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Closing the Gap Between Stakeholders (Interview)

Jon Lloyd is the senior Vice President of Client Services and Operations at Velocity MG (VMG). Jon wears many hat including: sales, partner programs and development, and business operations for the company as a whole – all while keeping the VMG trains running on time.

VMG provides structured training and enablement programs that help companies grow sales, improve services and partner performance, and increase customer adoption and satisfaction.

Prior to starting VMG with his colleagues, Jon was Senior Director of Global Education at Websense, a leading security software company, Jon built the entire education program from the ground up with the goal of driving sales, supporting an award winning channel program and integrating two acquisitions.

He can be contacted via LinkedIn or at jon@velocitymg.com.

Q. Training and development initiatives often involve multiple stakeholders, from senior executives to project/training managers to instructional designers and programmers. What are some of the challenges that each stakeholder faces?

Each stakeholder has their own vision of the problem (which obviously needs to be vetted as to whether it is actually a training problem), and generally an equally individual view of how to solve the problem.

What we try to do is start from the beginning by identifying what the business problem is and how results of the implemented solution will be measured, and the delta from where they are today.

How will they tell that this is a success? What dashboards, metrics, or other tools will be used to communicate that the gap from current state to that desired future state has been bridged?

Q. How might technology enhance collaboration between multiple stakeholders?

Technology has a supporting role by providing both objective and subjective data for multiple stakeholders to review, collaborate, and evaluate the progress to the goal. Technology provides a means to carry multiple factors into a discussion that drives progress. So technology is just a tool to help you get where you want to be, but first, you need to know where you want to go (and why).

In fact, VMG takes our name from a sailing term Velocity Made Good, that measures your true pace towards your goal. It factors speed, direction, and conditions to inform the best course for advancement.

Q. If people are learning more from each other, what might instructor-led training and development look like 5-10 years from now? What type of innovation might we expect in the field?

If technology continues to evolve with the user experience in mind, ILT will continue to emerge as additional opportunities to learn from a world of teachers in much smaller bits.

Through social learning technologies, individuals outside of the mother ship can become thought leaders and build respectable businesses around that. Scott Kelby in the area of photography, Photoshop and Lightroom could be an example of this.

Scott has podcasts/v-casts, books, blogs, seminars, world tours, DVD and online learning…the works, except for multi-day traditional ILT. Learning becomes contextual and relevant to the individual’s own learning continuum, providing increased retention and application.

Companies need to keep pace with their users however. As the next generation comes of age, I think that the needs of those learners will challenge the current generation of trainers. These young adults have been born into a high tech world and will expect software to have a much higher level of usability and different ways of learning how to use it.

If you have any doubts as to the changing needs of the Gen Y’ers, check out this video on the Social Media Revolution.

Increasing the user experience will drive ILT from teaching features and functionality to teaching workflows, which is a more customized and specialized delivery.

Great trainers have always incorporated this into their delivery (through incorporating real world experience and storytelling), but it has been challenging to build curriculum that is adaptable to a wide variety of workflows. Cloud companies are accelerating this by having multiple releases per year (Google Apps is expected to have over 100 releases this year).

The only way that we will survive as an industry, is to change our perspective of who generates content, how content gets generated, and how it is shared and distributed. The ‘what’ of content is easy – it will be everything that our stakeholders have always asked us for and we’ve always given excuses to not being able to fully deliver.

They want everything – we’ve given excuses and sub-par results by being constrained by our resources and delivery models. We don’t have any excuses any more.

Q. What resources take up your spare time?

I follow over 100 different blogs ranging from learning, to business, to personal interests. On the business front, some examples are Guy Kawasaki, TED, Presentation Zen, Andrew McAfee, Daniel Pink and The Conversation, among others. In learning, Tony Karrer’s eLearning Learning a good aggregator, and I read Trends in The Living Network, Metrics Geek and Brandon Hall to name a few.

There are so many great books out there, but I typically don’t have a lot of time to power through them, that’s why I follow Andrew McAfee, Seth Godin, Daniel Pink and the Heath brothers in blogs and tweets. A couple great ones are A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future by Daniel H. Pink and How: Why How We Do Anything Means Everything…in​ Business by Dov Seidman.

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