While at Learning 2005 last week, I met Garrett Stokes of Amazon.com – he is head of learning (I think… didn’t get his exact title) – and he co-presented several sessions on blended learning with Molly Rosen of Ninth House, a vendor who delivers leadership training.
Garrett and Molly talked about their approach to learning at Amazon: Plan, learn, apply, sustain, and measure. The Situational Leadership II program has been rolled out to 2000 Amazon employees worldwide so far, and this approach seems to be working well. They have measured both quantitative and qualitative results.
What I like about this model which I can directly apply to sales training and coaching is the blended way of infusing a new culture – in their case, it was that the organization embraces Situational Leadership, from the top down. In our case involving adopting a new sales process and methodology plus actual execution – the same can be applied. They use e-learning, web-based surveys, assessments, and in-person kickoffs plus smaller in-person meetings as a winning combination to enhance employee learning.
Bottom line: No matter the size of your business – if you start with a plan, and some sound steps for execution, you can turn your sales results around through process and with a blended approach. What used to be only stand-up training (with the presenter at the front of the room) doesn’t work any more. You must think of ways to help your employees learn, try out, do, and retain knowledge. This is the way for any behavioral change to happen – whether for leadership or sales increases.