Mission: To connect our workplace learning community using a cutting edge resource to exchange information and encourage innovation.

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If you are interested in submitting a post, please include a short description of your topic, or reporting on an event, contact Khadeidra Le Gendre at

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  • 20 Jun 2014 4:49 PM | Khadeidra Le Gendre (Administrator)

    On June 11, NYU Higher Education SIG and Teacher’s College, Columbia University SIG, collaborated to organize the On-Practitioner Series event at Deloitte. Ellen Quint, Leader of FAS Advisory Learning Portfolio, along with her two esteemed colleagues - Isabella Pawlowski, Talent Delivery Manager, and Pei-Chen Lin, Training Delivery Lead, Talent Learning at Deloitte – graciously hosted the ASTD members at their offices in downtown Manhattan (which had breathtaking views of the city!).  The audience consisted of a good mix of industry practitioners and students from Columbia & NYU, and thus covered a variety of perspectives on the L&D field.

    With its colossal size of operations, it was naturally difficult to cover all that Deloitte offers in Learning & Development across the globe. However, Ellen and her team solved this issue by focusing their presentation at Deloitte’s latest initiative – Deloitte University.  This corporate university was a clear indication of Deloitte’s commitment towards the development of its employees, and as the team delved more into the programs offered, it was evident how matching sound concepts to upcoming delivery methods have changed the landscape of learning.

    One of the highlights of the event was the description of Deloitte’s “Up Your Game” program, a course targeted to help the support services (such as IT, Finance, Admin and HR) improve their communication and leadership skills. Pei-Chen, who was involved in managing this project, described the tactical and strategic difficulties in getting these programs implemented across various locations in USA and in India. All three speakers agreed that the most important factor in success was the support of senior management. An interesting point about the programs at Deloitte University is that some were even offered to client groups, if relevant.

    As the discussion moved toward the broader spectrum of key business challenges and the role of the Learning & Development team in solving these, the speakers shared some very interesting approaches. It was heartening to see the company use upcoming trends such as simulation-based courses and blended learning, with key foundational concepts like emotional intelligence and training evaluation. For students and practitioners alike, it was a live example of how theories can be merged with practical implementations to achieve results. Ellen’s bulls-eye answers combined with her great sense of humor, Isabella’s ability to relate our questions with her experiences and Pei-Chen’s detailed description of the back-end work, gave us a holistic view of Deloitte’s learning initiatives and made the event a memorable one.

    Shalini Shroff is the Co-Chair for the ASTDNY-NYU Higher Education SIG and a current graduate student in adult education and workplace learning at Steinhardt School, New York University. She has a background in Human Resources and has worked as an HR Generalist in an Information Technology (IT) company and a healthcare organization in India.

  • 10 May 2014 6:18 PM | Khadeidra Le Gendre (Administrator)

    The snowshoe hare typically has a winter-white coat; in the summer though, its fur turns brown, changing color completely. They are reputedly nimble and fast, which is critical, because they are popular targets for many predators. 

    In the animal kingdom, as well as in our world, adaptation is integral to survival and growth.

    On the heels of the stirring announcement by Tony Bingham (President & CEO of ASTD) of ASTD’s rebranding and name change, we are left to think about our own agility, both as practitioners and as organizational members of ASTD. How prepared are we to be among the early adopters of change from ASTD to ATD? Perhaps we should consider what helps and hinders our transition process.

    The Five Characteristics of an Adaptive Culture:

    1. Culture of Willingness to Change

    Is ASTD’s willingness to change as natural as the color of a snowshoe hare’s coat?

    In the early 1940s, training was essential to meeting U.S. business ambitions, so a meeting of the American Petroleum Institute resulted in the birth of American Society of Training Directors. In 1964, in response to a changing landscape, ASTD opted to widen its focus to connect learning and performance with business results, and changed its name to the American Society for Training & Development. And, the ASTD Competency Model underwent major revisions as recently as 2004 and 2013.

    2. Identifying Problems Before They Occur

    The snowshoe hare is able to sense the onset of winter or summer and to adapt seamlessly to the environment. As practitioners, are we nimble or are we immobilized by changes in the environment? And are we internally flexible to external demands? If a “Global Mindset” and “Industry Knowledge” are part of ASTD’s foundational competencies, it is then necessary for us to effectively scan the environment to identify potential challenges and take steps to be impactful in the future. 

    3. Innovation Focused: Willing to Take Risks

    In the words of President Tony Bingham, “Today’s knowledge economy brings new opportunities for developing a workforce that can innovate. Multiple generations in the work place create new paradigms for learning.” Have we truly explored new mediums for developing talent at different levels, or have we relied on tried-and-true methods which provide the comfort of familiarity?

    4. Emphasis on Trust and Candor

    A poll at the ASTD 2014 conference revealed that 62% of conference attendees experienced a lack of trust within in their organizations. This begs the question: which comes first, trust or candor? The lack of either can impede progress and adaptation to change. Chronology aside, both trust and candor must be multidirectional - from leadership to the community members, and vice versa. Adaptation is no longer top-down; as General Stanley McChrystal noted in his keynote presentation at the ASTD 2014 conference. While leadership must be held responsible for communicating changes and continuity, members of the community should feel empowered to ask tough questions and provide upward feedback.

    5. Enthusiasm

    "We all need a CEO, a Chief Encouragement Officer,” said Kevin Carroll, the final keynote speaker at the ASTD 2014 conference. Certainly, no transformational change effort is complete without leadership that rallies the troops and recognizes achievements.

    How do you feel about our capacity to adapt to newly minted, visionary, long-term focus: Developing the Talent of Today and Tomorrow?

    Khadeidra Le Gendre is a lifelong learner and current graduate student of Social-Organizational Psychology at Teachers College, Columbia University. She is engaged in HR/Training & Development work at MTA New York City Transit and is charged with exploring new technologies and evaluating learning impact within the agency.

  • 29 Mar 2014 10:10 PM | Khadeidra Le Gendre (Administrator)
    How can you get employees up to speed and able to effectively perform new jobs or responsibilities, when the time and money available for training has been significantly reduced?

    During the Performance Support/Informal Learning (PS/IL) SIG meeting on December 11, 2013, Jim O'Hern, former Director of Learning and Development for Energy Marketing at Hess Corporation, answered this question. He discussed how he faced this challenge with the organization's existing sales training process and how he addressed it by putting into place an innovative new strategy.

    Jim O’Hern was the ASTD NY Chapter President in 2011 and is still very active in ASTD at the Chapter and national level. He is the Principle of Authentic Leadership, LLC, and has been a recognized leader in the areas of Corporate Learning and Leadership Development for over 25 years.

    Jim consulted with co-presenter, Hal Christensen, to build and help pilot an inexpensive Performance Support prototype to implement Jim’s new strategy. Hal is a Partner at Christensen/Roberts Solutions, and has over 25 years of experience in performance support. Hal, like Jim, has a history of being involved with the ASTD NY Chapter and currently heads up the PS/IL SIG. He also teaches an online course on Creating Effective Performance Support Solutions.

    Jim began the presentation by overviewing the topics he and Hal planned to cover:
    • How the project originated
    • The design/development process
    • A demonstration of how the program works
    • Looking back and forward

    How the Project Originated

    Jim explained the factors that led him to develop a performance support tool for Hess’s sales force. Since Hess’s sales force spent the bulk of its time in the field and out on its own, Jim sought to provide them with new skills “on the street.” That is, he wanted to provide support that was readily available when and where sales professionals needed it. In addition, Jim saw a need to accelerate development. To do this, he wanted to leverage the following existing programs --multi-module product e-learning training program, an 8-day Regional Manager Program, a Sales Manager Program, and an Account Manager Program.

    Next, Jim reviewed the HESS Masters Certification in Sales Leadership Program. This year-long program was designed to prepare Sales Coordinators to be Account Managers. While great training assets existed, such as the Energy Marketing Sales (EMS) Sales Process practice aid, Jim felt that the program covered too much content and did not include any integrated resources that sales professionals could access while on the road. In addition, at the conclusion of the training process, new managers were left on their own with little access to ongoing mentoring and coaching.

    Jim’s goal was to create a new sales training strategy that would accomplish the following:
    • Introduce Performance Support
    • Create a tool that would utilize existing assets, and have them available “on the street”
    • Leverage the existing Account Manager Competency Model
    • Drive learning on the job with appropriate support
    • Foster self-directed, on-the-job performance
    • Integrate tools into the sales manager and mentoring/coaching processes
    • Limit costs

    The Design/Development Process

    To cover the design/development process, Hal stepped in and discussed the four key performance support design principles followed for this initiative.

    1. Focus on enabling performance
    Create a tool that applies knowledge and skills (performance support) rather than acquiring knowledge (traditional training).

    2. Move from training to sustained competence
    A performance support paradigm does not focus on training or memorizing information. Rather, it provides a means for accessing knowledge at the point of need so that competence can be maintained over time.

    3. Integrate all elements
    This includes:
    • All support content
    • All relevant processes
    • The work itself
    • Self-development activities

    4. Easy accessibility at the Point of Performance
    The tools must be instantly available, rooted in the context of the work, easy to navigate, and housed in one location.

    Demonstration of How the Program Works

    Hal provided a live demonstration of the performance support tool that was broken down into four modules:
    • Setting monthly objectives for each account
    • Reviewing the sales process
    • Targeting competencies, and
    • Working accounts

    Looking Back and Forward

    Jim wrapped up the presentation with reflections that included the following:

    Looking Back
    • PS is not limited to supporting software applications
    • Hess PST supported:
    – Mentoring and sales coaching process
    – Competency Model use
    – Sales performance
    – Self-development
    • Keys to PST:
    – Precise actionable guidance at the point of need in the workplace/field
    – Help one reflect on own learning and development

    Looking Forward
    • Add more content to the initial shell
    • Add more guidance for the monthly report
    • Add more tangible record of the reps progress
    • Reduce the learning curve for authoring
    • Move journals and notes to the Cloud
    • Enable Reps to capture and add own content

    Jim shared that the initial feedback on the prototype was positive. However, unfortunately, no long-term metrics exist, as his business unit was sold by HESS shortly after the tool was implemented.

    As a learning and development professional still new to PS, I found this presentation to be extremely helpful in bringing PS concepts to life. PS principles are highly theoretical, and I initially found it difficult to picture how I would implement PS tools in the workplace. Jim and Hal’s real-life scenario showed me how to put these concepts into practice. What I particularly liked was learning how to make actionable information accessible when it is needed, as well as being shown how to establish a link between development resources and daily work tasks through the use of a PS tool. Also the fact that existing assets were leveraged and the PS project was inexpensive, helped me realize how doable PS could be as a solution. Having attended the program, I eagerly look forward to an opportunity to design and implement a performance support tool in my own workplace!

    Stacey Wolf is a Learning and Development Specialist, and member of the PS/IL SIG Committee.

  • 06 Mar 2014 7:17 AM | Khadeidra Le Gendre (Administrator)
    Imagine if you heard someone say, "Forgive me for all the past training solutions I developed that did not work." 

    Too EXTREME? Using a stern photograph of Judge Judy, Yanay Zagury of Pelephone (Israel), provided a comic break to participants last September on the second day of the Performance Support Symposium in Boston. This happened 2 days before Yom Kippur, (the Day of Atonement in the Hebrew calendar). Yanay proceeded, “As trainers, we should ask forgiveness for all the ineffective learning we ever did.” Wow! How many of us can claim to have the same fire-in- the-belly and passion for performance support that Yanay Zagury has?

    I was thrilled to be able attend the PSS Symposium, along with Hal Christensen and Kim Howie from our ASTDNY chapter. I was excited to see and hear PSS evangelists and advocates like Allison Rossett, Marc Rosenberg, Bob Mosher, Conrad Gottfredson, Clark Quinn and Gary Wise in person. Most of all, I wanted to see real case studies in action.
    My biggest question was: Is PSS real this time? I had attended the very first Performance Support Conference in 1992 immediately after Gloria Gery’s Electronic Performance Support book was released. Gloria’s challenge: defy the traditional notions of training and focus instead on integrating knowledge and systems to produce Day-One workplace performance. We thought then that Performance Support would become the new standard – ah, irrational exuberance!
    After two days of immersion in the PSS symposium, the answer I came away with was YES! Performance Support is resurging and is being adopted in several organizations, not just in the US but in other parts of the world. At the Symposium I found:
    • Several real examples of PSS initiatives from large and small and companies (i.e., Bank of America, American Express, McDonald’s, Yahoo, Huntington National Bank and Miami Children’s Hospital). They employed advances in technology, the cloud and mobile devices. There were non-technology related PSS successes, and modest beginnings.
    • Several examples of PSS technology (Ontuitive, Xyleme, Leo, etc.) that should facilitate PSS development, more than at any previous time.

    I took many lessons from PSS Symposium. Here are two of my favorites:
    1. Use Yanay Zagury’s 360 Model for Performance Support. (Session # 502) to differentiate when tasks need to be trained vs. when to provide performance support.
    Pelephone uses Leo as its Performance Support tool. Whether you have access to Leo technology or not, borrow from Yanay’s model and create your own grid by following these steps:
    • On the x axis, list the categories Learner, Intern and Expert to identify the audience type.
    • On the y axis, list: Frequent, Rare, Complex / Expensive to sort tasks by frequency and difficulty.
    • In the resulting grid, identify what must be learned, what must NOT be learned, and what must be supported by a Performance Support Solution (PSS).
    o For example, for the combination Learner - Frequent, all tasks are Must Learn.
    o On the other hand, Learner -Rare tasks are classified as Must NOT Learn
    o For Rare tasks, provide performance support at the Intern and Expert level

    You may decide after analysis that some tasks should not be taught or supported at certain levels.
    • For example, when it comes to Complex and Expensive tasks for Learners, consider providing performance support, but no training.

    The value of this analysis is that it helps us sort out and simplify our instructional strategy for any type of assignment. It identifies the best possible applications of performance support solutions in our own day to day work.

    2. Make it insanely SIMPLE! (Allison Rossett, Session #201).
    Allison offered a good example of a practical use of Performance Support technology: A Wine-Pairing app for a smart phone. I found 100 free or inexpensive apps on my iPhone that I could use to match my dinner menu with appropriate wines. .
    Can we get Sommelier-like smarts from an app? Definitely! Try to download a wine-pairing app for your smart phone and reverse engineer the process – imagine what types of spreadsheets and combinations designers used to develop the wine pairing app. Then think about your own work situation, apply the same thinking to solve a performance problem and develop a Checklist, Side Kick or Planner accessible on demand.
    Below are links to websites with more information on the Symposium program and presentations. Take a look to see how you might incorporate some of the ideas and examples into your own projects.
    PSS Symposium 2013 Program
    All PSS Symposium 2013 Handouts (download speaker presentations)
    PSS Symposium 2013 Backchannel blog (Curated Resources by David Kelly)
    Photos and PSS 2013 Learning Magazine article (by Bill Brandon)

    Malu Schloss is a learning and technical communications consultant and a Relationship Manager for TrainingPros, Inc. Malu has over twenty years’ experience specializing in leading and producing learning, technical communications and performance support solutions in global and US organizations.

  • 11 Feb 2014 12:12 AM | Khadeidra Le Gendre (Administrator)
    "Did you make any New Year’s resolutions for 2014? Eat healthier? Exercise more? Get fit? What about your career? What resolutions did you make to get yourself career fit?" 
    Jennifer Naughton, Senior Director of Competencies & Credentialing for ASTD National posed these questions at our first ASTD-NY Monthly Chapter Event of 2014.

    So how do we successfully manage our careers the way we manage (or attempt to manage) other areas of our lives?

    Jennifer introduced us to the updated ASTD 2014 Competency Model. Comprised of 10 specific competencies for Training & Development professionals, the ASTD Competency Model provides a framework and strategy to help professionals identify the key knowledge, skills, and behaviors they need to successfully perform within their organizations. Upon exploration, commitment, and development in these key areas, we can take control of our careers, and forge a pathway for our own career development.

    How do you determine which path is the correct one for you? Perhaps it’s time for some self-reflection and self-assessment.

    Enter Raoul Nolan, Senior Consultant for Lee Hecht Harrison. At the Chapter Event, Raoul led us in a fast-paced, energizing, reflective journey that allowed us to explore our own personal values, interests, motivations and uniqueness in order to create an individual development plan with specific actions to propel us along the right path. 
    We can begin to develop a plan that aligns with who we are and where we want to go, by assessing ourselves in the 5 fundamental areas for career planning:
    Person - Know Your Strengths: How Am I Unique?
    Performance - Know Your Reputation: What Are My Capabilities?
    Place - Know Your Environment: How Is the World of Work Changing?
    Possibilities - Set SMART Goals: What Are My Aspirations?
    Plan - Develop an Action Plan: How Can I Accelerate My Learning?

    Another assessment was around 4 “Interest Areas” of our work and life skills, which uncover the core of who we are and what we like to do. 
    Those 4 core interests involve working with:
    People - coaching, collaborating, coordinating, interviewing, leading, etc.
    Ideas - creating, designing, drawing, enhancing, imagining, etc.
    Data - auditing, budgeting, calculating, computing, correcting, etc.
    Things - assembling, building, collecting, inspecting, inventorying, etc.

    As a trainer, facilitator, speaker, and program designer with a bent toward “feeling” and “intuition,” I wasn’t surprised to find that I ranked incredibly high on People and Ideas, while I ranked fairly low on Things… and rock bottom on Data. Even so, it was great to have that confirmed, and to also confirm that I’m on the right path for my own professional development.

    Armed with these new assessments of our own skills, drives, and capabilities, we can all forge ahead on a new course that will put us in the driver’s seat of our own career path.
  • 26 Jan 2014 4:17 PM | Christina Boryk

    The Performance Support/Informal Learning (PS/IL) SIG held its first fall meeting Wednesday, October 9.  We had a fascinating presentation by a panel of speakers who attended the second annual Performance Support Symposium in Boston, Massachusetts on September 9 and 10, 2013.  The three panelists--Malu Schloss, Relationship Manager, TrainingPros; Kim Howie, Training Manager, Patient Accounts at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center; and Hal Christensen, Partner at Christensen/Roberts Solutions and Chairman of the PS/IL SIGundefinedshared key points and their impressions of the conference.

    David Kelly, Program Director of The E-Learning Guild, which sponsored the event, was also in attendance and he provided some background information about the Symposium.  He shared that this year’s Symposium featured 45 speakers, including thought leaders in the performance support field such as Allison Rossett, Bob Mosher, Conrad Gottfredson, Gary Wise, and Marc Rosenberg; as well as representatives from over 20 different organizations: Yahoo, American Express, Xerox, Boston University, and others.

    After David described the Guild’s role in developing the conference, the panelists presented conference highlights, and key “take-aways,” with accompanying slides.  They also offered their views of the state of performance support today.  Here are some of the points they shared:

    • Performance Support is inevitable.  We are a self-service culture and expect to be able to accomplish tasks without needing to contact a Help Desk.  Therefore easy-to-use performance support tools will continue to roll out in organizations.
    • People in L&D must adapt and become advocates of performance supportundefinedbroadening their skill-set if necessary--or risk being left behind by company IT departments that develop tools that solve performance problems.
    • L&D will convince management to embrace performance support only by tying it to the achievement of company business goals.
    • The best way to begin a performance support initiative is by “starting small.” Introduce management to the idea by implementing a low-cost, manageable pilot project, perhaps a simple Planner or Checklist. 

    Malu Schloss’s Presentation

    Malu said she liked Allison Rossett’s characterization of the ideal performance support system as one that is “insanely simple” to use.  She went on to review a few performance support Case Studies, one of which was for “Floaters” at Children’s Memorial Hospital.  Floaters are employees who must rotate from one hospital ward to another, and may have difficulty remembering the procedures of different wards.  To solve this problem, the Floaters received iPads that were loaded with clinical apps to help refresh their knowledge of the particulars of the various wards. 

    The last Case Study Malu shared with the group was presented by Marci Paino of AMEX.  She demonstrated how they easily developed a simple performance support solution with a one-page FAQ deployed via the internet.  It was developed to keep company sales reps up to date on new laws and products introduced.  She also mentioned the option of embedding brief performance support tutorials in the user interface.

    Kim Howie’s Presentation

    Kim noted several re-occurring themes at the Symposium.  For exampleundefined“expand your toolbox”, “at the moment of need”, “change management”, “push vs. pull” and “task level support”.

    She said a phrase often-heard during the Symposium was “Begin with the end in mind.”  The company needs to develop expectations for employee performance.  It must determine what they need to know, and when they need to know it, in order to perform competently.  They also need to determine what information doesn’t have to be covered in training, because employees can “just look it up” later on, when they need it. 

    While Kim was discussing metrics, she mentioned that the only important metrics are those directly related to the improvement of business operations.  Examples--less time looking up information, fewer errors, increased customer satisfaction, fewer calls to the Help Desk. 

    Kim said conference speakers repeatedly stressed that to be effective, a performance support solution must be “seamless” and embedded” into the workflow.  She mentioned one speaker said using performance support should be as easy as doing a Google search.

    Hal Christensen’s Presentation

    Hal reviewed a Symposium slide of a pie chart showing the inherent imbalance of applying up to 80 percent of a company’s annual training resources to the five percent of employees’ time spent annually in formal training.  He shared how the implementation of performance support solutions that are used during the 95 percent of employees’ time spent working, would make far better use of company assets.

    He went on to share Case Studies from Boston University, Jack in the Box and Huntington National Bank.

    Like Malu, Hal mentioned Allison Rossett.  He said he shared Allison’s endorsement of Planners and Sidekicks because they are low-cost and easy to create from existing resources. He also mentioned that Planners and Sidekicks are a good choice for preparing a “Proof of Concept” that can help encourage and convince company management to support a larger-scale project.

    Wrap Up

    After Hal’s presentation, the floor was opened for questions.  Panel members answered questions and there was a lively discussion on the points covered during the presentations.

    The presentersundefinedMalu, Kim and Halundefinedclearly met the meeting objective of giving Chapter Members a flavor and “snap shot” of the Symposium.  The points covered, their insights and the slide excerpts reviewed, enabled participants of the evening to walk away with a better understanding of performance support and how it can be applied in the workplace.  The content provided was a perfect addition to the performance support knowledge foundation that the PS/IL SIG was developing.  Many of the case studies shared demonstrated some of the concepts that had been covered in past SIG meetings.  It was great hearing about real life applications of Performance Support! 

    A Performance Support solution places the right information, and access to that information, into the hands of employees at the moment they need it, reducing the need for formal training by ensuring that employees always have the information they require to do their jobs competently. 




  • 24 Nov 2013 3:15 PM | Christina Boryk

    “By Endurance, We Conquer”

    On November 19th, Margot Morrell presented highlights from her book, Shackleton’s Way:  Leadership Lessons from the Great Antarctic Explorer, a look at Ernest Shackleton, the famed Antarctic Captain whose expedition was cut short after polar ice crushed his ship, the Endurance.

    For two years (1914 - 1916), Shackleton was not only able to keep his crew working, fed, and in good spirits, he miraculously returned all 27 of his men to safety. It was said that Shackleton was “at his best when the days seemed their darkest,” and crew members attribute the heroic accomplishment to Shackleton’s unwavering leadership, resourcefulness, and attitude.

    Morrell gave insight to her research methods, which included transcribing the many diaries from the voyage.  As she combed through countless written pages of text, she noticed some consistent leadership themes that she believed directly contributed to the crew’s survival.

    So What Made Shackleton a Successful Leader?

    At first pass, it seems that Shackleton’s story is one of a superhuman leader, that rare individual who is ‘born to lead’ and enviously equipped with every skill necessary for success.  Through Morrell’s research, however, it became evident that Shackleton may have had some innate leadership qualities, but he was no ‘born leader.’  Shackleton worked at it every day, reflecting and adjusting and readjusting. 

    Most importantly, Shackleton showed a humble willingness to continually improve his leadership skills - not for power - but as an instrument to fine tune so he could summon every last strength and attribute of his crew.  Shackleton knew that the crew’s survival depended on working as a high-functioning team, and it was his responsibility to make this team a reality.

    Through entry after entry, Morrell pulled the following leadership gems from the crew’s notebooks.  Shackleton:

    • Demonstrated a positive attitude in spite of extreme adversity
    • Was calm, assured; did not show fear or frustration
    • Praised his crew consistently; corrected in private if necessary
    • Expressed genuine empathy; always put the crew’s safety and well-being first
    • Encouraged the crew to bond by both ‘working and playing’ together
    • Often sacrificed his own food and / or gear for his men
    • Expected everyone to work and contribute; no special treatment


    • Frequently asked for the crew’s opinion and expertise


    In reading the crew’s notes, certain patterns emerged.  Overall, there are four simple but fundamental areas where Morrell believes Shackleton consistently excelled:

    • Leading by example
    • Communicating effectively
    • Keeping up morale
    • Driving positive outcomes

    Morrell included what she thought was the one true secret to being a great leader – the ability to gain the commitment and cooperation of your team.  Shackleton made this a reality in large part by maintaining personal bonds with the crew, by putting his crew’s needs before his own.  His selfless, caring style of ‘servant leadership’ was the glue that kept the group positive and productive, even during their darkest moments.

    “This story… it’s still so amazing to me.”

    Morrell remains just as enamored with Shackleton’s story as she was when she began her research years ago.  She showed photos of the crew working and playing football on the ice flows, and joked, “…not only did Shackleton bring everyone home alive, but they actually had a pretty good time in the process!”  The group echoed her laughter, and in the crowd you could hear remarks like, “Can you imagine… having a good time in Antarctica?!”  or “Just unbelievable... what a story.”

    In one of his many plain-spoken but powerful speeches, Ernest Shackleton invigorated his crew with just a few words and gave them hope when their prospects for rescue seemed bleak, “By Endurance, We Conquer.”  And together they did just that.

    How Do Shackleton’s Lessons Apply to Us?

    As Morrell recounted this seemingly impossible story of leadership and survival, she also made a point that we should not see Shackleton’s story as inaccessible or ‘over the top.’  She asserted that Shackleton’s lessons are just as relevant today in our day-to-day work as they were to his crew of 27 on the frozen ice flows in Antarctica.  

    Morrell concluded that Shackleton continually worked at being a great leader.  It was obvious that Shackleton didn’t take anything for granted, and was always learning and relearning and tweaking; making small adjustments and corrections to his own style. The story reinforced for Morrell the notion that leaders are not born – they are made – and then make themselves over again and again through necessity, hard work, and reflection.

    He Didn’t See Himself as a Leader

    What’s most telling is that Shackleton never referred to himself a leader.  Humble in every way, he wanted the best for his crew and for everyone to come home alive.   In the process of learning how to create the most optimal environment for his crew to work, live, and learn, Shackleton arguably became one of the most respected leaders of the twentieth century.

    After an inspiring evening, my main takeaway is that it is up to each of us to reflect, adapt the lessons and incorporate them into our own practice, to make them an authentic part of our own leadership journey.  No one can do this for us.  

    So what are your takeaways from Morrell’s event?  How would you add to this discussion?

    You can learn more about Ernest Shackleton and related Leadership topics by accessing the GPS resource page:

    Brenda Vallieu, ASTDNY VP, Operations

  • 10 Nov 2013 1:43 PM | Christina Boryk


    The NYU Higher Education SIG presented the topic “Approaches to Strategic Leadership and Talent Development” at NYU on October 22, 2013 to ASTD NY Members and NYU Business and Adult Education graduate-level students. The interactive discussion focused on how L&D professionals can develop leaders in order to achieve maximum results.

    Bridget N. O’Connor, PhD, NYU Steinhardt Professor of Higher Education and Business Education, together with an NYU Student, introduced the speakers and distinguished NYU Alumni, Amy Lui Abel and Sherlin Nair. Amy Lui Abel, PhD, is Director of Human Capital Research at The Conference Board in New York and Sherlin Nair, MA, is a Research Consultant at The Conference Board and PhD candidate at Teacher’s College, Columbia University. The speakers shared highlights from the 2013 report they co-authored titled “Strategic Leadership Development” that was published by The Conference Board. The presentation was followed by participants breaking up into small groups in order to work together to solve a Leadership Development (LD) scenario, that involved analyzing different leadership approaches, and selecting the most appropriate course of action in order to provide the greatest impact for the new leader and the entire organization.

    The Conference Board, (, is a global, independent business membership & research association working in the public interest. The Conference Board works within and across three main subject areas – Corporate Leadership; Economy & Business Environment; and Human Capital – to create a unique, enterprise-wide perspective that helps business leaders respond today, anticipate tomorrow, and make the right strategic decisions every day.

    The 2013 Report Highlights


    The Study was conducted by The Conference Board and Right Management to investigate a wide spectrum of organizations globally to determine challenges and needs for LD, intention and goals with leadership development initiatives


    Historically, organizations have applied the “one size fits all” approach to LD.


    Included surveys of 654 respondents’ case studies, interviews with senior leadership development professionals, global perspectives of leadership development as well as regional variations on initiatives and focus for LD

    KEY Findings

    • Globally 40% of leaders are marginally prepared or not prepared for business challenges today.
    • 78% of organizations favor identifying and growing talent internally for future leadership.

    The one size fits all approach to leadership is not impactful. Organizations want customized and personalized approaches to develop the individual and believe these are more effective. There is a shift towards a more holistic approach. Meaning, multiple approaches may be required to view the leader as influencing people, collaborating at all levels and adapting to any situation.


    Developing Leaders is recognized by organizations as critical in order to drive retention, productivity, profitability and overall organizational strength.

    Globally leading change is the most important leadership characteristic in business today.



    Top 3 choices for accelerating LD:

    Action Learning, Executive Coaching & International Assignments

    Resource Allocation

    Investment in LD  initiatives projected are the same in US and Europe. In Asia, 39% of respondents anticipate increase in LD investment.


    LD Obstacles

    • 30% of organizations confirmed cost is a primary obstacle
    • Increase Time & support- 26% of organizations
    • Creative solutions will need to be crafted

    Designing LD to Provide Great Impact


    Following the presentation, we assembled into small groups and each group was instructed to create a developmental plan for new leaders, based on Scenario 1 or 2.

    Scenario 1: Transition a new Male Executive to lead a different business unit function in India.

    Major change from a Technical role leading one department to Head of a Region in another country.

    Scenario 2: Senior Female Manager, Head of Department, just promoted to Executive level leader, on staff since inception. The current President is leaving to join the largest competitor.

    Our challenge:

    Analyze the different leadership development approaches, select the most appropriate programs based on the given situation and the anticipated benefits, using the table that was provided, as shown below.

    Our mission:

    Design a program to provide the best possible results in the real world, taking into consideration limited time and resources.


    Table- Summary of Leadership Approaches

    LD approach

    Best use


    Executive Coaching

    Performance - new role

    Time bound & personal


    Support- new role

    Lasting relationships


    Skill development

    Learn from mistakes

    Job Rotation

    New role

    Cross functional development

    Action Learning

    Complex problem issue

    Succession planning


    Global business mind-set

    Exposure to cultures

    Off-site experiential

    Team Dynamics

    Positive attitude

    360 degree assessment



    Executive education

    Knowledge management

    Informed decisions


    Initiating change


    Social & virtual

    Time & space


    Solutions: Results based LD program

    Executive Coaching and Mentoring were the 2 approaches that were selected as the most likely to deliver value to the respective organizations, under both Scenarios 1 and 2.

    External Executive Coaches will be hired to transition the leaders effectively, given the constraints and Internal Coaches will serve as mentors to help build support and lasting relationships. Job rotation and shadowing were also discussed as plausible options to implement.

    Scenario 1 - Expatriation-Voluntarism or Offsite experiential programs would provide the new leader with the necessary global mindset and some of the expertise required

    Scenario 2 – Joining Women’s Leadership support groups, 360 degree assessment for feedback, job rotation and cross functional collaboration to help the new leader see and understand the big picture.

    Key Takeaways

    • LD is multi–faceted and complex
    • Individual leaders have different skills
    • Apply different approaches simultaneously


    • Focus on customized experience based learning methods
    • Select approaches to yield the greatest impact.

    Thanks to the dynamic speakers for delivering an impressive program.

    Michelle Albert, HR Strategist

  • 01 Sep 2013 11:16 AM | Christina Boryk


    Thanks to Karl Kapp for a provocative and informative presentation at ASTD NY’s August monthly chapter event:  The Business Case for Game Based Learning. 

    You can’t have a presentation about games without playing a game so Karl split the room in two and we played “Play Fact or Fishy.” We were presented with a statement and each side had to answer Fact (true) or Fishy (false) via text – thus began the competition.  Although Karl said a game doesn’t have to be fun to be educational, I have to admit, I had fun and learned.

    Karl began by helping us to distinguish the differences among gamification, simulations and game based learning – all used interchangeably.  Many attendees told me that for the first time they understood how to distinguish among them.




    Gamification is using game mechanics to engage people, motivate action or promote learning.  It is what you get when you take elements and ideas from games and apply them to things that are not games.  For example, Linkedin shows how much of your profile you have filled in by adding a progress bar or a sales person may receive points for making a sale.

    There is a lot of hype about gamification right now and the trend is to make everything a game whether it’s appropriate or not.  Simply acquiring points or other arbitrary rewards is not enough.  It is important that they be tied to the content in a meaningful way. 



    Simulations are slightly different in that they are designed to simulate something in the real world in a controlled, risk free environment where learners can practice specific behaviors and skills to gain experience.  For example, the military uses flight simulators and the medical industry teaches doctors how to perform certain procedures using simulations. 



    Game-Based Learning is the use of a game to teach knowledge, skills and abilities by using a self-contained event – the game itself. Game based learning has a well-designed purpose, which is to teach, and it not created solely for entertainment. It has all the elements of a real game, will look and feel like a real game and could include points, badges, story, characters, missions, quests, challenges, rules, goals, multisensory cues, leaderboards and immediate feedback. 



    Gamification + Simulation = Game Based Learning




    Karl believes that as L&D professionals we have an opportunity to engage learners by approaching instructional design differently – by thinking like a game designer and putting interactivity first and content second – the reverse of ADDIE.  It isn’t the game that makes learning effective; it is the level of activity in the game.  In other words, engagement of the learner in the game leads to learning. 

    Whether you are applying gamification or including a learning game as part of your curriculum, Karl shared research as to why the elements in games are effective for learning and tips on what we can do to make learning more engaging.  The research presented gives us confidence when approaching management with a different learning model.

    • Games build more confidence (25% higher) for on the job application of learned knowledge than classroom instruction.

    • The percentage of knowledge retention is 17% higher than lectures and 5% higher than discussion.  For Procedural knowledge (how to do something) it’s 14% higher; for Declarative (knowledge about something) it’s 11% higher.

    • On screen characters can enhance learning.  On transfer tests involving different word problems, the group who had a character generated 30% more correct answers than the group with on-screen text.

    • Animated characters can be aids to learning.  A “realistic” character did not facilitate learning any better than a “cartoon-like” character.

    • Stories help learners with retention and recall so start by creating a narrative for your instruction.  People tend to remember facts more accurately if they encounter them in a story rather than in a list.  To quote Karl, “It’s not bullets that kill, it’s bulleted lists that do.”

    • Games encourage pro social behavior – behavior that is not aggressive and contributes positively to a social situation.  What a great way to change the attitude of employees and customers.

    • Humans like a challenge.  Immediately engage the learner by starting the instructional process with a challenge giving them a problem to solve.  And, don’t dumb down the challenge.  Use difficult realistic issues that people encounter every day.

    The example Karl gave was:  It is your first day on the job as an investigator and Jane, an employee in Accounting, just accused her boss of embezzling $10,000.  What is the first thing you should do?  This type of realistic problem will get people’s attention immediately.

    • Games are best delivered when embedded in an instructional program rather than as a stand-alone activity. Start with the lesson, play the game and debrief the learning. Games are a perfect fit when using a blended learning approach

    I know from experience that it takes time, planning, patience and perseverance to create a game. My game, Feedback Frenzy, is a web-based video game about learning how to use criteria to give feedback.  I actively engage the learner through the use of reflective problem solving rather than the usual tedious multiple-choice questions. It has the elements Karl mentioned that are good for learning – constant feedback, challenging problems, characters, repetitive practice and can be used as part of a larger learning experience.

    I put three years of work in the development of this game and I am happy to hear that companies are beginning to recognize the importance of game based learning.

    Is anyone else developing a game? Or using games as part of their training program?  What learnings/successes have you had?

    Joyce Grillo is CEO and founder of ViaGames, Inc., a training company that creates and develops web-based video games to teach management and leadership skills in a fundamentally new way.  Joyce has extensive experience in executive coaching, leadership development and consulting to organizations on training and managing a multi-generational workforce. Joyce recognizes that to meet the expectations of today’s learner requires companies to use the latest technologies and game based learning offers a powerful, effective approach to learning.



  • 30 Jul 2013 9:17 PM | Christina Boryk


    Over 50% of companies are going to implement or have already implemented game based learning.  As companies intensify their efforts to engage their workforce in learning, games offer a new method for learning and skills development.


    There are principally two groups of stakeholders who are showing an interest in game design and development.

    • Learning designers who want to make learning more engaging and lasting.

    • Companies who want to attract and retain today’s younger generation (the Millennials – born after 1980) who grew up playing games and who will comprise over 50% of the workforce by 2020.  “Fifty-eight percent of Millennials stated that they are likely to select an employer who will provide them with the same tools to collaborate, network and learn on the job that they use in their personal lives” (2020 Workplace).

    Although the interest in games is growing, there is still some skepticism. 


    So it begs the question - can we learn from games? 


    Research in cognitive science says that we can learn if a game is well designed.  A well-designed game uses sound learning principles that include the elements of games built into the design.


    These are some of the reasons why games are good for learning.

    • Games force you to think about the decisions you are making and the consequences of those decisions.

    • Players get to make and learn from mistakes.  In games, failure is a good thing.

    • You become accustomed to receiving copious feedback and develop skills in giving feedback.

    • Games have clear goals that players have to rethink forcing them to constantly come up with new strategies.

    • They incorporate well-ordered real world problems - not tedious facts and information.
    • They put performance before competence so players “learn by doing” and through actual real time experiences, which gives more meaning to the words they read or the lecture that they attend.

    • Retention is higher with repeated opportunities to practice and use what has been learned.  Games present players with new problems allowing them to practice their responses multiple times.

    • They connect playing and learning to social interaction through collaboration and competitive play, which makes learning intrinsically motivating encouraging players to learn.

    • Games present challenging problems preparing the player to later solve more difficult issues on the job.
    • Games are active and not passive.  They talk back to you and immerse you in the learning experience.

    Join ASTDNY on August 6th when Karl Kapp will describe the elements of games that can be applied to the design and development of learning to improve knowledge retention and thus, transfer knowledge to the job.


    If you'd like to learn more about Karl Kapp and his work, here is the link to the first chapter from his new book,


    Joyce Grillo is an ASTD NY member and the founder and President of ViaGames, Inc.


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