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Four critical trends for wealth management: Online integration & more

Four critical trends for wealth management: Online integration & more | Cultural Trendz |


Online advisors won't kill the financial advisory industry -- but small and medium-sized RIAs may be left for roadkill if they don’t integrate an online model with their personal service offerings.

That’s one of the takeaways from a new report on major wealth management trends by CEB, the Arlington, Va.-based corporate advisory firm.

RIAs with under $1 billion in assets under management may be particularly vulnerable to online-oriented firms such as Personal Capital that provide mobile access to advice, guidance and account information, says Wallace Blankenbaker, a senior director at CEB who helped supervise the report.

“The new models most closely replicate the RIA who uses a custodian platform, but the firms like Personal Capital are putting everything online, making it cheaper and totally transparent,” Blankenbaker says. “I don’t think the big full-service financial firms who provide private banking, lending and insurance are going to be hurt as badly -- but independent wealth managers are going to have to up their tech game.”

The report identifies a few key trends likely to reshape the wealth management industry over the next few years. Among them:


The CEB report distinguishes between the online-only services often dismissed as "robo advisors" and firms like Personal Capital that “offer an individualized advisory experience online and target mass affluent and high-net worth investors.” That latter group is the real threat, the report finds.

Integrating the online and advisor experience to keep up with the competition and better engage clients will be a critical priority for wealth managers in the years ahead, according to the report.

And don't imagine this is a youth-market challenge: A CEB survey of high-net-worth clients found that while Gen X and Gen Y clients most favor a multi-channel experience, the trend toward digital engagement “spans across age groups.”

Specifically, more than 25% of retirees and 44% of baby boomers said they were comfortable with multi-channel access to their advisory firm.

To make digital integration work, wealth managers should emphasize online tracking and explanations of how a client’s personal goals relate to market benchmarks, Blankenbaker suggests.

“You want to make the information they can see and the conversation you’re going to have as relevant as possible,” he explains. “You want the client to see their own goals online, versus just their accounts.

"Real relevancy is establishing what the client’s personal benchmarks are and how they’re doing against them.”


As regulatory burdens grow, over three-quarters of wealth management firms surveyed by CEB last year said improving client onboarding -- the process of moving data from front to back office -- is either of critical or high importance.

New record-keeping, reporting and "know your customer" rules have had significant impact on the onboarding process, the study notes. To maximize the efficiency and impact of a compliant client onboarding experience, firms must invest in automating key steps in the process such as compliance and administrative tasks, the report says.

Such automation allows advisors to spend more time on client-facing activities. That's critical, because client satisfaction with account opening is very low, according to a CEB client survey; the firm's research shows that the first six months of a client’s relationship with a firm are when he or she is most likely to expand the relationship.

Firms should centralize the process as much as possible, Blankenbaker says, and try to implement an automated signature process so clients don’t have to make an extra trip to the office.


This one should be a no-brainer -- but, ironically, because financial planning is seen as cost-inefficient by so many firms, it is probably the “least used product” among wealth managers, Blankenbaker says.

Yet it's also the most important, he adds. And things are changing, according to the report: “Shallow client relationships, low plan penetration and proven benefits from planning are leading firms to redefine financial planning from a peripheral advisory tool to the core experience for clients.”

The benefits of including financial planning for clients include a deeper relationship, more referrals and increased wallet share, says Blankenbaker.

The time-consuming nature of planning has traditionally been a “barrier to return on investment,” the report notes. However, decentralization of standard plan creation, automation, innovation in reporting and simplification of client deliverables are now making financial planning “more efficient and scalable,” according to the report.


Most wealth management firms now have star specialists with technical expertise in areas such as portfolio management or planning, the CEB report notes. Increasingly, however, those specialists will need to be more well-rounded and able to build stronger relationships through client interactions.

“The most important competency in wealth management is having interpersonal skills, not technical expertise,” says Blankenbaker. “The industry is asking specialists to play more client-facing roles and have a more collaborative and client-centric relationship with their colleagues.”

“Strong emotional competencies” are critical for specialists being asked to become more involved in relationship management, the report states.

To insure that wealth managers have emotional intelligence and are able to relate to clients, firms need to reprioritize the way they hire, train and coach employees, according to Blankenbaker.

More personality-based assessments will be needed, he says, as well as training to help wealth managers become consultative and service-oriented.

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Smart collaboration: The growth of the collaborative enterprise

Smart collaboration: The growth of the collaborative enterprise | Cultural Trendz |

We are immersed in a “new economy” in which has begun to predominate more  non-conventional work relationships, and where effective collaboration is consolidating itself as a key point. In his book Sustaining the New Economy: Work, Family, and Community in the Information Age, Martín Carnoy draws the foundation of the scene of work relationships in the “new economy” with the comment: “Work is not disappearing but rather it is suffering a profound change. The two key elements of the transformation are the flexibility of the work process and the interconnection in company networks and the individuals inside those companies.”

But let’s go a little deeper into the core concept of the “new economy”. While many academics and economists have tried to define it, it’s interesting to note David Neumark’s point of view in his article Employment Relationships in the New Economy where in place of finding a definition of the new economy, he explores its consequences and analyses what the new economy produces as “new”.

According to his point of view, what is novel are the consequences that exist in the nature of work relationships. He indicates that in the new economy, the employer/employee work relationship has changed substantially. Employees don’t stay with one company in their professional career. Instead, one of the keys to guaranteeing employment and income security for new employees is to make sure that they include different competences in order to change from one job to the next.

On the other hand,  he also indicates that corporations are also changing a one handed smaller nuclear job, that compliments with a strong punctual job that has the necessary skills in the right moment. In other works, social and economic changes from the last quarter of century have underlined the necessity of organizations in order to have more flexibility in their employment systems. The fast evolution of technology, the prices in the product markets and the financial restructuring of corporations in capital markets has drawn each time more the idea of the “flexible corporation”.

Here is where the Co-culture or collaboration culture, has a key role and where coworking plays a key role as a motor of change and an ecosystem for innovation. We can define coworking as “an innovative way of working that allows various individual professionals from distinct sectors to share the same workspace, promoting collaboration, working in a community space and multidisciplinary area, and networking.”

But in the CoWorking Spain Conference, the round table in which I had the pleasure to participate in, next to Albert Cañigüeral and Libby Garret, we explored if the model of coworking can be the key to rapid growth in the collaborative enterprise. It represents an opportunity to change the organizational model and construct the new ecosystem for corporate innovation, where the TIC and enterprise network are fostering and fomenting even more this collaboration and interaction between individuals, with the objective to fight a common good, whether it’s a project or greater knowledge.

But for co-creation of this skill they combine the two experiences: the collective and the collaborative. If for some reason human intelligence is characterized as collective, since we are social beings and we learn new knowledge from interacting with other humans. The intelligence has always been collective and oriented to productivity. However, the collaborative intelligence occupies itself with problems that individual people experience and the distinct interpretations from experts are critical for the resolution of problems. The objective is to learn a trade or increase the knowledge of all the members in the group, as shared in the article “Cerebros Unidos” (United Brains) published recently in La Vanguardia.

In short, this new environment marked by knowledge, TIC and the enterprise network, draws us new understandings and new employees and professional profiles. These “new occupations” demand a lot more mastery of certain skills: emphasis falls on social competence and collaborative methodologies. And extending more over to the impact of TIC, the collaborative enterprise is actually being born demanding a series of positions and competences like: the capacity to make decisions independently, flexibility to work in any place and at any moment with any person, and the capacity of organization. These are the basics of Smart Collaboration.

    Ignasi Alcalde (@ignasialcalde) graduated from the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya in Spain with a degree in Multimedia. He also hold a Master’s degree from UOC in Information and Knowledge of Society. He is a consultant at IA and consulting lecturer at UOC. He shares his reflections about collaborative work on his blog and his twitter feed.

Via Kenneth Mikkelsen, Ivon Prefontaine
Vilma Bonilla's insight:

I am such a proponent of cross-functional collaboration and learning by doing. You will gain better results by fostering teamwork, trust, and allowing employees to learn from each other.

#OrganizationalLearning #Training

Ivon Prefontaine's curator insight, October 8, 2013 4:10 PM

Are we immersed in a new economy? Or is it an evolution of capitalism?

Andrea Rossi's curator insight, October 11, 2013 1:48 AM

"The two key elements of the transformation are the flexibility of the work process and the interconnection in company networks and the individuals inside those companies"

Stephen Dale's curator insight, October 11, 2013 8:21 AM

From the article:

The collaborative enterprise is actually being born demanding a series of positions and competences like: the capacity to make decisions independently, flexibility to work in any place and at any moment with any person, and the capacity of organization. These are the basics of Smart Collaboration.

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What’s the difference between training, facilitating, and presenting? | Langevin Blog

What’s the difference between training, facilitating, and presenting? | Langevin Blog | Cultural Trendz |

In a recent conversation with a course participant, the issue of terminology came up. This participant was concerned when she was asked to “facilitate” a session with two hundred people. It turns out that the purpose of this session was to deliver information on a new product—a “presentation,” not a facilitated session.

The terms training, facilitating, and presenting are often used interchangeably when, in fact, they differ depending on the purpose of the session. The purpose will determine the structure of the session and the skill set used to deliver it.

The purpose of a training session is for learners to acquire knowledge and skill for use in their current job. In a facilitated session, the participants are guided through a process which might include generating ideas, analyzing the ideas, solving a problem, or making a decision. A presentation is a session where information is delivered to the audience to inform, persuade, inspire or even entertain.

Trainers might use a facilitative style in a training session where they act as more of a “guide on the side” than a traditional trainer; but if the purpose of the session is for learners to acquire knowledge and skill, then it is still training. In addition, a trainer might deliver a lecture to present information in a training session. Again, if the purpose is for the learners to acquire knowledge and skill, the presentation will provide the knowledge and should be followed by some type of practice and feedback in order for the learners to develop skill, resulting in training.

If a trainer delivers a lecture and nothing more follows, then information has been presented but no training has taken place. Recently, a participant in one of my classes came to me after we had discussed the purpose of training. He said, “I just realized that I’ve been a trainer for five years but in the last five years I really haven’t trained anyone.” In his situation he was not able to follow his presentation with practice and feedback, so in effect he was a presenter not a trainer. What he did do, though, was to stop calling his sessions training and called them information sessions instead.

My point is that we have to call it what it is. There are great presenters who are very dynamic in delivering presentations and there are skilled trainers who use a facilitative style, but we always need to think of the purpose of the session to determine if it’s training, facilitation, or a presentation.

Regardless of the purpose, Langevin has a workshop to help hone your instructional techniques, your facilitation skills, or your presentation skills so come see us and we’ll make sure you’re on the right track!

So trainers, how many of you out there are really delivering training?

Vilma Bonilla's insight:

"The terms training, facilitating, and presenting are often used interchangeably when, in fact, they differ depending on the purpose of the session."

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Train for Gain

Train for Gain | Cultural Trendz |

When you consider how bummed out finance leaders are over what they see as a shortage of talent with the skills they most covet, it’s a wonder they can function at all. Here’s what I’m wondering: Might they not, to some degree, be properly held accountable for the shortage? If there actually is one, that is.

A pretty bright guy, Wharton professor Peter Cappelli, has been preaching for years that what people think of as a “talent shortage” (referring to talent in general, not just the finance variety) is a myth. There’s plenty of talent available, his thinking goes, if by “talent” you mean intelligent, capable people. Companies expend way too much energy, and don’t ultimately get what they want, by insisting on looking for exactly the kind of person with exactly the right skills for a particular role. It’s smarter to find people with the potential to fill specific roles, then train them.

I don’t see why that shouldn’t apply to finance just as it does to the factory floor.

Some companies recognize this. In a new survey of 1,250 senior finance executives by Accenture, 44 percent said that investing in upgrading finance-staff skills is “a priority” over the next two to three years. It was the most frequently cited priority among 12 options the survey respondents could choose from. That’s great!

But, I am compelled to muse, what are the other 56 percent going to be doing? This was, Accenture tells me, a “select-all-that-apply” type of question. The participants didn’t have to leave skills training on the bench in favor of lowering the cost of finance or investing in systems to support budgeting and forecasting or reducing the time finance staff spends on low-value activities.

It puzzles me greatly how ongoing training could not even be simply “a priority” – never mind a “key” or a “major” priority – for just about any finance department.

Here is some advice (mine, not Accenture’s): Don’t worry that training costs will become a waste when people leave the company. That is negative, unproductive, head-in-the-sand thinking.

CFOs also might consider exercising a little creativity to enrich their talent pool. For example, another piece of new research, a Deloitte survey in which 39 percent of 312 finance executives stated that today they are either “barely able” or “unable” to find the talent required to run their organizations, notes that many prospective recruits may not realize that the identity of a finance professional has expanded in recent years from scorekeeper to strategist. In fact, participants said the issue of talent being lured to non-finance positions is their top challenge in attracting talent in 2013. So, says Deloitte, CFOs should consider pursuing a targeted, organized brand-building strategy designed to get out the word about finance’s shift to strategy.

Via Bond Beebe Accountants & Advisors
Vilma Bonilla's insight:

Think there is a finance talent shortage? True, there are only so many people milling around who can provide exactly what you need. But there are a lot who can be trained.


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It’s Cheaper to Train Than Recruit

It’s Cheaper to Train Than Recruit | Cultural Trendz |

I learned a long time ago that in business it’s cheaper to keep the customers you have than to continuously attract new ones. That’s not to say companies shouldn’t always try to get new customers. But there needs to be a focus on keeping training, development, employee training, acquisition, customer service, recruitthe customers you have for two reasons: first, you already spent the cost to acquire them and second, because you’ve already won them over to your brand.

Businesses stay focused on keeping customers by knowing the cost of acquiring a customer and the customer’s satisfaction with their product/service. In addition, they know the cost of losing a customer.

Occasionally, customers leave for all the right reasons. For example, when they outgrow the needs of a product or service. But they remain raving fans of the company – because that company helped them grow and succeed.

If we think about it, the same philosophy applies to employees. When a company hires an employee, they invest a lot of time, energy and resources in sourcing, advertising, interviews, offers, etc. Then the new hire goes through orientation and onboarding. They might participate in other kinds of company training. Their supervisor spends time talking with the employee about performance expectations, departmental policies and more.

My guess is the company has thousands of dollars invested in this new employee.

So when the employee makes a mistake, instead of immediately thinking warnings, discipline and possibly termination, maybe we should consider coaching, mentoring or additional training? After all, the company already has a lot of money invested in this employee.

Another way to look at it is examining the cost of hiring an employee and the impact of employee satisfaction. Along with the cost of losing an employee.

Like customers, sometimes allowing an employee to leave the company is exactly the right thing to do. Maybe the company can’t give them what they need. Letting an employee pursue their professional goals, even if it means them leaving the company, could turn them into a raving fan for your business.

I know, I know, it can be a pain to fix employee situations and customer complaints. On the surface, it might appear easier to find another customer or hire another employee. But if we’ve already made the investment, it might make sense to look for alternatives to abandoning the relationship.

Vilma Bonilla's insight:

This is so true and I'm not saying this because performance management  is what I do for a living.

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You can’t fix every problem with training

You can’t fix every problem with training | Cultural Trendz |

I know … it sounds funny to hear a training professional say that. But it’s true.

And as tempting as it may be when we get the call asking for training…if it’s not a problem that can be fixed with training, the answer should be “no”. Here’s why.

Let’s say the vice president of operations runs into your office. She complains that managers can’t seem to get work done on time. Says she wants time management training. Can you put together a time management training program? Of course. Do we know that the reason managers aren’t getting stuff done is poor time management? Not really.

This is where training pros can get a bad reputation. Some would do the training just because senior management asked for it. Because heaven knows it’s rare that senior management is asking for training.

But what if the training doesn’t fix the problem? Six months later, someone says the word “training” and that same vice president says, “I don’t think training brings value. I asked for training to help me with an issue and it didn’t fix the problem.”

What people hear is “training doesn’t fix the problem.” And companies become reluctant to devote time and resources toward something that doesn’t appear to fix problems.

So, how do you figure out if training is the right solution for a problem? Ask these three questions.

1. Does the person have the skills to do the job?
2. Does the person have the desire to do the job?
3. Is the person being allowed to do the job?

◊ If the answer to all three questions is “yes”, then training is NOT the answer. It could be an equipment problem.

◊ If the answer to #1 is “no”, training may/may not be the answer. The answer could also be coaching.

◊ A “no” in #2 means you may have a motivation challenge.

◊ And a “no” for #3 might mean a policy or procedural issue.

These three questions will tell you if the issue can be properly addressed using training. And if training is the answer, then you can start working on an assessment to figure out where employees currently are and where they need to be. But, you need to figure out if you should even be doing a training assessment in the first place.

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Emotional intelligence predicts job success: Do you have it?

Emotional intelligence predicts job success: Do you have it? | Cultural Trendz |

By Drake Baer

Let's say you work at a place that's saturated with smarts. If all of your colleagues were always the brightest person in the room growing up, then what makes you stand out? Your emotional intelligence.

Cosmetics giant L'Oreal, has started to factor emotional intelligence in their hiring process for salespeople. Those who were recruited for their high EQ outsold their peers by over $90,000. On top of that, the high-EQ employees had 63% less turnover than the typically selected sales folk. As this and show, emotional intelligence predicts success for people and the companies they work for.

But EQ isn't fixed, it can change over time. As University College London Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic notes on Harvard Business Review, your level of EQ is "firm, but not rigid." While most EQ increases happen with age, you can train yourself to have a higher EQ, by being mindful of your mindfulness, more agile with emotions, or taking the dive into coaching.

Daniel Goleman, the psychologist who coined the term emotional intelligence, recently talked to the Huffington Post about the many characteristics of emotional intelligence. Lets go over a few here, so that we can know what to train in.

1. You're curious about new people

Do you ask a lot of questions when you meet someone? Do you actually listen to their answers? Then you might be a highly empathic person, someone attuned to the needs and feeling of others, and you may also mark high on openness to experience--a trait correlated with creativity.

2. You're self-aware

To be emotionally intelligent, Goleman says, you need to have confidence. To have confidence, you need to know your strengths and weaknesses. Then you work from that framework.

3. You know how to pay attention

As Arianna Huffington told us, you can't make connections if you're distracted. Additionally, the ability to remain focused--and not carried away by texts and tweets--predicts not just the ability to form strong relationships and cultivate self-knowledge, Goleman says, but also your financial success.

"Your ability to concentrate on the work you're doing, and to put off looking at that text or playing that video game until after you're done," he tells the Huffington Post. "How good you are at that in childhood turns out to be a stronger predictor of your financial success in adulthood than either your IQ or the wealth of the family you grew up in."

4. You can say no

If you have high emotional intelligence, Goleman says, you can avoid unhealthy habits and otherwise discipline yourself--which also allows for relationship-nourishing, success-engendering non-distraction.

5. You know precisely what's pissing you off

Folks with a high EQ acknowledge emotions as they come rather than repressing them or misattributing their causes. You could also call this emotional agility.

6. You trust your intuition

There are neuroscientific reasons for trusting your gut: they're markers for what to do next. Part of having a high EQ is learning when to trust them.

The next step? Training. Which will require agility and plenty of sitting.

Vilma Bonilla's insight:

"The best salespeople and leaders have a high EQ. Daniel Goleman, the man who coined of the term, pulls apart the aspects of emotional intelligence."

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Training versus facilitation – which modality? | Instructor Guidance

Training versus facilitation – which modality? | Instructor Guidance | Cultural Trendz |

A common question that must be addressed by IEA trainers is: “Is this training or facilitation?” The two approaches are quite different and we suggest that the question be given careful thought as one prepares for a session. In general, training is more focused on content delivery and facilitation is more focused on discovery (i.e., participants going through a process of discovering the content for themselves). The following section is designed to help you think about that distinction. Our basic guidance is that there are many resources available for training, many ways to approach the experience, and your success at any given one will be influenced by your style and preferences, and by your audience.We suggest that as a trainer, you experiment with different approaches and learn which ones are most compatible with your own teaching style. Be diverse and inclusive in accepting ones with which you feel somewhat comfortable. That will allow you to be most adaptable when you enter any given training situation and interact with any given audience.

Within the modules included in this manual, different skills will be needed on the part of the delivery team. In some cases, content inputs and information will need to be structured in a way that the participant can easily assimilate and use it. The trainer who is a content specialist will be valuable to the participant by being able to structure his or her knowledge in a way that is easiest to understand in the training process and apply it to his/her work.

If training involves discussion sequences that help participants to ground the information in their own realities, share their concerns and ideas about applying it to their own contexts, or working with fellow participants to create new understanding of the information offered, then process facilitation would be an appropriate form for delivery. Process facilitation sets a container or frame for an open discussion that is purposeful and helps the participants to make connections for themselves and others, helps them adapt or use the information provided in a self-directed way, and allows for creativity and understanding of the concepts to emerge from the process constructed.

There are many facilitation tools and techniques that can be helpful to a trainer. A simple typology of tools is offered here for consideration:


Read more here:

Vilma Bonilla's insight:

The United Nations Environment Programme provides a lovely dicussion on the differences and uses of two commonly used modalities. The chart in the original post is worth a look. Check it out! ~ V.B.

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Trainer vs. Facilitator… What’s the Difference? | The Training Clinic Blog

Training and facilitating are two different activities. They require some of the same skills, and some different skills. A trainer is often a content expert, while a facilitator is a process expert. A trainer uses lecture, conducts demonstrations, supervises skill practice, and corrects the learners’ mistakes. A facilitator leads discussions and helps participants learn from their own experiences and shared information. The trainer might lead a discussion about course content; a facilitator will focus more on the process of a discussion. This table shows some of the common differences between a trainer and a facilitator:


Vilma Bonilla's insight:

I hear many different interpretations on the difference between training, facilitating and presenting. There is a diference. This blog provides useful insight and chart analyzing the diffrent roles. ~ V.B.

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Five learning and development (L&D) trends to follow | Peoplefluent

Five learning and development (L&D) trends to follow | Peoplefluent | Cultural Trendz |

Enterprise organizations are beefing up their learning and development (L&D) budgets to gain significant performance advantages. Here are five trends to keep your eye on—and participate in—as you make your own L&D investments in the months ahead:

1. Tailored training—Organizations will tailor the learning experience to the needs of the enterprise as well as the employee. To sustain the enterprise’s growth, employers will ensure that their L&D strategies are directly aligned with their business strategies. To sustain the growth of their top performers, employers will tailor L&D opportunities to deliver the skills employees need to excel personally in a fast-paced, competitive marketplace. In addition, employers will support more on-demand learning to deliver content that is relevant and contextual to employees’ immediate needs (allowing them to put their new skills and knowledge to use once a training session is over). To support formal learning, employers will need to create customized development plans tailored specifically to employees’ job requirements and personal career goals.

2. Social and informal learning—U.S. companies spent 39% more on social learning in 2012 than they did in 2011, according to Bersin by Deloitte. There is every reason to believe this trend will continue. Organizations that wish to drive employee engagement and performance to meet business goals are becoming increasingly effective at creating and leveraging employee networks, disseminating knowledge across functional areas and throughout the company at large, and effectively creating informal mentoring by linking internal subject matter experts to younger and less experienced employees. Social and informal learning are all about capturing knowledge and expertise from inside and outside of the organization and then sharing it among employees with maximum efficiency. Many experts believe that social and informal learning will become increasingly synonymous and, ultimately, will help to supplant blended training programs. Learning environments, where continuous education and training take place spontaneously, are the wave of the future.

3. SaaS and mobile solutions—Employers will continue to embrace cloud-based solutions and the use of mobile devices. SaaS and mobile are essential for delivering increased amounts of streaming video, digital content and other types of new media that support on-demand learning. Naturally, SaaS and mobile solutions will generate security concerns and challenge employers to manage the suitability and accuracy of the new L&D content streaming in. In addition, Gartner estimates that by 2017 more than half of all companies will require employees to supply their own smart devices to do their jobs, and by 2018 70% of mobile professionals will conduct their work on personal smart devices. Clearly, the need to secure internal data—even as it is being shared over non-protected networks—will be a top concern for L&D and the enterprise at large.

4. Ease of use—To support the rise of on-demand learning, employers and vendors alike will devote greater attention to making learning management tools and resources easier to use. After all, on-demand learning needs to be fast and relevant from employees’ perspective or they simply won’t be engaged by it. And from the employers’ perspective, ease-of-use is critical to quickly solidify user adoption and to convey the knowledge workers need to complete immediate tasks. In light of all this, an enterprise’s learning professionals will be instrumental in determining which L&D tools actually live up to expectations and support learners effectively.

5. Collaborative learning cultures—Employers will work harder to create collaborative learning cultures for one very powerful reason: organizations that have strong learning cultures outperform those that don’t. Results-driven organizations will harness the younger generation’s affinity for online tools and social learning communities. They’ll encourage employees to build strong business networks online. And they’ll create easier access to corporate data, they’ll champion tools that facilitate content and knowledge sharing, and they’ll align training offerings with the skills necessary to achieve specific business goals. All of these initiatives are hallmarks of collaborative learning cultures—and they all support business growth.

Trends don’t mean much unless you take a chance and experiment yourself inside the enterprise. Start where your various talent ecosystems are already learning from one another today: online. Emulate the continuously collaborative informal learning behaviors that continue to proliferate personal and professional networks, which today are really one in the same. This will help with adoption when you start to implement these activities in your organization today.

See more at:

Vilma Bonilla's insight:

"Enterprise organizations are beefing up their learning and development budgets to gain significant performance advantages. Keep an eye on these five trends."

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The happy secret to better work We believe that we should work to be happy, but could that be backwards? We are stressed and overwhelmed. Information and deadlines are coming at us faster than our minds can comprehend them. Multitasking has become the new badge of honour. And being busy is apparently a good thing. The reason why unhappiness in the workplace has become an epidemic may not be about the work. It may not be those around us. It may be the attitudes we bring to our work. Leadership and culture are key components to how well we enjoy what we do and with whom we do it. The numbers prove it Overwhelming data show our relationship with the people around us profoundly affects our work and careers but it's what each of us brings to the relationships that remains the key element. Shawn Achor is a psychologist who shares his experience with happiness, work, people and the magic of unicorns. Find time in your busy to watch this awesome video discussion.:

Vilma Bonilla's insight:

In this fast-moving and entertaining talk, learn how to re-wire your brain and increase your happiness, change your behavior and do better work. #TrainYourBrain #Positivity

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Enhancing Training Delivery: Reflections on #ASTD2013

Enhancing Training Delivery: Reflections on #ASTD2013 | Cultural Trendz |

This post is my third summarizing some of what I learned during the ASTD International Conference and Expo that wrapped in Dallas last week. This theme, a strong one at the conference, deals with some of the basics of training delivery and how to make it more engaging. I’ll focus here on three excellent sessions:

*  Simple strategies for creating more engaging elearning with Cammy Bean
*  Creative training techniques with Bob Pike
*  Flip your training – designing for practice with Koreen Olbrish

Cammy Bean

Cammy shared great insights and simple strategies for creating engaging elearning. She began by offering three reasons for a learning experience: to inform or raise awareness, to improve knowledge or skills, or to change attitudes and behaviors. On the subject of creating engaging elearning, she began with this:

“When designing elearning, remember there will be someone on the other end either suffering through it or enjoying it.”

She continued to share seven great tips with examples and plenty of good suggestions; here slides are here so you can view them at your convenience. My take-aways are these:

*  As in so many other situations, good writing is important. Get to the point quickly. Keep it short and snappy, but add a little fun. Nothing loses interest faster than boring, passive writing. And don’t forget that audience members are busy professionals; it’s equally important to avoid patronizing, passive voice. First person, active voice works best.
*  Object to learning objectives! Well, it’s still important to use them, but sharing them with those using your elearning stuff is another way to lose interest quickly. Use creative approaches to describe what’s in store for the user.
*  Think outside the course: Give users/participants things to “take away,” opportunities to relearn and refresh. One great tip, Cammy mentioned setting up a course so each completion automatically triggers her team to reconnect two weeks later.

“I don’t mind having a “Next” button…but make me want to go there.”


Not surprisingly, Bob Pike led two sessions to nearly packed (600+ people) rooms on the topic of creative training techniques. Much of Bob’s material is readily available (his worksheet is here and his redacted presentation is here), but here are a few of my takeaways.

“Training is a process not an event. It starts before and continues after an event until we see results.”

*  Separate content into need to know, nice to know, and where to go
*  Your opening should raise the BAR – Break preoccupation, Allow networking, and be Relevant to content.
*  The closing ACT should Allow celebration, Create action planning, and Tie things together.
*  People forget quickly; be sure to take breaks every 90 minutes, break things into 20 minute segments, and engage the audience every 8 minutes (more often online).
*  Revisiting is key!

“The goal is to get people to learn, not pass the test.”

*  Five ways to squelch motivation: (1) Have little personal contact; (2) Get people in a passive mood keep ‘em there; (3) Assume the class will apply what is taught – don’t bother with examples; (4) Be alert to criticize; and (5) Make them feel stupid for asking questions.

Koreen Olbrish

The concept of the “flipped” classroom has gotten a lot of attention the past few years, but like many other buzzwords it may not mean quite the same thing to every person. I’ve even heard people equate it with Salman Khan and the Khan Academy, rather than see the latter as one of many sources of content for learning outside the classroom. I very much appreciated Koreen’s simple definition of flipped training:

What does it mean to flip? Lectures OUTSIDE the classroom.

Koreen began by sharing three resources that can help with flipped training:

*  TedEd where you can can build instruction and interaction around video
*  Bloomfire, a knowledge sharing tool for the modern workforce that surrounds content with social engagement functionality
* with a large library of course content (note Koreen is a Senior Product Manager at

Koreen blogged about her presentation here and included her slides. I won’t rehash it all, but highlight these thoughts:

*  What is the business problem you’re trying to solve? I know, right?
*  Who is driving the need for training?
*  Do they need coaching or feedback?
*  Immersive learning is practice with feedback
   *  Virtual practice is as effective as, or better than, real-life practice
*  Design for practice. Focus. Analyze. Iterate. Boom.

The question was then posed to the room: what happens if they don’t do the pre-work? This precipitated an interesting discussion with the audience, which seemed eager to tackle the subject. Koreen suggests simply have them sit out. Go do the work now. They don’t participate until prepared. It’s important to stop thinking about training as an event and more as a process (see Bob Pike above); we do our pre-work, others should too. Communicate the WHY of the pre-work. Give participants a scenario or a problem to think about before coming to class.

“Good tools allow participants multiple ways to engage in the context (around) the content.”

“One challenge in flipped training is you don’t see participants’ faces while they’re interacting with material. Add a forum for people to ask questions.”

All three of these speakers walk the talk of the process, rather than the event, of training.

Thanks for reading!

Vilma Bonilla's insight:

I was fortunate enough to participate in a Bob Pike training as a regional trainer years ago. It was a great experience to see fresh creativity in action. We also took some Pike books home that day, which was very nice. The creative strategy involved in the training process is one thing I love. Another thing I enjoy is seeing the results in action! Creating a fun and enjoyable learning experience is a key factor that helps implement behavioral changes that drive results. Workforce development is a true ongoing investment. The results speak for themselves.

There are more great takeaways in this article that I highly recommend perusing!

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