Getting Stakeholders to Consensus

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We picked up the phone on the first ring.  “Can you help us with this?”

Our client, a global business consulting firm, was designing an automated tool for a large international pharmaceutical organization. The requirements-gathering phase included the vetting and streamlining of several key business processes, and the client’s strategy and implementation team knew early-on that this would be contentious. The team needed to pull information from executives and leaders in the organization who were invested in the old process and felt they had justification to champion the status-quo. An outside, “blinders-on” facilitator was required.

lead_meetingEarly conversations with Source 1 quickly focused on the experience, skills, and corporate wisdom of a senior Source 1 consultant and facilitator. Blind to corporate and departmental history and politics, this consultant would be focused only on getting the group to where it needed to go, without getting “stuck.”

Source 1 met with the implementation team leader, who had initially been inclined to bring the executives together without a published agenda and no definite statement about the intended outcomes from the session. Source 1 showed her, however, that sharing the objectives was the better way to prepare the participants for the consensus-building that would be required from them. It would get the group to faster results.  Better to have them taking the journey with you, he explained.

The results of the three facilitated sessions delighted the client. Focusing the group on the business issues and business problem to be solved required sensitivity, diplomacy, strength and fortitude: these stakeholders were not new-hires and they were inclined to hold on to old ways. The skill of the Source 1 consultant was much appreciated by the consulting firm and its client, and the engagement was hailed a success.

Preparing for the PMP Exam

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We picked up the phone on the first ring.  “Can you help us with this?”

Our client, a university offering continuing education opportunities, offered learners a robust Project Management curriculum. The university wanted to prepare students who were unemployed or underemployed –reskilling themselves to qualify for corporate project management positions and who had successfully completed the PM curriculum program– to become PMP certified. Could Source 1 help with that?

Source 1’s Robert (Bob) Lyons put together a program that accomplished two goals: QUALIFYING the students to sit for the exam and PREPARING them to successfully pass it.

PMP 1  Bob worked with each student individually to help him/her correctly quantify, present and position prior project management experience.  He then built a training program that went through the PMBOK and showed learners how the exam mapped to the Body of Knowledge: the structure of the exam, the definitions of terms, charts and graphs–all the critical components that needed to be mastered.  Bob spent time on the math skills that are fundamental to project management. Learners then worked through questions from the text and spent valuable time taking practice tests. Bob stepped the students through their corrected tests, line-by-line, to help them learn how to better answer the questions.

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The results–a very satisfied client who took advantage of our instructor’s deep knowledge of Project Management, the PMBOK, the PMI exam, and how to help learners make the necessary connections.

A Picture is worth…….

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Source 1 clients are getting more creative as they look for ways to develop and deploy learning opportunities for their staff members.

Consider the senior executive from an executive search firm who, as she visited the company’s global locations, identified master performers and took iPhone video shots of those staff members demonstrating excellence as they did their daily work.  “Can we use these,” she asked Source 1, “in conjunction with our existing learning offerings?  Think ‘YouTube’ –like tutorials. Will that work?”

Source 1 instructional developers and video experts took each clip, added an introductory, context-setting PowerPoint slide, and published the pieces to the client’s LMS.

The Talent Management team is proud to point new-hires as well as veterans to the demonstration of workplace tasks and activities which, when executed correctly, add value to their company’s stature and success.

Twitter and Facebook and Pinterest, oh my!!

 Because we’re training professionals, we often answer questions

about the use of social media                       socialmedia

and how it can be exploited to deploy elearning content.

What value can we assign—what can our learners gain—from content on social sites? Are SM sites good choices for elearning content? How do we dovetail this medium with the rest of the blended curriculum?

Social media sites can offer access to knowledge bases, forums, and some content that supports learning. How can our clients use them? Perhaps, for example, your company is rolling out a new blended-learning (our favorite!) curriculum. Kick it off with a twitter feed to generate interest and excitement. After the rollout, use the feed to discuss and comment on what they’ve just learned.  Use Facebook or Pinterest to house additional images, graphs, and content to further support the topic—excellent uses of social media, to be sure.

The heavy lifting for elearning programs, we believe, is best left to well-proven learning management systems, powerful and flexible authoring tools, and talented instructional designers. Let’s use social sites to convey some information and offer specific performance support. It’s a wonderful opportunity to optimize the best of both worlds.

Success with Social Media Marketing Course

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We picked up the phone on the first ring.  “Hey, can you help us with this?”

A well-known Chicago-area university wanted to offer a new course in their applied technology program: something that would teach students about using social media platforms in the world of business marketing. Student population would be those pursuing degrees as well as some non-traditional and international students who are in the applied technology certification program. Using popular social media technologies for marketing is still a paradigm shift in much of the business world, and while our client has outstanding faculty in both the technology business departments, they had no faculty available with the required hybrid expertise.

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“Sure, we can do that.”  Source 1 developed, and regularly teaches, a semester-long Social Media Marketing program. Because the topic is new, and quickly evolving, we use a combination of business texts and online resources to support the learning. Now in its fourth semester, the program is getting great results. Students develop a social media marketing plan for an organization of their choice, and some of those plans are actually being implemented!

The Roller Coaster of SME Focus

 

roller coasterTypical Subject Matter Experts, especially if they’ve never served in this role before, approach training projects with a bit of trepidation. They know their stuff, but may feel like they’re ascending the first lift hill on an old-fashioned roller coaster – uneven and hesitant.

  • How much time will this take?
  • When will I fit this into my other responsibilities?
  • What’s the process?
  • What does an Instructional Designer do?
  • Who will I be working with?
  •  Will it be a good experience?

The ASCENT:  interest grows as SMEs begin to work with the ID to analyze the performance need and help formulate the design of a solution. Cresting that first hill and getting a good look at the path ahead, anticipation grows as the SME sees how instructional components can be designed to ensure that learning sticks.

The PEAK: SME focus is generally at its highest point during initial content and scenario development. The instructional developer knows her stuff; the SME sees how this training solution is going to help solve the performance problem.

The DESCENT: the high level of engagement tends to fade. Normal job responsibilities begin to unseat the training effort. Nailing down all the details and obtaining final approval for a project can be difficult.

The SOLUTION for optimizing SME focus

  • To overcome initial trepidation, manage your SME on-boarding. Outline the process, responsibilities, and time commitments. While you’re at it, determine the SME’s preferred communication method.
  • To help the SME focus throughout development, communicate through the preferred mode using targeted and concise messages. Provide regular status updates – using a visual ‘dashboard’ if possible. Use checklists to outline ‘to do’s’ and meeting follow-ups. And then follow up.
  • When progress slows, be flexible. Ask your SME how you can assist. Consider breaking your list of needs into smaller chunks.

.NET Training Helps Client Service Clients

 

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We picked up the phone on the first ring.  “Hey, can you help us with this?”

The decision to move to Microsoft .NET technology as a primary development platform was not an easy one. For years, the suburban software company that specialized in solutions for the property & casualty insurance industry had developed their products using a proprietary coding language. But with the need to move to a new platform that supported web- and cloud-based solutions, their extensive research ended at .NET.

Microsoft_dotNET_Framework 2“Sure, we can help with that.”  Source 1 developed and delivered a .NET training curriculum based on the background and learning needs of the developers.  The instructor tailored the training topics—detailing, expanding, abbreviating—as appropriate for learners.  Courses included C# Programming, .NET Framework, Windows Presentation Foundation, and Windows Communication Foundation.

The results met the client’s highest expectations: the training received great reviews—the instructors are knowledgeable, responsive, helpful, and the courseware was comprehensive and substantive—and the skill-building that resulted  helped the client connect their products and services to their clients’ heterogeneous computing environments.