Archive for the "Uncategorized" Category

How Boring is Virtual Training?

Posted on April 5th, 2013 by Chris Gaborit

Some years back, our Managing Director had a great idea – let’s start doing virtual training. Look I’m not against eLearning, for some people it is great, but it’s never inspired me much more than a glorified PowerPoint. My immediate reaction was, “OMG, if that’s anything like eLearning then it will be boring as.”

I tried to avoid the subject as long as I could, hoping that the idea would just fade away, but no such luck. The date and time were set in our diaries. There was no escaping now. I was committed to attending a one-hour virtual training session with some guru virtual trainer.

In spite of doing all I could to have an off-site appointment that morning, fate would have no one want to meet me for coffee. Finally the time had come. I had to bite the bullet and attend.

Look, let’s face it – I had been a trainer since I was in nappies. I can train face to face under water, with my hands tied behind my back. I can tell jokes, make people laugh, make them cry, bring seriousness, use voice inflections, wave my size 13 hands around like a conductor to still the masses. So when you try to tell me, “This is the next big thing! Virtual training is going to take the world by storm!” Ha, not likely.

I was depressed with the thought of going online to listen to some dumb virtual trainer for an hour. What could they teach me anyhow? My brain was working overtime and I had a thought, “Well if I have to be online, I will act like I’m there but really be on my other screen and be checking emails etc., they will never know.” (I have since found out that they do know when I am doing this)

Feeling a little more optimistic about the next hour I finally logged on. (Was I supposed to have tested my computer before now??). The session started with a screen I had never seen before and I felt awkward not knowing how to write, chat, type. My competitive juices started to flow a little and not wanting to appear as a complete virtual fool, I thought I better listen for a little while and learn.

Firstly the facilitator had us draw on a map what city we were in, then we had to type the temperature, next we chatting to each other, using the microphone to join a discussion. I hate to say it but I was starting to warm to this, some may think I was enjoying myself. I was chatting away, drawing, making animations – smiling, having coffee breaks, and raising my hand up and then putting it down. We watched a video, did a poll and I thought, “Im pretty good at all this.”  Maybe I can crack a joke in the chat room – and then, just like that the 60 minutes had finished.

It was so engaging, entertaining, and interactive that two things happened to me: I actually learned a lot while having fun and I really connected with all the people including the facilitator and felt invigorated. Oh and one last thing happened – I saw the future of learning, it was virtual training. This is the next big thing! Virtual training is going to take the world by storm! How boring is virtual training? I didn’t have time to notice. 🙂

Author: Chris Gaborit – Director at The Learning Factor


Time Management Keys from the World’s Busiest People

Posted on July 26th, 2012 by Chris Gaborit

Who could be busier than the CEO of Virgin, the President of the USA or the CEO of Apple? Sometimes I have this revelation that I have the same 1440 minutes every day that the busiest people in the world do and I go WOW! What could I learn from them? How could I improve my time management?

Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin Group

“I learned to delegate from a young age.…I try to exercise every day – whether it is a swim, a game of tennis or a kite-surf …. Manage the BlackBerry, don’t let it manage you….Speak to people – I do get a lot of emails every day and try to answer as many as I can; but I also believe that you need to speak to people. It can save you and them a lot of time….And write it down – I carry notebooks wherever I go to jot down thoughts and notes. You can’t beat pen and paper.”

President Dwight Eisenhower, President of the USA

“Most things which are urgent are not important, and most things which are important are not urgent.” The Eisenhower method is used successfully by many people today. All tasks are evaluated using the criteria important/unimportant and urgent/not urgent and put in according quadrants.

Steve Jobs, Apple Founder & CEO

“Say No to 1,000 Things” – Watching athletes prepare for the Olympic Games I see people who are living this very quote. They remain single minded, laser focused. They constantly have to say “No” to a thousand things to win their race and reach their goal. Steve Jobs was known for simplifying things. When he returned to Apple in 1997, he took their 300 products and reduced it to 10. This saved Apple from bankruptcy. In his personal life, Steve decided to wear the same outfit daily so he wouldn’t have to spend time thinking about his wardrobe.

By learning to delegate more, managing your emails, dealing with the urgent and learning to say ‘no’ we can successfully manage our time and still have some time to exercise and enjoy life.

If you’d like to see how well you are managing your time, why not take our free SELF ASSESSMENT.

Managing Remote Teams

Posted on June 26th, 2012 by The Learning Factor

As globalisation and technology converge to provide broad and immediate access to the farthest reaches of the world, our work is growing increasingly more “remote.” Up until a few years ago, most people shared a workplace with their teams and their managers. For the most part, only salespeople worked remotely and then only to be nearer their customers. Now a growing proportion of people now work at a distance, linked only by technology.

According to predictions in a recent report, Australia’s Digital Future to 2050, by IBISWorld and IBM, the new ‘utility’ as it’s referred to, will spell the enhancement of nearly all of our industries, and the extinction of some industrial-age industries. The world of ICT will be enhanced by high-speed broadband, cloud-computing, analytics, learning systems, cognitive computing and more, rendering the world of work, and employer-employee relations heading towards a whole new frontier.

So what are some of the key predictions of the enterprise and workplace of the future? Read on:

  • Teleworking – Perhaps one in four people in the workforce could be working at least partially from home if not full-time in the middle of this century. If so, then we would have five million working from home at least part of the time – taking millions of commuters off the roads. Almost half would directly benefit from – if not actually be enabled by – high-speed ubiquitous broadband.
  • No boundaries – As the new utility helps overcome factors like geographical distance, regional centres and some rural communities will be reinvigorated. Teleworking will enable some jobs centred in capital cities to be relocated to the bush. Skilled workers will be able to live anywhere they choose, and businesses will be able to source skilled employees across international boundaries.
  • The term ‘employee’ will be extinct – as a result of teleworking, the concept of 9-5 will be a relic. Workers may contribute to a variety of enterprises and will not be tied to a single employer.
  • Medium-sized enterprises, or companies with revenue of $1m-$100m, will continue to experience the fastest levels of growth due to: the trend to outsourcing by households and businesses, creating new entrepreneurial opportunities; the lower need or demand for capital (being service industries that are the fastest growing); and more flexible lenders.

None of these potential benefits come without the application of a different quality and focus by leaders of virtual teams.

Demand on first-line leaders time is already high. They are increasingly required to be visible and to role model purposeful leadership to their teams. The expectation placed on these managers is that they will do a lot when time is ever more limited, and to be skilled in dealing with the added complexity in remote venues when managing change. In this new world, managers are asking the following questions:

  • How does remoteness change group and leadership behaviours?
  • What is the right balance of task and team focus?
  • What is the right balance of control and autonomy in the way we work together?
  • What causes divided loyalties, and what can we do about them?
  • Why do we need to be a team anyway?
  • When should we communicate, and how often is enough?
  • How do I manage my team when the travel budget is cut?
  • When should I get face-to-face, and when is it better to avoid it?
  • How do I stay visible when I’m remote?
  • What’s the point in remote coaching?  Isn’t it just more work when I don’t have the time?
  • How can I travel less without damaging my career and still get results from my remote team?
  • How can I accelerate the transfer of learning through my dispersed team?

The Learning Factor runs a number of different training programs to help front-line managers understand the critical role they play as a leader in energising and empowering virtual team members.

We run part of this program on our virtual training platform. Participants can attend the program from their own office or home! A live facilitator interacts with the remote participants and they being to experience the power of using online tools to communicate with their own teams.

These programs should be a mandatory requirement for any manager who is or will be managing a virtual team.

Take a look at our Managing Remote Teams Training Program Outline. There is a large price to pay if you do not invest in up skilling your managers in this new world of work.