Today marks Day 5 of our Season of Savings! Each day we will post one irresistible deal right here on our blog, on our Twitter and our Facebook. Each deal will only be valid that day, so act fast because it will be gone before you know it! This week's theme revolves around emotional intelligence and our "Power of You" workshop! ​Day 5 Deal is.... Bring the Power of You workshop to your company and we will cover the cost of Lou's travel!(Upon completion of purchase, you will not be invoiced for Lou's travel)- No code necessary. For more information about the Power of You workshop, please visit the RMA store website. 
Lou Russell   .   Blog   .   <span class='date' tip=''><i class='icon-time'></i>&nbsp;Dec 07, 2016 08:04am</span>
Today marks Day 4 of our Season of Savings! Each day we will post one irresistible deal right here on our blog, on our Twitter and our Facebook. Each deal will only be valid that day, so act fast because it will be gone before you know it! This week's theme revolves around emotional intelligence and our "Power of You" workshop! ​Day 4 Deal is.... 50% off public "Power of You" workshopUSE CODE: 12DealsDay4 For more information about the "Power of You" workshop, please visit the RMA store website.
Lou Russell   .   Blog   .   <span class='date' tip=''><i class='icon-time'></i>&nbsp;Dec 06, 2016 08:03pm</span>
Can you believe we are already in the midst of the holiday season?! Neither can we! To celebrate the ending of 2016, Russell Martin and Associates will be offering "Season's Savings" starting TODAY!  Here's the deal (no pun intended): Starting December 1st and ending December 16th, we will be offering 12 deals that will be difficult to resist. Each deal will only be valid that specific day, so if you like the deal act fast because it won't be available the next day! Below is a glimpse at the first two deals.  Today's Deal: 50% off Managing Projects Use code 12DealsDay1 at check out.Purchase Now
Lou Russell   .   Blog   .   <span class='date' tip=''><i class='icon-time'></i>&nbsp;Dec 03, 2016 06:02pm</span>
Can you believe we are already in the midst of the holiday season?! Neither can we! To celebrate the ending of 2016, Russell Martin and Associates will be offering "Season's Savings" starting December 1st!  Here's the deal (no pun intended): Starting December 1st and ending December 16th, we will be offering 12 deals that will be difficult to resist. Each deal will only be valid that specific day, so if you like the deal act fast because it won't be available the next day! Check out DAY 2 deal below.  50% off TriMetrix EQ Assessment Use code 12DealsDay2 at check out.Purchase Now TriMetrix EQ AssessmentLeveraging the power of three sciences, TTI TriMetrix EQ measures your ability to sense, understand and effectively apply the power and acumen of emotions to facilitate high levels of collaboration and productivity.
Lou Russell   .   Blog   .   <span class='date' tip=''><i class='icon-time'></i>&nbsp;Dec 03, 2016 06:02pm</span>
Why did Susan Boyle become an overnight sensation?According to Jonah Berger and Katherine L. Milkman in their paper What Makes Online Content Viral?, "Virality is partially driven by physiological arousal." The authors explain how evoking certain emotions in people increases the chance of a message getting shared. "If something makes you angry as opposed to sad, for example, you’re more likely to share it with your family and friends because you’re fired up," Berger says.Awe-inspiring content strongly influences emotions and increases action-related behaviors. Boyle's impressive and remarkable story captivated the hearts of her listeners and gave them hope. People realized that new doors can open at any point of life. Many were inspired to follow her footsteps.Thanks to YouTube, Boyle became an instant international celebrity. Inspired by what she accomplished, millions of viewers exchanged insights about their feelings, their opinions and their own hopes. People from all over the world learned about each other. Boyle's story affirmed what Academy Award-winning producer Brian Grazer said: "The power of YouTube has made it the most valuable storytelling outlet our planet has ever seen."Boyle proved that stories can drive social learning.The challenge then becomes: How do we leverage social sharing behavior and formal learning content and instructions? Here are some ideas to help you get started on arriving at an answer.Tip 1: Use language that encourages experience sharing.Stories arouse emotions and enrich the mind. Consider these two approaches of giving information.The first approach: "Constant exposure to loud noise is harmful."The second approach: "Do you know that Roy lost his hearing due to too much exposure to noise?"The first approach states a fact; the second invites the listener to engage in a conversation and thus has a stronger impact than the first because it evokes an emotional response and a desire to know more.When we get so emotionally involved with a story, we begin to identify ourselves with some of the characters. Because we are social beings, we are always in a relationship. Sharing what we feel, what we think and what we do just follows spontaneously. Emotions are as contagious as viruses.To make experience sharing smoother, use language that encourages it. Examples include:What has worked or not worked?What are the frustrations?What are the joys and dreams realized?Tip 2: Encourage sharing of factual content.Social learning, unlike formal instruction which is highly factual, is contextual and emotional, thus elaborates on a the wider scope of the story.  It melds facts with emotions and context, and weaves stories and factual content into seamless lessons. This is facilitated by stories, which act as emotional drivers and help create context for learners.Present factual lessons using an emotional context that learners can immediately relate to. Introduce facts by highlighting its impacts on living situations.Consider the following scenarios and how you can seamlessly incorporate facts into their emotional context:What would a broken spare tire do to the health and safety of a worker?How would listening help establish rapport?Tip 3: Allow learners to share their interpretations of factual content.When people share stories, they begin to ask questions. Have you experienced something like that? Did you ever feel the same way? How did you resolve it? Did it work? They share factual content that are meaningful to them.Encourage learners to share their experience about a specific problem or situation. Guide them by asking questions like "Have you seen or experienced this in your life or situation?" or "What would you do to resolve this?"ConclusionStories enhance successful social learning because they add meaning to factual content. They encourage learners to share their own stories. Hence, stories are preferred methods in social learning projects.ReferencesJonah Berger, Katherine L. Milkman (2012) What Makes Online Content Viral? Journal of Marketing Research: April 2012, Vol. 49, No. 2, pp. 192-205Bozarth, Jane. Social Media for Trainers: Techniques for Enhancing and Extending Learning. Pfeiffer, 2010David Brooks. The Social Animal: A Story of How Success Happens. Short Books: April 1, 2011David Brooks. The Social Animal. March 2011Brian Grazer. Susan Wojcicki. Time: April 16, 2015Association for Psychological Science. Why Do We Share Stories, News, and Information With Others?. June 28, 2011Tip #20 - Weaving Stories and Factual Content for Seamless LessonsTip #54 - Social Learning Ought to be Story-Sharing: "Friends You Haven't Met Yet"Tip #109 - 12 Metaphor Story Questions to Engage LearnersRay Jimenez, PhDVignettes Learning"Helping Learners Learn Their Way"Ray Jimenez, PhD Vignettes Learning Learn more about story and experience-based eLearning
Ray Jimenez   .   Blog   .   <span class='date' tip=''><i class='icon-time'></i>&nbsp;Dec 01, 2016 06:02pm</span>
Now that the team has a BASE and knows the PURPOSE, you have a newly engaged group ready to do amazing things.  There's a small window of opportunity to apply the strength before the status quo tries to take over. This is the time to really challenge and push outside the realm of their 'real work'.  Here are some ideas: Systems Thinking (Causal Loop Diagrams)  This is a graphic way from the Fifth Discipline Fieldbook of discovering interventions for gnarly issues that won't go away.  For example, a team attacked the problem "Why is the Help Desk not helping?"  No matter what they did, their solutions helped for a while but didn't make a long term impact.  The premise is that these issues are systemic and likely not 'solvable' but it is possible to create small interventions that lessen the impact of problems.  Put another way, small assumptions and decisions can be adjusted when discovered to improve processes.   The team picks an appropriate WHY question and begins to sketch the 'wheels' of the diagram, which are the cause and effects.  As they learn more from each other, the WHY question can evolve.  Start with a 'Nirvana' loop - if everything were perfect, what would happen?  Here's an example: Help Desk Calls increases =&gt; Customers Helped increases =&gt; Customers Faith in Help Desk increases =&gt; Held Desk Calls increases (circle) This is called a reinforcing loop - it just gets better and better if nothing changes.  But flip any of these three behaviors in a negative direction, and the whole loop spins down as fast as it came up: Customers Faith in Help Desk decreases =&gt; Held Desk Calls decreases =&gt; Customers Helped decreases =&gt; Customers Faith in Help Desk decreases… Clearly, there is more going on here because the Help Desk is not getting better and better OR worse and worse.  To continue, teams discover and add small loops around the outside to document the other triggers that change the system.  For example, As Customers Helped increases =&gt; Wait Time for HD increases could be a factor in keeping the Nirvana loop from always getting better.  You will likely need  to hire a facilitator who knows how to lead these types of meetings.  This process requires both analytical and innovative thought, and a good facilitator will be required to balance these two. (Shameless marketing - Call US! 317-475-9311)  Scenario PlanningAnother technique, also from the Fifth Discipline Fieldbook is Scenario Planning. You'll notice this is similar to the HAVE/WANT exercise above.  The team comes up with two criteria to vary over the four quadrants and describe the future state. I generate these two by gathering words from the team that describe 'why you work at the job you have now'.  For example, the team might come up with GROWTH and ENGAGEMENT.  Next, the team breaks into two to four groups and each describe a future in the organization including, people, process, technology, culture, careers, etc.  for the following possible futures.  Here's a simplified version of the stories they might create: GROWTH/ ENGAGEMENT (Heaven) - people/process/culture are aligned, low turnover, etc. No GROWTH / ENGAGEMENT - work is fun but there is no career planning.No GROWTH / No Engagement (Hell) - high turnover, sweat shop, work and shut-up. GROWTH / No Engagement - the company is reaping the benefits of the hard work, not the employees. The imagined future becomes a story the teams tell to each other.  Once the stories are shared and discussed, the team creates strategies, projects and tasks to move to the future they want to be in. GROWTH/ ENGAGEMENT (Heaven) - we need to work on balance and collaboration to engage great teams. No GROWTH / ENGAGEMENT - we need to remember that growth is the goal and fun can't be enough.No GROWTH / No Engagement (Hell) - we've got to keep the lines of communication open so when employees feel oppressed, we find it out early enough to intervene. GROWTH / No Engagement - we need to establish some sort of incentive for employees based on their contributions to our growth. ​
Lou Russell   .   Blog   .   <span class='date' tip=''><i class='icon-time'></i>&nbsp;Nov 30, 2016 06:02pm</span>
Using the tools mentioned throughout this LearningFlash for BASE, SCOPE and MAGIC, you can predict the future of your team engagement and productivity:​ Without a shared BASE, your team will be frustrated with rework and lack of direction soon becoming disengaged.Without a shared SCOPE, your team will duplicate each other's efforts while dropping important work.Without a shared MAGIC, your team will default to status quo without a sense of purpose or opportunity to innovate.  ​Using BASE, SCOPE and MAGIC to intentionally create a strong engaged team will create:Alignment with internal team members and outside stakeholders.Willingness to challenge, confront and grow together.A model to identify gaps and hire effectively. A maturity to tackle tough problems and drive strategy. Let me know how it goes.  How better to start a new year?  Need help?  You know who to call…317-475-9311. 
Lou Russell   .   Blog   .   <span class='date' tip=''><i class='icon-time'></i>&nbsp;Nov 30, 2016 06:02pm</span>
Habits are like chains. According to Warren Buffett: I have been discussing the implementation of micro-learning projects with clients and colleagues. It should be obvious to me, but I failed to recognize that many professionals including designers, learning and training specialists, "are chained" to certain habits.  Almost No Link Between "Now" Habits and New Habits  There are overlapping worlds that chain us into habits.  Our current habits  drive us to build our strengths and contributions. On the other hand, the new habits encourage us to continue to learn newer ways. The stress and failure come when there is almost no link between the  current/existing habits and the new ones we are starting to adapt. Micro-Actions Versus Micro-ContentOne of the exercises I ask clients to do in micro-learning implementation is to recognize the difference between Micro-Actions and Micro-Content. The concept revolves around the situation of a worker carrying out tasks at work. In the process, the worker applies Micro-Actions: Often, the worker wants to fix, change or find a new solution and uses experience and/or seeks out answers from others or documentation. The worker applies the answers and learns something along the way."I have this screw that does not seem to fit onto the equipment. I tried several ways and I could not make it work. So, I checked the documentation and confirmed this screw is the correct one. I tried again with another twist and still continued to fail. So, I checked my colleague. He said the same thing. It is particularly difficult to use this screw. Finally, I called the supplier wanting to know if the screw is the correct one and expressed my frustration. The supplier said, screw no. xx2, is the same as xx3. But it has to be heated slightly before it can fit exactly. Based on this I learned that there are temperatures that affect the use of some screws and to factor this in the next time."The worker in the above situation applied Micro-Actions. This happens in an instant. The focus is on solving problems and fixing things immediately. When I presented this situation to the designers and trainers, their solutions were not just surprising, they threw me off. I was expecting them to provide a quick solution or an instant direction to the workers. Instead, they provided lengthy details and elaborate content like these answers: Complete checklistHow-to proceduresMore product informationQuality control stepsI failed to recognize that designers and trainers are "chained" to the correctness and completeness of content. They were not able to focus on the worker's problems and the micro-actions needed. Unchained from Content to ActionsTo help in unchaining "now" habits to new habits required in Micro-Learning, I summarized the very simple steps of Micro-Actions. Micro-ActionsWorkers want to fix, change and find new solutionsThey use their experience, ask others and check documentation and resourcesThey apply ideas to fix the issueThey learn how to fix similar future problemsMicro-Actions RequirementsLow effortFastEasyQuick to apply "The ZAP Micro-Learning Principles is one key idea learned during the Micro-Learning for Disruptive Results  - An Action-Driven Online WorkshopFocus on Work Conditions of the Worker and Learner It became clear to the designers and trainers and my clients that in Micro-Learning, the focus is the worker and learner while in action at work. Other lessons learned: The completeness and thoroughness of the content does not support Micro-Actions.Complete and elaborate content slows down or worse, are ignored and not accessed by workers when implementing Micro-Actions. They become nuisances, not productive tools.Designers and trainers need to "unchain" themselves from thinking of content instead of solutions for workers on the job.Conclusion Although it seemed simple, I realized Micro-Learning challenges us all to think differently. Focus on Micro-Actions, not Micro-Content.Ray Jimenez, PhDVignettes Learning"Helping Learners Learn Their Way"Ray Jimenez, PhD Vignettes Learning Learn more about story and experience-based eLearning
Ray Jimenez   .   Blog   .   <span class='date' tip=''><i class='icon-time'></i>&nbsp;Nov 29, 2016 06:02pm</span>
I believe that there is a big difference between the roles of leader and manager.  Leaders spend more time on strategy and managers spend more time on efficient operations, though each role has to sometimes play the other.  What is most critical about the impact of each role is that the person fits the job.   This seems obvious, but I see many mistakes made here.  When you meet a great person, your bias is to grab them quickly and put them wherever you have a spot.  This is the fastest way to disengage a stellar candidate.  Let the job speak before the candidate. Finding the magic match between the candidate and the job ensures a productive future including engagement.  Once you have the right people in the jobs best for them, how can you meld a kick-butt team from these very unique jobs and individuals through engagement?  There are three critical steps:Build the BASE of the teamDefine the SCOPE of the teamInitiate the MAGIC of the team  It's important to define ENGAGEMENT.  I do not think that an engaged team is the same thing as everyone on the team liking each other.  I do believe that trust in each other within a team is a prerequisite for team engagement, and that's different than 'liking'.  You can easily think a person you work well with but you don't really like them.  Often people with very opposite skills can work together well, but choose not to have a relationship outside of that work by choice.  It's not that they hate each other, they just don't connect socially.  That's a nice way of saying you really don't want to hang out with them outside of work.  By establishing these three interventions - BASE, SCOPE and MAGIC - you can create a process for renewing the engagement of the team through trust, without requiring a daily love fest.  The Metric - you'll know your team is engaged when they hit a major disagreement and work their way through it without being offended or needing their boss to pave the way.   
Lou Russell   .   Blog   .   <span class='date' tip=''><i class='icon-time'></i>&nbsp;Nov 23, 2016 06:02pm</span>
For individuals of a team to work well together, they must have boundaries around the work that they contribute.  The team itself has boundaries that must be clear to stakeholders in the business.  Defining these boundaries explicitly is rarely done or communicated.  Team engagement is at risk when the boundaries are unclear internally or externally.  The leader and team can use these exercises  to make the boundaries internal and external explicit. Want and Have People want to make an impact.  They want to be engaged and in community with others who are also engaged and making an impact.  When things are hectic, individuals and teams often need to step back and 'repack their bags'.  Here are four questions (from Mike Donahue) that I like to reset: What do I HAVE that I WANT?What do I HAVE that I DON'T WANT?What do I not HAVE that I WANT?What do I not HAVE that I DON'T WANT? Start with individual team members answering these questions alone, and share with the team for clarity and alignment. Role Clarity Revisit individual team member roles to ensure that they align to individual jobs and team boundaries.   Competency models for roles are lengthy and difficult to keep top of mind, so I prefer to have each individual carve out 3-5 Key Accountabilities.  A Key Accountability defines a critical, measurable outcome that a role must deliver for the organization to be successful.  If your group finds this challenging, start with these four things to wordsmith a Key Accountability:AUDIENCE - what is the role, for example, Supervisor of a Call Center?BEHAVIOR - what must this role deliver (done), for example, Track Escalated Calls?CONDITION - are there specific job aids, frequency or conditions, for example, Monthly?DEGREE - how will 'done' be measured, for example, 100% accuracy using the Call Center Dashboard by end of month? Purpose Many start to develop teams with this step, but building on the knowns (what I personally Want/Have, my specific role) is a safe path to seeing the big picture of a shared purpose.  Work up from the weeds of the first two SCOPE activities first to build trust in the team. This is the single easiest way to engage a team and without it, disengage a team. The Purpose Statement answers the following questions:Who are our stakeholders / customers /  constituents?What value do we bring to them?  How do they measure our value?  Do we measure it the same way? What emotional words resonate with our sense of purpose? There's a simple process for creating a team Purpose Statement (some might call this vision or mission):  use three verbs and one noun. Although the process is simple, agreeing on the final product is not.  Use these facilitation steps to move from divergent to convergent:List all the verbs on a flip-chart.  There's no critique here, just brainstorming.List possible nouns on a flip-chart.  Again, just brainstorming.Finish the 'puzzle' by finding three verbs and a noun (with a couple of other words if necessary to sound correct) that resonates with the entire team. Here's a sample of the process using my personal Purpose Statement: Verbs: learn, lead, affirm, grow, nurture, develop, build, affirm, sustainNouns: people, team, leadership, growth, self, profit, quality, engagement Final version  (after much adjusting…)I ignite, affirm and sustain learning in self and others.   Notice I've added a couple of words to make it sensible.  If I am emotional self-aware and notice myself getting stressed, I can repeat these words to myself to self-regulate.  Does my stress have anything to do with my Purpose?  Usually not.  This is useful for individual team members as well as the team as a whole.  ​Consider asking the team members to craft an individual Purpose Statement first, and then work together to create a team version.  Continue to reinforce and remind each other of the purpose when the team or individuals run into conflict.
Lou Russell   .   Blog   .   <span class='date' tip=''><i class='icon-time'></i>&nbsp;Nov 23, 2016 06:02pm</span>
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