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  • Wednesday, September 16, 2020 2:53 PM | Angela Dawson (Administrator)

    Tech Solutions For The New World Of Sales

    Technology is present everywhere we go and in almost everything we do. The sales process is no different. Both consumers and corporations have adapted processes to new technology. Arguably, technology shapes industry. So, employee development teams must adapt sales enablement training to better equip employees with the knowledge and skills to grow into new sales environments. Generally, sales training addresses selling skills. But as the sales process relies more heavily on technology, everything from onboarding, to performance support and mentoring should also have an increased focus on sales technology.

    As time goes on, the ability to continue training and reinforcing sales enablement content becomes important for the overall success of a company. However, increases in sales technology make the job of performance consultants more challenging, particularly as employees continue to move toward remote work environments. This is where custom eLearning that aligns with your unique sales operations can be a worthwhile investment.

    A New Sales Process

    The “one size fits all” approach that worked for many years is now antiquated and no longer works for today’s potential buyer. In order to pique interest in a product in today’s market, it is important for you to note that potential customers are now used to being treated as individuals and they expect it. Gone are the days of sending out faceless email blasts that are a generalization of a group rather than a celebration of your target audience. Need a little more proof? One Forbes article on the importance of customer service noted 96% of customers [1] surveyed say customer service is important in their decision to stick with a brand. Learning to research your target and being mindful to personalize a pitch is more important than ever to land a sale or grow an account.

    Because of this change, the philosophy of content marketing has become much more prevalent in sales. One of the biggest benefits of content marketing is that it informs the decisions of potential buyers. The more helpful and tailored your message, the more likely you are to land the sale. But how do we enable our salespeople to make this change?

    Sales Enablement Training And Technology

    With technology rapidly changing how sales transactions are conducted, along with a society that values individualized efforts both in a sales pitch and company branding, old systems are having a hard time keeping up with skills gaps.

    Personalized eLearning

    Thankfully, emerging training technology has made customized sales enablement training that focuses more on an individual’s strengths and weaknesses easier to develop than ever before. For instance, several Learning Experience Platforms create personalized content paths based on real-time analysis performance data. Similarly, complex decision trees in scenario-based training, when paired with AI, offer personalized learning experiences.

    Mobile Learning

    At this point, most custom eLearning is designed with mobile access in mind—even if the design isn't mobile-first. Having access to training content on a phone or tablet also increases the amount of time that employees may have to engage with content. For instance, commuting to/from the office is the perfect time to listen to a selling skills podcast. Mobile learning enables salespeople more freedom to learn when it’s convenient for them. And this is especially beneficial for salespeople that travel for their role or retail employees.

    Sales Systems Training

    For both retail employees and corporate salespeople, sales processes are often built upon complex systems. For example, many organizations manage complex sales cycles through platforms like Salesforce. As for retail sales, most storefronts use mobile point-of-sale systems for inventory management and purchases. In either case, proficiency with those systems impacts employee performance and Customer Experience. So, systems training should be a key component of any sales enablement training initiative.

    Generally, platforms like Salesforce offer product training and onboarding for clients. But as an organization's business processes and operations become more unique, one-size-fits-all systems training becomes less effective. In that case, the best solution would likely consist of custom eLearning activities that provide a sandbox for salespeople to explore the system's features.


    With all the technology at our disposal, sales can certainly become more complicated. But, as with any performance challenges, it falls upon employee development teams and performance consultants to design corporate training solutions that drive organizational success. As technology continues to augment sales processes, also consider how training technology can improve your sales enablement training.


    [1] State of Global Customer Service Report

    Click here to access this post online and to listen to the audio version!

  • Tuesday, August 04, 2020 9:45 PM | Angela Dawson (Administrator)

    This month, our blog post by Leslie Kawai provides an in-depth look at best practices we can all implement as we continue building our teams in a COVID-19 world. This informative article can also be found on the RBL Group blog. To check out the on-line article, click here.

    Building Teams In A COVID-19 World:  What Can We Learn From Highly Agile Organizations?

    Valued at over $10 billion dollars only six years after its founding, Supercell (the Finnish mobile-gaming company) understands teamwork. Its very name speaks to how it achieves success: Supercell is made of “super cells” or highly effective, agile teams that are able to quickly pivot to respond to marketplace trends, leverage shared organizational resources, and create innovative products that successfully meet customer expectations.

    As organizations worldwide adapt to the changes required by COVID-19 and the proliferation of virtual teams in the “new normal” work environment, what can leaders learn from the success of highly agile teams at Supercell and other innovative organizations like Amazon, Google, and Alibaba?

    Based on more than three decades of research, The RBL Group has identified four characteristics and eight critical attributes of highly effective teams that drive business results:


    Effective teams have a shared purpose. Jon R. Katzenbach and Douglas Smith researched hundreds of leaders across more than 30 organizations, from Hewlett-Packard to Operation Desert Storm, and more. They found that clear purpose distinguishes “work groups” that come together to share results and information from high-performance “teams” where individuals come together to collectively achieve more together than they can alone. Having a shared purpose—that team members agree on and commit to that connects their individual strengths, efforts, and skills beyond the general organizational charter—transforms “work groups” into “teams.”

    High-performance teams understand that to win in the marketplace they must have a shared understanding of the business outcomes they are trying to achieve. Agile teams are particularly characterized by a shared purpose that is clearly and specifically related to customer needs. They seek a strong understanding of their customers’ expectations and tie their outcome goals to customer-centric data metrics. Google, for example, frequently utilizes small, project teams to work on specific, customer-driven feature improvements. A clear, shared purpose enables organizations to efficiently resource experts in coming together with faster, better, customer-centric outcomes.

    Implications post-COVID-19:

    With the impact of COVID-19 still evolving across markets, workforces, geographies, and industries, leaders must be more deliberate and focused on ensuring teams have clear purpose. This clear purpose must be defined not only by a shared understanding of the outcomes, but more explicitly by a shared understanding of the customer-driven needs that the team delivers or supports. The link to how the team’s outcomes will help the organization meet customer expectations and win in the marketplace should also be made explicit in how the team’s performance goals will be measured.


    Governance is especially important as team leadership, role alignment, task competencies, and processes help agile teams drive business results. In one research study of more than 120 senior teams worldwide, fewer than 10 percent of the team members felt confident they understood who was on the teams and what their roles were. Role confusion further compounds ineffective decision-making protocols. Information sharing, accountability, feedback, and collaboration—all critical governance mechanisms for agile teams—can be achieved only when teams clarify and align roles, tasks, and processes to clear and specific outcomes.

    Implications post-COVID-19

    In a June 2020 survey of more than 300 of the US’s largest companies, justCapital reported that 70 percent of all companies it surveyed are adjusting work schedules and remote-work processes. Such unprecedented level of change to work processes and customer needs requires a reinvention of most teams. To best adapt to adjusted and remote work teams, team governance practices should include the following:

    • Keep teams small and nimble.

      Experts agree that highly agile teams must be small (a good rule is no double digits). Amazon uses a “two-pizza” team rule (teams can’t have more members than two pizzas can feed). Small teams can build trust, rapport, and communication more quickly—all characteristics important for innovation and the necessity to pivot quickly to rapidly changing external trends.

    • Create teams with the roles and competencies that support critical capabilities.

      Just as organizations should cut costs based on a logic that differentiates competitive capabilities from non-essential capabilities, teams should be created with a focus on what is needed to deliver on customer and stakeholder expectations. Jeff Wilke, Amazon’s CEO of consumer business, describes its collaboration philosophy as “separable single-threaded teams.” Each team focuses on optimizing the critical capabilities for its success. Market-oriented collaboration between teams or business units fosters more efficiently shared resources.

    • Optimize team processes.

      Teams aligned to critical work processes can be optimized to ensure the health of decision-making and other team processes. Tools like RACI, WorkOutteam coaching, and team-development programs empower teams to speed up effective decision making, clarify accountability, and reduce inefficiencies. Individual cognitive and psychometric self-analysis surveys like MENTOR are powerful team-dynamic aides that help leaders assess optimal team design and predict critical team performance capability.

    • Build leaders’ competency in managing virtual teams.

      Leading teams is challenging, and many leaders struggle even under normal circumstances. Innovative leaders like Jeff Bezos (Amazon), Jack Ma (Alibaba), and Ren Zhengfei (Huawei) implement practices to successfully “walk the talk.” All three publicly articulate their personal leadership virtues and operationalize them into behavioral expectations. Likewise, critical leadership competencies must be operationalized for virtual management.


    Agile teams require trust and communication. One critical key to team success and agile organizations is trust – both within and between teams. In May 2020, Ilkka Paananen, CEO of Supercell, offered 10 lessons to celebrate the company’s first highly successful decade and advises that trust must replace control. He warns against a “reporting culture” where teams spend excessive time writing too many reports and leaders spend too much time reading them. Developing social relationships, creating a sense of community, and building relationships effectively facilitate trust.

    Successful teams also invest in strengthening communication skills to improve understanding, get better inputs, and coach and give feedback from an outside-in perspective. Agile leaders intentionally build conflict-resolution skills with the understanding that team success will correlate with how effectively the team can debrief setbacks, failures, and challenges. Amazon’s idea-generation model encourages creative conflict through its PR&FAQ tool where new ideas are presented in the form of a hypothetical press release and customer FAQ. These are intensely and intentionally debated to help determine which ideas will undergo further development. Establishing protocols for productive feedback and idea deconstruction increases the speed with which teams innovate.

    Implications post-COVID-19

    Workplace relationships have changed but research in team collaboration holds true for virtual and geographically dispersed teams:

    • Face-to-face still matters.

      Face-to-face interactions influence team success. In a study of teams using sociometric data, researchers correlated the duration and frequency of face-to-face interactions with key performance metrics to show that face-to-face is the most valuable form of communication. Although the research took place with in-person interactions, making time for one-on-one conversations even in a virtual environment can help build stronger team relationships.

    • Social relationships create trust.

      Whether in person or virtually, team members need opportunities to create a sense of community and build informal relationships. Team “Zoom” lunch breaks, virtual “happy hours,” and team celebrations are being used to build a sense of community and foster collaboration and trust. In a recent RBL Group quarterly meeting, one company owner shared funny memes and family pictures submitted by employees to create a sense of unity. Several of our client companies have reported that connecting virtually has opened a wider network of company connections and in some cases fostered even stronger rapport because technology and virtual meetings simplify geographical and resource boundaries. In manager-team relationships, virtual-development conversations are often more focused and promote stronger active listening.

    • Team technological infrastructures should support information sharing.

      Effective teams share information upward, downward, and sideways for transparency. Google holds weekly “TGIF” sharing meetings. Alibaba involves customers in co-creation of new products and services. Huawei’s CEO frequently internally shares key issues and challenges. Technology solutions, meeting cadences, and team processes should facilitate information sharing.


    Agile teams foster a culture of individual and team learning. Teams progress as they learn and develop—both as individuals and as a team. Just like a sports team often experiences more success after identifying and improving both individual and team skills gaps (through watching past games to understand past failures and successes, scouting upcoming opponents, etc.), agile teams progress faster and improve their ability to innovate by identifying and improving skills gaps, evaluating and learning from outcomes, and processing feedback.

    Individual learning and strategic agility improve through individual and organizational (a) self-awareness; (b) cultivating a growth mindset; and (c) strengthening the ability to navigate paradox. Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, challenges her teams to build a mindset of “We learn it all” (rather than “We know it all.”). This mindset has helped Microsoft outperform Google and triple its share price in the last four years.

    Implications post-COVID-19

    Perhaps never before has a growth-mindset culture been as important. With stressors and challenges stretching every organization, leaders have the opportunity to facilitate a mindset that encourages optimism towards leveraging the challenges brought on by COVID-19 and offers a context for failures. Organizations can encourage a growth-mindset culture by:

    • Sharing stories about failures and learnings/successes that came from the failures
    • Implementing daily or weekly pulse surveys to receive and share feedback
    • Celebrating failures and learnings in organizational settings (Supercell celebrates game launches, even if they failed, with a bottle of champagne)
    • Creating a culture that encourages asking questions such as, What will we do next? What did we learn from this? How will we move beyond this?

    Agile high-performance teams must be the new normal. In many industries, remote work, steep cost-cutting, changed work structures, new products, altered supply chains, reduced travel, and heightened technological dependencies (among the many additional upsets of 2020) have created a new economy. This new economy demands agile teams that:

    1. align clear PURPOSE with differentiating organizational capabilities for adjusted marketplace positioning,
    2. achieve goals faster with stricter accountability and adherence to GOVERNANCE,
    3. build strong virtual RELATIONSHIPS, and
    4. facilitate agile individual and organizational virtual LEARNING.

    In today’s unique environment, team leaders must successfully build these domains to create teams that can successfully pivot to respond to marketplace trends, leverage shared organizational resources, and most importantly innovate to successfully meet customer expectations in the new normal COVID-19 world.

    RBL offers virtual and in-person development for “Leading Virtual Teams,” as well as “Remote Leadership Online Simulations.” Learn more here about RBL tools and services that can help you optimize and support your teams for success, or please contact us for more info.


    About the Author:

    Leslie is a principal with The RBL Group, a global consultancy focused on strategic HR, leadership development, and organizational design that builds capabilities that create sustainable advantage. Leslie combines cognitive-behavior research and leadership development to help leaders and organizations worldwide drive business results through high performance. Her past client list includes Walgreens-Boots-Alliance, Hyatt, American Express, Alcon, DOMO, Silicon Valley Bank, SaltStack,  Global Education Allies, Silicon Slopes, Charter Manufacturing, NuSkin, and Inside Sales.  Leslie has also worked extensively coaching high-level entrepreneurs and executives in developing and delivering high-stakes presentations. Before joining the RBL Group, Leslie co-founded Leverage Communications and was an adjunct faculty member and associate director for the management communications program in the department of Organizational Leadership and Strategy at Brigham Young University’s (BYU) Marriott School of Business.

  • Thursday, July 16, 2020 12:05 AM | Angela Dawson (Administrator)

    By Ron Zamir

    The new technology transforming the world today can make businesses more streamlined and simplified. In the corporate world, the concept of automation is picking up speed; 58% of executives indicated they were working toward more automation, more than doubling the number of executives making the shift to automation from the previous year. Marketing departments, in particular, are pioneering the growing use of automation. Marketing automation technology is expected to grow at a 14% compounded annual growth rate over the next five years.

    Disruptive Technology For Learning

    In the age of AI and automation, learning departments need to examine the ways employees are already learning on their own. For example, they might use Google or YouTube to learn something. Creating multiple touch points where employees can go for training is a great way to scale and offer on-the-job learning. To start using technology more, learning departments need to measure the data from their current training to determine the usage and effectiveness of the different touch points their learners have access to. Engagement and throughput data from current training can help them create persona-based approaches for onboarding: the first interaction any company has with the incoming new hires.

    Three Strategies For Embracing Digital Transformation Through Onboarding

    The technologies available to most learning organizations can be harnessed in onboarding new employees to adopt digital transformation. Using available tech in three specific, strategic ways can make an impact and close the gap between marketing and organizational learning.

    1.      Utilize different channels to connect and scale. Connect learning to the vision and values of the organization. Social or video platforms that are commonly used in many age groups for connecting in daily life, for instance, can help you connect employees’ values with that of the company. Increasing your connection to employees will also make it easier to increase the reach of your training.

    2.     Create systems to build confidence. Create ways for new hires to practice their new skills. When employees know they can perform a task or complete a vital process for the company, their confidence will grow, and so will their satisfaction.

    3.     Provide ways for new employees to contribute. Creating opportunities for employees to contribute early in the onboarding process is a great way to integrate them into the company culture and make them feel inspired and appreciated.

    Learning That Supports Business Transformation

    Many organizations have been disrupted by new technologies and their inability to keep up with all the changes. According to a study by Gartner, there are three capabilities that executives within fit organizations focus on to make this possible. First, they focus on the alignment of the employee vision and values with those of the business. They also train leaders to be more adaptable to changes for when, not if, they come. Lastly, they anticipate change by looking at trends in the data they are already measuring and by starting early in the onboarding process to create brand champions. The combination of these three capabilities helps fit companies close the technology gap between the marketing and organizational learning departments.

    The work of today’s learning organizations to stay adaptable is a little like trying to walk through raindrops. It’s necessary to find the time between the reactive needs to make a strategic and preemptive plan. Start early, either during or before onboarding, to stir the desire of new employees to be the best corporate citizens they can be.

  • Monday, June 08, 2020 9:01 PM | Angela Dawson (Administrator)

    Greetings! Allow me to introduce myself – my name is Ray deWolfe and I’m honored to serve as the VP of Professional Development for Utah ATD. My responsibility for our members and non-members alike is to organize engaging speakers to share insights and best practices during our monthly learning events.

    For my full-time career I work at Mountain America Credit Union as the AVP of Employee Experience. Before that, I managed our Talent Development department and oversaw a team of 6 trainers. Like many of you, I was put into a training role with very little training experience. I’ve learned much by being on the job. However, I’ve also learned a lot by joining ATD and reading content from industry experts.

    I love L&D because in enables me to bring out the best in people and the overall organization. Watching people grow, develop and perform are highlights of what I do. I love being a member of Utah ATD because it enables me to network, discuss challenges and solutions, share knowledge, and be a part of an industry that I love.

    The pandemic has created many obstacles for many of us. For years we’ve discussed the value of remote learning and training. Now, it’s almost unavoidable. At my organization, we’re working on partnering with leaders how to best manage performance when many of their teams are now remote. I’m curious to know what challenges you’re working on. Please share! It’s by sharing our challenges and our victories that strengthen us as L&D professionals and as a local chapter. Have an idea for a topic or want to speak? Contact me by emailing profdev@utahatd.org 

    Thank you for your time. I hope to see you at an upcoming learning event!


    Ray deWolfe

    VP of Professional Development | Utah ATD

  • Monday, May 11, 2020 12:37 PM | Angela Dawson (Administrator)

    Todd Davis is FranklinCovey’s Chief People Officer and the author and co-author, respectively, of The Wall Street Journal bestsellers Get Better: 15 Proven Practices to Build Effective Relationships at Work and Everyone Deserves a Great Manager: The 6 Critical Practices for Leading a Team. Todd is also an expert on The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey, which has sold more than 40 million copies in 50 languages. The 30th Anniversary Edition will be released on May 21, 2020 and will feature new insights from son, Sean Covey. Learn more about FranklinCovey’s 7 Habits solutions.

    The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – Life-Changing!

    While it’s a widely known fact that hiring the right people is critical to any company’s success, it’s actually the nature of the relationship between those people that is an organization’s true advantage. Because we all get results with and through others, our ability to develop and sustain sincere, meaningful, and effective relationships is not only a “nice to have” but is critical to executing on an organization’s most important goals and objectives.

    I’ve read many excellent books throughout my career that have had a meaningful impact on my personal and professional relationships, but none more than The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. To say it was and continues to be life-changing for me would be an understatement. 

    The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People was first published over 30 years ago and has sold more than 40 million copies in 50 plus languages. It is regarded as one of the most influential business books of all time and is as relevant today as it was when Stephen R. Covey first wrote it. Why? Because it is based on timeless principles of effectiveness−the effectiveness of our relationships with others.

    Stephen Covey didn’t title the book The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People, or Highly Efficient People, but rather, The 7 Habits Highly Effective People. Effective people are those who get things done now, in a way that provides for even better results in the future. One of the foundational principles for each of the habits is our paradigm, or how we see things. What we see influences everything we do. And we already know that what we do drives the results we get. For example, if I’m a micro-manager, how do I see my team members? They are incompetent. So, I see my team as incompetent and then what do I do? I criticize. And as I continually criticize them, what kind of results does this team get? They get results which are poor or mediocre at best? And as I see these poor results, what do I say to myself as the micro-manager? Wow, I’ve got to micro-manage even more. And it becomes this downward spiral and self-fulfilling prophecy all driven by the way I see my team. So, our paradigms are critical to our effectiveness.  

    Habit 1 is Be Proactive. This is the habit of choice. We have the freedom to choose and are responsible for our choices. And the most empowering concept in Habit 1 is that while there are many things over which we have no control, we can choose our response to any situation. We can choose to be proactive rather than reactive. Rather than being a “victim,” blaming other people or circumstances for our situation. Habit 1 is the first habit for a reason because it helps us realize we can be in charge of our own lives.

    Habit 2 is Begin with the End in Mind. This is the habit of vision. Highly effective people shape their own future by creating a mental vision and purpose for their life, their week, and their day. Instead of just going on autopilot, responding to whatever crisis or situation comes their way, they map out what they want to accomplish based on their most important values and roles in life. They have clearly defined their purpose and they know where they’re going.  

    Habit 3 is Put First Things First. This is the habit of execution. Henry Ford said, “You can’t build a reputation on what you say you’re going to do.” Habit 3 is where the rubber meets the road.  In Habit 2, we created our vision or plan around what we value most and in Habit 3 we execute on that plan. We are driven by purpose and direction. We put people ahead of schedules. Getting things done in a timely manner is important, but we make sure we are getting the right things done. Before climbing the ladder, we make sure the ladder is leaning against the correct wall.

    These first three habits, Habits 1, 2, and 3 help us to master what is called the Private Victory or victory over self. These are the habits that help us become trustworthy, as we do what we say we are going to do. The next three habits, Habits 4, 5, and 6 help us master what is called the Public Victory. The Public Victory helps us build trust with others. And it’s clear that we must first be trustworthy before attempting to build trust with others.

    Habit 4 is Think Win-Win. This is the habit of mutual benefit. It’s not about you, or me; it’s about both of us. How do we win together? Habit 4 is an attitude. People who think win/win have what is called an abundance mentality (there is plenty for everyone and more) versus a scarcity mentality (the more you get the less there will be for me). This win/win attitude or mindset allows us successfully to move to Habits 5 and 6.

    Habit 5 is Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood. This is the habit of mutual understanding. Do you listen with the intent to truly understand the other person’s feelings or point of view, or like most of us, do you listen with the intent to reply? Highly effective people suspend their thoughts and opinions long enough to truly understand the other person. Not to agree or disagree, but to empathize and relate to how the other person is feeling. Stephen Covey said, “the deepest need of the human heart is to feel understood.” Highly effective people understand that the key to influence is to first be influenced.

    Habit 6 is Synergize. This is the habit of creative cooperation. Highly effective people value differences instead of being threatened by them. They believe that their own strengths combined with the gifts and talents of others can lead to the whole being greater than the sum of its parts. They seek for 3rd alternative solutions that are better than what they or the other party had in mind to begin with. They don’t go for compromise (1 + 1 = 1½) or merely cooperation (1 + 1 = 2) but seek out creative cooperation (1 + 1 = 3 or more). This happens because they begin with an attitude of win/win (Habit 4) followed by taking the time to truly understand the others’ perspective (Habit 5). This is how Habits 4, 5, and 6 work together.

    Habit 7 is Sharpen the Saw. This is the habit of renewal. Highly effective people understand that they must invest in themselves so that they have the energy and resources to increase their effectiveness with others. The term ‘Sharpen the Saw’ comes from the story of the wood cutter who was so busy sawing logs with a dull saw blade, that he failed to see how much more effective he would be if he would take time to sharpen the blades of his saw. Many of us, like the woodcutter, are so busy that we don’t take time to renew ourselves in the four key areas of life: body (physical), mind (mental), heart (social/emotional), and spirit (spiritual - meaning purpose and contribution). By investing in these four areas on a regular basis, we dramatically increase our capacity and capabilities.

    By focusing on living the 7 habits, we can become highly effective in our most important relationships, contributing in ways that result in an extraordinarily meaningful and purposeful life.

    The 30th Anniversary Edition of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is launching on May 21, 2020. It includes the universal, timeless principles and safe wisdom and guidance in original form, as well as new insights from Stephen Covey’s son, Sean Covey. If you have never had the opportunity to read this book, I invite you to do so. And if you have read it before, I invite you to read it again. It is a book to read again and again, especially when life gets difficult. It changed my life for the better. And, I am sure it will do the same for you.

  • Thursday, April 09, 2020 3:45 PM | Angela Dawson (Administrator)

    By Todd Davis

    Todd Davis is FranklinCovey’s Chief People Officer and the author and co-author, respectively, of The Wall Street Journal bestsellers Get Better: 15 Proven Practices to Build Effective Relationships at Work and Everyone Deserves a Great Manager: The 6 Critical Practices for Leading a Team

    Develop a Leaders Mindset

    Do you want to be a great leader, or do you want your team led by a great leader? Is there a difference? If my goal is to be a great leader, I’m probably going to do a lot of good and valuable things. But, if my goal is making sure my team is led by a great leader, then my energy and focus is entirely on the team! “What does Matt need to reach his full potential?” “How can I help Madison really knock it out of the park with the project she’s working on?”

    Developing a leader’s mindset is foundational to providing great leadership, and makes all the difference in how you approach everything in your leadership role.

    What we see and how we think, our mindset, determines everything we do. And of course, what we do drives the results we get. But it all begins with our mindset.

    For example, if I’m a micro-manager, what is the mindset I have about my team? (they’re incompetent, incapable, maybe idiots!) So, if I see my team as incompetent, what kinds of things do I do? (triple-check everything they’ve touched, continually hover over them and criticize their work). And if that’s what I do, what kind of results does this team get? (poor, mediocre at best). And THEN what do I say to myself as the micro-manager? “See…. they ARE incompetent!” “Can you imagine how bad our results would have been had I NOT micromanaged them?” “I’ve got to micromanage them even more to try and improve our results.” And it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy all driven by my mindset of my team being incompetent.

    A leader’s mindset influences everything the leader does. Let me share a few other examples showing the importance of developing a leader’s mindset.

    Many managers I’ve worked with see holding 1-on-1’s as a time to check up on the progress a team member is making relating to their areas of responsibility. Seems logical and even helpful. However, highly effective leaders, great leaders have a different mindset. They understand that regular 1 on 1’s are the optimal time to really connect with their team members, finding out what’s working for them and what’s not working for them, making the meeting all about them, the employees. When done right, great leaders use this time to significantly raise the employees’ level of engagement and therefore improve their results.

    Another example is when a leader sees giving feedback only to help fix a team member’s problem or area of poor performance. Again, sounds well intended and even logical, just not very effective. Conversely, those leaders who have a different mindset about feedback, who see giving and seeking feedback as an opportunity to elevate the performance of the entire team, lead teams who are in a state of continuous improvement and who therefore deliver great results for the organization. And notice I said seeking feedback as well as giving it. Great leaders understand that they too are always learning. They ask their team members on a regular basis to share sincere, candid feedback on what they, the leader, can do to improve. Modeling this type of humility is a core competency of great leaders.

    One final example – Setting up your team to get results. An “efficient” leader’s mindset is to tell their team members what to do and how to do it. Clear, concise, and quick. And they may get some “good” results in the short-term. But not for the long-term and certainly not the best results they could achieve.  Alternatively, the highly effective leader focuses on the why, the what, and the how when setting up their team to get results. They understand the importance of clearly communicating to their team members about why the organization is doing what it’s doing, and what it is that their specific team needs to do in conjunction with that why. When team members understand how the work they do ties to the goals of the larger organization, they are much more engaged and passionate about their work. Once the leader has helped their team truly understand the why and the what, great leaders involve their team members in the how. Instead of telling team members how the work should be done, they solicit those ideas from the team. Their mindset is that their team members are a group of talented and skilled individuals who are capable of doing great work. They understand that the more involved the team is with deciding on the how, the more excited and engaged they will be.

    Developing a leader’s mindset doesn’t happen overnight. It is an ongoing process. Even those who have been in leadership roles for many years need to continually be reminding themselves of the difference between wanting to be a great leader and wanting to make sure their team is led by a great leader.

  • Thursday, March 19, 2020 10:42 AM | Angela Dawson (Administrator)

    Discussions around mergers and acquisitions (M&A) can overlook the work after a deal is closed, but the right brand training can help a company successfully merge brands and return on their M&A investment. Check out March's Spotlight, written by Nick Thacker at AllenComm, to learn more about how to increase success in mergers and acquisitions.

    Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) are a daily element of modern business. Closing M&A deals might seem like the culmination of months or years of work, but it’s only getting started, and the right brand training can mean the difference between success and failure post-M&A.

    Since 1990, over 75% of US industries have become more consolidated, resulting in higher market concentrations and profits. So, the question is how to ensure a merger and acquisition is successful when it happens, not if it happens. But even though it’s almost inevitable, successfully merging two brands is proving difficult.

    What Leads to M&A Failure?

    A Deloitte report found that $10 trillion was spent on M&A in the previous 7 years, but 46% of respondents said less than half of the deals from the previous two years generated expected return on investment (ROI).

    In addition, voluntary turnover increased by about 12% before or after M&A. In PwC’s 2017 M&A Integration Survey, it was found that 42% of organizations failed to fully integrate the involved companies, and 58% reported it was difficult to integrate.

    The conversation around M&A is almost all financial or data-driven, but organizational change is required in order to accommodate all the differences in two companies merging together. One of the areas for the most improvement is in brand training.

    Identify Crisis and Merging Brands

    In the internet and social media age, it’s more important than ever to be able to distill a company’s identity down to its simplest form. But brand also extends to the types of employees attracted to the company or the culture within offices. Things get complicated when the compatible aspects of two companies contend with the incompatible ones.

    For instance, The Walt Disney Company recently acquired 21st Century Fox for almost $72 billion. Everyone in the world could probably articulate the Disney brand. We’d talk about Mickey Mouse, Disneyland, animated films, or princesses. But 21st Century Fox, with a long and varied film history, had obvious brand compatibility issues. Could the Simpsons exist alongside Mickey and Minnie? Could the Alien franchise find a home in Cinderella’s castle? Fox’s sub-brands like Fox Searchlight were known for independent cinema, a far cry from Disney’s box office giants and four-quadrant crowd-pleasers.

    Disney set about swallowing up the 21st Century Fox brand and discarding what didn’t fit. It also meant job loss and a more homogenized box office. Disney, with the stronger brand, found ways to successfully communicate the changes privately and publicly like the 2019 launch of streaming service Disney Plus. After only 3 months, Disney Plus had 28.6 million subscribers, all of whom can log into the service and see Homer Simpson and his family right alongside Mickey Mouse and friends. But, while a branding home run for Disney, many of the unique aspects of 21st Century Fox have fallen away.

    Successful Brand Training Post-M&A

    So much time, energy, and research is spent on the due diligence to vet both companies’ finances and legal issues that it’s understandable why business leaders would want a break once the deal is done. But complacency after M&A sets your company up for immediate failure. Once the deal is closed, the work is just getting started.

    Here are some lessons we can learn from successful brand mergers:

    • Transparent communication that is early, often, and detailed will go a long way toward easing employees’ fears. Without the context of why changes are happening, employees will probably assume the worst by default. Some employees might start looking for new jobs rather than stay and risk negative changes.
    • Developing a framework to identify and measure the indicators of successful integration will show how your company is responding to the transition. Consider an extensive needs analysis to determine the training your company needs and how to implement it.
    • Reshaping business processes that match between the involved companies won’t happen without buy-in from the bottom up. Brand training can help employees understand why the change is necessary and beneficial to them in their specific role. When training is not specific, it’s not effective. It’s also important that successful ideas from both companies are integrated into training. If one company simply cannibalizes the other, the cost is often human, and employee morale will decline.
    • Roll out training in phases so employees don’t get overwhelmed. Mergers and acquisitions can lead to moving offices, downsizing, or a host of other practical problems, and employees will have enough on their plate. Clear direction can be supported by changing assets in training to reflect new company names, logo, or language.

    Considering these ideas will be a great start to developing a plan to navigate brand training after M&A.

    Investing in Change

    The stakes are high in today’s increasingly-consolidated market. When billions of dollars are invested in M&A, billions of dollars have to be earned. Otherwise, the narrative can easily turn into failure. Because of this pressure, it’s easy to overlook the human aspects of M&A that can lead to success.

    Brand training that’s specific and personal to the employees involved is an investment in the people behind the change. When communication and training combine, employees will be invested in the change, too. The fear of the unknown is replaced with excitement to tackle the new challenges post-M&A.

  • Monday, February 10, 2020 5:51 PM | Angela Dawson

    Todd Davis is FranklinCovey’s Chief People Officer and the author and co-author, respectively, of The Wall Street Journal bestsellers Get Better: 15 Proven Practices to Build Effective Relationships at Work and Everyone Deserves a Great Manager: The 6 Critical Practices for Leading a Team

    “Have you got a few minutes? I’ve got some feedback for you.” The words we all dread to hear…right?

    And why is that? The origin of the word “feed” means to nourish, sustain, and foster. And “back” means to support. So if that is what feedback really means, who wouldn’t want that?

    Not only have we forgotten the definition of the word, but many have completely misunderstood the intent, whether they are giving the feedback or receiving it. A very common mindset with managers and leaders is “I give feedback so I can fix people’s problems.” Makes sense. Sounds logical, and even helpful. But the truly great managers’ mindset is “I give and I seek feedback to elevate the entire team".

    Creating a culture of feedback, where giving and receiving feedback, even proactively seeking it out, is commonplace. It is one of the most effective things great managers focus on. And it all hinges on our intent.

    Am I giving you feedback because I want you to know how smart I am or that I know more than you do? Or maybe I’m feeling threatened and so I find comfort in making someone else feel threatened? Or, do I really see a behavior that I believe is hindering you or holding you back from realizing your full potential. And my sole intent is to help.

    And when I seek feedback, am I only looking for compliments or validation, or, do I really care and want to know where others think I can improve. Do I have the humility to not only hear what they might have to say, but to evaluate it and then if needed, act on it?

    Giving feedback is hard. And intent is everything. If our intent is right, if we really want to help, while the perfect words might not come through, our intent will.

    Great managers don’t think about giving negative or positive feedback in these discussions. And not because they are trying to dance around those words. But because they want to emphasize the real intent behind the feedback. They refer to redirecting feedback or reinforcing feedback.

    Redirecting Feedback – I love this phrase. I love it because to me, in the context of feedback, the word “redirecting” indicates that someone is doing a lot of things right, that they have talents and capabilities, but that they just need to adjust or tweak some of the things they’re doing. Redirecting conveys hope. It conveys that “I believe in you”. That you can do it. I will often began a redirecting conversation by saying something like “Sam, I want you to know how much I value you and the contributions you have made to our team. You are very talented and I’m glad you’re here. There are a couple of things I’d like to share with you and I want you to know that my only intent in sharing these with you is because I care deeply about your success and I believe if you can adjust these things, you will become even more accomplished than you are today.”

    Reinforcing Feedback - For anyone who has helped raise a small child, you remember the first time “Johnny” tied his own shoes. And you said “Johnny, that was wonderful that you were able to tie your shoes all by yourself!” And Johnny felt quite a rush when you called him out on that behavior. He was anxious to do it again and again. Well guess what? That sense of pride and accomplishment doesn’t go away as we get older. As adults, we are all still “Johnny” or “Jane” and we crave that feeling when someone sincerely notices something we’ve done well. This is reinforcing feedback and because many tend to think of feedback as a time to “fix problems”, they frequently miss this invaluable opportunity to recognize the effective behaviors that certain team members are demonstrating. “Sam, I want you to know that in the meeting yesterday, the data you had so carefully prepared made all the difference in conversation. Your attention to detail is something I’ve always appreciated and I wanted to thank you for being so prepared.” Sam is going to remember those words and you can bet that she will be the data expert if she isn’t already.” Great managers don’t miss the opportunity to provide reinforcing feedback. They are constantly on the lookout for it.

    Seeking feedback is equally as important as giving it, especially for managers. And again, your intent is everything. Realize that your title alone makes it a little (or a lot) unsafe for others to give you feedback….to tell you the truth. Great managers make it safe.

    If I’m the boss and after the team meeting I show up in Stan’s office and say “Hey Stan, how do you think the meeting went?” What do you think Stan is going to say? “Uh, great…it went great Todd.” Put on the spot, especially by our manager, most of us are going to say exactly what we think they want to hear. It’s human nature. And I suspect we’ve all experienced it when put in a position like this.

    But let’s say I’m Stan’s boss and my real intent is to improve. So I go to Stan the day BEFORE the meeting and I say “Hey Stan, I know you’ll be at the team meeting tomorrow and I’d like to ask you a favor. I’m really trying to improve the effectiveness of our meetings. Would you please note down those things you observe that you believe I could do better in conducting the meeting? Sure I’d love to know what you think is going well, but I’m really focused on where I can improve. And then maybe later this week we can meet and you can share with me your observations. Would that be okay?"

    I suspect by asking Stan this way, by making it safe, I’m going to get a lot more than “Uh, great…it went great Todd.” And then I’ll have an opportunity to practice a little humility as I try and improve.

    Great managers understand the huge value in creating a culture of feedback. By giving redirecting feedback when needed, and by looking for opportunities for giving reinforcing feedback. And they model proactively seeking feedback as well. Sincerely asking for suggestions on where they can improve. When this type of giving and receiving feedback is just part of how a team operates, you can bet they will be one of the highest performing teams in the organization.

  • Thursday, January 09, 2020 3:24 PM | Angela Dawson

    by Todd Davis 

    Todd Davis is FranklinCovey’s Chief People Officer and the author and co-author, respectively, of The Wall Street Journal bestsellers Get Better: 15 Proven Practices to Build Effective Relationships at Work and Everyone Deserves a Great Manager: The 6 Critical Practices for Leading a Team

    Imagine you are at the airport waiting to board a plane. Your group number is finally called. You walk down the jetway and go into the plane (pass first class because you never get upgraded), back to row 46 in coach. You hoist your carryon luggage into the overhead bin, sit down in your seat, buckle your seatbelt, and lean back and think “Finally, I can relax for a few minutes.”

    As the plane taxis out onto the runway, a voice comes over the speaker system and says “Thanks for flying with us today. I will be your pilot, and while I don’t have any actual pilot training, I do have an interest in flying and so we’ll just learn as we go. Welcome to GOOD LUCK AIRLINES!”

    Hearing this, what is your first inclination? You’ve got to get off that plane…right? 

    In a recent Harvard Business Review article it was noted that on average, people are put into their first management role around age 30 and yet don’t receive any type of management training until around age 42……if ever! So that’s basically 12 years of “Welcome to Good Luck Leadership.”

    More often than not, those placed in a leadership role are put there because they were a superstar in their old role. And yet, the skills that made them so successful as an individual contributor are not what they need to be the great manager their team deserves.

    In The Wall Street Journal’s bestselling book, Everyone Deserves a Great Manager – The 6 Critical Practices for Leading a Team, we have identified the fundamental yet vital skills that anyone in a management or leadership role needs to be using.

    These six practices make all the difference between having at team who excels and is passionate about the work they are doing to those who just show up until something better comes along.

    The six critical practices are:

    1 – Develop a Leaders Mindset. Do you want to be a great leader, or do you want your team led by a great leader? Think about that as it is a subtle but critical difference. If I wake up in the morning thinking “I want to be a great leader”, I’m probably going to do a lot of really good things that day. But if I wake up in the morning thinking “I want my team led by a great leader”, then the focus is on them, the team! “What does Matt need to reach his full potential?” How can I help Madison really knock it out of the park with the project she’s working on?” Having the mindset of a leader is foundational and makes all the difference in how you approach everything in your management role.

    2 – Hold Regular 1-on-1s. While this may seem obvious, I am amazed at how many people in management roles don’t meet on a regular basis with their team members. The most important thing a leader can do is create the circumstances for employee engagement. The more engaged an employee is, the more productive they are. An effective 1-on-1 is the optimal time for really understanding what’s important to the employee. What’s working for them and what’s not working? What would they like to do next? This regular meeting (weekly, bi-weekly, or even just once a month) can make all the difference of whether or not an employee feels truly valued.

    3 – Set Up Your Team to Get Results. Do you know the top three goals of your organization? Does your team? Setting up your team to get results is all about alignment. Alignment that as a leader you can make happen. WHY is our organization focused on whatever it is we do? WHAT role does our team play in that purpose and goal? And HOW should our team go about accomplishing that? Leaders who help their teams understand these three questions, WHY, WHAT, and HOW, are well on their way to helping their team get stellar results.

    4 – Create a Culture of Feedback. “Hey Joe, have you got a minute? I’ve got some feedback for you!” And Joe is thinking, “Great, what have I done now?” Feedback is meant to help nourish, sustain, and support people, not stress them out or tear them down. Creating a culture where giving AND RECEIVING reinforcing and/or redirecting feedback is a regular occurrence can truly help a team perform at their very best. And don’t forget the receiving part. Great leaders proactively seek out ways they, as the leader, can improve.

    5 – Lead Your Team Through Change. We’ve all learned the one thing we can count on is change. And great leaders understand that leading your team through change doesn’t mean you shield them from it, you have all the answers, or you join them in their protests against it. Great leaders take the time to understand the reasons for the change so that they can get on board with it and then help their team navigate through the various stages of change, coaching and encouraging them along the way.

    6 – Manage Your Time and Energy. It is predicted that within 20 years, 40% of jobs currently performed by human beings will be replaced by artificial intelligence. We owe it to ourselves and to those we lead to stay relevant, continually investing in ourselves so that we can add value and make significant contributions. Certainly, that starts with taking care of ourselves physically, eating right and getting enough exercise. Not burning out. And it also means we are continually learning and investing in our minds. What the leader values (and models) gets valued.

    Just as we all deserve a trained, skilled, competent pilot to get us safely from point A to point B, everyone deserves a great manager to lead them in the important work they do every day. Implementing these six practices will do just that.  

    For more information on how to become the leader that everyone on your team deserves, please download our guide: http://pages.franklincovey.com/crucial-insights-first-level-leaders-guide-pr.html

  • Tuesday, December 10, 2019 11:20 AM | Angela Dawson

    Emotional intelligence (EQ) is a relevant skill for all talent development professionals and leaders, regardless of industry. This month, Utah ATD Chapter Sponsor, Accel5, shared a book summary from Travis Bradberry's, "6 Hallmarks of a High EQ Leader." 

    According to Travis Bradberry, what are the "6 Hallmarks of a High EQ Leader?"

    1. You're curious about people.
    2. You embrace change. 
    3. You know your strengths and weaknesses.
    4. You're a good judge of character. 
    5. You're difficult to offend.
    6. You let go of mistakes. 

    Watch the full video summary here

    About Accel5

    Accel5 is a microlearning solution for employees looking to improve critical soft skills like leadership, teamwork, communication, innovation and many others. It offers best practices from world-class business authors and executives in three formats: videos, summaries of business books and articles. The content is concise and actionable, making it an ideal solution for busy professionals.

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