The past couple of years have sparked a digital disruption in the HR realm. One of the key areas impacted by this is leadership development. In today’s episode, Meredith Masse of Innovate. Coach. Consult. (ICC) dives deep and shares valuable insight on the topic. She joins the panel with Sam Reeve, Char Miller, and Jules to give strategies you can implement to help drive the growth of your leaders and employees while adapting to new technologies in the space. In addition, Meredith shares new methods and tactics for the new wave of modern learners in the workforce. Learn more about the current trends in training and development by tuning in!
If you are joining us for the first time, welcome. This is going to be a valuable session. I know you’re going to get so much out of this. We have an amazing speaker lined up for you. A bit of the show, it’s a mastermind of leaders dedicated to creating workplaces where people thrive, employees reward and customers love. That’s a bit of our forum. Let me introduce our panel. I’ll start with Char. She is a People Strategist. She’s experienced with HR. She is coming to us from cartel viaje if you would. If you need help running your business remotely, she’s the gal. She knows what’s up. She’s all over the place.
Proven she can run a business from anywhere in the world. We have Sam, Founder and CEO of CompTeam. He is the man behind these forums and these sessions. We’re very grateful that he’s here putting them on for us. My name is Jules. I’m an On-camera and Video expert. I help people strengthen their on-camera presence, which in the world we’re living in, we’re all getting on camera whether we like it or not. I help people shine and get a little bit more confident.
I want to introduce our fabulous speaker. You’re in for a real treat. We have Meredith Masse with us here. She is the Senior Vice President of ICC, which stands for Innovate Coach and Consult. It’s a company specializing in scalable technology-driven coach-led leadership development. Her mission is to develop leaders who are on fire who model and demonstrate the world they demand to live in. I love that mission. I don’t know who wrote that. If you wrote it Meredith, that is so outstanding. It pops. I’m going to hand it over to Meredith. We’re excited to have you here and take it away.
Thank you. Welcome, everyone. It is a pleasure as always to be back with the CompTeam. This may be my third appearance since this COVID madness began. Can you believe it has been almost a full year of this? We’re going to talk all about digital disruption, notably because we’ve all felt it in the space of leadership development.
I’d be curious to start with a question. I’m curious to know how many of your organizations have seen some digital disruption in 2020. What I’d love to know is have your organizations have implemented some new technology. Yes or no? Yes, we’ve implanted five new platforms. No, not yet but three are coming. To give me an idea of what people’s experience has been, especially in 2020.
Let’s give examples of that. We had some video conferencing before in a lot of companies. It might’ve been on a more traditional type of platform. Zoom is something that came up and blew up at the beginning of 2020 due to the pandemic because it’s so easy to use. A lot of companies are using it because you don’t have to download software. It can be done through the browser. There’s been a lot of enhancements on a lot of different systems to make it easier for people to use. Zoom has been one of them.
It’s a crisis communication tool. That’s interesting. I did notice a question about the definition of digital disruption. It’s anything that is related to new technology or a change in technology in your organization. It’s a video conferencing platform. I’m trying not to get too many examples because I’m getting to some very specific to the people strategy side of the business and human resources but that’s good. It looks like several of you are making some sense of this digital world that we’re living in due to the pandemic and the fact that so many people are still working remotely. Some of us are stuck in Colorado, where it’s cold or in Puerto Vallarta, Char.
You’ve all probably heard of the company Bronston. They did a survey on 02/03/2020. I feel like it was almost the crux of the pandemic. We got through crisis mode early on. Remember when we thought we would be back at work in 2 to 4 weeks, then summer hit and people got well. The company started making plans for going back. I feel we all settle into the new normal.
On that, they survey 200 of their own client companies. For those of you who said something about, we implemented new technology. You are most certainly not alone because they found from their client companies alone between March and Q3, companies had implemented an average of 3.9 brand new technologies during that height of the pandemic.
There are almost too many digital channels to use that can be very confusing. You might be changing or implementing different solutions during the year or there’s a lot of different channels that people can communicate through. That can be rough.
I suggest speaking with your IT folks and asking for a single sign-on so you only have to manage it from one place. Don’t tell them I said that. I don’t want them stalking me because we’re making new work for them.
I have to say from my personal experience it has been very hard not to have my own onsite IT Department. It’s been a challenge because technology is changing so much and my employees are using different technologies to speak to our physician groups and do their jobs. It’s been challenging from the printers, the Zoom calls, even myself with my laptop and internet connectivity. It’s been a real challenge.
That’s a very interesting point to bring up. As people know on the forums here, I specialize in compensation and pay. The jobs that have blown up this past year as far as going up significantly are material handlers for Amazon. Amazon has been paying more people with higher wages to work there and other companies have had to go and respond to that. The other piece is IT and HR jobs have all grown a bit. IT, there’s been a big boom there as far as companies supporting those small businesses remotely. In a small town where I live, I’ve seen three companies pop up in 2021 to do IT support.Modern learners are only willing to devote a total of 24 minutes per week to learning and training. Click To Tweet
Our companies are willing to pay the price because there’s no way we can operate without proper IT support. It’s essentially debilitating if we can’t have it. We will pay double the premium to have better IT help.
That’s the definition of digital disruption right there, for a native English speaker to have to relearn a keyboard that’s not QWERTY.
When you type on this keyboard, you can’t even put an @ symbol in there. It’s crazy. IT people get my issue but you’ll go out on YouTube and you can’t find a solution to it at all.
I love what you said, Sam, about HR roles expanding and certainly in the HR world, this technology piece and adding new technologies, there are no strangers to that. In that same survey, they reported the top ten HR technologies implemented. Can anyone guess what the number one HR technology was? Were you able to meet with people in person when you were trying to fill any positions?
Is it hiring tools or interviewing tools?
Video and online interviewing because we’re meeting in person. The number two was the workforce collaboration tool. You guys have already said Zoom, Slack and BlueJeans, which I have not heard of. Number three on the list, believe it or not, is training and development technology. The world of training was disrupted in 2020. We weren’t able to get together for those trainings planned for in advance even in my world because we have traditionally hosted DisruptHR in Denver.
Those big, in-person events went away and we weren’t sitting around the conference table or in a windowless, freezing, cold big hotel meeting room for any hours of training. Truly, this is where we can spend some time chatting about how we got here. We don’t have to go through the entire history necessarily of how we got here but certainly, it’s interesting to me to look at how quickly the rate of change in organizational wording sped up in 2020 out of sheer necessity.
A keynote from the 2020 HR Tech Conference, I don’t know if anyone else got to attend and I say attend because it was all online. Josh Bersin, hopefully, everybody on this show knows. If you don’t, I highly recommend you look him up and follow him because he’s an HR innovator and trendsetter, to be sure. He outlines this history of organizational learning and then the digital revolution that started, believe it or not, as early as 1998.
If you think about it prior to ‘98, that’s when training management systems and learning management systems started to explode. They were probably a little bit glitchy. The content was super expensive to build because you had the platform and you had to build her content. In the ‘90s and certainly later ‘90s, do you remember when Google came to be? It was right around 1998. Maybe it’s one of those generational moments but I still remember where I was sitting in my job at the time. My colleague from two doors down said, “Have you guys heard about this new search engine called Google?” We all said, “Google, what name is that?”
My buddy at the time called me up. He goes, “They have this email system. You got to sign up quickly and reserve your email names so you can have them. There’s going to be something huge.” It’s huge, all right.
I still have my original Google Gmail address because I heard the same thing. I left Yahoo! by my side and Google was the search engine because of the advent of Google. We started to see consumers of learning wanting that on-demand way of finding information. It was right around the same time that the term eLearning came out. At that point, instructional designers, especially with the help of their IT friends, figured out that they could build instructional content in HTML and other languages. All of a sudden, we saw this industry of content developers’ tools and learning management systems that were taking off.
It was Google that time that browsing a course catalog was slow, maybe a little boring when we could search for what exactly we wanted. I remember the early days of Google when I would go in and type something and remember the whole time. I don’t even know if it’s still there that says, “I’m feeling lucky.” You click that and it takes you to the first website that it comes up with. Consumers of learning wanted the same ease for finding what they were looking for. LMS or Learning Management System vendors at that point were starting to get a little concerned.
They knew that employees in organizations who are the consumers that have to learn are looking for those kinds of features. Some of those LMS systems started to move integrated talent management systems and not just a learning management system as they saw the opportunity in the early 2000s. It was the war on talent and how we get the right people in the right seats and get them the best talent. While the LMS companies were evolving, what we saw on eMarket was still living in a world of courses. Most online content was still pretty traditional eLearning.
I’ve seen the development of this myself over the years. I know that the LMS type of approach early on has evolved into on-demand where people who have their phones and they’re carrying around if they’re getting ready for a meeting with one of their direct reports and they want to remember how to have that constructive conversation. They can pull up a quick training ten minutes ahead of the meeting and be able to refresh themselves on that.
What I’ve noticed that is coming out is on-demand or personalized coaching and training that a lot of individuals are putting out. I know Josh Bersin has his site. There’s a coaching platform I believe he uses. Other people that they’re able to get in on group coaching at a pretty reasonable price point and touch upon certain things that they want to focus on whether it be talent management or management in general or leadership. There seems to be that stage that is coming. Are you seeing those as well?If I sat you down with our desks facing each other and I said, “Okay, I'm going to teach you all the theories about proper running,” could you get up the next day and run a marathon? Click To Tweet
I would say that phase has been a part of organizational learning for probably a couple of years. What you’re talking about truly is that traditional eLearning where I have an immediate need, “I need help with this.” I can quickly look something up on my phone and have a quick video that is traditional on-demand. I have a challenge or a problem already in answer, let me dial it up and we’ll watch a three-minute video. That’s where we started to see this shift. Let’s talk about the digital learning 70/20/10 model, where 70% of a role was learned on the job by doing.
Twenty percent was learned through interaction with others and 10% was learned through structured online something with that ability to dial a coach to ask for help or look for a YouTube video.
By 2016 and Bersin by Deloitte did a study about the Modern Learner. We’re not talking about just Millennials or Gen-Z or whatever we’re going to call those folks who are coming into the workforce but the modern learner in a modern workplace.
They found that the modern learner is either they have or they’re only willing to devote 24 minutes total per week to development, learning and training. Gone are the days of the eight-hour sit in a classroom and drink through a fire hose. They want it short snippets. This is where we started to see the term microlearning come into play or take bigger topics and chunking up bigger topics like emotional intelligence into smaller pieces to learn in the flow of work.
In ICC, we started hearing years ago. Our clients started saying we don’t have time to pull our managers off the floor, whatever that looks like or away from their desk for an hour of training. Once you’re gone in a half-day, better yet can we do it in 2 hours and 90 minutes would be better. Can you imagine trying to wave a magic wand and say, “Here’s everything you need to know about becoming an emotionally intelligent leader in two hours or less?” Suddenly, you’re an emotionally intelligent leader fly be free.
We have to be careful about this digital disruption and make sure that we’re still designing based on what skills we’re trying to instill. Going into the beginning and reminding yourself about how to give effective feedback, watch a little video. It takes these steps and going in front of the individual, etc. That is especially relevant when I think Char was talking about it before, I acquaint and I need help. That’s what’s gotten us where we are, which is here. Traditional eLearning is still great for less complex skills that we’re trying to teach. It’s that I need help.
I talked with a manager at a telecom and cable company who came to us. I’m working with guys because they’re mostly guys in the field. I remember seeing this particular apparatus in my training but I haven’t worked on it in a while. I need to search up the quick YouTube video to remind myself how to plug this widget into this widget. I’m not a technical person. What about in leadership development where we’re trying to teach much more complex nuanced skills? I always use emotional intelligence as an example because it’s one of the toughest ones to learn, though it can be learned.
Are you going to search for a YouTube video on how to be a great listener? You could but how effective is that going to be? We have to be conscious of matching the tools and the design. One, it is the level of skill that we’re trying to help, in our case, managers and leaders, to fully absorb. Let me put it in these terms. Think about running a marathon. Sam, are you a marathon runner?
Former marathon runner.
This would be good. Before you ever ran your first marathon, I sat you down, desks facing each other, then I’m going to teach you all the theories about proper running. Could you get up the next day and run a marathon? Do you know how to run it? If I gave you the best pair of shoes, taught you how to tie them, I gave you a little video and reminded you how to tie your shoes on top of the theory with that new tool, could you run a marathon the next day?
The more complex the skill like 26.2 miles, the more time it takes to develop that muscle memory. In traditional eLearning, I can teach you how to tie your shoe but if we’re trying to teach something new like emotional intelligence, leading our teams through change or dealing with conflict in the workplace, the videos might be helpful tools like the shoes but it doesn’t automatically give the skill and the know-how. What it takes is, in the case of the marathon, what if I coached you and said, “Now, you’re going to run 1 mile.” Could you do that the next day?
Give or take, you could finish a mile even if you had to walk part of it. The next day I said, “Now it’s 2 miles.” By the time you get to 10 miles, I say, “Now, I’m going to run next to you as your coach and we’re going to find things that can make you more efficient. I’m going to give you some feedback.” When we talk about leadership development and digital disruption, it takes more than taking your in-person training from the freezing cold, windowless hotel meeting room or chicken for lunch. It takes more than tying your shoe solution. It takes time because we focus on our leadership development because we are going to break up into small bite-size pieces because leaders only have 24 minutes a week that. It has to be delivered over time with the help of a coach or a mentor.
That’s a big failure in a lot of traditional learning that companies are doing. I work with a lot of startups and rapidly growing companies. A lot of them, the learning and development are almost a second, an afterthought. They’re growing so fast and they haven’t put a lot of time into development. They’re thinking about putting in these programs in a traditional sense. As you pointed out, Meredith, especially in the modern workplace, having your own mentor, coach or person invested in developing you personally and taking you through that journey is highly impactful.
If you’re doing these little twenty-minute sessions, this marathon example that you have, it’s great to have that sequence, know what the sequence of steps are so you can get from A to B. Using the metaphor of eating an elephant all at once is impossible. It’s good knowing the steps and having something to keep you motivated to accomplish those and then getting you to that end result. That’s the modern development element. Thanks for that example. That brought that out clearly.We have to match the training to the complexity of the scaffold we’re trying to teach. Click To Tweet
I love that eating elephant metaphor. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time is the answer. I know lots of companies did this out of sheer necessity in 2020. I’m going to take my eight-hour training, I’m going to plop it on Zoom, use the breakout rooms and we’ll still have that interaction. I don’t know about mortars in our participants’ organizations but we tried that one day at ICC earlier in 2021. You think that we would know better based on the fact that we do this for a living. We were trying to squeeze in a nearly full day. We were 9:00 to 3:00. Our leaders had an earful afterward
We were all done by lunchtime. Zoom fatigue, the mental fatigue of being on a screen. It was a real eye-opener and we all said, “We cannot do this again.” Half-day max. At least that way, we can vary the activity. We weren’t just in a big group and it wasn’t a big lecture. We got overdone in a shorter amount of time. I feel like we did in a longer session. We have to match the training to the complexity of the scale we’re trying to teach, this attention span issue, Zoom fatigue and everything we learned in 2020.
I wanted to point out one more thing. I know Char, you’re doing leadership of virtual coaching piece that it’s on a weekly basis with your team. How is that going? What have you learned through that process?
We’ve been using very microburst learning through the TMA Method in the CompTeam. It’s a short lesson with videos and an ability to hit submit with a discussion around talent management strategy. My leaders are going through that. They’re going through around lesson 3 or 4. Weekly, we have a conversation with them to say, “What are you learning around talent acquisition, onboarding and recruiting?” They love it because they can do it at their leisure. It is at their fingertips. They can do it right on their cell phones.
It’s not like some big cumbersome learning management system. It’s different. I would say that my leaders have more rewarding conversations and we’re highlighting this program because we are going to be offering that to our clients through the CompTeam company. About twenty of my employees will be going through this program ultimately. It’s very easy and robust. It’s been great as a leader to go through each of those.
I’m going to give you a checklist of everything that we’ve learned to make sure that if it’s not already included. It’s something to think about. Again, the whole point is to figure out the complexity of the skill that we’re trying to teach and the right mode. Is it the quick dial-up? You have to think about what we’re trying to teach. Is it simply new knowledge? It could be an email or a job aid of some kind that says, “You need to do X, Y and Z.” In the HR world, thinking about new knowledge is maybe the new tools that are coming out and what it means for your interviewing.
It could be a job aid that’s as simple as, “You can ask this, you may not ask this,” or you may go into trouble. It’s imparting new knowledge and what’s the right digital tool for that. In addition to new knowledge, it’s still new skills. How do we teach a new skill in a digital setting? You are giving people the opportunity to talk about it and practice those new skills. If we want those new skills to turn into actual new behaviors then it takes practice. Sam, this is a perfect place to say that this is where a coach, mentor or who’s running beside you and watching you run a marathon and saying, “When you put your right foot down, you turn in so let’s try a new behavior of keeping your foot flatter,” for example, if we stick with the marathon thing.
When we’re talking with our clients at ICC, what we are trying to help them understand, is new knowledge enough? Are new skills that they’re familiar with enough? Are new behaviors enough? Do we need to include a little extra time and some on the job, especially practice and reinforcement with a coach, manager and mentor to instill habits? We’ve done standup training, a part of what we’ve built our company on. We do week-long programs with leaders in the conference room and every day was a new topic.
Plugin the fire hose and start drinking, people. We still followed that up with coaching to help make sure they could use the skills. There’s so much of the literature, especially in the last years that has been talking so much about habits and leadership habits. If you’re an avid tooth flosser, maybe it’s a habit now but at first, you only had to think about it, “I wanted to be better about flossing my teeth.” Silly example but you get what I’m talking about. It’s just automatic. We want the same thing to happen with these more complex skills and leadership.
To form new habits, what we’ve done with our training, we’ve taken that idea, like you said, Sam, of turning traditional training on its head. There are all sorts of information out there. If you wanted to look up the Ebbinghaus forgetting curve, you’d know how much people forget within a day of your traditional training. What we’re doing with our clients is if you’re trying to harness the power of digital disruption and your goal for leadership development is creating new habits, number one, re-design.
Again, less than five minutes a day, modern learners are either willing or have to devote to their development. The eight-hour training, especially for trying to throw on Zoom, take them to the curb. Focus on one skill at a time just like Char was saying that she’s doing with her team and make sure the learning is in small chunks. The official term in the training and development world is microlearning and then reinforcing it. Char was saying that they have weekly conversations. How are we going to get our learners to apply these new skills on a job?
We have to keep the new skill and behavior top of mind. I have a picture of an app on the phone. It could be as simple as something like Char was saying before. It needs to go beyond a reminder but how will you get them to interact with the learning more often than the first time so that it’s top of mind and we’re giving them prompts to try to use that new skill in your day job.
When you try it and it doesn’t work the way that the facilitator, that’s where the coach comes in Sam to say, “We’ve been talking in emotional intelligence about active listening, what did you try? What went well? Let’s celebrate that. What didn’t go as well as you would’ve liked? How will you do it differently next time?”
We call that realigning so that as you’re starting to go off the rails trying out these new skills, the coach is there or whatever title that person has, again, sticking with the marathon example, can get you back on track and get you realigned on practicing those skills. The last piece is reinforcing. That R is on there twice on purpose. When we’re partnering with our clients, we get either the manager of the person that’s being developed or some other company sponsor involved. Someone who knows what the individual’s day job looks like and we feed them prompts too.We have to keep a new skill, a new behavior top of mind. Click To Tweet
They don’t have to be an expert coach. We feed them prompts to say, “This week, your direct report is learning about active listening.” In your one-on-one, ask them about how it’s going and do these things so that the manager can say, “I know you’ve got a tough one-on-one next week. Let’s practice. How are you going to practice active listening in that conversation?” All of this happens over time versus that eight-hour drink through the fire hose thing.
If you’re looking to harness the technology of leadership development. Remember, training and development was number three on the list of new technologies that companies have been implementing since the pandemic started. Think in terms of re-designing so it’s smaller, bite-sized, edible chunks that are delivered over time. Remember to reinforce, keep that top of mind and encourage practicing through prompts to say, “Go have a conversation with someone. Get a coach, mentor or someone involved to have live conversations even if it’s over Zoom.”
That’s how we do it. It’s to help course correct as people practice so that they’re not throwing a workbook away and saying, “That didn’t work the first time.” It’s like the marathon. You got to take one mile at a time. Get their leader or manager or some other sponsor from the company involved to help hold them accountable to try it in our actual day job. That’s a good adult learning theory.
One of the most important leadership lessons is realizing you’re not the most important or intelligent person in the room at all times. I was thinking about, a lot of the time, as leaders, we feel like we need to have all the answers. I’m wondering if this comes from our parenting days where our children come up to us and expect us to know everything, “Why is the sky blue?” As leaders, it’s important to realize that there are other experts out there that can do this better. Our time is more should be more focused on certain other things. Hand it off to the experts.
I couldn’t agree with you more and who better to act as the expert than the people you’ve hired to do their jobs. You don’t have to know every technical aspect but as a leader, you have to learn how to be a leader that others want to follow.
The way you explain things, Meredith, and break it down into these bite-size pieces are so awesome. I hope everyone is enjoying it as well. I wanted to jump in quickly because we are reaching the top of the hour.
As we’re coming into this, I want to make sure that we are bringing up our sponsor here. I want to point out that TMA Method is our sponsor for the show. The TMA Method is not just a computer system program that focuses on integrated talent management but also a process. The process piece is how do we keep talent management as part of the entire journey of that employee from the time of hire to the time of exit. This system helps companies have that organized methodology.
We love the TMA Method here and we use it a lot in our practices. If anybody wants to learn more about the TMA Method, they do have a lot of free sources out there. There’s the competency library, which is a free resource if you look that up at CompetencyLibrary.com. If you’d like to take a free assessment, we can also bring that up. If you would like to have any time with any of our speakers, you can sign up with Meredith and get fifteen minutes to call with her to learn a little more or any of these individuals you’d like to. Feel free to sign up. I was looking at the training you mentioned as far as the sequence and what was the sequence again that you mentioned? Could you bring us through the reinforce and so forth?
The re-design is number one. No more eight-hour training. Even when we go back in in-person because what we know is that participants in those kinds of sessions will have forgotten 90% of what you spent painstaking hours developing to teach them, they’ll forget 90% of it within a week. Re-design it. Think in terms of an elementary school. First, we learn addition. Then we learn subtraction then multiplication and division and build on the skills that you’re teaching. The second is reinforce. Give them prompts over a period of time to keep that new learning top of mind and encourage them to practice.
It’s not just reminders but getting them active with the learning even if it’s self-reflection, taking a quiz or listening to a new podcast. Certainly finding ways to implement that in their day jobs. The third R is the Re-align and that’s where the coach comes in whether it’s an external coach or a mentor internally. Who can help them course-correct when they try out these new skills? Do you know how to ride a bike? I shouldn’t assume that everyone knows how to ride a bike. You probably fell a couple of times before you got the hang of it.
Maybe your mom, dad or older sibling was there to help pick you up, balance you again and run alongside until you got going. The coach’s job is to help course-correct as you try on new skills and behaviors. The last R is Reinforce again, with the help of either a direct supervisor or some other company sponsor who can say, “I know that you’re learning about X.”
We send them prompts so they don’t have to necessarily know but when they’re in our leadership development programs, the manager gets a prompt that says, “Ask your direct report about X, Y and Z and help them find opportunities in their day job to go practices and then follow up with them so the person or the group of people that we’re trying to develop know that, “My manager cares that I’m learning this,” which tends to help with motivation so that they will go and try it and do it again in their day job. Re-design, Reinforce, Realign and Reinforce again.
It’s such a pleasure having you, Meredith. Thank you for joining us.
Thanks for inviting me back.
It’s always a pleasure having you.
Thank you. I always have time with you guys. CompTeam is awesome.
So is ICC. Thank you so much. Thank you, everyone, for joining us. It was a great session. It’s a lot of good expert advice. I know that a lot of good activity there.
After spending the first 15 years of my professional life in roles I tolerated, my personal mission is to fill our workplaces with managers, leaders and other professionals — women especially! — who are ON FIRE, who model and demonstrate the kind of world they demand to live in.
In my role as SVP (Business Development) and Chief Mischief Maker at ICC: Innovate. Coach. Consult., my colleagues and I partner with organizations to: