Innovations in Learning: What’s Different About Today’s Learner?

levis-annenberg-innovation-lab(7)By the year 2014, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that 47% of the population will be comprised of Millennials-Digital Natives (born after 1980) who were raised playing video games and surfing the Internet to get information.

What does this mean for corporate learning? How are they preparing for a younger generation of workers who are attuned to learning using the latest technologies?

The most fatal flaw in learning and development today is that we are not using the myriad of 21st century innovative technologies available to us – mobile devices, social media tools and games. Continue reading

The Upsurge In Game Based Learning

Game-based-Learning-picture_pngOver 50% of companies are going to implement or have already implemented, game based learning. As companies intensify their efforts to engage their workforce in learning, games offer a new method for learning and skills development.

There are principally two groups of stakeholders who are showing an interest in game design and development.

  • Learning designers who want to make learning more engaging and lasting.
  • Companies who want to attract and retain today’s younger generation (the Millennials – born after 1980) who grew up playing games and who will comprise over 50% of the workforce by 2020. “Fifty-eight percent of Millennials stated that they are likely to select an employer who will provide them with the same tools to collaborate, network and learn on the job that they use in their personal lives” (2020 Workplace).

Although the interest in games is growing, there is still some skepticism. So it begs the question – can we learn from games? Research in cognitive science says that we can learn if a game is well designed. A well-designed game uses sound learning principles that include the elements of games built into the design. Continue reading

Short Term Coaching: An Alternative to Lengthy Programs

Alternative RoutesTraditionally, executive coaching includes collecting 360-degree feedback, administering personality instruments, identifying areas for development upon which an action plan is created and on-going bi-weekly coaching sessions. Its primary goal is to raise self-awareness and change behaviors that are deeply ingrained and are obstacles to the person’s personal and professional growth. This process is intensive and takes time often requiring a minimum of six months.

There are times when talking to someone objectively for a few hours can help an employee to resolve a specific issue such as:

  • Empowering their staff
  • Projecting a professional image
  • Giving effective feedback
  • Managing up
  • Managing a difficult employee
  • Building relationships with their team, colleagues and others
  • Or, just a sounding board for day-to-day work related situations Continue reading

How Millennials Learn

What do Millennials WantThe news that the Millennials (born after 1980) are rising should come as no surprise to those of you who follow demographic changes in the workplace.

  • By next year, 36% of the workforce will be comprised of Millennials
  • By 2020, that number will be 46% and some predict even higher (US Census Bureau).

We often hear that the Boomers aren’t leaving due to the economic conditions. However, all you have to do is the math and by 2020 the exodus will begin, if not sooner.

The increase of the Millennial Generation is forcing employers to rethink and redesign the way training is being delivered. Why? According to Jeanne Meister’s generations@worksurvey, 58% of Millennials said they are likely to select an employer who will provide them with the same tools to collaborate, network and learn on the job that they use in their personal lives. Some say they are spoiled. I say give them what they need to do the best job they can for you. Continue reading

Games Encourage Risk Taking

Risk“Better Ideas Through Failure,” is the title of an article in a recent Wall Street Journal. Those of us in human resources have known for years that people can learn from mistakes and that innovation comes from taking risks and making mistakes. Yet when someone does make a mistake they are made to feel bad rather than patted on the back for trying.

I agree with Judy Estrin, a founder of seven high tech companies and author of a book on innovation when she says, “Failure, and how companies deal with failure, is a very big part of innovation.” I’m happy to see that companies such as Grey New York are handing out “Heroic Failure” awards to employees who try something that was worth trying and fail and learn from their failure. Continue reading

The King’s Speech

The-Kings-SpeechBelow is a post I was going to post a few weeks back and didn’t. I don’t know why.  Now that The King’s Speech won the Academy Award for best picture I’ve decided to resurrect it. I’ve reread it and like it.

Peggy Noonan in her article, The Captain and The King in The Patriot Post, talks about the lack of maturity rampant amongst leaders today.

I agree with Ms. Noonan. We live in an age where anything goes and being seen, as a “one of the guys or gals” is more important than showing authority and leadership.

The example Ms. Noonan gives is the relieving of the captain of the USS Enterprise, Owen Honors, of his duties because of his “lewd,” “raunchy,” “profane,” and “ribald” behavior.” Honors is a man who couldn’t distinguish his role from those he led, acting more like a deck hand than a leader. Continue reading

The State of Performance Management

report_cardPerformance reviews are getting a poor review from the very people who run them.  According to a survey by Sibson Consulting and WorldatWork, “58% of human resources executives graded their own performance-management systems a C or below.”   Three of the reasons given caught my attention and I’d like to respond to them.

HR professionals say they’re frustrated that managers don’t have the courage to give constructive feedback.

It’s not that managers lack the courage; it’s that they don’t know how to give feedback.

Managers should be trained on how to give feedback.

I agree that they should be trained but not “speed” training. When I was in HR at Citibank in the late 80’s, all new managers had to go through an intensive five-day training program on the fundamentals of managing people, which included giving feedback. Continue reading

Can You Collaborate and Yet Compete?

“If you want to be incrementally better: Be competitive. If you want to be exponentially better: Be Cooperative.” – Unknown

collaborationA client recently raised the question of how a company’s culture can shift from being highly competitive internally to being more collaborative without taking away the competitive “edge” which has helped with their success in the marketplace.

An interesting question and one for which I didn’t have an answer at the time. It intrigued me enough to spend time reflecting on it and, I think, coming up with a reasonable response.

Collaboration according to Webster means to share, work with one another, cooperate and assist. While to compete means to outdo one another for acknowledgement, a prize, supremacy, or engage in a contest to compete in business. Continue reading

Talent Shortage: Perception or Reality?

CompetitionThe debate as to whether or not there will be a talent shortage rages on. In my opinion, it’s inevitable and it will be huge. Many companies have their heads in the sand and don’t or won’t see the ball rolling toward them. Let’s take a closer look by separating perception from reality.

The high unemployment rate has resulted in a large talent pool to draw from.

There are available bodies so companies believe, rightly or wrongly, that they are in the driver’s seat.

The reality is that there is complacency among employers. The economic downturn has caused many companies to fall into a malaise when it comes to talent. Once the economic downturn is over, the first to get jobs, as usual, will be the most talented; the very same employees companies have chosen not to down size. Most of these people have been worked liked race-horses and are just bidding their time to jump ship. Continue reading

How to Select an Executive Coach

There’s a lot written about what makes a good executive coach but I haven’t seen very much about what makes someone a good candidate for coaching. So, here, in my opinion, are the six characteristics of an ideal candidate.


First, they must have the ability to take a long, hard look in the mirror and find out who they are warts and all. This takes work and guts, which many people aren’t up for. The “readiness” level of the candidate should not be overlooked.

Clue: They are ready to discover their blind spots and don’t run from the room when you mention the word coaching. Continue reading