training, metrics, important, Toby Elwin, blog

The 2 most important learning metrics

CEOs care about learning programs.  To gain more executive-level interest, guess what learning and development folks? CEOs want metrics. Give them learning metrics. The learning metrics you may have collected and reported on might need adjustment to become important to an executive. The organization challenge that leader’s need to recognize is that an organization’s ability to learn and to adapt is the only source of competitive advantage. Development professionals only gain stature in the business environment when they meet and plan business solutions. The ROI Institute and Chief Learning Officer magazine have a study recap that should provide a clearer map of our worth.  The targets of this survey were CEOs at Fortune 500 companies and the top 50, privately held firms.  From this population 450 firms received a survey and 95 firms, 21%, responded. Quick hits: 4% of CEOs avoid learning and development …

training, kill a mockingbird, trial, Toby Elwin, blog

The value of training on trial

Our ability to become, or remain, relevant comes down to an ability to adapt.  To adapt means to learn and an ability to learn is an organization’s top priority in the final frontier of competitive advantage. The value of training becomes an organization advantage. Any item that can not show direct business impact finds their way onto an organization’s chopping block.  The strategic ability to train and to educate and the value of training on trial. Who’s job is it to show the direct link training has to top-line growth as well as bottom-line results: training designers, training coordinators, training providers, training contractors, and training programs Every dollar invested in training is a dollar taken from elsewhere.  And the business project portfolio has an expected return.  The need for training to produce an ROI means our concept of ROI needs to include both …

learning, bears, salmon, confidence, competence, Toby Elwin, blog

Confidence to learn and competence to contribute

Some people dedicate themselves to life-long learning.  Some people revel in positioning themselves as no longer able, willing, or interested to learn any more. Learn confidence when you allow learning as an on-going. competence. The reality is we continue to learn and process experiences until we draw our last breath. Today, those who resist, say learning new technology, are often called Luddites – artisans who resisted the industrial revolution. Those with confidence to learn build competence to contribute. People who do not have competence do not feel very confident. Their behavior may mask a lack of confidence with bravado, hostility, or self-deprecating humor. You might see this in a refusal to learn or resistance admitting they do not know – both equally frustrating. Those who lack competence rarely embrace learning because they may feel learning reveals a lack of knowledge others judge …

ted williams, carl yazstremski, learning, metrics, learning and development, Toby Elwin, blog

Why 70 is a key metric for learning and development

The 70:20:10 framework helps to plan learning and development. 70:20:10 represents a good model, percentage, or ratio to frame how people across your organization learn. With these percentages in mind strive to fit learning opportunity that: 70% of learning happens through job experiences, 20% through feedback and collaboration, and only 10% through formal training courses and reading The lowest return on training investment is the 10% learning from the course itself and represents actual diminished return on application. If 20% of learning happens through interaction and feedback then a healthy work environment need to practice as well as formal and informal feedback.  The space for people to practice within their work demand is critical. You only know what you know when you socialize what you think you know, so an employee will find this out only through feedback. If 70% of learning happens on-the-job, what the employee …

meeting, icebreaker, facilitation, Toby Elwin, blog, US Coast Guard Cutter Healy

The best meeting icebreaker to break the ice

Know your audience is a constant refrain. But sometimes, as a facilitator, trainer, or consultant, you may not, always, know your audience knows each other or what they will do together.

The icebreaker’s intent? Loosen things up, meet people, set the stage for effective work. Meeting icebreakers can be as painful as a bucket of ice down your shorts. Icebreakers run the risk of turning people off before you have even started the heavy lifting on why you are there.

Here is an icebreaker I have run for a least 10 years with consistent success setting up collaboration.

organization, development, growth, business, Toby Elwin

Organization development is business growth

Organization development has yet to earn a role in all organizations. Only the most progressive companies have organization development roles, staffs, departments, or groups. The challenge to organization development success is that it is hard to find a linear trajectory for success. Organization development may have clear goals, but the reality, there is rarely a linear path. What is organization development and why does it seem organization development is an after-thought or only found at bigger Fortune 500 firms or identifiably progressive organizations? Is organization development really a business luxury? The Massachusetts Bay Organization Development Learning Group [update 2015: now Boston Facilitators Roundtable] writes: Organization development (OD) is a professional discipline with focus on improving and enhancing capabilities within organizations to meet strategic and tactical goals. That focus is directed at the performance of people:  individuals, groups and teams distinct from capital or …

beacons of gondor, social media, organization development, Toby Elwin, blog

This social media fad will ruin organization development

Social media is the most important communication and collaboration tool since the smoke signal.

The organization development world has been invaded by social media. The organization development profession is in a, social media, world of trouble because social media delivers all the intended qualities of OD, but more organic, more genuine, and more impressive community results than OD has ever been accepted to do.

When evaluating social media, it is time to move beyond fight, flight, or friend.

crash course, book, cover, ingrassia, Toby Elwin, blog

Googled again: cost of culture is innovation

What, really, is the cost of culture? Is culture tangible to business bottom line or is culture an intangible behavioral science term only useful for dissertations? Culture, innovation, values, diversity, opinion. Related? Perhaps to each other, but related to the bottom line? I read a recent blog on Fistful of Talent had me revisit diversity’s important to innovation. Here’s an excerpt from that blog Looking for Diversity? Look for a Difference of Opinion Not Value: Today’s market place moves quickly. Almost too quickly. Making a living, making a profit requires individuals and companies to think fast and adjust course with cheetah-like speed. Innovation is the “new normal.” (I just needed to throw in the newest overused phrase to feel like a business hipster.) Innovation is a function of diversity. Innovation almost always comes from an amalgam of ideas that create …

VC’s missing formula, discounted cash flow, human capital, alchemy,

The VC’s missing formula: human capital discounted cash flow

Accounting assigns of assets and liabilities and financial management’s current or pro forma valuation both rely on art and interpretation more than any professional standard, science, or law. What valuation models measure human capital ability to meet financial and strategic business goals? What formulas are used to measure human capital contribution to profits? What are the human capital risk factors you justify when you build your financial statements and projections? Organization valuation usually involves four areas: Physical capital, Financial capital, Intellectual capital, and Human capital Both accounting and financial management start with familiar industry formulas to measure physical, financial, and intellectual capital. The departure from formula comes with asset classification and subjectivity of inputs. You most often witness this in the beta, or the numerical representation of risk, used in the discounted cash flow formulas on glitzy, initial public offering, road shows. …

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, diversity, shell game

Diversity façade, part 2: diversity hijacked

On earlier posts I wrote: 1) that motivation is the bottom-line success and 2) diversity is about opportunity. In this blog I want to dig into how the diversity façade is diversity hijacked. First, let’s look at two diversity definitions*: Of, relating to, or supporting broad social, political, and educational change, especially to redress historical injustices in matters such as race, class, gender, and sexual orientation. Being or perceived as being overly concerned with such change, often the exclusion of other matters. No, these are not definitions of diversity. These are definitions of politically correct. Diversity is not political correctness. Diversity is opportunity, the opposite of political correctness. Political correctness gives diversity a bad name. HR professionals must own a suitable amount of blame for the politically correct hijack of diversity. People do recruit, hire, and promote with a bias towards those …

Red Sox, Yankees, competing values, Toby Elwin, blog

Competing values drive organization resistance

Organizations, like people, develop.  A start-up has different organization qualities than a 25-year-old, Fortune 500 company.  As operations increase in scale and scope a start-up faces new pressures.  Each increase in production, staffing, or market share increases their operating risk. What worked as a start-up company with a staff of 5 and $500,000 in revenues can no longer manage the same way with a staff of 85 and $2.5 million in revenues. Merely doubling the numbers, however, risks compounding the challenge of planned, intentional human capital growth to meet financial and intellectual capacity. Competing Values is Not Myers Briggs Frustration over organization culture, values, and communication many times comes down to values and interpretations: enter the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) assessments that seem the rage. The MBTI assessment focus on the individual and the individual to convey and manage both …

blog, diversity, facade, Toby Elwin

Diversity façade, part 1

Intelligence does not guarantee insight. However, diversity does. The very leverage of knowledge is dialogue. And dialogue, a true exchange of ideas and opinions, is only possible in an environment that welcomes and fosters diversity, not the diversity façade, but the diversity lever of possibility. Although diversity can be a sensitive and often incendiary issue, I want to focus on diversity’s greatest benefit: the birth and exchange of ideas and perspectives. What is the goal of diversity in the workplace? Why is diversity an important topic? What are distinct, tangible benefits of diversity in the workplace? I feel diversity efforts attempt to build an environment where qualitatively, diverse individuals are expected to provide insight, cross-learning opportunity, and opinion. However, what too often results is the extreme opposite: a retreat to group-think and the dilution of individuality to a normative environment …