Talent Development and Workplace Learning Blogs

Members can use this page to post upcoming events, articles, etc. 

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  • 05 Jul 2017 8:39 AM | Anonymous member

    Calling all ATD Sacramento Members! Are you Strengths-Certified? We are looking for Gallup-Certified practitioners of StrengthsFinder 2.0 to share best practices at our October 20, 2017 ATD Sacramento program!

    The lunchtime session at CalSTRS in West Sacramento will be a panel discussion and interactive session. 

    We are looking for those who coach, team-build, develop leaders, and/or train classes using the assessment and concepts to:

    • Educate participants regarding what StrengthsFinder is, and the many uses in talent development
    • Share best practices and examples/takeaways
    • Facilitate small groups for participants to debrief/understand their own Top Five Strengths (assessment will be pre-work for the event) 

    We are looking for presenters/facilitators who meet the following criteria:

    • Certified by Gallup or by a Gallup-certified coaching consultancy
    • Demonstrated experience using the StrengthFinders tool in a coaching, team-building, classroom training, or leadership development role
    • Available on Friday, October 20 between 10am to 2pm (not sure of exact time yet)
    • A quality, complete speaker proposal form

    NOTE: Preference will be given to ATD Sacramento and/or National ATD Members. Not a member yet? Join at www.tdsac.org!

    Benefits to the presenters/facilitators: 

    • Network and share your coaching/consulting business with Sacramento's premier talent development association members
    • Use your strengths to enrich the ATD Sacramento community 
    • Learn best practices from other Strengths-certified practitioners

    Please submit your proposal to present using the speaker form available on the ATD Sacramento website under "Events", "Speaker Proposals" no later than Friday, August 11th!

  • 20 Jun 2017 10:42 AM | Anonymous

    Author: Bruce Winner, Government Training Academy, winnerb@losrios.edu, 916.563.3232, www.losrios-training.org

    Training Professionals – The Amazing Approach You Are Not (yet) Using!

    • As a trainer, coach, designer, or developer, would you like a new and powerful technique to increase the application of positive behaviors following your training programs?
    • Would you like to be able to influence or persuade people to do what is ultimately good for them and the organization; and do so without resorting to coercion, threats, or other negative actions?

    These are just two of the positive consequences of “Nudging”, a powerful new science-based approach to getting people to take action.  It is being used by our own federal government, many states and cities, the British government, and loads of private sector firms in the US and beyond.

    When could a training professional use Nudging?

    Here are just a few areas where it has been and could be applied:

    • Increase the application of lessons learned in training, when participants return to the job:
      • Such as a nudge to get supervisors to use positive coaching skills and questions instead of threats or coercion
      • Or a nudge for employees who need to increase their ability to listen, solve problems, and cooperate as a team member, but find difficulty in applying these skills consistently
    • Boost positive behaviors that benefit employees and employers
      • Such as nudges to increase positivity, resilience, and even improved health habits (diet and exercise)
    • Decrease negative habits such as procrastination, angry outbursts, or blaming others

    Is it based on genuine science?

    Daniel Kahneman won the 2002 Nobel Prize in Economics for his work in behavioral economics (the science of how people make decisions). His work (and that of many others of course) formed the foundation for what is now known as Nudging. He was the first non-economist to ever win the Nobel for economics, for bringing 40 years of research from the behavioral, social, and cognitive sciences to prove how people really make decisions.  This research has now been systemized in a set of findings that can be used by training professionals to change the behavior of those they train or coach. 

    Nudging is based on understanding our unconscious biases and using this knowledge (and well-designed nudges) to change behavior.  You will find the science of nudging explained in many contemporary books including, Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happiness by Thaler and Sunstein; SWITCH: How to Change Things When Change is Hard by Chip and Dan Heath; and Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces that Shape Our Decisions by Dan Ariely. Watch for an upcoming blog where I provide a brief description of five books or other sources of information about nudging (articles, brief videos, or MOOCS).

    I know it is being used by other professionals, but is it really feasible…for talent developers?

    1. It is inexpensive – Nudging experiments can be conducted for little or no additional costs and with a minimum time commitment.
    2. It is a flexible technique (within current efforts or as a stand-alone tool)
    Nudging can be incorporated into your pre-training promotional efforts or orientations, or you can seamlessly fuse in into your classroom or online programs, or you can wait to employ it in your post-training application efforts.

    It can also be used as a stand-alone effort to change or reinforce behaviors that support your organization’s goals and objectives. Many public agencies are using it this way. They have used Nudging programs to increase employee contributions to savings plans, drive down waste of agency resources, and even encourage clients to use the organization’s webpage in lieu of the contact center.

    3. Scalable (Nudges can be easily scaled up if they are effective) – Nudges are ideally designed to be tested with small groups, validated, and then scaled up for larger enterprise-wide initiatives.

    If you think that Nudging might be of use to you or your organization, consider the upcoming one day ATD Sacramento workshop or watch for and read the upcoming blogs. You will be joining a host of other forward-thinking, empirically minded, and action-oriented talent developers.

    Upcoming Nudging One-Day Workshop – Friday, August 25 2017 at 1410 Ethan Way, The Los Rios CCD’s Workforce and Economic Development Center.

    This hands-on full day workshop is another in the Fundamentals Series (professional development workshops for training professionals).  The workshop is led by Bruce Winner, Custom Training Manager of the Government Training Academy, LRCCD.  Bruce conducted a two hour Nudge workshop for a sold out crowd of over 60 people in Nov 2016 and the crowd asked for a follow-up.  Here it is!

    Click here for the featured workshop.

  • 21 May 2015 3:22 PM | Anonymous

    We recently attended the “Spiritual Intelligence in the Workplace” presentation by Steve Sphar and were delighted to see such a great turnout. There is obviously a growing level of interest in self-awareness and self-mastery with regard to values-based leadership. It’s about time!

    Our job as HR & Training Professionals is to help our leaders and organizations provide a space where every person can realize their potential by giving them the tools, skills and strategies to develop beyond "Level 5” leadership. Einstein once famously said that problems couldn’t be solved with the same level of consciousness that created them. Perhaps we need to access new spaces of awareness, a new view of human potential, an elevated intention for leadership that goes beyond our current routine idea of leading.

    The way we manage organizations seems out of date and doesn’t seem to be taking people and organizations to their potential. The CORE Journey is designed to explore and experience an expanded perception of human potential. With research-based material and activities that translate the concepts into experience, the CORE Journey will offer a shift to a new space of awareness. The old ways of educating and managing, designed for repetition and efficiency, are not what will elevate leadership to a new consciousness. We invite you to explore what might come next.

    If you have experienced what we’re talking about or if you’d like to explore the possibilities, we hope you will embark on The CORE Journey (book available on Amazon.com). Discover what comes next in Values-Based Leadership.

    Dianna Wright, Ph. D and Dee Hansford, CRP

    Website:  http://thewrightcoach.com

    Book:  http://thewrightcoach.com/core-journey-book/

  • 13 May 2015 7:39 AM | Anonymous

    The Importance of Performance Consulting

    by Guy Burghgraef, CalHR Statewide Training Coordinator, 

    Statewide Learning & Performance Management,

     and Nathan Parker, CalHR Operations Manager, 

    Statewide Training Performance Consultant

    To train or not to train, that is the question.  The pun on the famous Shakespearian line may seem trite, but it is a question the performance consultants ask themselves when confronted performance problems.  Seasoned training professionals with a PH.D. in everyday observation recognize that training is not always the answer to every performance problem.  In fact, training is often the choice when organizations don’t know what the problem is, such as:

    • Just in case training
    • Just because training
    • Training as a reward
    • Training for communications
    • Training for compliance
    • Training for insurance
    • Training to “show we care”
    • Training in lieu of documentation

    Training for the reasons bulleted above is often times reactive, costly, and may not be the appropriate intervention to solve the performance problem, but the thought that if you throw enough training at the problem, maybe it will go away.  Know that philosophy is so detrimental to the training profession; trainers need to look beyond reactive training bulleted above and diagnose true performance problems to identify the best training or non-training intervention.  To get to this level, the training community should consider adding performance-consulting skills to their quiver.  

    So, what is performance consulting and why should I as a trainer care about it?  Dana Gaines Robinson and James C. Robinson, who authored “Performance Consulting: A Practical Guide for HR and Learning Professionals”, are recognized as the foremost experts in Performance Consulting.  They defined performance consulting as the “systematic and holistic approach when analyzing and improving human performance to achieve business goals”.  This holistic approach forces the training professional to look beyond the traditional training world for the answers on how to improve performance.  Other work place factors, which will be discussed later, may contribute to performance or behavior gaps on the job, and all the training in the world will not resolve those issues.  As a discipline, the importance of understanding performance consulting and how to apply it takes a greater presence on stage every day.

    Having looked at performance consulting as an activity leading to results, let’s look closer at the role of Performance Consultant.  Two simple nouns joined together become so much more powerful than their individual meanings.  At the risk of over simplifying, Performance Consultants consult about human performance.  For our purposes performance can be defined as maintaining or increasing value while maintaining or decreasing costs.  Note that “value” is always defined by the customer.  ATD has developed a bevy of knowledge on the subject of human performance and indeed many trainers may well have some exposure to performance analysis and interventions.  Performance consulting is the art and science of improving performance through the most appropriate interventions.


    The consultant must think diagnostically and behave prescriptively.  The Performance Consultant needs to be prepared to ask questions like:

    • What is the problem you are trying to solve with training?
    • What percentage of the problem do you expect training to solve?
    • If we do nothing, would anyone notice?
    • Is it even remotely possible that there are other factors that may be influencing the performance in question?

    The Performance Consultant must be both brave and authentic.  Not afraid to ask challenging and probing questions.

    A trainer’s role in determining if training is necessary is best served when they can clearly identify that a performance deficiency is due to a gap in knowledge, skills, abilities and behaviors (KSAB).  But what happens if the performance problem is not attributable to KSABs?  Most performance-consulting professionals will also tell you that there are other factors that affect performance.  The worker’s environment and motivation also play a role.  The importance of proper performance diagnostics might be compared to a car owner who tries to repair a failing transmission by changing his wiper blades; it makes him feel better but not for long.

    A performance consultant will collaborate with others to diagnose the performance problem prior to recommending a remedy.  As a performance consultant, there are some diagnostic questions that should be asked to determine the performance problem so the best intervention can be recommended.  Langevin Learning Services has some diagnostic questions that have served me well.  These questions require me to act as an investigative journalist and ask:


    o   Should be involved in the performance conversation

    o   Sets performance standards

    o   Is the ideal performer that others may be judged against

    o   Benefits from the performance if done correctly


    o   Needs to happen that is not happening

    o   Would happen if the process was working

    o   Would good performance look like

    o   Tools and processes are needed to perform the job

    o   Job aids do people have access 


    o   Should the job happen

    o   Should performance be measured


    o   Should the process be followed

    o   Should the process start and end

    o   Should deadlines be met


    o   Should the process or steps be followed

    o   Often should the process be followed

    According to a hrVillage.com article (and as mentioned above), environmental factors and motivation may also play a factor in the worker’s performance.  But how does the office environment affect performance?  Well, think about it, office environment could be affected by the temperature in the office, how the office is laid out, and ergonomic challenges.  How many of us have fallen asleep at our desk because it is too hot in the office?  How many of us have had to go across the floor, building, or campus to meet with the boss?  And how many of us have experienced or had witnessed colleagues suffer from repetitive strain injuries due to poor ergonomic set up at work?  Motivation can also affect performance.  Workers may not be motivated to perform due to workplace conflict, burnout, or feelings that work is no longer fulfilling and this cannot be turned around with more training.   

    The final question performance consultants will ask is “the problem worth solving”?  This is where the performance consultant needs to access more of the finance side of their brain.  A key step in answering this question is determining how much of the performance gap is costing the organization versus the cost of the performance intervention.  This is ultimately a business decision as are all performance issues.

    The successful performance consultant is a multi-disciplined individual who focuses on outputs, deliverables and results. They act as analyst, coach, mentor, and confidant.  They are conversant in the art of training and the language of business.  They invest in themselves and are not afraid to “speak truth to power.”

    Increasing your performance consulting skills over time will become more important.  This is especially true considering how much organizations spend on training every year.  Collectively, over $62 billion was spent on training in 2013 alone.  Organizations are awash with anecdotal stories that training expenses can be trimmed because training is too expensive. But organizations are also awash with anecdotal stories of workers who fail to perform.  In an era of thin budget margins and pressure to reduce the bottom line, the performance consultant will successfully bridge these two worlds by pin pointing performance issues and recommending appropriate cost effective strategies, whether they are traditional training or not.

    But more important than understanding the basic dollars and cents of training is the performance consultant’s understanding of business finance.  This understanding of finance is a key step to making performance consultants more of a strategic player in the organization and will have immediate benefits.  An effective performance consultant is armed to build a strategic relationship with operations and organizational decision makers and be able to influence spending when important decisions have to be made.

    So in answering the question “To train or not to train” we must answer with an emphatic: “It depends.”  If your reason for training is to improve performance then train if and only if that training will yield an increase in performance that extends beyond the cost of the training.  If you are training for any other reason, then proceed with the understanding that you do so without the expectation of improving performance.

    Written by:

    Guy Burghgraef

    Statewide Training Coordinator, Statewide Learning & Performance Management

    Nathan Parker

    Operations Manager Statewide Training

    Performance Consultant

    P.1 - Performance Consulting: A practical Guide for HR and Learning Professionals – Dana Robinson

    “Consulting skills for trainers: collaborative performance improvement” – Langevin learning services



  • 25 Feb 2015 4:30 PM | Anonymous
    Check out Sharon's blog post at http://bowperson.com/2015/02/sneak-peak-at-the-march-2015-super-session for a glimpse into the fun and learning that will take place at our March 20th All Day SuperSession.

  • 20 Feb 2014 8:45 AM | Anonymous
    In order for innovation and a learning culture to become imbeded in an organization, leadership must be the driver. That is not to say that workplace learning professionals don't have a big role, they do. Good leadership makes our role much easier though! A positive culture can foster critical thinking, innovation and continuous learning. This article by Peggy Swigart makes this clear.
  • 03 Feb 2014 5:35 AM | Deleted user
    The article "Nuts and Bolts: Happy New Year 2014" by Jane Bozarth from Learning Solutions magazine discusses different approaches in creating eLearning courses for 2014. If offers practical and immediately useful suggestions that can be easily implemented.

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