3 steps to connect your employees to the knowledge that’s already there

Knowledge Sharing

Making knowledge workers productive requires changes in attitude, not only on the part of the individual knowledge worker, but on the part of the whole organization.

There are three more guidelines that Peter Drucker shared to broaden the scope of continuous learning beyond the individual to consider the broader organization. 

Knowledge Workers

These are:

  • Knowledge workers should be encouraged to teach and share their knowledge with others in the organization.
  • The knowledge worker should also ask, what do others need to know and understand about my area and what it can contribute to their own work?
  • Finally, the knowledge worker should ask what does my manager need to know about my knowledge in order to understand the opportunities, issues, and problems we need to deal with?

There is a need to perform the following functions as a learning leader when it comes to institutional knowledge:

  1. Collect
  2. Curate
  3. Amplify

How do we capture the Collective ideas of our workforce, Curate the best of them, and then Amplify this to the rest of the company? 

I picture it as a Knowledge Pipeline. 

Information is generated en masse everyday in our organizations. It gets fed into the pipeline of institutional data. Good systems for employee feedback and knowledge sharing (think legacy suggestion boxes or future workplace Loom recordings) allow us to Collect this information. 

But information isn’t knowledge. We need to Curate and synthesize the best of it and provide opportunities for practice to turn this into knowledge. Good curation requires Custodians of knowledge. That’s your learning team. We need to find better ways to make it easier to review and approve learning contributions from the rest of the business. 

Our learning interventions and events are the arenas to Amplify this curated knowledge. We know we need a blend of synchronous and asynchronous learning. We know our people want instant access to resources as well as opportunities to deep dive into certain areas in person. 

Designing these learning experiences is the rewarding work we, as learning professionals, are in this business for. 

Collect. 

Curate.

Amplify. 

It’s a simple framework for an ambitious goal. 

How do you approach this in your organization? 

Before you go…

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What if we don’t train them… and they stay?

Learning and Development

In my last blog post, I introduced the ideas of Peter Drucker, that I came across in a compilation of his work.

Training

One of the entries addressed his insight into knowledge workers as mobile assets.

I share my thoughts in this short video.

According to Drucker, increasing the productivity of the knowledge worker requires addressing a number of key factors, one of which is Continuous Learning.

Last time out, I teased a somewhat controversial guideline he shares for Continuous Learning, which is the subject of today’s letter.

The guideline is this:

  • Training and development should be focused on people’s strengths, rather than on their weaknesses and limitations, with the goal being to improve upon the things people already do well.

I tend to agree with this. Time is a limited resource. As an individual, is it better spent becoming excellent at a few things, or merely competent in many?

As an organization, is it better to have a team of specialized experts who can work in complementary ways, or a team of generalists with varied skills at basic or intermediate levels of mastery?

Of course there is a balance here, but as a general guideline, I think this helps us as L&D professionals to prioritize critical training needs and gaps when developing content.

There are three final guidelines that broaden the scope of Continuous Learning beyond the individual and consider the broader organization, including colleagues and managers. I’ll share these, and my thoughts on them, in my next letter to you.

Until then, do you agree that we should focus on teaching to strengths rather than improving on weaknesses? If not, why do you think this is flawed?

Before you go…

If you’re working on learning videos, and could use help, you can always schedule a no-obligation discovery call with me. If we can’t help you become the hero, I’ll be happy to point you in the right direction!

,

The most valuable asset of a 21st-century institution

Continuous Learning

I have this book of excerpts from the renowned management consultant, educator, and author, Peter Drucker, that I picked up from one of those community libraries.

I love the serendipity of book swaps.

Knowledge Workers

As I was paging through this one, I came across an entry in which he describes his view of knowledge workers as mobile assets. These days there are many more knowledge workers in the economy, so his insights were quite ahead of their time.

I share my thoughts on this entry in this short video.

According to Drucker, increasing the productivity of the knowledge worker requires addressing a number of key factors.

The 8th factor he identifies is Continuous Learning.

He goes on to identify a few guidelines for addressing this factor that I’d like to share with you and discuss.

The first two relate to the discovery of learning needs.

  • Knowledge workers should be proactive in identifying what they need to learn to keep up with the things they are paid to know.
  • Knowledge workers should request their own training and development.

This is so true today, don’t you think?

I discussed this briefly in my last note to you – in today’s economy, professional training is dominated by demand-driven needs for knowledge in the moment it’s needed. This has huge implications for developing learning content.

Learning content needs to be easily:

  1. searchable,
  2. accessible,
  3. consumable (think bite-size, video-based, with the option to pause and repeat), and
  4. shareable (to discuss with and learn from colleagues).

This is indeed the shift from macro learning to micro learning, where:

Macro learning is:

  1. I want to learn something new
  2. Whole courses or classes
  3. Definitions, concepts
  4. Exercises graded by others
  5. Social interaction
  6. Coaching and support if needed

And micro learning is:

  1. I need help now
  2. Topic- or problem-based
  3. Search by asking a question
  4. Rated by users for quality & utility

This shift is important these days, since a large part of the day is spent looking for information and answers. We’re constantly distracted by emails and messages. Josh Bersin research revealed modern learners spend only 24 minutes a week learning.

We have to make it count…

Drucker’s guidelines continue with a somewhat controversial one, which I will share in my next letter to you 🙂

Until then, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Do you agree with these two guidelines? Are your professionals proactive in their own learning? If so, how are you serving their needs? If not, how are you responding?

Before you go…

If you’re working on learning videos, and could use help, you can always schedule a no-obligation discovery call with me. If we can’t help you become the hero, I’ll be happy to point you in the right direction!

Sound and Motion

Sound and Motion

In this final post on my DevLearn presentation in Las Vegas, I’m going to explore what Herbert Zettl refers to as the 4th and 5th dimensions of film-making – motion and sound.

The 4th dimension of motion can best be applied to transitions between scenes in learning videos. Using rhythm, momentum, and directional movement, the legendary director Edgar Wright is able to transport his viewers through time and space in a seamless piecing together of his narrative.

In a learning context, we are very often limited by attention spans reducing our total learning time. Smart use of transitions between scenes can be a way to speed up the action and link together learning objectives in a seamless way.

The 5th dimension of sound concerns how to convey additional information in much the same way camera angles and point of view can convey meaning.

Watch (and listen) how the writers and sound designers for A Quiet Place incorporated sound to tell their story.

In learning videos, we often use sound effects to set the scene, adding depth and context to an office scene for example with the background hum associated with offices. You can also explore using indicative sound effects (think ping! Or ding!) to draw the learner’s attention to key learning outcomes.

Before you go…

If you’re working on learning videos, and could use help, you can always schedule a no-obligation discovery call with me. If we can’t help you become the hero, I’ll be happy to point you in the right direction!

Convey Information About Characters Without Extra Dialogue

Video training

In this follow-up post on my DevLearn presentation in Las Vegas, I want to dig into how to use depth and volume to manipulate point of view (POV) and angles to convey new information about characters.

I’m going to use two narrated clips from this original in-depth video essay on the movie The Imposter to demonstrate this technique.

The first shows you how the filmmaker uses a different POV for all characters except the ‘bad guy’.

Why do you think this is so?

This is a subtle way to influence how you feel about a character. Without using dialogue, you can tell a lot about your character by their placement on screen and the way they interact with the camera.

Check out the next clip to see what I mean.

Wow.

Notice how the background for the ‘bad guy’ is blurred? There’s some great symbolism right there with his history being such a mystery.

The fact that he looks you in the eye, while the other characters look off camera also has a profound effect on your relationship to the characters. If you’ve watched the movie, you will see how persuasive this guy is.

If you haven’t watched it yet, you’ll have to check it out to see if he’s telling the truth at the end there 🙂

How do you think you can use POV to tell the story of your learning videos?

Before you go…

If you’ve identified a training need, and could use help, you can always schedule a no-obligation discovery call with me. If we can’t help you become the hero, I’ll be happy to point you in the right direction!

Emotion and Meaning in Video Learning

filming camera

Late last year I delivered a presentation at DevLearn in Las Vegas. My topic was how to apply film school techniques to live-action video learning. We had an amazing discussion in the room, leaving me with two takeaways – (1) 60 minutes is not enough to cover a topic like this! And (2) so many creative learning directors and designers are looking to incorporate video in their learning going forward.

I want to show you how you can convey feeling efficiently using color, and how to manage essential processing.

Conveying Feeling Through Color

This is a simple trick you can employ in your videos right away to significantly reduce the time you might otherwise have to spend in the script describing the mood of a character. Use color grading in post production to signify certain feelings. Say you want to show the consequences of an incorrect action. Or you want to give your learner a sense of having achieved something. In both cases, simple color grading can do a lot of the work for you. Check out this video to see what I mean.

Managing Essential Processing – The Rule of Thirds

Managing cognitive load is one of the most crucial aspects in learning design, and part of that involves selecting and organizing information that is relevant to the objective of a lesson. A great way to do that in filming is to follow the rule of thirds to strategically position the most important information or object for a learner. Use the tips outlined in this video to thoughtfully position subjects for interviews, place text on screen, or focus attention on diagrams or animation.

Before you go…

If you’ve identified a training need, and could use help, you can always schedule a no-obligation discovery call with me. If we can’t help you become the hero, I’ll be happy to point you in the right direction!

4 Tips For Developing a Training Strategy For Your Software

So, your organization has developed a highly sophisticated new software. Congratulations!

Now is the time to develop a training strategy to teach customers or employees how to use it.

This article explores the common obstacles that you will face when designing a learning strategy and offers actionable steps that you can follow to design your own one.

Common Obstacles

The Pace of Change

Digital disruption is affecting every industry. In the past, software solutions rarely received any updates, however, modern software solutions are updated multiple times in a year. Training material must change accordingly. Accordingly, it is best to design training material in terms of modules that are easy to change.

Fear of Failure

With time, people become proficient in the software they are using to perform their daily tasks. When companies adopt new software, employees risk losing safety, status, familiarity, and competency. Therefore, they resist change due to fear of failure. The key to success lies in effective training.

Technology Advancement vs. Staff Needs

Convincing employees to use updated technology is difficult, as described by the Harvard Business Review. Organizations can focus too much on technology, risking employee frustration when they don’t see any value in it for them. The best solution is to align technological upgrades with employee needs.

These obstacles are challenging, however, you can overcome them by creating a great onboarding/learning experience.

Tips For Developing Your Own Strategy

Here are some actionable tips you can use to create an effective training strategy.

Create a narrative for training

Explain the purpose of your training and its relevance. Your focus should be on addressing staff needs rather than the technological advancement.

Establish expectations and set goals

For instance, after successfully completing X modules, trainees will be able to successfully navigate the software interface. Pre-defined goals will make things clear and trainees will be motivated to reach them.

Bite-size chunks of modular information

Do not bombard trainees with nuclear bomb size information. The result will be massive destruction (Disengaged employees, unproductive hours). Instead, provide bite-size information divided into explicit modules that are easy to understand.

Onscreen, contextual guidance

Reading dense instruction manuals is boring. Moreover, Millennials are more interested in learning from video-based training than traditional learning methods. Onscreen, contextual guidance carefully added to video will have the highest impact on retention of knowledge.

And when it comes to video-based training, we know a thing or two.

We offer video-based content development services that will add value to your software solution. To learn more about our services and how Curious Lion can assist you in creating a better customer experience, contact us below.

Your Software Is Virtual, Your Training Should Be Too

So, your company delivers a highly valuable cloud-based solution to increase organizational productivity. Cool!

However, your customers still have to participate in classroom training sessions, read dense instruction manuals or have to attend webinars to learn about this new productivity tool. Traditional learning tactics – Not so cool!

Although training is integral to learning new skills, the time required to undergo the training process could lead to a decrease in productivity. Companies must maintain a productivity level to ensure that operations are running smoothly. Therefore, they are usually reluctant to adopt a new software. Bad for business!

So you’re faced with companies wanting to adopt your software solution to increase their productivity, but not at the expense of low productivity during adoption. This is a challenge!

Being an adoption manager, your job is to ensure that the whole adoption process runs smoothly, and the clients are eventually happy with their new productivity tool, right?

The solution is to digitize your training solution to boost adoption by your clients in the most efficient and effective way possible.

The logic is, well, your software is virtual, your training should be too. Still, not convinced?

Let us share some facts regarding virtual learning adoption and effectiveness

  • According to an IBM Smarter Workforce study, every $1 spent on e-learning solutions will create an additional $30 in terms of productivity.
  • 40% of Forbes 500 companies have moved to e-learning solutions.
  • IBM saved $200 million annually by moving to e-learning solutions from traditional learning.

Virtual learning offers flexibility and customization, therefore, employees only learn the things they need to know when they need to know them.

What’s more, Millennials prefer video-based options when it comes to training. 65% of people are visual learners and they feed their learning appetite by watching online videos. The episodic nature of video-based learning makes it highly engaging.

The good thing is that if videos are good, people will remember the content and message, thus good videos tend to increase the likelihood of retaining new knowledge. How cool is that!

When it comes to video-based training, we at Curious Lion believe that you need 100% original training for your most important topics for them to have the greatest effect.

Furthermore, do check out our series on “2020 Skills”, which the skills required by your employees to become productive members of the 2020 workforce.

To find out how Curious Lion Learning can assist you in creating a better customer experience, contact us below.

Why is User Training Important?

Rafal is the adoption manager at a large analytics firm. His company is undergoing a transition from manual work to a custom-built enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. His prime duty is to make sure that that employees, across all the locations, become accustomed to this new software.

He knew that onboarding is a demanding process, as the purpose is not to provide the necessary information to inexperienced users to effectively navigate the new software interface, but to make sure they are able to use this new software to increase their overall productivity.

Companies that don’t take this onboarding process seriously have a lower retention rate than those who have a good onboarding process in place.

Furthermore, employees that are unable to efficiently navigate the complex user interface of their company’s ERP will put a strain on customer loyalty. Research has shown that 66% of B2B buyers and 52% of B2C buyers stop buying from a company after a bad customer service experience.

According to another report, 56% of organizations experience operational disruption while implementing their change management process. To avoid low retention rates, and to protect customer loyalty, here are some onboarding best practices that we advised to Rafal.

Invest in Customer Support training

8 out of 10 adoption leaders in the B2B companies state that their prime goal of implementing new software is to improve the customer experience. 66% of the customers are willing to spend more for a better experience. Customer service agents can transform skeptical customers into loyal customers, however, they need to have a hands-on experience with the product offerings along with being well versed in “soft skills”.

Explore the benefits of Mentorship and Knowledge sharing

Veteran customer support agents know their business inside out. Pairing new and experienced customer support agents can help your organization explore the benefits of Mentorship.

Don’t settle for less than Excellence

The general expectation of customers is that support agents are experts in their field and therefore can increase their overall experience with the product. However, if customer support agents are not experts, the customers will have a negative experience. Therefore, do not settle for anything less than excellence and invest in the training of your employees.

Show Appreciation to great support agents

Positive feedback coupled with incentives are a great way to show appreciation to high performing support agents. This will motivate other support agents to produce high-quality work.

As an adoption manager, Rafal knows that the key to success is to upskill the inexperienced users. There is research to prove that training activities play a significant role in successful ERP implementation.

Furthermore, as Rafal is representing an organization with multiple offices located throughout the globe, we advised him to go for virtual video-based training rather than in-person training.

We have previously produced articles regarding the importance the video-based training in the organization. In addition, check out our series of articles regarding the skills required by employees in 2020 to become productive members of the workforce.

To know more about our training services and to know how Curious Lion can assist you in creating a better customer experience by training your employees, contact us below.

2020 Skills: Cross-Cultural Competency

In this post in a series on 2020 Skills, we take a look at culture. 

Here is a handy index for accessing all posts in this series:

  1. Sense-Making
  2. Social Intelligence
  3. The T-shaped Professional
  4. Virtual Collaboration
  5. Computational Thinking
  6. New-Media Literacy
  7. Novel and Adaptive Thinking
  8. Cross-Cultural Competency

We recently had a conversation with the co-founder of a successful fintech startup in Austin, Texas. Like many other startups, he manages his business exclusively with the help of remote teams around the globe.

We asked him, how is this possible?

As smart machines, global connectivity, and super structured organizations among other drivers are reshaping our thinking about work, he reiterated this theme we’ve been exploring that skills need to adapt to this new future.

The final skill we’ll be exploring from the Future Work Skills 2020 report we’ve been profiling is that of cross-cultural competence – the ability to operate effectively in a different cultural setting.

This skill was pointed to during our conversation in Austin as the single most important skill to the success of that start-up.

But the real question is what exactly makes up cross-cultural competence and what combination of attitude, knowledge, and skills makes someone cross-culturally competent?

Louise Rasmussen and Winston Sieck also faced the same question. They conducted extensive research and identified several core aspects of cross-cultural competence. According to them, the following should be considered as guiding principles that can help you to become cross-culturally competent:

  • Staying focused on your goals
  • Understanding culture from a self-perspective
  • Managing attitude and the way you react to other cultures
  • Directing learning of the culture: for instance, how others behave
  • Developing reliable information sources: building relationships
  • Learning about the new culture efficiently: using those relationships
  • Coping with cultural surprises: if something is unexpected
  • Formulating cultural explanations of behavior: to develop deeper understandings
  • Planning cross-cultural communication: using what you have learned
  • Controlling how to present yourself: finding the most appropriate response
  • Reflecting and seeking feedback: continuing to improve yourself

The co-founder we spoke with knew the importance of cross-cultural competence, so he researched it, however, what about inter-department communication? His team also needed training on cross-cultural competence, so he decided to get all of his employees trained.

In this age of super structured organizations and the globally connected world, business leaders face a challenge in communicating their message across the organization. Traditional in-house training sessions may not offer any value as employees are often based in remote locations.

Video-based cultural diversity training turned out to be a better option to train employees and to get them ready to face the challenges of the current business environment.

Why does Video-based Cultural Diversity training matter?

Video-based training is already being praised by organizations around the globe as the popular medium for organizational training. Most simply, video-based cultural diversity training can impart knowledge to employees based in dispersed locations. In addition, video-based training triggers memory retention, by prompting employees to relate the message to their life or their work environment.

Our friend in Austin is happy as his team is producing excellent results. The training really helped his team to improve communication internally. This translated to effective transmission of the message and an increase in the overall performance.

The question is, are you ready? Is your team equipped with the right cross-cultural competency skills? If not, contact us to see how we can help.