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Vision: By providing an easily accessible channel where our members can tap into the expertise of their peers, share best practices and experiences in current workplace learning and development issues, the New York Metro Chapter can provide an additional channel for professional development and personal growth of its members and the larger L&D community.

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  • 17 Aug 2012 3:37 PM | Christina Boryk

    On Wednesday, July 11, 2012, Julie Staudenmeier, Executive Director, Leadership and Organizational Development at Boehringer Ingelheim, facilitated (her word) the joint ASTDNY/ODNNY chapter event, Integration of Learning and Development, Organizational Design and Talent Management.  Much thanks to New York Life for providing the room and refreshments to the 111 attendees (which was a “packed house” of 55 ASTDNY and 56 ODNNY members) and especially to Evelyn Levine of ODNNY for her time and effort over the last several months to help coordinate this event.

    Julie has extensive experience in Talent Management but stated upfront that she didn’t have all the answers.  What she does have, however, is a framework of which she developed the foundation early in her career and has over time evolved into her current Seven Principles for Success.  She employs these principles in her own situations and was the basis of her presentation.  As members of two organizations who face the daily challenges of integration were present, she decided that having an interactive session would be a great way to provide a real life element to her case study.

    To start, Julie posed a number of questions to everyone regarding their areas of focus, current local and global business issues and perceived and real obstacles to achieving specific goals.  The audience agreed that the human capital elements must work together to produce the same result, yet the integration of these efforts is often difficult on many levels.  Julie cited four main reasons why integration often doesn’t work. 

    1)      Ad Hoc Development of Initiatives

    a.      Limited Resources

    b.      Attraction to the “latest thing”

    c.      Different leadership philosophies

    2)      The (Dis) Integration Drift

    a.      “Green field” systems build – starts out beautifully but not sustained over time

    b.      Initial build is too complex

    3)      Structural Issues

    a.      Leadership, OD and Talent Management report to different leaders

    b.      Shadow organizations

    c.      Good intentions for collaboration just not enough

    4)      Individual Issues

    a.      Power and Control

    b.      “Branding” running amok

    Reviewing all of these elements simultaneously appeared overwhelming. Yet, Julie assured that integration is not insurmountable.  She then provided her Seven Success Principles to Integration.

    1)      Find the Energy: And Expand It!

    a.      Find a Champion(s)

    2)      Take a Long Term View

    a.      Recruit a broader circle of leaders with a long range view

    3)      Align the Structure

    4)      Establish Linkage Points

    a.      Mutually define what informs integration and create an agreed upon framework of values and competencies

    5)      Senior Leaders: Engage, Inform and Challenge

    a.      Create a community to keep everyone engaged

    6)      Focus on Execution and Results

    a.      Results may not necessarily be ROI numbers

    7)      Strategic Business Focus

    a.      This is the centerpiece – all of the other 6 Principles must bind together around this one

    Julie presented us with a case study (see below) and requested everyone break into small groups to discuss and suggest a solution.  When we reconvened several groups shared their approaches and rationale and, as imaginable, there were all different based on the group members’ experiences but also returned with many additional questions.  One which generated a lot of conversation was how do you balance commonality vs. diversity, especially when you are trying to maximize resources, integrate systems and build sustainable, long term programs? When and where is it appropriate, particularly when working globally, as in this situation?

    The session concluded with this discussion and brought Julie’s opening full circle as there is no one definitive answer for all of our individual situations.

    I also left with a few myself:

    Using Julie’s framework for reflection, what I have encounter in the past that I can now dissect? What can I do to customize it for my future projects and needs? What activities outside the scope of project tasks can be done to facilitate better integration?

    Below is the case study which Julie presented to us that night.  Additional resources from Julie's presentation are available in the "Resources" section of the website.  Click on "Knowledge Center," then "Member Resources."

    Chrissi Boryk is an aspiring L&D professional with experience in training, e-learning, project management and program design and development in both corporate and non-profit settings.  Her most recent experience is in medical education where she conceptualized, implemented and managed an e-learning product line to help physicians meet their board certification requirements.  An avid recipe collector, yogi and cyclist, she would consider changing her mantra of “life is one continuous wardrobe change” if Donna Karan created a moisture wicking suit with discreetly hidden bike shorts.


    The Situation

    You’ve just started a new role as head of learning and development for the Americas for a large global consumer products organization headquartered in France. You’re accountable for deployment of global programs in the US and for designing local learning and development programs that meet the needs of the US businesses.  You have been with the company for six weeks, and have spent much of that time meeting with senior line managers and their HR leaders.  You are beginning to understand what the global and US business challenges are, and to define the implications for learning and development priorities for your team.

    However, you have not yet met Giselle Bernhardt, who is the Division President of the business unit that contributes the highest annual revenues and profits, both in the US and globally.  Giselle and Marty Engel, her VP of HR, are both so busy that it’s been hard to get time on their calendars.  Then one day out of the blue, your manager forwards a message to you from Marty. Giselle wants to introduce a 360-degree feedback process for leaders in her business unit.  She’s had great experiences with 360-feedbacks in her prior company, and she’s asked Marty to “make it happen.” You have a meeting with Marty and Giselle tomorrow morning.

    More Background

    • There is general agreement by Giselle’s leadership team that 360-degree feedback surveys are an effective tool to reinforce the highly accountable, high performance culture they want to create.
    • Several different 360-degree feedback tools are currently being used in your company’s leadership development programs and for coaching engagements with high potentials.
    • To introduce more consistency in the behaviors that leaders are encouraged to model, your company’s Global Talent Management team plans to create a global 360-degree feedback process, based on the company’s Leadership Competency model.  The Leadership Model was introduced two years ago, and is used as part of the performance management evaluation and feedback process.
    • The projected launch for globally approved 360-degree feedback tool is at least nine months and the Global Talent Team has reputation for launch delays.  Realistically speaking, the new 360 tool may not be available for at least another year.
    • In creating feedback delivery solution for Giselle’s business, you want to avoid duplication of effort as well as “survey fatigue,” from people being asked to complete feedback surveys too frequently, or on behalf of too many people.
    • At the same time, you don’t want to appear unresponsive. You’ve heard that if Giselle doesn’t get results fast enough from internal consultants, she simply hires external consultants to get the job done.  Giselle is anxious for her team to understand now how they are being perceived now, so they can make any necessary course adjustments to deliver better business results and build a positive, feedback rich culture.

    What Would You Recommend?

    Please discuss which of the following approaches you would recommend to Giselle and Marty. Describe the rational for your recommendation.

    What else would you do in this situation to drive business results, and at the same item contribute to integrated talent management, leadership development and OD practices at your company?


    1. Wait for global 360 tool to be introduced. Delay providing 360-degree feedback until the global Leadership Expectations 360-degree feedback tool is launched.
    2. Create a shorter, more focused on-line survey process that is less comprehensive and more focused than the global tool that is being built, e.g., including behaviors especially critical to Giselle’s business right now, e.g., accountability, customer focus, expense reduction, etc. Work with and external provider to distribute surveys and create feedback reports and keep project investment as low as possible.
    3. Add structure and uniformity to e-mail/conversation-based approach.  Create a uniform process for requesting and returning feedback via e-mail and/or face to face conversations with peers, direct reports, and direct managers.  The process description would specify the feedback themes/ questions, provide sample language to use to request feedback, establish timelines for feedback gathering and reporting, and describe techniques to use to deliver effective feedback.

  • 30 Jul 2012 10:45 AM | Christina Boryk

    On July 10th, the NUY Higher Education SIG hosted a lively and interactive event, The State of L&D Opportunities for Aspiring L&D Professionals – Methods and Strategies in a Difficult Employment Market, presented by Ross Squire, President of KnowledgeStaff, a NYC based staffing and consulting firm dedicated to the Learning and Development marketplace. 


    Mr. Ross Squire has over 25 years as a staffing professional, hiring manager and a career counselor and opened the evening’s discussion by stressing the importance of “Staying Relevant” and informed about current events in the global landscape that influence the job market. Specifically, he advised the audience to remain well read and informed on variables in the economy that impact the job market, (European financial crisis, terrorism, oil prices, natural disasters), emerging trends in the workplace, hot industries for L&D jobs and resume and job search techniques and strategies.


    The audience was extremely engaged, asking questions and sharing their experiences and views on Mr. Squire’s research, observations and his experience working with clients (applicants and hiring managers) as a Staffing Professional in the L&D world. Please feel free to view the presentation at Below are the major themes that were discussed at the event. 


    The Economy – Forecast for 2012

    It is no secret that the job market is highly competitive. The economy is still very sluggish and research indicates that the U.S. economy (GDP) will grow about 2.3% in 2012, a bit faster that the 1.8% pace in 2011. Also, a sustained recovery is still not underway, more than 2 years after the end of the Great Recession.  Not a very positive environment – all the more to “Stay Relevant” and understand the impact of external forces on the job market.


    Workplace Trends for 2012

    Ross cited AOL’s recently publish 5 workplace trends for 2012:

    • Continuous employment – workers can expect to have 10 different jobs
    • Small business and self employment will drive job creation
    • Working women will continue to impact the marketplace
    • Lifelong learning will be vital to career success
    • Face time will be a precious commodity

    The 2012 Workplace

    What L&D roles can we expect to see in the workforce as the economy and job market slowly recovers?


    Emerging Roles in Technology and E-Learning Space

    • Performance Consultants
    • Community Engagement Managers
    • Talent Management /Human Capital Specialists
    • Content Librarians
    • Project /Program Managers

    Social Media and technology has changed the landscape of how we learn and communicate. Look at these sources and numbers.

    • 750 million Facebook users
    • 130 million LinkedIn users
    • 1.3 billion mobile phones
    • Apple is estimated to have sold 40 million iPads in 2011 versus 14 million in all 2010
    • 45% of workplace is contingent
    • Fastest growing app on mobile devices are games (34%)
    • 34 % of mobile phone users under age of 34 “sleep with the mobile phone”

    Hot Industries for L& D Jobs

    Where can we expect to see some level of activity for L&D positions?

    • Healthcare
    • Corporations that cut deep and have begun reporting solid financials
    • Some financial service firms
    • Replacement /Back-fill requirements

    Some of the challenges we can expect to face in this competitive job market are: increased competition; entry level candidates, experienced candidates willing to accept less money, lower compensation and less leverage when negotiating a compensation package (bonus, vacation, etc.). According to Ross’ research, we learned that for the first time in history there will be 5 generations in the workplace – talk about competition for jobs!


    Resumes Strategies

    Ross asked the audience how many resumes each person has? The answers varied however, majority of the attendees had 1-3 resumes. He recommends that we need to customize our resume(s) to the specific position we are targeting. Initially it is a lot of work, but worth it. He suggested doing a data dump and then extract your specific achievements and skills that mirror the job description. Squire said that search engines search for specific words in a resume that are included in the job description, which increases the likelihood of a resume being flagged for review by a Recruiter.

    Remember, that a resume’s objective is to get you an interview. Your resume should reflect why you are “Relevant” for the position and your Value Proposition. Be able to speak to this once you get the interview!


    The Job Search

    Tips to enhance and broaden your job search:

    • Go beyond the boards and if you use boards, by all means sign up for, which is a job search engine
    • Join Professional organizations
    • Volunteer – give back to the community, plus it is a great networking opportunity (Join ASTDNY – we would love to have you as a member of our community)
    • Join LinkedIn
    • Find Hiring Managers (on LinkedIn/Google) to speak with regarding job opportunities you are targeting– submit your resume and brief note introducing yourself
    • Find Hidden Job Opportunities (networking events, coffee meetings, etc.)

    Did I mention that Ross is a high energy presenter, generating much buzz on having a vision and plan in creating a job strategy plan?  No need to turn up the volume on his thoughts on this topic.  Ross has a particular affinity for the importance of being strategic with your job search in the 21st century of searching for a job.  As the saying goes…”you need to know where you are going in order to get there,” which is paramount in today’s search.


    I could not agree more with Ross’ sage advice. One needs to get a leg up on the competition, particularly in the NY Metro area, where competition is fierce.  I invite you all to take a look at Ross’ template for a strategic job search business plan on his web site,, which I guarantee you will be very impressed with and may adopt for your own use.


    Many thanks to Ross Squire, participants, and the NYU SIG Board for another meaningful and successful event.


    Allison Schieli is a Senior HR Professional, Faculty Business Instructor and Career Services Advisor.  Allison has a M.A. from NYU’s graduate Workplace Learning Program and is Co-Chair of the NYU SIG.

  • 24 Jun 2012 2:04 PM | Christina Boryk

    The e-Learning SIG was honored to host Elliot Masie, the man credited with creating the term, e-learning, on Wednesday, June 13th.  Masie is an internationally recognized analyst and researcher whose career has spanned over 35 years and is focused on workforce learning, business collaboration and emerging technologies.  He currently heads up The Masie Center, a think tank concentrating on how organizations can support learning and knowledge within the workforce. He is a self proclaimed “alpha boomer” who produces Broadway shows in his spare time.

    Masie laid the foundation for the evening’s presentation by defining e-learning.  The terms e-learning and e-business did emerged together; however, the letter “e” in e-learning represents “everyone,” “everywhere”, “every time,” and “efficient.”  And that while current technology has revolutionized the way in which we conduct business, communicate and learn, it is often easy to confuse the tools we use (mainly an overdependence on PowerPoint), with processes.  He then reminded us that we as learning professionals are in the business of delivering knowledge skills and competencies in order to support and enhance employee performance not publishing content.

    So where do we need to focus our attention and skills?

    He declared design as The Number One challenge and the area we should invest significant resources.  He stated that the fastest growing form of e-learning is the webinar with over 45% of global companies using it.  Yet, 60 minutes of content yields only 2 ½ minutes of value. Why?  His own honest admission of sending an e-mail to a co-worker during his own webinar proved that relying solely on this delivery method tends to serve as an invitation for learners to multi-task rather than acquire knowledge. 

    Learners are looking for experiences which are non-disruptive to their work day and where they can learn on their own in concise, relevant segments.  Masie suggests using technology as a tool itself rather than a platform to connect people to each other.  Fostering collaboration will organically build effective and efficient learning environments.  He proposed the following: a new employee is asked to join a certain internal online community and contribute to the conversation. A month later he is required to ask someone from the group to go to lunch and discuss the current posts. 

    “It’s not about the technology- it’s about the methodology.”

    He then offered the anecdote of a friend who ordered a new bicycle on-line. When it arrived, he shocked to see that it was in several parts. Rather than take it to a bike shop, he was determined to assemble it himself and visited YouTube, internet sites and called a few cyclist friends. Was he successful? Yes.  Did he learn something? Absolutely. Could this serve a proto-type? Definitely.


    Masie announced the following trend is currently taking place and will ultimately force us, and quickly, to reinvent how we build learning opportunities.  Individuals are systematically reducing the curriculum and “personalizing” their learning.  They review the material and categorize the content:  what they will never need to know, what is permanently available on the internet, what might be relevant in a few months, etc.  They then figure out the delivery methods to gain this knowledge, internet search, texting friends, etc. and employ them at the time they need it. Concurrently, individuals are always figuring out ways to avoid organized training sessions.

    Masie announced this trend of self selection of material and methods will compel us to revisit the roots of adult learning theory. To effectively acquire knowledge, learners need to drive their own experience. If they are driving their own experience, they are more likely to get more out of it.  Therefore, learners and learning managers need to become our co-pilots.  “Personalization” of learning opportunities is an essential element in the design of future activities.  To achieve this, Masie boldly challenged us with a few next steps: understand how individuals consume what we deliver; seek innovation and insight from outside our field and give up our rituals. His one caution was to think “technology neutral” as the days of Bring Your Own Device are dwindling and the need to incorporate all the preferences of the multi-generational workforce is imperative.

    And innovation is not just for design but also for evaluation.  He proudly admits that he does not use a “smile sheet” for reasons which we can all guess. He boldly suggested that putting Kirkpatrick to the side might yield more tangible results in many cases.  Engage a focus group and heavily invest time and resources in regular follow up over several months.  An activity which he utilizes for his programs is to ask participants at the end of the session, keeping the outcomes the same, to redesign it.  He acknowledges that he uses this feedback since a majority of the time it does enhance the next generation of programs. Take the lead from surgeons.  After complex procedures, and particularly those which are not successful, surgery teams spend several hours debriefing about methods used, what could have been added/subtracted, what could be done differently next time, etc.  Spending the time to perform our own “autopsies” might well ensure more successful outcomes or unexpected ideas. His departing advice was, “swap aspirations, not business cards.”

    At the end of the hour, I know that I was not the only one who was inspired and motivated because it was not a presentation but a call to action and a permission slip for L&D professionals to become creative and take some calculated risks. Much of what he said was obvious but perhaps we just needed someone (particularly of his reputation) to vocalize it. His return to the fundamentals, Knowles and adult learning theory, is appropriate on several levels.  We should be ready to have an open eye and channel for the learner to tell us not only what they need but how they need it.  Motivation and interest of the learner is a key to success for all of us: employees, managers, L&D and partners. 

    A redesign of learning will also trigger a redesign of how we approach and conduct needs assessments, collect and analyze our metrics and educate and coach our business partners.  Secondly, as “instant gratification” categorizes our society due to rapid evolution and integration of technology into our personal and professional lives, there is little time to process what we’re doing.  We need to step back and renegotiate that space not only with ourselves but also with our teams.  The need to keep up, not to mention prove our worth, is overshadowing the need to let the seeds root, sprout and blossom. Programs are organic and dynamic and need to be nurtured in order to reach their ultimate goal.  I am reminded of a conversation with a colleague of mine several months ago.  Her mother’s gardening wisdom rang true: “You can’t keep ripping up the plant to see if there’s roots.”

    While I realize I am over my word limit, I wanted to provide a lagniappe of additional key phrases, or Masie-isms, from the evening which have power in and of themselves. 

    • “make an enormous commitment to design”
    • “the best learning tool is Google”
    • “social learning DOES NOT equal social media”
    • “transactive memory”
    • “smile sheets are just dessert for the learner”
    • “don’t devalue the depth of experience”
    • “give up the learning language-we need to be able to speak to general business units”
    • “e-books are an emerging segment”

    Chrissi Boryk is an aspiring L&D professional with experience in training, e-learning, project management and program design and development in both corporate and non-profit settings.  Her most recent experience is in medical education where she conceptualized, implemented and managed an e-learning product line to help physicians meet their board certification requirements.  She replanted her East Coast roots after 17 ½ years in Chicago in May 2011. She is a graduate of Tulane University and is currently enrolled in CUNY’s Adult Learning: Program Design and Facilitation Graduate Certificate program. An avid recipe collector, yogi and cyclist, she would consider changing her mantra of “life is one continuous wardrobe change” if Donna Karan created a moisture wicking suit with discreetly hidden bike shorts.

  • 24 Jun 2012 1:56 PM | Christina Boryk

    As my first volunteer assignment for ASTDNY, I had been asked to write a recap of the ASTDNY/HRNY Mixer which took place on June 7th at Connolly’s on 45th.  As there was no specific program or presentation to report on, I decided to use this opportunity to put my ear to the ground as well as keep them open. As 155 people registered, 54 from ASTDNY and 101 from HRNY, I was bound to learn something.

    The energy of the 3rd floor took over once I entered the room.  I quickly attributed this to the highly interactive and humorous ice breaker which gave everyone license to be both brave and creative.  There was a scorecard with 15 questions which included the easily attainable “has been a member of HR/NY for at least 10 years” to the unpredictable and a bit more personal “owns an exotic pet.” Late into the event, apparently frustrated he had one question left, one guest broadcast across the room “Has anyone ever been on a game show?” I am not sure if he got an answer but he certainly got everyone’s attention for a minute.

    Next, two consultants drew me into their conversation: welcome to the concept of performance support -  my new term and takeaway for the evening.  One of the new trends in training is to deliver digestible, focused and relevant knowledge to individuals along a structured, progressive timeline within their daily environment rather than sending them to a class for two days. The rationale is that the banking system of knowledge isn’t especially effective as most individuals do not retain over 70% of what they learned after the first few weeks of training as much of it is relevant or applicable at that time.  This encounter led me to revisit, and yes, mentally begin revising, the new training program and curriculum I had just finished writing.

    There was an abundance of vendors whose business ranged from IT recruiting to consulting to software to background checks. My interest was piqued as I spoke with my new acquaintance whose company performs employment verifications. I asked if their firm offers the service of investigating the social media sites for potential candidates.  While they may report on the number of times a name appears in a Google search, they will not report on the subject matter associated with those searches.  Interestingly, he went on to say that is it illegal in several states to gather information from a candidate’s social media sites in order to determine their eligibility for hire.  He also went on to say within the next few years all 50 states will have legislation banning any investigation of social media sites as criteria for determining an employee’s status. 

    Keeping with the social media thread, my conversation with two IT recruiters confirmed probably what many of us know already - the demand for technology support is there and will continue to grow. There is a huge demand for experienced individuals in the areas of infrastructure and development.  And, of course, for our end of things, this includes mobile application developers.  They commented that there is demand out there but as it is an emerging field, skilled programmers are difficult to find. 

    Another conversation with a fellow ASTDNY member, who is also in transition, addressed the technology question from a knowledge and skill perspective.  We discussed that a fair amount of the current job postings currently list “experience using Captivate (Articulate, etc.)” or “working knowledge of LMS” along with “knowledge of adult education principles,” “program design and facilitation” and “training of adult audiences.” I realize that many of us are Jacks of All Trades and we must be nimble and agile but do these postings indicate early signs of shift for a more technically and software savvy L&D professional? Do we need to have direct experience? If not, how do we learn about it enough to “talk the talk”?  What will the emerging modalities of social and mobile require of us in the next few years? Will we need to develop learning strategies with our IT counterparts? We departed pondering these questions but with a promise to stay in touch if either of us gained any further insight or information.

    As I was getting ready to leave, I noticed that these two women who had remained side by side all night, laughing and talking, were still engaged in conversation. I went over and introduced myself. Turns out they were friends who had worked closely together for 4 years and had been busy catching up since one of them had recently left the company.  One was an ASTDNY member and the other was from HRNY. They would often work informally together to exchange information, ideas and fill in the gaps.  “ASTDNY” summed it up: “when I needed the HR piece I would find her and when she needed L&D she’d come find me so we learned from each other and it worked out so well.” 

    This final conversation brought my evening full circle.  While Training and L&D will always try to establish an identity independent of Human Resources, whether it be our personal mission or through organizational design, we will always need each other.  After all, our common goal is to foster and guide the development of people. Building relationships, both internally and externally, is essential to meeting this goal.  And even as technology and social media are an essential part of our personal and professional lives, there will always continue to be a need to meet face to face to see, hear, laugh and learn from each other.

    Chrissi Boryk is an aspiring L&D professional with experience in training, e-learning, project management and program design and development in both corporate and non-profit settings.  Her most recent experience is in medical education where she conceptualized, implemented and managed an e-learning product line to help physicians meet their board certification requirements.  She replanted her East Coast roots after 17 ½ years in Chicago in May 2011. She is a graduate of Tulane University and is currently enrolled in CUNY’s Adult Learning: Program Design and Facilitation Graduate Certificate program. An avid recipe collector, yogi and cyclist, she would consider changing her mantra of “life is one continuous wardrobe change” if Donna Karan created a moisture wicking suit with discreetly hidden bike shorts.

  • 03 Jun 2012 9:35 PM | Anonymous member

    The NYU Higher Education SIG held its fourth event of the On-Site Practitioner Series at Pfizer on Tuesday, May 22nd.  This event was hosted by Cindy Pace, Senior Manager of Emerging Technologies in Worldwide Talent & Organizational Capability at Pfizer. Cindy and her small team work on “future sensing” for the talent organization on a small innovation team, a.k.a. iDISCOVER.


    With skills in learning technology, program design & development, adult learning & leadership, and L&D, the team is responsible for exploring, experimenting and pilot testing emerging approaches, processes, and technologies. These enable colleagues to learn and collaborate as well as foster a climate of creativity & innovation. One of iDISCOVER’s initiatives is focused on building collaboration & communities through social media, emphasizing social learning through collaboration and encouraging innovation by sharing information and ideas across WTOC and throughout the organization. 


    Learning & Development at Pfizer:


    Pfizer has evolved from delivering the majority of learning programs through the classroom and has adapted faster and more captivating ways to learn. Delivery of learning is now being done as well tested in different formats such as running business simulations, piloting virtual environments and iPads.


    Cindy highlighted that one of the most important roles of Pfizer’s Learning Managers was the ability for them to provide feedback from around the globe as well as share insights on the broader talent & business needs. Information provided through this channel assists in framing enterprise programs. Cindy emphasized the importance of Pfizer L&D professionals coming to the table as business partners, drawing attention to the business acumen mindset they are encouraging, and how Pfizer Global L&D is aligned and integrated with the talent management strategy and organizational capability.


    Key Takeaways:


    Cindy’s knowledge of the biopharmaceutical industry, the needs of her colleagues, and her strategic focus on aligning innovation with talent & organizational capability as it relates to future needs of Pfizer colleagues provided great insight to all who attended. Highlights from this event that we can learn from and incorporate into our own L&D roles or firms to bring added value include the following:

    1)     Pfizer is a “learning” organization that consciously makes an effort to ask the questions: "What shouldn’t we be doing?”, “What should we be doing?” and “How should we do it?”

    2)     Pfizer has an enterprise-wide internal social networking platform that allows employees to build and join communities that foster learning and the sharing of ideas throughout the organization.

    3)     In spite of organizational 'reshuffling' and economic constraints, the talent organization is forward thinking, by finding ways they can improve processes and searching for new ways to make enterprise-program engaging.

    4)     Pfizer is empowering people to OWN! their career by promoting self responsibility through online career tools that include self assessments, tips, tools and mentors. In this culture they want employees to have self-awareness and let others in the organization know who they are.

    5)     The iDISCOVER team challenges the limitations of “corporate orthodoxies” and uses behavioral roles within the team to label qualities and skills they are seeking to fill in order to cultivate an innovation culture. Examples include: Assigning someone to be a 'Navigator', a coaching role on the team that leads and stays the course, or an 'Imagineer', a role on the team that brings wonder and newness to projects.

  • 16 May 2012 8:12 AM | Anonymous member

    I attended the session on “Tweeting for Good” by Claire Diaz Ortiz, who leads social innovation at Twitter, where she has worked since 2009. It opened my thinking not about the How but the Why of Twitter. Like everything else, we need to start with the end in mind, especially if we want to use Twitter as part of a company's Social Learning/Communication strategy.  It's OK for our personal account to "Just do it" but for an organization we need to be more thoughtful about how tweeting can advance our organizational goals.  

    I would not consider myself a tech maven but I do love strategy.  Luckily, we were given a construct for which to create a strategy - using (what else) TWEET as the acronym.  Target, Write, Engage, Explore, Track. As a job seeker, I learned that Twitter can actually be a way to build and maintain relationships.  I will now include it as part of my personal marketing strategy.  My question went from "What's the most important gain to be made in 140 characters or less?" to "Who are the best people to engage to be a positive influence in my job quest" and "How can I streamline and make it easy accomplish my goals in 20 minutes a day."

  • 06 May 2012 7:58 PM | Anonymous

    Dawn Sidgwick, Director of Learning Media Development for Global Commercial Operations at Pfizer, outlined how the company is integrating iPads into their training delivery strategy at ASTDNY May Monthly Chapter meeting.

    Both the past and future are aligned for e-learning at organizations such as Pfizer. Dawn gave an overview of Pfizer’s long history of innovative training practices – from satellite broadcasts to web-based training and virtual meetings to its current and future plans to expand the use of technology for sales training and onboarding. Currently close to 30% of the Health Sciences organizations use only e-learning for their training delivery. This is foreseen to grow exponentially in the future as iPads are expected to be commonplace in 90% of these types of organizations – and to grow in all types of organizations.

    The use of iPads for training delivery grew out of an organizational necessity for the immediate delivery of new hire training. The prohibitive cost and time of the typical printed materials and the time needed to ready laptops for use, led to use of the iPad for the onboarding of sales staff. The organization found many benefits including increased new employee engagement, acquiring the labels of “cool” and “innovative,” positive feedback, and, most important, there was no difference in exam scores.

    iPads are generally considered to be very user friendly and less expensive than laptops, having increased functionality with the availability of apps and easy-to-update content. However, some constraints were also noted, such as security concerns, organizational readiness, the need for leadership buy-in, the lack of interactivity, and instructional design issues.

    Dawn’s final words of advice were reminders that technology is always evolving; that we are still building it even as we are using it: and, as is clear at Pfizer, our eyes should always be looking toward the future and toward the use of technology to lead to more effective and efficient training solutions.

  • 06 May 2012 8:16 AM | Anonymous member

    In "Your Brain at Work" David Rock explores the way our brain is wired based on studies and research conducted in the NeuroScience field. Our brain is the focus of this book and we need to develop an understanding of how our brain processes situations in order to improve our life, becoming more effective and thereby also achieving greater life satisfaction.


    The book outlines the day of 2 professionals, Emily and Paul, and their 2 kids, Michelle and Josh. Paul is a self employed Consultant and Emily is a Senior Corporate type. The issues they are dealing with we all know well: Emily was recently promoted, and she has to win people over in her new role, lead a team, sell ideas, and incorporate additional new responsibilities into her day. Additionally, she is juggling marriage, household duties and parenting. Paul is a self employed consultant working from home. He has to pitch ideas to prospects, write proposals and to generate new business. He is dealing with competitors, vendors, marriage, household responsibilities and parenting. The book takes us through email overwhelm, multi-tasking, managing expectations, turning enemies into friends, unfairness, relationships and dealing with a culture that needs to transform.


    The book introduces the reader to the functioning and limitations of the brain by exploring the pre-frontal cortex, the limbic system and response to both threats and reward states in the mind. Subsequently, this data was studied further and David Rock has developed a combination of these inter-related functions more concisely into the “SCARF” model which stands for Status, Certainty, Autonomy, Relatedness and Fairness.


    Making decisions and solving problems relies heavily on the Pre Frontal Cortex. The cortex is the outer covering of the brain- the prefrontal cortex sits behind the forehead. It is the biological seat of your conscious interactions with the world. The pre frontal cortex is handy but it has big limitations. It likes to have everything just right or it does not function well. The pre frontal cortex is introduced as a metaphor, a Stage, in a small theater where actors play a part but sometimes actors might be audience members going on stage to perform. The stage is what you focus on and it can hold information from your inner and outer world or a combination. 5 functions make up the majority of conscious thought.


    These 5 functions use the pre frontal cortex and this uses up significant resources. The stage requires a lot of energy to function and knowing this gives us the chance to prioritize and organize our day differently and to simplify where possible. Distractions play a big part in our lives and can be exhausting. Changing focus constantly minimizes productivity, losing quality of thinking. High level thinking requires much energy.


    There is also a character called the Director. The director is a metaphor for the part of the awareness that can stand outside of your experience and watch your life. Often it is called mindfulness, essentially meaning knowing yourself, which is the first step towards any change. Activating your “director” when you are overwhelmed is the real challenge that we all face regularly.


    Human emotions involve many brain regions. Emotional experience is connected to a large brain network called the Limbic System. This system tracks your emotional relationship to thoughts, objects, people and events. It determines how you feel and drives behavior. It is not possible to process all options in order to determine what to do next. Value judgments must be made. The limbic system constantly makes positive or negative decisions, termed Toward (Reward) and Away (Threat) states.


    David Rock developed the SCARF model and the book defines each of these 5 functions in context very thoroughly. This user-friendly model is a tool to help us to increase our own Toward state and decrease our Away state by strengthening these 5 domains. Also, as leaders or coaches, the model can assist us to help facilitate positive change in others in order to increase their performance.


    The book discusses peak performance, insight, hot buttons, uncertainty, autonomy, control, making choices, managing expectations and culture transformation. Readers of the book will find this information, together with the examples provided, very useful.

    David Rock imparts suggestions throughout the book with better ways to handle daily challenges that come into our lives each and every moment.


    The focus of the book is on the brain, taking into consideration the circuitry of the brain based on recent findings, and offers conclusions in order to improve work-life integration and efficiency.

    I highly recommend this book together with David’s book “Quiet Leadership” which  ties all these findings together profoundly in leading or coaching others, with the brain in mind, to enhance performance.


    Last but not least, in case you were curious about our co-stars, Emily and Paul and do they live happily ever after, sorry to disappoint but they do not end up living happily ever after in the fairy tale way we would wish. However, they do find ways that work. David Rock shows that there are better ways to approach situations, with the brain limitations in mind, in order that matters do not spiral out of control. Starting with  the understanding of how our brain works, becoming more aware of our limitations and taking self responsibility, we can deal with issues more graciously so that parties involved in our interactions can walk away feeling more satisfied.

  • 30 Apr 2012 6:23 AM | Anonymous member

    With stunning views from the 23rd floor of Met Life overlooking Bryant Park on an unusually warm early April evening, Kieran King from Skillsoft delivered a powerful, comprehensive, highly relevant presentation on “Blended Learning: Critical Design Decisions.” A self-professed “learning nerd” Kieran, Director of Client Loyalty, has authored learning methodologies and published several white papers, several of which are available to ASTD NY members in the Knowledge Center at Kieran may be an Atlanta resident now but she’s a true native New Yorker. As a recently hired Training Director in an organization where we do a fair amount of unblended single event classroom training, this event was perfectly timed for me.

     To give some context to where the industry is going, Kieran highlighted the shift in modality from 2001 when 80% of learning was delivered via ILT with to 2010 when that number decreased to 60% with 35% delivered virtually. This wasn’t as rapid a shift away from ILT as expected but it shows where we’re headed. She also highlighted three major trends in blended learning:

    • Increased recognition of its benefits
    • More purposeful application of blended designs
    • Greater recognition that Instructional Systems Design (ISD) is still just as important as it’s always been

    Kieran also pointed out that content can be delivered digitally 50% faster than in the classroom.

    She shared 5 blended learning tips from Sally Hovis, VP of Learning Design at Skillsoft:

    • Prepare your learners well
    • Best blended program is what works best for your org
    • Know your delivery options BEFORE you begin design and the best time to use it and the pros/cons for learners
    • Core ISD still applies
    • Acknowledge constraints

    So how do you know what modalities to use? It’s all driven by the needs of the learner at the various stages of the learning process. The focus of Kieran’s presentation was a review of the 8 Phases of Workplace Learning all described from the learner’s perspective:

    Before Instruction:

    • Show Me

    During Instruction:

    • Tell Me
    • Show Me
    • Let Me
    • Check Me

    After Instruction:

    • Support Me
    • Coach Me
    • Connect Me

    As ASTD NY member Gail Gross pointed out, this framework is valuable to share with the learners so they see how the design of any program was created with their needs in mind every step of the way.

    As an organization’s learning strategy matures, the degree and complexity of blending evolves as well. Here is Kieran’s Learning Strategy Maturity Model:

    Stage 1: Supplement: Initiate learning

    Stage 2: Target: Manager Learning

    Stage 3: Strategic: Align Learning

    Stage 4: Systematic: Integrate Learning

    Stage 5: Optimize: Enterprise-Wide Learning

    Other resources Kieran shared:

    Jennifer Hofman’s ASTD Infoline on instructional design

    Skillsoft’s ROI calculator

    For further elaboration on these invaluable points, members can reference 5 documents Kieran shared with us which are posted in the “Knowledge Center” under the “Resources” tab at You must log in to access this section. Thanks again to Kieran for an outstanding presentation and to MetLife for hosting in their incredible meeting space.

  • 29 Apr 2012 4:57 PM | Anonymous member

    I’m finally ready to admit that I have been a computer gamer for many years, but only now feel it’s safe enough to admit it. Why? Because gamification is now all the rage. If you don’t believe me, just look around you on the subway the next time you’re travelling in NYC and you’ll notice people intently looking at their cell phones playing everything from “Angry Birds” to “Tetris” to “Solitaire”.  Marketers and advertisers are adding game element like badges, status indicators, and leaderboards to encourage people to buy their products.  But how can we best use games to enhance learning and what are the game elements that make for effective learning?

    That question was the main focus on April 26th at the NYU Higher Ed and eLearning SIG joint SIG meeting.  We were fortunate to have Karl Kapp, Professor/Consultant at Bloomsburg University, stop by on his national book/blog tour to present highlights from his latest book “The Gamification of Learning & Instruction”.  The evening was energizing and engaging as we participated in a business simulation where we were assigned a role and had to negotiate with our table-mates to determine what business to be in and how to position it. In a very short time, the groups were completely immersed in the game. When Karl debriefed the game, and asked us a few questions, it was apparent that we had learned the key objectives without any formal training.

    Karl started out by asking us what questions we had when playing games such as pong, space invaders, Oregon Trail and Myst.  One surprising fact is that the highest growing segment of casual gamers is women over 40 – who are playing casual games which are those that don’t require a high time commitment. (Think “angry birds”).

    He noted that whenever training for life or death situations is needed, games are often the method of choice (i.e. flight simulators for pilots, health care simulations for doctors/hospital staff). Karl pointed out that trainers are often guilty of creating scenarios that are not challenging enough. For example, a hospital asked if they should have patients die in their simulation. (Karl’s answer: Yes!).

    Karl presented research showing that the situations don’t have to be fun to be educational – it’s much more important to make them engaging.  And simulation games often build confidence back on the job.  In one study, participants in the simulation showed 20% higher confidence rate on the job than those in a traditional classroom experience.

    According to Karl’s research, the four elements of games that aid learning are:

    1.       Stories and Challenges – people learn and retain much more when the information is presented within a story.  Consider starting your training with a scenario that places the learner in the story.

    2.       Levels – include scaffolding for beginners that isn’t used for advanced learners. Ideally, adaptive learning.

    3.       Freedom – games provide feedback throughout, where most elearning only provides feedback at the end. Leaderboards compare your success to others, however leaderboards are most successful when participants can choose who to compete with.

    4.       Freedom to Fail – in classroom, you may get only one try, but games start with expectation that you fail to try again and have multiple attempts to succeed.

    To top off the evening, Karl raffled off copies of his book to two lucky winners.

    Dr. Kapp was kind enough to provide his presentation on Slideshare: 

    If you have any interest in making your learning programs more effective, you owe it to yourself and your learners to consider using games as part of your instructional strategy.  The book is highly recommended and you can purchase it from Amazon or from the ASTD bookstore (use our chapter

    code : CH1026):

    Additional resources for the book :

    Pinterest page for the book

    Facebook page :

    Twitter hashtag #gamili

    Karl Kapp on twitter: @kkapp

    Karl’s blog:

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