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.

Microlearning is Getting BIG and How to Be Part of It

If organizations want to attract, develop and retain talent in this generation, they have to adapt to their audience. To quote The Kinks, “give the people want they want”.

  1. Assign One Learning Objective Per Asset
    We define a Learning Objective by what the learner will do or know after they consume the asset. So focus on just one learning objective so the learner will know exactly what they need to focus on to ensure knowledge is transferred. The more objectives you try to introduce, the longer your content will be. Ultimately, you’ll lose your audience.
  2. Use Video
    70 percent of Millennials visit YouTube monthly. They simply prefer video over other mediums.
  3. Production Quality Matters
    Technology has made it so nearly everyone has the ability to create video – whether it’s on a smartphone, tablet, a professional camera or a GoPro. But bad video can take away from good content. It doesn’t take much to enhance your video quality without spending a lot of money. Try using natural light from a window, shoot in a quite room, and set up your camera slightly above your eye level. If you’re looking for more tips on creating quality video check out Wistia’s learning center.
  4. Timing is Everything
    Remember that 90-second statistic? Microlearning videos should be 4 minutes or less. Learners want to get straight to the point. When creating scripts for video, a good rule of thumb to follow is 120 words for every minute of video. Making a short, content-rich video requires the ability to self-edit. If your scripting assets, take a good look at the content, and eliminate ALL the fluff. If your content is still longer than 4 minutes, you’re probably breaking the first commandment.
    Here are a couple of tips: First, don’t waste time in a video talking about something a learner can download and review outside of the video. Second, assume your audience is intelligent. Don’t waste time telling them how to navigate through the videos (these are tech savvy people). And please don’t talk down to them or add insincere dialogue.
  5. Prove Learning Took Place
    When you build your content, think about how you will know learning took place. Instead of just asking them to answer a couple multiple choice questions, ask them to demonstrate their knowledge. For example, If you’re teaching personal branding, you could ask learners to send a video of themselves delivering a 30-second elevator speech. This not only allows to prove learning took place, but also creates the opportunity for coaching and improvement.
    After all, learning shouldn’t be a one-time event. Instead, it should be an evolving and adaptive process that creates a unique and personalized experience for each learner.

If you can begin incorporating these 5 Commandments as you venture into the world of Microlearning, you’ll be in alignment with current learning trends and more important this new generation of employees.

7 Trends Shaping Corporate Learning in 2016

Where the learner goes, learning and development follows.

There is a strong case to be made that this hasn’t always been the case, but in the past 5 years it has become a requirement.  Learners want content in different forms, modalities, and  length. They even want the technology they are being served learning content to be mobile, in the cloud, and be social in nature.

Ever-evolving and and adaptive technology is driving and transforming learning everyday.  Learning and Development departments that want to thrive are in a constant race to adapt and take advantage of these advancements while they’re still relevant and useful.  Here are 7 trends that learning and development will have to embrace to stay ahead of the game.

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8 Traits of the Corporate Learner in 2016

2015 was the year that millennials became the largest generation in the U.S. labor force making up roughly 34% of the population.  This number is only set to increase as boomers begin to retire in droves, 3.5 million boomers turned 65 in 2015.  By 2030 the over 65 crowd will have expanded to 72 million people.

As millennials expand to be the learning generation in the workforce it’s vital that we understand what makes them tick to better align to their needs.  We’ve therefore created a learner profile of the employee that makes up the highest percentage of the workforce in 2016.

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Our hope is that you can use this information to create better training content and align your learning technologies to these traits!

4 Ways to Train Smarter

Last week, I met with Jim, a manager of a technology company. We started talking about the challenges he was having leading his team. Jim had been working with his team on positioning a technological advancement in their product. During his research he came across an article that would help his team do just that. Jim emailed the article to his team and anticipated they would absorb the information, learn something, and share in his excitement. Instead, he got crickets – radio silence.
Jim thought maybe his team just need the opportunity to collaborate, so during his weekly meeting he brought up the article and all of a sudden everyone was acting like he was Medusa – averting their eyes from his gaze. They hadn’t read the article. In fact, more than half of them couldn’t even find the email when searching back through their inboxes. As you can imagine this left Jim pulling out his hair in frustration. He knew he had found valuable content for his team that would help them improve their performance.
I shared with Jim that he wasn’t alone. Creating content that will engage and educate teams isn’t easy. It can seem like a daunting process. Copying and pasting a link is simple, but it’s worthless if the content isn’t be used, and you’re unable to track and measure who’s doing what.
That’s why we came up with 4 ways to train smarter not harder:
  1. Create Video-Based Content –Your phone’s camcorder is all your need to create your very own video-based training. Map out what you want to say then point and click. Employees much prefer to learn from someone they know and trust than from an unknown source. They are also more comfortable than ever to consume amateur video. Need some help? Check out this article we wrote about shooting video
  2. Refresh Current Content – If you’ve found an article or video you want your team to learn from, why not spruce it up and customize it. They’ll appreciate you adding context and making it relatable. Bonus points for adding quiz questions that focus on the concepts you most want your team to retain.
  3. Curate Content – Pull content from different sources to create a succinct message. The common mistake most leaders make is to send the whole resource to a learner when on average under 50% is relevant.
  4. Don’t Over Do It – Pace yourself. If you’re sending content every 5 minutes, your employees are going to disengage and you’ll find your message lost. Instead try to get in a rhythm and spread content out over time.
By following these simple steps you can train your team, increase results and you won’t be pulling your hair out in frustration.

If you have team members and want to quickly an easily distribute training to your team sign up for your free LearnLoft Account.  Get a Loft. Train Your Team. See Results.

Want to Test Drive the Platform and Develop your Leadership Skills?  Sign up for our FREE Leadership Development Program, where you can test your leadership knowledge, learn tips and tricks in Microlearning format, and engage with other leaders.  The program becomes available on December 1st, and is limited to the first 500 sign ups.

Download LearnLoft’s, “Guide to the Future of Online Learning” Here

Top 5 Benefits of Microlearning

As I think about the start of my professional career (who doesn’t love to reminisce?) I can’t help recalling all the different types of professional development training I have received:

  • Instructor-led training
  • Webinars
  • Conference calls
  • Printed material
  • Web-based training
  • The classic one-on-ones
  • Articles forwarded to me by a manager… And so on…

Each style of training bought its own rewards (and challenges). Each one had its place depending on the decade, and some still do. In fact, if you’re doing something to help develop professional skills in your organization, you’re better off than most.

But we also need to improve the way we train and continue to add value as learners and technology change. How can training be more efficient? More effective? How can we take what we’ve got and make it better? How can we be more innovative?

Speaking of an all-in-one solution, video-based Microlearning has shown us it’s able to overcome the challenges faced by traditional training methods, align to today’s technology and appeal to the modern learners.

Here are the top 5 Benefits of Online Video Microlearning:

1. It’s On Demand. Learners get to choose when they learn and what they need to learn. Learning is made available and pulled when the learner needs it.

2. It’s Mobile. Technology has advanced and our connectively has increased dramatically. In todays modern workplace, Microlearning allows us to learn anytime, anywhere, on any device.

3. It’s Video Based. Increasingly, I find myself running (or should that be surfing) to YouTube to find answers. I’m not alone in this. The modern learner wants to learn in the moment, on demand. They want to watch a video, get what they need, and implement.

4. It’s Micro. I know, it’s kind of obvious (it’s in the name). But seriously, making content micro also makes it extremely efficient. No fluff, just the need-to-know information. No time wasted.

5. It Increases Your ROI. Research has shown that elearning will save an organization 50% when compared to ILT. IBM released a report stating for every $1 the company spends, they can expect to receive $30 of productively by utilizing elearning. As a trainer, manager, business owner there’s no denying that with those figures, it makes sense.

Tweet us your favorite benefit of microlearning @learn_loft.

If you have team members and want to quickly an easily distribute training to your team sign up for your free LearnLoft Account.  Get a Loft. Train Your Team. See Results.

Download LearnLoft’s, “Guide to the Future of Online Learning” Here

Want to Test Drive the Platform and Develop your Leadership Skills?  Sign up for our FREE Leadership Development Program, where you can test your leadership knowledge, learn tips and tricks in Microlearning format, and engage with other leaders.  The program becomes available on December 1st, and is limited to the first 500 sign ups.

3 Ways to Improve the Power of Learning and Development

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For the last 20 years, maybe longer, Learning and Development has arguably best known for:
“When the going gets tough, it’s time to cut the training budget”.

Today it is different though. With the Internet of Things, it’s making products and services less unique. Organizations are relying on their one true differentiator: People. People are a competitive weapon and organizations that understand this create true differentiation over their competition. Take for example Chick-Fil-A. Sure the food is good, but it’s the consistent experience you get from their PEOPLE that separates them from the other fast food chains.

Knowing the power of people, how do you prove the value of Learning and Development and move it to the center of your organization? Here are 3things you can focus on:

1. Be A Thought Leader.

It’s just not good enough to stand on the sidelines and wait for a play to be called by a VP of Sales, CMO, or CEO. Learning and Development has to become proactive instead of reactive. The only way to do that is to bring new ideas and thought leadership to the organization. One of my favorite ways to do this is a concept called “finding the bright spots” from the book Switch by Chip and Dan Heath. The idea is to take big problems and solve them with small solutions. If Learning and Development can identify big organizations problems and look for individuals or solving or achieving them, there is an opportunity to be a thought leader and bring these small bright spots to the masses.\
2. Be An Innovator.
Innovation and thought leadership go hand in hand. If you are looking for bright spots and bringing new ideas to the organization, you will then have the ability to introduce innovation that aligns with learner demand. Things such as learning platforms, social learning, microlearning, etc. More innovative ideas are happening around learning now more than ever.
3. Execute Flawlessly.
One simple way to do the opposite of being valuable is taking months, if not years, to bring new programs or new technology to bear. I hear it all too often; “Training isn’t relevant” or “That would have been useful last month”. Being able to identify and execute on a learning opportunity in a timely manner is vital if you want to make Learning and Development the center of your organization. Speed, speed, speed! It’s time to get programs and technology to 80% and then perfect it over time. Trying to be perfect prior to an initial roll-out will cause paralysis by analysis and ultimately will drag out timelines and effectiveness.
Make these 3 things a core part of your daily work life and you will make your Learning and Development department more valuable.

4 Keys to Knowledge Transfer and Learner Engagement

Imagine being able to guarantee knowledge is transferred, skills are honed and learners are engaged, all in the shortest amount of time possible. Wouldn’t that be awesome?
At LearnLoft we’re passionate about creating engaging learning experiences that transfers knowledge in the shortest amount of time. We’re so passionate that we want to share with you some of the key points that are most important with today’s modern learner.
Check out our infographic below that takes a deeper look at the 4 key elements to increasing knowledge transfer and learner engagement.

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