Lessons From The World Cup: The Best Teams Have Learned These 4 Things

As you almost certainly know, the World Cup is currently taking place in Russia. It has attracted the largest audience of any sporting event in the world. These captivated spectators showcase their support in the most intense display of national pride. Entertainment factor aside, there are many valuable lessons to be learned as the most anticipated tournament is underway.

The World Cup Champion will not be the team with the most talent, but rather, the one that is the strongest cohesive unit.

This has already proven to be true as the defending champion, Germany, failed to make it out of the group stage. Arguably the most talent-rich team participating, they missed the mark anyway.

While you continue to enjoy the World Cup over the next few weeks, allow yourself to watch for and observe what the best team’s do to be successful. I guarantee you these four lessons directly contribute:

1. One player does not make a team.

During the first season of the Revisionist History podcast, Malcolm Gladwell highlighted the research of economists Chris Anderson and David Salley around their idea of weak-link vs strong-link networks. They asked: What matters more, how good your best player is or how good your worst player is?

In soccer, your worst player matters more than your best player. Mistakes are an important part of the game, and having a superstar doesn’t mean you have an outstanding team. While the TV and media coverage has been dominated with talk of the top players like Lionel Messi, Christiano Ronaldo, Neymar, and Mohamed Salah, the depth of the teammates that surround them will determine who hoists the World Cup trophy on July 15th.

Most companies and teams are run like strong-link organizations. They focus primarily on satisfying top performers to keep them at the company. In my opinion, you need to at least think long and hard about moving to a weak-link organization for one key reason: social media. It only takes one employee hiccup or poor customer experience for an issue to go viral and massively impact your business.

2. Fundamentals are more important than flair.

Every fan in the world falls in love with the player who has the most flair. But, the only way these great athletes can complete these eye-catching tricks is because of their deep commitment to the fundamentals.

Each and every one of the World Cup players has spent an uncomfortable amount of time rehearsing the fundamentals of their game. In soccer, it is dribbling, passing, communicating, ball control, and alignment.

The team that raises the trophy will not forget these. They will take care of the ball, make the right pass at the right time, and communicate like it is the most important game of their lives (because it is).

It’s amazing how many professionals forget to work on the fundamentals as they progress in their career. The best leaders of teams don’t allow this to happen–they set standards of practice time and hold their team members accountable. That’s how you hone the foundational skills of those around you.

3. The managers matter.

Most fans only focus on the players on the field. The coaches behind the scenes are just as necessary for success.

Teams will only go as far as their leaders can take them.

In soccer, the best managers focus on culture, strategy, defining standards of performance, and creating an environment that helps their players be successful.

Same goes in business. As a leader, you can’t elevate a company all by yourselves, but you play enormous roles developing the ceiling of your organizations. That’s why having intentionally thought-out leadership development programs at every level of your organization is a must.

4. Positivity will always prevail.

Jon Gordon, author of the new book The Power of a Positive Team, has studied many of the best teams–and according to him, having a positive mindset is one of the most influential factors for success. However, the achievement will not come from just thinking positive. Gordon writes:

“Negativity exists and you can’t ignore it if you want to build a positive, powerful team,”

You must address the negativity and not allow it to breed and grow. Confront it, transform it, or remove it. Put simply, the team that wins the World Cup will have made a conscious effort to keep negativity out of the locker room. You’ve probably worked in an organization with a negative or toxic culture. If so, you know: It drains you. Put a huge focus on setting standards for positivity and not allowing anyone to bring negative energy into the office. If someone does, they’ll have to find another place to work.

A version of this article just appeared on Inc.com.

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About the Author John Eades is the CEO of LearnLoft, a full-service organizational health company which exists to turn managers into leaders and create healthier places to work. John was named one of LinkedIn’s 2017 Top Voices in Management & Workplace and was awarded the 2017 Readership Award by Training Industry.com. John is also the host of the “Follow My Lead” Podcast, a show that transfers stories and best practices from today’s leaders to the leaders of tomorrow. He is also the author of FML: Standing Out and Being a Leader and the upcoming book “The Welder Leader.” You can follow him on instagram @johngeades.

7 Must Haves for Learning Technology in 2017

The rate of individuals learning online is on the rise, and with the average cost of a 4-year college degree now topping $20k per year, this trend shows no sign of slowing down. As consumers continue to turn to online technology for their educational needs it has only increased the need to modernize organizational online learning as well.

Here’s our list of the top 7 features and functions for online learning in 2017:

  1. Gamification

Gamification has a huge impact on participation and completion rates. Learners want to be able to earn badges, compete, and see their progress tracked on a scoreboard.

  1. Human Feedback

The danger of online training is that the learner can feel like they are working in silo. Any online learning technology that allows the learner to interact with a “real person” is going to increase engagement and therefore be more popular.

  1. Collaboration

Just like receiving feedback from a real human, learners also crave opportunities to collaborate with other learners. Message boards and discussion sections are a must for an online learning technology to be successful.

  1. Actionable Results

So you’ve has taken your training. Now what? Can you implement what you’ve learned immediately? For the technology to be successful it needs to allow a learner to practice and develop their skills.

  1. Video Capability

We all have different learning styles, but video has become the preferred method for people to learn, especially online. Video is now the standard.

  1. Offline Resources

Downloadable documents, videos and other resources that support learning allow learners to stay engaged even when they aren’t connected.

  1. User Experience

User experience is like a joke… if you have to explain it, it doesn’t work. In no way should technology impair learning, instead it should enhance the experience. The technology must be second nature.

At LearnLoft, we strive to stay ahead of the online learning curve in both our content and technology. Start 2017 by advancing on your leadership journey by visiting LearnLoft or by signing up for our weekly newsletter.

We always welcome feedback, if there’s something that you think we should include on the list, let us know in the comments sections.


3 Simple Learning Strategies To Implement Today

There is no better words in sports than “Game 7.” It’s the pinnacle of pressure and competition.  Tonight is Game 7 of the Major League Baseball World Series. – While it might not be currently but there is no arguing that baseball is America’s favorite pastime. One of the game’s most famous players was a player named Hank Aaron better known as “Hammerin Hank”. Aaron is most famous for hitting 755 career home runs, a record that stood from 1976 to 2007 until Barry Bonds broke it. But what’s interesting is – Hank had 799 more singles than Barry Bonds did in his career. Hank wasn’t just a homerun guy, he was arguably the best, most well-rounded player in the history of the game. He did what it took to help his team win and that wasn’t just swinging for the fences.

The same is true in corporate learning. It isn’t just about being great at one thing – like learner enrollment or test scores. It’s about being a well-rounded department that focuses on employee growth, powerful development programs, and innovative thinking. It’s hitting singles and doing the small things that add up to be great.

To improve corporate learning in your organization here are three strategies to evaluate against to ensure you are ahead of your learners and not just reacting to a current need:

  1.  Mobile Learning. 51% of total time spent on the Internet is spent on mobile devices. For the first time it’s pulled ahead of personal computers. The mobile movement is on! Your LMS’s ability to be accessed from an iPhone isn’t mobile learning and it isn’t going to cut it. Think mobile-first.  
  2. Microlearning. As learners’ screens have shrunk, so have their attention spans. The average learner on an hour-long webinar is going to be distracted 22 Times! Align by keeping your content short – under 4 minutes is the sweet spot.
  3. Content Medium. Facebook users view 4 billion videos per day! Now it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that most learners in organizations are on Facebook. Video is the preferred medium.

Channel your inner “Hammer Hank” and make corporate learning an important part of your organizations success. Start with these 3 strategies, but don’t limit yourself. Get creative and stay ahead of the curve!

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John Eades is the CEO of LearnLoft and Host of the Follow My Lead Podcast. He is passionate about the development of people. He writes, and speaks about modern leadership and learning techniques. You can find him on instagram @johngeades.



The Powerful Lesson Corporate Learning Can Learn From Social Platforms

Instagram made big news this month releasing a new feature to compete head to head with Snapchat. While many people are curious why they released it, how to use it, and what social platform to choose between the two, this article isn’t for that. For a quick crash course on Snapchat, check out How Snapchat Is Changing Corporate Learning. This article is about what corporate executives can learn from this big news in the consumer social media space and it’s really simple: Video, and particularly short video, is a massive part of how people prefer to consume content today.

The Situation

It doesn’t seem to matter if the video is highly produced or not. What matters is it can be consumed in a short amount of time when people have the availability and motivation to consume it.

Contrast that with what I hear out of Learning and Development departments every day; it’s concerning. Just this week, I heard a learning executive say “as long as we keep the Virtual Instructor Led Training under 4 hours, that’s ok with me”. 4 Hours? Yes you heard that right, 4 hours! Unless they plan on showing live NFL football games during those 4 hours, I can assure you those professionals are going to open their phones and start scrolling through Instagram, Snapchat, LinkedIn, or Facebook to kill the time.

So, why have organizations been so slow to adapt and align their corporate learning mediums with the way their own employees are consuming content in their personal lives? I believe it’s because they are caught in the mentality of “we’ve always done it this way”. That’s a dangerous way for any organization to think, made famous by the Grace Brewster Murray Hopper:

Dangerous Phrase

The question that must be asked:

“Would organizations get better engagement, increase knowledge transfer, and become more aligned with their employees and partners by adapting the way they create and deploy training content?”

Now, let’s not kid ourselves. The challenge many Learning and Development executives face is figuring out how to make meaningful changes in their large and complex organizations. So, our advice is to start small. Get a few wins one day at a time, and eventually add those small wins up into big wins that make a huge impact.

Here are 4 ideas to implement to get small wins:

1. Create A Weekly Microlearning Video To Send Out Internally   

Once a week, publish a short microlearning video teaching a key topic to provide a short reminder of something that many employees might forget. Don’t let creating a video stop you. Just open your phone, grab a selfie stick or colleague, and make it happen. As you progress in creating video, you can get fancy with editing.

2. Delete Every Other Slide 

In your next lunch and learn just try to shorten it by deleting every other slide. Most likely you have too much content in there anyways. Use the minimum amount of content necessary to meet one learning objective. Include links or additional resources for people to explore further on an as needed basis.

3. Use Real Life Or Engaging Stories  

People remember stories and examples they can relate too. Try leveraging a capture story at the beginning of anything you do, and then relate what you are teaching back to the story to help them remember. A great best practice is to use famous people, quotes, or current events to relate to the topic you are teaching.

4. Leverage A Tool Outside Your Learning Management System For Publishing

Most learners have a negative mindset about their Learning Management System. So if you do something creative like a weekly microlearning video, you automatically decrease your odds of it being successful by deploying it inside your Learning Management System. There are all kinds of alternative options such as: Email, text, a mobile learning platform, or even getting employees to follow you on a social media network.

Final Thoughts

So whether you are into Instagram, Snapchat, or LinkedIn, hopefully you can take a few lessons from what is happening in the consumer world to improve the learning experience in your organization. Regardless if you are shot down or the first few tries don’t go as planned, do your best to persevere and keep your mind on the picture. Thomas Edison said it best:

“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up”.

Learn more about LearnLoft’s offerings for organizations here

3 Powerful Reasons to Provide Customer Education

I was nervous when I got home from work and saw the envelope lying on the counter. It was clearly a bill from the hospital where my daughter was delivered.

With a sense of dread, I opened the letter. My suspicions were quickly confirmed – the delivery and hospital stay was astronomical. Although they did ensure my wife and baby were healthy, I still felt like they owed me something more, especially considering the size of this bill… Did I mention it was astronomical?

6 weeks later as our daughter broke out with a rash. That’s when it clicked. The hospital did everything to take care of us while we were there, but that was where their service stopped. What I needed was continuing education. This hospital system had delivered hundreds of thousands of babies, seen hundreds of thousands of rashes, and they had the expertise and experience that could help us long after we had left that hospital.

But why weren’t they? And why aren’t other companies providing education online to their clients on an ongoing basis? Here are 3 ways providing online education to customers can positively impact a business’s success:

Engagement. Regardless of industry or product offering businesses miss the opportunity to engage with their clients every single day. Customer Engagement by itself takes on many different meanings but at its core it’s about having an ongoing relationship or dialogue to improve a business’s relationship with their customers.

Differentiation. In this “copy cat” or “me too” world we live in today it is harder than ever to create long-term product differentiation. Businesses have to come up with creative ways to differentiate themselves over the competition. I was recently shopping for a ceiling fan. I found the model I wanted, and both Lowes and Home Depot had it at the same exact price. A great way to earn my business would have been to provide me education on how to install the exact model.

New Revenue Stream. Yes, you read that right. Organizations can provide customer education and monetize it! Every month I pay $100 bucks to the YMCA of Charlotte. What if the YMCA added online education so I could do home workouts on the days I don’t get to the gym (which happens often)? Could they charge me $5 more a month to have access to “15 minute home workout” series that one of their trainers creates everyday? Take any B2B company as an example. A service-oriented company could put their expertise or intellectual property in a series of online courses and charge their customers to access it, interact with their in-house experts, ask questions, and receive feedback.

This is just scratching the surface of the potential impact client education could have on businesses, whats sad is more organizations don’t make it a priority.

Creatives: Work with Your Emotions, Not Against Them

“We have a new project and the timeline is completely unrealistic, but I need you thinking creatively. We need your best work – real outside of the box thinking.”

Maybe those weren’t his exact words, but it’s what I heard. Although, I do know for sure he said “outside of the box” because he says it every time.

If your role has anything to do with being creative, I’m sure you’ve been in a similar situation.

After these types of kick-off meetings, I’m always filled with anxiety. But as I went back to my desk and stared at the project details, a wave of excitement hit me. “A new project will be a great change of pace. This is going to be fun!” Those thoughts quickly turn back to, “How am I going to get this done in time?! And how am I going to do it to my own standards?”

In my experience, creativity isn’t something that can be instantly fabricated. It takes time to come up with a good idea, and then there’s planning and execution. Not to mention, a natural, emotional rollercoaster we, as creatives, ride throughout a project. “I love this, I hate this, I can’t do this, I think I got this, nope…”

My friend, and fellow creative, Andrew Manzella created this awesome depiction of that emotional rollercoaster. He texted me this picture while I was in the “everyone is going to know I’m a fraud” point:

Here’s a more readable rendition:

His drawing made me realize I’m not alone in this. Everyone who creates stuff goes through the same emotional highs and lows.

If you’re struggling through the creative process, here are some simple ways you can maintain your sanity while navigating a project:

Realize Your Emotional Pattern (and Accept it).
I could relate to the cycle Andrew sent, but maybe yours is slightly different. More importantly than realizing your pattern is being able to accept it. Then, you can work with your creative cycle, not against it. Try to uncover your patterns of thinking.  When you feel yourself hitting a low or having a trouble, look at your pattern. It will keep you grounded in reality, and you’ll be reminded you aren’t far from the next high point.

Communicate Your Working Process with Your Colleagues/Team.
Tired of the added stress of constantly being asked, “Where are we? How is it looking?” Sharing Andrew’s picture with my colleagues helped them understand what I was feeling at different points throughout a project. If you’re at a down point, it can be very alarming to someone who doesn’t understand a creative person’s brain. They may begin to doubt your abilities and worry about the project being complete. Then they’ll hover over you and add extra pressure to “be creative”. We all know that doesn’t work. So instead, share your process and say something like, “This is what it looks like when I’m working on a project. It’s part of my process. I’m sharing it with you so you know it will all work out, even if it doesn’t seem that way to start.”

Let Your Colleagues Know How They Can Support You
This is critical. People, by their nature, will want to help you when they see you struggling. Sometimes it’s a matter of working it out on your own, and if that’s your style, tell your colleagues. I usually say something like, “I just need a day to myself to work on this without interruptions. If you could count me out of meetings and take the lead on X for me, I will be able to get Y done.” Or if you’re the type that needs to talk things through, you could say, “I’ll need your help to brainstorm ideas tomorrow. Can you be available?”

Implement the 80% Rule
The 80% rule states: get a project to 80% and then you just stop without tinkering or perfecting. If you’re striving for perfection at each phase of development, you’ll easily get stuck in a sea of self-doubt. If you want to learn more about the 80% Rule, you can read about it here.

A big part of riding the emotional cycle is communicating with others around you which can be a huge change in your behavior. The next time you hear, “We need your creativity, NOW,” you can use some of these tips to manage your process and get the best work out of yourself.

These are just some of the ways I’ve been able to manage my own creative process when working to develop videos and online training programs. I hope sharing them will help you!

Want to learn more about our Corporate Learning Content Creation Service check us out here.

5 Ways to Make Your Outdated Training Methods Effective

Many organizations struggle with outdated training methods that are no longer effective for various reasons. Whether it be generational differences, technology enhancements or stale content, the need to change and adapt has become a requirement to stay aligned to the modern learner. But the transition from making old technology and old content work for modern learners is not only a time consuming process, it’s a hard one. So, where do you start?

Here are 5 simple ways to be more effective in aligning to the modern learner.

  1. Leverage Video – Video popularity doesn’t even need stats anymore. It’s blown up. Platforms like Youtube, as well as Social networks that primarily leverage video, like Snapchat (How Snapchat is changing Corporate Learning) , has created video monsters in modern learners. Organizations have taken notice and are using it at the highest rate of all time. It doesn’t hurt that it’s cost effective for both building and deploying as well.
  2. Stretch Their Thinking – Providing content that helps the learner stretch their mind  goes a long way in being more effective with the modern learner. Using stories, models, or even a theory is a fantastic way to do this.
  3. Include Social – The modern learner is social and they are willing and able to engage with each other to help others learn. Use social functionality to leverage the collective intelligence and improve engagement.
  4. Involve the Learner– The best way to be sure you know something is to teach it to someone else. Asking learners to teach back or for action after learning is a fantastic way to be more effective with the modern learner.
  5. Provide Coaching– The easiest thing to get right, yet the one that is often not leveraged. Give learners feedback and coaching based on their actions and involvement in the learning process.

All of these might not be necessary for every learning program, but each one will go a long way in being more effective in developing the modern learner.

Want to see a modern learning program in action?  Check out LearnLoft’s out of the box Leadership Development Program for young professionals. Getting Leadership Ready Program. 

Tested Secrets to Changing Employee Behavior Online

It didn’t take long for her to open up about her issues “John, we just couldn’t afford to bring people in from all over for 4 days of instructor led training. The flights, hotel, food, materials, instructors, and most importantly time out of the field wasn’t something we could bear anymore. So we made an investment in an LMS, bought and built SCORM compliant content and after 12 months, that’s not working either. I just don’t know what else to do.”

Her issues weren’t different than many others I had heard over the years.  They all had similar complaints.

Instructor Led Training is the best, but too expensive. Yet online learning doesn’t quite do the job.

So are organizations just supposed to accept this or try do something about it?

After years of trial and error, we have come up with the most important components that must be present to get online learning to do the job and change learner behavior.

  1. Assessment – A knowledge or behavioral assessment at the start of any online learning program is imperative. By doing this it gives the learner an understanding of their current state to motivate them to improve.
  2. Content that Connects-Connecting with the learner through stories and examples is what makes it stick.  The earlier connection stories can be positioned the better because of learners shrinking attention spans.
  3. Content that Expands – Content that expands the mind or gets the learner to think differently than he or she thinks today is paramount. This is often the hardest part for content creators, but easily the most rewarding when it comes fruition.
  4. Practice and Application – Providing opportunities to allow learners to practice and apply what they learn is critical to changing behavior. There are all kinds of ways to do this, but the most important part is it’s present.
  5. Social – Using social media like functionality to hold learners accountable and engaged is a powerful factor to ensure online learning actually changes behavior. News feeds, comments, sharing, are all good ideas.

All 5 of these are critical components in our ‘Getting Leadership Ready’ Online Program. Here is a an example of the learning model used to ensure knowledge transfer.

learning model


If you can relate to the challenges and frustrations shared by our client at the beginning of this article, don’t feel beholden to them.  Use each of the 5 components and a similar learning model to get different results.

Getting Leadership Ready. LearnLoft’s out of the box training approach to helping professionals understand what leadership is all about and to stand out as potential leaders. Find out more here.


How to Get Employees Excited about Training

Have you ever noticed that employees aren’t excited about taking ANOTHER training program? And can you blame them? Past experiences have most likely taught them that another training program is something to be endured not relished.

Our research shows both the lack of enthusiasm and engagement with content are major challenges within L&D departments throughout all industries. Without buy-in from the employee, the learning content you work so hard to produce or spend money on will continue to be under utilized.

So, how do you get your employees trembling with excitement? How can you have them on the edge of their seats and WANTING to take your training?

The answer is simple…Promotion! Here are 3 ways you can promote organization training initiatives:

1. Create a kick-off video
With all the great tips and tricks on the web for creating great video, you’re probably the Spielburg of enterpise video content. Try creating a kick off video that outlines the value of your program and gets learners fired up about taking it.

2. Invite a motivational speaker to kick off your program
Motivational speakers are a great way to kick start your program and build some hype. There are all kinds of motivational speakers the key is your find someone who fits your culture and has expertise in the programs content.

3. Leverage your current meeting structure
Weekly team meetings, conference calls or webinars are a perfect time to promote the value your latest training initiative. Use this time to plug your content.

Try some or all of these three promotional tactics to get employees excited about training initiatives.

Effective Leadership for Organizations. LearnLoft’s out of the box training approach to helping organizations develop better and more proactive leaders. Find out more here.

3 Levels of Social Learning [Infographic]

Social Learning has been a buzz word in the Learning and Development world for sometime.  For many years, the best social learning examples included: group work or role plays within Instructor Led Training Sessions.  No longer is that the best method for putting the “social” in social learning.  With the explosion of social networking and people’s comfort level in sharing ideas, best practices, and encouragement (or distain) on these networks, it has opened the door of evolution into the world of corporate learning.

We’ve been at social learning for a couple years and here are the 3 Levels of social learning based on our experience.

3 Levels of Social Learning.001

Want to learn more about how we use social learning in our Getting Leadership Ready Program?Find out more here.