The pace of doing business continues to accelerate while employees
are constantly challenged to do more with less. Companies continue
to look for ways to cut costs and at the same time, increase
revenues. Companies must also conduct business faster by processing
larger amounts of increasingly complex information. Globalization
and decentralization have been the answer for many looking to gain
that edge. Distributed sales teams, working different hours, in
non-traditional office environments have become the norm.
Consequently, this structure has its disadvantages.
The rate of change and the disconnected nature of our work are
having a negative impact on the modern selling environment. Sellers
struggle with efficient communication and are learning through more
informal channels. Sellers also struggle with time limitations,
information overload, and are realizing newer skill gaps. The
reality is, we will all have skill gaps, all the
time and there will never be enough time to learn
everything we need to learn.
The consistent and rapid evolution of the skills and knowledge
required to succeed has caused a shift in effective learning
delivery. Learning is no longer being provided as a calculated set
of costly, formal classroom events where sellers are graded solely
on their participation. Instead, companies are shifting their
emphasis from bringing the worker to the learning to bringing the
learning to the work.
For many companies on the cutting edge, social and informal
learning have helped bridge that gap. Quite simply put, social and
informal learning is learning through conversation and interactions
about content.And social and informal learning is not so much about
what is learned, but instead, how
its learned.The modern work environment has forced us to learn how
to learn faster!
The benefits of social and informal learning are real. Content is
more accurate, more relevant and widely accessiblewhenmaintenance
and creation are distributed. It helps sellers grow skills more
rapidly, creates a more nimble sales force at a lower cost, and
increases engagement. All together, this helps to increase margins
and increase revenue.
So how has technology influenced the current methods of learning?
By using some basic design concepts, social software and simple,
cost effective technologies weve improved the way sellers and
employees learn. Team challenges bring sellers together and social
software allows sellers to connect to share files, bookmarks,
content and tasks. Social software also allows sellers the ability
to contribute to program design and quickly identify experts.
Content can even be filtered, rated and improved through dialogue
Overall, companies that are harnessing the power of social and
informal learning are realizing true returns on their learning
investment. Sellers are attaining quota faster, more consistently,
at a lower cost and are contributing to the expertise of the
overall sales force. After all, most of what we learn is outside of
Jason Ackerson leads a global technology team
responsible for designing, developing, deploying and supporting
technology solutions for new and experienced sales professionals
within IBM. His focus for the last 7+ years has been on delivering
technology solutions that have an impact on how IBM employees learn
and more importantly, the bottom line.
To hear more from Jason, dont forget to register for
ASTD Sales Training Virtual Conference with the live kickoff
keynote address on December 5th, 2011 at 12 PM