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Ten Transformational Ideas from the CEdMA Spring Conference

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, May 10, 2016

I recently had the privilege of attending our CEdMA Spring Conference hosted at CA Technologies in Santa Clara, California.   Not only did I have the opportunity to network with many of you face-to-face, but I captured several ideas that I strongly believe will help me build a better training business for my current company (Black Duck Software).  For me this is what CEdMA is all about.  A chance to learn from my peers and use that newfound knowledge and inspiration to drive changes that will ultimately increase my value to Black Duck and more importantly drive better financial results (from software sales) and higher customer satisfaction (to reduce churn and drive up-sell opportunities). 

Below I’ve summarized what I believe are ten transformational ideas for education leaders at technology companies to consider.    If you want more detail, be sure to login to and visit the Goldmine where you can find copies of all of the conference presentation material for download.

If you missed our Spring Conference, I strongly encourage you sign up for our Fall Conference – stay tuned for details!

Finally, congratulations to our peers at Kronos for winning the CEdMA Impact Award 2016.  A press release with details is coming soon – keep an eye out for that!

Without further ado – here are the 10 transformational ideas gathered at our Spring Conference that I’d like to share:

  1. Sell Learning as a Subscription.  Blended all-you-can-eat programs work best.  Align with software sales model (particularly if you work for a SaaS company).  Add content regularly – every single month!  Make sure you offer a trial period so customers can get a taste.  Ungate some of the content and publish on YouTube to establish expertise and brand content to your learning offering (for example “Black Duck Academy”).  Get sellers on-board with selling as EARLY as possible – get on the agenda for new hire sales training!  Get global sales leader on-board – make sure they have a stake in the program’s success – see if they will offer a SPIFF to the seller who sells the most learning subscriptions or better yet add a kicker to the sellers comp plan.  Send a sales newsletter – make sure everyone knows who is selling training and advertise progress continually.
  2. If you are not on the executive dashboard you do not exist.  Do our executives really KNOW the value of education services to the company? Tie what you communicate to strategic goals of the department or the company. Here are some great tips gleaned from fellow members at the conference:

    • CUSTOMIZE your story based on who you are communicating to – what the VP of Sales cares about is very different from what the VP of Support needs to hear.
    • Talk about how you are accelerating time to value. 
    • Get your ROI calculator CERTIFIED by Forrester and use it in the customer success kickoff with clients during the onboarding process.
    • Humanize the numbers – talk to customers – bring back the customer perspective to the story (correlate back to numbers) – put it in terms that relate to customer success. 
    • What is your value prop conversation with the executive team?  Write it up – practice it with one of your execs. 

  3. Create a repeatable, scalable, and defensible curriculum planning process.  Leverage concepts and techniques from the Portfolio Management Discipline.  Consider getting certified by the Project Management Institute in Portfolio Management.   Many of the same principles involved with managing a product portfolio apply to managing a training portfolio.  Allows you to focus on strategically aligned offerings and get buy-in from all stakeholders by involving them in the portfolio planning process using surveys, interviews, and data.  Can be a low-tech process using a tool such as SmartSheet. 

  4. Integrate with all corporate tools (sales automation, marketing automation, etc.) and make sure all of your learning tools are integrated.  Reduce friction whenever possible using Single-Sign On (SSO) – for example should your employees need to have a separate login on to take advantage of your online learning?  Make sure all of the tools you acquire to support your training business use OPEN APIs – these days REST APIs are easier to leverage than in the past.   This puts learning data where it needs to be!  You want the sales team to be able to see which customers are consuming training and which are not.  Marketing automation is also important.  You need the ability to market new offerings to your learners, you need to periodically engage your learners, and for those selling training as a subscription you need to keep consumption of training high in order to earn a renewal.

  5. ALWAYS make Data-Driven Decisions.  This is extremely important for a training business.  You need to use data to show the IMPACT of training on customer and company success.  Gather data, interpret the data, create an action plan based on the data, THEN enact change.  Be careful – correlation is NOT causation.  If your company uses a business intelligence or an Analytics tool – use it.  Get help if you need it from finance or marketing as needed.  If your company doesn’t have an Analytics tool, then consider using online tools to get started – for example IBM Watson Analytics offers a free trial that might be sufficient.

  6. Create a Social Learning Environment!  For example, can you combine your Community, KnowledgeBase/FAQs, and Online Learning sites into a single unified customer facing offering using single-sign on?  From a customer-perspective social learning can happen in the community by interacting with other users of your product.  The KnowledgeBase/FAQs maintained by support are great learning assets and can help answer specific questions a customer has.  And, of course, our eLearning can provide just-in-time learning via micro-learning videos. 

  7. Consider attending the annual Learning Technologies conference in London.   The technologies available to drive your training business success are rapidly evolving – this conference is an opportunity to immerse yourself in the innovation made available by vendors year after year.  Keep up or fall behind! 

  8. The line between Education and (Technical) Marketing continues to blur.  Training is not viewed in the same manner as aggressive sales and marketing tactics are.  Take advantage of that by positioning the value of your company’s solutions to drive sales leads and increase partner leverage.  With careful planning, some education assets can be harvested to create shorter technical marketing videos that set up a problem and present the solution in a very compelling way without the details/how-to steps.  Examples include JDA Software – JDA Minutes, IBM Cloudant Learning Center, and select Black Duck Software YouTube videos.

  9. The primary driver for a Certification program is to validate partner skills.  That said brand recognition and customer satisfaction are also desired outcomes.  Product updates are the #1 driver for updating/revising exams.  It’s important to date stamp credentials so that those considering their currency/relevance have context.

  10. Other than Education Specific YouTube channels and Twitter feeds, most education teams find piggybacking off corporate social channels is the most effective way to reach their audience.  60% of training organizations have their own YouTube channel; 40% have their own twitter feed. 25% or less have LinkedIn, Facebook, or Certified Professional Communities.  A slight majority of training organizations ensure that they are included in the corporate social media strategy.  45% of training organizations drive their OWN social media strategy.


CEdMA President

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CEdMA SPRING CONFERENCE 2016 - Don’t Miss The Growth Opportunity of The Year!

Posted By Administration, Sunday, March 27, 2016

Join us for the premier conference focused on education leaders driving customer facing education businesses at technology companies this April 12-13 at CA Technologies in Santa Clara, California (in the heart of Silicon Valley).  You don’t even need to be a CEdMA member to attend the event!  We are so sure you will walk away with multiple ideas to increase your training revenue, lower your spending, and drive more adoption of your technology, we are confident you’ll want to sign up for a full membership following the event!

If you remember only three things from this post – here they are:

  1. This is the only conference designed specifically for education leaders like you
  2. Industry expert keynote speaker Bryan Chapman will share his deep experience to guide you through the ever changing landscape of education at a high tech company
  3. This event provides incredible networking opportunities and will help drive you up the corporate ladder.

The CEdMA Spring Conference is a one of a kind opportunity.  There is no other conference that is laser focused on the challenges we all face as education leaders.  And there is no better way to learn from your peers than attending this conference.  Our agenda is packed with 11 sessions led by your peers – the practitioners and the visionaries of our industry.    Some of the highlights of our agenda include:

  • Aligning Your Education Portfolio to Drive Business Results
  • Future of Enterprise Education & Marketing: Nemesis, Competitor or Collaborator
  • Leveraging Subscriptions for Customer and Business Success
  • Executive Panel: Life Beyond the Smiley Sheet: How Does your Company Think About the Role of Education in Measuring Customer Experience?
  • Practical Strategies for Designing Training for the New Reality


In addition, Bryan Chapman, Chief Learning Strategist, Chapman Alliance will kick off the event with a compelling keynote centered around “The Ever-Changing Learning Ecosystem for Customer Education: What's New?”  As a veteran in the industry, Bryan has over 22 years of experience and has worked with such organizations as IBM Global Campus, Symantec Education, EMC, Microsoft SMSGR, CA Technologies, Oracle University, SAP Education, JDA Software, VMWare and many others; to help them optimize learning efficiency through the use of innovative learning techniques and technologies.  Bryan will explore innovative connections among the technologies that make up our ever-changing learning ecosystem including both traditional and emerging technologies. The session will include examples from forward-thinking organizations showing how they mix and match innovations to meet several types of learning development and delivery including: strategically using blended learning to better meet instructional needs and compress learning contact time, moving learning closer to the point of performance, using mobile at the right time and for the right reasons, practical approaches to introduce learning analytics, the power of linking microlearning, gamification, and single sourcing as a development model.  You do not want to miss hearing his advice and perspective first hand!

Feedback from an attendee at our last conference: “Awesome conference! This was my first CEdMA conference and really the first exposure I've had to the organization. I came in with relatively neutral expectations, not really knowing much about the org or members. This is the first time that I've ever attended a conference that was this specific to what I do. There were many smart and experienced people in the room that were willing to share their stories which helped to validate some of the decisions we've made and also highlight areas where we can improve. Amazing that in a conference like this there are companies which are direct competitors, but when we get in a room together we can all learn from one another to improve our educational content and process. Really cool to be a part of this.”

If you are looking for a customer-facing LMS you don’t hate or other types systems to make immediate impact on the business, we will also have a Vendor Pavilion with representation from more than a dozen customer education focused vendors!

There are so many reasons to attend – here’s what our attendees like the most about the conference:

  • “Networking and hearing other's viewpoints and stories.”
  • “Very interactive; many different areas of education covered.”
  • “Content this year was relevant to my job responsibilities. Also the focus on Leadership is something every event should have. We have business problems and we manage people... I like having a mixture of those discussions.”
  • “Ability to hear from peers that do exactly what I/we do.”
  • “Lots of interactivity with the members attending no death by PPT!!”
  • “The content is always good, I always learn something.”

Of course, for many of us networking with our peers and learning from our peers is the reason some participants come back year-after-year to our conferences.  And as always, we have plenty of space on our agenda to allow you to network and learn from your peers directly.  Including a fabulous dinner on Tuesday night April 12th where we will announce the winner of the CEdMA Impact Award for 2016. 

60 of your peers are already signed up! 

You will be joining attendees from companies such as:  MathWorks, Kronos, Intel, Tibco, Palo Alto Networks, Cisco, AppDynamics, and more!

Don’t fall behind!  Sign up today for the CEdMA Spring Conference - it's the growth opportunity of the year for you as a professional education leader!  Many of our past attendees have climbed the ladder from first line Education Manager to Director of Education and all the way up to Vice President and even Chief Knowledge Officer!  You owe it to yourself and your company to make time to develop and grow!

Pat Durante
CEdMA President

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"On My Mind" - What a Great Twenty-Five Years!

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Dear Colleagues and Friends,

Here we are in the crush of Holiday times, shopping, and getting together with friends and family!

As many of you know, December is my last month as your official President.  I have recently retired from the fun and challenges of running hi-tech education businesses, and moved on to more personal goals and projects.  Thus, I am leaving the Board in the very capable and experienced hands of Pat Durante, our current Vice President, and a former CEdMA President for four years of terrific accomplishments.  As of January 1, 2016, Pat will take over as the President, and the Board has appointed Tom Kimmel to fulfill the remainder of the Vice President term.

So for this last official blog message to you, I just want to recap some of the great benefits I have had from about twenty-five years as a CEdMA member

  • Terrific CEdMA conferences, as exemplified by our most recent Fall Conference hosted by Math Works in the Boston area.  Throughout our history, the variety of high quality speakers, the diverse content, and the expertise shared in sessions like our keynotes, break-out and case study sessions, and general conversations among all levels within our industry cannot be surpassed by any other organization.  So many attendees over the years have commented on the terrific networking and the ability to get answers to questions they have needed to examine! I love these and know that you look forward to the insights we deliver.
  • The ability to interact informally for coaching and problem solving with any member, whether at the top of the “food chain” or just starting in management has been so rewarding.  Whether it’s the Ask the Members forums and community discussions, or simply scheduling a one-on-one conference on the phone or over lunch, the ability to personalize our experience with our CEdMA colleagues is so helpful
  • The freedom to be innovative, and different, and have it acknowledged and supported by our members with honest, helpful feedback.  The CEdMA team has always been behind trying new things, “without penalty for failure,” as Tom Kimmel would say. This experimentation includes the addition of the wonderful CEdMA Awards program begun by Jon and carried on by Liz and now Rob.
  • The opportunities to speak and discuss, whether at SIGs, at CEdMA Conferences, or on special webinars.  These have been terrific experiences.  They are fun!  They are confidence builders and help prep a person for that next big QBR or board room presentation where you know you will be grilled with questions. 
  • The many wonderful and lasting friendships I have been so fortunate to have formed from interactions with colleagues like: Pete Broderick, Terry Vyas, Tom Kimmel, Lynn Viduya, Pat Durante, Craig Santos, Bonnie Becker, Doug Thomas, Sara Sedgman, Spencer Cutting, Dirk Braune,  Donna Weber, Bonnie Willoughby, Ken Hirsohn, Darrell Walker, Liz Burns, Terry Lydon, Rob Castaneda, Kathy Navone, Christine Souza, Khalid Shaikh,  -- the list goes on and on with too many to name (apologies to those not named!).
  • The sense of accomplishment from serving on the CEdMA Board with so many talented folks, many included in the above list.  Having held several different Board positions, I can tell you that you learn lots from taking on these roles, and you gain great insights into different leader perspectives that help shape your own creativity regarding your day job.  A favorite activity has turned out to be facilitating the CEdMA Executive Advisory Council as a Vice President – now Pat and Tom get to share it!  And I have had fun in lively discussions with Bob Lucas, Bonnie Willoughby, Mike Lennox, Nick Xenos, Dick Laforge, and other previous Board members as time has passed – we are indeed a passionate bunch!
  • The terrific repository that is the CEdMA Gold Mine.  I have used survey information, informal polls, and previous presentations in doing business planning and in prepping the validations and justifications for programs I’ve wanted to run – we have the best place in the industry to find things out.
  • Wonderful learning over and over and over again, whatever the topic.  This organization reminds you that you are never too experienced or too high up the ladder to learn something else new.  And it doesn’t just have to be about running education businesses – can be about what consulting worries about or how to work with your support or sales teams, or why do we think the designation “customer success” is a new thing(?!).  We have a CEdMA ‘encyclopedia.’

Thank you all so much for coming into my world for all of these years, for sharing with me, and for giving me the opportunities to try to give some things back. I am hoping that I will be able to continue to contribute to you through CEdMA, or simply as a friend, in some way as time proceeds.

My very best wishes reach out for highly successful year ends to 2015 for all of you and for very safe, happy, and healthy holiday times with your families and friends.

Many Regards,

Jesse Finn

M: 415-309-9058

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10 Key Take-Aways from the CEdMA Conference Fall 2015

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, November 10, 2015

1.       What type of leader are you?  Are you a Multiplier or a Diminisher?  Multipliers get 2x more from their people.  Want in?  Assume that people are smart and will figure it out.  Be a “talent magnet” – attract talented people and use them at their highest point of contribution.  Be a “liberator” – create an intense environment that requires people’s best thinking and work.  Be a “challenger” – define opportunities that cause people to stretch.  Be a “debate maker” – drive sound decisions through rigorous debate.  Be an “investor” – give other people ownership for results and invest in their success.  Be careful not to be an “accidental diminisher” – don’t be the “pacesetter” or the “idea guy”.  Read more in the book “Multipliers” by Liz Wiseman.

2.       Academic Alliances can drive more education business – goal is to “seed the market” with talent on your products.  There is better adoption when you charge a fee – even if it’s a token fee.  For example, in one case a company provided $130K worth of software and online training for $3000.  They found a 99% discount more effective than “free” in terms of consumption.

3.       You must balance competency with consumption goals for training.   Micro-learning is best used as part of a blended learning experience, but cannot replace the rigor of hands-on in-depth instructor-led training.  The trick is to balance the development effort for micro-learning with the effort to develop traditional training materials.  Subscription sales models for “libraries” of content work well.  One price for all-you-can-eat access to self-paced (and perhaps public virtual training).

4.       Leverage the work of the Center for Creative Leadership to improve as a leader.  Make friends with Finance, Operations, and Human Resources.  Hire people smarter than you are.  Examine all requests in light of the organization’s strategy.  Ask for what you want, but be prepared for a “no”.

5.       Use an Advocacy Marketing program to drive education sales – piggy back off corporate advocacy marketing program (typically using a tool such as Influitive to gamify the experience).  Rather than an education/certification specific community – leverage the broad participation in corporate initiative.  Need a “game master” to design a plan to drive education specific results.  Rewards could include certification exam vouchers, free training, phone call with an expert or executive (rewards need not be monetary or physical goods that you pay for, but those are nice if you can afford some).  Make sure you track metrics so you know what you are getting in return for the spend (including the time you invest).


6.       Keys to a successful career in education leadership include:


a.       Motivating your team - have a vision or a theme to show them what success looks like, inject humor and fun into the day

b.      Keeping things simple when you present to executives – present a recommendation, ask for the order, and then shut up and listen…

c.       Asking customers “How do you expect your people to be working with the software a year from now?” Great way to up-level the conversation.  Not about why they should spend money on training – it’s about spending money to achieve project goals using the software they are purchasing (and training is clearly a key element to enable that future state).

7.       A large HW/SW company study showed that trained customers bought 21% more hardware and services (studied over 7 quarters; compared with customers who did not purchase training); also 18% fewer support calls from trained customers and 30% lesser need to engage higher level support engineer

8.       Develop training that helps your company differentiate it’s products (for example, one company offers a for-fee version of an open source operating system differentiated not only by providing world-class support, but also world-class education bundled in)

9.       Three pillars of effective online learning include:

a.       Illustrating concepts

b.      Interactive learning

c.       Individual assessment

Check out the book “Learning Online” by Means to learn more.  For example, one company used video to illustrate concepts, built a home-grown environment to allow learners to interact with their software via a browser interface, and included built-in assessments to test for competence.  For further inspiration check out Khan Academy (for illustrating complex concepts), EdX (for interactive learning), and Code Academy (for individual assessment).

10.   Teach students to learn to learn

a.       Make sure they know how to leverage documentation

b.      Help them navigate the available training offerings

c.       Plug them into the available communities

d.       Invite them to be part of the “customer advocacy” community

Pat Durante, Vice President, CEdMA

Senior Director Education Services, Black Duck Software

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"On My Mind" - Fostering Strategy and the Future

Posted By Administration, Friday, August 14, 2015

Dear Colleagues:

I have been doing a bit of reading about taking businesses to the next level, and scaling organizations for the right mix of people, process and technology to grow into the future state of our technology learning world.

I came across some great quotes from C K Prahalad, a visionary and leader in research on building leadership and innovative teams for the challenges of the future.

If your aspirations are not greater than your resources, you’re not an entrepreneur. For large companies to be entrepreneurial, they have to create aspirations greater than their resources. You can call it “strategy as stretch” or “strategic intent.” – C K Prahalad in “strategy+business”

Any company that cannot imagine the future won't be around to enjoy it. – C K Prahalad in Competing for the Future

The critical skill of this century is not what you know; it’s how you access what other people know. – C K Prahalad in Harvard Business Review

I think all three of these philosophies apply to both our work with our colleagues and peers in our companies, as well as in how we produce and bring our training to our customers and partners.  And being immersed in executing second half initiatives, these things are consistently top of my mind.

In growing and scaling our businesses, we are regularly asking our resources to go beyond what they believe they are capable of. We push and pull and create lots of stretch projects, new courses, extended ways of developing, and bigger catalogues of offerings.  In doing so, are we creating the “strategic intent” stretch projects Prahalad references?  Do we have a strategy and, more importantly, do our teams and our customers understand this strategy?  Do we stick to it?  Are they our partners in realizing it? Do we reward for the achievement?

At the same time, we absolutely demand that a looking glass into the future exists in ourselves, across our management team mates, and in our own teams.  I love the reference to “imagine the future.”  We cannot stay with the over used ways of doing things, but must explore what might be different, unique, possibly whimsical in times ahead. Where are we going next?  What has to be accomplished?  What might our company look like in the future? What might the future customer look like? What future company might we be in?  What will challenge our habits?

And finally, we need to look at who is contributing the ideas, the next challenges, the unexpected innovations.  Are we harnessing the brain power of our instructors, our instructional designers, our education coordinators, the folks around us, our customers, even our children?  Or are we ourselves as the business leaders attempting to have all the answers, set all the direction and the game plays, so to speak?  The best ideas I have ever implemented have come from team planning sessions in which I posed a problem or a view to the future, and the team then came up with the solutions, the new offerings, the road map to get us there. Many times they built the solution then and there --and they had fun doing it!

I’d love your thoughts, in concert or disagreement.

Jesse Finn, President, CEdMA

Vice President, Global Education and Learning, Marketo, Inc.

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"On My Mind" - To Everything (Turn, Turn, Turn) There is a Season . . .

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Dear Colleagues:

What a fabulous CEdMA Spring Conference at Net App in April!  Lots of positive comments came to us about our keynote speaker, Yu-Kai Chou, who stimulated our thinking about how games and gaming can manipulate behavior and learning beyond just earning points and badges. Great speakers, wonderful networking and friends, interesting ideas and suggestions, and lots of fun prevailed in our getting together to learn.  Many thanks to all of our planners, speakers, panelists, and members who helped organize and make this such a success. We’ve also already been reviewing the valuable conference feedback and have started planning for the Fall Conference based on your suggestions.  We are committed to continuing to improve and enhance!

Things changing this Season

Many of our colleagues have seen some excellent promotions and new opportunities open up.  But we’ve also seen highly experienced folks get caught in restructuring and lay-offs.  Let’s all keep our eyes and ears open for ways to help and encourage these folks.  I’m not going to do call outs of particular names. However, I remind all of us that our members and the collegial nature of CEdMA keep our networks alive and working for us. We continue to see folks changing roles or companies by choice for new stimulation and challenges or from career disruption. CEdMA reach out works -- please be open to those who reach out to you.

Our new CEDMA Board members are hard at work on the next set of improvements planned for how we service members.  This includes further enhancements and efficiencies being built into the web site, ensuring the tracking of member renewals and verifications of the Code of Conduct, creating a renewed campaign around using the membership tool kit, and assisting our friends in India in determining the viability of a CEdMA India group they want to start.   Webinars, SIGs, Executive Council, and Survey enhancements are also underway.

Finally, I read two interesting articles recently regarding “change.”  The thoughts I carried away with me are around “managing change” versus “leading change.”


Managing change in the workplace is a constant for all leaders. To remain relevant as a business you must regularly redefine your way of operating, your product/service offerings and the impact you have on your customers and broader community.


As you are leading change (big or small) see to it that these four elements are on your checklist of things to do!

  • Build a Sense of Urgency
  • Create a Clear Tomorrow
  • Get People Involved at the Right Level
  • Have Clear Actions and Expectations


From, article by Chris Musselwhite:

To effectively lead change, you must recognize that the phenomenon of "change" does not need managing as much as do the people involved with it. …

. . .through increased awareness of your own and others' differing change styles and preferences, you can help your company do more than just handle change -- you can create an organization that lives it.

In the effort to help organizations recognize these differences, Discovery Learning Inc. has taken the aggregate results from 150,000 change-style assessments performed using the Change Style Indicator® and grouped people into three categories according to the way they deal with change: Conservers, Pragmatists and Originators.

The article goes on to describe the three categories of change styles and other outlying qualities.  I recommend a read of each.

To me, each of these fundamental learnings applies whether we are looking for a job, in a new role, or applying change to an existing organization: the first dealing with the managing change process, the second as leaders identifying and motivating people.

In these blogs, I speak of change a lot – it’s because, as leaders of our particular Education function in tech companies, we are constantly in the middle of it. Have some fun with it this Season!

Jesse Finn, President, CEdMA

Vice President, Global Education and Learning, Marketo, Inc.

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“On My Mind” - The Thrill of it All!

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Dear Colleagues:

We are “off to the races” with the first calendar quarter of 2015!  There are many new things getting rolled out in our own companies, and much to look forward to in terms of our professional organization.  We have several key initiatives underway for CEdMA this month and next -- we anticipate your enthusiastic participation!

First: our CEdMA biennial Pricing Survey has been sent to all by Mike Dowsey and Dirk Braune.  We poll the membership for pricing trends every two years, alternating with our overall Business Survey.  This is our collective opportunity to submit the most current 2015 pricing data across all of our member companies, assemble it in our terrific DBR tool, and allow our members to search and pull reports based on this critical data.  Remember, the company names of respondents are kept totally confidential.  But having a broad base of data gives us the needed information we all require the next time one of our Finance or FP&A folks asks us in the break room (!) how our company compares to other companies in terms of our pricing practices.  My Controller loved the way I could show him where we fit with the CEdMA averages. Please respond to Mike’s email right away to help us get a good database of information to serve you! Let us know if you did not receive the email.

Second:  CEdMA Board Elections are underway.  You all should have received the ballot from Bonnie Willoughby with the candidates for each Board position, including their bios and thoughts for moving CEdMA forward.  We sent to the email addresses on file in your membership profiles. Our Board changes every two years based on membership vote, but a majority of members must cast ballots! We have great candidates on this year’s ballot and the potential for wonderful leadership representing us.  Let’s get a great Board in place to keep our organization engaging you with thoughtful and meaningful programs 2015 to 2017 to help you succeed.  Ballots may be completed through March 18th, so don’t delay – get those preferences on the record!

Finally: our wonderful, fantastic, enlightening CEdMA Spring Conference is coming up on us on April 28th and 29th at the beautiful NetApp facility in the Sunnyvale area in California.  Lynn Viduya, our West Conference Trustee, has put together a great agenda of speakers and break-out sessions covering the gamut of Education business management topics:

  • Actionable Gamification – Keynote by Yu-Kai Chou
  • Training Organization Maturity Models
  • Leveraging Authorized Partner Programs for Delivery
  • Agile Course Development Techniques
  • Trends in Validating Skills/ Competency
  • Using  the LMS in Transformative Ways
  • Education and the Customers for Life Organization
  • Education Sales Models
  • Blueprints for Successful Pre-Sales Training.

In addition, we will have our survey results presentation, our winner of the Fall Innovation Award from ServiceNow sharing how they Accelerated Time to Value, and our vendor sponsors.  This is the best opportunity our members have for meaningful networking and lots of fun while learning better ways to take our businesses to the next level.  Whether you are an Education Executive, a group Director, or a newcomer to Education management, you don’t want to miss this event.  Registration is open on the CEdMA web site.

We have been a busy group of folks the past two months.  Let’s seize these chances to mix our business focus with the thrill of learning and sharing!

Happy St. Pat’s!

Jesse Finn, President, CEdMA

Vice President, Global Education and Learning, Marketo, Inc.

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"On My Mind" - Analysis Paralysis!

Posted By Administration, Friday, January 2, 2015

Dear Colleagues:

CEdMA is off to a great start for 2015 after having some fabulous wins in 2014: two content rich conferences, a great webinar, and some energetic and innovative contributions for our marketing, membership campaigns, SIGs, and web site.  Thank you to all who contributed!

As most, not all, of us enter 2015, we are starting a new budget year. This has meant massive analysis and planning around trends, projected growth, alignment with corporate and services  goals, and targets for the business. 

On my mind the most during this process has been the analysis piece – an important function, but I see and hear folks getting bogged down in it.  Literally, the “analysis paralysis” that prevents definitive actions and execution is what consumes the bulk of the planning time.

Wikipedia provides some great definitions and descriptions of this:

Analysis paralysis or paralysis of analysis is an anti-pattern, the state of over-analyzing (or over-thinking) a situation so that a decision or action is never taken, in effect paralyzing the outcome. A decision can be treated as over-complicated, with too many detailed options, so that a choice is never made, rather than try something and change if a major problem arises. A person might be seeking the optimal or "perfect" solution upfront, and fear making any decision which could lead to erroneous results, when on the way to a better solution.

WiseGeek published an article in early December, 2014, with this explanation:

Analysis paralysis is the condition where people become so caught up in planning that they can't bring themselves to actually act on their plans. This usually comes from a fear of what might happen if there is a mistake. Dealing with analysis paralysis is generally a process of getting rid of the fear or finding a way to live with it. Usually, people suffer from this problem when facing major decisions that could have long-term consequences, but some people may even have trouble making small decisions that don't matter that much.

The important points made by both are that action does not occur, even though the analysis might point to clear action. And frequently, this results from a fear of making a mistake.

My philosophy:  we all have to make mistakes in order to learn, grow, and find new and productive ways to operate, whether for ourselves, our team members, or our business. So, my personal recommendations for the best mix of planning and executing on anything new are:

  • 15% analysis of issues, problems, things to change

  • 35% design and develop the solution

  • 40% test and execute on the solution, giving yourself time for results

  • 10% measure results against goals,  and correct where needed

I’d be interested in any of your perspectives on this.  But the above formula has helped me lots!

Happy New Year!

Jesse Finn, President, CEdMA

Vice President, Global Education and Learning, Marketo, Inc.

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“On My Mind” - Content, Content, Content!

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Dear Colleagues:

Hope everyone is well into your planning for attending the CEdMA Fall Conference on November 5-6 at the beautiful Babson College campus in the Boston area!  Some great speakers and topics coming your way!

I am coming off of several months of planning around content development platforms, shared content discussions, and a new LMS for hosting different learning activities.  During this time I’ve seen a number of posts on Ask the Members and in our Forums around rapid content development tools, content development planning, and ways to incorporate social or mobile into our learning activities.

I’m sure we all experience the increasing demand for more content, more types of content, more ways for folks to access content, and better ways to utilize mobile driven or short content snippets into our training offerings.  The common phrase, “let’s do it faster!” The Juniper Networks folks will be presenting on their CEdMA Award-winning “Learning Bytes” program at the Fall Conference, a fun way they have been able to meet some of this demand for their customer programs.  As indicated by the requests I get in my own company, the pressure is on for us to be more creative, more diverse, and more responsive in our ways to deploy learning.  And we continually review the platforms and tools we should be using to achieve efficiency, velocity of development, and effectiveness, with a large emphasis on how we can use technology not only to build, but also to help facilitate learning.

In a recent issue of Training and Development magazine (July 2014) from the newly re-named ASTD (now ATD, Association for Talent Development), there is a good article on simple tools for facilitating mobile and social techniques in our learning activity.  Written by Michelle Baker of phase-(two)-learning, the article provides a quick overview of free and inexpensive apps that can be used to supplement and enhance the learning experience.  Michelle highlights a number of apps that I have not had the time to look at before:  Remind101, Google Drive, Jing, Evernote, PollEverywhere, and Wunderlist.  She of course also references Twitter, LinkedIn groups and Facebook.  And she provides some high level guidance on selecting such tools.

This was a fun read for me and saved me lots of time researching things I might want my instructional designers to incorporate and my instructors to start using in the classroom.

In the meantime, we continue to look for the “ultimate” platform for our content development, i.e. a repository environment for a consolidated learning content strategy across our company and for extensive content re-use and publication.  All suggestions are welcome!

Jesse Finn, President, CEdMA

Vice President, Global Education and Learning, Marketo, Inc.

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"On My Mind" - Transitions and How We Drive or Inhibit Them

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Dear Colleagues:

Over the past year we have seen many of our members move or change companies.  In some cases these have been key leaders within the Education teams moving to other leadership roles in new companies; in other cases, we have seen individuals move into programmatic roles or increased job responsibilities in the same company.  In a few instances, our members have needed to become Members in Transition, re-evaluating their own professional paths and goals. These changes offer great new opportunities for us professionally, but  have the flip side of the challenges of “starting over.”

Moving to Marketo after a long relationship with my Taleo team, I saw early on that I was not the only person on my new team going through a major transition.  I have been implementing so many changes for my new team, most at a very rapid pace. I expect the team to transition into  new ways of doing things, but many of the team members  have  had very little prior experience with my way of looking at the business.  At the same time, I have added new members to the team itself, i.e. instructional designers, instructors, and managers.  This contributes to an additional layer of complexity for my folks – how fast can they understand and accept the changes, and how smoothly can they successfully transition and adopt?

So I went back to some of my change management roots and ran across a great summary deck from a book by William Bridges about “Managing Transitions,”   I like his simple description of the things you have to pay attention to, and the things that can hamper success.  There’s a great differentiation between “change” and “transition.”  The slide on “Do’s and Don’ts” I find particularly helpful as well as the next one on “Communicating during Transition.”

In reading through this deck, the concepts are certainly OD (organizational development) related and seem obvious.  But yet, as so many of us are taking on new teams and instituting our own ways of doing things, we must think about the impacts on our folks. We’re asking our new teams to think differently and create new offerings or processes, and we want them to respect and “love” it while doing so! That’s kind of arrogant, or at best unrealistic. What does our transition need to look like and how do we as leaders make it easier, or smoother for them? The notion of orchestrating the transition is appealing.

Food for thought, but I think the slides that summarize Bridges’ recommendations are helpful at achieving success.  Hope you find them useful as well.

Jesse Finn, President, CEdMA

Vice President, Global Education and Learning, Marketo, Inc.

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