually assessing your staff’s analytical capabilities in a meaningful way that gives you insight about how to focus big data training needs? Continue reading

Laying the Foundation for Leveraging Big Data in Learning

In a previous article, LMS Must-Have #3: Strong Analytics and Reporting, I argued that big data can help leverage better success in eLearning if you pay attention to particular metrics for both the learning side and the administrative side of your LMS. But are learning professionals ready to make use of big data? Continue reading

Injecting “Success” into Succession Planning

Once the purview of boards of directors trying to figure out who could be the next CEO of a company, succession planning has become a requisite for any organization that wants to thrive well into an uncertain future. In spite of increasing awareness as to the importance of robust succession planning, many organizations have done little more than pay lip service to the idea by creating lists of names associated with positions. And it’s more than just planning for a worst-case scenario of the top dog retiring or leaving. Succession planning needs to be applied to every key position in an organization. It’s time for more organizations to inject a little more success into their succession planning. Continue reading

Riding the Curve of Feedback

Most of what is written about giving employees feedback laments how often it is lacking. In far too many organizations, feedback is consolidated into a performance appraisal that often happens only annually or semi-annually at best. People need ongoing feedback on a regular basis if you want them to reach the peak performance levels that will result in organizational success. Many organizations have jumped onto this bandwagon wholeheartedly, and rightfully so. But is it possible to take the whole notion of feedback too far? When does too much of a good thing begin to go sour? Continue reading

Gamify Your Basic Skills Training

You need everyone in your organization to perform at peak levels, and many are surprised to find out the percentage of workers who need basic job skills training. Despite all our efforts, basic skills deficiencies persist among all age groups, which means this is probably affecting your own organization as well. Even mentioning basic skills training, however, is likely to clear a room. Why? Because for the most part it’s perceived as incredibly boring. But what if you could make even basic skills training fun? That’s exactly what gamification is all about. Continue reading

Coaching vs. Mentoring: Which One is More Important?

According to the Robert Walters 2013 Employee Insights Survey 83% of nearly 10,000 survey respondents said they would benefit from mentoring, but only 29% work for companies that offer any mentoring programs. Coaching fares somewhat better, with nearly half of all companies making use of coaching, although typically only for midlevel and senior staff. Only 38% of companies make coaching available to anyone. This begs the question of which one is more important – coaching or mentoring? An even more basic question that many have is what’s the difference between coaching and mentoring to begin with? Continue reading