Learning Consultant Training

Introduction

Welcome!


We are about to embark on a journey of discovery. 
 

Our goals are to:

  • Build a common language and toolkit to support our role as Learning and/or Design Consultants.
  • Build a community of practice through the sharing of ideas and experiences.
  • Reflect on our learning experience - how did we put the 70:20:10 model into practice and what are the implications for how we should build training.

In each lesson, we will explore a new topic through:

  • Self-discovery through reading, researching, and reflecting.
  • Conversations with your Study Buddies (You have been assigned a Study Buddy. Each week, you will be assigned missions to complete. Once you complete your mission, you will need to setup time to share your discoveries and results with your Study Buddy).
  • Sharing your knowledge with the rest of the group through contributions to discussion threads.

Lesson 1 - Mindset of a Consultant

Mindset of a Consultant



Read what other Learning/Design Consultants have to say about their role:Role of a Consultant (from Linked-In) 

Add your own thoughts to our team discussion !

Be an Advisor

MYTH: Stakeholders know what they need. 
Stakeholders may come to you with a specific request - complete with learning objectives and an outline. However, this doesn’t mean that they know what they need.

It is our job to step back and ensure that:

  • We are tackling the “right” problem.
  • We have clear outcomes.
  • The methodology we employ will meet the desired outcome.

Watch this video to see how it works: Do you really need training?

How do you see the team integrating the flowchart highlighted in the video into the new work flow? How will this change your conversation with the business? Add your thoughts here...

Keep on your advisor hat! Stakeholders are always coming up with new “orders”.

  • Can we add audio?
  • I saw a training session where they did xyz, can we do that too?
  • Can we add quiz questions?

In each instance, we need to stop and define the desired outcome in order to determine the best approach!

We need to shift our role from an order taker to an advisor.

Learn the Art of Reframing!

The biggest mistake we make is assuming that everyone sees the world the same way that we do. Learning to reframe allows us to unlock new possibilities!

As your read these articles, consider how reframing impacts how you think, how the other person reacts, and the ideas generated.

As an advisor we can use reframing to: focus on the business outcomes that will define success, open up new possibilities, and build a stronger relationship with our SMEs.

Questions you can use to reframe the conversation:

  • Can you give me some background?
  • What do you need associates to do that they can’t do today?
  • What information, skills are required to achieve the desired outcome?
  • How will you measure success?

Be a Solution Provider

Our job is to focus on finding solutions to business problems.

As a solution provider, you must:

  • Collaborate with others and seek out diverse perspectives.
           - Teams That Only Think They Collaborate
           - The New Arithmetic of Collaboration
  •  
  • Look for the simplest solution.
          
    - "Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains." - Steve Jobs
           - What is simplicity
  • Balance conflicting constraints.
        
      - Working within Your Project Constraints
  • Be a great listener.
          
    - Others will be open to your thoughts, perspective, and point of view once they feel they have been fully heard and understood by you. Conversely, people will not accept what you are offering if they do not feel understood by you. You give others the experience of being heard and understood by listening. We need to do a better job of listening, not a better job of making our case.
           - How are your active listening skills?
  • Have a point-of-view



Who do we need to collaborate with? When do we need to collaborate? How will we collaborate? Contribute your ideas...

Be a Strategic Thinker

Strategic thinkers look beyond the immediate need and:

  • Balance short-term and long-term objectives.
  • Look for connections.
  • Evaluate a variety of options and carefully considering impact, effort, and risks.

To think strategically you need a deep understanding of:
The Business Learning Trends Other GLO Initiatives
It's not enough for us to be experts in Learning Design & Development. In order to be credible and earn the right to be heard, we must be able to speak to SMEs in their language and design our solutions in the context of the business environment. This requires us to develop an understanding of the business environment in which we work. It is our job to connect the latest research about how adults learn to the developmental needs of the organization. Our projects don't exist as stand alone requests. Each request must be considered and prioritized as part of the entire learning ecosystem. It is important to make connections and find synergies between initiatives in order to maximize limited resources.


Read how to: Strengthen Your Strategic Thinking Muscles

Credibility generally has to do with your words. It is derived from what you know, as well as how you communicate. You can boost credibility through deep expertise in your industry and by staying current with industry trends and business news.

Business Trends: 

As you read, consider the implications for our clients and our business strategy? How might this impact the solutions we provide for our clients? What new capabilities may Nielsen associates need to develop?

Learning Trends:

As you read, consider the implications for designing and delivering training solutions within Nielsen? Which of these trends to you see playing out at Nielsen within the next 3 years? What new skills may we (the GLO) need to develop or tools would we need to acquire in order to support these new approaches?

What are some of your favorite resources? How would you share with the team? Contribute your thoughts on a team resource notebook.

Missions for this Lesson

Study Buddy

Introductions 

You will be working together to share ideas and provide feedback. Take a few minutes to get to know each other. Share:

  • Background
  • Thoughts from materials
  • Questions / concerns regarding the recent reorganization and changes

Create an Elevator Speech 

When speaking with your stakeholders, you will need to be able to describe your role and the services the GLO will provide.

Write an elevator speech describing your role within the GLO process. Your elevator speech should be short (3 min or less) and include: what, why, and how.

My role is to < WHAT > through the application of < HOW > in order to < WHY >.

Prepare for an upcoming conversation with a stakeholder. 

Think about an upcoming conversation that you have scheduled. Take some time to prepare:

  • What is the purpose of the conversation? What do you need to leave the conversation knowing?
  • How will you position yourself as an advisor/consultant? What words will you use? How will you direct the conversation?
  • If you already have a relationship with the stakeholder, how will you need to reframe your role?
  • What additional information do you need to prepare for your conversation? How will you get it?

Share Your Knowledge

Contribute to at least 2 of the team discussions.

This weeks discussions:

  • How would you describe your role as a Learning Consultant? Add your thoughts here.
  • How will you seek out information about the business, learning trends, and other GLO initiatives? Where would be the best shared space for a 'Team Resource Notebook' to reside? Discuss here.
  • How do you see the team integrating the Action Mapping Flowchart highlighted in the video, Do You Really Need Training, into the new work flow? Add your thoughts here.
  • When and how do we collaborate? Add your thoughts on the collaboration chart here.

Reflection

Select at least one of these topics to reflect on in your personal journal.

  • How is a adopting a consultant mindset different from how you are used to working? What do you think will be the most difficult? What support will be required to be successful?
  • What do I know about my role? What don't I know? How can I figure it out? Create a list of action items for clarifying what you don't know.
  • What is our biggest worry? Why? What do you have control over? What don't you have control over? How can you take action to resolve/mitigate?
  • What barriers do you see to adopting a consulting approach? What can you do to eliminate these barriers?

Lesson 2 - Determining Need

Identify Business Outcomes


Action Mapping starts with business outcomes!

Dig deeper into Action Mapping.

Use Action Mapping on a project that you are currently working on. You can do this with stakeholders or on your own. Share your experience with your Study Buddy.

Needs Assessment

The Needs Assessment course covers:

  • Setting clear goals
  • Gathering data
  • Analyzing data
  • Next steps

Multiple Perspectives

The key to identifying needs is to develop a deep understanding of the end users environment and job requirements. We need to understand what they need to "get the job done" and what motivates them to do their best. This requires us to look at the problem from multiple perspectives. We need to understand the point of view of the target audience as well as their managers and others who rely on their work.

As you watch the following two videos consider: How do we avoid blind spots so that we can truly understand the problem from the other persons perspective? Share your thoughts with the team.
 


In the TED Talk, Design for people, not awards,notice how deeply Tim and his team understood and considered the problem.

  • Magnitude of the issues:  4 million babies die before their first year, half of these babies could be saved if we could keep them warm for the first 3 days of life. Two-thirds babies are born with jaundice - if untreated 1/10 with end up with disabilities or die.
  • Design for outcomes:  Many times the inspiring stuff we do takes too long to create or is ineffective because it doesn't fit into the real world.
  • Talk to users: Poor families, rural doctors, overloaded nurses, technicians and come to understand their issues and concerns.
  • Actual use:  In rural hospitals, nurses are putting multiple babies in the phototherapy devices because they don't have enough devices and don't understand how the device works. Mom sees naked baby and puts a blanket on baby. If we leave any openings, ants will get into the equipment. Design the device to address these real world issues.
  • Appearances Matter:  People don't trust cheap looking medical equipment (even if it will do the job).
  • Design for Manufacturability:  Design based on what their partner was capable of building - consider equipment available, skills of workforce, and availability of materials.
  • Design for Distribution: Who will be purchasing? What can they afford? What factors are most important to their decision making process?

We often fall into the trap of thinking that we understand the other persons situation. We need to avoid making assumptions and thinking that we know the answer!
 


The best way to avoid this trap is to simply ask! 

We can't build great solutions without talking to people about what they need and why they need it.

When we create solutions that truly focus on our learners, we:

  • Strip away anything that is not required (theories, interesting facts, flying pictures) and we focus on the information they need to address the specific issue at hand. Cathy Moore L&D Manifesto
  • Consider how our learners want to consume information - which is usually as quickly and easily as possible so that they can get on with their job. Personas help us to understand our learners.
  • Provide meaningful examples that set training in the context of their specific job (personalized training). Yes, these are usually very hard to find but your learners will thank you for the effort. When we consider effort versus impact - great examples have huge impact!

Root Cause Analysis

You have to dig beneath the surface to get to the root cause!

As you watch this clip from the movie, notice: How did the "established" experts react to being challenged? How did the new manager (Brad Pitt) reframe the problem?

The Oakland A's (an American baseball team) has just lost most of their best players to wealthier teams. They need to rebuild their line-up on a tight budget ($41 million in salaries versus the New York Yankees with a budget of $125 million). 

By rethinking the problem and using statistics and advanced analytics to find "hidden gems" (great talent that has been overlooked and thus available at a salary they can afford), they beat the odds and make it to the championship play-off game. Moneyball by Michael Lewis


Clients often come to us believing that they understand the problem (and know the solution), how can we use these tools to help us to uncovered the root cause without causing offense?

Some great tools for uncovering the root cause of a problem:

Getting to the root cause requires us to put aside our biases and look below the surface. This is accomplished by actively engaging and listening to your client.

Missions for this Lesson

Study Buddy

  1. Use Action Mapping on a project that you are currently working on. You can do this with stakeholders or on your own. Share your experience with your Study Buddy.
           - How did the activity change the way you thought about the problem?
           - What challenges do you anticipate? How can you manage these challenges?
  2. In the TED Talk, Design for people, not awards, notice how deeply Tim and his team understood and considered the problem.
           - How do we develop the same depth of understanding for our client issues?
        - How can we relate these ideas for designing consumer products to the products we build (training)?
          - How does "designing for people" change the way we think about what we create?

How deeply Tim and his team understood and considered the problem : Tim Prestero: Design for people, not awards.

In the TED Talk, Design for people, not awards,notice how deeply Tim and his team understood and considered the problem.

  • Magnitude of the issues:  4 million babies die before their first year, half of these babies could be saved if we could keep them warm for the first 3 days of life. Two-thirds babies are born with jaundice - if untreated 1/10 with end up with disabilities or die.
  • Cause of issues: Hospitals don't have money for equipment and rely on donated equipment. However, without technicians or spare parts equipment soon breaks down and is unusable.
  • Design for outcomes:  Many times the inspiring stuff we do takes too long to create or is ineffective because it doesn't fit into the real world.
  • Talk to users: Poor families, rural doctors, overloaded nurses, technicians and come to understand their issues and concerns.
  • Actual use:  In rural hospitals, nurses are putting multiple babies in the phototherapy devices because they don't have enough devices and don't understand how the device works. Mom sees naked baby and puts a blanket on baby. If we leave any openings, ants will get into the equipment. Design the device to address these real world issues.
  • Appearances Matter:  People don't trust cheap looking medical equipment (even if it will do the job).
  • Design for Manufacturability:  Design based on what their partner was capable of building - consider equipment available, skills of workforce, and availability of materials.
  • Design for Distribution: Who will be purchasing? What can they afford? What factors are most important to their decision making process?

 
Share Your Knowledge 

Contribute to the following team discussions.

Reflection

Select one of these topics (or pick one of your own) to reflect on in your personal journal.

  • Why is it so easy to get caught up in building courses that we forget about business outcomes?
  • How might you use these tools (Action Mapping, Cause and Effect Analysis or Fishbone Diagram, 5 Whys and Personas)  to help you to uncovered the root cause without causing offense?
  • Try using Yes, and... with your family and friends. Write about your observations and impact!
  • How do you create an environment where people can feel comfortable sharing issues so that you can address root causes?

Lesson 3 - Making Recommendations

Complex is Easy, Simple is Hard


Why is it easier to create 3 hours of classroom training versus creating a 10 minute video that will deliver the same impact?
 

TED has proven (over and over) that you can convey complex topics in a meaningful way in 18 min or less.Brilliant 3 min TED Talks.  However, a lot of effort went into making these presentations short and simple.Preparing to give a TED Talk.



Lots of things are incredibly hard, but relatively simple to accomplish.

  • Running a marathon is hard, but it’s simple. Just don’t stop until you’ve moved 26.2 miles from the starting point.
  • Losing weight is simple. Cut out processed foods and move frequently.
  • Starting a business is simple. Sell a product or service that people will give you money for.

Just because something is simple, doesn’t mean it will be easy. Just because something is easy, doesn’t mean it will be worth it.

The Checklist, the overlooked training hero! 

Read about our Checklist Hero in action.

The checklists in these examples have saved thousands of lives! So, why don’t checklists win awards? Why do we gravitate towards complex solutions that include gamification and branching scenarios when a simple checklist, decision tree, or job aid might fix the performance issue? Why is simple so hard?  Share your thoughts... --> yammer link

Complicated isn't better! Consider the Effort versus the Impact


When we create complex content:

  • It takes longer to build.
  • Takes longer for learners to consume.
  • It is harder to use as a quick reference.
  • It is harder to maintain.
  • It is harder to explain.

What makes a "Good" Solution? (Learning Theory)

Business leaders care about whether or not performance improved after training; training is just a means to an end.

What does the research say?

While the Design Consultants will be responsible for identifying the learning approach, it is still important for us to have a basic understanding of adult learning theory and what the research says so that we can help our business partners to understand the implications of various designs.

Sometimes our business partners have ideas about how they think the training should be delivered. We can better negotiate and set expectations when we can back up our position with research. 

As you read, consider how the research would impact your writing style or your script outline. Also consider, how you may use the research to get business partners to rethink their "order" and consider other options.

How much do we really need to explain and tell? This TED Talk may change the way you think about how people learn. You don't have to tell learners everything, let them figure it out themselves. People will pursue knowledge about things that interest them. How can we create learning communities! 

Focus on the "Right" Things (Strategic Mindset)

Prioritization 

As we recommend solutions to our clients, we need to consider the "greater" good.

As we think strategically, we need to consider:

  • All the projects in the queue.   How does your project stack up against all the other projects across the business? Your project may not be the most important project in the queue.
  • Scope:  Would this project benefit a larger audience?  If so, how might we need to generalize or reframe? How can we maximize our effort?
  • Leveraging Existing Content: Can we recommend a free course online for all or part of the solution? Can we suggest that the client purchase a ready made course?

Agile Approach 

As we look at building solutions, consider providing a small piece of the solution upfront and following-up with additional modules later, if needed. 

Agile Learning Design 

What it means to be collaborative in Agile Learning Design

How might we use an agile approach in our own workflow? While our intent is to complete the script before transitioning to Design, in reality we may need more of an agile approach.

Why do we feel like we have to build everything before we launch? An iterative approach allows us to:

Deliver something to the business earlier

  • Deliver information in smaller chunks - providing people with time to consume, apply, and reflect

  • Use feedback to inform future iterations

  • Stop when the problem is solved (find the 20% of the solution that will deliver 80% of the value)

Which of the "Design For" items do we own? Which do we influence?

Strategic thinking means designing for:

  • Manufacturability:  Can we build it? Can we realistically get the information we need? Is now the right time - do the SMEs have the capacity now to help us or should we wait until later? Do we have the time and resources (tools, capability) to build this solution? If we are using new tools, is the learner curve worth it (effort versus impact)?
  • Distribution:  Can we realistically recruit and train volunteer facilitators to delivery it? Do we have a way of segmenting the target audience and targeting our communications to them? Will our systems support it? Will our learners be able to find it?
  • Maintainability:  How quickly will the content become outdated? Have we designed the content so that we can easily update and distribute changes? Are we spending time and money on elements that will soon need to be replaced?
  • Reuse:  How can we reuse this content? Is there current content that we can leverage? Can we curate existing content from the internet or other sources?

Missions for this Lesson

Study Buddy

Discuss with your Study Buddy:

  1. How might we use an agile approach in our own workflow? While our intent is to complete the script before transitioning to Design, in reality we may need more of an agile approach. How would this work? Are there other places where an agile approach would be beneficial?
  2. Which of these do we own? Which do we influence? 

Strategic thinking means designing for:

  • Manufacturability: Can we build it? Can we realistically get the information we need? Is now the right time - do the SMEs have the capacity now to help us or should we wait until later? Do we have the time and resources (tools, capability) to build this solution? If we are using new tools, is the learner curve worth it (effort versus impact)?
  • Distribution: Can we realistically recruit and train volunteer facilitators to delivery it? Do we have a way of segmenting the target audience and targeting our communications to them? Will our systems support it? Will our learners be able to find it?
  • Maintainability:  How quickly will the content become outdated? Have we designed the content so that we can easily update and distribute changes? Are we spending time and money on elements that will soon need to be replaced?
  • Reuse:  How can we reuse this content? Is there current content that we can leverage? Can we curate existing content from the internet or other sources?

    3. Under which situations will using these design elements make a profound difference in the learners ability to transfer the information to their job? How does this influence our early conversations with business partners as they come to us with "orders"? How does the research influence how you would organize and write your scripts?
  • Narration
  • Video
  • Animation
  • Branching Scenarios
  • Assessment Questions
  • Gamification


Share Your Knowledge

Contribute to the following team discussions.

  • Why don’t checklists win awards? Why do we gravitate towards complex solutions that include gamification and branching scenarios when a simple checklist, decision tree, or job aid might fix the performance issue? Why is simple so hard? 
  • How much do we really need to explain and tell? This TED Talk  may change the way you think about how people learn. You don't have to tell them everything, let them figure it out themselves. How can we create learning communitiesShare your ideas... 

Reflection

Select one of these topics (or pick one of your own) to reflect on in your personal journal.

  • How do we balance effort versus impact to deliver quality training at a reasonable cost?
  • Is it better to provide "good enough" now or "perfect" later?
  • How do we measure learner engagement? Does engagement always translate to improved job performance?

Lesson 4 - Creating Content

Introduction

A core part of our role as Learning Consultants and Instructional Designers is to document the knowledge that needs to be transferred to the learner by writing scripts and collecting quality supplemental materials to be used in the design process. 

As part of this process, you need to be able to:

  • Research and connect with SMEs within the business to collect necessary information
  • Internalize and make sense of the content
  • Seek out the best stories and artifacts which includes assessing the quality of content provided by SMEs, and pushing SMEs to provide better artifacts and examples (when needed)
  • Communicate the content (via script) and business context (via learning plan) to the design team

Research

The core role of the Instructional Designer is to research and connect with SMEs within the business to collect necessary information.

GATHERING CONTENT

Content is not a “black box” 
– we don’t just ask the SMEs for materials and examples. We need to examine and enhance collected materials and examples, weaving them into a narrative that supports the business and training objectives.


Watch this video to learn more...
 


 

INTERVIEWING SUBJECT MATTER EXPERTS (SMEs) 

One of the most efficient ways to collect quality information is to interview SMEs. This requires only an hour of the SMEs time and allows you to ask clarifying and follow-up questions in order to gain a deep understanding of the material.

Do your homework before the interview! We need to use time with the SME as efficiently as possible. Find out everything that you can on your own first, then ask the SME to verify and fill in the blanks. It is important to make the process as painless for the SMEs as possible.

Here are some interview best practices:

You need to do all the synthesizing, compiling, editing, and formatting so that the SME doesn’t have to.

Internalize

At the heart of our role as Instructional Designers is the ability to:

  • Synthesize raw information into meaningful content
  • Condense information into relevant and consumable chunks
  • Create mental organizers to help learners to quickly digest content

Synthesize

Think

Once you have gathered the information, you need to synthesize into meaningful content.

Synthesizing information is a process of:

  • Examining and inferring relationships among sources and then making those relationships explicit
  • Combining information and ideas to create or develop a new idea, focus, or perspective

Share your tips for synthesizing information. 

Apply

The book Gamestorming provides a huge inventory of ideas to help you internalize information. You don't have to buy the book, you can check out this cheat sheet on their website!

These work because the act of mapping, diagraming, and manipulating information forces us to make a judgement and interrupt meaning helping us to internalize the content.




Here are some of the games that you may want to try:

  • Mind Mapping: Great for brainstorming, categorizing, summarizing, identifying ... endless possibilities. There are several online tools that allow you to collaborate virtually to create your mind maps.
  • Affinity Diagram: Great for organizing and categorizing information.
  • Context Map: Great for identifying business and market drivers.
  • Draw the Problem: Great for clarifying complex problems with multiple contributing factors.
  • Stop, Start, Continue: Great for clarifying which behaviors we need to reinforce and develop and which habits to change.
  • Heart, Hand, Mind  or Empathy Map: Great for crafting response to "what's in it for me".
  • Spectrum Mapping: Great for mapping the diverse range of capabilities and mindsets of your target audience.
  • Build a Checklist:  Great for defining "the work to be done" with SMEs.
  • Cause and Effect: Great for drilling down into more detail to identify root causes and extenuating factors.


Condense

Think

When condensing information, the two most difficult tasks will be:

  • Determining what information is MOST relevant
  • Making complex information simple so that others can quickly understand

The good news is that we don’t have to figure this out for every project – we can figure this out by portfolio! By defining portfolio templates we can identify the information that we need to collect and efficiently format that information into the proper story.

Creating templates allows us to:

  • Drive consistency. Consistency lowers cognitive load – when learners are familiar with our course layouts they can quickly scan the course to pull-out the content that they need.
  • Save time. We don’t have to reinvent the wheel each time, we have already figured out the relevant points and organized the story flow. Thus leaving us with more time to focus on the most important element – the actual content and messages.

Apply

This template for Product Overview Training provides a standard structure for us to follow.

Learning Consultant/Template - Product Overview Training.docx


Organize

Think


Another way to simplify information for learners is to create mental organizers to display concepts in a way that is easier for learners to digest.

 

 


Apply

Here are some tools:

Seek out supporting stories and artifacts

Stories help to connect content to the world around us. As Instructional Designers, it is your job to seek out and find great stories and examples to include in the content.

We need to seek out the best stories and artifacts which includes assessing the quality of content provided by SMEs and when needed pushing SMEs to provide better artifacts and examples.

Share with the group, what makes a quality story or artifact (graph, sample client output..)? If we were to create a checklist, what would we include? Link to Doc

Good Stories:

  • Represent the real world. The real world is messy, use your stories to illustrate some of the common misconceptions and mistakes. Overly simplistic stories are difficult to transfer to the workplace.
  • Use background information to illustrate when, where, why, and with whom a skill should be applied.
  • Provide a variety of stories to illustrate situational nuances that allow the learners to can compare and contrast when to apply a particular behavior.
  • Make the decision making process transparent by:
           - Including information about the data used to help make decision
           - Evaluating various options illustrating the pros/cons and implications of each
           - Connecting various ideas and skills together
  • Stories about failure or non-examples are just as helpful as success stories. These stories help to bring out the nuances and characteristics that distinguish one situation from another.
It is often difficult to find good stories. You may need to write a fictitious story to fit your needs. 

It is helpful to start with a real story as a basis and change or add facts to fit your learning objectives. Don’t be afraid to combine elements from several different examples (or embellish an example) to make a learning point! Create a draft of the story and ask your SMEs to validate that your story is realistic.

Communicate

We need to communicate the content (via script) and business context (via learning plan) to the design team.

Keys to good script writing:

  • Be Succinct
  • Tell a Story
  • Write for Reuse
  • Style Matters

Be Succinct

Make it a rule to see the forest first, then the trees - be clear about the big idea and spare the details. Many SMEs want to include all the details and special exceptions - this may not always be necessary. Determine how much the audience REALLY needs to know!

Tips for writing succinctly:

  • Focus on a few big ideas
  • Get straight to the point, your training should not read like a mystery novel - don't hide the main idea at the end
  • Remove all unnecessary words or information
  • Use simple language
  • Hide definitions and qualifiers in hot text
Before After
Nielsen will be using its extensive, integrated media and consumer information capabilities to provide the BOCOG with a truly international perspective on television and online audience levels. This information will be augmented with timely media, gathered by Nielsen, from numerous countries attending the Olympics. We will have a full team in place in Beijing throughout the Games to staff this assignment to help BOGOG officials, worldwide media, and others access and interpret this extensive cross-platform intelligence. Nielsen will provide the BOCOG (Beijing Olympic Committee) with an international perspective on television and online audiences, including media data collected from 47 countries as well as attendees of Olympic events. Our full team in Beijing will help BOCOG officials, worldwide media, and others access and interpret this extensive cross-platform intelligence.
 
Raising the mayor’s salary will have political significance. Raising the mayor’s salary will bring more candidates into the race.
We will become the aeronautical leaders of the world. We will put a man on the moon and bring him back safely by the end of the decade.
Experts accused the city transit company of inefficient management and high operating costs due to poor scheduling, excess of manpower in the maintenance department, and purchase of buses beyond actual needs. Experts said the city transit company was wasting money by:
  • having buses at the wrong places at the wrong time
  • hiring too many men for upkeep
  • buying too many buses.

Business Writing Resources 

Tell a Story

Graphics for Learning

Graphics Should Be More Than Just Eye Candy

Function A Graphic Used to: Example
Decorative Decorative graphics can interfere with learning - use sparingly.
Representational Representational graphics are used to represent the actual appearance of something. These types of visuals are best for presenting things learners will encounter when transferring their learning to actual tasks. Representational graphics include things like software application screens, forms, equipment, etc
Mnemonic A mnemonic is a learning technique that uses a device such as a pattern of letters, ideas, or associations that helps you remember something. Graphics can also be used as a visual mnemonic.
Organizational Organizational visuals help orient your learners to the lesson content. These graphics show qualitative relationships that cannot be expressed as a number.
Relational Relational graphics show quantitative relationships. The best examples of relational graphics are charts and graphs.
Transformational Transformational graphics are ones that show movement or changes over time. These types of visuals are particularly good for showing the steps of a process or procedure. Designers often include transformational graphics as part of an animation sequence or video.
Interpretive An interpretive graphic illustrates a theory, a principle, or cause-and-effect relationships. A schematic diagram of equipment is a common example of an interpretive graphic.

Write for Reuse

Writing for reuse allows us to:

  • Leverage economies of scope
  • Drive impact through consistent communication of key messages and themes
  • Drive speed through reuse and standardization (use of templates)
  • Drive reach through reuse and publication to multiple modalities, globalization
  • Drive engagement through personalization

Economy of Scope: An economic theory stating that the average total cost of production decreases as a result of increasing the number of different goods produced.

For example a company, such as Proctor & Gamble, which produces hundreds of products from razors to toothpaste can afford to hire expensive graphic designers and marketing experts who will use their skills across the product lines. Because the costs are spread out, this lowers the average total cost of production for each product.

When we reuse content across courses or modalites, we leverage economy of scope.

We need to stop thinking of training as “one-time” events. Learning is an ongoing activity. 

Our goal is to get the right information to the right people at the right time. We can do this by publishing content in multiple modalities: web, classroom, job aids, and mobile. Reusable content blocks allows us to assemble the content in a format appropriate for each modality.

When writing for reuse we need to:

  • Define a predictable structure (templates). This predictability allow us to assemble content from the reusable blocks.
  • Acknowledge that content might be either displayed in different contexts or sequence then you anticipate. Avoid linear language (first, second, as we discussed earlier…, as you will see later…) that must be connected to a specific task (unless it requires specific steps e.g. Software training).
  • Modularize content - chunk content so that each block is a complete unit featuring a key point and supporting information.
  • Adopt a consistent writing style - content with a discernable style is not reusable.


For a more detailed explanation of reuse read: Fundamental Concepts of Reuse

Style Matters

Content with a discernable style is not reusable. Without style guidelines writing lacks cohesion when we bring the blocks together.
 


DOWNLOAD: Nielsen Voice Guidelines

Missions for this Lesson

Study Buddy With your study buddy, discuss how the concepts shared this week will fit into the GLO workflow.  

  • Where do you anticipate challenges?
  • What can you influence directly and what may you need to influence through others?
  • How will implementing these ideas change the way we need to communicate with our stakeholders (internal and external to GLO)?
  • How will we know if we are successful? How can we measure the quality of our content?


Share Your Knowledge 

Contribute to the following team discussions.

  • Share your tips for synthesizing information.
  • We need to seek out the best stories and artifacts which includes assessing the quality of content provided by SMEs and potentially pushing SMEs to provide better artifacts and examples. Share with the group, what makes aquality story or artifact (graph, sample client output..)? If we were to create a checklist, what would we include?Share your thoughts here.


Reflection 

Select one of these topics (or pick one of your own) to reflect on in your personal journal.

  • Practice: Write out a request to an SME for quality content and stories. How would you describe what you are looking for in a way that would increase the likelihood that you will receive what you need?
  • How do we write content when our audience consists of associates with vastly different expertise? How do we keep the more experienced learners engaged while not leaving the novices too far behind?
  • Why do we hesitate to write our own scenarios and stories to supplement our materials? Fictional stories can be customized to support key messages and fit our learning objectives. How can we overcome our hesitation?

Lesson 5 - Writing Your Script

Why Start with a Script

The script is where ideas come to life and begin to take shape.

Writing is a logical step in the process of transforming an idea into something useful. 

The best path to solving problems and making ideas easier to understand is to have the explanations in writing, where they can evolve before being presented. 

Written explanations become living documents that provide a means for sharing and developing ideas and concepts. It is the PROCESS of writing that clarifies an explanation and gives it a form that can be presented in many ways. 

The script is the foundation of any explanation. Although it may not be the medium you ultimately use to present it, it represents the heart - the touchstone from which everything else emerges.

Writing Great Explanations

Explanations transform facts into comprehension. 
Great Explainers have the ability to picture themselves in another person’s shoes and communicate from that perspective (this is empathy). Empathy can be difficult because most explainers suffer from the Curse of Knowledge.

Review each of these explanations,  as you do so, use this checklist to identify how the examples incorporate each of these style elements.

For more explanations check out!



AGREEMENT

Agreement builds confidence from the very first sentence. It is accomplished through big-picture statements that most people will recognize. 

We can all agree gas prices are rising...
People are consuming media in more ways than ever before…



CONTEXT

Content is king, but context is the kingdom. Context describes the situation and complication.

Context moves the points we have agreed upon to a specific place. It gives the audience a foundation for the explanation and lets them know WHY it should matter to them. 

Context provides a broad perspective before zooming into the details.

More of your hard earned income is going towards paying for transportation…
Businesses want to know where they should focus their ad revenue…



STORY

Storytelling makes our facts more meaningful and interesting. Story applies the big ideas to a narrative that shows the person who experiences a change in perspective and the emotions that accompany that change.

Stories need facts. And facts can be explained more effectively in story. Facts give stories substance. Stories give facts meaning.

Meet Sally; she’s tired of paying so much for gas…
Sam is a brand manager and he is deciding where to spend this years budget..



CONNECTIONS

Connections often accompany a story and are analogies and metaphors that connect new ideas to something people already understand.

Sally could see that taking the bus was like multitasking because she could work and commute at the same time…



DESCRIPTIONS

Descriptions are direct communications that focus on how versus why.

Facts provide substance.

Sally found that she could save more than $20 a week by taking the bus three times a week…



CONCLUSION

Conclusions wrap up the script with a summary of what was learned and provides a next step with a focus on the audience.

The next time gas prices get you down, remember…


Source: The Art of Explanation

Missions for this Lesson

  1. Write a script for one of your current projects. Don't worry about writing a complete script! For this practice exercise use what you have on hand to get feedback and practice.
  2. Evaluate your script. Script Evaluation Checklist
  3. Exchange scripts with your Study Buddy and evaluate.
  4. Meet with your Study Buddy to exchange feedback.
  5. Discuss your experience with your Study Buddy.
              - What was challenging?
           - What rules or best practices can you identify to share with the team? Click here to download our writing playbook and add your own tips to the yammer note.

Lesson 6 - Managing stakeholders

Analyzing Stakeholders (WHO)

Not all stakeholders need the same amount of attention or same detail of communication. It is important to carefully identify, group, and create a communication plan for each stakeholder group.

Create a Influence Map and Stakeholder Matrix for one of your current projects and share with your Study Buddy.
 

 

 

 

Influence Map

 

 

 

 

 

 


Stakeholder Analysis

Connecting with Stakeholders (HOW)

It's not just what you do, it is HOW you do it.

The key to a determining need is trust. Trust doesn't just happen. In the working world, trust is created based on conversation:

  • HOW we engage and talk to others.
  • HOW we establish and maintain a connection.

Here is a five-step model for engaging clients in a dialogue that builds trust and with it open communication. The order of each step is important. You can do a wonderful job of framing the issue, but if you do so before you have adequately listened to your client the trust process can break down or freeze.

As you review the process, consider how you would apply to your next client conversation. 

The five steps in the model are as follows. Read ahead for more information on each of them..

  1. Engage
  2. Listen
  3. Frame
  4. Envision
  5. Commit

The most common mistakes we make are inadequate listening and jumping too quickly to the final step - to commit.

1. Engage

Key Skills

Offer something of value in an open discussion about issues key to the other person.

Engage - "I heard you were interested in …"

Example

Engage:  "I hear that you are launching a new product next quarter, is that right? Our team has a lot of expertise in ... and we would love to support your team. We recently helped the abc team to launch the xyz product and they were able to increase sales by x%."

Don't be afraid to promote the strengths of the GTO and highlight a recent success. However, avoid getting into a heavy sales pitch. The purpose is to offer up something that has value. This can be resources, expertise, or even something as simple as a recent article or study.

2. Listen

Key Skills

Hear what is important and real to the other person and earn the right to offer solutions.

Listen - "Tell me more…"

  • Stop talking
  • Don't think you know the answer
  • Yes, and...
    As you watch this video, consider the COE workflow: when is it important to use divergent thinking?
    When it is important to use convergent thinking? What happens when we try to do both at once? 
    Share your ideas with the team!
  • Listen for data
           - Gage scale or scope:  How many transactions go through this process every month? How many of the forms are incorrect? How often does the analyst need to perform this task? How long does it usually take?
           - Quantify impact:  When this happens... how many people are impacted? how long does it take to fix? What is the cost? How does the client react?
  • Listen for context (motivations and desires)
           - Look for motivations:  What do people think about that? Why do people find it difficult?
         - Look for variations between groups:  Is this true for all products? Do all departments have this issue? Who does this the best?
           - Gage acceptance of change:  What will people think about the changes? What has already been tried? Did it work? Not work?

More tips on Active Listening


Example

Listen:  "That's very interesting. Tell me more: What's behind that?"

We often hear that there are no stupid questions. However, the truth is our expertise if often judged by the quality of the questions that we ask.

Some tips:

  • Do your homework beforehand: Do not rely on the SME to fill in all the information. We need to use SME time as efficiently as possible. Educate yourself on the subject before your conversation and use this time to ask deeper questions.
  • Ask open ended, probing questions: Create a list of thoughtful questions before your meeting. These are a guide and a place to start. Don't just ask your list of questions, adjust your questions to fit the flow of the conversation.
  • Stop talking: You should be listening not talking. You will demonstrate your expertise through the quality of your questions, not by proving how much you know. Resist the temptation to share all your homework!
  • Internalize information:  If you are just taking notes, you will miss great follow-up questions (and the point). You must seek to deeply understand what is being conveyed, plug the information into your current working model of the situation, and look for holes or hidden meanings that need to be explored. You are exposing a puzzle piece by piece.
  • Try to prove your theory wrong:  Don't assume you know what is going on. We naturally look for evidence to confirm our beliefs and biases. Take the time to look for evidence that will disproof your hypotheses. You may be surprised, the puzzle may turn out to be something very different than you anticipated.

3. Frame

Key Skills

State the root cause in clear business terms.

Frame - "So the issue is…"

  • Verify assumptions.
  • Reach consensus on the problem(s) to be addressed.


Example

Frame: "It sounds like the most pressing issue is that sales cycle for this product may not follow the traditional model and we will need to provide the sales force with some new tools." 

Summarize the information you just heard into a few key issues. Prioritize the list - seek to understand the most pressing issues.

4. Envision

Key Skills

Paint a picture of the new state (after intervention), including descriptions of outcomes and emotional states.

Envision - "Let's imagine…"


Example

Envision:  "How do you envision the new sales process? How will it differ from the current process? What drives these differences?"

Use questions to invite the SME to get involved in the envisioning process. Get them to describe "what will be different" after the intervention. This will tell you a lot more about their expectations. 

Paint a vivid picture of the new state. What will be different about the way they engage clients? How will this change the way we write contracts? Will this change who they talk to in the client organization?

5. Commit

Key Skills

Jointly articulate actionable next steps that imply commitment and movement on the part of each party.

Commit to Action - "I suggest we…"

Each meeting should end with a review of action items that clearly define the next steps for all parties involved (who, what, when).

Example

Commit: "It sounds like we may need to create a tool kit for the salesforce. Our next step  is to gather more details about the sales process. We will need you to identify a few of your top sales reps for us to interview. If you can email me the names by Friday then we can start scheduling interviews for next week. After that, we will come back with a recommendation and work together to devise the final solution. Once we better understand the scope and scale of the development effort, we can put together a project timeline."

Each meeting should end with a review of action items that clearly define the next steps for all parties involved. Clearly articulate:

  • Who is responsible, who should be consulted, who needs to be informed
  • What is to be delivered
  • By when (set a due date)

After your meeting, send a follow-up email with a summary of the key meeting decisions and action items.

Communicating with Stakeholders (WHAT)

Each project in an organization’s portfolio has an internal brand — a reputation and status that play major roles in determining the level of support it will receive. 

Some project brands are better than others. Although the foundation of any project’s brand may rest on its natural attractiveness — its strategic importance, its apparent viability, the reputation of the assigned leader and the client’s profile — these factors are not the sole determinants of a project’s destiny. 

Project leaders, sponsors and team members all have the power, and the obligation, to create and disseminate brand-related messages that clearly convey the project’s intended promise, garner needed support and report on the delivery of that promise. Concepts from the domain of brand management can be tailored and applied to make this happen during five stages in the project branding life cycle. 

These tips were adapted from: MIT Sloan Management Review – Summer 2011 – Every Project Needs a Brand

Consider how your message needs to change as you progress to each new stage.

The five stages in the project branding life cycle are as follows. Read ahead for more information on each of them.

  1. Initiate
  2. Plan
  3. Develop
  4. Launch
  5. Close

1. Initiate

Think

Build awareness and understanding.  Position and sell your idea by persuading key decision makers of the importance of the underlying problem or opportunity the project will address.

KEY MESSAGES

  • Explain WHY they should support your project
  • Persuade key decision makers the need to close the gap between What Is and What Could Be
  • Make the work seem compelling and attractive

MANAGE THE MESSAGE

  • Focus on the challenge and opportunity (not the project)
  • Link to business strategy and long-term goals
  • Adapt message to each audience


Apply

TYPICAL TRAPS

  • Jumping too quickly to the work to be carried out without selling the problem driving the need for change
  • Making a problem sound bigger than it really is
  • Failing to make an emotional connection with the audience
  • Using confusing language or engaging in data overload
  • Promoting a "pet" project not related to clear business objectives

2. Plan

Think

Build understanding and buy-in. This is a back and forth dialogue with stakeholders to solicit input and support.

KEY MESSAGES

  • Clarify goals, assign roles & responsibilities, and openly discuss risks
  • Communicate a road map and build a sense of confidence in its feasibility
  • Demonstrate key credible stakeholders are on board

MANAGE THE MESSAGE

  • Be transparent and involve others in the building of your project plan
  • Link tasks to project value
  • Build and maintain confidence and trust
  • Articulate each audiences link/claim to project payoff and tap into participants motivations


Apply

TYPICAL TRAPS

  • Failing to involve immediate team members and stakeholder in developing the plan
  • Failing to get the "right" people assigned to the project
  • Overlooking or ignoring uncertainties and risks
  • Failing to clearly define roles and responsibilities

3. Develop

Think

Maintain buy-in and gain commitment.  Keep stakeholders informed of project progress and set-backs.

KEY MESSAGES

  • Formally kick-off the project to legitimize and socialize within organization
  • Provide frequent progress reports
  • Demonstrate resilience in responding to unexpected events

MANAGE THE MESSAGE

  • Better to over communicate
  • Make emotional connections – describe why it matters to them
  • Honestly acknowledge setbacks
  • Celebrate interim goals that tie to the end goals
  • Confirm messages have been received and understood
  • Adopt “no surprises” policy


Apply

TYPICAL TRAPS

  • Over promising outcomes
  • Failing to test for understanding - not confirming a common understanding
  • Including activities that are too grand or too limited to fit the scope and importance of the project

4. Launch

Think

Commitment.  Time to move your solution into practice and persuade others in the organization to adopt your solution.

KEY MESSAGES

  • Explain WHY they should support your project
  • Persuade key decision makers the need to close the gap between What Is and What Could Be
  • Make the work seem compelling and attractive

MANAGE THE MESSAGE

  • Focus on the challenge and opportunity (not the project)
  • Link to business strategy and long-term goals
  • Adapt message to each audience


Apply

TYPICAL TRAPS

  • Failing to clearly communicate the purpose and anticipated outcomes of your solution
  • Overselling impact of solution
  • Failing to quickly respond to issues and concerns

5. Close

Think

Culmination of entire project.  Opportunity to solidify and enhance the perception of the project.

KEY MESSAGES

  • Celebrate accomplishments
  • Communicate proof of promise delivered and lessons learned
  • Acknowledge supporters
  • Reiterate WHY the effort was worthwhile

MANAGE THE MESSAGE

  • Articulate achievement of project goals and acknowledge goals not met
  • Link achievements to business strategy


Apply

TYPICAL TRAPS

  • Failing to celebrate accomplishments
  • Unavailability of project metrics to measure success - these can be qualitative or quantitative

Missions for this Lesson

Study Buddy

  • Create a Influence Map and Stakeholder Matrix for one of your current projects and share with your Study Buddy.
  • Discuss with your Study Buddy how you might apply the client conversation model (Engage, Listen, Frame, Envision, and Commit) to a current tricky situation?
  • Review the key messages for stakeholders provided in the Communicating with Stakeholders topic: Which stakeholders do you need to communicate with in each project phase? Remember, the Portfolio Consultant and the Designers are your stakeholders too. Which of these messages will you be responsible for crafting? delivering? Which of these messages will you influence?


Share Your Knowledge

  • As you watch the Yes, and... video, consider the COE workflow: when is it important to use divergent thinking? When it is important to use convergent thinking? What happens when we try to do both at once? 
    Share your ideas with the team!


Reflection

Select one of these topics (or pick one of your own) to reflect on in your personal journal.

  • How do you build rapport virtually?
  • Why is empathy important?
  • While you may not be responsible for directly managing stakeholders outside the GTO, how can you help to influence stakeholder conversations?