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Adding Focus to Focus Groups

May 31, 2011

In our recent Traveling Coaches newsletter, I started sharing my thoughts on Focus Groups by writing about one of my recent experiences working with a client who asked for our help to understand what they needed to do to motivate individuals to participate in the learning opportunities being offered around their Office 2010/Windows 7 project. It was important for this client to explore and understand if someone’s role in the firm would change how they viewed training needs. If you read the newsletter, you know we did uncover significant differences in learning preferences across the firm.

Why would you use focus groups for user adoption?

With rapid changes to how legal professionals get work done and multiple generations in the workforce, how well do you know your learners? Do you ever ask them what they want or need when it comes to their learning preferences? Other than a feeling, do you have data or feedback you rely on when it comes time to plan training tasks for a rollout training event? Are you still training the topics you think need to be trained, scheduling the durations based on what’s worked in the past and relying primarily on classroom training to share new information?

I think the most compelling reason to talk to your legal professionals as you plan for a significant training event like a rollout, is allowing them to contribute towards the project decisions. By giving them an opportunity to speak up on how this project or rollout affects how they get work done, you give them ownership and in turn you build a support system of cheerleaders and can help justify the decisions to others in the firm.

Focus groups can be an exploratory tool for you by testing or validating your current assumptions…

  • How do they learn best
  • Are current workflows changing
  • Are there any new requirements to communicate
  • Do roles or practice areas change learning needs

They can be influencers on the direction of rollout…

  • When can your learners get away and focus in classroom
  • What topics are the most important for getting work done right away

And, they can evolve into your marketing team…

  • Has a key leader in the firm expressed expectations or defined what success looks like
  • Will you discover project decisions that do not promote user adoption or do not fit with the culture of firm

If you’ve used Focus Groups in your firm, I’d love to hear about it. Leaving comments is easy. Just click the Leave a Comment link at the end of this post.

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