Saturday, May 31, 2008

Carter McNamara: Strong Value of Self-Directed Learning in the Workplace:

Strong Value of Self-Directed Learning in the Workplace:

How Supervisors and Learners Gain Leaps in Learning

Written by Carter McNamara, MBA, PhD, Authenticity Consulting, LLC. Copyright 1997-2008.

Sections of this document include

What is Self-Directed Learning?
Most Adult Learning is Informal and Self-Directed in Nature
Self-Directed Learning is Ideal for the Workplace
How Supervisors Can Help Employees Learn in the Workplace
Some Online Articles About Self-Directed Learning

What is Self-Directed Learning?

Self-directed training includes the learner initiating the learning, making the decisions about what training and development experiences will occur, and how. The learner selects and carries out their own learning goals, objectives, methods and means to verifying that the goals were met.

Probably the most important skill for today's rapidly changing workforce is skills in self-reflection. The highly motivated, self-directed learner with skills in self-reflection can approach the workplace as a continual classroom from which to learn.

Supervisors and employees who work together to accomplish formal, self-directed learning in the workplace also accomplish continuous learning for continued productivity and learning.

Most Learning is Informal and Self-Directed in Nature

We buy a book and think about the writer's viewpoint. We attend a presentation given at a local school. We take some time at the end of the day to think about our day and what we learned from it. These are all informal forms of self-directed learning.

Self-directed learning becomes even more powerful when it's systematic, that is, when we decide:

  1. What areas of knowledge and skills we need to gain in order to get something done (our learning needs and goals)
  2. How we will gain the areas of knowledge and skills (our learning objectives and activities)
  3. How we will know that we've gained the areas of knowledge and skills (learning evaluation)

Self-Directed Learning is Ideal for the Workplace

Self-directed learning programs hold numerous advantages over traditional forms of classroom instruction for employees in the workplace, whether they be leaders, managers, or individual contributors. Bouchard (Self-directed Learning in Organizational Settings (working paper), Concordia University, Montreal, Canada) explains, “Over the years, it has become increasingly clear that traditional approaches to program design and delivery in the workplace and in associative organizations present some important weaknesses. Problem areas include: coping with the short life span of useful knowledge; passing down acquired competencies to succeeding cohorts; accommodating the demands of productivity while providing for a continuity of learning; [and!] enabling learners to pursue activities that correspond to their learning styles and needs” (p. 1).

After many years of reflection about learning, eminent psychologist, Carl Rogers, founder of self-directed therapy, asserted that “anything that can be taught to another is relatively inconsequential, and has little or no significant influence on behavior” (On Becoming a Person: A Therapist’s View of Psychotherapy, Houghton Mifflin, 1961, p. 276). He adds, “The only learning which significantly influences behavior is self-discovered, self-appropriated learning” (p. 276).

Self-directed learning programs

  • Are more effective in development because learning accommodates employees’ learning styles and objectives
  • Save substantial training costs because learners learn to help themselves and each other with practical and timely materials
  • Achieve increased employee effectiveness in their jobs as they learn to learn from their own work experiences and actually apply their learning in their places of work

How Supervisors Can Help Employees Learn in the Workplace

The supervisor's attitude and knowledge about learning has a tremendous impact on the development of employees (thus, the major reason the Free Management Library was developed). Thomas D. Fisher, in Self-Directedness in the Workplace: A Re-Examination, cites numerous suggestions (from Lowry) in order to better enable self-directed learning in the workplace. Some of those suggestions are listed below, and are wonderful ways for supervisors and learners to turn the workplace into a classroom (pp. 4-5):
  1. Help the learner identify the starting point for a learning project and discern relevant [ways!] of examination and reporting.
  2. Encourage adult learners to view knowledge and truth as contextual ... and that they can act on their world individually or collectively to transform it
  3. Create a partnership with the learner by negotiating a learning contract for goals, strategies and evaluation criteria
  4. Be a manager of the learning experience rather than an information provider
  5. Teach inquiry skills, decision making, personal development, and self-evaluation of work
  6. Help learners develop positive attitudes and feelings of independence relative to learning
  7. Recognize learners' personality types and learning styles
  8. Use techniques such as field experience and problem solving that take advantage of adults' rich experience base
  9. Encourage critical thinking skills by incorporating ... such activities as seminars
  10. Create an atmosphere of openness and trust to promote better performance
  11. Behave ethically, which includes not recommending a self-directed learning approach if it is not congruent with the learner's needs
  12. Obtain the necessary tools to assess learner's current performance and to evaluate their expected performance
  13. Provide opportunities for self-directed learners to reflect on what they're learning
  14. Promote learning networks, study circles, and learning exchanges, self-managed teams of self-directed learners)
  15. Provide staff training on self-directed learning and broaden the opportunities for its implementation

Fisher adds that "Self-directed learning is more than a form of education. It is a component in human development" (p. 7).

Also see Basic Requirements of Supervisors Who Have Employees in Training

Some Online Articles About Self-Directed Learning

What is Self-Directed Learning?
Self-Directed Learning Web Page another Self-Directed Learning Web page Introduction: Why self-directed learning?
Self-Directedness in Adult Vocational Education Students
Take Responsibility for Your Own Learning
Journaling -- What We Can Learn from Unschooling


Friday, May 30, 2008

Fortune Magazine: How top companies breed stars

How top companies breed stars

The world's best companies realize that no matter what business they're in, their real business is building leaders. Here's how the champs do it.

By Geoff Colvin, Fortune senior editor-at-large

(Fortune Magazine) -- You couldn't be blamed for rolling your eyes when American Express chief Ken Chenault says, "People are our greatest asset." CEOs always say that. They almost never mean it. Most companies maintain their office copiers better than they build the capabilities of their people, especially the ones who are supposed to be future leaders, and for decades they've gotten away with it. But now their world is changing profoundly - and at long last we're going to find out which self-proclaimed people-cherishers actually mean it.

A fast-growing number of CEOs - including Chenault - are demonstrating their sincerity. With Amex (Charts, Fortune 500) at No. 19 on our North American list, he has built an exceptionally rigorous leadership-development program packed with metrics, incentives, goals, values, and calendars (for more about the program and Chenault, see "No Holds Barred").

More broadly, companies that were never especially serious about leadership development are getting serious. Companies that were always good at it are getting better - and finding that the world wants desperately to learn what they know. General Electric (Charts, Fortune 500), No. 1 on our new ranking of the world's Top Companies for Leaders, reports getting five to ten requests each week from companies wanting to benchmark its practices.

So who's world-class great? Fortune has teamed with Hewitt, the world's largest human resources outsourcing and consulting firm, and RBL Group, a consulting firm specializing in leadership development, to conduct new research into the ways companies around the world are developing leaders and which are doing it best.

The result is a ranking of firms that others envy, the world's top "academy companies." The term originated some 20 years ago with professor Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, now of the Yale School of Management. He notes that these companies "offer more internal training to their executives, and their alumni often populate the leadership of other firms."

John Dineen: He runs GE Transportation, a key developmental slot.
Douglas Baillie: Hindustan Unilever's chief runs India's top "academy company."
Richard Floersch: The McDonald's chief human resources officer helps track the company's top 200 leaders

For example, alumni of Procter & Gamble (Charts, Fortune 500) (No. 2 on our list) include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, eBay CEO Meg Whitman, Intuit founder Scott Cook, AOL founder Steve Case, and even GE chief Jeff Immelt. Hindustan Unilever (No. 4) has supplied nearly 200 CEOs to other companies worldwide over the years. GE alumni run scores of companies, including, besides GE itself, four of the 30 in the Dow Jones industrial average: Boeing (James McNerney), Home Depot (Frank Blake), Honeywell (David Cote). McNerney may hold a record, having worked for three companies in our top ten - GE, P&G, and McKinsey (No. 7).

Of the many powerful forces driving companies to develop leaders more effectively, the most important is the world economy's long-term shift from dependence on financial capital toward human capital.

Even given the credit crunch, money for investment is more abundant than ever. It isn't the scarce resource in business anymore; human ability is. Hewitt global-practice leader Robert Gandossy, who oversaw the Top Companies for Leaders study, says, "Organizations need talented people a lot more than talented people need organizations."

Even if that weren't true, companies would still be beefing up leadership development for a more immediate reason: The best young employees are hungry for it. It seems young people understood the new nature of today's economy before a lot of CEOs did, and they insist on jobs that will keep making them better.

Judy Pahren, senior VP for development and diversity at credit card bank Capital One Financial (Charts, Fortune 500) (No. 5), says that new employees cite "job flexibility, development, and community involvement" as the top three factors in keeping them at the company. GE's Immelt says his company is responding by, among other things, sending high-potential employees to the company's famed Crotonville, N.Y., leadership-development center much earlier in their careers; in attracting top prospects, "that's a strong selling point."

Companies are finding that the advantages of building a reputation for developing talent are greater than they may have thought - "a first-pick advantage," as the RBL Group calls it, an edge in attracting the cream of college and business-school students.

Says Hewitt's Gandossy: "Companies that provide people with opportunities to learn and grow become talent magnets, drawing scarce talent in droves." By continually attracting the most promising graduates and then developing them, these firms become higher-performing organizations, enhancing their ability to attract the best - a self-reinforcing cycle that makes the company more dominant every year.

A close look at the companies on our list reveals a set of best practices that seem to work in any environment. (Some companies well known for producing leaders, such as PepsiCo and Goldman Sachs, did not participate in the study; see accompanying methodology box.) These companies operate in every kind of industry and are based all over the world. But what's most striking are traits they share - specifically, nine practices that combine to create world-class leadership development.


You don't build leaders on the cheap, and you don't just bolt a development program onto existing HR procedures. Indeed, the biggest investment involved may be the time of the CEO and other executives. At McDonald's (Charts, Fortune 500) (No. 14), CEO Jim Skinner personally reviews the development of the company's top 200 managers. At GE, Immelt reviews the top 600. Bill Hawkins of Medtronic (No. 12) spends 50% of his time on people issues, and many of the other CEOs report similar percentages - making it the largest commitment of time they have.

Lots of companies claim they're interested in developing leaders, but the University of Michigan's Noel Tichy, a top authority on the subject, says that checking their commitment is easy: "Just show me the CEO's calendar." Yet the CEO's time is only the beginning. As those who report directly to the boss see what the focus is, they also become devoted to developing talent, as do their subordinates. It's called the cascading effect. Not that these companies rely solely on the power of example. Virtually all of them evaluate executives partly on how well they're developing people; at American Express, 25% of an executive's variable pay depends on talent development.)

Running leadership programs can also be expensive, but no CEO seems to doubt their value. GE's Crotonville, a beautiful 52-acre campus an hour north of New York City, obviously costs a bundle, and running thousands of managers through it every year costs even more. But "we fund it through good times and bad," says Immelt. "I learned that from Jack [Welch, the former CEO], and I still do it." Whirlpool (No. 15) decided a few years ago to upgrade its off-the-shelf development curriculum by creating its own. The program is now bigger than ever and worth every cent. CEO Jeff Fettig says, "This is the single best investment we make in our company."


"We begin to evaluate leadership capability on day one of employment," says GE's John Rice. Sometimes that's because employees have interned at GE for at least one summer, enabling the company to observe the way interns get others to work with them when they have absolutely no authority. Spotting leaders early means working on their development early. That's a big change at most companies, where programs were long reserved for an elite group several years into their careers.

Many of the companies on this list are trying to move past that. They believe that nurturing future leaders earlier than other companies creates a competitive advantage that lasts for decades, as their talent pipelines become bigger, better, and more reliable.


John Lechleiter, president and COO of Eli Lilly (No. 13), offers a typical model: About two-thirds of leadership development comes from job experience, about one-third from mentoring and coaching, and a smidgen from classroom training. Mixing job assignments seems obvious in theory, but in practice it's tough. Organizations tend to assign people based on what they're good at, not what they need to work on.

No company builds careers better than GE. Of course, it has an advantage over most firms, since its breadth of businesses lets it offer a wider range of experiences that few can match.

One secret weapon: the job of running GE Transportation, which makes locomotives in Erie, Pa. The person running the shop - currently 21-year GE veteran John Dineen - gets experience dealing directly with CEOs of customer companies. The business is unionized, so he learns about labor negotiations. The product is complex, as is the supply chain. Erie is sufficiently remote and unglamorous that the CEO can develop without national media scrutiny. And if, heaven forbid, the leader is a washout, GE is big enough to handle the trouble without bottom-line trauma.

Dineen's pre-locomotive career is a great example of what GE can do and most other companies wish they could. He was a manager in the company's appliance and plastics businesses, both highly valued developmental posts, one of which makes consumer products and the other industrial products; he has worked in a couple of finance assignments, also very important at GE; and he has held two large jobs in Asia, one staff and one line. You can't do much better than that.

Executives consistently report that their hardest experiences were the most helpful. P&G chief A.G. Lafley was in charge of the company's Asian operations during a major Japanese earthquake and the Asian economic collapse. That's when he discovered, he says, that "you learn ten times more in a crisis than during normal times."

His crisis experiences happened by chance, but such experiences can also be engineered. In 1988, when compressors in millions of GE refrigerators were found to be faulty, CEO Jack Welch and HR chief Bill Conaty decided to put Immelt in charge - though he had zero experience with appliances or recalls. "It was a hurricane," he says. "But Welch and Conaty knew exactly what they were doing. And there's no question I wouldn't be CEO today if I hadn't had that job."


Many CEOs report new tension between the need to develop people by moving them through different jobs and the need to develop their expertise in certain domains by leaving them put. One reason: A division has a tough time competing when the boss moves on after just 18 to 24 months, a typical pattern.

Eli Lilly is one of many companies trying harder to get the benefits of job rotation while leaving leaders in place. One technique: short-term work assignments. Managers don't leave their jobs, but they take on an additional assignment outside their field of expertise or interest. The company says the approach has been a big hit. Nokia (Charts) (No. 3) is trying the same thing and reports similar results.


It's the most elementary principle of learning: If you don't know how you've performed, you don't learn and you soon stop caring. Yet at many companies, feedback is rare, candid feedback even rarer. The companies on our list combine frequent, honest assessment with plenty of mentoring and support. So when people are told what skills they need to improve, they're also offered programs or coaching for doing it.

Many of the CEOs of these companies, when asked how they reached the top, tell similar stories about the importance of a few key mentors who consistently evaluated them. Whirlpool's Fettig is typical: "I am here today in part due to a handful of people who, before it was in vogue, provided coaching and mentoring to me early in my career. That helped me to develop." At Natura Cosméticos (No. 16), Brazil's largest cosmetics company, emerging leaders may even shadow a high-level executive for three to six months.


"At the GE I grew up in, most of my training was individually based," says Immelt. That led to problems. He'd attend a three-week program at Crotonville, but back at work "I could use only 60% of what I'd learned because I needed others - my boss, my IT guy - to help with the rest." And maybe they weren't onboard. Now GE takes whole teams and puts them through Crotonville together, where they make real decisions about their business. Result: "There's no excuse for not doing it."

Sometimes the team approach is cultural. The Finnish culture of Nokia rejects the concept of stars; the company focuses on leadership rather than leaders, and decisions depend heavily on consensus. In some companies that would be a recipe for low motivation and gridlock, but it works at Nokia.


Yes, you can make people do what you say by firing and demoting. We all know how well that works. It works even worse in today's information-based economy, where most employees aren't turning wrenches but instead are using knowledge and relationships with results that may not be easily observed day to day. Try making them do what you say, or even telling them exactly what to do. Says Lafley: "The command-and-control model of leadership just won't work 99% of the time."

Most companies on our list agree, which is why one of their favorite words is "inspire." P&G runs a development program called Inspirational Leadership. At American Express, a program called Leadership Inspiring Employee Engagement is mandatory for everyone at the VP level and above. When Chenault says he wants emotional engagement, inspiration is part of what he means.

All these companies realize that they inspire through a sense of mission, which for some of them - Medtronic, Eli Lilly - is deep-rooted.


The advantages are many. Most companies have enunciated values that include respect for the individual, good citizenship, and integrity. When company leaders also become leaders of charities, schools, and other nonprofits, they show their commitment to those values, encouraging and inspiring employees. Other benefits are more pragmatic. Most employees will never serve on the company's board or on any major corporate board. But many of them can serve on a local nonprofit's board, and the experience is an excellent leadership developer. At General Mills it's an explicit part of many employees' development plans to serve on a nonprofit board.


Though executives at these companies talk about their leadership-development programs, they realize the term isn't quite right. Developing leaders isn't a program; it's a way of living. For example, honest feedback has to be culturally okay. At many companies it isn't. Devoting significant time to mentoring has to be accepted. Working for nonprofits has to be encouraged, not just tolerated.

Such cultural norms can't be dictated; they have to be in the air. That's a big reason GE tops this list. Charles Coffin (CEO, 1892-1912) realized that GE's real priorities weren't light bulbs or electric motors but business leaders; developing them has been the company's focus ever since. All these companies are working on that kind of culture.

Good as these companies are, not one of them is satisfied with the way it develops leaders. They all have plans for improvement, mostly by involving more people, working more with teams, and refining their views of what skills tomorrow's leaders will need. None are scaling back.

It's important to realize that circumstances sometimes prevent companies from becoming academies, and some shouldn't even try. Yale's Sonnenfeld notes that the model won't work in "strategic contexts such as turnarounds in distress, or highly volatile, fluid, creative enterprises, which would suffer from the rigid lines of authority that underlie academies." But even companies in those situations need better leadership and could take at least a few lessons from these Top Companies for Leaders. In a world economy built on human capital, any company with a prayer of thriving will have to learn from their examples.

Reporter Associates Telis Demos, Jenny Mero, John Elliott and Jia Lynn Yang contributed to this article.

Source: Fortune Magazine of page

Fortune Magazine: Best Advice

The best advice I ever got (In Business)

April 08
Fortune Magazine

Gilbert Brenson LazanL Feedforward


Gilbert Brenson Lazan

The term "feedforward" was coined in a discussion with Jon Katzenbach, author of
The Wisdom of Teams, Real Change Leaders and Peak Performance.

A challenge that many supervisors face is that of engaging more experienced
employees in productive performance discussions and keeping the interaction
motivating. Author Marshall Goldsmith (Adapted from Leader to Leader, Summer
2002) describes the process of feedforward as an energizing alternative - or
complement - to feedback. Rather than focusing on the past, it pro-actively
supports others in being successful in meeting their goals or developing new

Feedforward is simply an interaction that includes giving input, coaching and an
opportunity to prepare in anticipation of challenging performance demands.

Building on Goldsmith's ideas, here are seven reasons to use Feedforward:

1. Feedforward directs attention to creating a positive future, not dwelling on
a failed past. It is almost always seen as positive because it focuses on
generating solutions - not problems.

2. While feedback can reinforce personal stereotyping and negative
self-fulfilling prophecies, feedforward communicates the assumption that the
receiver of suggestions can make positive changes.

3. Feedforward can cover almost all of the same "material" as feedback without
making the employee feel embarrassed or humiliated by low performance. This can
be especially advantageous with a multigenerational and multi-cultural

4. Feedforward can be more motivating to experienced employees because it
assumes capability and focuses on helping successful people achieve their goals.

5. Feedforward does not require knowing the person well or having a reporting
relationship. It can come from anyone who knows about the work or task

6. Feedforward is generally experienced as more collaborative and less personal
than feedback. People tend to listen more attentively and less defensively,
taking in what could be helpful.

7. Feedforward tends to be much faster and more efficient than feedback. There
is less need to discuss and process the feedback, because there is less personal

FeedForward Background and Exercise Instructions

Providing feedback has long been considered to be an essential skill for
leaders. As they strive to achieve the goals of the organization, employees need
to know how they are doing. They need to know if their performance is in line
with what their leaders expect. They need to learn what they have done well and
what they need to change. Traditionally, this information has been communicated
in the form of "downward feedback" from leaders to their employees. Just as
employees need feedback from leaders, leaders can benefit from feedback from
their employees. Employees can provide useful input on the effectiveness of
procedures and processes and as well as input to managers on their leadership
effectiveness. This "upward feedback" has become increasingly common with the
advent of 360� multirater assessments.

But there is a fundamental problem with all types of feedback: it focuses on a
past, on what has already occurred-not on the infinite variety of opportunities
that can happen in the future. As such, feedback can be limited and static, as
opposed to expansive and dynamic.

Exercise Instructions

In the exercise, participants are each asked to play two roles:

In one role, they are asked provide feedforward - that is, to give someone else
suggestions for the future and help as much as they can.

In the second role, they are asked to accept feedforward - that is, to listen to
the suggestions for the future and learn as much as they can.

The exercise typically lasts for 10-15 minutes, and the average participant has
6-7 dialogue sessions. In the exercise participants are asked to:

Pick one behavior that they would like to change. Change in this behavior should
make a significant, positive difference in their lives.

Describe this behavior to randomly selected fellow participants. This is done in
one-on-one dialogues. It can be done quite simply, such as, "I want to be a
better listener."

Ask for feedforward - for two suggestions for the future that might help them
achieve a positive change in their selected behavior. If participants have
worked together in the past, they are not allowed to give ANY feedback about the
past. They are only allowed to give ideas for the future.

Listen attentively to the suggestions and take notes. Participants are not
allowed to comment on the suggestions in any way. They are not allowed to
critique the suggestions or even to make positive judgmental statements, such
as, "That's a good idea."

Thank the other participants for their suggestions.

Ask the other persons what they would like to change.

Provide feedforward - two suggestions aimed at helping the other person change.

Say, "You are welcome." when thanked for the suggestions. The entire process of
both giving and receiving feedforward usually takes about two minutes.

Find another participant and keep repeating the process until the exercise is

When the exercise is finished, ask participants to provide one word that best
describes their reaction to this experience. Ask them to complete the sentence,
"This exercise was �". The words provided are almost always extremely positive,
such as "great", "energizing", "useful" or "helpful." The most common word
mentioned is "fun!"

What is the last word that most of us think about when we receive feedback,
coaching and developmental ideas? Fun!

Participants are then asked why this exercise is seen as fun and helpful as
opposed to painful, embarrassing or uncomfortable. Their answers provide a great
explanation of why feedforward can often be more useful than feedback as a
developmental tool.

In summary, the intent of this exercise is not to imply that leaders should
never give feedback or that performance appraisals should be abandoned. The
intent is to show how feedforward can often be preferable to feedback in
day-to-day interactions. Aside from its effectiveness and efficiency,
feedforward can make life a lot more enjoyable. When managers are asked, "How
did you feel the last time you received feedback?" their most common responses
are very negative. When managers are asked how they felt after receiving
feedforward, they reply that feedforward was not only useful, it was also fun!

Quality communication - between and among people at all levels and every
department and division - is the glue that holds organizations together. By
using feedforward - and by encouraging others to use it, leaders can
dramatically improve the quality of communication in their organizations,
ensuring that the right message is conveyed, and that those who receive it are
receptive to its content. The result is a much more dynamic, much more open
organization-one whose employees focus on the promise of the future rather than
dwelling on the mistakes of the past.

provided by Gilbet Brenson-Lazan

Gilbert Brenson-Lazan is President of AMAUTA INTERNATIONAL, LLC, Bogot�,
Colombia - West Hartford, CT, USA.


Thomas G. Stirr: Essential Leadership Skills

Essential Leadership Skills
Thomas G. Stirr
Author of Miller's Bolt, and 4 Ounces to Heaven

Leadership encompasses a wide variety of issues and related skill sets so you
have a lot of potential material from which to choose.

Visioning: leaders have the ability to see the long term vision of the
organization or their group and get their team to buy into it. They also need
to be able to identify the specific goals, objectives and tasks that need to be
accomplished to achieve the vision.

Creating culture: leaders create the culture in their organization or work
group by establishing beliefs and behavioural norms.

Performance management: leaders hold themselves and their people accountable
for performance and work hard to make sure people understand what is expected
of them, how their performance is measured and rewarded, celebrate successes,
and help everyone learn from mistakes.

Self awareness: leaders work hard at being aware of both their strengths and
weaknesses and continually work on improving themselves.

Developing others: leaders must be adept at assessing the development needs of
each member of their team, identify ways to help individuals develop required
competencies, and recognize leadership ability in others. They help people grow
and stretch by challenging them appropriately. Succession planning would also
fall under this category.

Professional distance: leaders must maintain a professional distance from their
staff while balancing that with the need to still be approachable.

Risk mitigation: leaders must protect the interests of their organizations by
being adept at recognizing and mitigating risks.

Strategy formulation and implementation: leaders must understand how to
formulate strategy and create pragmatic implementation plans to execute

Personal integrity: leaders only earn the trust of their team members by the
consistent demonstration of personal integrity. They need to understand their
value system and how it impacts their leadership approach.

Decision making: leaders need to develop solid decision making skills that take
into consideration the need of the task, the team, and the individual.
Effective leaders are able to maintain objectiveness under pressure. They also
solicit input and value the viewpoints of others.

Courage: leaders have the courage to go against the stream when necessary and
stand up for what they believe to be important. They are honest and direct in
their communications.

Customer orientation: good leaders understand the importance of managing
internal and external customer relationships and are always vigilant in this

Thomas G. Stirr
Author of Miller's Bolt, and 4 Ounces to Heaven
Thomas-Ritt Associates Limited
P.O. Box 20055, 1 Main Street West
Grimsby Ontario L3M 5J3 CANADA
Tel: 905.309.5431, Fax: 905.309.432
Email: tom@..., Web:


The Blanchard and Hersey Model

The Blanchard and Hersey Model As a leadership model, the best known example
was developed by Ken Blanchard, the management guru who later became famous for
his "One Minute Manager" series, and Paul Hersey. They created a model of
situational leadership in the late 1960s that allows one to analyse the needs of
the situation, then adopt the most appropriate leadership style. It has proved
popular with managers over the years because it is simple to understand, and it
works in most environments for most people.

The model rests on two fundamental concepts; leadership style, and development
Leadership styles
Blanchard and Hersey characterised leadership style in terms of the amount of
direction and support that the leader provides to his or her followers. They
categorized all leadership styles into four behavior types, which they named S1
to S4:

S1: Directing Leaders define the roles and tasks of the 'follower', and
supervise them closely. Decisions are made by the leader and announced, so
communication is largely one-way.

S2: Coaching Leaders still define roles and tasks, but seeks ideas and
suggestions from the follower. Decisions remain the leader's prerogative, but
communication is much more two-way.

S3: Supporting Leaders pass day-to-day decisions, such as task allocation and
processes, to the follower. The leader facilitates and takes part in decisions,
but control is with the follower.

S4: Delegating Leaders are still involved in decisions and problem-solving,
but control is with the follower. The follower decides when and how the leader
will be involved.
Of these, no one style is considered optimal or desired for all leaders to
possess. Effective leaders need to be flexible, and must adapt themselves
according to the situation. However, each leader tends to have a natural style,
and in applying Situational Leadership she must know her intrinsic style.
Development levels The right leadership style will depend on the person being
led - the follower. Blanchard and Hersey extended their model to include the
Development Level of the follower. They stated that the leader's chosen style
should be based on the competence and commitment of her followers. They
categorized the possible development of followers into four levels, which they
named D1 to D4:

D1: Low Competence, High Commitment - They generally lack the specific skills
required for the job in hand, However, they are eager to learn and willing to
take direction.

D2: Some Competence, Low Commitment - They may have some relevant skills, but
won't be able to do the job without help. The task or the situation may be new
to them.

D3: High Competence, Variable Commitment - They are experienced and capable,
but may lack the confidence to go it alone, or the motivation to do it well or

D4: High Competence, High Commitment - They are experienced at the job, and
comfortable with their own ability to do it well. They may even be more skilled
than the leader.
Development Levels are also situational. I might be generally skilled,
confident and motivated in my job, but would still drop into Level D1 when
faced, say, with a task requiring skills I don't possess. For example, many
managers are D4 when dealing with the day-to-day running of their department,
but move to D1 or D2 when dealing with a sensitive employee issue.
Leadership/development matching Blanchard and Hersey said that the leadership
style (S1 - S4) of the leader must correspond to the development level (D1 - D4)
of the follower. Furthermore it is the leader who must adapt, not the follower.
To get the most of situational leadership, a leader should be trained in how to
operate effectively in various leadership styles, and how to determine the
development level of others.

Notes Compiled by

Shabbar Suterwala
Corporate Soft Skills Trainer

For further inputs
Contact Details:
Shabbar Suterwala's Leaders Workshop
B/303, Mandsaur CHS,
Kokani Pada, Kurar Village,
Malad (East), Mumbai 400 097

Ph: +91-22-28423326
Mb: +91-9892225864


Free Assessment on Leadership Development

Identify strengths and deficits in your company's leadership development capabilities
by Metis, india

Do your clients know how to develop leaders?

This assessment tool will identify strengths and deficits in your company's
leadership development capabilities.

Does Your Company Know How to Develop Leaders?
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of their quality time to this task.

Not at all true ===> Definitely true


2. Leaders who identify and develop other leaders are rewarded and recognized
for doing so.


3. Bosses regularly coach leaders on the one or two most important areas in
which they need to improve, such as specific aspects of business acumen or
relationship skills.


4. Evaluations, to be conducted at least once a year, consider not just what the
leader achieved, but also how and under what circumstances.


5. Leaders pool their insights to determine how a junior leader may develop and
where he/she should go next.


6. The most promising leaders often receive more challenging assignments that
may be far outside their demonstrated area of expertise.


7. Leaders on development paths aren't kept waiting for job openings. They
receive challenging new assignments as soon as they're ready for them, or even
just before.


8. Assessments of leaders' talents are precise, balanced and complete. They are
separate from annual performance appraisals.


9. The leadership development process is as consistent and rigorous as those for
business items like revenues, margins or cash.


10. HR ensures leaders at all levels actively develop other leaders and plan
their succession. HR provides useful input to help up-and-coming leaders and
their bosses find the right job fit.


Continue reading "Do you know how to develop leaders?"



Heather Johnson: Top 5 Tips for Retaining Employees

Top 5 Tips for Retaining Employees

Heather Johnson

In today's market, it is getting harder and harder to retain good employees. Training new workers is very expensive and it is hard to maintain a consistent workflow if there is a high turnover rate. Therefore, it is in your best interest to not only find good employees, but to keep them for as long as you can. Below are five tips to help you retain your employees.

  1. Improve Leadership – One of the main reasons why people quit their jobs is because they do not like their manager. By improving the leadership skills of the company's supervisors, the business will be able to keep more employees content. Leadership workshops and new company guidelines can help to influence company management for the better.
  2. Offer Employee Benefits – Candidates are drawn to companies with benefits such as health coverage, 401K and paid vacation days. Not only should your company offers those to employees, you should regularly audit those programs for improvement.
  3. Offer Special Rewards – Employees are more likely to go the extra mile for a company when they feel they are being rewarded for their hard work. For example, a sales department could give bonuses to those who meet a certain quota each month.
  4. Give Compliments – A happy employee is one who feels valued. The occasional pat on the back from one's manager can actually go a long way in pleasing a worker. Sadly, managers often give feedback only when there is a problem. By saying "Thank you" or "Good job" every once in a while, employee morale could really be boosted.
  5. Ask for Feedback – What better way to meet the needs of an employee than to listen to them? Regular meetings and even an anonymous suggestion box can give employees a voice, thus increasing their chances of finding harmony in their positions.

It is impossible to please every person all of the time. However, companies that are experiencing a high turnover rate are obviously making a mistake somewhere. There is always room for improvement where interpersonal relations are concerned. Therefore, it would be very prudent for companies to follow the above advice, as it would help to increase employee retention.


This post was contributed by Heather Johnson, who is an industry critic on the subject of how to become a nurse. She invites your feedback at

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Thursday, May 29, 2008

Thomas H. Wright: OD Site

Thomas H. Wright: OD Site

I found an excellent OD site today. The wealthy information enlighten me in many aspects of orgnaization Development. Thanks to Thomas H Wrigh and North Carolina State Government.

To value add your organization, OD is a major tools. I apply various OD tools in Pfizer, Mydin and Carsem like Appreciative Inquiry, Mental rehearsal, Lean Culture, Project Management.

About OD
Various OD Model
Tools and Activities
Link to more OD sites

Organization Development

Definitions & Concepts

Organization Development Definition

Organization Development (OD) is an applied discipline that supports the creation of effective and healthy organizations consisting of competent, satisfied, and productive employees.

Other definitions from other OD practitioners are:

"Organization development (OD) is defined as a long-range effort to improve an organization’s ability to cope with change and its problem-solving and renewal processes through effective management of organization culture."

-Don Harvey and Donald R. Brown in
An Experiential Approach to Organization Development

"Organization development is an effort: (1) planned, (2) organization wide, (3) managed from the top, (4) to increase organizational effectiveness and health, through (5) planned interventions in the organization’s processes using behavioral science knowledge."

-Richard Beckhard in Organization Development: Strategies and Models

OD encompasses these concepts:

  • Definitive and supportive of the organization’s long range vision and mission.
  • Seeks to improve an organization’s ability to both create and cope with change.
  • A teaching/learning process whose goal is to improve an organization’s decision-making and problem-solving capabilities.
  • Continuously identifies, allocates, and develops resources in ways that make these resources more available to the mission of the organization.
  • Introduces planned change, usually long-range, into an organization, or a coherent part of it, based on a diagnosis which is shared by the members of the organization or affected part.
  • An attempt to increase organizational effectiveness and efficiency through planned interventions based on research findings and theoretical hypotheses of the behavioral sciences.
  • A set of interventions into the ongoing activities of an organization to facilitate learning and to make informed choices about alternative ways to procee

HCI's 2008 Southwest Talent Summit

HCI's 2008 Southwest Talent Summit By Phone: 1-866-538-1909
Mon, Jul 28 2008 and Tue, Jul 29 2008
9:00 AM - 7:00 PM PT

Hilton Irvine/Orange County Airport
18880 MacArthur Blvd
Irvine, CA 92612
Download Attendee Brochure
Download Sponsorship Brochure
The Annual Regional Summit for Talent Leaders & Their Teams!
The Southwest Talent Summit will bring together 250 executives who are transforming talent management within their organizations for a day of learning and networking. Participants will take advantage of multiple opportunities to share ideas, discuss trends, and learn how others are adopting next practices in talent management strategy and implementing ground-breaking programs that deliver results.
Designed for talent leaders and their teams, HCI's Regional Talent Summits will offer participants practical, real-world case studies, thought leaders on human capital and recruiting innovation. Seize the opportunity to participate face-to-face with the best and brightest in talent management!
Take advantage of participating in the summit and attending the optional HCI education course, Talent Strategies for High-Performing Leaders. Whether you are an active HCI member or are interested in trying out the first class in the Human Capital Strategist (HCS) Designation program, the pre-Summit course and full day of learning will help you advance your career and transform your organizations talent management initiatives.
Southwest Sponsorship
HCI's Southwest region represents over 45,000 members today, and is growing at the rate of several hundred new members each week. It's clear that strategic talent management is a key issue in this region, and that HCI is considered to be the thought leader and innovator in the space. HCI members are early adopting managers, directors and vice presidents, with important responsibilities and budget authority.
We invite you to become a regional sponsor, as we surface the most significant issues in talent management, prepare a comprehensive annual report, produce an exciting regional event that showcases best-in-class initiatives and next-practices, and begin to build chapters on the ground in the Southwest.
In addition to the July 2008 Southwest Talent Summit, HCI will be launching six 2009 Talent Summits in: Boston, Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, San Jose and Seattle.
Talent Initiatives Benchmark Study '08
In conjunction with the Regional Talent Summits, HCI will be producing the Talent Initiatives Benchmark Study in the six HCI regions of the US. Starting with the Southwest Talent Summit, the study will help members better understand where they are in their talent management initiatives and gain insight into the trends, issues, and best practices in the region. The survey, delivered to executives, talent leaders and their core teams, will focus on four key talent management implementation stages: Strategy, Process, People and Technology.

HCI Members Non-Members

Summit Only: $495.00 $595.00

Summit & Education Course: $1,495.00 $1,595.00

Blog: Books@Work


Making People Your Competitive Advantage—Just Lip Service for Most Companies?

Edward Lawler starts out his new book, Talent, discussing how sick he is of hearing executives give lip service to their employees with nothing to show for it.

“Time after time I have heard senior managers say, ‘People are my organization’s most important asset’ or ‘Employees are number one in my organization.’ Sounds good, but in many organizations, there’s an enormous gap between the rhetoric and the reality,” Lawler writes.

So Lawler, who is the director of the Center for Effective Organizations at the University of Southern California, spends the next 242 pages describing what processes and procedures companies need to put in place to create what he calls a “human capital centric organization.”

There is a lot in Talent that you may have heard before: how to make sure you have the right HR people in place (business partners versus administrative staff); how to implement an effective performance management system (that evaluates and motivates); and how to develop your managers so that they are leaders and managers.

This is all important stuff. However, there was one chapter in Talent that I found to be really new and interesting. That was the chapter about corporate boards and talent management.

Often when we think about boards of directors we think about a room of former CEOs and finance guys who go over numbers and compliance issues. That’s pretty much what Lawler has found in his research as well.

But if a company wants to really use its people as its competitive advantage, then these boards of directors have to be informed on the talent management issues within the company. Not only that, but at least some of these board members should have some HR expertise—which, according to Lawler’s research, is a pretty rare occurrence.

Most of the time, former CEOs are the go-to person on the board about talent issues.

“There is no doubt that many CEOs have some understanding of the human capital issues that corporations face, but they rarely have the kind of in-depth expertise that a professional in HR could bring to a board,” Lawler writes.

If boards rely on finance experts for financial matters, why wouldn’t they have HR experts for human capital issues? he asks.

To address this issue, boards should not just seek out HR experts to join them as members, but they should also participate in training sessions on talent management issues, Lawler says.

While boards often undergo training on compliance and finance issues, they don’t do anything with regard to talent management. This is really a problem considering it’s the board’s job to make sure companies have proper succession planning processes intact. How can they oversee this if they don’t fully understand it?

Lawler suggests that boards assess their companies’ talent by acting as “mystery shoppers,” either by dropping by companies and chatting with employees or watching focus groups.

Lawler proposed that boards set up “human capital committees” to delve into these issues.

But probably the most controversial suggestion that Lawler makes when it comes to boards is to have board members go through performance reviews in the same formal way that executives should be evaluated.

He notes that more than 80 percent of board members say they do an effective job. But most of these individuals are evaluated informally.

Lawler described how he once asked a board chair about this, and the chair suggested it would be insulting to establish a formal evaluation for board members considering the amount of time they are giving to be on the boards. But, as Lawler points out, aren’t these individuals being paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to be on these boards?

I think Lawler is right in saying that a company that really focuses on talent management should have a board of directors that does the same.

I don’t think that his vision will become the norm anytime soon, however. Particularly in the wake of Sarbanes-Oxley and SEC rules on executive compensation, boards are busy enough with financial matters to take the time to focus on talent management.

Maybe I’m just a skeptic. What do you think?

Listen to a Workforce Management Podcast with Edward Lawer. Link opens a 2.25 MB MP3 file.

April 14th, 2008

Monster Advice on Recruiting

I am usually skeptical of books that promote a specific company or corporate mission. So when I began reading Finding Keepers: The Monster Guide to Hiring and Holding the World’s Best Employees, I was a bit distrustful. And as someone who covers HR, I very much doubted that this book would tell me anything that I hadn’t already heard before.

But I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised. The 214-page book is packed with good information and tips for HR executives and recruiters on how to identify and keep the best talent.

Nothing in the book is particularly groundbreaking. But the authors—Steve Pogorzelski, executive vice president of global sales and customer development at Monster; Jesse Harriott, vice president of Global Monster Insights; and Doug Hardy, who runs Monster’s publishing program—do make a strong case for why companies need to approach recruiting as they do marketing.

True to the title, the authors do promote Monster, but not in a way that is offensive to readers. There is a range of perspectives from executives at various companies, including Deloitte, Nationwide Financial and Valero Energy.

In thinking about recruiting the best employees, the authors note that 80 percent of potential candidates are employed, but are “much less attached to their current employer than workers historically have been.”

Not all of these employees are out there looking for new jobs, but they are still willing to go if the right opportunity presents itself. HR executives need to be aware of these employees not just for recruiting purposes, but because many of these “poised employees” are their own workers, the authors note.

The problem with recruiting today is that too often companies approach recruiting as a weeklong transaction. Finding Keepers argues that employers instead should view the employee engagement cycle in three phases: attract, acquire and advance.

The authors say that companies usually peter out after the acquisition phase, and thus good talent doesn’t stay around for very long. The conversation about finding the best talent, therefore, can’t just be a discussion about how to improve hiring practices. Companies need to figure out how to keep these people after they have been hired.

But the first step is to attract the right candidates, and Finding Keepers provides solid ways that recruiters can go about doing this. The book provides very practical advice about how to word a job advertisement and how to make sure the interview experience is positive for candidates. Again, not rocket science, but these are things that—at least in my experience—many employers brush aside.

“The dynamics between employer and candidate during the acquire phase set the tone for the relationship that follows,” the authors say.

This means that companies might want to consider keeping in touch with their second-best candidates in case they need them in the future. For example, the authors suggest reaching out to these “silver medal candidates” and finding out what they thought of the interview process and what they would change. This is just an easy way to keep these candidates engaged and increase your chances of being able to hire them down the line.

Another practical, yet innovative, suggestion from the authors is for employers to understand why employees leave. Too often in exit interviews, the HR executive asks, “Why are you leaving for this other company?” The authors say the question should be “Why were you looking for a new job?” Again this isn’t rocket science, but I bet it would greatly help companies understand why their employees leave.

As I was reading this book, I couldn’t help thinking about all of the bad interview experiences I have had in my career. It felt like dating—waiting for them to call and often never hearing back. Once, it took a year for someone who interviewed me to call back. A year! Our initial interview went well, but he never called to tell me that the company gave the position to an internal candidate. A year later, however, this person called me out of the blue for a different job—he still had all of my news clips and résumé. Clearly, I had made an impression on him, but his failure to reach out to me resulted in my feeling less than excited about going to work for him.

Are companies really sincere about rethinking the way they find and acquire talent? Or do they just assume that once the market goes sour, good talent will come banging on the door? Let me know what you think will happen.

February 28th, 2008

Is Talent Really a Top Priority?

In his new book, Talent on Demand, Peter Cappelli attempts to address an issue that I would hope all companies are thinking about today: how to manage the unpredictable demand for talent.

Unlike other books on talent management, this book uses terms and examples that CEOs and CFOs can understand. Instead of just talking about turnover, productivity and other HR metrics, Cappelli, director of the Center for Human Resources at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, talks in terms of making money: “And making money requires that you understand the costs as well as the benefits associated with your talent management choices,” he says.

The gist of Cappelli’s book is that most companies are relying on outdated and ineffective strategies to develop their internal talent, while being way too dependent on outside hiring.

For example, many companies still use a development model for employees that assumes they will be with them for their entire careers. Under what Cappelli calls the “Organization Man” model, companies train employees to learn the skills that are specific to their business needs, with the understanding that those employees will grow with the company.

But the reality today is that companies can’t predict what their talent needs are going to be 10 years from now, and even if they could, it’s not likely that their employees will stay with them for that long.

Most employers have realized that and thus have become overly dependent on outside hiring, which has its own set of challenges.

Cappelli argues that employers should instead adopt “on-demand talent management,” which means developing employees according to competencies that could be valuable no matter where the business is in 10 years.

He advocates on-the-job training, but cautions companies against rotational assignments, because too often good talent ends up waiting on the sidelines for their rotation to come up, and nothing is more frustrating to an employee than waiting. Other ways that companies can get the most bang from their buck in on-demand training are:

  • Peer training, where employees can volunteer to mentor others.
  • Outside training, where organizations lend employees to outside charities or even to clients (as consulting company Mercer does) to learn from those experiences.
  • Cost-shared training, where employees are asked to foot some of the bill for their outside training. One way to do this is through training wages, where employers pay employees less while they are in a training program. Another way is through tuition assistance programs, or having them go through training before they take on a job.

All of Cappelli’s points are pretty interesting, and companies should take many of them seriously.

But the real problem today with companies is that they too often give lip service to employee development, but fail to follow through. I can’t count how many times a week I hear companies say how much they value their people, that they’re the No. 1 asset, etc. But when the going gets tough, those same people are the first to get the boot.

Since we seem to be heading into a recession, I wonder whether companies will embrace Cappelli’s ideas on developing talent, or will just resort to the old ways of mass layoffs, with the hope that they will be able to find the talent again when the market picks up. What do you think?

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Talent Management Webinar: The Business Leader's Experience

Talent Management Experience Series: Part 2 — The Business Leader's Experience

Presented by Talent Management magazine
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
11 a.m. PT/2 p.m. ET

In collaboration with Talent Management magazine and Bersin & Associates, Cornerstone OnDemand presents the “Talent Management Experience Series.” In this unique, three-part Webinar series, Leighanne Levensaler from Bersin & Associates will address talent management initiatives from all angles: the perspectives of managers, business leaders and employees. Viewing these Webinars will help ensure your talent management strategy meets the needs, expectations and interests of all stakeholders, as well as drives user engagement and bottom-line results. In the second Webinar in the series, learn what business leaders need from talent management systems and processes to ensure they meet their strategic operational goals and objectives and how to get support and buy-in from this important user audience. Discussion topics will include workforce analytics and planning and tools to measure ROI and value creation.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008
11 a.m. PT/2 p.m. ET

Click here to register


Leighanne Levensaler
Director of Talent Management Research
Bersin & Associates

Moving Your Talent Management Strategy From Vision to Reality: A Case Study

Presented by Talent Management magazine
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
11 a.m. PT/2 p.m. ET

Organizations around the globe are forced to refine their business strategies on an ongoing basis to stay ahead of the competition. Creating a vision and strategy to accomplish this is no longer just another HR initiative. But how do you translate the vision to a strategy and plan? What are those steps to take? Sarah Chavarria, Catholic Healthcare West’s (CHW) director of e-learning and organization development, and Susan Tonkin, senior product marketing manager at Saba, will discuss these topics in this engaging Talent Management magazine Webinar. Learn how CHW — one of the largest private, not-for-profit health care providers in the state of California — translated its vision into reality.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008
11 a.m. PT/2 p.m. ET

Click here to register


Sarah M. Chavarria
Director, E-Learning & Organization Development
Catholic Healthcare West

Friday, May 23, 2008

The 2008 Innovations in Learning Conference At-a-Glance

The 2008 Innovations in Learning Conference At-a-Glance

The 2008 Brandon Hall Research Innovations in Learning Conference will take place September 24-26, 2008, at the Fairmont San Jose, in San Jose, California.

Here's an at-a-glance look at why the 2008 Innovations in Learning Conference will make you glad to be working in the training industry during such exciting times.


The conference program is now available for download:

Except for times when keynote speakers are presenting, nine concurrent tracks of breakout sessions will be under way. One track will be the Main Stage Events, accompanied by the following eight additional tracks:

Track 1 – Emerging Learning Technologies
Track 2 – Learning Games
Track 3 – Immersive Environments for Learning
Track 4 – Collaboration and Community
Track 5 – Mobile Learning
Track 6 – Designing Learning Experiences
Track 7 – Implementing Innovative Solutions
Track 8 – New Training Practices


Half- and full-day pre-conference workshops will occur on Wednesday, September 24. Topics include the following:

* The Use of Games to Recruit, Motivate, and Train Young Workers

* Designing and Delivering Online Learning for an Inter-generational Workforce

* Visualization for Learning: Approaches, Tools, and Applications to Improve Effectiveness

* Keeping Interactivity at the Center of Rapid Development

Increase your skills by signing up for a half- or full-day pre-conference workshop. Space is limited. Don't delay, register today.


LANCE DUBLIN — a recognized leader in applying strategic thinking and design to the worlds of training and learning, change management and communications, innovation, and organizational development.

LISA JOHNSON — an award-winning expert on women and the Connected Generation who uses stories, industry case studies, and humor to help brands deeply understand the buying power and behavior of this renegade group of consumers.

FAITH LEGENDRE — who, as training director, transformed from an organization with no formal training strategy to a company that has made learning central to its values. News flash: Faith LeGendre was this month named one of the Top Ten Young Trainers by Training Magazine!

PETER ORTON — who combines two decades of instructional design experience at Stanford University, Harvard Business School, and IBM — with ten years of Hollywood credits, including Story Editor for Steven Spielberg — to lead the creation of IBM’s important and lasting learning innovations.


Imagine a relaxing room with dim lighting and couches. Now imagine the same room filled with video games such as Wiis, XBoxes, and PS3s!

* Experience why kids have embraced video games.

* Challenge a colleague to a match.

* Get inspired to consider games as part of your learning strategy.


Right next door to the Games Cafe is the Immersive Learning Arcade. Experience the next generation of simulations, virtual worlds, and immersive environments.


The winners of the 2008 Excellence in Learning Awards will be announced at the conference on September 25. Award finalists will be showing and discussing their entries throughout the conference. You’ll be able to talk to them one-on-one and see what the judges rated as the best.


Some of the most important providers of innovative learning technologies and services will be on hand to display their offerings. New technology providers are being added each week. Find out what products might help take your learning initiatives to a new level.


Located about 45 minutes south of San Francisco, San Jose is the 11th largest city in the U.S. and home to the largest concentration of technology expertise in the world. More than 6,600 technology companies, including Adobe, Sun, Oracle, and many others, employ over a quarter of a million people, making it the epicenter of the technology world.

Check this out: The Tech, San Jose's museum of technology, is located right across the street from the conference.

Have a virtual tour in Second Life and see the real version in September.


The conference is taking place at the beautiful Fairmont San Jose in downtown San Jose, California.

Rooms are limited, so please reserve early. Please use this special code to get the special conference rate: GRILC1.

Free Internet: Sign up for the Fairmont President's Club and get free Internet access in your room.


Last year's event received top marks for enabling attendees to forge new relationships. This year's conference will be even better.

From the opening poolside cocktail reception, to discussions during workshops and sessions, to lunches and coffee breaks, and during the post-conference wine tasting and dinner at the Byington Vineyard & Winery, you'll make new contacts and create valuable new opportunities.


We're committed to making this event affordable for budgets big and small and are providing registration discounts up to $500. Until June 30, take advantage of the Early Bird discount.

Hope to see you there!


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