Learner-Driven Learning - Who's really in control? ... or should be!

Learner-Driven Learning - Who's really in control? ... or should be!

These sales associates were more than SMEs we were using for content validation, they took us in a whole new direction; telling us “this is not what we need to learn, what we need to learn is THIS.”  In the end, the new blended learning program gave us a greater than 20% increase in productivity, profitability and employee retention

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First the Who then the What - DD20 Day 2

People: Your Only Sustainable Competitive Advantage

Adam Robinson, the CEO of Hireology, hosted one of the best sessions of this year's Digital Dealer conference. #DD20 @adrobins @hireology He spoke about the impact of sales turnover on the bottom line.  One way to quantify it is for every sales associate that leaves, it costs you approximately 50% of their annual income in lost sales and replacement costs.  At my old company, a small group called AutoNation, we calculated it at a minimum of 18 lost sales that will never be recovered per sales associate that left.  Do the net pretax math on that!

Adam mentioned that half of what makes someone successful in their role has nothing to do with what's on their resume.  The 4 key predictors of success are:

  1. Attitude: Their disposition toward work
  2. Accountability: Do they take personal ownership of their actions and results
  3. Achievement:  Documented track record of success
  4. Culture Fit:

Think of the selection process similar to how insurance companies assess the risk of their customers.  They know based on tons of data, the predictors of the likelihood this customer will make a claim.  Similarly, we can use data to help predict the likelihood of an individual to be successful in the role.

There are lots of tools in the marketplace like Hireology that can, with amazing accuracy, give you a read on #1, 2 & 4 above.  Based on the success profile of the role, a pre-employment assessment can be developed that will take the guess work and "gut feeling" out of the hiring equationThink of it like a risk assessment.  What is my risk level on the potential 18 lost sales and corresponding pretax net profit if this individual doesn't make it?

Adam wrapped it up with an authoritative discussion on the impact 2008/9 had on the perceptions and desire of Gen-X workers related to 100% commissioned jobs.  While everyone else is talking about Gen-Y, he discussed how you can get some of the most talented high potential high performing Gen-X as well as Gen-Y by providing more stable pay plans and work hours.

For more information you can contact Adam directly at arobinson@hireology.com

Creating a Career Path:  Why You Should Re-Think F&I

Candice Crane @CraneAutoHR shared how the Walser Automotive Group

  1. Reduced Turnover
  2. Improved The Customer Experience
  3. Improved their Overall Profitability

She started out with what we all already know:

  • Customers don't' like our current experience
  • They want to buy a car in under 90 minutes
  • Customer satisfaction is the highest within the first 90 minutes of coming to the dealership and often drops in direct proportion to how much longer it takes
  • The current F&I process is 45-60 minutes not counting the "wait" time

We discussed start-ups like Carvana, Echo Park, Vroom and Beepi and their promise to the customer of "A better way to buy a car".  They give the power to the customer.

Combine the above with what we know about the Gen-Y workforce

  • They want stable, fair pay
  • They want decent, flexible work hours that enable life balance
  • They want clear growth potential

There are very talented high potential, high performing Gen-Y out there; we're just not getting them interested in working in our industry because mostly we offer the opposite of what they are looking for.  Jason Dorsey says Gen-Ys are split in two groups as far as their work ethic is concerned.

  1. The stereotypical lazy entitled
  2. The high energy, hard working, ambitious

We mostly get Group 1.  Most of Group 2 does not want to work on 100% commission or 60 hours per week.

So what was Walser's solution?

Eliminate the F&I silo and go to One-Person Selling.  Now before you dismiss this CRAZY idea take a look at their results:

  • Sales productivity increased from 10 unites per person per month to 15.5
  • Compensation expenses reduced from 25-30% of gross to 15-20%
  • F&I PVR over $1000 with HALF the commission payout
  • Volume growth in double digits
  • Sales turnover cut in HALF - think about the 18 lost deals we spoke about above, that now you are NOT going to lose
  • CSI through the roof
  • 45 minutes from the YES to out the door - NO WAIT to get into F&I

Here's how they did it.  Their new career path:

  1. Customer Specialist Trainee - new salesperson hired at $15 per hour.  13-week training program utilizing blended learning and spaced repetition while getting on-the-job training and helping customers buy cars.
  2. Customer Specialist - all existing salespeople and new hires once they complete 13-weeks of training.  $17.36 per hour ($36K) plus monthly bonuses based on TEAM goals of volume, F&I PVR and CSI - 40 hours per week schedule
  3. Account Executive - high volume/F&I PVR/CSI salespeople who have no desire to grow into managers.  MUST maintain >20 sales per month and $1250 F&I PVR with CSI to stay an Account Executive - regular 100% commission pay plan
  4. Team Leaders - Base salary plus monthly bonus based on TEAM performance in Volume , F& I PVR and CSI - supervises about 5 Customer Specialist and interacts with ALL of their customers
  5. New or Used Vehicle Manager - regular net-profit or VSG based 100% commission pay plan - they structure the deals

Customer Specialist get all the F&I menu selling and overcoming objections training, in addition to comprehensive sales process and customer service skills training; hence the 13 weeks.  78% of their 125 Customer Specialists are college graduates.  Is your current structure getting you that kind of quality?

F&I Funding Specialist - maintain one F&I funding expert to get the deals bought and have the relationships with the lenders.  Grow that "centralized" funding department as needed based on volume.  Walser trained and paid new Funding Specialists $14 per hour and they each handled an average of 147 deals per month.

For more information you can contact Candice directly at ccrane@craneAutoHR.com

Evolution of the Sales Manager role

Looking back on the good ole' days

We've all known some great desk managers in our day.  For me it was a guy named Scott back in 1996 when I started in the car business at a Toyota store.  Scott was amazing, probably still is.  Scott could close anybody.... and it seemed like he closed everybody.  He could also pencil some great deals, I made a lot of gross with Scott.  Oh the good old days; with worksheets, difference figures and maybe sometimes a four-square.  I used to love his notes to the customers; "One choice YES or NO, which is it?" or one of my all time favorites "You don't have to go home but you can't stay here."  Those where the days!  Scott was a killer desk manager.

You reap what you sow

Of course the way we desked deals back then increased customer mistrust of auto salespeople and created the opportunity for services like TrueCar to grow.  While I do remember Scott fondly for all the money he helped me make, it's really a couple of other Sales Managers, John and Ted, who I credit with helping me start a very successful career.  They took the time to train, coach and mentor me during my early formative years in the business.

Consumer demands - technology enables - easier buying process

With consumers flocking to TrueCar and dealers focusing on transparency and ease of doing business, they are telling us it's time for a change.  Time and again, I'm hearing consumers are just not putting up with the games we used to play.  New Vehicle market-based pricing is trending across the industry and website vendors are offering online desking tools for the consumer!

  • Guaranteed sight-unseen online trade appraisals
  • Specific payment quotes on finance and lease based on your credit and including taxes and fees
  • Real lender pre-approval not just an online credit app

What's a desk manager to do?  "If the trade and payments and credit are all worked out before they get to the store, what's my role?"  Throughout 2016 these online tools will become more sophisticated and widespread.  By 2017 salespeople will be able to do get pricing, trade appraisals, quote specific payments and get most customers approved without going to the "Sales Desk" or talking to a sales manager unless they need to.

Elimination of the Sales Manager role?  .......  NO

Sales Managers are experiencing this already.  In the last couple of years I've literally talked to hundreds of them about these changes and how their role is evolving.  Certainly some are naturally afraid of change.  "Desking deals" has made them successful and a lot of money.   Fortunately many realize their real value is not in desking deals, it's in growing and developing a talented sales team.  They look at these changes from an optimistic point of view.  "Now I have more time to do one-on-ones, set goals, train, coach and mentor my staff."

Doing the work of 10 people or getting 10 people to do great work

Sales Managers work hard, long hours and too many days per month.  Harder than they need to or should, partly because there are so many things in the course of selling vehicles that only they can do.  Or so they think.  And partly because they don't have enough time to hire, train and develop top performing salespeople who are capable of more.  Or so they perceive.

One old adage frequently told to salespeople was "the less you know the better."  As sales managers, we convinced ourselves there was a special skill needed that was too complicated for most salespeople to learn.  It certainly made us more valuable.  The internet helped create customers that often knew more than our salespeople, at first about the product but now even about pricing, their trade and purchase options.  Yet some sales managers still want to try to maintain "control" still trying to hide invoice/cost and gross; and don't spend enough time developing their salespeople.

High Performing Teams

Imagine this:  Having a sales team that truly trusted each other.  No one had any hidden agendas.  They were open with each other about both their strengths and weaknesses.  They engaged in healthy conflict and competition.  Unafraid to bring up better ways of doing things or challenging the status quo.  They really felt they had a voice in how things were done and run.  They had real committed buy-in to all final decisions of the team and/or of the leader.  No more "water cooler" discussions undermining the direction you wanted to go.  They hold each other accountable; for both behavior and results.  Everyone wanting to pull their own weight.  Their focus was on the store reaching it's goals and their whole team succeeding. Aggressively going after their own goals out of a motivation to ensure the team meets it's goals.  Helping and coaching each other when not achieving the results needed.

Too good to be true

I know it sounds too good to be true but I have seen teams like this in action.  There's a method to achieving this but it takes commitment and hard work.  The simplification of the desk manager's role will give Sales Managers more time to develop their teams.  The question is; do they have the tools, knowledge and skills to be effective "leaders of people" rather than desk managers?

A call to action

If you need help

  • Adapting your process and training for the new way customers want to experience the purchase process
  • Helping your sales managers adjust to these changing times
  • Figuring out how to hold gross and make money in this new vehicle margin-compressed environment
  • Developing your managers into people leaders and giving them the skills to develop these High Performing sales teams

Just call 800-851-1584 or email us at KenGregson@NexusConsultNavigations.com or visit our website to learn more Nexus Consult Navigations

 

 

What's the Value of a Personal Mission Statement? Do you have you?

About 12 years ago, when I was on the road a lot for my employer, I was reading The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey for the first time.  Habit 2; Begin with the End in Mind had a profound impact on my life going forward.  That chapter titled Principles of Personal Leadership starts out with a quote from Oliver Wendell Holmes: “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”

(There are several excerpts taken directly from the book listed above included in this post.)

YOUR FUNERAL

For those of you who are students of Covey’s work you might remember it begins with the quiet task of visualizing your own funeral three years from now.  You’re about to hear the eulogies from four people; a family member, a friend, coworker and someone from your church or other community service organization you’ve been serving.  If you take it seriously this is an interactive book, so you go through the exercise of writing down what you hope they will say.  This exercise will greatly increase your understanding of the value of a personal mission statement.  To begin with the end in mind means to start with a clear understanding of your destination. 

ORGANIZATIONAL MISSION

Companies do this all the time to focus their employees and get them all rowing in the same direction.  A couple of examples:

  • Levi Strauss & Co.: People love our clothes and trust our company.  We will market the most appealing and widely worn casual clothing in the world.  We will clothe the world.  Their values to make that happen are: Empathy – Originality – Integrity – Courage. 

  • Microsoft: At Microsoft, we work to help people and businesses throughout the world realize their full potential.  This is our mission.  Everything we do reflects this mission and the values that makes it possible. 

Examples like this galvanize your team and help give them intrinsic motivation to exceed even their own expectations. Now companies sometime change their strategic direction, mission and even values.  A new leader comes onboard, a new competitor or technology changes the marketplace or they simply didn’t have a good enough first creation of their mission and values in the first place.  Can we do the same thing?  Can we change?  If we’re not so happy with some of the things the four people giving our eulogy might say or more importantly might not say, can we rewrite a new blueprint for our lives?  Yes!

THE FIRST CREATION

There is a principle Covey describes as “all things are created twice.”  The first or mental creating and the second or physical creation.  In this case, what you think you’re going to do with your life and what you actually do.  Just like building a house, if you don’t have a good architect, blueprints and construction plans; when you break ground and start putting up the walls you will run into all kinds of problems. 

At 47, while going through a period of deep introspection, this chapter helped motivate me to change the direction of my life.  Writing out the blueprint for what I wanted my life to be going forward.  It focuses on who you want to be (character) and what you want to do (contributions and achievements) and upon the values on which your being and doing are based.  Creating a personal mission statement clarified for me what was really important to me.   It has given me a clear direction to row in, personally, professionally and spiritually.  My life is the best it’s ever been; successful professionally, happier in my marriage than I’ve ever been, and a strong and growing relationship with my God.  Whenever I waiver or begin to slide into grey areas, reviewing my mission statement helps remind me of what I want to be at my core.

AT THE CORE

Covey discusses how what’s at our very core, our center will be the source of our Security, Guidance, Wisdom and Power.  Each of us already has a center, though we usually don’t recognize it as such.  Neither do we recognize the all-encompassing effects of that center on every aspect of our lives.

  • Spouse Centeredness

  • Family Centeredness

  • Money Centeredness

  • Work Centeredness

  • Possession Centeredness

  • Pleasure Centeredness

  • Friend/Enemy Centeredness

  • Church Centeredness

  • Self-Centeredness

There’s a spectrum from complete dependence to total independence within each of these.  Good and bad.  There also can be a balance of Interdependence.  The most enlightening part of this study and exercise was that you can change your center and certainly change its healthiness.  You can choose to have a set of Principles at your core and a Purpose to your life.

WRITING YOUR OWN

A mission statement is not something you write overnight.  It takes deep introspection, careful analysis, thoughtful expression and often many rewrites to produce it in final form.  This article is just to whet your appetite, to hopefully motivate you to invest the time in finding out your own mission.  The process is as important as the product.  Writing a mission statement changes you because it forces you to think through your priorities deeply, carefully and to align your behavior with your beliefs.

There are some who offer quick fixes Quint Careers website offers a simple Five-Step plan.  MissionStatements.com has hundreds of examples.  Steve Cooper has an interesting article on Forbes.com on the subject.  FranklinCovey.com certainly has lots of training around The 7 Habits including Habit 2. 

I recommend you buy the book and take the time to Seek First to Understand (Habit 5) before trying to be understood.  If you’re interested in learning more about my journey or my own Personal Mission Statement just email me at KenGregson1@gmail.com 

Remaining profitable in today's auto retail environement

Linking Ideas with Results

There are no shortage of ideas on how to remain profitable in today's transparent, margin-compressed consumer-driven marketplace.

  • New Vehicle pricing strategies
  • Ecommerce and digital best practices
  • New technologies for just about everything
  • Equity mining resurgence
  • Lean thinking, process and practices
  • New staffing and scheduling models

All you have to do is attend a 20-group meeting, go to NADA or Digital Dealer or do a little research and you can come up with a lot more great ideas.  I read recently "There are no knew ideas - there are those who have ideas and those who execute on the ideas."  The executers win every time.

Closing the Gap between Knowing and Doing

In their book The 4 Disciplines of Execution, Chris McChesney and Sean Covey break it down to these:

  1. Focusing on the Wildly Important
  2. Acting on Lead Measures
  3. Keeping a Compelling Scorecard
  4. Creating a Cadence of Accountability

Sounds simple, easier said then done; or everyone would do it. 

We applied these principles to  executing a brand new ecommerce process after 6 years of record YOY ecommerce sales results. We knew the market was changing and we had to change along with it.  Working with top performing ecommerce sale professionals, managers, field leadership and corporate executives we spent a year applying these principles and were rewarded with two more years of record YOY performance results.

Closing the Gap between Learning and Performance

In their book Know Can Do, Ken Blanchard, Paul J. Meyer and Dick Ruhe reveal why people don't apply what they learn on the job.

  1. Information Overload
  2. Negative Filtering
  3. Lack of Follow-Up

This one requires a little more digging to understand how to apply it but it's even simpler than the 4 Disciplines.  We applied these principles to completely redesign our learning programs and improved retention and productivity by over 20%.  Reducing the time it took to get new employees up to average performance, and increasing the overall production per person per month.

Leading Through Change

Trying to implement a new idea, strategy or process is often a self-defeating prospect for many.  Frequently the more rewarding the idea or the more upside potential, the more risk, even likelihood, there is for an initial backwards slide in performance. In our month-to-month; quarter-to-quarter business it's sometime hard to ride out those performance dips while the change is happening. 

Going from "You can't get MSRP unless you ask for it." Better know by consumers as "hit them high and see what happens" to market-based, limited negotiation, no hassle pricing is a huge culture change for the entire dealership.  If you don't address the people side of this change you can try to apply the 4 Disciplines all you want and you're still going to be fighting an uphill battle.  And PVRs will probably be going down instead of up.

In their book Big Change at Best Buy, Elizabeth Gibson and Andy Billings recount how they helped Best Buy through some radical cultural change using a very simple formula.

  • Head
  • Heart
  • Hands

In their book Change Management: The People Side of Change, Jeffrey Haitt and Timothy Creasy outline the details.

  • Awareness of the need for change
  • Desire to participate and support the change
  • Knowledge on how to change
  • Ability to implement required skills and behaviors
  • Reinforcement to sustain the change

Applying these principles helped us successfully roll out many successful initiatives including new vehicle pricing strategies.

Closing the Gap between Strategy to Operational Execution 

Now I mentioned a few books in this article and there certainly are a lot more on these subjects.  Books also have great ideas.  However there is definitely a gap between reading a book and executing it's concepts to drive improved performance results.  That takes collaboration and brainstorming with associates, managers and business leaders on how to apply those concepts in your business, with your culture and your people.  A lot of people read books, very few execute the concepts to solve a business challenge.

The next time you're coming out of a 20-group meeting or coming from NADA or Digital Dealer and you've got a ideas that you KNOW will pay off big if you execute.  Make a plan for HOW you're going to execute it.

If you'd like, I'll be happy to help with that.  From just a simple conversation to rolling up my sleeves and diving in the deep end with you.

Advancing the Sale - Virtually and Literally - the new automotive ecommerce process

One of the best automotive ecommerce sales professionals I've met told me a few years ago "Ken, I just can't follow your 10-step sales process anymore.  I know two things that remain true in sales:

  1. The further I can bring the customer down the sales path the more likely I get the sale
  2. The more time a customer invest with me the more likely I get the sale"

In today's world it doesn't matter if the customer is in the store or not.  Gone are the days when a sales manager should say "just get them in." Of course this funny video shows there may still be some out there somewhere. Most sales managers today will be happy to do a sight unseen trade appraisal, when they have to, or to send payments to a customer, if needed.

Technology advances from many vendors are putting this power in the hands of the customers.  Just take a look at these offerings from Dealer.com.  Here's what we know is coming from several vendors.

  • Accurate online monthly payments
  • Instant guaranteed trade-in offers
  • Preapproved financing
  • Reserving the vehicle
  • Even F&I product options

The stores that will win in the future are those that empower their sales associates to proactively use these tools to ADVANCE THE SALE regardless of whether or not the customer is in the store.  Training and encouraging their associates to enable the customer to do more of the sale before they get to the store.  Here's a graphic that illustrates this Customer driven sales processAnd another that illustrates how it fits into the ecommerce process.  This has so many advantages:

  • Faster process once they arrive
  • Increasing productivity of associates
  • Increase customer and employee satisfaction
  • Higher F&I PVRs
  • Reduced turnover
  • Attracting forward thinking top talent

The question is do you have the Strategy, Process and Training to help you get there?  We can help.  Call us at 800-851-1584

Personalization at Learning 2015 - Day 2 (part 2)

Why don't the existing approaches work?  Why do we need to personalize learning?

Cheryl Lasse and Stuart Rogers from SkillDirector do a great job of breaking it down for us.  There are increasing skill gaps and employee disengagement across the country.  We'd like to think business leaders believe their learning and development teams are an important strategic business partner but the reality is most simply don't.

So, how do we turn those things around?  Personalized learning is the answer.  It must be a learner-centric, bottom-up approach instead of top down.  First, you get high performers in each role to help design and build a competency model.  What I like to call a Success Profile.  HR cannot build it, even SMEs cannot build it, you must get people from the Business; actual high performing workers from that role.  Then you need a feedback mechanism to keep it relevant as changes in the requirements to do the job well happen, because they will. 

Once you have the new competency model is complete you need a self-assessment tool that is not tied into the annual performance review system.  It needs to be unrelated to reviews, compensation; so that employees will honestly self-assess against the competencies their peers created.

Personalized learning will not work unless it's real and relevant.

After the self-assessment a couple of things will happen.  First, if you've lined up your learning solutions to the new competencies, a personalized learning plan will be created based on their own self-assessment.  Your learners will be more engaged because it's specifically relevant to how they self-assessed.  Next it will identify curriculum gaps.  Don't rush out to develop more training.  There may be other solutions; for example, peer-to-peer learning with someone who self-assessed as a strength in that area.  Also look at all the self-assessments for everyone in that role and see where your learning development priorities should be.

So how can you execute Personalized Learning on a mass scale, easily?  You need a system  like SDLE from SkillDirector.

Another challenge is it's leaders who often push the one-size-fits-all approach that we currently use which cause the skill gaps and the disengagement.  Share this with them.  It's not only much more effective at closing skill gaps and reinforcing employee engagement, it's much more cost effective.

@Learning2015 #learning2015

Performance Support at Learning 2015 - Day 2 (part 1)

Wow, what a great second day.  I start off with a primer on Performance Support.

Bob Mosher and Conrad Gottfredson simplified my understanding of what true Performance Support is and how to put it to work at work.  Performance Support is an immediate, intuitive and intentionally tailored aid to a person at his or her moment of need to enable and support effective performance.   It's specifically for three of the five moments of need.

The Five Moments of Need

  1. When learning for the first time
  2. When wanting to learn more
  3. When trying to apply and/or mentor
  4. When something goes wrong
  5. When something changes

If they cannot get to it; they will not consume it.  It must be available within 2 clicks and 10 seconds.  There are three fundamental principles.

  1. Embedded in the workflow and readily available at the moment of need
  2. Contextual according to specific roles and varying access needs
  3. Just enough in the form needed to effectively perform inside the business process

There's a lot more detail in their book: Innovative Performance Support

@Learning2014 #learning2015

Disruption at Learning 2015 with Elliott Masie - Day 1

Disruption:  The night was about disruption.  Right off the bat Elliot makes a statement I'll paraphrase that strikes me; "The learner is changing faster and learning faster than we as learning professionals are keeping up."  It reminds me of my favorite Jack Welch quote; "If the change on the outside is faster than the change on the inside the end is near."

Sabrina Kay, the CEO of Fremont College then takes the stage.  What an amazing woman!  Google her.  Of the many disruptive things she talks about one of them is; "Knowledge is not important anymore.  Knowledge is free. It's accessible everywhere easily."  Learning professionals used to be the knowledge experts, now it's about knowledge curation.  How to make the knowledge easily accessible/findable in the workplace.  Think search on YouTube.

Sabrina says the difference between entrepreneurs and dreamers is simply execution.  Entrepreneurs are doers.  All the ideas are not new, it's the one who executes on the idea that wins.  Real leaders are supposed to be inspiring others to do good work to change the world.  She is.

Kimo Kippen, the CLO for Hilton Worldwide, is leading learning for over 300,000 team members in 97 countries!  He talks about the informal, social and terribly personal trajectory of learning.  If learners can get whatever knowledge they want, whenever they want it, on Google and YouTube; they expect us to deliver our learning the same way.  Personal, what they need, when they need it.  Not one-size fits all.  And in their smartphones.

Kimo also makes another great point I love; "Friends don't let friends drive with PowerPoint.  Old, but a pet peeve of mine.  How many learning professionals still hold onto using PowerPoint too often?  Nothing says you're out of date more than using lotsof PowerPoint slides.

Doug Lynch from USC and EdTech then comes up and tells us how far behind we are compared to even k-12 with using technology in learning.  And compared to higher-ed we're in the stone age.  He's trying to start an initiative to take EdTech from the schools to the workplace.  Doug challenged us to think of apps that need to be built to help workers.  I though an app for supervisors/managers to see a quick point or two or a video of how to have a difficult conversation.  An employee who's late frequently, someone who's not pulling their weight, a fellow manager is showing favoritism, etc. etc.

This was just opening night.  The next three days are going to be a fire hose.  Those who execute will win.

@Learning2015 #learning2015

Can a learning strategy really impact my business results?

What’s the difference between training and learning? … and does it matter?

Training is something done “to me”; quite often whether I need it or not.  Learning is something “I do” for myself.  It’s a pull rather than a push.  Training is one-size fits all.  A mass-market workshop for example, or an online course directed at a group of people.  Learning is personalized; just what I need, just when I need it.  How many times have you been frustrated because you’ve done “training” yet still feel we just don’t get it.

There’s often a negative unintended consequence of many training programs, creating a negative filter that reduces the likelihood of retention and application on the job.  It’s one of the things Ken Blanchard discussed in his book “Know Can Do”.  If you give me the training I don’t need and don’t give me the training I want, then I will not learn as much.  If you make me take 6 modules when only 4 apply or sit through 6 hours of training when I already knew and had proficiency in what was covered during 2 of the hours, then I will not learn as much.  If you schedule the training at the trainer’s or manager’s convenience rather than mine, then I will not learn as much.  In fact, the negative impression that gives me of the training you provide makes it less likely I’ll apply it on the job.

So what’s the solution to achieving record performance improvement and productivity increases through learning?

  1. The Learners know:  Get the end-learner involved immediately.  Have them help create the strategy, be engaged in the design and give feedback throughout the development process.
  2. Throw out the kitchen sink: Another key point addressed in Blanchard’s book; LESS is MORE.  Train on less but more deeply and more often for shorter periods of time.  What are the breakdown points, the mistakes, errors, failures?  You don’t need a lot of training on the stuff we get right most of the time. 
  3. Variety is the spice of life: All to often you train the way you like to learn.  That’s only good for about 25 - 33% of your team.  The rest of us learn differently.  To be most effective you need to train they way THEY like to learn.  That means a blended learning approach. Instructor-led workshops for some, sometimes; online courses and simulations for others,  other times.  Mobile learning - short 5 minute burst of knowledge I can consume daily.  Social learning so I can both learn from my peers and share my expertise. Video learning and I’m not talking about the Subject Matter Expert video, think YouTube, again peers-to-peer.
  4. Just In Time: Don’t make me “go to” training.  Bring the learning to me, right on the job, right where I am already working.  Embedded performance support in the tools I use every day; my CRM software, my smartphone or tablet.
  5. Personalized: Help me assess my strengths and weaknesses and tailor a learning plan to meet my needs. 
  6. Agile:  The workplace, marketplace, consumers and employees are changing faster than our processes or our learning.  Jack Welch said; “If the pace of change on the outside is faster than the pace of change on the inside, the end is near.”  You cannot update your training content every 5 years, or in many cases even every 3 years.  Your knowledge content and skill development needs to be as agile as your business.

If you’d like some help or guidance developing a learning strategy that works for you instead of against you please call me.

Change is ... scary - thrilling - a rollercoaster

I'm going through some pretty dramatic change myself right now.  Deciding to leave a great job with a great company after 15 years on the leadership team at AutoNation, perhaps the best automotive retailer ever.  What was I thinking?  Why would I do that?

Times are good right now for the auto industry.  Times are good for Ken Gregson.  Good is the enemy of great.  There are some big changes coming to automotive retail.  Scary changes for many.  I could ride that rollercoaster in the comfort of the status quo or ...

I could take a leap of faith; expand my influence and impact across the nation, maybe even the globe.  Helping others, who perhaps don't have such a large support structure, navigate these turbulent waters.  

Now let's apply this to your business; the status quo is good, money is rolling in.  Why change the model?  We all know Customer expectations about how they shop and buy have already changed.  There are so many retailers racing to adapt, catch-up, hold on.  What's the competition going to do?  How long can I ride the old process?  More importantly; how can I remain highly profitable in the new reality?

That's what I want to be a part of; figuring out a new way of serving our Customers the way they want to be served.  Auto retail is changing; I want to be on the leading edge.  It's scary at the front of the rollercoaster.  You need someone you can trust to take that ride with you.

Call me.