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In the spirit of the coming New Year, we have spent some time reflecting on our past history as an organization and examining how it will impact and determine the direction of our future. Over the past decade, our company has pushed boundaries, expanded mindsets, led the charge, and basically colored outside the lines when it comes to mentoring. We’ve heard from people who want to use technology to connect with as many colleagues as they can so that they can share their knowledge and learn from their coworkers...

In a recent survey by Right Management, it was estimated that most companies do not have a fully implemented or cohesive talent management strategy. In fact, it reported that only 12% of companies today have a talent management strategy in place. This means that 88% of companies have no plan implemented that addresses the human capital needed to accomplish overall organizational goals now and in the future...

Monday, 26 November 2012 00:00

LEVERAGE YOUR EMPLOYEES’ PROCLIVITY TO CONNECT

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Humans are social creatures, and our collective social media usage is rampant. In this paradoxical world we live in today, people are using social networking tools like Facebook and Twitter to connect remotely and share with people in order to fulfill the innate human need to belong and partake in what had once been in-person social relationships. These tools are becoming second nature to people and how they expect to interact with one another...

Wednesday, 07 November 2012 00:00

WHY LEARNING DATA AND ANALYTICS MATTER TO YOUR COMPANY

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I recently read an article on the conclusions drawn by The Talent Management Panel at the HR Technology Conference and thought their deductions were extremely relevant to learning and development practices in the workplace today. Walmart, Motorola Solutions, and Merck were among the participants who discussed diverse approaches to deploying talent management processes and technologies to help reach overall organizational goals. One particular theme emerged from the panel that I think is worth exploring – the importance of meaningful data and reports on L&D efforts and practices...

Wednesday, 24 October 2012 00:00

THE ONE WAY TO KEEP YOUR YOUNG TOP TALENT

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A recent study published in The Harvard Business Review estimates that the average young, talented worker only stays at the same job for 28 months before moving on to another company. The same report stated that nearly three-quarters of a company’s young high-achieving employees are actively looking for other opportunities outside of their company, and are interviewing with another company at least once a year. On top of this, 95% admitted to regularly looking for other potential employers and employment opportunities...

Monday, 24 September 2012 00:00

KUDOS: IT IS ALL THE RAGE

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I challenge you to find a software solution that has a social-collaborative element to it and not come face-to-face with some type of recognition or reputation feature. Who among us hasn’t liked something on Facebook or recommended somebody on LinkedIn? What started out as ‘liking’ and giving a thumbs-up has evolved into more personalized and meaningful feedback mechanisms within some business-centered solutions...

Wednesday, 18 July 2012 00:00

MAKING SOCIAL LEARNING WORK FOR BUSINESSES

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Social learning continues to be a hot concept in the organizational learning space, but it is also a highly debated practice, namely in how it differs from both formal and informal learning. A recent article from Sharlyn Lauby, “Why Social Learning Benefits Your Business,” helps distinguish social learning from informal learning.  She says: Informal learning is a term used to describe...

Monday, 16 July 2012 00:00

WE CAN ALL BE HIGH POTENTIALS

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In this world of oversharing, I was somewhat shocked to see a new report by AMA Enterprise that exposed the secrecy that still exists in regards to succession plans and other leadership development initiatives in organizations. They reported that 38 percent of companies surveyed keep their high-potential selection criteria secret and another 28 percent said they do not share information on admission to leadership programs...

Tammy Erickson wrote a great article for Harvard Business Review in March 2011 called “Meaning is the New Money.” I read it back then, and still find that her insights and concepts resonate strongly more than a year later. Her ideas relate to many of those that we try to promote at our company, such as the value of online collaboration and the importance of empowering employees to keep them engaged in their work by offering opportunities for them to learn, grow as professionals, and network...

Okay, take a deep breath, because I’m going to ask you a question and I want you to reflect on it and answer it honestly.  Are you ready?  Okay, here goes.  Do you openly, willingly and humbly share your knowledge with others? I know most people will instinctively and quickly say yes, but I encourage you to dig deeper.  Do you really share your insights with humility, with the idea...

Clive Thompson from Wired recently dove into the significance of introverts in his article “Clive Thompson on the Power of Introversion." Thompson explains that introverts get an unfortunate “bad rap” in American culture because we’ve embraced extroversion as a key to climbing the corporate ladder. He says “Your achievement – and even your level of creativity – depends upon your being gregarious and outgoing and able to work well in a team...

Monday, 26 March 2012 00:00

HEY, BOSSES: STOP WORKING US LIKE IT’S 2009

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We’re tired. All of us. All the way, bone-deep tired. We’ve worked hard, really hard, these past few years. We’ve done more with less, we’ve seen co-workers get shuffled out the door, we’ve seen our 401Ks plummet, we’ve had our houses foreclosed upon, and we’re tired. Really tired. Did I mention that? The stress of the recession has taken its toll, and we are ready for a break...

Monday, 27 February 2012 00:00

STRIVING FOR AUTONOMY AND COMPETENCE

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Organizations are always looking for ways to motivate and engage their workforces. How can we get individuals to perform at high levels and have them do so enthusiastically? I was recently reading Cognitive Surplus by Clay Shirky and was reminded of the research of Edward Deci (I think I first learned about this in a freshman psychology class more than 20 years ago). Shirky emphasizes a key conclusion from the research...

Monday, 11 July 2011 00:00

WE'RE GONNA BE BIG

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In my last blog entry, I wrote about the marriage of people-centric and people-first learning approaches. As I reflected on what I wrote, I can’t help but think about something that one of our shareholders likes to say from time-to-time: “We’re gonna be big!” The reality is that the time is considerably more right for River than it ever has been before. Why? Allow me to expound by looking at what organizations need from their learning practices today...

Sunday, 22 May 2011 00:00

NATURE vs. NURTURE

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There has been quite a bit written recently about generational differences and the subsequent implications for organizations when addressing a myriad of workforce issues. I myself have written multiple blog entries about the topic of generational differences, and now it is time for another. Let’s discuss the idea of individualism within the larger context of identifying trends and commonalities among employees of various generations...

Monday, 24 January 2011 00:00

ORA NA AZU NWA

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 At this point, I expect that most of you are asking yourself “Huh?” Ora na azu nwa is a Nigerian proverb which translates to “It takes a community/village to raise a child.” I’m sure that many of you are familiar with this saying and its meaning. I bring this forward as a metaphor for what I want to discuss in this entry, and that is: “It takes an organization to develop its talent...

Monday, 13 December 2010 00:00

THE FUTURE THROUGH THE EYES OF LEARNING LEADERS

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About a month ago I had the opportunity and the pleasure to attend the annual Chicagoland Learning Leaders Conference, which was held at Hamburger University (McDonald’s corporate university) in Oak Brook, Illinois. About 300 learning leaders, mostly from the extended Chicagoland area, attended the day-long event focused on sharing emerging trends in the field of organizational learning. Dirk Tussing, Executive Director of the Executive Learning Exchange, does a great job of putting on an event that effectively balances the right amount of structure with informality and networking...

For knowledge workers today, it is not enough to have access to the wealth of information available in one’s organization (it is not that this is unimportant, it is just not enough). Employees must also be able to understand the context of their job and/or the issue at hand so that they can appropriately apply knowledge to the situation. It used to be that many knowledge workers could simply follow an established methodology (e.g., input data from field X on the form into field Y in the application)...

Wednesday, 23 June 2010 00:00

SaaS PROVIDERS AREN'T ALWAYS EXPERTS

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There are a whole host of SaaS (Software as a Service) vendors, providing an assortment of viable solutions for businesses. That said, buyers should work to clarify what they need from their SaaS providers and then identify the vendors that can meet their needs. The “Service” in Software as a Service simply means that the software is being provided as a service to the buyer (e.g., the buyer “subscribes” to the software, which is hosted on the vendor’s servers). It does not necessarily mean that the vendor is providing additional services to the buyer. In other words...

About 20 years ago, I was sitting in the student section of a basketball game while an undergrad at the University of Notre Dame. We were locked in a tight battle with Syracuse and the Joyce Center was rocking. We fouled a Syracuse player late in the game, and as he stepped to the line to shoot two critical free throws, the decibel level in the building was deafening. The effect, however, was like loud white noise; the sound was loud but not distinct. The player calmly sank the two free throws and I turned to one of my roommates and exclaimed, “You know, constant...

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