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Archive for June, 2014

5 Benefits of Training Outsourcing

Posted on June 30th, 2014 by Victoria Kossoff

1. Reduce Costs – The number one reason why companies outsource training is to save money. Our experience shows that organisations can save up to 30%.

2. Speed to Market – Planning on bringing a new product to market? Your success may be dependent on getting resellers trained on how to sell or service your product. With training outsourcing you can quickly get your product into your customers’ hands, without scaling up internal resources.

3. Geographic Reach – When Cisco needed to train local employees in China, they simply outsourced training to The Learning Factor. We have resources in China who already understand the Chinese culture. Makes sense, doesn’t it?

4. Access to Talent – The most strategic way to source the best training talent at the best possible price is to outsource. Instantly you have a pool of trainers and facilitators, who are industry experts in their field. This commercial experience brings training to life.

5. Improve Scalability of Resources – Running an internal training department takes a number of people with different skills and talents. Internal staff are a fixed resource. But training is a variable activity. When you work with a training outsource company, you are able to scale up or scale down the number of resources you need– just when you need them most!

3 Reasons Bill Gates Could get a Message to Garcia

Posted on June 26th, 2014 by Chris Gaborit

If the world depended on a man, who would you trust? If a message had to get through to save your country, who would you trust to take it?

Mission Impossible and Bill Gates don’t seem like a likely combination; however, when I discovered a Mission Impossible book called “A Message to Garcia,” it challenged me to think of who I would put my money on to get a letter to Garcia today. Who would I trust to do a job that would change the world? I could think of no greater person than Bill Gates.

Throughout history, “A Message to Garcia” has been one of the most powerful books ever written on leadership. It was written in one hour. It is only nine pages long, and yet there have been over 100,000,000 copies sold, and it has been translated into 37 languages and made into two movies. This book has been held up by US, Russian, and Japanese militaries and businesses for over 100 years as an example of the perfect leader.

We have all heard of Mission Impossible. It is something we have become familiar with seeing in movies. The hero, often a retired CIA agent, is given a secret mission, which would be impossible for mortal men. However, the hero is no mortal man. His influence overcomes mere men, the most beautiful women, and incredible obstacles. In the end, he saves the princess and the world from the evil dictator.

The truth is, there really was such a hero, and he did save a large part of the world…and that’s how this book originated.

Rowan was an American Army Officer from West Virginia. In 1899, the Civil war in Cuba took a major turn when unknown forces sank the American battleship Maine in Havana harbor. America entered the war, but to succeed, they required the support of the insurgent forces.

The leader of the insurgent forces was General Garcia. He was hiding in the Oriente Province in the most eastern region of Cuba. It stretches across 14,641 square miles (37,920 km2) and consists of various mountain ranges with the Sierra Maestra region having Cuba’s highest mountain peak and elevation in Pico Turquino. No mail nor telegraph message could reach him.

The US president must secure his cooperation, and quickly, but how? who? Someone said to the President, “There’s a fellow by the name of Rowan will find Garcia for you, if anybody can.”

Rowan was sent for and given a letter to be delivered to Garcia. “The fellow by the name of Rowan took the letter, sealed it up in an oil-skin pouch, strapped it over his heart, and in four days landed by night off the coast of Cuba from an open boat. He disappeared into the jungle and in three weeks came out on the other side of the island, having traversed a hostile country on foot, and delivered his letter to Garcia.”

The book became the stuff of legends.

  • After publication, reprint orders began trickling in, which wasn’t unusual. The trickle became a flood, prompting Hubbard to ask which article triggered the interest. It was “the stuff about Garcia,” he was told.
  • Then, a telegram arrived from George H. Daniels of the New York Central Railroad asking for a price on 1,000 copies of the Rowan article in pamphlet form. Hubbard didn’t have the capacity to fill the order, so he granted permission to reprint. Daniels eventually printed and distributed half a million copies under the title, “A Message to Garcia.”
  • One copy found its way into the hands of Prince Hilakoff, Director of Russian Railways, who had the booklet translated and given to every railroad employee in Russia.
  • The booklet spread to Germany, France, Spain, Turkey, India, and China.
  • Japanese soldiers found the booklet on Russian prisoners during the war and had it translated, distributing it to every Japanese government employee. Over 100 million copies of “A Message to Garcia” were sold, achieving a larger circulation than any other literary venture in the lifetime of the author.

The United States won the Spanish-American War. As a result, Spain ceded Puerto Rico, the Philippines, and Guam to the United States and abandoned all claims to Cuba (which became independent in 1902).

Rowan, by then Colonel Rowan, was decorated for his achievement by the commander of the United States Army, who said, “I regard this achievement as one of the most hazardous and heroic deeds in military warfare.”

The forward of the booklet says, “This was undoubtedly true, but it is for his fine moral character, rather than for his military prowess, that Lieutenant Andrew Summers Rowan will always be remembered.”

I believe in every generation there must be people who could deliver a letter to Garcia, people who can change the world, people who can make a difference, and one of those is Bill Gates.

Reason 1 – Bill Gates continually puts himself in the right place.

A number of years ago, Bill Gates was interviewed by Larry King. He said this: “I was in the right place, at the right time, and luck had a lot to do with it. However, there were many others in the same place as I was when computers began to gain popularity.”

If you want to be a world class actor you don’t go to Diomede, the most remote city in Alaska to live. You go to Hollywood. If you want to develop an App that will make a billion dollars you go to Silicon Valley to live. You put yourself in the right place.

People who want to be great leaders need to put themselves under a great leader. They need to be trained by great leaders and learn from great leaders.

Bill Gates wasn’t in the right place by luck alone. He was in the right place because he had been preparing himself since he was 13. His parents saw his potential and put him in a leading school, one of the first to have a computer. That’s where he began working on his first computer and developing programs for it. He became so good that the school asked him to write programs to schedule students in class. He then went to Harvard.

Captain Rowan had put himself in the right place. He had been trained in the best military college in the world at West Point. He had learned from the best leaders in the world.

Reason 2- Bill Gates sees the future and researches his subject with a passion

Great leaders not only put themselves in the best possible place to be trained, coached, and mentored, but they have vision. They see the future and then they learn all that is possible about their subject.

In the interview, he said, “I had a long-term vision of how the personal computer would revolutionize every facet of life. Once again, there were many others with the same vision I had.”

There may have been many others who also had a vision, but Bill Gates’ vision was bigger than building a computer or a software program. His vision was global—he had a vision to change the world.

Captain Rowan saw the future of Latin America. He served several frontier posts with military intelligence in Latin America and he co-authored a book on Cuba. Some believe that Rowan, as a trained spy, spoke Spanish. His vision had led him to research his subject with passion and learn the language.

Reason 3: Bill Gates is a man of massive and immediate action.

In the interview, Gates said, “I took massive, immediate action. This is where the rubber meets the road.”

In the book “A Letter to Garcia,” Hubbard says, “By the Eternal! There is a man whose form should be cast in deathless bronze and the statue placed in every college in the land. It is not book-learning young men need, nor instruction about this or that, but a stiffening of the vertebrae which will cause them to be loyal to a trust, to act promptly, concentrate their energies; do the thing—carry a message to Garcia!”

In this interview Bill Gates finished saying, “If you’re in the right place at the right time and have a vision to see where a new technology is going, but don’t take action … you’ll never be successful… Without all three components in place, you’re doomed.”

Rowan did not stay and ask questions; he did not delegate the task; he did not suggest that it was not his job. He took massive, immediate action.

He took the letter, sealed it up in an oil-skin pouch, strapped it over his heart, and in four days landed by night off the coast of Cuba from an open boat. He disappeared into the jungle, and in three weeks, he came out on the other side of the island, having traversed a hostile country on foot, and delivered his letter to Garcia.

The business world cries out for leaders who will put themselves in the right place, have a vision, and take immediate, decisive action.

In the book the author says, “Civilization is one long, anxious search for just such individuals. Anything such a man asks shall be granted. He is wanted in every city, town and village – in every office, shop, store and factory. The world cries out for such; he is needed and needed badly – the man who can carry a message to Garcia.”

Chris Gaborit, Managing Director, The Learning Factor – Australia and Asia’s Leader in Training Outsourcing.

7 Leadership Lessons from Game of Thrones

Posted on June 23rd, 2014 by Chris Gaborit

Sex, murder, dragons, warring leaders, and a wall impossible to scale. Does this sound like any corporations you know today? Perhaps, but I am talking about Targaryens, Lannisters, Starks, and Baratheons in Game of Thrones.

Game of Thrones is set in a medieval world of knights, dragons, and magic, characterized by long, cold seasons, and populated with White Walkers. This most amazing and compelling TV series has captured the hearts and minds of people around the world. In the history of mankind, never has a TV series been so downloaded and watched, so are there leadership lessons we can take from this series?

Before I answer this question, I will tell you a story; I run a training company, after all. A man in a hot-air balloon realized he was lost. He reduced the altitude and spotted a woman below. He descended a bit more and shouted, “Excuse me, can you help me? I promised a friend I would meet him an hour ago, but I don’t know where I am.”

The woman replied, “You’re in a hot-air balloon hovering approximately 30 feet above the ground. You’re between 40 and 41 degrees north latitude and between 59 and 60 degrees west longitude.”

“You must be an engineer,” said the balloonist. “I am,” replied the woman, “How did you know?”

“Well,” answered the balloonist, “Everything you told me are technically correct, but I’ve no idea what to make of your information, and the fact is, I’m still lost. Frankly, you’ve not been much help at all. If anything, you’ve delayed my trip.”

The woman below responded, “You must be in Management.” “I am,” replied the balloonist, “But how did you know?

“Well,” said the woman, “You don’t know where you are or where you’re going. You have risen to where you are due to a large quantity of hot air.”

“You made a promise which you’ve no idea how to keep, and you expect people beneath you to solve your problems. The fact is you are in exactly the same position you had been in before we met, but now, somehow, it’s my fault.”

I don’t know about you but I want to know where I am going so I am always looking for lessons on being a leader.

Here are 7 leadership lessons I learned from Game of Thrones:

1. Good leaders are hard to find

The fact is there have been many leaders in the Game of Thrones, but very few of them are good leaders. Is this true about corporations? Are good leaders hard to find? The fact is that there are few good leaders throughout history, and in corporations today. What can we do about that? “The single biggest way to impact an organization is to focus on leadership development. There is almost no limit to the potential of an organization that recruits good people, raises them up as leaders and continually develops them.” — John C Maxwell

2. Family-run organisations can weaken through the generations

Blood does not equal brains. Research shows that only 30% of family businesses make it to generation two, and a mere 3% still generate profits in generation three.

What we see in Game of Thrones as well as history is that promoting family leaders without adequate training and mentoring from a leader with integrity leads to pride, arrogance, and power-crazy leaders who care not for the people, only for their selfish purposes e.g. Lannisters. On the other hand, we see that the Stark children were mentored, given responsibility, and taught leadership values, and they have the power to change a generation.

3. Women leaders need to have tenacity and courage to believe in themselves

Some of the most powerful leaders in Game of Thrones are women, for good and evil. The women leaders for good have learnt that tenacity and courage are key ingredients to leading great armies, fighting warriors, and overcoming oppression.

4. Don’t lose your head when attending corporate functions

Two of the most powerful figures of Game of Thrones were killed in corporate functions. Catelyn Stark was set up by corrupt leaders and killed, and Joffrey Baratheon was poisoned by an employee.

We like to say to leaders when it comes to corporate functions, “The cardinal rule is to remember that no matter how festive the occasion, it’s still about business. Don’t fall off the fast track to success or risk damaging your professional reputation in one night of inadvertent blunders.”

5. The Dragons will eventually be chained

There are some leaders who think that Dragon managers give them power and authority. In some cases, they have helped to get the leader their job. However, their intimidation and fire-breathing ways eventually break out, and good people in the organization become casualties. The leader will either be brought down or make a decision to remove them from power.

6. Be true to your values, even if you have to walk away

In Game of Thrones, we have the eternal fight between good and evil, right and wrong, and justice and inequality. The same thing happens today in corporations. Leaders can lose their way and the values they once expounded no longer exist. In these times, some people choose to make a stand, and some leave. Many men and women through history gave their lives for what they believed. We may not have to go that far, but we may have to decide if we want to stay in such an environment or go and fight for another king.

7. Influence and connections can be life savers and bring promotion

Whether you are a king, dwarf, eunuch or banker, there is definitely power in influence. We see throughout the Game of Thrones that with the right connections and influence, your life can be saved; without these connections, you will lose your head.

In the series, there is no greater influencer than Tyrion Lannister. In 15th and 16th century Europe, any imperfection — dwarfism, blindness, a child born abnormal — was ideally smothered, gotten rid of, or put in a bucket or anything. The fact is that since birth, Tyrion has been an influencer. He used this skill to become indispensable. Please see post: 5 Keys to Become Indispensable at Work.

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