Innovation

Creating and Maintaining Trust Among Project Teams

Part 1:

In our business, like most others, working effectively with project teams is critical to our success. Today’s constantly changing marketplace is forcing teams to evolve while demanding higher levels of productivity and efficiency.

The modern workforce is much more diverse now than it has been in years past, not just with ethnic or gender diversity, but with diverse work styles, diverse personal priorities, generational diversity, etc.

All of this is changing the nature of the project team and workplace dynamics. Today, we must frequently consider things like:

  • Resources external to a physical location as team members
  • Flexible schedules
  • Global time zones
  • Heavy work loads
  • Different work styles
  • A plethora of communication methods and technologies

Because there is so much being said about trust in the workplace, I thought I would weigh in on the importance of creating trust among these diverse project teams. It has been my pleasure to work with some very talented professionals throughout my career, and sometimes I wonder how and why I’ve been so lucky to have derived so much satisfaction from what I’ve chosen to do. I do understand that a good part of that is due to the people I have worked with, what we have been able to create, and the relationships that we have created while working together.

So when you think about it, how does it all work? How can these people with distinct characteristics/needs/backgrounds/values/technical know-how trust each other enough to work together to create success… however that is defined for a project?

Over the next several weeks, I plan to share a few specific ideas and experiences with you. See you next week…

Onboarding: This Is Not Your Father’s “First Day on the Job”: Blueline Simulations looks at the organizational phenomenon

Remember your first day on the job, on your first job, all those years ago?

I do. I remember awkward introductions. (“If you need anything at all…” “Hook ‘em horns!”)

I remember paperwork. SO much paperwork.

And I remember pulling up a chair in my undecorated closet-office and going straight to work.

And that was my “onboarding” experience, which, come to think of it, was a term that nobody used. Sure, I had enough human resiliency to eventually navigate my way through the organization.

But today’s organizational practitioners are arguing that launches like mine were a missed opportunity.

Today the “get them to work fast” ethic remains, but the process is tempered by a more nuanced, employee-focused conversation: What value does this job deliver to ME? How do these tasks connect to my sense of aspiration, my purpose, and my own unique value proposition? How does this role position me for the next step in my career? The days of “and here’s the supply closet” are long gone. Onboarding is itself a unique value proposition, an edge in a marketplace desperate to grab the top talent.

Okay, sure, you still need to tell the new employees the after-hours code to the elevator. But there are some more urgent dynamics at work here, because in a world where many dismiss company loyalty as a fossilized idea, some are nonetheless making a bold bid for engagement, enthusiasm, cultural fit, and an instant network that serves as a hedge against costly attrition.

This comprehensive reimagining of the new hire’s “first five days” (and “the first three months” and perhaps even “the first two years”) is a huge investment, but the idea is that it delivers big dividends down the road. In practice, this is indeed proving to be the case.

It is also proving to be a realm of real innovation in learning, with many organizations engineering rich, immersive, and original experiences all for the purpose of extending that new hire’s honeymoon into a solid, lasting relationship.

Blueline Simulations has worked with some of the world’s leading talent-driven organizations to deliver these onboarding experiences. Stay tuned for our next blog, and we’ll give you a peek at some of the breakthrough practices that some organizations are implementing to create high-performing, engaged, and – perhaps most tantalizingly – loyal and committed associates.

Facilitating Business Transformation at a Fortune 50 Healthcare Company

After major changes at all levels had created fear and confusion throughout the business, our client’s leadership sought to find a way to align stakeholders through a common purpose and vision for the future.

They turned to Blueline to take them through the process of defining their future and prioritizing the actions that would be needed to achieve it.  But doing that well was only half of the daunting challenge that faced them.  After all that the organization had been through, finding a way to capture and tell the story of their journey in a fun and engaging way that inspired employees and clients to embrace the vision and take the actions prioritized by leadership, was just as important.

Our team set about to help them to transform their organization through a simple, yet incredibly effective, combination of planning and communications initiatives.

Capturing the essence of leadership’s efforts through a blueline drawing

In advance of a strategic planning meeting, a Blueline Partner collaborated with one of our Master Artists to begin to draft a table-sized blueline drawing that told the story of where they had been. We left significant amounts of white space on the visual so that there was room to capture their vision.

Sample Blueline Drawing…

bluelinebikes

Subsequently, Blueline facilitated a one-day strategic planning session to guide our client’s efforts to define their vision for the future and to prioritize the steps that they needed to take to get there. The same Master Artist that drafted the initial blueline drawing also attended the one-day meeting. Throughout the meeting, he captured the process and the leadership team’s decisions. The final output was an engaging, table-size visual that members of the leadership team could use to engage others by retelling the story of “where they had been, where they are going, and how they planned to get there.”

Engaging stakeholders through the use of a telestration

We repurposed the drawing and memorialized the leadership team’s efforts through a 4 minute narrated video capture of the Master Artist creating the drawing, so that it could be used to define and promote the organization’s brand.  This required that we capture the story in the form of a script that mirrored the drawing.  The final deliverable was a professionally narrated video of the Artist rendering the drawing for the audience.  (Through the power of technology, the rendering takes place in about 1/60th the time it actually takes to recreate the drawing.)

Sample Blueline Telestration….

The client used the telestration and blueline drawing to kick-off their Future Vision initiative during their annual meeting.  The meeting opened with the telestration – which laid a foundation for a presentation by the leadership team.  Subsequently, three by five foot posters of the blueline drawing were hung throughout the meeting space so that participants could “re-experience” the journey with their leadership.

The outcomes are best summarized by the head of the organization who opined: “the successful outcomes of this initiative are an important lesson in embracing the types of innovation we want to support throughout the organization – through these efforts we got 80% of the way to our destination in 20% of the time it usually takes us.”

Is your organization facing a challenging transformation?  Contact the change management experts at Blueline today!

Celebrate Summer with a Leadership Development Webinar on Demand

through these immersive simulations!


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Discover our complete set of leadership development experiences first hand through a series on 50-minute webinars hosted by Blueline’s Managing Partner and Director of Leadership Innovations. These experiences are designed to enhance any leadership curriculum, can be deployed face-to-face or virtually, and are potent enough to capture the imagination of your most discerning leaders.


Business Strategy Skills for High-Potential Leaders

Executive Challenge™

A one-to-two-day simulation in which competing teams must make a broad range of strategic and operational business decisions in a fast-changing marketplace.

Performance Coaching Skills for High-Potential Leaders

PeopleSIM™ Performance Coaching

These immersive eSimulations challenges experienced and high potential leaders to address performance gaps and establish expectations in a realistic setting – while receiving immediate and continuous feedback. Optional classroom and/or virtual classroom elements can be added to create a fully transformative experience.

Business & Financial Acumen & Decision Making Skills

Business Challenge™

A one-day simulation in which competing teams strive to grow their businesses effectively by making investment decisions, funding their strategies, and evaluating their results in terms of real-world financial metrics. Participants prepare for this classroom or virtual classroom experience by building their basic financial knowledge through the Fluent in Finance™ program.

Talent Management Skills for First & Second Level Leaders

Management Challenge™

In this one-day simulation teams of learners compete to deliver the highest return on human resources by identifying, motivating, coaching and developing talent.

Contact us today to schedule a private demonstration.

Why Everything I Believed About eLearning is Wrong.

Part 2:

I stared at the number: 28%.

28% has long been established as a standard, an ever-present challenge to developers of traditional elearning programs. That’s the percentage of material that you can expect your learners to retain two weeks after your elearning program. Some refer to it as “the problem of forgetting.”

There’s a reason why I’m waxing philosophical about numbers and percentages. It’s because my world has been rocked.

What if I told you that I have uncovered a proven solution that is consistently delivering retention levels of 95%?

That’s right. 95%.

I will tell you what I said when I first learned about it: “I have dedicated my professional life to staying abreast of learning innovations. If this were true, I would already know about it!”

But that’s when things start to unravel a bit. Because, I hadn’t ever before focused on the “hidden truths” that I outlined in my previous blog entry. And without knowledge of those paradigm-shifting learning insights, how would I know that I needed to search for a better way? I wouldn’t, and I didn’t.

Until now, when I was faced with the two numbers. 28%. And 95%.

It seems that, in fact, a little-known company based in California, run by a PhD whose expertise is in the Neurobiology of Learning, is transforming Public Education in California by routinely delivering these results to his students.

“Ahh, well that explains it,” I mused, “because high school students aren’t the same as adult learners. Even if he has delivered these results they wouldn’t apply to what we do.”

But then I was presented with a third-party analysis demonstrating that surgeons prepping for board certification showed a 300% improvement with less study time than a control group made up of their peers.

I was hooked. I had to know how they do it.

Turns out, these secrets are not out of reach. They’re all hidden, right there in plain view, within the learning insights I described in the first part of this blog post.

Think of the solution as your very own “personal trainer,” whose job it is to isolate your weaknesses, and develop an exercise program just for you. The only difference is that in this case, instead of building muscle, you build connections in your brain.

Specifically, the fastest path to building those connections is an “exercise plan” that prioritizes exercises based on learner need, optimally spaces study sessions over time, and utilizes open-ended questions that the learner self-evaluates.

That’s the secret. That’s what you have to do to increase retention from 28% to 95%.

Sounds like a no-brainer, right?

Here’s the challenge: in the corporate environment, efficiency and scale dictate that these personalized learning plans are all but impractical. I’ve spent much of my career delivering learning solutions to hundreds or thousands of students at a time.

That’s why I’m so excited about a new solution that I am extending now to my client partners in some of the world’s most influential organizations.  It’s a digital personal trainer that utilizes an algorithm that borders on artificial intelligence to deliver custom study sessions. And it exists.

I’m a believer, and I’ve got a story to tell. And I’d love to share it with you.

Look at the long-term retention rates of your elearning interventions. Then, don’t get depressed. Instead, give me a call. I’ve got some ideas that can lead your people to the 95% winner’s circle.

I look forward to hearing from you.