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Thoughts on Our Resources

Thoughts on our Resources

I don’t know if you have noticed but we have been quite busy over the past few months. I wanted to bring it to your attention and provide you with some suggestions going forward.

As you know at Learning Without Scars, we have three purposes and main goals.

  1. To transfer wisdom and knowledge from Thought Leaders and Experienced Executives and others through our Blogs, Podcasts, Newsletters and Audio Learning. You should register for the Blogs and Subscribe to the Newsletters. The Podcasts and Audio Learning segments are separate issues.
  2. To provide objective evaluations of the knowledge and skills of the employees in Product Support Job Functions with our Job Specific Skills Assessments. These assessments provide a score and allow us to customize specific learning paths based on the employee scores.
  3. To provide Subject Specific Classes tied to Departments and specific Job Functions. These classes can be assigned to employees based on their scores from the Job Function Skill Assessments. The Education Community classifies knowledge levels in four categories; Developing, Beginning, Intermediate and Advanced. We have determined eight classes for each developmental level for each Job Function.

I would like to direct you to “The Resources” tab on the home page @ www.learningwithoutscars.com.

You will see a dropdown that lists off everything under that tab. Go first to Contributors. We have been able to engage a series of highly skilled and talented people who share their knowledge, experience and wisdom with us. These skills and that knowledge and wisdom comes to you free of charge. But there is a caveat to that. Reading through a blog you will find that there are suggestions and ideas for you to consider. This is not reading the Sunday Paper and moving on. This might require you to make changes ton something in your operations. We hope so as our Contributors have “been there done that.” As you scroll down through the Contributors you have a brief biography of the individual and a picture to see not just their work. Then you will see the most recent three Blog posts and Podcasts.

Then if you go back up to the Resources tab and slide down to Blogs you will see our Socrates Says Blog series. There are some 900 different blog posts there for you to read through. We are creating better search criteria for you so that you will be able to find more easily what you are looking for in the blogs. While you are there, PLEASE take a moment and subscribe to the blog. All you have to do is provide us your email address then you will receive the blogs when they are posted automatically. We typically post blogs on Tuesday. Normally we have two blogs each Tuesday. If it becomes too much for you simply unsubscribe.

Next are Podcasts. Go back to the Resources tab on the Banner line at the top of the screen and slide down to Podcasts. We are very pleased we just had our 1000th download of one of our Podcasts. Not bad in only three or four months. We are really pleased that so many skilled people have agreed to spend time with me talking about various subjects of interest to the Product Support world. We cover HR issues with two very talented people, Sonya Law from Australia and Bruce Baker from Canada. We cover Technology with four very talented people in Dan Slusarchuk from Oklahoma, Dale Hanna from Arizona, Ross Atkinson from Canada and Alex Schuessler from New York. We cover dealer operations with Steve Day from Alabama and Brad Stimmel from North Caroline, and Ryszard Chciuk from Poland. Ed Gordon and Ed Wallace two men who were once College professors weigh in on Workplace Development and the Skilled Workforce as well as Relationship Management and Selling. There are more. Our Podcasts started out running between 40 and 50 minutes. We covered a lot of content. About ix weeks ago we surveyed our viewership and the results indicated that the audience wanted shorter Podcasts. We now offer 10-to-20-minute Podcasts. I hope you enjoy them.

Continuing on this path, go to Resources again and slide down to Newsletters. We started producing a Newsletter July 1st, 2021. They run quarterly so our second Newsletter went out October 1st 2021. We are currently putting the next Newsletter together which will be published and released January 1st 2022. We are becoming better at developing the Newsletter and have modified how we bring them to you so that you can maximize the benefit they provide you. Today we provide the Newsletter in several pieces to allow you more flexibility in how you use it. You receive the Newsletter in your email if you SUBSCRIBE to it (please take a moment and do that for us). The Newsletter is split into six pieces. We start by highlighting an individual from history who has had an overly large impact on humanity. This includes several significant quotations from that individual. Then we provide a short position paper on where we stand with Learning Without Scars. Then we move into the meat of the Newsletter. We have four sections that are highlighted for you; Parts, Service, Selling and Marketing, and Business. Then we close with a reading list of books that I have been reading in my work to stay current with what is going on in our Industry in Business and other fast-moving areas like technology or Cyber Security or Artificial Intelligence. Each of the four section you can obtain in a pdf format by clicking on the statement near the end of that section. These pdfs are intended for you to share with your teams to allow them to read them and then have a discussion on what the subject matter means to your operation. Ideally each of those employees will obtain their own subscription.

Finally, we are in a Beta test with a Company in the UAE that has developed an AI tool to convert word documents to audio tracks in multiple languages. We currently have 50 audio tracks up in US and UK English with another ten or so coming shortly. This is a beneficial tool for people to get an idea of the content of learning before taking classes and assessments. We are hopeful but very optimistic this will work for us and can be expanded.

So, there you have a more detailed explanation of our Resources. There is a lot of material there for you to consider. Everything in our Resources is something that is in place in dealerships and businesses worldwide. None of this is “pie in the sky” it is all in place in business today.

And don’t forget our big news.

Effective November 1, 2021, Learning Without Scars became fully accredited as a provider of continuing education through the International Accreditors of Continuing Education and Training (IACET). This accreditation sets us apart in our field: we are the first and only education provider in our industry to hold outside accreditation. From this point forward, all students will receive CEUs when they take a course through Learning Without Scars. Now we begin the critical work of collaborating with technical schools and professional associations to develop ongoing programs for all students.

We are pleased and proud to welcome you to Learning Without Scars: an IACET accredited education provider.

The Time is Now.

Did you enjoy this blog? Read more great blog posts here.
For our course lists, please click here.

Keeping Up-to-Date and Current in a Learning Business

Keeping Up-To- Date and Current in a Learning Business

I read this article recently and wanted to share it with all of you. It presents some interesting perspectives on employee development and learning. I hope you enjoy it.

To adapt to technology disruptions and meet the modern-day learners’ demands, many organizations are looking at modernizing their existing learning material.

But modernization is not only about repackaging an ‘old wine in a new bottle’, but it should ideally be looked at as a transformational strategy to deliver business results by creating new and unique experiences for the learners. In fact, it should be embraced as an opportunity:

  • For business leaders to align strategic objectives
  • For L&D heads to transition from a culture of training to a culture of learning
  • For HR as an ongoing upskilling initiative
  • For people leaders to provide learning in the flow of work

Having said the above, modernization comes with its fair share of challenges. In order to arrive at a robust and proven modernization framework that can be successfully implemented, it is absolutely essential to spend efforts on understanding the key factors that are driving the need for modernization. Here are a couple of factors that could be considered while designing a modernization strategy:

Technology disruptions

There are multiple technology disruptions that are happening all around us. Technology in itself has undergone numerous transformational processes impacting the way learning is delivered, perceived, and consumed. While organizations need to leverage technology to meet the need of the hour; the modernization strategy has to factor in this reality by future-proofing the content for new technological disruptions.

Skill Gaps

The Covid 19 pandemic has suddenly accelerated the need for new workforce skills. According to a new McKinsey Global Survey on future workforce needs, nearly nine in ten executives and managers say their organizations either face skill gaps already or expect gaps to develop within the next five years. Owing to the new generation of learners and needs of modern-day workplace, new skill areas are popping up regularly. Closing on the skills gap and enabling employee growth should be one of the strategic themes of the modernization initiative.

The Modern-day Learner

The profile, preference and habits of learners keep on changing because society, workplace, and technology continue to evolve. While the modernization initiative should account for the needs of the modern-day learner, it should not be limited just to millennials and Gen Z. It should be more holistic, starting right from the baby boomers.

Maintenance

As content owners, one of the key things is to ensure that we are able to maintain content that we are developing. For instance, a pharma company has to ensure that the content is updated as per latest FDA regulations. The other aspect of maintenance is the variety of technology infrastructure that is being used to deliver content. Today you might have a SCORM LMS in place and you design and develop content for it, but tomorrow, if an xAPI compliant LMS comes into picture, the requirement would be to pass data into the Learning Record Store (LRS) of the LMS. The modernization strategy should account for such technology changes and make content available in a format which could be easily transitioned.

Have you come across any other factors which might be driving the need for content modernization? You can write to us at info@harbingerlearning.com and we would be happy to have a conversation.

The author of this article, Rahul, is a digital learning enthusiast and is passionate about helping organizations and leaders solve challenges around learner engagement and student outcomes through intervention of learning technologies. In a career span of over 15 years in the digital learning space, he has helped a host of global organizations and educational institutions in implementing new initiatives around their digital learning strategy.

Did you enjoy this blog? Read more great blog posts here.
For our course lists, please click here.

 

 

Friday Filosophy v.11.12.2021

FRIDAY FILOSOPHY v.11.12.2021

Vincent Willem van Gogh March 1853 – 29 July 1890) was a Dutch Post-Impressionist painter who posthumously became one of the most famous and influential figures in Western art history. In a decade, he created about 2,100 artworks, including around 860 oil paintings, most of which date from the last two years of his life. They include landscapesstill life’sportraits and self-portraits, and are characterized by bold colors and dramatic, impulsive and expressive brushwork that contributed to the foundations of modern art. Not commercially successful, he struggled with severe depression and poverty, eventually leading to his suicide at age thirty-seven.

  • Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.
  • Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.
  • Health is the greatest gift, contentment the greatest wealth, faithfulness the best relationship.
  • The mind is everything. What you think you become.
  • No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path.
  • To keep the body in good health is a duty… otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.
  • It is better to travel well than to arrive.
  • You will not be punished for your anger; you will be punished by your anger.
  • There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way, and not starting.
  • Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.
  • To enjoy good health, to bring true happiness to one’s family, to bring peace to all, one must first discipline and control one’s own mind. If a man can control his mind he can find the way to Enlightenment, and all wisdom and virtue will naturally come to him.
  • Whatever words we utter should be chosen with care for people will hear them and be influenced by them for good or ill.
  • It is a man’s own mind, not his enemy or foe, that lures him to evil ways.
  • Just as a candle cannot burn without fire, men cannot live without a spiritual life.
  • However, many holy words you read, however many you speak, what good will they do you if you do not act on upon them?
  • To be idle is a short road to death and to be diligent is a way of life; foolish people are idle, wise people are diligent.
  • In a controversy the instant we feel anger we have already ceased striving for the truth, and have begun striving for ourselves.
  • I do not believe in a fate that falls on men however they act; but I do believe in a fate that falls on them unless they act.

The Time is Now.

Did you enjoy this blog? Read more great blog posts here.
For our course lists, please click here.

The Hidden Revolution in the Equipment Industry

The Hidden Revolution in the Equipment Industry

With 20+ years of business system design and business intelligence experience, Dale Hanna founded Foresight Intelligence in 2009 to help leading equipment dealers achieve operational excellence and a sustainable competitive advantage through effective use of real time KPI’s throughout the organization. Recently, Dale has added telematics to his passion and is enjoying the challenge of making oceans of disparate data useful to manufactures, dealers, rental companies, and end customers.  Dale obtained a BSEE degree in Electrical Engineering from Cornell University and has been engaged in many associations serving the equipment industry. In his first guest blog for Learning Without Scars, Dale writes about the hidden revolution taking place in the equipment industry.

Technology is driving a revolution in the equipment industry that we can easily see: grade control, idle tracking, fault codes, autonomous equipment, electrification, etc. While the advancements are amazing and will continue to be, dealers are noticing brand differentiation becoming more and more of a challenge. In this margin-conscious market, we see the battle of the future being fought on customer experience and we see technology is quietly but rapidly driving that revolution.

This hidden revolution is happening in all areas of dealership operations.  Today we focus on how technology is increasing efficiency and enhancing customer experience in the service area, especially during this time of unprecedented labor and parts shortage.

Below are strategies that are giving some equipment dealers a leg up:

 Increasing Trust from Your Customers

We all know trust is a vital ingredient in delivering a great customer experience.  If you are like me, I used to think building trust was an elusive and subjective endeavor.  Chris Voss, a lead FBI hostage negotiator, gave us a formula to build trust quickly and predictably:

Trust = Predictability.

A system that can be configured to your workflow to automatically notify customers at key milestones creates a predictable service experience every time without adding more work for your people.  Yes, UPS and FedEx have perfected this.  You know exactly where your packages are all the time and the moment they are delivered.  It is hard to imagine any shipping company being able to survive without it.  Our expectations for the service experience are quickly reaching the same level.

Doing Business at the Speed of Text

When we do not get an email response from someone, what do we do? We text. According to a research report, on average, people respond to a text in 90 seconds and an email in about 90 minutes.  Adding an integrated SMS (text) platform is like adding nitrous to your service engine.  A fully integrated text platform notifies your customers of progress, provides new quotes, gets instant sign off for additional work, shares inspection results and obtains satisfaction survey results at lightning speed. All the communication history is saved for future reference. With the busy schedule your customers have, who would not appreciate a faster ride?

Self Service Makes Happier Customers

The pandemic has accelerated a trend that was already happening – we want to do more things online, by ourselves, at whatever hours we want, without having to wait on anyone.  Providing information your customers need, in the forms they need, always accessible makes them feel informed and in control, both are important elements for happiness.  A robust dashboard, easy to use interface, searchable/sortable/exportable data and schedulable reports keep your customers smiling while your people sleep.

Have Your Process Your Way

A lot of service systems were built based on someone else’s ideas, usually from the first few customers the system makers had. Your workflow is what makes your people efficient, and your organization stand out. Today’s technology allows an effective system to adapt to you rather than the other way around. Dynamic dashboards by user and role, quick and easy work order assignment and tracking, Apps for field technicians to easily add comments, pictures/videos, inspections can be required and enforced as a part of your workorder process are all examples of how today’s systems serve you the way you do business.

We Are More Powerful When We Are Connected

So are data and systems. At dealerships, we still use multiple systems to get things done. The last thing we want to add is another siloed system. Any service system today should connect with your OEM system for fault codes, warranty information and even submission, your telematics system for real time dispatching, customer’s telematics system for asset location and hours, maintenance management system to organize all the maintenance plans you sold and your business system for cost and PO information. The more your systems are connected, the more efficient you become.

The current pandemic will end for sure, but our world has changed forever. If we look at carefully, there is an undeniable trend – tech rich companies have done better in general, some has done exceptionally well and taken sizeable market share from competitors during COVID 19. This trend is definitely here to stay. Technology is not only changing things we can see and buy, but it is also changing the way we perform and experience service. Customers will certainly buy more equipment, especially with the new infrastructure bill, and whoever delivers the best customer experience will have the bigger share.

Did you enjoy this blog? Read more great blog posts here.
For our course lists, please click here.

Friday Filosophy v.11.05.2021

FRIDAY FILOSOPHY v.11.05.2021

Gautama Buddha, popularly known as the Buddha was a Sramana who lived in ancient India (c. 5th to 4th century BCE). He is regarded as the founder of the world religion of Buddhism, and revered by most Buddhist schools as a savior, the Enlightened One who rediscovered an ancient path to release clinging and craving and escape the cycle of birth and rebirth. He taught for around 45 years and built a large following, both monastic and lay. The Buddha was born into an aristocratic family in the Shakya clan but eventually renounced lay life. According to Buddhist tradition, after several years of mendicancy, meditation, and asceticism, he awakened to understand the mechanism which keeps people trapped in the cycle of rebirth. A couple of centuries after his death he came to be known by the title Buddha, which means “Awakened One” or “Enlightened One”. Gautama’s teachings were compiled by the Buddhist community in the Vinaya, his codes for monastic practice, and the Suttas, texts based on his discourses. These were passed down in Middle-Indo Aryan dialects through an oral tradition.

  • Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.
  • Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.
  • Health is the greatest gift, contentment the greatest wealth, faithfulness the best relationship.
  • The mind is everything. What you think you become.
  • No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path.
  • To keep the body in good health is a duty… otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.
  • It is better to travel well than to arrive.
  • You will not be punished for your anger; you will be punished by your anger.
  • There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way, and not starting.
  • Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.
  • To enjoy good health, to bring true happiness to one’s family, to bring peace to all, one must first discipline and control one’s own mind. If a man can control his mind he can find the way to Enlightenment, and all wisdom and virtue will naturally come to him.
  • Whatever words we utter should be chosen with care for people will hear them and be influenced by them for good or ill.
  • It is a man’s own mind, not his enemy or foe, that lures him to evil ways.
  • Just as a candle cannot burn without fire, men cannot live without a spiritual life.
  • However, many holy words you read, however many you speak, what good will they do you if you do not act on upon them?
  • To be idle is a short road to death and to be diligent is a way of life; foolish people are idle, wise people are diligent.
  • In a controversy the instant we feel anger we have already ceased striving for the truth, and have begun striving for ourselves.
  • I do not believe in a fate that falls on men however they act; but I do believe in a fate that falls on them unless they act.

The time is now.

Did you enjoy this blog? Read more great blog posts here.
For our course lists, please click here.

Cyber Security Incident Response Planning

Cyber Security Incident Response Planning

Learning Without Scars is pleased to introduce our new guest writer, Danny Slusarchuk. His first post for our blog is on Cyber Security Incident Response Planning. Danny Slusarchuk enjoys spending time with his family and being a productive member of the community. He serves on the Oklahoma Venture Forum (immediate past Chairman) and Oklahoma Innovative Technology Alliance boards. He leads the Oklahoma National Guard Defensive Cyberspace Operations Element. Danny founded Standards IT in 2012 and continues to be a managing partner at the headquarters in downtown Edmond. He has been recognized as 20 Edmond Business Leaders under 40 and was a recent Edmond’s Young Professional of the Year award recipient. Danny spoke most recently at the FBI’s Information Warfare Summit and has for 4 years running. This year he spoke at SECCON as well. He was a guest speaker for the Youth Leadership Edmond conference, 45th Field Artillery Brigade Honorable Order of Saint Barbara Dining Out. He was the keynote for Oklahoma Officer Candidate School Class 63.

Cyber Security Incident Response Planning

Let’s understand the why.

Your business is shut down for the foreseeable future and you don’t have the slightest idea how you are going to get back to the way you were operating yesterday. Your customers, employees, and even competitors know you have been hacked.  Someone in another country is extorting you for ten Bitcoin to maybe restore your precious data on their good word. To top it all off, your customers have brought a class action lawsuit against your negligent handling of their data.

Do not let that scenario play out solely on the bad actors’ terms.  It is possible to do everything right and still get hacked.  A living incident response policy and procedure accompanied by routine tabletop exercises and vulnerability assessments can be the difference between surviving and shutting your business down.

The Sans institution provided great cyber security training.  The incident response considerations in this post draw from their Global Certified Incident Handler curriculum.

Your plan should have input from all departments that require systems and data to operate.  I recommend you nest it with your cyber liability insurance policy and have it legally approved.

Now, if you were to pull out as much of the lingo as possible and boil it down to bullets here is how I would state it:

  • Identify the event (Intrusion Detection Software, Security Operations Center Notification, Individual Report, Litigation Notice) (each an “Event”)
  • Execute initial alert roster of Event and establish event timeline using “Event” document for record
  • Determine exposure (add additional resources if necessary and conclude as an IT Governance Council that the Event is contained and did not elevate to an “Incident”)
  • If Breach, exfiltration of data, or other harm is suspected to be probable elevate the Event to an Incident
  • Contact “Incident Response Legal Team” and “Cyber Forensics Team” (both appointed by the IT Governance Council)
  • Use IT Governance Council, Legal Team, and Cyber Forensics Team as Incident Response Council and establish Cyber Forensics Team as Incident Response Manager of the Council
  • Add additional technical resources, if needed, to manage the technical aspect of the Cyber Forensics effort and cyber defense
  • Track all time, keep running estimates of time and hardware required to maintain operations during the Incident Response
  • Add Crisis Public Relations Firm to the Council for internal and external talking points and press releases, if needed
  • Use cyber forensic evidence in court or to settle lawsuit and to submit claims to the insurance carrier
  • Notify customers and any injured parties, if necessary, pursuant to regulatory requirements
  • File incident with the FBI Cyber Crimes Complaint center, if appropriate
  • Complete “Incident Response” document(s) for record
  • Add technical controls to Cyber Security Risk Mitigation Matrix
  • Conduct an after-incident review with key personnel and distribute the IR for Record documentation

That was high level steps, and each has significance.  Overall, the concept is to prepare, identify, contain, eradicate, recover, and realized lessons learned.  The steps also include adding one-time resources like forensics and crisis public relations.

In future posts I will explore specific sections covered in greater detail that will help educate the reasoning behind the order and specific terminology.  Cyber liability insurance is only good if it pays out when you need it for example.  Yes, there are some gotchas in choosing your protection.

References: https://www.sans.org/cyber-security-courses/hacker-techniques-incident-handling/

Did you enjoy this blog? Read more great blog posts here.
For our course lists, please click here.

Why Lean Manufacturing Doesn’t Work Today

Why “Lean Manufacturing Doesn’t Work Today”

Guest writer Bruce Baker shares with us the reasons why lean manufacturing doesn’t work today: the reasons are not exactly what you might think…

Whether you own a bookkeeping business, cabinet-making business or legal practice, all businesses are made up of routines, which rely on consistent, one-at-a-time processes. Everything we do that keeps society “together” relies on repeatable activities. Whether it’s brushing our teeth, getting dressed or eating breakfast, all rely on repeatable processes.

For those who are not aware of the practice of Lean, allow me to provide you with a brief history and definition. Lean is the concept of efficient manufacturing/operations that grew out of the Toyota Production System in the middle of the 20th century. It is based on the philosophy of defining value from the customer’s viewpoint and continually improving how value is delivered by eliminating every use of wasteful resources, or that does not contribute to the value goal. In short, taking things one step at a time is the make or break of business and general success in life.

Many have heard before… “take it down a notch…one thing at a time”. Several months ago, I wrote a short article called “Your Interpretation of Time,” where I stressed the importance of how reactive we have become as a society, including business. Our interpretation of time today is drastically shorter, and the general consequences of failure, impressively higher and more extreme than before. This inevitably leads to reactive, narrow, and short-term decision-making. Albert Einstein once said, “When you are courting a nice girl, an hour seems like a second. When you sit on a red-hot cinder, a second seems like an hour. That’s relativity.”

My bold statement of “…Lean doesn’t work today” is not that the practice and methodology are ineffective; on the contrary. Lean is applicable in every industry and every business and mentioned in the beginning of this article, in your personal life. The practice and adoption of Lean are fantastic when a business and its people adopt this “way of business life.”

A challenge we are all presented with is that if we adopt Lean as a practice, we need to accept that our reactional, short-term, and high-crisis manner of thinking will always stop us from adopting practices like Lean.

Building and growing a business is never easy emotionally, but requires a strict set of routines and processes, and each process must be executed effectively. This can only happen if each process performs effectively in an individual manner parallel to its fellow processes. This requirement is not limited to the business world but the very nature of our world, yet we insist on a short-term, high-crisis manner of thinking.

As I write this article, I sit in a Lean manufacturing training session with Quantum Lean. Lynn (the Lean instructor) mentioned that adopting Lean “takes time” and that “people do not like to change”. Although I completely agree with Lynn, people resist change primarily because they fear the unknown. Statements like “I don’t see the reason to change,” “I don’t have time to wait for them”, “I have so many problems to deal with, I don’t know where to start” or finally, “Oh, I’ll add this to my list of problems I have to solve…I don’t have time to deal with little issues like this now!”

In conclusion, if you have or are anticipating implementing Lean in your business, remember this. It all starts with the leader of the business. If the leader does not make this mind shift, the rest of the team will not make the shift either. Lean is not another tool or method. It is a change in the state of mind and subsequently changing the business’s culture from fighting fires to experiencing the inherent joy of work and life in general.

As a wise mentor of mine once said, “one step at a time, grasshopper….”

Did you enjoy this blog? Read more great blog posts here.
For our course lists, please click here.

 

Friday Filosophy v.10.29.2021

FRIDAY FILOSOPHY v.10.29.2021

Many of you will have noticed we have been writing Blogs and recording Podcasts that are trying to provoke businesses to embrace continuous improvement and make changes. Most recently as a result of a Podcast with Mets Kramer. We were talking about how Amazon and Google conduct their businesses. How within Amazon they were constantly reviewing customer needs and wants and making adjustments. They were working on their businesses not just in their business. Mets and I talked about the fact that within our Industry we were problem solvers. That isn’t a bad thing. We were working hard in the business trying to satisfy customer needs and wants. We didn’t find many dealerships that were working on their business. Trying to change their systems and processes. That simply won’t be sufficient. Time is running out on continuing to do what you have always done.

  • The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance. Alan Watts
  • They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself. Andy Warhol
  • Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next. Gilda Radner
  • You must be the change you wish to see in the world. Mahatma Gandhi
  • If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude. Maya Angelou
  • He who rejects change is the architect of decay. The only human institution which rejects progress is the cemetery. Harold Wilson
  • There is nothing permanent except change. Heraclitus
  • The world is changing very fast. Big will not beat small anymore. It will be the fast beating the slow. Rupert Murdoch
  • I have noticed even people who claim everything is predestined, and that we can do nothing to change it, look before they cross the road. Stephen Hawking
  • The thing that lies at the foundation of positive change, the way I see it, is service to a fellow human being. Lech Walesa
  • Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future. John F. Kennedy
  • Progress is a nice word. But change is its motivator. And change has its enemies. Robert Kennedy
  • You must take personal responsibility. You cannot change the circumstances, the seasons, or the wind, but you can change yourself. That is something you have charge of. Jim Rohn
  • Life belongs to the living, and he who lives must be prepared for changes. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
  • It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg. We are like eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad. S. Lewis
  • Change the changeable, accept the unchangeable, and remove yourself from the unacceptable. Denis Waitley
  • There are two kinds of fools: those who can’t change their opinions and those who won’t. Josh Billings
  • In times of rapid change, experience could be your worst enemy. Paul Getty
  • It is change, continuing change, inevitable change, that is the dominant factor in society today. No sensible decision can be made any longer without taking into account not only the world as it is, but the world as it will be. Isaac Asimov
  • I’m a catalyst for change. You can’t be an outsider and be successful over 30 years without leaving a certain amount of scar tissue around the place. Rupert Murdoch

The Time is Now

Did you enjoy this blog? Read more great blog posts here.
For our course lists, please click here.

Building a New Skilled Talent Decade

Building a New Skilled Talent Decade

Edward E. Gordon, the founder and president of Imperial Consulting Corporation in Chicago, has consulted with leaders in business, education, government, and non-profits for over 50 years. As a writer, researcher, speaker, and consultant he has helped shape policy and programs that advance talent development and regional economic growth. This week, he shares with us the history and the present needs involved in building a new skilled talent decade.

Gordon is the author or co-author of 20 books. His book, Future Jobs: Solving the Employment and Skills Crisis, is the culmination of his work as a visionary who applies a multi-disciplinary approach to today’s complex workforce needs and economic development issues. It won a 2015 Independent Publishers Award. An updated paperback edition was published in 2018.

Recently I spoke at a forum on my White Paper, “Job Shock: Moving Beyond the COVID-19 Employment Meltdown to a New Skilled Talent Decade,” at the Cliff Dwellers Club in Chicago. My presentation and responses to it can be viewed on YouTube at https://youtu.be/gnLBrOiMSYA. In my remarks, I pointed out that history was now repeating itself as workplace technology change is again shifting education and skills requirements.

PAST LABOR HISTORY

During the first decades of the 20th century, a titanic shift in the U.S. economy destabilized society. An industrial revolution triggered by spread of electricity and the growth of factories and offices required workers with at least a basic education in reading and mathematics. Many violently opposed the expansion of public education. Who needs a universal school system? Why educate children, women, and immigrants? You will only cause anarchy by giving them dangerous ideas! Anyway, these people are not trainable. We need them for cheap labor in our factories or on our farms!

As this debate raged across America, more people were persuaded that the expansion of education would benefit society. Starting at the regional and state levels, enlightened community leaders spearheaded the expansion of compulsory tax-supported primary and secondary education. By 1918, all of the then 48 states mandated this standard of public schooling backed by tough truancy laws. The United States was the first nation to attempt to provide a general education to all its citizens. It was a major contributor to the rise of the United States as a world power.

A NEW SKILLED JOB ERA

Another major industrial revolution began in the 1970s as computers and information technology began to be adopted in workplaces. By the beginning of the 21st century, personal computers, smartphones and the internet were everywhere. Automaton has eliminated many low-skill jobs and increased the demand for workers with higher math and reading skills and specialized career training. The seminal 1983 report, “A Nation at Risk,” raised the first red flag that the U.S. education-to-employment system had become obsolete and warned that America needed to provide more students and workers with enhanced education and training for higher-skilled/higher-wage jobs.

However, continuing national testing by the U.S. Department of Education commonly known as the Nation’s Report Card reports low levels of proficiency in math and reading particularly at the 12th-grade-level. Moreover, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused learning loses of up to a year particularly among lower-income students.

These deficiencies in our education-to employment system plus the 130 million American adults who the Barbara Bush foundation reported read at the 8th-grade level or less is building into a severe shortage of skilled labor. Surveys of employers are consistently reporting difficulties in finding qualified people to fill open positions. A September National Federation of Independent Business survey found that 51 percent of owners had job openings they could not fill, the third consecutive month in which record highs for unfilled jobs had been reached. Moreover, 62 percent of small employers seeking to hire had few or no qualified applicants. In July and August, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported over 10 million job openings. The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta projected that the high number of unfilled jobs is costing U.S. businesses to lose $738 billion in revenue annually.

CAN WE DO IT AGAIN?

As the COVID-19 epidemic has severely disrupted schooling at all levels and caused labor market turmoil, there is the potential for forming broad coalitions to reform our nation’s education-to-employment pipeline. Parents and students are more aware of the importance of good educational preparation for the future, and many businesses are fighting for their very survival.

At present although the number of vacant jobs is high, there are millions of Americans who are unemployed or underemployed who do not precisely match the skills or experience companies are seeking for their open jobs and who therefore are excluded for consideration for them. A September Harvard/Accenture report estimates that there are over 27 million Americans whom they term “hidden workers.”

Our “Job Shock” research clearly shows that Regional Talent Innovation Networks (RETAINs) as public-private partnership hubs can effectively prepare more people for the higher-skilled/higher-wage jobs that are vacant across the United States. Their success hinges upon mobilizing a diversity of partners to engage in meaningful collaboration to close skills-jobs gaps. Cross sector coordination is key. The current barriers between businesses and educational institutions need to be broken down to allow the development of up-to-date career preparation options.

America has a long history of community civic engagement. Enlightened local leaders have periodically stepped forward to bolster our republic during times of crisis. Community engagement is again essential to move the United States forward into a new skilled talent decade.

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Quality of Communication Channel

Quality of Communication Channel

In tonight’s blog post, guest writer Ryszard Chciuk walks us through the information our customers need and want to know. The quality of the communication channel directly impacts your customer’s purchases, especially as they move through the research phase before buying.

Ron Slee reminded us (see From Paper to Glass) what he had talked perhaps for decades about the three questions that a customer asks when they need to purchase parts from a dealer:

  1. Have you got it?
  2. How much is it?
  3. How long do I have to wait to get it?

These are the same questions customers have when they want to purchase something else or they are looking for any information regarding their equipment.

So, what does your customer do when:

  • they are going to replace their old machine with the new one?
  • they want to get rid of their old equipment?
  • they think about additional attachment to their old machine?
  • they are looking for spare parts?
  • their machine is down in the middle of nowhere?
  • they are looking for the spec sheet of the older machine model?
  • they miss somewhere an Operators’ Manual?
  • they have to estimate the total quantity of fuel for their new project?
  • they immediately need any other kind of information related to his fleet?

Your customer is doing the research.

Mets Kramer in Candid Conversation with Ron Slee (The Digital Dealership) said:

  • … of the 85% of all the research the customer does is now done digitally, online, prior to making a phone call.

Seven years ago Acquity Group, part of Accenture Interactive made a survey of 500 procurement officers (B2B) with annual purchasing budgets in excess of $100,000. What did they find?

  • Only 12 percent of buyers want to meet in person with a sales representative when determining a purchasing decision and 16 percent want to discuss their purchasing options with a sales representative over the phone.

In the 2014 Acquity Group State of B2B Procurement study they also stated:

  • Thirty percent of B2B buyers report they research at least 90 percent of products online before purchasing.

I am afraid a majority of dealerships are not able to interact with their modern customers in a new way. As a born realist, I think nobody in the construction industry is ready for that, despite everybody is having at his disposal proper technology.

Your existing and, even more important, potential customers changed their search behavior, within the last several years, but you have not noticed that. If you are going to neglect that fact, your company goes into dire straits. Be aware that:

  • 80% of B2B Buyers Have Switched from Suppliers That are Unable to Align Their Services with Buyer Expectations (from the Accenture report for 2019).

Your company, like most dealerships, from time to time is running sales campaigns. Usually, it is done with the use of an electronic channel. Are you aware, it has no advantages over the 20th-century traditional campaign (with the use of a phone or snail mail)? It is because you present your offer on your static website and it contains extremely exciting form “Please contact us for the price or additional information”. How many times a year do you receive back that form filled in?

You fail because you stubbornly stick to so-called Billboard Marketing. If you want to change that, please read about Digital Marketing. Mets Kramer presented there his view on today’s marketing. Mets differentiates Billboard Marketing from the more 21st-century alike Engagement Marketing.

In fact, it does not matter whether the campaign is run with help of any e-mail platform (newsletters), Google, Facebook, or others. A successful campaign brings your potential customer to your dealership, to have a look at your yard, warehouse, service vans, and workshop. This is the way you can easily initiate customer’s thinking about starting or strengthening friendly relations with your staff. The physical presence of a customer on your street is not necessary. In the 21st century, your website is the main place where this can happen. Does it? Be aware that:

  • 83% of buyers use supplier websites for online research (from the Accenture report for 2014).
  • only 37 percent of B2B buyers who research a supplier’s website feel it’s the most helpful tool for research (from the Accenture report for 2014).

Of course, your IT provider can change static pages into dynamic ones, they can use new software for generating modern layouts with nicer pictures or even short videos, etc. Everything looks wonderful, but it is only face lifting. The question is if you provide your customers with the information they are online looking for.

Mets Kramer, in the series of articles about Digital Dealership (search for “digital dealership” on the blog), reminded me of my dreams about a “digital” after-sales department. I began to think about it at the end of the 20th century and it never became real. In the next article, I am going to present to you some obstacles which I had to struggle with. It’s a pity, I’m certain that after a quarter of the century later, your road is cobbled with similar or the same problems.

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