Community Chatter
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  • Sun, July 26, 2015 2:28 PM | Denise Ross-Admin (Administrator)

    Dear Members:

    Because of our name change, we need to update our bylaws with the new DBA name. To update the bylaws, we must hold a special meeting and put it to a vote to our members.

    You will find the proposed bylaw changes in this document. The only changes are those related to the name change.

    We will be holding a brief meeting on Wednesday, August 26 at 5:15 PM, immediately before the monthly learning event at the Doubletree Club (room to be announced). If you have any questions, please direct them to Jolynn Atkins at prior to the meeting, so that we can limit the discussion and be respectful of your time at the meeting.

    We appreciate your time to make this necessary change.

  • Mon, July 20, 2015 4:05 PM | Paul Venderley (Administrator)

    You read the posts about the top tips for delivering a presentation.  Show your passion, they say.  Talk to your audience, not at your audience.  Don't use bullet points -- Steve Jobs never used bullet points.

    All that's well and good. And there are great tips out there.  I personally like this collection of "Top Ten Delivery Tips" from Garr Reynolds.  

    Here's the thing.  Just like telling ain't training, reading ain't practicing.

    That's another tip, by the way.  Practice, practice, rehearse.  

    Just... when you practice, how do you know you're practicing effectively?

    This is a challenge for many folks in the talent development industry -- finding a resource, a community who can help them advance in their field of passion.  This is one of the reasons why Anthony Harmetz created the Trainer's Special Interest Group, and it's one of the reasons ATD-OC annually facilitates the Total Trainer: Delivering Training program.

    Total Trainer: Delivering Training teaches us to design and deliver impactful presentations for:

    • business meetings,
    • conferences and special events, or
    • classroom training.

    What sets this program apart is the highly interactive learning environment.  Approximately half of each session is devoted to the practice of the skills and techniques shared in the first half of the session, with individual feedback given to each participant.  

    What are some of the specific skills practiced in these workshops?

    • Engaging your audience through application of:
      • eye contact
      • voice
      • movement
      • non-verbal communication
    • Leading individual and group activities
    • Telling stories (and using humor)
    • Handling off-track and challenging participants
    • Structuring, preparing for, and practicing your presentations

    And, lest you think this is all about presentation, the workshop will address specific facilitation skills, such as:

    • Types of questions
      • Overhead
      • Direct
      • Relay
    • Maintaining self esteem when you respond to answers

    For those passionate about talent development, it's crucial to both be aware of and to practice these key delivery and facilitation skills.

    Key Workshop Information:


    8 Tuesday Evenings
    9/22 – 11/10, 2015
    Plus 3 optional sessions:  Oct 1, 15, & 29

    TIME:            5:30 – 9:00 pm

    LOCATION:    Irvine, CA 92618


    •   Key Delivery Skills
    •   Engaging Your Audience
    •   Presentation Structure
    •   Planning & Preparation
    •   Advanced Facilitation Skills
    •   Storytelling
    •   Active Learning Techniques
    •   Putting It All Together

    Total Trainer 2015 Flyer

    Register Today!

  • Thu, July 09, 2015 10:34 PM | Paul Venderley (Administrator)

    There's a lot of information that we like to share with you. From community events to topical content, we update our site several times a month. However, we realize that you don't have the time or drive to visit our web pages weekly (or daily: Gollee, we'd sure like it if you did...). So we publish on various social media channels in hopes that our messaging reaches you there.

    Like our Facebook Page.  We post Event updates there, and links to our (almost) weekly blog posts. However, we realize that just publishing on Facebook isn't enough.  Facebook's algorithms make it exceptionally difficult for events and updates (like this one) from small organizations (like ours) to reach your newsfeed without concerted engagement from our members.

    If Facebook is your go-to social media resource for keeping up-to-date, we've got good news for you.  The social media giant has upgraded the permissions setting that you use to manage your News Feed so you can get you the information that you want, quickly.

    "To help prioritize stories, and make sure you don’t miss posts from particular friends and Pages, you can now select which friends and Pages you would like to see at the top of your News Feed," Facebook shared in their July 9 news update. 

    Facebook provides more details in this article, but the quick summary is this:

    1. On Facebook, go to the ATD-Orange County page.  The easiest way to do this may be to type "ATD" in the Search field at the top of your page.
    2. At the top of the ATD-OC Facebook Page, somewhere in the cover photo, you should see a "Liked" button (You don't? Do you see a "Like" button? Please click that to "Like" our page.).
    3. Activate the "Liked" drop-down  menu.
    4. Select "See First."

    Now, any time we post something new to our Facebook page, that will come to the top of the list.

    Don't worry; we won't post as much as Wil Wheaton. At most, we share new content once a day. And now, you'll be more likely to see that content.

    Repeat those steps for other pages that you like, such as ASTD-Los Angeles or Star Trek TNG.  

    We look forward to hearing from you on Facebook! And on LinkedIn, and Twitter, if you're thereabouts.

  • Tue, June 30, 2015 11:24 PM | Paul Venderley (Administrator)

    With the objective of creating a bigger and better ATD-OC, the 2015 Chapter Board has spearheaded an initiative to create two committees addressing key areas of concern for our Chapter's development.  We'd like to introduce you to these committee members, first to thank them for their commitment of time and energy, but also to provide a means by which you can reach out to them with your ideas.

    • Programs

    From the financial effectiveness of ATD-OC's Monthly Learning Event to the role Special Interest Groups play in our Chapter, the Programs committee will examine how best to ensure the events we proffer meet our member needs.
    • Karina Napuri, Chair
    • Anthony Harmetz
    • Jolynn Atkins
    • Kathy O'Halloran 
    • Jesus Avalos 
    • Marian Sherman 
    • Eileen Azzara 
    • Denise Lamonte 
    • Jeffrey Hansler
    • Marketing

    What is our Chapter's message?  Does it appropriately reflect our community?  The Marketing Committee will examine both how and why we reach out to our members, and ways to communicate what this Chapter offers the greater talent development community.

    • LaVasha Lobbins, Chair
    • Melissa Vargas 
    • Diane Lee 
    • Rhonda Askeland 
    •  Don McGray
    • Lisa Kolbe
    • Kathleen Dvorak Ashelford
    • Paul Venderley
    • Jeffrey Hansler, Committee Liaison
    • Technology Committee

    Are the chapter's technological resources serving our board, our volunteers, and our members well?  What can be done to ensure these resources are efficiently used to their full potential?  How can we develop our members utilizing these resources? Do we need any other resources to support our Chapter needs?  These are the big questions faced by the intrepid Technology Committee.

    • Susan Schild, Chair 
    • Stephanie Rothschild  
    •  Lorraine Zank  
    • Jeffrey Hansler, Committee Liaison  

    If you see any of these ATD-OC Committee members in a future Learning Event (or in your neighborhood diner), pat them on the back and then talk their ears off about what can be done to make your talent development community better meet your needs.

  • Thu, June 11, 2015 11:30 AM | Paul Venderley (Administrator)
    When we read the topic of this month's Learning Event: 
    Leadership as a Hero’s Journey – Four Virtues for Transforming Uncertainty and Anxiety into Results, this image popped into our heads: 

    Why? It's a classic image (nowadays) representing the start of the hero's journey: the hero in his ordinary world, before adventure's call.

    If you're not familiar with the term "hero's journey," it's a phrase coined by American mythologist Joseph Campbell, whose book The Power of Myth you may have read in one of your English classes, or watched as a PBS documentary.  For the hero's journey, Mr. Campbell describes a cycle found in myths and stories across language and time in which the hero of the myth follows the same basic steps. 

    Map that circle to the plot for Star Wars (Episode 4 - 6), and you'll see that Luke Skywalker's story follows this path quite closely, which both George Lucas and Joseph Campbell acknowledge in the Power of Myth documentary.

    This month's presenter, Eric Kaufmann, applies this cycle to the development of the leader.  And why not?  Often in organizations, leaders are people who have attained some sense of the ordinary in their work. That ordinary has been acknowledged by the rest of the organization, and leaders are then challenged with a call to adventure -- a promotion, for example. Or a new project.  So there they are, standing atop a rise overlooking a vista that they'd walked past every day but never really seen, wondering what happens next.  From that point on (with perhaps a skip over step 3) the leaders will find themselves beset by obstacles and uncertainty, perhaps awash in office politics with allies, enemies, and the occasional test of one's resilience.

    Not sure if Mr. Kaufmann will be including any Star Wars references in his June 24 presentation, but I'll probably be softly humming the Skywalker theme during dinner.

  • Tue, June 02, 2015 11:48 PM | Paul Venderley (Administrator)

    It's hard not to create an allegory out of the absence of our scheduled May presenter, Devon Scheef, and her topic of Knowledge Sharing.  Ms. Scheef is someone who has developed an expertise in the topic, and quite suddenly, unintentionally, she was unable to join us.  President Elect Jeffrey Hansler stepped in to take her place.

    And here's where the metaphor comes in.  48% of managers and supervisors are eligible for retirement this year.  Does each of those managers have someone who is able to step in and fill their shoes?  

    "Why haven't two decades of sustained knowledge-sharing efforts been more successful? " asked Beverly Kaye, Ilana Maskin, and Devon Scheef in their 2011 article: "Knowledge Transfer as Wisdom Sharing."  The article points out all the repositories of expert knowledge, from databases and wikis to communities of practice, lack a human element.  For his part, Mr. Hansler was prepared with sheets of presenter materials and leaders notes.   

    The meeting participants we interviewed believed Jeffrey did just fine.

    "I really liked the risk profile," shared ASTD-OC Past President Rhonda Askeland. "Identifying the potential knowledge pits was helpful and something I will share with my clients."

    "I gained insight about limitations of information shared based on people "staying in the box" of what they should/could share." added Rhonda.  "It was also helpful to reinforce the internal/external knowledge sharing paradigm."

    Angela Vanhorn walked away from the event inspired to demonstrate and model the value of sharing and mentoring in the workforce.  She saw that doing so would "create engaged employees who will collaborate and relate their ideas and wisdom."

    As always, our community shared their wisdom during the meeting.  "Participants shared several creative ideas that appeal to the audience’s “human side,'" said Angela. "Which can be utilized when presenting or facilitating to a diverse group of participants."

    Which brings us back to the allegory that so neatly leapt into our lap -- good documentation may be a fine starting point for the person taking over someone else's role, but it's the combination of that knowledge and experiences that provides for better learning opportunities.

    Did you attend May's Knowledge Transfer Learning Event?  Share your insights in our comments.


  • Fri, May 22, 2015 4:07 PM | Paul Venderley (Administrator)

    My mother retired years after her 65th birthday. When she did, she took with her well over 30 years of knowledge on the "Proper Way To Get Things Done" - techniques that were a combination of job knowledge and the relationships she had built with vendors and with her coworkers. I'm significantly biased, but those were some pretty big shoes to fill.

    A lot has been said about organizational brain drain over the past few years, and a lot of the focus has been on the Baby Boomer generation retiring.  Here's an interesting realization: brain drain doesn't just occur when the Baby Boomers leave -  it occurs when any employee leaves, especially with the rapidity that knowledge is created and altered in today's work environment. When the average length of time an employee holds a job these days is between 2 to 5 years, and as technology and networks shift just as swiftly, organizations need to place a priority on capturing and maintaining all their intellectual capital.

    Consider this: what would happen to your department's workflow if your LMS Administrator were to leave?  Or your Training Coordinator?  Let's say only one person on your team is able to facilitate a course -- what happens then that person leaves (our Total Trainer design team can serve as a case study for this last "what if").  These people might be retiring Boomers, but they just as easily can be Gen X'ers or Millenials seeking a different challenge.

    Intellectual capital is not limited to one generation, and its importance is not limited to those employees with significant tenure.  While presentations such as Devon Scheef's May 27 Learning Event may be couched as a preventative for the loss of legacy expertise, it would behoove all of us to consider applying her approaches with the mindset that each employee is host to a unique bit of wisdom critical to the operation of the company, and to find a way to build a community that embraces the ready sharing of that wisdom.

  • Thu, April 30, 2015 10:53 PM | Paul Venderley (Administrator)

    When Ferril Onyett and Mazen Albatarseh tackled the challenge of delivering impactful training to 150,000+ employees across the globe, they walked away with a case study that focused more about the analysis of their dispersed workforce needs, and less about the solution. 

    Their solution: to train Taco Bell's front line employees, which turns over at an astronomical rate of 140%, the company uses eLearning combined with on-the-job observation.  This shouldn’t surprise us.  Google "training dispersed workforce," and the use of some form of eLearning resource -- be it an online library or an LMS – will appear somewhere on the blog posts and web sites that populate the search results.

    What resonated with our members, however, was the approach that Ferril Onyett (Director, People Development and Global Learning) and Mazen Albatarseh (Director of Management Systems and the Customer Engagement team) took to hone their program.  Turns out, they were using eLearning before. It just wasn't effective.

    "The most important take away for me was seeing the way that the Taco Bell team had graphed the behaviors/experiences of the customers, the front line workers, the assistant managers, and the managers into one document,” shared Laurie Reinhart. “This helped them clarify exactly what was valuable and what added no value in terms of what the company was requiring of franchisees.”  Laurie appreciated that methodology so much that: “I have adapted and applied their grid-based analysis to the development plan for my own consulting group."

    A key component of that grid-based analysis was a focus on Taco-Bell's customers.  Mazen took great care to show that everything, from the training of the front line employees to the training of the restaurant managers, was tied to the customer experience.

    Mary MacKey appreciated "how they detailed each step of the process for each level of participation (manager, team member, and customer and showed the relationship among them all) – work as a team.  This was a good reminder to focus on in some current projects."

    So if Taco Bell was delivering eLearning before the time period addressed in their case study, and continued to deliver eLearning afterwards, what differed?  Training's focus on the essentials. 

    “The response from everyone that there are approximately 1000 acronyms and 200 some-odd amount of things a manager needed to do was a loud cry to how out of control things can become if you don’t look at the big picture," commented Mary.  While neither Mazen nor Ferril did anything to assure us that the number of acronyms had diminished (indeed, Ms. Onyett added a new one during her presentation), they stressed multiple times that the key measurements that both the company and training were focusing on totalled 26. This reduction of information overload most impacted the new hire training program, reducing the time spent in front of eLearning content more than 60%.

    Ferril and Mazen’s story showed that the key to training a dispersed workforce has less to do with the solutions you provide than everything else that comes before it.

    "Hearing their story reinforced the importance of one's credibility and track record within the organization," said Laurie. "Because they had an established record and enjoyed the confidence of the organization's leadership, they were able to adapt their approach when they needed to do so."
  • Mon, April 20, 2015 8:08 PM | Paul Venderley (Administrator)
    This month's Learning Event topic brought to mind ATD-OC's inaugural Training Manager SIG meeting, in which the Training Director (and department of one) of a local retailer was sharing her challenges in reaching out to a workforce scattered throughout malls and outlet stores across the nation.

    First and foremost, the presenter had to rely upon a shifting roster of store managers to deliver her training -- she simply could not be in all stores in a reasonable span of time to deliver the training herself.  Her solution was a "training-in-a-box" deliverable, where each store would receive the training material, along with a manager's facilitation guide.

    From this solution came other challenges: consistency, and ensuring learning effectiveness.  

    I would imagine Taco Bell's OD department (two of whom will be presenting this Wednesday, April 22) had similar problems, if at a greater scope.  

    The management and professional development of geographically dispersed teams has been a growing challenge since the latter half of the previous century.   As technology has lessened the impact business has on a growing organization, as more and more companies have expanded their reach from regional to national to global, communication breaches the spans between teams at the speed of thought.  Yet physical interaction remains limited, and meaningful communication becomes hampered without the most deliberate of asynchronous explanations.

    Solutions abound, creating additional challenges of adapting to technology, budgeting time and resources, and the challenge of an ever-changing environment. Do you deliver eLearning to ensure a consistent message is shared across the organization?  Do you rely upon web meetings to help facilitate that interpersonal dialogue that eLearning lacks? Do you collaborate in the cloud? Or do you rely upon your organization’s leaders to deliver the “Training In A Box” packages that you design?

    From what I gather from the description of ATD-OC's April 22 lunchtime Learning Event, there's no one way. The training team at Taco Bell continuously adapts its strategies to figure out the right blend of e-learning, virtual sessions, and classroom training (yes, there's still a place for classroom training).   It'll be interesting to learn more about their methodology of when to shift gears, of identifying which blend works for which team. 

    Who wants to ask them about including informal/social learning tools into the mix?

  • Wed, April 08, 2015 6:35 AM | Paul Venderley (Administrator)

    Coaching is a process. This was one of the key take-aways from last month's Learning Event, which was part experiential learning, part best practices identification, and a little bit of lecture. It was also an opportunity to observe coaching in action -- presenter Steve VerBurg did an admirable job gathering the pooled knowledge of the ATD-OC attendees and transforming them into learning opportunities for everyone involved.

    Which was a key lesson of the session. Knowledge, Steve shared, consists of about 15% of what the coach is responsible for. The remaining 85% consists of skills and attitude. The inspirational coaches with whom we each have worked, or are working, have displayed characteristics that focused on skills and attitude more than on knowledge. Dr. Cynthia Boccara took that message to heart: "I'm 'Dr. Data' - I love knowledge. I'm finding that it's an impediment to me. I get locked in that analysis and more data and research. And I see myself spinning, and I keep thinking that I need to know more. This [session] is one more reinforcement that it's not the knowledge, it's the attitude and application that actually creates the success."

    "Steve VerBurg aptly pointed out that Attitude is the one component that leaders and trainers have within their control," shared Brenda Wells. "And that so many of the skills and competencies that we wish to exploit positively begin with the proper Attitude: patience, mentorship, empowerment, trust, credibility, to name only a few."

    Steve shared a few key models with the group that evening, but the key take-aways seemed to come from the participants' analyses of how to apply those models. "I am always impressed with the amount of experience and wisdom in the room," shared Brenda. "Besides the amazing number of insightful and helpful tips offered to gain performance improvement, the spirit of collaboration and support was clearly present."

    That sharing came in the culminate activity of the evening, where Steve presented five categories of coaching techniques, and challenged us to share what we've experienced that would fit into those categories. We've posted the images to the right -- click on each image to see the details (we're particularly proud of how we were able to include ATD-OC as a coaching resource -- ask us how in the comments, if you'd like more details behind these lists!).

    As you can see from the list, the methods by which a leader can coach an employee are plentiful.  Our attendees would point out, however, that those techniques fit within 2, perhaps 3 of the seven coaching process steps, and by themselves would not succeed in improving employee performance.  

    Michele Schwab appreciated the Coaching Process Model.  "It breaks down a very big process," she said.  "I believe many of us walked away from the session understanding that each step is important to achieving better results."  Perhaps an equally important:  "I can easily reference the nice clean structure [of the coaching process] during future coaching or "coaching the coach" opportunities."

    If you attended our March Learning Event, and would like to add your thoughts to what you learned, we look forward to your comments. 

    We also look forward to seeing you at our April Learning Event, which addresses "Training A Dispersed Workforce."  In a business world that continues to adapt and adjust to a global market, with large organizations spread across the nation and the world, the challenges of training both new and existing employees goes beyond the typical issues experienced in a single classroom.  Our presenters Ferril Onyett and Mazen Albatarseh will share Taco Bell best practices to managing this tension and remain agile and responsive to a rapidly evolving business climate.

    See you there!

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