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How to Master Debriefs in Organizational Training

The success of organizational training depends on two things: an engaging training experience that is relevant to the work that people do and a meaningful debrief led by a skilled facilitator. If either of these components is missing, the training will fall flat. Without a powerful and memorable training experience, the facilitator will have nothing to draw from to tie it back to the workplace, and they will essentially be presenting information like any other lecture. On the other hand, without a solid debrief, even the best training experience will have limited results, because participants are less likely to link the lessons they learned to their real experiences on the job.

Let’s focus on what it takes to master a debrief in organizational training using a three-step approach.

1. Provide an Engaging Experience That Mimics a Real-Life Problem

Remember-you can’t have a meaningful debrief without the participants first going through a shared experience that requires them to solve the types of problems they face in the workplace. Think of it as a game that parallels real-life activities. The participants are immersed in a different world (the desert, the Wild West, etc.) and are wholly focused on overcoming a challenge, like surviving harsh conditions or mining for gold. Although they might not realize it at the time, the skills they must use to win the game can be applied in the workplace to improve performance. So, the first step to mastering the debrief is providing a memorable experiential learning activity.

2. Share How to Win the Game

After a successful experiential learning session, participants want to know how they did. Everybody wants to win, and after immersing themselves fully in the experience, they want to know what they could have done to achieve the greatest success. This is the facilitator’s chance to share with the group the various skills and behaviors that the teams could have used to perform better.

The specific components will depend on the experience, but it’s critical for the facilitator to clearly outline each component, explain why it is critical for success in the game, and describe how optimal performance leads to success. Defining the essential elements for winning the game leads to the next step: connecting the game to the workplace.

 

3. Translate Winning the Game to Winning in the Real World

After the participants understand what they could have done better to win the game, it’s time for the final (and most important) step in the debrief. At this point, it’s not necessarily clear to the group members that the new skills they learned in the game have any connection to the real world. After all, what does trekking through the desert have to do with managing a project in the office? As it turns out, quite a lot. The planning, preparation, and execution required to make it to the end are all skills that can be applied in the workplace, just in a different context.

The facilitator’s role is to ask how the challenges and successes experienced in the training can be connected to the workplace. The group members will ultimately reach the conclusion that they can make specific behavior changes on the job to achieve better performance. By applying the principles they used to win the game, they can also win at work. In order to do this successfully, the facilitator must do the following things.

BE PREPARED

The facilitator must be able to directly link the experience to the reality that participants face every day. This means being well-versed in the common language used at the organization, the relationships between people and teams, and any other internal nuances that impact behavior.

BE FLEXIBLE

Many activities elicit multiple principles. The facilitator should be prepared to focus on the ones that resonate the most with the group and allow enough time for a deeper discussion. For the concepts that the group members did not grasp as clearly, the facilitator can ask leading questions to allow them to come to the realization that there is more to take away from the experience than meets the eye.

Organizational training is a worthwhile investment, but in order to get the most from an experiential learning activity, an expert debrief is critical. A skilled facilitator who understands the organization and its objectives has the power to make experiential learning not just a game but a powerful event that creates lasting change.

EF authorABOUT THE AUTHOR

As Chief Operating Officer, Sue’s extensive senior leadership experience and facilitation skills have established her as a trusted partner and organizational development expert. She has a proven track record of successfully leading culture transformation in Fortune 500 companies and has established herself as an authority on training and development. Sue has over 20 years of experience in the creation and delivery of programs and custom designed solutions for Eagle’s Flight.

Re-blogged from Eagle’s Flight.

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More and more businesses are adding experiential learning to their corporate training strategies for one important reason: It works. It only takes one successful training event to convince both decision-makers and participants that this valuable learning approach results in higher levels of engagement, a deeper understanding of the concepts being taught, and, most important, better performance on the job.

A successful experiential learning event has eight key elements:

  1. An immersive experience that takes participants to another world
  2. A theme that is deliberately far removed from the reality of the workplace
  3. A challenge that is captivating and fun
  4. An experience that poses an exact metaphor for a real-world problem
  5. Results that are a direct reflection of the team’s behavior
  6. Compression of time to demonstrate how behavioral change impacts results
  7. A debrief that highlights the principles learned during the experience
  8. Conviction among participants to change behavior and improve performance

The #1 Element You Can't Miss in Training with Experiential LearningAlthough it is not the first item in this list, a highly relevant debrief is the single most important element in achieving the goals of experiential learning. Without it, participants enjoyed a fun and engaging experience, and they probably learned something new, but they won’t necessarily understand how the experience is relevant to their job.

Watch the video: Understanding & Integrating Experiential Learning Into Your Existing Initiatives

THE EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING DEBRIEF: CONNECTING THE DOTS

Without clearly linking the experience to the reality of the workplace, it’s not fair to expect participants to change their behavior when they return to their jobs. They might have mastered the art of problem-solving in the context of a spy game, but that doesn’t mean they will know how to apply that new knowledge to improving processes at work. The key is to make this connection while participants are still excited about the experience.

An experienced facilitator will guide the group through a discussion that links two important concepts:

  • How to win in the game
  • How to win at work

Having just tried to win a challenge or solve a puzzle, they will desperately want to know how they performed compared to other teams and what they could have done differently to achieve the best possible results. This is the facilitator’s chance to spark a discussion about the various behaviors that lead to a win in the game and to clearly outline the key learning concepts.

After the group understands all of the elements that are critical to success in the game, it’s time to link the experience to reality by discussing how the key concepts that it just outlined will also help it win at work. This is the most important component of experiential learning, because it enables participants to translate their excitement about winning the game into conviction about improving performance at work.

The facilitator guides the conversation and allows participants to connect these dots on their own. In order to do this, the facilitator must have a deep understanding of the daily challenges that participants face, the dynamics between team members, and the common processes in the organization.

Although it is one of the last steps of an experiential learning training session, the debrief is arguably the most critical. Of course, the debrief relies on all of the steps that happen before it, so the experience itself must also be well-executed. Working with a seasoned experiential learning provider will ensure that all elements of the experience, from creating the theme through facilitating a meaningful debrief, will provide the necessary level of expertise and positively impact the participants when they return to their jobs.

Dave_RootABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dave joined Eagle’s Flight in 1991 after having spent a number of years with a Toronto-based accounting firm. Since that time, he has held a number of posts within the company, primarily in the areas of Operations, Finance, Legal, and IT. In his current role as both Chief Financial Officer and President, Global Business, Dave is focused on ensuring the company’s ongoing financial health as well as growing its global market share. In pursuing the latter, Dave’s wealth of experience and extensive business knowledge has made him a valued partner and trusted advisor to both our global licensees and multinational clientele.

Re-blogged from Eagle’s Flight.

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Providing organizational training that stays with participants long after they’ve consumed the learning material is a tough challenge. When you’re implementing traditional training methods-like lectures or presentations-how can you guarantee that your trainees are even listening? That’s the beauty of experience-based organizational training-it fully immerses participants for learning and behavior change that stays with them long after the training ends. Here are the three big reasons why experiences-and, in particular, experiential learning-are the best organizational training tools for learning that sticks.

Want Organizational Training to Stick Make It an Experience1. Participants Practice While They Learn

At its heart, experiential learning is “learning by doing.” Instead of being taught skills through traditional organizational training methods like passive presentations and then leaving participants to practice those skills on their own time, experiential learning combines skills learning and skills practice in one powerful training session. When we learn by doing, we retain up to 75% of the information we learn. Compare that to retention rates as low as 5% when we learn through lecture-based presentations.

Part of the reason that experience-based experiential learning is so effective is that it allows participants to immediately see the direct correlations between actions and results. Experiential learning takes the guesswork out of the action–consequence equation, leaving participants feeling confident that their newly acquired skills and behaviors will have a direct impact on their work. This also helps build personal conviction about the value of changing behaviors, because participants have seen and experienced firsthand the impact of certain behavior change.

2. Experience-Based Organizational Training Gets Participants Excited and Fully Immersed

One of the reasons why traditional organizational training methods don’t really stick is that they are not engaging or exciting. Lectures or PowerPoint presentations simply require passive participation, which means those lessons can go in one ear and out the other. Experience-based learning, however, requires full, active participation on the part of all trainees. Participants are up and moving, engaged in the experience at hand, instead of falling asleep in their seats!

Experiential learning takes it a step further by theming the learning experiences. The benefit of theming the training experience is twofold. First, themed experiences are simply more exciting than straight simulations or reenactments of workplace scenarios: amping up the fun of your organizational training event and keeping the energy high. Second, theming the training experience provides a safe environment for participants to take risks and learn from failure, which they would be less inclined to do in a training session that obviously mimics a real-world work scenario. Nobody wants to risk failure at work!

3. The Debrief Connects the Dots

For experiential learning to really stick, your organizational training must include a debrief, wherein the skills learned and consequences affected all come together. During the debrief, a facilitator reveals the themed training’s metaphor and how it relates to participants’ daily job responsibilities. The facilitator ensures that participants truly understand the outcomes and connections of the experience so that they can effectively apply their new skills and learning on the job. Conviction crystallizes during the debrief; it provides an “a-ha” moment for the participants, as it clearly links the experience with how to improve on-the-job performance.

Organizational training isn’t just about learning new information; it’s about instilling lasting behavior change. Immersive training experiences increase the chances that your training will actually be retained, making a lasting impact on your employees’ performance.

EF authorABOUT THE AUTHOR

As Chief Operating Officer, Sue’s extensive senior leadership experience and facilitation skills have established her as a trusted partner and organizational development expert. She has a proven track record of successfully leading culture transformation in Fortune 500 companies and has established herself as an authority on training and development. Sue has over 20 years of experience in the creation and delivery of programs and custom designed solutions for Eagle’s Flight.

Re-blogged from Eagle’s Flight.

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I am certain you have experienced this conundrum before: You’ve led participants through a training program, and all the indications are that they seem to understand the material. Many of them even ace the retention quizzes you’ve designed, so you know the learning has taken root yet their behavior on the job hasn’t changed.

Capture the Heart & Mind in Your Organization's Training ProgramsIf you’ve found yourself in this scenario when implementing training programs, it’s because you haven’t truly captured the hearts and minds of your participants. Participants not only need to learn new skills during training, they need to understand “what’s in it for them.” Yes…WIIFT! That’s what leads to true behavior change. Below are the two elements every one of your training programs must embrace in order to capture hearts and minds.

Build Personal Conviction

In order to capture the hearts and minds of your participants so that they actually apply the skills and behaviors they’ve learned post-training, you must build conviction during your training programs. In everything we do as humans, we hold on tightly to our beliefs, and those beliefs become part of our identities. If you have participants who believe strongly in doing something a certain way, then having them engage in training programs that attempt to teach new behaviors may seem like a personal attack on their beliefs and convictions—and even themselves. Yes, training can be an emotional minefield!

The solution is simple: In order to change hearts and minds, you must build conviction. Okay, maybe not simple, but very, very doable. You can intentionally design your training programs to capture a person’s conviction from the start. Experiential learning—that’s it! You must create experiences that viscerally engage participants, making them feel personally affected by the need for and value of learning new skills and changing behaviors. When participants physically and emotionally engage in experiential training, they are in effect mirroring their current reality. Through an experience, you can demonstrate how new behaviors improve the current reality, allowing your participants to become far more open to changing their behaviors on the job. The result is that new skills are taught and that there is a conviction that those new skills have the power to change a person’s current realities for the better. It is widely accepted that the more senses you use in learning, the more of an impact there will be on you as a learner—learning by doing is the perfect example of this.

Model Behaviors Through Leadership

What happens if you design your training programs to teach new behaviors and build personal conviction, but the day after your training, participants see one of the leaders of the company engaging in behaviors that go directly against what your training just taught? Your participants wouldn’t feel the urgency to change their behaviors anymore, as they may be thinking, If he can do it, then so can I.

For better or for worse, employees look to their leaders to figure out what behaviors are acceptable in the workplace. That’s why it’s so important to not only get budget buy-in from company leaders but their ongoing support and engagement too. Your company leaders must understand that they are responsible for training outcomes, even if they have a team implementing them, and that not supporting training initiatives by refusing to change their own behaviors undermines the efficacy of training altogether. “Do as I say, not as I do” just doesn’t work when it comes to capturing the hearts and minds of your people.

Keep in mind that when we say a company’s leadership must model the behaviors it wants to see in employees, we mean all levels of leadership: executives, middle management, and front-line supervisors. Often, however, you lose the hearts and minds of lower-level leadership as you rope them into modeling and motivating new behaviors learned by their supervisors during training programs. They may not understand the importance of the training and remain uncommitted to it, or they might not have the same communication skills needed to motivate their employees that higher levels of leadership possess. Investing in leadership training for all levels of leadership will ensure your other training programs are more effective. Leadership training teaches new skills and instills conviction, arming all levels of leaders with the tools they need to support their colleagues in new training initiatives.

What other strategies have you used to capture the hearts and minds of participants—and leadership—for your training programs?

paulABOUT THE AUTHOR

As Executive Vice President Global Performance, Paul has extensive experience in consultation, design, and delivery of programs over his 20 year career with Eagle’s Flight. Through his genuine personable approach, Paul is not only a trusted advisor but also a valued partner to his clients; he works seamlessly to ensure that Eagle’s Flight solutions are aligned to their needs and desired outcomes. As a result, Paul is the account executive for Eagle’s Flight largest account. Many of his clients are multi-year accounts from multinational, Fortune 500 companies.

Reblogged from Eagle’s Flight.

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In recent years, there seems to have been a widening gap in the corporate training world between expectations and reality. According to a Deloitte survey published in 2015, managers claimed that the area of learning and development was more important than ever and yet, at the same time, they admit that they’ve become even less prepared to meet learning and development needs.
Let’s make 2017 the year to turn things around. Here are four promising trends surrounding the measurement and assessment of corporate training programs that can help get your company on the right track:

1. Focus on Real Needs, First

Forget the bells and whistles of fancy corporate training programs for a moment, because it’s time to get back to basics which means deciding what your training needs really are. This seems like a crucial step in training development, but it’s one that’s often overlooked. Companies may chase after vendor-supplied corporate training programs that will claim to solve all of their problems (without understanding what those problems are), or they rely on the outdated in-house training they’ve always used—even if needs have shifted.

2017 will see a renewed effort to match up corporate training programs with real, demonstrated needs, rather than just going through the motions. This means taking stock of the company’s current realities by meeting with key leadership one on one and identifying what’s enabling your current level of success and what’s blocking you from going even higher.

2. Defining a Baseline for Measurement

In the same vein as the above, corporate training programs need to shift focus from what goes on during training to what happens before it begins. When it comes to measurement, that means clearly defining what you will measure as a result of the training. And, obviously, to measure improvement, you must first measure where you are.

In 2017, it’s time to get granular. Once you’ve established an understanding of your company’s “big picture” current reality, use measurement tools—like organizational surveys—to develop tangible numbers and specifics that speak to that reality. Developing a clear, specific baseline results in well-designed, responsive corporate training programs that make measuring ROI a whole lot easier.

3. Develop On-Demand Learning—and Measurement

The use of cutting-edge technology in corporate training programs has been on the rise for years. While nothing can replace immersive, experiential learning, there is most definitely a place for technology in training, especially as a learning retention tool.

Today’s workers—which is now composed of more than 53 million Millennials—crave on-demand learning at their fingertips. To meet this craving, companies should look into developing retention programs that take the form of apps, which can work on computers and mobile phones and are fun, short, and effective. With up to 70 percent of training being lost to learning decay within just one week, easy-to-use and addictively engaging retention activities should help stop up the learning leak.

Plus, it’s easier and faster to track learning gains through technology. While employees are engaging in learning and retention games on their phones, companies are able to collect real-time data on learning improvements to measure progress. This allows them to make quicker decisions about changes to their corporate training programs or retention strategies. Watch for more of a focus not just on tech and learning but also on tech and measurement in 2017.

4. Bringing Training and Business Strategy Together

Perhaps the biggest trend in 2017 will be a continuation of the recent push to marry HR direction and business strategy—and measurement will play a huge role. As competition for highly skilled employees remains high, training and retaining top talent become just as much a strategic initiative as an HR one. Thus, determining ROI becomes more important than ever, as it’s an indication of whether your training is working or not, yes, but it’s also an indication of whether or not a company is retaining its competitive edge.

2017 can also be the year that companies dig deeper with assessments. In addition to more traditional assessment and measurement tactics like surveys and tests, companies should also explore how assessments can help prime the leadership pipeline—which should be a major strategic initiative for any forward-thinking organization. Companies can use post-training assessments to discover those employees who have made the largest learning gains, which is an impressive feat which higher-ups should take notice of. Plus, assessments of high performers before training can be used to identify the common competencies that a company’s highest performers share. Then, training can be designed to deliver those competencies, thus ensuring a pipeline of top talent ready to step into leadership roles when they are needed.

A clear strategy for measuring results is crucial to any successful corporate training program. What trends in measurement do you think we’ll see—or need to see—in 2017?

 

MichaelAbout the author

Michael’s singular focus is rooted in staying connected to learners the moment they step out of the classroom and back into their busy jobs. As SVP of Learning Performance, Michael brings business savvy depth to ensuring learning is reinforced, applied and is optimally aligned to delivering on strategic objectives. His proven track record in creating measurement frameworks and reinforcement solutions that add value to the learner, leaders and executive sponsors is highly valued across the spectrum of our client engagements.

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mind-the-gap-whats-missing-from-most-team-building-training-programs

The scenario is all too familiar; your company’s executive leadership team understands the importance of team building training, and you spend plenty of time and money every year executing training initiatives, but you’re just not seeing the results you had anticipated.

While recognizing the importance of team building already puts you ahead of the pack, it sounds like the training you’re investing in right now is missing something. Consider these four elements that most team building training programs overlook to fill in the gap in your own training:

Training That’s Practical

It’s not enough to get a team in a room together and hope they bond over team building training activities you’ve you’ve pieced together from various sources. Training must be strategic and practical.

  • Is your training immediately applicable to the participants’ day-to-day job?
  • Are you providing solutions to real-world problems?
  • Do you have a way to measure the results of your team building training?

If you’ve answered “no” to these questions, then you will not be getting the most from your training budget.

Choosing an experiential learning method for your next team building initiative will help ensure your training is both strategic and practical. Experiential learning is discovery-based learning comprised of, immersive elements that mimic real-world scenarios in which participants find themselves daily. These activities involve learning by doing, which means your team will be practicing the new skills they’re learning during the training itself, rather than passively learning about them and having to practice on the job later.

A Theme That Excites and Aids Learning

Sometimes the problem with team building training isn’t that it’s not practical, it’s just plain boring. Using themes during training will add energy to your initiative! Theming will transport your participants to another “world,” where they can loosen up and have fun learning, instead of thinking about how they’re supposed to be acting. Which sounds like more fun, acting out a simulation of a team meeting or putting on your “engineer” hat to build a bridge to span an ecosystem?

Incorporating a theme into your team building training is about more than amping up the fun. When you theme your events, you’re taking participants out of their day-to-day realities, which means they’ll be more likely to take risks during the training. They may even “fail”, which is a great learning tool! When training looks too much like a real job scenario, participants are hesitant to stretch themselves, out of fear of failure.

Leadership Training for Teams

It’s true that there’s no “I” in team, but the most successful teams do have designated leaders. While many team building programs focus on improving communication skills and problem-solving together, leadership training is often reserved for colleagues at the management level. When training is designed this way, teams miss out. That’s because team leaders are often designated based on their expertise in a field—not their experience with leading—so team leaders may feel lost and unsupported in their new leadership roles. Investing in leadership training for team leaders will give these new leaders the skills needed to garner top results with their teams.

Team Building Training for Remote Employees

While more and more companies are allowing employees a level of freedom to work from home, when it comes to team building, these remote workers are often forgotten, and that’s a detriment to the company. These remote employees still work in teams! Consider ways to include these employees in training, like through live, web-based workshops. Sometimes, though, there’s just no substitute for an in-person t training event. If many of your employees are remote, it could pay off big-time to host an off-site training that brings employees together for some valuable face-to-face time. Let’s face it: It’s hard to connect over email, so an in-person event can strengthen relationships between colleagues while providing opportunities for practical, experiential learning-based team training.

What other key elements do you think your team building training initiative is missing?

About the Author

sue

Sue, an authority on training and development, has over 20 years of experience in the creation and delivery of programs and custom designed training solutions for Eagle’s Flight. As Chief Operating Officer, Sue’s vast senior leadership experience and facilitation has established her as a trusted partner and organizational development expert for numerous Fortune 500 companies.

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Corporate training events come with a certain set of expectations from employees. Whether those expectations are positive or negative is up to the organizer. Employee events like staff retreats, conferences, monthly or quarterly meetings, and even office social gatherings can be opportunities for corporate training, even if participants don’t realize that they are learning at the time. how-to-embed-corporate-training-into-employee-events Subtly integrating learning into employee events can help prevent preconceived notions about corporate training from getting in the way of education. This is especially true for organizations that don’t have a great track record with training. Employees who feel that corporate training is a waste of time or boring will be pleasantly surprised with a well-executed and unexpected learning event.

You can come up with different creative ways to integrate corporate training into employee events. These are just a few examples:

Make It Immersive

The more engaging a training event is, the more likely an individual is to retain information. Immersive training events capture attention and enable participants to learn and practice new skills in a safe environment.  When you tie those lessons back to the real corporate world, you have a room full of people who learned a new skill without even realizing they were participating in a corporate training event.

 

Download A Guide To Creating Interactive & Engaging Company Events

 

Here are some simple things you can do to create an immersive training event:

  • Don’t leave out any details so your participants feel like they are really in the experience
  • Make it energizing; the more exciting and energized the room, the more buy-in you’ll get from your participants
  • Incorporate an experience where participants are mixing and mingling with people they don’t normally work with. This will allow participants to try new things while learning new skills and understand how things are across your organization

Make It Subtle

Nothing says “corporate training” like a personality test or a slide deck chock-full of bullet points. Many individuals automatically shut down when the projector turns on. On the other hand, when participants walk into a room and suddenly feel like they have been transported to an alternate reality, they can’t help but have their curiosity piqued. Before they know it, they are learning how to forge effective partnershipswhile completing a mission. After a few hours of wheeling and dealing, their ability to identify and capitalize on strategic partnerships has skyrocketed. Do the participants feel like they were at a corporate training event? No. They were too busy boosting profits by connecting with the right partners.

Mix It Up

Add a little variety to the day to keep participants engaged and on their toes. When employees don’t know what’s going to happen next, they can’t become complacent. You can keep minds and bodies more attentive by:

  • Using multiple formats like video, lecture, games, and contests
  • Scheduling part of the event outdoors when possible
  • Using different areas of the space you are in
  • Changing the layout of the room or doing some activities while standing or moving around

Merge with Management

It’s a lot easier for employees to feel that corporate training is valuable if leadership is doing it with them. When leaders are present at employee events and participating in the learning activities, it demonstrates a commitment to organizational development and helps individuals connect better with managers. Employee events are an excellent opportunity to build company culture by creating a common language and enabling individuals at every level in the organization to have a shared experience.

Make It Fun

Many employee events have a single activity that participants find fun and engaging. However, these are often surrounded by more typical activities like presentations, brainstorms, and breakout groups. This inconsistency causes participants to tune out in between the fun sessions, and the result is a loss of momentum throughout the day. If your corporate training event is immersive from start to finish, participants don’t have the opportunity to disengage. Maintaining a consistent theme for the entire event, even during meals and breaks, will keep minds on the task at hand. When done well, an immersive corporate training event will keep participants puzzling over problems and solutions after the event.

When planning your event, don’t forget to theme:

  • Food
  • Prizes and gifts
  • Decorations
  • Music
  • Conference materials
  • Newsletters or announcements leading up to and after the event

If the term “corporate training” triggers yawns and skepticism in your workplace, it’s time to consider a different method. The goal of a corporate training event is to produce long-term skill sets that participants are excited to use in the real world. By integrating immersive educational experiences into employee events, you have the opportunity to impart new knowledge and create an enjoyable experience at the same time. After one successful event, next time you say “corporate training,” you’ll be greeted with a completely different attitude.

What other methods have you used for embedding corporate training events into employee events?

 

johnAbout the author

Since 1991, John has acquired extensive experience in the design and delivery of a diverse portfolio of programs. In addition to his executive responsibilities as President of Leadership and Learning Events, John is considered a valued partner to many executive teams. His insight and experience enable him to effectively diagnose, design, and implement complex culture change initiatives in a collaborative and engaging manner. Moreover, John’s experience in global implementations allows him to draw from a deep well of history to create unique and customized solutions. John’s passion for developing people makes him a sought after speaker, partner and coach and is evident in the high praise he receives from clients.

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When an organization decides that the customer should always be the first consideration when making any type of decision within the company, it’s critical that every employee understands what this means. More importantly, they must fully embrace the concept of customer centricity and feel empowered to take the necessary steps toward making every customer experience an excellent one. Customer centricity training will get everybody on the same page and create the framework for a truly customer centric business. what-does-customer-centricity-training-entail-blog

The intent of customer centricity training is to teach the behaviors that contribute to a culture that always puts the customer first. Your training sessions should include the following content:

Understanding What Customer Centricity Means

If you asked 10 people in your organization today what customer centricity means, you are likely to get 10 different answers. After customer centricity training, every employee will have the same response: putting the customer first in everything you do. Of course, there is more to the story than that simple phrase, but the first step in customer centricity training is defining what it means to be a company that is not just customer-friendly, but customer centric.

Defining the Desired Customer Experience

What does your organization want a customer to think and feel at every step from the first interaction through a sale and beyond? Without direction from leadership and a unified training program, every employee will have a different opinion, and it won’t always achieve the level of excellence you desire.

Download the free Guide to Effective Leadership Training & Development here!

The details are up to you, but defining what you want the customer experience to be like is a necessary part of customer centricity training.

Learning How to Claim Ownership

Many employees think that if they don’t interact with customers, they don’t need customer centricity training. They couldn’t be more wrong. Every single employee in an organization (from the janitor to the CEO) need to always think about how they impact the customer experience with their actions. For example, a warehouse employee influences the customer experience in the way that a product is packaged for shipment. They may never speak with a customer in the course of doing their job, but if they pack a product carelessly and it breaks during shipment, their actions have a negative impact on the customer experience. Every employee should ask themselves on a daily basis what they can do to improve the customer experience.

Learning How to Take Action

Another key component of a typical customer centricity training is teaching individuals how to take action in the organization and providing them with a structure to do so. Take the example of the warehouse worker who packs hundreds of shipments every day. They have an idea to include a card in every shipment with the name of the person who packed it, along with a photo and unique quote. They believe that packers would be inclined to do their jobs more carefully if they felt a sense of ownership, and they also think it would delight customers to have the package more personalized. Before customer centricity training, this employee might not feel empowered to bring this idea to a superior. After training, they would know to ask:

What is preventing me from taking this action, and how can I overcome that hurdle?

The training should also provide a framework for moving ideas through the organization. They would know whom to go to for authorization, additional training, or whatever would help them move beyond the hurdle.

If you’re not sure if your organization could benefit from customer centricity training, start from the beginning and ask 10 people in your organization what customer centricity means. The results will speak for themselves.

 

johnAbout the author

Since 1991, John has acquired extensive experience in the design and delivery of a diverse portfolio of programs. In addition to his executive responsibilities as President of Leadership and Learning Events, John is considered a valued partner to many executive teams. His insight and experience enable him to effectively diagnose, design, and implement complex culture change initiatives in a collaborative and engaging manner. Moreover, John’s experience in global implementations allows him to draw from a deep well of history to create unique and customized solutions. John’s passion for developing people makes him a sought after speaker, partner and coach and is evident in the high praise he receives from clients.

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Introducing new concepts, systems, or processes in a work environment is rarely as simple as sending an email and immediately getting the desired results. Successfully convincing individuals to change their behavior in the workplace requires:

  • Clear communication about expectations
  • An organizational training program that provides the necessary skills
  • Consistent reinforcement and measurement 5-change-management-activities-to-add-to-your-meeting-agenda

This might seem like a tall order, and indeed it does require a comprehensive overall strategy, but there are some simple change management activities you can do on a daily basis.

Meetings are the most logical place for change management activities because you have the attention of the entire group at the same time. You can ensure that people be hear the message and create a greater likelihood of understanding what you say. Consider adding these change management activities to your next meeting agenda:

1. Status Updates

Have an agenda item for status updates about  initiatives occurring in your organization. For example, if your organization is shifting to a customer-centric culture, a sales staff meeting might include an update about the new sales process that is under development. This is also a great opportunity to gather input from the sales team about how to be more customer centric and get the team to start thinking in that mindset.

Status updates should include:

  • What initiatives are currently happening
  • The status of each initiative
  • The next steps for each initiative

The individuals providing the updates will have to stay on top of their assigned tasks, and others will feel more involved in the process, especially if they have the opportunity to provide feedback during status updates.

2. Reinforcement Exercises

If your strategy includes organizational training, one of the most important change management activities you can do is reinforcement exercises. The human brain will only retain so much information (10-30%) after a training session, unless you actively recall the lessons learned. Adding a quick reinforcement exercise such as a quiz, game, or discussion about how to apply the new knowledge in the workplace will keep the information fresh in the minds of participants and encourage them to apply and use their new skills.

3. Introduce the Next Initiative

Make time to discuss the next change that is on the horizon, even if you don’t plan to roll it out for several months. Communicating early about changes to come will allow individuals to mentally prepare in advance. Providing regular updates about the plans in the pipeline will reduce the inevitable anxiety that people feel about change. Giving individuals an opportunity to provide feedback will make them feel more invested in the process and increase the likelihood that they will embrace the new systems. Clear communication about upcoming initiatives also demonstrates that leadership has a strategy in place and a plan for executing it.

4. Recognize Successes

Create an agenda item that prompts you to identify all of the successful milestones or accomplishments since the previous meeting. These could be as simple as an individual who exhibited one of the desirable behaviors identified in a recent training, or as significant as a team who measurably improved their sales numbers. When individuals know that leadership is paying attention and that they will be rewarded for their efforts, they are more likely to adopt the changes you are introducing. and more likely to perform at their peak. Many leaders don’t realize how impactful recognition can be, especially in a public form like a team meeting.

5. Action Items

Every productive meeting should include action items that are assigned to individuals and have clear deadlines. Action items go hand-in-hand with status updates on your agenda. Everybody knows that they will be expected to report back to the group, increasing the likelihood that they will complete their assigned tasks. Action items also provide the benefit of keeping a project moving forward.

It’s unrealistic to expect individuals to change their behavior without some motivation. Including these change management activities in your meetings helps maintain momentum, gives leadership a forum for introducing new changes to come, and increases accountability. What agenda items did you include in your last meeting?

 

sueAbout the author

Sue, an authority on training and development, has over 20 years of experience in the creation and delivery of programs and custom designed training solutions for Eagle’s Flight. As Chief Operating Officer, Sue’s vast senior leadership experience and facilitation has established her as a trusted partner and organizational development expert for numerous Fortune 500 companies.

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A quick Google search of “corporate sales training” reveals nearly 23 million results. So how do you decide which corporate sales training program is right for your team? While every organization’s needs are different, here are five key things to look for in any sales training program that’s worth your investment: 5 Things to Look for in Corporate Sales Training Programs

1. Ongoing Support

A one-day training seminar will do little good for your sales professionals, thanks to the learning decay curve. If you really want the lessons and skills taught during training to stick, look for programs that have robust support after the actual sales training. How does the program encourage consistent application of the new behaviors learned during training? Does the program help managers and leaders support their employees in their new skills? And how long after the training does this support last? When up to 70 percent of what trainees learn is forgotten within 24 hours of training, post-training support is the key to a corporate sales training that produces significant ROI.

2. Training Style

A well-developed sales training program can combat learning decay through the design of its training. When comparing different corporate sales training programs, consider whether the training is presentation-based or discovery-based. Does the training employ experiential learning? “Experiential learning” is essentially learning by doing. Experiential learning allows trainees to practice the skills they’re learning in a safe scenario during the training itself, rather than passively consuming information via a traditional presentation and not being given the opportunity to test out the new skills. Plus, the engaging nature of experiential learning brings the learning to life. The result is sales training that’s immediately applicable on the job—and less likely to be forgotten.

Download the FAQs of Experiential Learning for Organizational Development.

3. Focus on the Customer

It’s a given that in order to be a competent salesperson, you have to be extremely knowledgeable in what you’re selling. But landing sales today goes far beyond product knowledge; increasing customer complexity means that customers require salespeople to not just be experts in their products but experts in the problems facing the customer and the wider trends in the customer’s industry. Look for corporate sales training that emphasizes the importance of understanding customer needs—both perceived and real needs. Thoroughly examining and understanding the customer will give you a leg up on the sales competition, and solid training programs should help you develop a systematic approach to organizing data and details about the customer.

4. Focus on Value (Not Price)

Don’t get stuck with a corporate sales training program that preaches that “price” is still an acceptable market differentiator. Thanks in part to advances in technology, customers today are more sophisticated than ever; they’re facing complex problems that require multi-faceted solutions, and they’re willing to pay a pretty penny to get those solutions. In short, today’s customers are sold on value, not price. If the materials in the sales training program you’re considering don’t emphasize the importance of selling on value (and how that’s vastly different from selling on price), then you may be signing up for sales training that’s stuck in the past.

5. Looking Beyond the Sell

A standard corporate sales training program will train participants in how to close sales—but a great training program will also address what should happen after you close. A no-fail sales strategy doesn’t end with a single sale. How can you turn one-off sales into true partnerships? How can you leverage your customer relationships to go further? A corporate sales training program worth investing in will go beyond teaching traditional sales skills to answer these questions.
Have you invested in corporate sales training programs in the past? What were the results—and what do you think the training was missing?

 

paulAbout the author

As Executive Vice President Global Performance, Paul has extensive experience in consultation, design, and delivery of programs over his 20 year career with Eagle’s Flight. Through his genuine personable approach, Paul is not only a trusted advisor but also a valued partner to his clients; he works seamlessly to ensure that Eagle’s Flight solutions are aligned to their needs and desired outcomes. As a result, Paul is the account executive for Eagle’s Flight largest account. Many of his clients are multi-year accounts from multinational, Fortune 500 companies.

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