Skip to content

The Five Golden Insights My Research Gave to Me

December 19, 2011

As I sit in Starbucks perusing my ever-growing stack of industry magazines, sipping my peppermint hot cocoa and tapping my feet to Christmas carols, I can’t help but get into the holiday spirit. The five golden insights my research gave to me…


My daughter teaches the third grade, which is about the time kids become aware. She always gets the tough questions like, “If there’s no Santa, then does that mean the Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy aren’t real either?” ACK! Turns out CFOs are a lot like third-graders…

“There are two separate camps…those who believe training is a good investment, and those who don’t…those in the first camp don’t need data because they already believe, while those in the latter camp would not change their beliefs even if presented with objective data.”1 – Michael Echols, author of ROI on the Human Capital Investment

Users need to believe too. Facts and figures won’t sway a non-believer, but positive learning experiences will. Adopting a whole-istic approach to your training initiatives that includes needs analysis and a strong communication plan keeps beliefs alive while encouraging non-believers to switch camps.


Christmas shopping is a love-hate relationship for me. I love to shop, but want to give the ultimate gift. Turns out talent management is much the same.

“Talent management is about making sure you have the right people in the right jobs in the right place.”2 – Rob Lauber, VP of Yum! Brands

Transfer that same thought to training: we need the right content at the right time delivered in the right format to achieve the right outcome. How do we do develop the ultimate training program? The first step is to know our users and the business objectives of the firm. Focus groups, skill assessments and a myriad of other user analysis tools are critical components to building a successful program.


After browsing the stores, surfing the web and pouring over the Sunday paper ads, my kids have recently posted their Christmas lists on the fridge. I relate this to my next golden insight.

“There’s too much information to choose from…former Google CEO Eric Schmidt said, ‘Every two days we create as much information as we did from the dawn of civilization up until 2003.’”3 – Jay Cross, CEO of Internet Time Group

As learning developers, we need to identify the importance, relevance and value of information as it pertains to our users. No pressure, right?

Remember in Miracle on 34th Street, if Macy’s didn’t have what the customer needed, they’d pull out a binder with the ads from the other stores and direct the customer to the right place. The outcome: customer satisfaction and loyalty. Our training departments need to be like Macy’s, keeping our own electronic scrapbook of ideas and research, ready to go the extra mile and earn the loyalty of our users.


Got sugar plum fairies dancing in your head? Jay Cross also commented:

“I do the best synthesis while asleep. I plant an idea or just have concepts floating around in my head; overnight the boys in the back room come up with a new way of looking at things. Among the streams that feed this phase of sense-making are: social networks…blogs…mind maps…journals…”4 – Jay Cross, CEO of Internet Time Group

In a recent conversation with our own Char LeMaire:

“Part of my job is to provide vision and new ideas for our products and services. Creative thought is difficult to summon on demand. Regularly scheduled quiet time for reflection, reading, and connecting with others through social media is critical for the creative process. When I allow my mind to wonder, I can refocus my energies on creative thought. I often use plane time for this. So if I have my eyes closed and my earbuds in, don’t disturb…I’m working.” – Charlene LeMaire, CLO of Traveling Coaches

Carving out research and ideation time is critical to the success of a training program. Fresh ideas and solutions don’t just happen—they’re a mesh of knowledge, experience and ingenuity.


Social Learning is like Christmas cards—you have to give to get or you’ll get wiped off the mailing list next year. With Social Learning you have to actively participate and share in discussions to gain anything from it.

“I give to the web, and it gives back.”5 – Jay Cross, CEO of Internet Time Group

Call it Karma, call it blessings, call it what-goes-around-comes-around…social learning is about sharing and paying it forward. Having a framework within which your users can learn from each other will promote and strengthen learning within your organization and bring people together. Wikis, blogs, ranking and comment capabilities in your LMS, intranet bulletin boards, mentoring programs, Yammer, a private firm YouTube channel, Facebook page or LinkedIn group, are just some of the ways users can connect.

From all of us at Traveling Coaches, may the development fairies dance in your head, your learning gifts be perfect, and your users continue to believe in the value of training this holiday season.

1 Michael Echols, “It’s About Culture” Chief Learning Officer, October, 2011

2 Tamar Elkeles, “Building Capabilities” Chief Learning Officer, October, 2011

3 Jay Cross, “Making Sense of the World” Chief Learning Officer, October, 2011

4 Jay Cross, “Making Sense of the World” Chief Learning Officer, October, 2011

5 Jay Cross, “Making Sense of the World” Chief Learning Officer, October, 2011


No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: