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And that’s how Carolyn “C’s” it

June 18, 2010

[Whoop! To my fellow “Gleeks”] This past week I was asked the question, “If you were doing a rollout, how would you go about selecting the topics?” A huge question with many “If…then…” scenarios, but this is how I “C” it:

Step 1: I need to be able to answer the question, why are we doing this? What are the reasons for the software change and how do they align with the firm’s business goals?  Is it to achieve better client services? Decrease risk? Increase productivity? I need to understand what’s important to the firm and be able to articulate that to my user community to facilitate their desire to change and to direct my selection of training topics. Giving users the “why” and “what’s in it for me” leads to buy-in, which leads to assimilation.

Step 2: The primary goal during any rollout is to minimize productivity loss associated with the software transition. This means getting users working at the same skill level with the new software as with the old which becomes an enormous task when hitting users with multiple products. To reach this goal, I need to understand their jobs, how they work, and create exercises that simulate their daily tasks. If I don’t know my users, I need to get to know them—shadow them, talk to them, look at their documents. If I don’t have time to get to know them, I use focus groups. I can’t afford to go into a rollout blind and risk training topics completely irrelevant to how they work.

Step 3: Last, I need to identify the “must have” vs. “nice to have” vs. “can live without” topics for each of my audiences.  Training tasks can consume 30% to 60% of a rollout project’s duration and firms often shorten the training phase to reduce the critical path of a rollout. There are only two ways to shorten the critical path:  increase resources or decrease classroom time…and let’s be honest, it’s rarely the first.  An effective way to shorten the critical path is by incorporating multiple learning touch points (LTPs) into my training plan.  Learning touch points is the evolved version of blended learning and encompasses any activity where knowledge is transferred. So, I can cover the “must have’s” during pre-learning and instructor-led training, then offer the “nice to have’s” using a variety of LTP’s:  e-learning, floor support, cruise-by’s, distance learning, informal learning, independent exercises and more.
By sharing the “Why’s”, concentrating on the “What’s”, and choosing the right “How’s”, I can hit the topics that will make the biggest impact for my users and then follow up with the subjects that will refine their skills and increase their productivity. And that’s how Carolyn “C’s” it.
(BTW…I can’t believe Vocal Adrenaline won regionals!)

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Karnie permalink
    July 13, 2010 4:01 pm

    So true, Carolyn. Thanks for putting into words what so many of us are struggling with right now. So much new to present and so little time…

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