Archives For Business

This Category is Steve Sadler’s collection of Business Blogs.

In today’s crazy world of buyouts, attrition, layoffs, early retirements, what are companies doing to capture and disseminate knowledge to the remaining or upcoming workforce?

It seems like we keep reinventing the wheel over and over again.

What do you think?

As we all know, you have to attack a castle from many angles to bring down the walls. The same principal applies to marketing.

From my experience, the only way to create a successful marketing campaign in today’s competitive world is a hybrid of both social media and traditional methods.

We at Scate are currently incorporating social media into our marketing mix. It is slowly starting to help sell one of our software products Scate Ignite. However, due to the fact that Ignite already plays within the social media world that might not be a good example for other types of products and services.

Even so, using social media to create a positive word of mouth is very power. Just make sure the products you’re marketing provide value or it will backfire very quickly.

What do you think?

If you know me, then you know I am passionate about technology and I am also passionate about the area I live (Michigan, Ontario technology corridor).

New technology companies like Scate are helping to create more jobs in diverse industries. Michigan and Ontario contain highly talented and technical people in which many of you I know. We just need to get our motivation and creativity back on track.

If we want to move our area out of this economic mess, then we need to stop watching the news, panicking, blaming others and start working on new ideas.

So, if you’re unemployed, then that is perfect time to start dreaming of something new and start a small business.

Let’s go Michigan and Ontario and stop following and start leading!

What do you think?

See Google Chrome Live

See Google Chrome Live

Google Launched the “beta” version of it’s long anticipated Chrome Browser yesterday, Sept. 1, 2008. Google Chrome, one of the worst kept secrets in modern computing, promises to provide faster browsing, and an easy to understand environment. While those benefits might help us consumers right now, Google’s long term strategy behind Chrome is to better support web-based applications, and of course, to get a foothold on our desktops. Yes, it can be said that Google Chrome is Google’s first serious attempt to chip away at the desktop operating system, like Windows and even Mac OS. The future, as Google sees it, is a web-based world, and they are either just plain right, or it will become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Either way, Google wins.

SCATE’s CTO Jeff Holth recently evaluated Google Chrome and created this Ignitable at ignitecast.com. Enjoy!

http://www.ignitecast.com/p/QHNfqYVlLg/

Steve

If you read my previous blog about eLearning, then you already know that I have been creating software tools for knowledge capture and sharing (i.e. SCATE Ignite) for over 15 years. Once a college adjunct professor and the Director of Engineering for a large automotive supplier, I have always been amazed by the disconnect between college education, formal corporate training, and on the job knowledge sharing.

All three of these approaches are required to produce the best employees, but unfortunately, due to our culture of empire building, bridging the gap between these elements has been quite difficult.

In addition to running a company I also coach team sports.  So let’s for a minute compare a company to an athletic team (i.e. football or my favorite ice hockey). To build a strong team, a coach must first find highly trained athletes that possess the fundemental skills. This is like hiring gradutes from college with good grades. Then these players are trained within a system, similar to learning a business process within a company. Finally they are expected to perform as a collective unit, passing (sharing), scoring (completing tasks) and finally winning (closing).

Unfortunately, many companies especially in the US do not run in this manner. It seems that we try to hire the best from college, train them on the business processes and then provide an environment where they build their own little empire. In many cases employees are afraid to share their knowledge with others due to the insecurity of losing their job. I have worked within many environments where one department would not provide adequate information to others just for the sake of losing control. This will kill a company’s efficiency and productivity.

Let me ask you this, how many athletes that don’t pass the ball or puck make the pros? This is simple..NONE. Successful teams do not often win on the shoulders of one person. It requires working together for the collective success of the team.

So if a business is exactly the same as a team, then how do we get people within a company to work together and share knowledge?

Well first you need to change the company mindset. This needs to be mandated from the top, just like the Coach of any team. If the Coach doesn’t push the issue of passing (sharing) the ball (knowledge and information) then the players (employees) will not respond in a coordinated team effort.

Secondly, once mandated, a company needs a process and system where employees can easily share knowledge. Wiki’s and Learning Management system’s (LMS) are good, however, with the emergence of social networking technology like the knowledge and media sharing sites igniteCAST.com, chrysler.ignitecast.com, the industry is raising the bar.

Finally companies need to recognize and reward employees that make conscious effort to contribute and share their knowledge.

Funny concept..rewarding people for working together, instead of just for their individual accomplishments!

I welcome your comments.

Steve Sadler
CEO/President
SCATE Tecnhologies, Inc.

Last year, I got the opportunity to play hockey against the Red Wing Alumni at Joe Louis Area. George Bowman, one of the goalies from the alumni helped to organize the event. My company SCATE Technologies, Inc. sponsored the event and we also launched a new piece of software called www.mysplake.com. I also invited most of my close friends and co-workers from (Canada, England and the US) to either play or watch us get smoked. Even though they beat us 13-11 (they were toying with us) we had excellent time of great hockey, good people, cold beer, good food and live music at the Olympia room.

With growing up in Ontario, Canada, I always supported the Toronto Maple Leaf (please no laughing). But let me tell you, after that experience I have to say the Red Wing organization is a class act. I actually supported the Red Wings for the first time this season (2007-8 season), but unlike the Leafs, they did not let me down. What a great season it was!

We will be launching new software products this fall so look out Red Wing Alumni SCATE and I want a rematch. HAHA

Steve

Steve Sadler
CEO/President
SCATE Technologies, Inc.

In November of 2006, I was asked to be on a panel at the Detroit ASTD. The topic was in “Using ELearning Internationally” and the panel was moderated by Detroit ASTD President Jerry Kaminski.  

The first question that was posed to the panel was… “How do we know that eLearning is effective?”

When it was my turn to speak, I had to the answer the question with another question, “What do you mean by effective?”

You see to understand effective eLearning we must break it down into the following four areas:

1. Effective Delivery – Did the student receive and understand the information that meets the
training objective?

This is usually measured using pre and post testing, however monitoring related Key Performance Indicators (KPI) can really take it to another level. For example, if the topic was “Sales Training” then the monitored KPI after training would include sales performance, profit performance, support call performance indicators. If these indicators increased within a defined time span of the training, then one could say that the increase was due to the training. From my past experience, KPI monitoring is a far better measurement of effective training than just testing.

2. Effective eLearning Development – Did you create the eLearning content so it meets the training need, objective and timing? 

ELearning is not effective if it takes over a week to create one hour of eLearning that contains content that changes daily. ELearning is also not effective if content gathering and course creation is rushed to the point that it affects quality and accuracy.

3. Effective Change Management – Are you able to change the content quickly enough to keep up
with our ever changing world?

4. Cost Effective – Did you meet the training objective and budget?

Summary

After 15 years of building on-line courses and eLearning tools (i.e. SCATE Ignite Professional) it has become very clear to me that creating effective eLearning is like running a successful business. It is a balance between speed to customer, quality of goods, reaction to change and cost.

In many cases, internal company training organizations do not operate in this fashion. For example, highly paid Instructional System Designers or ISD’s are quite often turned into graphic designers, Flash professionals and web gurus. ISD’s were meant to oversee the Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation and Evaluation (ADDIE) of the System Approach to Training (SAT). These types of individuals are very important to the overall process and should NOT be used for duties such as content building and SME interviewing.

In addition, many companies do not select the right eLearning development process or software tools required to handle the job. For example, using a corporate training group to capture tips, tricks and FAQs for departments, would not be very cost effective. In this case, rapid eLearning methodology should of been used along side rapid eLearning software tools.

Please remember the goal of eLearning is to get accurate and easy to understand information to the learner in a timely and cost effective manner. Therefore, eLearning can only be determined effective, if all of these objectives are met.

I would appreciate you comment on this subject.

Thanks for reading.

Steve Sadler
CEO/President
SCATE Technologies, Inc