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Fortune 500 Trainer Advises Us: Do This, But Avoid That.

Sandy brings the highest degree of senior management level experience and expertise to our teams. During his 25+ year career with numerous high profile organizations, he has successfully held General Manager, President, Executive Producer, Marketing Director, and Sales Director positions.

He currently is VP Director of Experiential Training at Jack Morton and leads their worldwide training practice. Given his background and passion, he assures sound instructional architecture for all of our clients learning deliverables.

Sandy is able to do this given his knowledge of proven industry models and knowledge gained strategizing, designing and developing learning experiences for numerous Fortune 500’s worldwide. Some of his successful past engagements include solutions for clients like Abbott, Amgen, Coldwell Banker, Ericsson, HP, IBM, International Truck, IPG, Nokia, P&G, Pfizer, Samsung, Sears, TAP, Takeda and United Airlines.

His preferred project involvement style includes regular client and internal team dialogue ensuring that the instructional approach established fully leverages both the creative and experiential platforms. He believes that effective adult knowledge transfer happens best when the instructional architecture is directly mapped to the audience need and preferred learning style.

Sandy is a member of ASTD and ISPI. He has also recently been awarded the Outstanding Achievement award by IMA.

Q. What inspired you to go into the training profession?

My education and background was in video and electronic media. I owned a company that specialized in web and video consultation and production. I became involved with my current company (a leading experiential marketing agency) to lead an effort to convert 40 hours of live instructor-led agent training for a large real estate firm into a digital format – back in the days of CBT and CDROM.

My next series of engagements were all in training. In the end, I was invited to lead training practice of the communications agency I supported and developed an affinity for the practice area. As they say, the rest is history.

Q. What are the top five things that every training and development initiative must have in order to be successful?

Top 5 components of a successful training program (not in any intended hierarchy) • Cleary established goals that are real, actionable and measurable • Leadership awareness and buy-in • Instructional Design attention to all 3 preferred adult learning styles – Auditory. Visual. Kinesthetic. • Adherence to the adult learning continuum following Awareness-Understanding-Commitment-Action • Design and develop using a proven model – like the ADDIE Model. Analyze-Design-Develop-Implement-Evaluate

Q. What difficulties continuously arise when developing learning experiences for Fortune 500 companies worldwide?

In no intended order:

Not allowing for a full and rich discovery phase – the A or Analyze part of the ADDIE model • Missing or ambiguous success criteria – e.g. the clearly stated and documented learning objectives and perceived outcomes • Scope creep – significant changes in the deliverables with the lack of willingness to fund changes not defined at project start • Limited or no availability – of business champions and/or subject matter experts throughout development • Lack of time – all too often the deliverable is expected in an unrealistically short period of time • Timely approvals – often related to too many involved in the submit-review-approve process

Q. So now we now the things to do and the things to avoid. What other tips for success would you give other training professionals?

“They will forget what you tell them. They will never forget how you make them feel.”

This adaptation of a quote from Carl Buchner provides a good point-of-view and focus for all involved in adult education. Assuming the ultimate intent of adult corporate learning programs is to deliver content that is remembered, engaging the heart is as critical and engaging the head. Making training emotional, e.g. “how you make them feel,” is a key to success.

Q. We will keep your advice in mind, Mr. Sites. Could you give our readers a few useful resources to help their training initiatives?

I rely heavily on ASTD resources. I also belong to a couple of HR related research groups. Time is at a premium and I find it necessary to be extremely targeted with I review and more often than not take a proactive vs. reactive approach seeking info when needed.

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