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The Top 10 Mind Tools L&D Blogs of 2019! – What You’ve Been Reading

Every week, we’ve been busy adding new posts to our L&D blog – and thousands of L&D and HR professionals have stopped by to have a read. So, as we turn the page to 2020, we thought it would be a good time to take a look back at the 10 most-visited blogs from our 2019 collection.

I hope you enjoy discovering which posts have earned a place at the top table, and catch up on any you may have missed this year. And, judging by some of the entries that made the cut, our readers certainly do enjoy a top 10!

1: Confident or Arrogant? How to Tell the Difference and Why It Matters

Confidently – but without a hint of arrogance – sitting at the top of our chart is a thought-provoking post from expert coach, Bruna Martinuzzi.

Teams are cauldrons of emotion. And Bruna (who makes a few appearances in this top 10!) says, whatever you do, don’t allow one or two arrogant individuals to contaminate the mood of others.

She advises L&D or HR professionals to pay attention to emotional contagion, and to create an environment where team members can thrive. Read her full blog here.

2: 10 Things Managers Should Never Say… and What to Say Instead

For managers, off-the-cuff comments to their people can cause irreparable damage. From demotivation to resentment, guilt to open conflict, one ill-thought-out remark could even damage your entire organization.

And coming in a close second in our top 10 is this blog from contributor Faye Bradshaw, who highlights 10 communication faux pas, and how to rephrase them professionally.

This list of horror stories clearly hit a chord with our readers. Have you heard any of them around your workplace? Read Faye’s post here.

3: Recommended Reading – 10 Books to Boost Your L&D This Fall

Taking bronze was our peek at the world of Mind Tools’ Book Insights, with excerpts from resources normally available only to corporate clients and Premium Club members.

The list includes books ranging from “8 Keys to Eliminating Passive-Aggressiveness,” to “Driving Digital Strategy: A Guide to Reimagining Your Business.” They’re all designed to invigorate your career and help you to navigate the modern work environment. You can read the full post here.

4: 10 Good Reasons to Keep Learning

At number four is (you guessed it!) another top 10, this time based on reasons to keep learning. Here we provide 10 good answers you can give to people who question the value of investing in continual learning.

For a start, it boosts happiness, improves productivity, and reduces costs. Who wouldn’t want to sign up for that?

This post also includes a handy infographic, which you can download and use to convince the skeptics within your organization! The full post is here.

5: How to Build Your People’s Resilience

At Mind Tools, you’ll find many resources on stress management. And posts on that subject also made it into our top 10 list.

Stress reduces resilience. Organizations need to ensure that their people are not forced to cope with unnecessary strain, be it from excessive workloads or poor management styles

Here, Bruna Martinuzzi looks at the causes and impact of workplace stress, and explores how it can undermine attempts to boost people’s resilience. Read her post here.

6: Favoritism: The Hidden Cause of Underperformance

In at number six is Bruna’s exploration of favoritism and nepotism – and the damage they both do to workplace culture.

And it’s not just anecdotal, either. A 2011 Georgetown University study found that a whopping 92 percent of senior business executives had witnessed favoritism in employee promotions.

Bruna advocates a workplace culture where fairness is valued, regardless of whether a superior has taken a liking to someone. You can read her blog here.

7: The Top 6 Learning Methods to Try This Month

October was National Learning and Development Month. We treated our readers to the lowdown on six powerful learning methods.

From classroom training to online learning, Mind Tools’ Natalie Benfell walked through a variety of approaches, considering the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Her conclusion? If you want to appeal to a range of learner types, use a combination of methods to deliver a perfect, blended approach. Read Natalie’s post here.

8: Progress Not Perfection

At number eight, Bruna Martinuzzi warns us against pursuing perfection. As an approach, she says, it’s unrealistic and unattainable. Instead, it’s a fast track to failure and unhappiness.

Bruna explains how having high expectations can prevent you from getting things done. And there’s guidance on what to do if you, or someone in your team, is a perfectionist.

It turns out that cutting yourself some slack can actually help you to achieve more! Read the post here.

9: 6 Things the Best Firms Are Doing to Give Learning Impact!

Back in July, we hosted one of our most popular webinars this year with Dani Johnson from RedThread Research.

Dani talked attendees through the company’s latest research, which highlighted practices that leading organizations are using to deliver the greatest learning impact for their people.

This blog gives readers a rundown of the highlights from that webinar, and a chance to listen back. You’ll find it here.

10: Actionable Insights: Is Your Data Giving You Insight or Just Information?

The last entry on our list is from resident Mind Tools data guru, James Wilson. He posted a number of data-related blogs throughout the year – and, now that the numbers are in, this turned out to be the most popular.

With so much information available, James spells out the kind of data you should be looking for: numbers that deliver “actionable insights.”

Other top tips include, “Don’t get lost in the data,” “Measure your project against the original desired outcomes,” and, “Stay commercially aware.” After all, who needs an analysis of old news? You can read his post here.

So, there you have it folks, the most popular Mind Tools L&D blog posts from 2019. If you’d like to be one of the first to hear when we publish new posts, join our mailing list and get the latest from Mind Tools straight to your inbox.

Happy holidays!

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#WorkTrends: Solving a 7 Trillion Dollar Problem

Our guest on #WorkTrends today is Calvin Hsu, the VP of Product Marketing at Citrix. A self-described right-brain technologist, he’s passionate about aligning people, technology and business to deliver an amazing employee experience. The key is a digital work environment that’s streamlined, engaging and — behind the scenes — secure. 

Listen to the full conversation or read the recap below. And don’t forget to subscribe, so you never miss an episode. 

[04:15] We don’t need to fix the individual application’s relationship to the person, we need to fix the person’s relationship to all of their applications.

[07:38] There’s definitely this gap in the industry between the people who make the technology and the people who tell other people what it does and why they want it. 

[15:39] You need to be able to have a broad system that’s collecting accurate information about your behavior and that really does understand you.

[20:55] The person is still the center of creativity and innovation and how the work gets done, but they could be leveraging technology in a more personal way.

Today, we’re talking to Calvin Hsu from Citrix about bringing together technology, people and business to fix a very expensive problem: $7 trillion in lost output. Hsu is the VP of Product Marketing at Citrix, and is part of an exciting new kind of digital workspace and a transformed employee experience. The company just announced they’ve added new features within the Citrix® Workspace™ — such as the intelligent feed and personalized workflows. So it’s a great time to have this conversation. 

If you happened to catch Hsu’s presentation at the recent Citrix Synergy event, you know he’s deeply involved — you might even say obsessed — with providing organizations with a digital workspace that does away with the hyper-siloed, apps-by-the-dozen experience in favor of one that’s seamless, aligned with business objectives and more secure. Hsu is a technologist with a difference: he started out as an English major, of all things, and has never lost his love of story. And if there’s a story to his work at Citrix, it’s a through-line of creativity, but with a clear belief that if you’re not aligned with business objectives, the innovation isn’t doing what it should.  

Application Overload

Hsu pointed out that spending $7 trillion on applications that actually thwart engagement experience and output is nobody’s fault. “When we drop a number like that, everyone covers their mouth and says, ‘Oh geez, did I do that?’’ But it’s more the natural outcome of how we’ve built technology for decades — application by application, upgrade by upgrade. This siloed thinking has resulted in employees using some 30 or 40 different applications and digital tools on any given day, and without question, that can be exhausting. On any given day, the average employee spends nearly 65% of their time on busy work and in meetings, 20% searching for information and just 15% doing what they want and are paid to do.

People Are the Center of Experience

Hsu discussed the need to shift from a jigsaw puzzle of applications to a cohesive workspace — and how a discussion with a customer made him think about how we use technology.  “He was one of the earlier customers … deploying enterprise applications and really actively measuring people’s satisfaction and how much they would recommend it to their coworkers,” Hsu recalled. When the subject of metrics came up, the customer said he wouldn’t use them, as he knew his employees would hate it. Putting people and focusing on experience is vital — but it also changes the game in terms of tech.

Getting Security Right

Of course with countless users on a digital platform, security is tantamount. But security needs to smarten up, Hsu said. He brought up credit card fraud protection — in which the credit card company collects data about your habits and behaviors, and then mistakenly decides that if you’re in a new country or buying something different, something must be wrong. The company puts a hold on the card based on this false positive, and the customer is furious. It’s critical that security measures applied to digital workspaces be based on broader and smarter criteria. And that’s just as important in terms of delivering a seamless experience as the rest of the platform.

In my conversation with Hsu we covered so much ground, including his take on the future of work. The future of work needs less digital noise and no more meaningless tasks —and that’s what’s happening now, as he pointed out. This is an intelligent digital workspace that really provides employees with the personalized experience they need to be their most productive and do the work that matters. That’s what we all want, I’d say. I think you’ll find Hsu’s perspective just as interesting as I did.

Resources Mentioned in this Episode:

Calvin Hsu on Linkedin and Twitter

This episode is sponsored by Citrix.

Photo by Florian Krumm on Unsplash

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L&D Blog » Introduction to Instructional Design

Among the L&D professional’s core skills is the ability to design learning materials. But doing so for a diverse, online audience can be tricky.

It’s vital to account for different learning preferences, but according to leading instructional designer Jan Seabrook, this requires time. Jan says, “The pay-off is that online learning materials offer advantages such as consistency of content and reduced learning time.”

Why Is Instructional Design Important?

Over the years, the importance of instructional design (ID) has been emphasized to varying degrees. But it’s now in danger of being ignored in the face of template-driven, rapid-authoring of learning objects, simulations, unstructured learning, peer groups, and so on.

There’s also a greater focus on logging and measuring learning – on top of the usual pressures of time and costs. Yet ID provides a structure, discipline and core framework for learning solutions. In addition, it’s based on principles that can help to keep any project on track.

Psychologist Robert Gagné argues that there are different kinds of knowledge and skills, and that each of them requires unique conditions for learning. ID’s job is to identify these conditions. Its architecture can comprise media-, message-, strategy-, and model-driven designs for learning programs.

Overcoming Obstacles

However, in the world of corporate learning, ID has to overcome a range of practical problems. For example:

  • Often, instructional designers don’t lead the L&D team and therefore don’t call the shots.
  • Projects have a habit of changing. Instructional designers will likely be asked to alter the entire design in order to cater for extra learner categories.
  • The rest of the project group, and the client, probably won’t understand the particular nuances, skills and rationale of the design.
  • Program design has shifted from the instructional designer to subject matter experts. These experts aren’t necessarily skilled in, or sympathetic to, ID techniques. Nor are they adept at remembering what it’s like to know very little about the subject in which they now specialize.

To be effective, ID needs to be based on identified learning needs, relate to organizational needs, and have clearly defined objectives.

It should also structure and sequence the content effectively, use the appropriate delivery media, and offer assessment and feedback.

How to Create Effective Learning Programs

Of course, learning should take priority over technology. Merely having the technology to develop learning materials doesn’t guarantee their effectiveness. The content of an effective learning program should match the user’s immediate learning needs. But, according to Jan Seabrook, “this implies a proper user analysis yet, often, that’s taken for granted, with the manager/client describing who needs the learning.

“By reducing time to [just] the delivery of online learning, working with smaller budgets, and a possible assumption that ‘anyone can put learning online,’ the role of ID may be seen as unnecessary. However, its role is to allow learners to become proficient performers, in the most efficient and effective way, at whatever the project set out to achieve. An effective instructional designer can also provide useful reference materials, improve work processes, and provide other helpful [pieces of] advice for the business that become apparent during the ID process for the project.”

The Frank Troha Instructional Design Model

New York-based ID specialist Frank Troha says, “In life-or-death situations, there are proven processes – or protocols. They’re followed because they tend to produce the desired result. I wish I could say the same for corporate training.

“Doctors agree on the process to be followed to remove an appendix. But do workers in the L&D field agree on the process to be followed to design effective instruction? In my 30-plus years of designing corporate training, I’ve met many L&D colleagues who’ve been far more enamored with the latest technologies than with mastering an effective protocol or process for the design of instructional experiences. Yet it’s the mastery of an ID model that provides the basis or framework which informs the proper selection and utilization of the most appropriate technologies.”

Creating a Blueprint for Success

Frank’s ID model comprises a series of major questions, asked in sequence. They are:

  • What’s the purpose of the training?
  • What’s indicated the need for it?
  • Who’s the audience?
  • What do they need to come away with as a result of completing the training?
  • Given that we want them to come away with those things, what exactly do we need to address in the training?
  • What’s the best way to get those elements of course content across to the audience? (This is where the selection of appropriate learning technologies comes in.)
  • How can we help make sure that the learning “sticks” – what can we do before, during and after the training to ensure that it’s kept alive?
  • How will we evaluate the effectiveness of the training, both while it’s being developed (or drafted) and after it’s been finalized and delivered to the audience?

The answers to these questions form a blueprint to guide the development of learning programs.

“These eight steps are an ID model,” says Frank. “By contrast, consider what happens when a subject matter expert dives in and populates templates with learning content – compared with an instructional designer who uses an approach like the eight questions. Which individual is likely to produce the more effective training experience? I know the answer to that question – and it’s why I believe ID will never die.”

How do you make your L&D materials, who else is involved, and what have you learned from the process? Share your ideas in our comments section below.

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Lessons From the CHA Symposium

In October, Mind Tools was proud to sponsor the Catholic Health Australia (CHA) Symposium in Melbourne.

CHA represents the largest non-government provider of health and community care services in Australia.

The inaugural symposium was CHA’s premier event in learning and development, bringing together people from across the CHA community, including nursing, midwifery, allied health, clinical and education staff.

The purpose of the event was to give members the opportunity to network, learn and exchange ideas. There were also presentations from industry experts, such as associate professor Dr Judy Dunchscher, who specialises in nursing graduate education and transition into the work environment.

From Classroom Learning to Just-in-Time Learning 

Mind Tools was introduced to the gathering by former CEO Ollie Craddock, who co-presented an informative session, “L&D Success Story: Moving From Classroom Learning to Just-in-Time Learning,” with one of our corporate clients, St John of God Health Care.

Mind Tools’ Ollie Craddock addresses the Catholic Health Australia Symposium

During the session, Rita Maguire and Deb Wild, St John of God Health Care’s group director workforce and group learning design manager respectively, outlined the challenges that the organization faced before joining forces with Mind Tools.

For example, their caregivers didn’t have equal access to learning opportunities in the workplace and were looking to enhance their skill sets. They also found it challenging to engage the organization’s dispersed workforce – as a high number of caregivers are based in remote locations.

Implementing a Just-in-Time Learning Platform 

Rita described the journey of implementing Mind Tools, and how the organization was able to shift its cultural mindset from push learning to pull learning, while also accelerating the performance of all of the organization’s caregivers.  

Since partnering, Mind Tools content has been built into the organization’s wider programs, including onboarding, objective mapping and management training. 

Ollie then highlighted some of the key successes that St John of God Health Care’s new learning initiative with Mind Tools has achieved so far. For example, staff amassed 30,382 page views in 11 months, and more than 2,500 learners are using Mind Tools’ resources every month.  

Rita said, “Our people need mentors and coaches, not managers. Mind Tools on-demand learning gives them what they need, when they need it.

“It manages to take face-to-face programs completely online, and delivers to our caregivers much more quickly.”

Driving Success Through Marketing

The presenters then went on to explain how this has all be achieved through a range of marketing techniques and channels.

Ollie spoke about how Mind Tools worked closely with St John of God Health Care to understand its diverse learner audience, and then send relevant and timely messages to nudge them to the vast range of content available.

To prove the ROI of its L&D, the organization is measuring success using several channels, including internal surveys and close monitoring of usage.

So far, the results have been very encouraging, and Mind Tools is working to develop this strong partnership even further and explore new initiatives for engaging all 14,000 team members at St John of God Health Care.

Rita closed the presentation out by saying, “Mind Tools will become every caregiver’s “Google”, using it to direct their own learning, available at their fingertips.”

If you would like to hear more about our partnership with St John of God Health Care, you can listen to the webinar we recorded shortly before the symposium.

If you’d like to find out more about our corporate subscription, request a demo today and discover how Mind Tools can help you and your organization.

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Tallying the momentous growth and continued expansion of Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform

We’ve seen incredible growth of Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform just in the past year. This momentum is driving a massive investment in people and breakthrough technologies that will empower organizations to transform in the next decade.

We have allocated hundreds of millions of dollars in our business cloud that power business transformation across markets and industries and help organizations solve difficult problems.

This fiscal year we are also heavily investing in the people that bring Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform to life — a rapidly growing global network of experts, from engineers and researchers to sales and marketing professionals. Side-by-side with our incredible partner community, the people that power innovation at Microsoft will fuel transformational experiences for our customers into the next decade.

Accelerating innovation across industries

In every industry, I hear about the struggle to transform from a reactive to proactive organization that can respond to changes in the market, customer needs, and even within their own business. When I talk to customers who have rolled out Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform, the conversation shifts to the breakthrough outcomes they’ve achieved, often in very short time frames.

Customers talk about our unique ability to connect data holistically across departments and teams — with AI-powered insights to drive better outcomes. Let me share a few examples.

This year we’ve focused on a new vision for retail that unifies back office, in-store and digital experiences. One of Washington state’s founding wineries — Ste. Michelle Wine Estates — is onboarding Dynamics 365 Commerce to bridge physical and digital channels, streamline operations with cloud intelligence and continue building brand loyalty with hyper-personalized customer experiences.

When I talk to manufacturers, we often zero in on ways to bring more efficiency to the factory floor and supply chain. Again, it’s our ability to harness data from physical and digital worlds, reason over it with AI-infused insights, that opens doors to new possibilities. For example, Majans, the Australian-based snackfood company, is creating the factory of the future with the help of Microsoft Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management, Power BI and Azure IoT Hub — bringing Internet of Things (IoT) intelligence to every step in the supply chain, from quality control on the production floor to key performance indicators to track future investments. When everyone relies on a single source of truth about production, inventory and sales performance, decisions employees make drive the same outcome — all made possible on our connected business cloud.

These connected experiences extend to emerging technologies that bridge digital and physical worlds, such as our investment in mixed reality. We’re working with companies like PACCAR — manufacturer of premium trucks — to improve manufacturing productivity and employee training using Dynamics 365 Guides and HoloLens 2, as well as Siemens to enable technicians to service its eHighway — an electrified freight transport system — by completing service steps with hands-free efficiency using HoloLens and two-way communication and documentation in Dynamics 365 Field Service.

For many of our customers, the journey to Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform started with a need for more personalized customer experiences. Our customer data platform (CDP) featuring Dynamics 365 Customer Insights, is helping Tivoli Gardens — one of the world’s longest-running amusement parks — personalize guest experiences across every touchpoint — on the website, at the hotel and in the park.  Marston’s has onboarded Dynamics 365 Sales and Customer Insights to unify guest data and infuse personalized experiences across its 1,500-plus pubs across the U.K.

The value of Dynamics 365 is compounded when coupled with the Power Platform. In late 2019, there are over 3 million monthly active developers on the Power Platform, from non-technical “citizen developers” to Microsoft partners developing world-class, customized apps. In the last year, we’ve seen a 700% growth in Power Apps production apps and a 300% growth in monthly active users. All of those users generate a ton of data, with more than 25 billion Power Automate steps run each day and 25 million data models hosted in the Power BI service.

The impact of the Power Platform is shared in the stories our customers share with us. TruGreen, one of the largest lawn care companies in the U.S., onboarded Dynamics 365 Customer Insights and the Microsoft Power Platform to provide more proactive and predictive services to customers, freeing employees to spend more time on higher value tasks and complex customer issue resolution. And the American Red Cross is leveraging Power Platform integration with Teams to improve disaster response times.

From the Fortune 500 companies below to the thousands of small and medium sized businesses, city and state governments, schools and colleges and nonprofit organizations — Dynamics 365 and the Microsoft Cloud are driving transformative success delivering on business outcomes.

24 business logos of Microsoft partners

Partnering to drive customer success

We can’t talk about growth and momentum of Dynamics 365 and Power Platform without spotlighting our partner community — from ISVs to System Integrators that are the lifeblood of driving scale for our business. We launched new programs, such as the new ISV Connect Program, to help partners get Dynamics 365 and Power Apps solutions to market faster.

Want to empower the next generation of connected cloud business? Join our team!

The incredible momentum of Dynamics 365 and Power Platform means our team is growing, too. In markets around the globe, we’re looking for people who want to make a difference and take their career to the next level by helping global organizations digitally transform on Microsoft Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform. If you’re interested in joining our rapidly growing team, we’re hiring across a wealth of disciplines, from engineering to technical sales, in markets across the globe. Visit to explore business applications specialist career opportunities.

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The Microsoft Diversity and Inclusion Report reveals momentum and learnings for the future

Today, I’m sharing the progress we’re making toward our goal to increase diversity at Microsoft globally. Our 2019 Diversity and Inclusion Report is our most comprehensive to date, and reflects our data, our journey, our learnings, and our employees’ stories. With this year’s report, we renew our commitment to our mission to consciously and intentionally include everyone.

In 2019, we made progress on our diversity and inclusion objectives, as reflected in the numbers. But there is another part of our journey that year-over-year data can’t convey: the depth of our commitment and the range of programs in place to keep diversity and inclusion at the heart of the work we do. And although we’re gratified to see the movement, we know we cannot take our focus off the work that needs to continue.

In addition to the numbers, the report reflects day-to-day learnings, and how we’re applying this knowledge to build trust and adapt as we go. For example, this year we enhanced some of the ways we measure and analyze our data to give us a more detailed look at specific areas where we’re hoping to improve.

Here are some of the new additions to this year’s reporting:

  • The Inclusion Index, shared publicly for the first time in this report, is an internal sentiment measure that helps us understand the effectiveness of company efforts by measuring employee perceptions about their experiences at Microsoft.
  • Equal pay data is being expanded to reflect the global representation of men and women in the U.S. plus the five largest markets outside the U.S. based on employee population. This data represents almost 80% of our workforce, giving us a more nuanced understanding of our pay practices globally.
  • We’ve distinguished directors and executives from each other in the category we previously labeled as “Leadership,” and called out metrics for women and racial and ethnic minorities among managers and individual contributors, to better examine representation throughout the workforce.

I do want to note that the data listed below does not include our broader Microsoft family of companies — LinkedIn, GitHub, Compulsion, Playground Games, Ninja Theory, InXile, Obsidian Entertainment and Undead Labs. The full report shows snapshots of data with and without these companies as well as a look at LinkedIn’s and GitHub’s reports that were also released today.

From June 2018 to June 2019 we saw encouraging gains in the representation of our employees. In terms of race and ethnicity, we saw modest year-over-year growth in total representation in all categories, including in tech and in leadership roles at both the director and executive level. Overall, racial and ethnic minorities represent 46.7% of the U.S. workforce, up 2.2 percentage points from 2018.

This year, continuing a positive trend dating back to 2016, there were steady increases in the representation of women globally at the company in all the aspects we measured, including tech and leadership roles. Overall representation of women increased 1.1 percentage points to 27.6%. At leadership levels, women currently represent 37% of our company’s executives responsible for leading a geographic market, with women currently leading three of our largest global markets.

We aspire to a workforce and culture that truly reflects the societies where we work, around the world, and there is clearly more we need to do.

Equal pay
In the U.S. women earn $1.001 for every $1.000 earned by their counterparts who are men, and racial and ethnic minorities earn $1.006 for every $1.000 earned by their white counterparts. As we expanded our equal pay data to include data on women and men from the U.S. plus the five largest markets outside the U.S. — collectively representing about 80% of our workforce — we see that women in those combined geographies earn $0.999 for every $1.000 by their counterparts who are men.  At Microsoft, we are committed to the principle of equal pay for equal work for our employees and strive to pay employees equally for substantially similar work.

Inclusion Index
Our Microsoft Inclusion Index, shared publicly for the first time, reflects that 88% of employees agree that they experience positive aspects of inclusion at Microsoft. With our scale and global reach, this is a positive indicator, but we know we have a responsibility to engage those who are not part of that 88%.

Our broad responsibility
With our corporate mission, our scale, and our global reach, we have a responsibility to do far more than just raise awareness about inclusion. We are uniquely positioned to drive the conversation, to have a meaningful, tangible impact on how people experience Microsoft products and services, and how they engage within our workplace and with the company in general. Our responsibility is not just to those who work with us, but to the larger technology industry, the industries we serve and the communities where we live.

I encourage you all to read the full report to explore much more detailed data, insights, employee stories, and initiatives, as well as our learnings to see how we’re applying this knowledge.

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4 Reasons You Need Data-Driven Recruiting

Do you remember Blockbuster, Kodak, or even Nokia?

Let me guess. You haven’t heard these companies in quite some time.

These companies each lacked innovative and creative ideas because they were comfortable with their current status in the market.

We all know where these companies are today.

For Blockbuster, Kodak, and Nokia, this lack of urgency to innovate and update their systems ultimately led to their downfall.

This same concept goes for employer branding. If you are using old-fashioned recruitment processes, there is a high chance you will end up wasting your time and resources, interviewing unqualified candidates. This not only will negatively affect your brand sentiment and employee morale, but it will cost your company time, money, and resources.


It is not too late to make a change. Yes, 2019 is coming to an end, but the shift to implementing data-driven recruiting is still reasonably fresh in the market. Using data on candidates to create recruitment strategies has proven to make the entire hiring process from start to finish remarkably smoother, cost-efficient, and more accurate than the traditional methods.

So let’s get into the juicy details.

What is Data-Driven Recruiting?

Data-driven recruitment is the process of optimizing the candidate’s journey from awareness to consideration by leveraging data on the candidates you want to recruit.

This data-driven recruitment process could take the form of external or internal data collected on candidates. While many Fortune 500 Companies have an abundance of internal data available on their candidate process, that doesn’t necessarily mean they know how to make strategic decisions that will yield better results. When we apply a data-driven mindset to recruiting, identifying which campaigns and channels are producing the best hires becomes much more manageable.

But even if you could understand which channels or campaigns the good hires came from, how would you optimize them? How would you know what content to continue producing on that channel year after year?

As candidates are changing, so is the data! By analyzing that data, you get to know more about your candidates and which ones, in the end, become your employees. Having that data is an essential strategic asset in your recruitment process.

To help you fully understand the benefits of using a data-driven recruiting, we’ve compiled a list of 4 benefits of implementing a data-driven recruitment strategy.

1. Improve Quality of Candidates Applying

The hiring process can become very tedious and overwhelming when you have to handle 100 ́s of job applicants for one position. But what if you could remove the unqualified candidates from the list?

By tailoring your talent communication strategies on all your career channels with data collected on candidates, you can improve your chances of attracting the right candidate the first time around by targeting their needs and preferences.

There is no need for an outside staffing and recruiting agency when you have all the information on what the candidates want. Curating your talent communication strategies on your career channels to appeal to your desired candidates will drastically improve your chances of hiring the right candidate over and over again.

Hiring the very best employees time and time again will significantly improve your company’s performance, both short-term and long-term.

As an employer, if you can understand which channels your desired candidates look for career-related information, then you can create a strategy that guides the very best candidates down your funnel. Data-driven recruiting can make that happen.

Within the HR sector, we also see the rise of ambassador marketing programs. Using your network to find new employees has many benefits. People find job postings from their network more trustworthy, which, in turn, has a positive impact on the number of applications a company receives from their job posting.

2. Reduce New Hire Cost

With the right set of data, you will be able to optimize your best hires by channel. A study by LinkedIn has shown that companies with a stronger brand see a 43% decrease in hiring cost.

To start to reduce new hire costs, focus only on the variables and channels that lead to the best hires. On the flip side, you also need to eliminate as much waste or churn as possible throughout the process.

Once you have collected data on candidates and your hiring process, the next step is to identify which channels are producing the best hires — focusing your recruiting efforts on these channels. By trimming the fat in your traditional hiring process, you will be able to save money on the channels that are not producing quality hires.

After you determine which channels your ideal candidates are on, it is crucial to create customized content that is attractive to them. By providing content that candidates value the most, you will be able to guide and prioritize what changes you need to make on your channels. And, more importantly, how you can position yourself as an employer in the marketplace. If you prioritize and tailor your content to your ideal candidate, you will increase your chances of hiring the right candidate the first time around and ultimately decrease long term costs associated with bad hires.

3. Decrease Hiring Time

From the moment a candidate recognizes your company as a potential employer to the point when they finally click the apply button, is called the candidate’s journey. To optimize your candidate journey, maintain a smooth and time-efficient hiring process.

Candidate Funnel
Awareness – Social Media Channels/Review Platforms
Interest – Career Opportunities/Work Culture
Consideration – Career Website/Offer to Candidate
Application – Mobile/ATS/Applying Online

Once you have defined your funnel, it’s vital to have the right measuring systems in place. Using a data-driven approach in your hiring process will allow your team to create a candidate funnel that optimizes the needs and preferences of your desired candidate during each stage.

Communicating clearly with your ideal candidate allows them to work their way through the funnel more quickly.

Your content from throughout the candidate journey should tell a story that resonates with qualified candidates and leads them further down the funnel. In doing so, hiring the right candidate will occur much quicker.

4. Improved Candidate Experience

Attracting and converting your desired candidate requires a flawless candidate’s experience.

It’s not only important for a company to create the ultimate employee experience, but also a fantastic experience for your recruits. Even those who don’t make the cut should still be treated as if they were one of your employees from the start.

Going back to the candidate funnel of awareness, interest, consideration, and application, there are many steps you can take in each part of the funnel to ensure that candidates have a positive experience.


Social media has become one of the most important ways to attract and nurture candidates. It has changed recruitment for good. To provide guidance in the jungle of channels and where you should focus your efforts, utilizing data and external surveys will assist in making these strategic decisions. By delivering content that showcases your workplace and what being an employee at your company is like, you will give candidates a definite feeling of acceptance and desire to be there.


To properly get a candidate interested, they have to see something they like about the company. By tailoring your strategies to the candidates’ needs/preferences, you are thereby providing appealing content that would spark further curiosity in applying to your company.


The Career Website is the heart of the candidate experience, where you can showcase your organization and really stand out. It’s often the place where decisions for or against an application are taken, and where making an impeccable offer should occur. In this stage, you should hold nothing back about your company and play all your cards.


The application process is crucial, from a job ad to application submission. What causes dropouts and is your ATS provider keeping up with the latest developments are the questions to be asking. Staying updated and current is vital to finalizing the application process. No one wants to apply to a company that looks outdated, boring, and slow.

Still not convinced?

Whatever your company recruiting methods are, the age of data-driven recruiting is already here, and it’s not going anywhere.

Remember, when I mentioned Blockbuster, Kodak, and Nokia? Don’t be them. Be better, and stay on the offense!

Companies will only continue to evolve the hiring process by finding new and innovative ways to hire qualified candidates more efficiently, thus making it harder for companies who lack this to survive. There are plenty of different strategies you could derive from using data on candidates. Remember, you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.

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#WorkTrends: Ageism and Its Impact on the Modern Worker

Good news for employees, but kind of concerning for employers. In the coming months, the Supreme Court could make it easier for federal employees to prove that they were discriminated against on the basis of age. I saw some fascinating research in Forbes recently that shows ageism starts as early as the age of forty-two. Forty-two?

We deal with isms today in the workplace, but we don’t tend to focus enough on ageism. Not only that, I think a lot of us don’t even know exactly what it is. Here’s what it is, a brutal truth, as our guest, Vinay Singh, says in his new book, “Your Future in Pieces. The Brutal Truth: How Ageism and Income Equality are Destroying America.”

I’m delighted to have Vinay as our guest today, he’s not only an expert on ageism, but he’s also experienced it firsthand, and alarmingly, says, “Today’s workers feel the brunt of it younger than ever.” So let’s get into the realities of ageism and how we can undo this vexing problem, remove the bias, and hopefully protect our employees. The shelf life of a robot is one thing, but the shelf life of a human is an entirely different topic.

Listen to the full conversation or read the recap below. And don’t forget to subscribe, so you never miss an episode.      

[00:32] America is at a crossroads.
[06:42] Do you think ageism is on the rise because there’s a divide between the tech-savvy and the tech-nervous?
[07:43] Everybody is constantly using technology.
[09:14] It’s a huge impact.

It’s illegal to discriminate against people based on their age.

Most of us understand that it’s against the law to discriminate against someone based on the number of years they’ve spent on this planet, but as my guest tells us, “Here’s the brutal truth: ageism exists and we’re all feeling its impact earlier than ever. Essentially it’s one of those isms we just aren’t talking about enough.”

Vinay Singh is a human capital and workforce development strategist and advocacy professional, and author of a new book, “Your Future in Pieces. The Brutal Truth: How Ageism and Income Equality are Destroying America.” His passion comes from both his professional life and personal experience. And he’s got a lot to tell us.

America is at a crossroads today

“We’ve got four generations in the workforce and too many employers and executives who are buying into false beliefs and biases.” The data around age discrimination is alarming. Research published by Hiscox shows that 21% of US workers age forty and older have experienced discrimination in the workplace due to their age, and respondents stated they believe they’re most likely to experience it at age fifty-one. Moreover, workers over the age of forty are perceived by their younger counterparts to be resistant to change and learning new skills, difficult to manage, and don’t understand technology.

Is Ageism on the Rise Because Older People Have an Aversion to Tech?

Is there a real divide between the tech-savvy and tech-nervous? Not so, according to Singh.” “We’re all technical. We all know how to use smartphones. Grandparents know how to use technology just like young people do.”

The impact of age discrimination on the economy

The impact on the economy is vast. According to Hiscox, ageism is creating a range of hazards for employers, including discrimination lawsuits, demotivated employees, and the lost opportunity costs associated with devaluing older workers. All of this hurts the bottom line, which, in turn, hurts the economy.

A new career forged from personal experience

In my conversation with Singh, he dove into his own experience with age discrimination, which started when he was about forty-three and working in a recruiting agency. It continued when he was looking for a new position and was told repeatedly that he was overqualified. Suffice to say this is happening to thousands of others, according to Singh. The next step, naturally, was to write a book.

How to retool and reinvent yourself after age discrimination

It’s not like age discrimination is going to stop overnight. We clearly have a long way to go. So what does someone who has experienced ageism do? Singh emphasizes the value of focusing on your LinkedIn profile. “That’s the business social media. That’s where employers are going to first and foremost to hire you,” he says. “Maybe HR looks at the other things, the other social media later on, but they are looking at your LinkedIn profile.”

He also recommends using the right industry buzzwords, keywords that convey your skills, creating an obvious digital presence, a professional photo for your avatar, and a compelling image for your banner. Why the banner image? It helps draw attention to your profile and shows you’re paying attention. Singh also recommends creating a vanity URL that’s catchy and tells people what you do. His is Vinay People Strategist, by the way.

One more tip from this veteran: stay in school, get those certifications, be as multi-disciplined as possible, and try to stay cutting edge. “And always be thinking this way, “ he said. “because if you’re not, your competition is.”

Well worth a listen, no matter what your age.

Resources Mentioned in this Episode:
Vinay Singh on Linkedin and Twitter
Vinay Singh’s new book: “Your Future in Pieces. The Brutal Truth: How Ageism and Income Equality are Destroying America.
How to reach Vinay Singh: Vinay12 at opt online dot net.

Photo by Rajshri Bharath KS on Unsplash

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The New One Minute Manager, With Ken Blanchard

Ken Blanchard conceived “The One Minute Manager” as a children’s book for managers. This was a brand new approach when it was first published in 1982, and since then the genre of the parable-based business book has grown into a hugely popular one.

The simplicity of the format matches this classic book’s simple story: a young man sets out in search of the secret of great management. He finds three: “one minute goals,” “one minute praisings,” and “one minute reprimands.”

In “The New One Minute Manager,” which was published in May 2015, the third secret has become “one minute redirects,” reflecting how management styles have evolved over the years.

In this podcast, Ken tells us about other changes to the story he made in the 2015 edition, and shares his thoughts on motivation, trust, customer service, and the future of management development.

Listen to or read the full 30-minute interview, below, then share your thoughts in the comment section, below. What impact has the original “One Minute Manager” had on your life? How do you view Ken’s current approach to goals, motivation and leadership? Join in the discussion below!

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Interview Transcript

Rachel Salaman: Welcome to this edition of L&D Insights from Mind Tools with me, Rachel Salaman. Today, I have the great pleasure of talking to a legendary leader in the field of leadership and management development, Ken Blanchard. He’s perhaps best known as the author of the classic business book “The One Minute Manager,” which has sold 15 million copies in 40 languages worldwide. He and co-author Spencer Johnson have recently revamped and re-released this book for a new generation of managers. The new version is aptly titled “The New One Minute Manager.”

Ken Blanchard joins me on the line from California. Hello Ken!

Ken Blanchard: Good, Rachel, great to be with you.

Rachel Salaman: Thank you so much for joining us today. Let’s start by talking about the original “One Minute Manager,” which is a classic that’s been on the bestseller list for years. It was first published over 30 years ago. What’s its enduring appeal, do you think?

Ken Blanchard: I think one of the things, Rachel, is it was one of the first business parables ever written. And it was interesting. Spencer Johnson was a children’s book writer. He wrote a whole series of children’s books called “Value Tales,” of the value of courage, the story of Jackie Robinson the great baseball player, the value of honesty, the story of Abe Lincoln… and it was wonderful. And I’m a storyteller, and my wife met him at a cocktail party and she carried him over and she said, “You guys ought to write a children’s book for managers; they won’t read anything else.”

So the original motivation was kind of a kids’ book. And he was working on a “one minute scolding” for disciplining kids, with a psychiatrist. And I invited him to a seminar that I was doing the next week, and he laughed at the back. And he came running up and he said, “Let’s forget parodying this – do the one minute manager!” And so we decided to do a story, and I think that’s unique. It’s a short little book and it’s about a young man searching for an effective manager. He wants to work for one, he wants to become one, and he learns the three secrets.

So I think that’s what’s unusual: that there’s three main points in the book, and it’s told in a wonderful, fun story.

Rachel Salaman: What’s different in the new version of the book, then?

Ken Blanchard: Well, I tell you, Rachel, I was working on another book at the time called “Refire! Don’t Retire: Make the Rest of Your Life the Best of Your Life,” and I thought, “Gee, maybe ‘The One Minute Manager’ needs to be refired!” And also we had never had an e-book, and they said maybe you might want to read it to see if there’s any changes.

And I hadn’t read it in years and I kind of laughed, to be honest with you, Rachel, when I read it, because so many things had changed. Like, one is technology, and he was on his intercom system and I asked the young people in our company, “Have you been using your intercom lately?!” And all the people working for him were gathered right around him, and he wasn’t managing anybody online… and also the technology has really changed, and we updated that.

Then the other thing was that in many ways the secrets are wonderful, but it was presented in kind of a command and control strategy, which is really what the 80s were in terms of leadership. He set the goals, he decided who to praise, he decided who to reprimand. So, today, we think that leadership is much more of a side-by-side relationship, a partnership relationship, so we really made some major changes in the tone of the book.

And then one of the biggest changes, we changed the one minute reprimand to one minute redirect, because reprimand is kind of parental, and redirect is the same thing but it’s a better term and a better style. So those are really the changes that I think people really get into, and I think the young people today will really be able to relate to it.

Rachel Salaman: Let’s talk about the content in a little bit more detail now. The first of the three secrets that the book is built around is “one minute goals” and it’s still there in the new edition. How have you seen approaches to this change over the decades?

Ken Blanchard: I think the biggest change is that, with goal-setting, it’s much more collaborative. In the past, I think managers used to give people their goals, and now they reach them together. And one of the things that we’ve found in our work about motivation is that, if somebody is given a goal that’s not very motivating to them, it’s probably not a good goal, that you might want to see what could be done to motivate them, or maybe that goal ought to be given to someone else.

But the fact that goals are still there is so important because all good performance starts with clear goals. If people aren’t clear of what they’re being asked to do, there’s very little chance that they’ll get to do it. And all the goals have to be observable and measurable. We’ve said for years, Rachel, that if you can’t measure something, you can’t manage it, so you want to make sure that your goals are observable and measurable, so you and the people working for you both can observe and see where they’re making progress.

Rachel Salaman: And the “one minute praisings,” which is the second of the three secrets, they’ve also stood the test of time; they’re in the latest edition. How important are these as a development tool?

Ken Blanchard: Well I’ll tell you, Rachel, people have said to me, “Ken, if we took everything away that you’ve taught over the years, what’s the one thing, what would you hold onto?” and I think it’s this second secret. I think if you want to have a great relationship at home, at work and in the community, you need to accent the positive and catch people doing things right.

And I think it’s all about creating an environment where you really care about people. And if their goals are observable and measurable, and you don’t have to wait until the goal is completed before you can give any praising, you can praise progress. It’s really important to catch people doing things right, approximately right, in the beginning, as they’re journeying towards completely right.

Take marriage: when people fall in love, everything is great and you’re catching each other doing things right. And then you move in with somebody and you say, “What is that? You’ve got to be kidding!” and then all of a sudden you start catching each other doing things wrong. People ask me, “How do I turn around a bad relationship at home or at work?” Well, you need to start accenting the positive and see if you can catch the people doing something right, and give them an “at a boy!” or an “at a girl!”

Rachel Salaman: So thinking in terms of what L&D professionals can do with all this advice, what’s the best way for L&D professionals to use this particular secret?

Ken Blanchard: I think L&D folks need to first make sure that when they’re training people and all that, that there’s ways for they and the people they’re training to know whether they’re doing what they’ve been trained to. How can you catch them doing things right? So make sure it’s observable and measurable.

One of the things that needs to be done… so often after training, we end up going to a delegated leadership style and get onto the next program, then we forget about the people who just went through it. I think one of the most powerful things is what are you doing to follow up training with people.

And part of that following up is to observe how they’re doing, catch them doing something right, cheering them on. Because what often happens with people, they go through training and they get back to work and nobody seems to care about what they’ve been through or even want to know about it, and after a while they go back to their old behavior

So if you want people to implement what you’re training them to do, the follow up is just as important as the training, if not more important. And a key part of follow up is cheering people on as they’re implementing and trying new things that you’ve been training them in.

Rachel Salaman: And it’s a nice simple way of remembering, isn’t it, just to think of the one minute praising? It’s not too complicated, most people can remember that.

Ken Blanchard: Yes, and you know it doesn’t take a long period of time to say to somebody, “Hey, I’ve heard about what you’ve been doing and, boy!, your people are so pleased how clear you are now on setting goals with them, and they just really appreciate that.” It doesn’t take very long just to say “I noticed.”

Rachel Salaman: As you mentioned, one of the biggest differences between the original “One Minute Manager” and the new edition is the third of the three secrets, “one minute redirects” which replaces the original “one minute reprimands.” And as you mentioned, it reflects a trend away from reprimanding people – can you talk a little bit about that trend?

Redirection is very important because if you have observable, measurable goals, and if they’re progressing you can praise them and cheer them on. If they don’t seem to be progressing then what you need to do is go to them and say to them, “Let me tell you what I’ve been noticing about your performance, I wonder if you’re noticing the same thing?” So you don’t come in and slam them, you say “Here’s what I’m noticing.”

And people will know when they’re performing well and when they’re not performing well, and they say, “No, I’m having a bit of trouble with this.” Then the next question is, “How can we get you back on track, what can I do to help?” And so redirection is not a punishing thing, it’s just saying, “I noticed that performances are not going in the direction that we’d agreed upon: what can we do to get you back on track so you can accomplish that particular goal?”

Rachel Salaman: Do you think that, over the years, reprimanding people has become unacceptable?

Ken Blanchard: Well I think people don’t like that kind of term, and they don’t like that you’re the one that’s saying I observed this and here’s how I feel and you go through the whole steps, rather than it being a participative kind of thing. But the same thing is happening, that you’re getting them back on track, but you’re doing it in much more of a collaborative partnership role than a superior:subordinate.

These younger people say to me, “You’ve got to be kidding, Ken! You used to call people superiors, and the people that worked for them subordinates? The head of the department and the hired hands – we didn’t even give them a head!?” When you really think of some of that language you can see where they would really laugh and say you guys have got to be kidding.

Rachel Salaman: A kind of connected idea here: how important do you think trust is in leadership and management development?

Ken Blanchard: Trust is really a very important thing. In fact we wrote a book called “Trust Works.” One of our people developed a whole model around trust. She studied and asked people what does it mean to trust people, and people had a lot of different definitions, and she came up with what she called the A, B, C, D concept of trust. Her name is Cindy Olmstead, and I wrote the book with her.

And so the four ways that you talk to people about trust… A is Ability, which is, do you trust that they have the skills to do the job that they’ve been assigned, and if they don’t, in terms of situational leadership, well you’ve got to change your leadership style.

Another area of trust is Believability: do you say one thing and do something else? “My door is always open, come and see me!”and you’ve got to go through three secretaries and all that kind of thing to get a meeting with you. Then C stands for Connectedness, which is, do you feel an emotional connectedness with a person? We tend to trust people that we feel positive and good emotions towards.

Then finally D is Dependable. If the person says they’re going to do something, do they follow it through? And we have an instrument that people can fill out and say where are you on the scale, so I had the people that work with me fill it out and the one that I had the lowest scores, that they’re all working with me on, is dependability, because I don’t say “no” very well. I’m a high “I” on the DISC model and I want everybody to be pleased, and so sometimes I say “yes” too much.

And so now, when people ask me for my card, I give them my card, but it’s my executive secretary’s card – haha! – so they have to call her first, to know what I might have promised. So what’s interesting is that, if you can see where you might be falling down, then you can get a strategy to improve that. And so I think trust is very important.

Rachel Salaman: And one of the messages of the new book is that people can develop themselves to a large extent, and you touched on that a bit earlier. Could you talk about what you’ve observed in this respect?

Ken Blanchard: I think people… We’ve been doing a lot of work on employee work passion, engagement and optimal performance, and what we find is (we’ve actually developed a little model called ARC), is that people want a sense of Autonomy now.

I think people in the past have had the capabilities to develop themselves, but weren’t given that opportunity. And now since people have that as an important part, they want to work with a boss who will help them, over time, get to the point where they can be delegated to in most of their tasks.

So that’s autonomy, they still want to have a Relationship with their boss and their co-workers, so they don’t want you just to disappear per se – they’d love for you to wander around once in a while, maybe catching you doing something right even though they’re developing themselves.

Then C stands for Confidence which ties in, I think, with autonomy because they want to grow in their confidence. I think that this is really great, to see people who really do want to be able to run with the ball. But that’s where I think our work in situational leadership comes along because you don’t want to delegate too quickly to somebody if they’re not ready, if they don’t have the confidence or the commitment to operate on their own.

So you’re gradually over time moving from a directive, to a coaching, to a supporting style on each of their goals, as you try to turn over more responsibility for their own development. I think it’s exciting to see it happen.

Rachel Salaman: For people who aren’t familiar with your theory of situational leadership, could you just explain the basics of it?

Ken Blanchard: It basically says that there is no one best leadership style. But we say you not only need “different strokes for different folks,” you need different strokes for the same folks at different parts of the job.

So if you were working with me, Rachel, and say you had four or five goals, you might have one goal, (but you’re an enthusiastic beginner,) you’ve never had that goal before, but you’re excited about it. Well you need initially some direction and some close supervision. You might have another goal, that you know more about it than I do, and you’re a self-directed achiever, and I could just leave you alone. Then you might have a couple of goals that are in between.

After enthusiastic beginner, we call them a disillusioned learner, which is sometimes you get excited about a goal and after a while you realize this is a lot tougher than I thought and now you not only need direction, you need support, so you need a coaching leadership style. Then sometimes you have the skills to do something, but you lack the confidence about doing it on your own, so you just need basically a supportive leadership style.

So what you’re doing is looking at goals and, together with your people, you’re analyzing what is their development level on each of their goals and what is the initial leadership style that would be good to start with. And then you hope, over time you can move your style so eventually you can delegate as many of the responsibilities as possible.

Rachel Salaman: Do you see “The New One Minute Manager,” your revamped book, fitting into someone using situational leadership?

Ken Blanchard: Yes, because what you’re doing is, suppose you have a goal that you’re an enthusiastic beginner and I’m working with you very closely, and I say, “Okay, let me see you do this,” and I observe you and I praise your progress. But if I observe you and you don’t make the progress, then I go to a redirection.

So we have a curve going through the four styles, because the two dimensions are the vertical dimension is supportive behavior and the horizontal is directive behavior, and there’s a curve that goes through those four styles. And as you’re moving from directing, up to coaching, you’re delegating and observing and praising progress as over time you’re moving up there.

Then eventually as you move over towards a supporting style three, the curve starts moving down because now you’re not only cutting back on the amount of direction you provide, you’re cutting back on the amount of support you provide, because when you get the delegation you hope that people are providing their own direction and their own support. The directing and supporting really drives the whole developmental process.

Rachel Salaman: So in what practical ways do you envisage L&D professionals using your new book?

Ken Blanchard: I think it’s just a wonderful book to share with people on the basics of leadership. We’re developing a first-time managers’ program around the new book because… in the beginning, if people just understood that… we think that the three secrets, goal setting, praising and redirections, is the 20 percent that would give you the 80 percent as a manager. And so if they’re training managers to be good managers, then it’s a good foundation.

And one of the things that we believe in training is that you don’t want to do things to people, you want to do with them. And so what we encourage people is, if they’ve been trained on the three secrets of “The One Minute Manager,” is that they actually then go back with their people and share the three secrets with them. And so one of the reasons why the book sold 15 million copies is that managers would get it and they’d say wow, this is really powerful and then they’d share it with their people, because they’d say, “I just want you to know how I’d like to operate, does this make sense to you?”

I had a young man come up to me the other day. He said, “My father gave me ‘The One Minute Manager’ in my first job, and his father gave it him on his first job,” so I’m working on the third and fourth generation now of that. So it’s a wonderful pass along through people, but it’s a foundational piece to build a lot of other kinds of training, around listening and around performance management, and all kinds of other things.

Rachel Salaman: You mentioned a bit earlier that you’ve done a lot of work on employee motivation and that includes your 2011 book “Gung Ho.” More recently your company published research on optimal motivation, what were the key findings of that?

Ken Blanchard: One of the key findings that Susan Fowler who has written and done most of the research with Dreyer Zagami, is that you really can’t motivate people: people are motivated! But what you can do is create an environment that their motivation can come out of them, so that they get excited about working on organizational goals and all that kind of thing. But you can’t say, “I’m just going to motivate this person.” A lot of times we think that it’s up to us to motivate people – people are motivated, it’s up to you to create an environment that unleashes that motivation for positive results, and I think that’s a big learning.

So the skill that we’re trying to train managers, is to look at what are you doing with the culture, what are you doing in the environment to create a place where people are really excited to learn And one of them could be, when you start to sit down and you set goals, you want to do it with them.

If somebody says, “I’m not really too excited about this goal,” then the question is, “What can we do to make that an exciting goal, is there anything I could do?” And maybe, if there’s not, well then maybe you might want to give that goal to someone else.

But it’s that whole concept of much more collaboration and side-by-side leadership that says it’s our job to create the environment. People are motivated, we just need to bring that motivation. I’ve never seen a person for example unmotivated after work – hahaha! – a lot of people are unmotivated at work, but after work a lot of people say, “Thank God it’s Friday!” And why? Because now they can do things that they’re excited about. So how do you create an environment that they’re excited about Monday, and coming to work, and working on an organizational goal?

Rachel Salaman: Thinking about ways that leaders can tap into that motivation, (you’ve already mentioned one way, identifying goals that people are excited about,) are there other ways that they can do it?

Ken Blanchard: I think just by talking to people and getting to know your people, it’s really interesting that… I wrote a book with the President of South West Airlines, they’re such an amazing organization, but one of the big things about them is they want people to relate to other people. The Head of HRD for example, a lot of times when he’ll sit down and interview somebody, he will say to them, “Tell me what’s the biggest span of control you ever had.” And so people will think, “Ah, I’m going to impress him, I had 10 or 15 people,” or whatever, and he’ll say, “Tell me the names of all of them,” and that gets to them! “Take Alice, who you mentioned – what was really important about her life when she was working for you?”

I think that’s what really creates a motivating environment, it’s that people want to be known, that is really important, Patrick Lencioni wrote a book about miserable jobs, and one of the big problems in having a miserable job is that you’re not known. Nobody cares much about who you are, or your family, or anything that’s happening in your life. And people want to be known, and I think if they get to be known then they get excited: “People care about me here, so I’m going to care about them and I’m going to care about the organization.”

Rachel Salaman: Another topic that you’ve researched in depth is treating customers right, your book “Raving Fans” offers some advice for this. Why did you choose to focus on that?

Ken Blanchard: Because people were telling us what lousy service they were getting. You’d go in the stores and you had to have a minor heart attack before anybody would show any interest in you! And yet the organizations that really took care of customers were beating the competition. You just look at the leaders in different fields, whether you’re talking about Nordstrom’s in retail, or Disney in entertainment, or Wegmans in grocery, or South West in the airlines.

So Sheldon Bowles was in Canada… he was a member of the Young Presidents’ Organization and he had an interesting experience in the 1970s, when everybody was going to self-service gasoline. And he thought, “What a great time to create a full-service gasoline because there will be no competition!” And he asked people, “If you didn’t have to go to a gas station would you?” And of course not, “Well what would you like there?” “We’d like to get our gas quickly and the cheapest price possible within a friendly environment.”

So he created a series of gas stations where he’d dress people up in red jumpsuits and they acted like a pit stop in the Indianapolis 500. So you’d drive in and three people would race towards your car, one under the hood, somebody pumping gas, somebody giving you a newspaper and a cup of coffee and ask you to step outside so they could dust bust your car – and they just killed the competition.

And so “Raving Fans” is all about how can you treat your customers so they want to brag about you, so they become part of your salesforce. And that book has just soared over the years and people are slowly starting to get it.

Rachel Salaman: So how can L&D professionals play their part in improving customer relationships?

Ken Blanchard: I think it needs to be part of the vision of the organization. And I think they can be really important cheerleaders for developing a customer service culture that creates raving fans – and we have a new book out called “Legendary Service” and it’s all about caring. It’s showing your customers that you really care about them.

And the L&D people ought to be key cheerleaders of that, and actually training people in customer service, teaching them to listen to the customers. And if the customer wants something how do you say, “No problem! I’ll get back to you,” rather than quacking like a duck. “Quack, quack, quack, quack, quack, it’s our policy, quack, quack, I just work here, quack, quack, I didn’t make the rules, quack, quack…” and how do you get your people to be eagles when they’re dealing with customers?

You have to remember that customer service isn’t just external, it’s internal. Some of the worst customer service is internally. You call the accounting department and try to get a report – man, you got the ducks quacking like crazy about all the reasons why you can’t have that report. And so how do you serve each other internally as well as externally?

Rachel Salaman: Stepping back a bit now, where do you see leadership and management development going in the future?

Ken Blanchard: I’m really convinced that the number one way to train people, and to have people be as leaders, is servant leaders. And when I mention that, a lot of times people think I’m talking about the inmates running the prison or trying to please everybody, but there’s two parts of servant leadership.

One is the leadership part of servant leadership, which has to do with vision and direction and goals, because leadership is about going somewheres. And that is the responsibility of the hierarchy to make sure that everybody is clear what business you’re in, what you’re trying to accomplish, what are your values that should guide your journey, what the initiatives and what the goals are. Then once those are set, now you go to the servant part of the servant leadership and you turn the pyramid upside down and now your job is to work for them. And that’s where you can praise progress and cheer them on and redirect them, because you’re working for them.

Rachel Salaman: Do you see servant leadership as perhaps fitting into situational leadership? Can it be one of those types of leadership that people turn to?

Ken Blanchard: Yes, situational leadership is a servant leadership model, because if you don’t start off with clear goals, (which is the leadership part of servant leadership,) you can’t be a situational leader. But once the goals are set and you’ve analyzed development level and determined the leadership style, that all happens in performance planning, now your job is to deliver the leadership style that you’ve promised.

You know one of the questions that I always get (and since your audience is so broad,) is that, “Do these concepts really apply around the world?” and what we’ve found is that they do. Obviously you have to adapt them into your cultural way of doing things, and praising in one culture might be a little different in the other, but the concept of catching people doing things right applies no matter what the culture is.

And redirecting people might change with different styles and different cultures, but again the idea of observing people’s performance and when it’s not heading in the direction you want, how do you get them back on line. We found the same way with situational leadership, that people all over the world use it, and they obviously use it and tie it into their particular cultural way of doing things.

Rachel Salaman: Ken Blanchard, thank you very much for joining us today.

Ken Blanchard: It’s great to be with you, and all the best to you. And I’m excited about “The New One Minute Manager.” I think it’s just going to help a whole new generation of people to just get the basics of managing people, so that they can create great results and great human satisfaction – because that’s what it’s all about.

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Unlocking opportunities in the next frontier of IoT – The Official Microsoft Blog

We live in an increasingly connected world. I commute to work in a connected car, one that gets over-the-air updates with new experiences. I’m connected to my work and personal life in real time with my smartphone and laptop. And I work in a connected office, one that knows how to automatically save energy and ensure security. From the moment I woke up today, I was immersed in an IoT world.

And so were you.

We are surrounded by connected devices, all of them collecting and transmitting vast amounts of information. That makes a seamless, smart and secure Internet of Things (IoT) important to us all.

This week at IoT Solutions World Congress we are announcing new capabilities that further simplify the customer journey and deliver highly secured IoT solutions. These solutions help customers embrace IoT as a core strategy to drive better business outcomes, improve safety and address social issues, such as:

  • Predicting and preventing equipment failures
  • Optimizing smart buildings for space utilization and energy management
  • Improving patient outcomes and worker safety
  • Tracking assets across a supply chain that is constantly being optimized

IDC expects that 41.6 billion devices — including smartphones, smart home assistants and appliances — will be connected to the internet by 2025[1].

At Microsoft, we are committed to providing a trusted, easy-to-use platform that allows our customers and partners to build seamless, smart and secure solutions regardless of where they are in their IoT journey.

Making IoT seamless: Delivering new IoT innovations from cloud to edge

In 2018, we  announced our commitment to invest $5 billion in IoT and intelligent edge — technology that is accelerating ubiquitous computing and bringing unparalleled opportunity for transformation across industries. Since then, we have launched more than 100 new services and features in our IoT platform designed to make IoT solutions more secure and scalable, reduce complexity, make our platform more open and create opportunities in new market areas.

Azure IoT Central, our IoT app platform, reduces the burden and costs associated with developing, managing and maintaining enterprise-grade IoT solutions. With IoT Central you can provision an IoT application in 15 seconds, customize it in an hour and go to production the same day.

And today, we are excited to announce a set of breakthrough features to help solution builders accelerate time-to-value:

  • 11 new industry-focused application templates to accelerate solution builders across retail, health care, government and energy
  • API support for extending IoT Central or integrating it with other solutions, including API support for device modeling, provisioning, lifecycle management, operations and data querying
  • IoT Edge support, including management for edge devices and IoT Edge module deployments
  • IoT plug-and-play support for rapid device development and connectivity
  • The ability to save and load applications to enable application repeatability
  • More data export options for continually exporting data to other Azure Platform as a Service (PaaS) services
  • Multitenancy support to build and manage a single application with multiple tenants, each with their own isolated data, devices, users and roles
  • Custom user roles for fine-grained access control to data, actions and configurations in the system
  • A new pricing model for early 2020 to provide customers and partners with predictable pricing as usage scales

A variety of partners are already using IoT Central to transform their industries. For example, C.H. Robinson, a Fortune 500 provider of multimodal transportation services and third-party logistics, is using Intel intelligent gateways and IoT tags managed by IoT Central, allowing it to quickly integrate IoT data and insights into its industry-leading Navisphere Vision product. Key retailers are using Navisphere, including Microsoft’s own supply-chain teams who are optimizing logistics and costs as we prepare to deliver Surface and Xbox products for the holidays.

Read more on our IoT Central blog about how partners are leveraging IoT Central to transform their businesses and their industries.

Making IoT smarter

Azure IoT Hub is the core of our Azure IoT platform services. It is used by IoT Central and acts as a powerful cloud gateway, enabling bidirectional communication with millions of IoT devices. We are excited to announce new features that will make IoT solutions using IoT Hub even smarter:

Maersk, the world’s largest container shipping company, is using IoT Hub to move over 12 million containers a year all over the globe. “With Azure IoT Hub, we have seamless two-way communication between our IoT platform and devices,” says Siddhartha Kulkarni, digital solutions enabler, A.P. Moller – Maersk. “The ability to send commands from within Azure IoT Hub makes it a command and control system and not just a data ingestion system. Being able to set up Azure IoT Hub globally in different locations and regionalize data ingestion opens up many future options for us.” Read the Maersk customer story here.

And Danfoss, a Danish company that creates products and provides services used to cool food, heat and air condition buildings and more, is using Azure IoT Hub to build IoT solutions with reliable and secure communications between its IoT devices for refrigerators and an Azure-hosted solution backend.

Azure Maps inherits the goodness of Azure — including global scalability, robust security and data sovereignty — and provides location intelligence to IoT applications with mapping and geospatial services to drive insights and action.

For 12 consecutive years, Gartner has recognized Microsoft as a leader in analytics and business intelligence. With integration into Power BI, Azure Maps now enables Power BI users to easily perform Geospatial Analytics, enabling customers to build out Azure Maps solutions that don’t require developer resources. And to provide world-class security, protection and compliance to government customers, Azure Maps is now available on Government Cloud.

And now, in partnership with AccuWeather, Azure Maps customers can add geospatial weather intelligence into their applications to enable weather-based scenarios, such as routing, targeted marketing and operations optimization. “This is a game changer,” says Dr. Joel N. Myers, AccuWeather founder and CEO. “AccuWeather’s partnership with Microsoft gives all Azure Maps customers the ability to easily integrate authentic and highly accurate weather-based location intelligence and routing into their applications. This opens up new opportunities for organizations large and small to benefit from our superior weather data based on their unique needs.”

Azure Time Series Insights provides a turnkey, end-to-end IoT analytics solution with rich semantic modeling for contextualization of time series data, asset-based insights, and a best-in-class user experience for discovery, trending, anomaly detection and operational intelligence. It is purpose-built for IoT scale data, allowing customers to focus on their businesses without having to worry about manageability of their infrastructure, regional availability or disaster recovery. We are excited to announce the new capabilities, releasing soon:

  • Multilayered storage that provides the best of both worlds: lightning-fast access to frequently used data (“warm data”) and fast access to infrequently used historical data (“cold data”)
  • Flexible cold storage: Historical data is stored in the customer’s own Azure Storage account, giving them complete control of their IoT data. Data is stored in open source Apache Parquet format, enabling predictive analytics, machine learning, and other custom computations using familiar technologies including Spark, Databricks and Jupyter
  • Rich analytics: Rich query APIs and user experience supported interpolation, new scalar and aggregate functions, categorical variables, scatter plots and time shifting between time series signals for in-depth analysis
  • Enterprise-grade scale: Scale and performance improvements at all layers, including ingestion, storage, query and metadata/model
  • Extensibility and integration: New Time Series Insights Power BI connector allows customers to take queries from Time Series Insights into Power BI to get a unified view in a single pane of glass

Through our Express Logic acquisition, Azure RTOS (real-time operating system) continues to enable new intelligent capabilities. It unlocks access to billions of new connected endpoints and grows the number of devices that can seamlessly connect to Azure. Renesas is a top MCU (MicroController Unit) manufacturer who shares our vision of making IoT development as easy and seamless as possible and we are excited to announce that Azure RTOS will be broadly available across Renesas’s products including the Synergy and RA MCU families. It is already integrated into the Renesas Synergy Software Package and will be integrated out-of-box with the Renesas RA Flexible Software Package).

Making IoT more secure, from cloud to edge

Enabling a future of intelligent and secure computing at the edge for organizations, enterprises and consumers will require advances in computer architecture down to the chip level, with security built in from the beginning. Microsoft is taking a holistic approach to securing the intelligent edge and IoT from the silicon to the cloud in a way that gives customers flexibility and control.

Azure Sphere is quickly becoming the solution of choice for customers across industries — including Starbucks, Gojo and Leoni — as they look to securely connect existing mission-critical equipment and develop net-new devices and equipment with security built in. Today we are excited to announce the upcoming general availability of Azure Sphere in February 2020. Read more about the upcoming Azure Sphere general availability on the Microsoft Security blog.

Our mission is to set a new standard for IoT security that makes it easier to securely connect existing equipment and create new devices with built-in security. In April 2018, we introduced Azure Sphere as an end-to-end solution that includes an Azure Sphere-certified chip, the Azure Sphere Operating System and the Azure Sphere Security Service. The solution is designed to make it easy for manufacturers to create innately secure devices and keep those devices up-to-date over time with over a decade of security and OS updates delivered directly to each device by Microsoft.

Since we first introduced Azure Sphere, we’ve made tremendous progress delivering on our ambitious product vision, investing in partnerships and capabilities that help us serve customers wherever they are in their IoT journey. This includes our partnerships with silicon leaders to enable heterogeneity at the edge; our longstanding partnership with MediaTek, and our recent partnership announcements with NXP and Qualcomm, which will introduce the first cellular-enabled Azure Sphere-certified chip.

Discover how to unlock your own IoT opportunities

We have a number of ways to learn more, no matter what your goals are and where you are on your IoT journey.

  • Come see us at IoT Solutions World Congress 2019 in Barcelona, Oct. 29–31, 2019. We will be bringing IoT solutions to life in our booth (#D411), across various industries and scenarios:
    • IoT at Home, featuring ABB & EnOcean
    • IoT on My Commute, featuring Dover Oil & Accenture
    • IoT in the Office, featuring Bosch & Edge
    • IoT in Store, featuring Codit & Cognizant
    • IoT for a Drink, featuring Celli Group
    • IoT in the Factory, featuring Softing & PTC
  • You can also catch my keynote on Tuesday, Oct. 29, Unlocking the Next Frontier of the Internet of Things.

IoT has already revolutionized our lives by transforming everyday devices into an incredible connected universe. The question now is, are you ready for what’s next?

[1] Worldwide Global DataSphere IoT Device and Data Forecast, 2019–2023, Doc # US45066919, May 2019


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