Message From Charles Loew
Comments From Our Readers
New On The Maset Web Site
Tips for New Employee Integration
Tips from Our School for Managers
Feature Of This Issue
Second Feature Of This Issue
Third Feature Of This Issue
Coming in the Next Few Issues
Welcome to MASET News. A monthly publication dedicated to the communication between MASET and our many interested friends, customers and potential customers
MESSAGE FROM CHARLES LOEW:
- Our feature article this month covers Blended Learning. This is a relatively new way of learning combining the power of in-person teaching with the power of the computer and the capabilities of the internet. Many people advocate 100 % E-learning but for many of us the real success from the learner, the trainer and the organization paying for the training comes from combining the economy and time savings of computer training with the face to face activities with an instructor and other students.
- How many times have you recently heard that the quality of American products is worse than that made overseas? Based on a recent study by ASQ this is not true. This is an interesting article that discusses the past trends. All customers are entitled to receiving quality products and quality service. If you need helping in improving the service side of your business please contact Maset.
- In our continuing introduction to the RxSales: An Expert Performance System™ this month we will discuss the appropriate time to begin to discuss money in the sales process. Many people avoid this subject initially and actually try not to discuss it at all. The reality is the buyer knows they have to spend money and often would like to know if the range is within the budget. Our article explores the significance of this switch and helps the process move forward.
- In case you missed it last month please note that Maset has moved offices and there has been a change in telephone numbers. The new office address and telephone numbers are as follows:
- MASET LLC.
P.O. Box 649
Maricopa, AZ 85239
Phone - 520-568-6355
Fax - 520-568-6354
Our e-mail address and web address will not change. Please update your records.
COMMENTS FROM OUR READERS:
"Good Maset News. I especially liked the article on Sales ADD" - New York
We received the following tip from one of our readers and would like to pass it on to you. -
"Are you ever tempted to multi-task while on the phone with a prospect or client? Solution: stand up during the call. While standing you won't be tempted to check your email or browse the Web. Standing also helps counter-act shallow breathing which means your voice comes through stronger, conveying to the person on the other end of the phone that you're paying attention to them."
Thank you to our reader in New York. We welcome other comments from our readers.
NEW ON THE MASET WEB SITE:
Maset was fortunate to work with the Sage Colleges in the Albany Troy region of New York State since the beginning last year. The effort revolved around conducting a Cycle Time Reduction intervention on the Student Registration Process. This effort was completed in June of this year and the President of the Sage Colleges wrote us a very nice letter which has been added to our web site. Please take a few minutes to read her
letter at http://masetllc.com/images/letter.jpg.
Can we help you?
Tips for New Employee Integration
TIP 7: Tools to Make them Part of the Team
Assign a recent hire from the team as a mentor to ease the transition.
TIP 8: Looking Inwardly
Do a post-orientation survey and ask them what they want more of and less of from orientation. Ask them to write down and new ideas or solutions they have on how to improve orientation and use them.
Provided by Orientation Passport
Visit the Products and Services describing the Orientation Passport
Tips from Our School for Managers
- by Andrew E. Schwartz
DELEGATION - BENEFITS OF EFFECTIVE DELEGATION
Freeing management from routine and repetitive functions. Managers are most cost effective when directing their energies to those top-level duties for which they were hired and are being paid - setting objectives, developing policies, and measuring results.
Increasing motivation, confidence, and personal as well as professional growth in others. On-the-job-training challenges employees to evaluate risks, make decisions, and handle conflicts and prepare them for promotion, facilitating company growth.
Effective delegation also heightens interest in the company and instills pride by demonstrating the manager's faith in their abilities.
Copyright A.E. Schwartz & Associates, all rights reserved
For more information: Charles.Loew@masetllc.com
ONE LINERS - "To make you think and/or smile"
- Friendship is a gift in itself.
- Spending time is a greater gift than spending money.
FEATURE OF THIS ISSUE:
Adult Learning and the Blended Approach
Beyond Textbooks Online
By Rebecca Westphal
The benefits of online learning, or e-learning, have long been acknowledged by those in the training industry. Conducting training over the Internet makes learning accessible in a way never before possible. Because the training facilitator for online learning, the computer, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, students - even those who cannot travel to conventional areas of training or afford time away from the workplace - can complete their training at a time and place most convenient to them and most personally conducive to learning. With a focus on self-directed and self-motivated study, online learning is perfect for adult learners in our busy organizations who need that freedom in order to achieve the best educational benefits.
As its name implies, blended learning "blends" a number of different training delivery mechanisms to create an entire training package. It involves integrating a number of strategies and methods that address the unique and varied learning styles of adults. At HRworkbench these different components can include:
- Assessment/Profiling (Online) Link 360-degree questionnaires or Psychometric Assessments directly to the learning. Benchmark performance prior to learning and test for learning and knowledge transfer at program end.
- Goal Setting (Online) Students are asked to set learning goals based on their Assessment Profile or on the curriculum content.
- CFL (Online) Deliver theory and information online to ensure consistency of message. Incorporate Case Study Material, interactive questioning and testing of knowledge transfer - all online.
- Assignments (Offline as an individual) Ensure the learning is translated back to the individual's workplace.
- Projects (Offline as an individual) Interpret the learning in terms of real world experience, or compare how 'we do it' to how 'others do it'.
- Discussion Groups (Offline as part of a group) Foster shared learning with self managed, or facilitated, workplace-centred learning groups.
Training Days (Offline as part of a group) Practice skills and understanding in the risk-free environment of the real classroom. Accredited facilitators ensure the learning is directed, focused and on-track.
One of the reasons this "blend" is so effective is that people learn differently. Some people like to read textbooks, some need visual imagery, some like to hear their learning, others need to write things down before it sinks in, and yet others need to act things out. Blended Learning attempts to ensure that the curriculum messages are delivered in a variety of ways so that all learning styles are catered for, thus maximising the effectiveness of the training for the widest possible group of trainees.
However, blended learning provides greater benefits than just reaching a wide audience. By combining the elements above in one training package, blended learning addresses the key principles of adult learning, that is, adult learners:
- Are self-directed
- Are practical, so want learning to be relevant to their work/responsibilities
- Enjoy active learning
(Stephen Lieb, Principles of Adult Learning: 1991; Bruce B. Baenziger, An Evaluation of Training Classes Provided to County Child Welfare Workers: 1998)
1. Adult Learners are Self-Directed
Adult learners tend to be busy and most often, they do not have the time to dedicate themselves to full-time study. They have jobs, and families, and responsibilities. For these people, the minimal face-to-face interaction of blended learning means that they can choose to learn when and where they like. If they do not feel like learning on a certain day, they do not have to, and there are no penalties.
Adult learners also have the maturity to make their own decisions about learning, and appreciate having that maturity recognised. CFL Modules, Assignments, Projects, and Group Discussions in blended learning all require the participants to take control of the learning experience and either run learning activities themselves or self-motivate to achieve the outcomes that will allow them to move ahead. This gives the participants a sense of ownership of their learning and further motivates them because they are the ones steering the process.
Through each of these learning activities, participants are encouraged to draw their own conclusions about the learning. CFL Modules ask questions and require participants to type in their ideas and then compare these to generally accepted theory, while Assignments, Projects, and Group Discussions help participants generate their own ideas by asking them to apply the learning within the context of their own experiences. Participants can take each activity delivered in the curriculum and put it into practice and then analyse and debate the success or otherwise before they move onto the next activity.
However, while effective blended learning enables participants to direct their own learning, it doesn't leave them stranded. In "Bench" curricula, there is always a facilitator available to contact to discuss problems, understanding, or new ideas.
2. Adult Learners Are Practical
While there are some theoretical learners out there, many adults do not want to simply learn for the sake of learning. Instead, they want to know why they are learning and how it will benefit them. They want learning to be relevant to their needs and their experiences.
The first step in ensuring learning is practical and sets deliverables is to assess participants' current skills/behaviours. As Richard Hodge and Lou Schachter from The Learning Company say (What Creates Behavioural Change? Measurable performance gains come from integrating the full range of learning components: 2002), "An assessment establishes the starting point and the path to the desired outcome." That is, by measuring the desired skills/behaviors required for a job, the gaps discovered in assessment show you where you need to go and what you need to learn in order to fill the gaps. From the outset, participants know why the training is relevant and how it is going to impact on their current role. By re-assessing the same skills/behaviors at the end of training, participants can measure their improvement and see how the training benefited their situation.
The next step is to set goals. These goals should be specific, instead of general, and relevant to the learner's situation. Goal Setting activities in HRworkbench curricula require participants to enter both their goals for the curriculum as well as a target date for achieving each goal. Participants can change and update their goals until they are happy that they accurately represent the improvements they need to make, and then, once goals are confirmed, can come back and check their progress at any time. This provides a focus for the participants and helps to ensure that theory is translated into action in the workplace.
The inclusion of Assignments in blended learning also helps to provide learning that moves beyond textbooks online, and provide practical training. Assignments can be customised to the organisational culture and working environment of the participant so that they apply what they are learning in training to their job, and are assessed on this ability.
The combination of these activities ensures that the learning keeps returning to real situations in the lives of the participants so that they can continually see its relevance and gauge their own improvement.
3. Adult Learners Enjoy Active Learning
In their research about adult learning, Zemke and Zemke (1981 and 1995) discovered that adults are far more likely to retain knowledge and skills if they can apply the skills immediately (Bruce B. Baenziger, An Evaluation of Training Classes Provided to County Child Welfare Workers: 1998). Without the chance to put their skills into practice after learning, adults are likely to lose those skills.
The main way active learning is achieved in blended learning is through the training days. These training days usually include case studies and simulations where participants act out the skills they have learnt. They are given feedback about their actions and skills, but in a constructive fashion that reinforces positive behavior.
The advantage of having periodic, rather than full-time, face-to-face interaction is that when participants do arrive to workshops after learning theory online is that they are all at the same level of understanding - valuable facilitator time does not have to be wasted in getting all participants to the same point. Rather, the facilitator can concentrate on using the workshops as areas for skill development; practising skills, debating success and failures with colleagues, observing how others "do-it". The online delivery of theory also ensures that each participant is given exactly the same information as their colleagues - the message is consistent regardless of when they complete the curriculum.
A combination of activity types produces the most effective results in adult learning, because adult learners themselves require a combination of things from their training. While online learning is a key aspect in best practice for adult learning (i.e. it provides a vehicle that participants can drive themselves to keep the learning self-directed), by itself, it will not provide for all of the needs of adult learners.
Perhaps the best way to emphasise this point is to quote the research of experts in the field. Allison Rossett, Felicia Douglis, and Rebecca V. Frazee from Learning Circuits (Strategies for Building Blended Learning: http://www.learningcircuits.org/2003/jul2003/rossett.htm share the following research:
"A study by Peter Dean and his colleagues found that providing several linked options for learners, in
addition to classroom training, increased what they learned. In 2002, Harvard Business School
faculty DeLacey and Leonard reported that students not only learned more when online sessions
were added to traditional courses, but student interaction and satisfaction improved as well.
Thomson and NETg released a 2003 white paper that reported speedier performance on rea- world
tasks by people who learned through a blended strategy-faster than those studying through
One thing seems clear; the solutions for adult learning are not black and white, because people themselves do not fall into such categories. A blended learning approach to training allows for the shades of grey by opening up a wide range of learning situations and addressing the different needs of adults. Talk to us about how you can use our current blended learning programs, or customised blended learning to produce measurable changes in behaviour for your clients.
About the Author: Rebecca Westphal is the Curriculum and Communications Manager, HRworkbench Ptd Ltd,
SECOND FEATURE OF THIS ISSUE:
Products are Better, Service Isn't
Published in Quality Digest - News Digest Section
A recent study by the American Society for Quality provides a comprehensive look at how consumers view quality, but the view isn't necessarily good.
On the whole, consumers have favorable opinion of product quality, but their collective opinion on service quality has taken a nose dive over the past decade.
The findings were part of ASQ's debut of its Quarterly Quality Index, which includes a 10-year analysis of the effects of quality assurance programs on a variety of industries. The comprehensive study found that in most industries, quality improvement has failed to keep pace with customer expectations, indicating that there is a significant opportunity to improve business results through better quality systems and processes.
The Quality Index, which is derived from the American Customer Satisfaction Index, indicates that customers' perceptions of quality have declined 0.8 percent over the past decade; anything over a 0.3 percent drop is considered a statistically significant decline. The study indicates a notable discrepancy between product quality and service quality. Product quality has been relatively stable over the past decade (86.9 in 1994 vs. 86.3 in 2004), as manufacturers have long had quality systems in place, ensuring uniform production of tangible goods.
Less-standardized service quality hasn't fared as well. In 1994, customers rated service quality at 80.3; in 2004, it was rated 78.3.
"There is no anchor to customer expectations," says Jack West, former ASQ president. "What customers expect today is not what they expected 10 years ago. Successful companies must continually ramp up their quality practices to keep pace with ever-increasing consumer demands."
Hotels demonstrated one of the highest quality scores in the service industry, showing gains in both perceived quality and value. During that time, several major chains instituted quality improvement efforts. For example, Starwood Hotels and Resorts, which registered a 7.1 percent gain (the largest gain in the hotels industry), implemented Six Sigma companywide and installed Heavenly Beds and Sweet Sleepers in two of its major brands - Westin Resorts and Sheraton Hotels.
In the fast food industry, the product quality of pizza chains such as Papa John's, Dominos and Little Caesar's fared well with consumers, but their traditional counterparts, didn't. Burger King and McDonald's fell 2.1 percent and 5.7 percent respectively.
Notable declines were to phone companies (which dropped 9%), airlines (5.8%), personal computers (5.5%) and the automotive industry (2.1%).
"We are seeing super-quality, premium brands such as BMW doing extremely well, demonstrating that consumers are willing to pay for high quality," West says. "At the opposite end of the spectrum certain categories such as traditional fast food and big-box retailers, whose focus is primarily on price, are not meeting expectations. I believe that the evidence is mounting that price alone is not a viable long-term business strategy. Successful brands must focus on quality as well as cost to provide superior value to their customers."
For more information, visit http://www.asq.org.
Reprinted with permission of Quality Digest: http://www.QualityDigest.com
Originally appeared in Quality Digest, April 2005
RxSales: An Expert Performance SystemTM
There's Something About Money
By Linda Stimac, Author, RxSales: An Expert Performance System
Every sales process on earth has a common element: a sales professional talks about money and a potential client decides to part with some of it, in order to acquire a product or a service.
But when? Buyers confide that they want to talk about money early in the process, so that they know what it's going to take to get what they want. And, they report, many sales professionals wait too long. Sales professionals worry that if they bring the subject up too soon, that the potential buyer will become fixated on price and it will overshadow the reasons to buy.
Picture a couple on the dance floor. The orchestra swings into a foxtrot, but neither partner is sure just when to take the step or who should take it. Their eyes ask, "Whose turn is it anyway?" and soon their feet are tangled in an awkward movement which is anything but forward. In sales, such halting confusion is not good either, particularly when it is the sales professional's responsibility to keep the decision-making process moving forward in a straight line.
Financial Paralysis is the name of a malady that afflicts sales professionals who have difficulty knowing when or how to talk about money. For them, the consequences are often costly.
If the sales professional does not talk about money early enough in the process, and the potential client does not have sufficient funds, much time is spent in meetings and presentations, only to learn, at the end of the time, that money is a roadblock.
How to talk about money is not a process issue. Rather, like other conversations, it is the heart of consultative selling - communication. In this case, there are effective questions that help a person quantify what it will cost to solve a problem and separate the intellectual from the psychological aspects about parting with it. Many sales professionals are overjoyed to learn that their prospect has money on a balance sheet. Unfortunately, that does not guarantee that the prospect is emotionally ready to spend it. Knowing the difference is part of the art of talking about money.
Financial Paralysis has a variation, or "strain" to extend the medical metaphor, which can pose problems for sales professionals who allow their own conception of money to interfere with the money decision that their prospects must make, based on their conception of money.
Think of it as a choking point. We wouldn't be so bold as to ask a sales professional what his choking point is, but that's the effect of this exchange:
Us: "Bob, in your line of work, you talk about money every day. So, what is your definition of a lot of money?"
Bob: "Oh, well, for me, if it goes beyond $400,000, which I paid for my home a few years ago, then yes, it is a lot of money."
Now, Bob is a wealth management advisor and every day, he works with clients to create investment portfolios and estate plans. In most cases, his clients have assets of at least $1,000,000 about which they are making decisions.
Bob's new clients, Herb and Betty Rosamund, are making decisions on individual trusts, each worth $2 million. Bob has done an excellent job as the facilitator of decision making for the Rosamunds, and now, it is time for them to say Yes or No to Bob's recommendations. But instead of Yes or No, they say, "Well, let's wait because it is a lot of money, Bob."
At this point, the expert facilitator of decision making helps people move on - if it is a solid decision, then it should be solid at $1 dollar or $4 million dollars. But our friend Bob has that odd strain of Financial Paralysis that relates to his personal threshold for money. He lets his definitions get in the way. And his self-talk sounds like this: "I would like to help the Rosamunds move forward, and they have all the information they need, but … $4 million is a lot of money, ($3.6 over his threshold, right?), so if they want to think it over, it's all right with me."
There's something about money that paralyzes many sales professionals. With proper diagnosis (The CheckUp™), they raise their awareness and can treat it effectively with an examination of the proper process and/or communication techniques. In the case of the low threshold for money, that, thankfully is often a simple "Ah, ha! I must get out of my own way in the future." And the proof in the prescription is satisfied clients. They often
do speak up and say, "Thanks for making the process go so smoothly. Thanks for talking about money early, so that I knew I could handle it."
To learn more about RxSales: An Expert Performance System™, visit the Guest section at www.rxsales.com or contact Charles Loew at Charles.Loew@masetllc.com
COMING IN THE NEXT FEW ISSUES:
- Many more "Tips for New Employee Integration".
- Future tips from Our School for Managers will include topics in coaching, goal setting, time management, communication, delegation, and others.
- Many new ideas and concepts from "RxSales: An Expert Performance System"
- Online method of conducting an employee satisfaction survey
- A new page of partner links
- A new series on integrity
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Comments about MASET NEWS:
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