CorpU Weekly Digest: Learning Excellence (2012-Feb-20)

Topics: Learning Excellence

Here are this past week's headlines in learning excellence: 

 Focus on the human side of customer service to make it psychologically savvy, economically sound, and easier to scale
Poor customer service isn't a headache just for consumers; it’s a problem that vexes senior managers too. Balancing the trade-offs between the cost of services and the customer experience benefits they provide is difficult. Ensuring that frontline workers can efficiently and consistently execute service offerings across a far-flung organization is harder still. Along the way, many companies lose sight of what makes human beings tick — for instance, by overlooking well-known principles of behavioral science when delivering services — and thus unwittingly predispose customers to dissatisfaction. At the same time, the customer service landscape is changing as social media and new mobile phone technologies give companies unprecedented access to data on customer interactions, while the technologies are changing the nature of the interactions themselves — for example, by amplifying the speed and impact of customer complaints. Against this backdrop, some organizations are making strides in the design and delivery of services. By focusing more thoughtfully on the human side of customer service, these companies are lowering costs by 10 percent or more while improving customer satisfaction scores by up to 30 percent. The three interrelated questions that CEOs and other senior executives should ask themselves before they introduce new services or conduct a reality check on the health of existing ones are: 1) How human is our service; 2) How economic is our service; and 3) Can our people scale it up. Read the McKinsey article "The human factor in service design" 

 How do we win the "man-vs.-machine" battle? 
The key is not to compete, but to partner — to develop new ways of combining human skills with ever-more-powerful technology to create value. Another key, on a more personal level, is to work on skills that help you couple the best of human creativity with computer power. That's one of the messages in Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee's article "Winning the Race With Ever-Smarter Machines," in the Winter 2012 issue of MIT Sloan Management Review. These kinds of jobs are where many of the best future opportunities will lie. Here are skills that Brynjolfsson and McAfee see a good future: 1) Applied math and statistics; 2) Negotiation and group dynamics; 3) Good writing; 4) Framing problems and solving open-ended problems; 5) Persuasion; and Human interaction and nurturing. Read the Sloan/MIT Review article, "Skills That Will Remain in Demand In a Computer-Rich World"

 How do you communicate with 5,000 employees across 17 countries in a simple yet effective and compelling way?
This was a question that Jovina Ang had to answer back in 2010, when she joined Microsoft Services Asia as marketing communications director. The task was daunting insofar as Microsoft Services Asia — the division concerned with information technology consultancy and support — is spread across a vast and diverse region, including countries like Japan, India and Greater China. Furthermore, employees were, on the average, receiving some 200 emails per day. It was not unimaginable that a mass, corporation-wide email would be left untouched and unread by most employees. Ang, who is also an adjunct faculty of corporate communication at Singapore Management University's (SMU) Lee Kong Chian School of Business, thought it would be most imperative to deliver a form of communications that could not only "cut through the clutter" but, at the same time, engage and align everyone on broad organizational goals and values. Read the Knowledge at Singapore Management University article, "Enhancing internal communications: How Microsoft cuts through the clutter"


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The Business of Learning: New Major Products, Mergers, Acquisitions, and Partnerships

No major news in mergers, acquisitions, or product releases.

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 Books To Read

The HR function has to adjust itself to the implications of the globalization of business activity. This has meant adjusting philosophy, policies, and practices to fit new organizational imperatives, as well as refashioning a service delivery model. In Global HR, a book to be released on March 1, 2012, authors Peter Reilly and Tony Williams explore the key issues of building an international brand, culture, and talent pool, while contributing to business and functional transformation. The book combines broad, practical experience drawing on examples from multinational organizations in telecommunications, fast-moving consumer goods, manufacturing, software, services, and commodities. In doing so, they offer insights into managing people and businesses that no organization should ignore. Buy now

In Developing Talent for Organizational Results: Training Tools from the Best in the Field, a book to be released on March 20, 2012, Elaine Biech brings together some of the 'royalty' of American corporations and asks them to share their wisdom in increasing organizational effectiveness. In 46 information-filled chapters, these 'learning providers' don't just sit on their conceptual thrones; they offer practical advice for achieving company goals and the tools to make it happen. Definitely practical, the book provides the kind of insight covering the whole gamut of talent development, from identifying organizational needs, to making the business case for change and assembling the team to design and execute the vision, through monitoring and measuring the success of the implementation. Buy now

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The Cisco Learning Network: Realizing Significant Productivity Gains Using Social Learning
Date: Tuesday, February 21, 2012, 11 am - 12 noon ET (US)
Presenter: Fred Weiller Register now

Social Media and Trainers
Date: Wednesday, February 22, 2012, 18.30-19.30 GMT / 12:30pm ET
Presenters: Jane Hart will be hosting the following webinar In conversation with Jane Bozarth Register now 

To what extent should learning design be supported computationally?
Date: Wednesday, Feburary 22, 2012, 12 noon ET (US)
Presenters: Diana Laurillard and Stephen Downes Register now

Leveraging Differences for Business Success
Date: February 23, 2012, 1 pm ET (US)
Presenters: Martin Davidson, PhD, teaches Leadership and Organizational Behavior at Darden Register now

Culture on Purpose: Developing a High Performance Corporate Culture
Date: Wednesday, February 29, 2012, 2 pm ET  (US) / 11 am PT (US)
Presenter: Todd Gentzel Register now

Taking Talent Management from the Backroom to the Boardroom
Date: Tuesday, March 6, 2012, 14:15 GMT / 9:15 am ET (US)
Presenters: Raymond Waal, Michael Boedewig and Daniela Porr Register now

People Insights 2.0: Opportunity at the Confluence of Workforce Intelligence and Social Analytics
Date: Thursday, March 1, 2012, 11 am ET (US)
Presenters: Yvette Cameron, Principal Analyst (Constellation Research) Register now


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Global Mindset Development in Leadership and Management Conference
Date: March 2-3, 2012 
Location: Los Angeles, CA, USA Register now

International Research Conference on Management, Engineering and Technology
Date: March 2-5, 2012
Location: Bangkok, Thailand Register now

Heartland eLearning Conference
Date: March 5-6, 2012 
Location: Edmond, OK, USA Register now

HR 2012
Date: March 13-16, 2012
Location: Las Vegas, NV, USA Register now

The Six Disciplines of Learning Transfer: Presented by ASTD in Partnership with Fort Hill Company
Date: April 4-5, 2012
Location: Atlanta, GA, United States Register now 

Talent Management Summit
Date April 10-12, 2012
Location: São Paulo, Brazil Register now

Learning TECH 2012
Date: April 23 - 25, 2012
Location: Chicago, IL, USA Register now


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