Tales from Cow Town

Musings and happenings in and around learning & development, talent development, training, eLearning and life in general.
  • 06 Oct 2019 10:30 PM | Lorie Brown (Administrator)

    Stretch goals intend to unlock potential. Whether for an individual, a group, or a company, the stretch goals, can motivate and inspire even when unmet. Confidence and capabilities grow when a team pushes out of the comfort zone.

    Why then is the setting of stretch goals met with resistance by employees? Let's probe what happens when:

    • multiple stretch goals are set?
    • achieving the stretch goal becomes expected?
    • employees continually fail to meet their stretch goals?
    • little or no resources are available?

    When continually faced with an impossibility, good employees become disengaged. They may game the system and cloak their achievable goals as stretch goals. Desperate employees may cheat. Tensions increase.

    The key to successful outcomes would be to address those issues head-on. Reevaluate if the employee or team already stretched.  Consider limiting stretch goals to an employee or team that has recently enjoyed significant successes. Build in consideration for resources, such as time allotted or expenses.

    Whether you are writing a training program for managers or wanting to hone your own goals, your professional membership at ATD can help.

    Written by Susan Wines, Digital eLearning Specialist

  • 16 Sep 2019 5:30 PM | Lorie Brown (Administrator)

    What’s in it for me?


    In 2017 the ATD Mid Cities Chapter selected a President-Elect for 2018, who would, in turn, be President of the chapter in 2019. Often in my life, opportunities arise to try something new with the potential of helping me be a more well-rounded individual. Midway through 2018, Jonathan Silk and I were asked to take positions of President-Elect and President for 2019. I gladly accepted the opportunity with optimism and enthusiasm to be President of the chapter looking forward to experiencing and practicing the leadership skills I study and teach at my job.

    In October of 2018, I headed off to Washington, DC to attend ATD's Chapter Leaders Conference (ALC). There, I met hundreds of like-minded people in the same situation I was as President-Elect. We needed to understand what we were supposed to do in our upcoming year as President. Fortunately, the conference is meant to help chapter leaders--especially future presidents. ALC shared the ins and outs of operating a local ATD chapter with a board and volunteers. Initially, I learned that I didn't know much. Ultimately, I knew how important it would be to rely on the available resources, not just myself, to be successful.

    Fortunately, I was blessed with intelligent, dedicated, and willing volunteers to be on the board of directors, and my job was made very clear. My role as President is simple: help my board with the challenges they face and provide them with resources so they can do their part. While we tackled day-to-day issues, I believe the board of 2019 provided a quality product to our members while keeping within budget, and had fun doing it. And not just the board, also our volunteer team is tremendous and continues to grow as we encourage all members to get involved in any area of the chapter. 

    So, what's in it for "me" or anyone who wants to be President? That all depends on the individual. It could be the title to leverage for their career, the chance for leadership experience before a career move, or the opportunity to implement their vision. 

    What's in it for me is the personal reward of:

    ·       being part of a great team

    ·       empowering them to be innovative

    ·       leading them by example

    ·       spending time getting to know them both personally and professionally

    I am blessed and grateful for our team and thank them for all they do! You're the Best! 

    Gary Sidoti

    Current President, ATD Fort Worth/Mid-Cities Chapter


  • 05 Aug 2019 10:30 PM | Lorie Brown (Administrator)


    Check Your Career

    "Should I Stay or Should I Go" is an 80s hit song by the English punk rock band The Clash. The singer Mick Jones muses, "If I go, there will be trouble; And if I stay, it will be double."

    Are you having a similar dilemma with your career development?

    Why have you stayed at your job?

    • Is it because you are making a difference? Do you enjoy your work and your colleagues? Are you and your skills respected and valued?
    • Is it because you need longevity at a job, perhaps for a credit rating or to enhance your resume for a particular company? Are positions limited locally or by your specialty?

    Stay for positive reasons, not out of fear. It's almost always okay to stay. Don’t stay if your bad days outnumber your good days.

    Whether you stay or leave for different opportunities is an intensely personal decision. You may opt for work-life balance as opposed to the dedication and sacrifice needed for a successful fast-track career. Life doesn't usually happen as graduates envision when they toss their graduate caps into the air. Your family may include a child with special needs or with Olympic aspirations. Your outside interests may be your life-long priority or even the start of a new career, such as travel, photography, or a charity.

    What’s not okay, is stagnation. You need to improve continually, sometimes just to keep pace. Your professional membership at ATD helps you grow and expands your options. Seek knowledge, be ready! Join us! Joe Strummer (The Clash) reminds us that, “Career opportunities are the ones that never knock.”

    Written by Susan Wines, Digital eLearning Specialist


  • 07 Jul 2019 3:27 PM | Lorie Brown (Administrator)

    A Case for Manager Training


    When the economy is great, it’s hard to remember the insecurities of the downward trends where corporate training is one of the first line items to be cut. Just like you should have your 1-minute elevator pitch ready to sell your job or department, you need a pitch for new programs.

    Would you like to start or expand your training program for managers? Did you know that managers share legal liability for hostile work environments? Do your executives or managers know this?

    • An employee lawsuit can name the company and include supervisors as co-defendants.
    • The company may decide to separate the cases, in which case the supervisor is personally financially responsible for his legal fees, and if ruled against, will be liable for the settlement.
    • Employment attorneys like these types of cases because juries usually award generous punitive damages when rogue leadership acts inappropriately, and the company knew and did nothing.

    Training managers sounds like a great idea for the company and for the managers, doesn’t it? Are you ready to write a proposal? Below are two helpful links:

    Written by Susan Wines, Digital eLearning Specialist


  • 17 Jun 2019 10:30 PM | Lorie Brown (Administrator)


    Learning Decays Quickly

    Discovered by German psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus (1850-1909), the forgetting curve shows how information decays over time when there is no attempt to retain it. In the early 20th century, the hypothesis grew to be known as a learning curve to measure learning against experience. In other words, use it or lose it. The curve can also be applied as an experience curve to show the effect of training on production costs.

    Studies have shown that as much as 50% of training is forgotten within the first day. In seven days, retention drops to 30%, and by 30 days, only 10% can be recalled.

    Reinforcement of the material, such as practice, application, and feedback, will increase retention. If reinforcement takes place each day for the first three days, then by the seventh day, as much as 90% of training will be retained. High retention requires both leadership and employee commitment.

    I didn’t know about the Learning Curve until I attended our March ATD chapter meeting, Solving Learning Decay. Our speaker, Michael Torrie, VP Learning Solutions at Eagle’s Flight, explained the impact of learning decay with and without positive counteractive measures.

    If you will go to their website, eaglesflight.com, and navigate to resource, you can download their featured guide, "Experiential Learning: The Key to Effective Employee Development". Be sure to connect on LinkedIn with Michael Torrie and follow Eagle’s Flight.

    Written by Susan Wines, Digital eLearning Specialist

  • 04 Jun 2019 10:30 PM | Lorie Brown (Administrator)


    Lack of Training Exposes the Organization

    Most companies have required training for their ethics and adherence to company policies. The policy isn't by accident. It's covered under the law, or it minimizes liability:

    ·        Supreme Court has ruled that an employer can be held liable for sexual harassment by a supervisor if the company failed to exercise reasonable care to prevent and promptly correct any such behavior in the workplace.

    Sources: Faragher and Ellerth (1998); Kolstad (1999)

    ·        Federal Circuit Courts ruled: “[L]eaving managers with hiring authority in ignorance of the basic features of discrimination laws is an extraordinary mistake for a company to make, and a jury can find that such an extraordinary mistake amounts to reckless indifference.”

    Sources: Mathis v. Phillips Chevrolet, Inc., 269 F.3d 771 (7th Cir. 2001)

    ·        Federal Sentencing Guidelines (FSG) includes a requirement that employers demonstrate that it has an effective compliance and ethics program. Companies with a comprehensive code of conduct training may avoid up to 95% of fines and penalties that can be assessed for violations of federal law.

    Source: U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, §8A.1.1, Commentary

    ·        Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) requires any company doing business with the federal government to provide a code of conduct training. It was based on FSG rules.

    ·        Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) has many standards that the employer is required to train its employees, as well as to communicate or warn regarding safety practices.

    ·        Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) requires “Publicly traded companies must disclose if they have a Code of Conduct for a senior leader, or explain why not.”

    Compliance training within an organization refers to the process of educating employees on laws, regulations and company policies that apply to their jobs and are covered in the organization's Code of Conduct. An organization can protect and improve itself by including training that:

    ·        Adds business value, such as professional licenses

    ·        Creates a competitive advantage, such as meeting an international standard

    ·        Develops a respectful and ethical workplace that will also protect the organization from legal liability

    ·        Improves safety practices which can protect human life, property, and liability

    ·        Improves security practices, which can protect the organization financially and legally

    ·        Avoids violations by employees that could lead to legal liability for the organization

    ·        Prepares the foundation for a defense should an employee violate the rules outlined in the organization's training

    For a curious trainer, it helps to have your own buy-in for compliance training. Now how will you make it interesting?

    Written by Susan Wines, Digital eLearning Specialist


  • 28 May 2019 5:30 PM | Lorie Brown (Administrator)


    3.6% National Unemployment Rate Projected by December 2019

    When the economy is great, it’s hard to remember the insecurities of the downward trends where corporate training is one of the first line items to be cut. Just like you should have your 1-minute elevator pitch ready and you should have some facts to back them up.

    Ready. Set. Go.

    Last year, on May 1, 2018, the Work Institute released its 2018 Retention Report. After analyzing data from over 234,000 exit interviews, they projected 2018 turnover would be 42 million (25%) US employees. They determined that over 75% of the 42 million would have been preventable. The report estimated that 2018's turnover expense would be approximately $600 billion and could increase to $680 billion by 2020. You know why? Turnover costs money. It’s expensive to hire, train, and make-do until the replacement employee is profitable—many estimate 50% to triple the salary of the employee.

    Employees leave when companies do not invest in their careers. The training in need bridges the skills gap and fills posts from within. 

    This year, April 8, 2019, in the article, “Job Creation: Unremarkable Numbers Are Reassuring,” Kiplinger's staff economist David Payne projects that the national unemployment rate will decrease to 3.6% by the end of 2019. He also notes that the "short-term unemployment rate (those unemployed for less than six months) is close to its lowest level since the Korean War in 1953."

    Since we are well under the natural unemployment rate of 4.5 to 5%, hiring replacement employees will be more competitive in salary and benefits and harder to find. Retention is better. Training to keep staff is key.

    Written by Susan Wines, Digital eLearning Specialist


  • 06 May 2019 6:21 PM | Lorie Brown (Administrator)

    Why is training so important? After all, the organization starts by hiring highly-qualified employees who already know how to perform. Their qualifications include their specialized training and experience.

    Career-driven professionals invest in their careers by maintaining their industry knowledge.

    Whether your working persona is an employee, a leader, or as a committed businessperson, you have a reason to value training:

    • You are highly-trained and ambitious. You want assurance that your organization has a career plan for you and will support your growth.
    • As a leader, you want the same assurance for others since you have likely witnessed the exodus of great colleagues and felt the negative impact.
    • As an owner, a partner, or a stakeholder with a vested interest, you want the organization to be profitable and be a great place to work. You want to add value to make value. It starts by attracting and retaining talent.

    Professional membership provided by Association Talent Development (ATD) provides training that will enhance your skills and what you bring to your organization. By attending workshops, networking, and exploring our resources, your skills, as well as your reputation as a leader and an innovator will grow.

    At the chapter membership level, you have an opportunity to be involved and take your risks within the group and not in front of your manager. Want to lead a training session? Want to learn webinars? Want to plan an event or prove your social media skills? Then volunteering at the chapter level is a great place to give and reap the benefits professionally.

    Let’s grow together.

    Written by Susan Wines, Digital eLearning Specialist


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