Tooting Your Own Horn: How to Measure Soft Skills Training

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This book reveals the secrets of conducting corporate research to measure changes from soft-skills training.

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You CAN measure the results of soft skills training…this book proves it!

Research indicates that training in interpersonal skills, management practices, and sales strategies increases personnel retention figures and bottom-line sales results.
Tooting Your Own Horn: How to Measure Soft Skills Training documents 15 years of research techniques and results from corporate and internal soft-skill testing by leading domestic and international Fortune 500 companies.

INTRODUCTION:

I began designing and conducting research as a sales tool for our seminars fifteen years ago. My clients sometimes conducted their own research. Years later, usually when the trainer retired, I would receive a copy. Recently I’ve become aware of how scarce soft skills research is. So this book is a case study of justifying training dollars for our clients. At the same time the instruments and approaches can be valuable to any training group. Thus this book and its title. Research is expensive- in time and money. However, anecdotal evidence is not enough to justify “soft” skills being designated “hard” skills. Statistics probably won’t change soft skills to hard skills either, but these statistics indicate that soft skills do make a difference in important areas for business. This book contains enough “indicators” to challenge the connotation of “soft” skills as I began designing and conducting research as a sales tool for our seminars fifteen years ago. My clients sometimes conducted their own research. Years later, usually when the trainer retired, I would receive a copy. Recently I’ve become aware of how scarce soft skills research is. So this book is a case study of justifying training dollars for our clients. At the same time the instruments and approaches can be valuable to any training group. Thus this book and its title. Research is expensive- in time and money. However, anecdotal evidence is not enough to justify “soft” skills being designated “hard” skills. Statistics probably won’t change soft skills to hard skills either, but these statistics indicate that soft skills do make a difference in important areas for business. This book contains enough “indicators” to challenge the connotation of “soft” skills as unimportant for the business world. Research indicates a three-day training in interpersonal skills, management practices, sales strategies, the retention figures and/or the bottom line of Sprint, IBM, Chase Manhattan Bank, Pacific Bell and FPL. The trainings tested teach interpersonal skills which are similar to those skills cited by Peter Senge as essential for creating a learning organization. More on this under Theory 2 in the Author’s Note.

Change is hard to prove. Change in a positive direction is even harder to prove, and change that increases dollar return on investment is the most elusive of all. In this book we cannot prove this connection, but we can “indicate strongly,” and we will. We will use 27 separate research studies. Two were conducted by IBM, one by Sprint Corporate, 19 by International Dialogue Education Associates, one by Pacific Bell, one a panel report, one by Chase Manhattan Bank, one by Dell Computer Corporation and one, a review of the literature. The studies collected data from more than 1,250 employees. In a study conducted for the Labor Department of Motorola Inc. estimates that they earn $30 for every $1 invested in employee training. For “soft” skills, this book’s research indicates the figures might be even larger. Do the people involved think the skills they learned in the training had a significant role in the improved productivity and sales? We’ll use their own words to answer this. Their exact words are one of the reasons for this book.

TABLE OF CONTENTS:

Preface
Chapter 1 Bottom Line Impact
Chapter 2 Long Term Impact: IBM and Chase Manhattan Bank
Chapter 3 Research
Chapter4 Meeting $aved
Chapter 5 Management Practices
Chapter 6 Team Building
Chapter 7 Humor Chapter 8 Time $aved—Money $aved
Chapter 9 Common Language
Chapter 10 National Sales Record Set
Chapter 11 Attitude Changes
Chapter 12 Changes/Success
Chapter 13 Energy/Fun
Chapter 14 Use of Other Seminar Skills
Chapter 15 Super Question5 and Metaphors: Two Skills Going in Opposite Directions
Chapter 16 Manipulation/Dovetail
Chapter 17 Other Measurable Indicators: Customer Complaints, Retentions, Replacements, and Activation
Chapter 18 I-E Locus of Control
Chapter 19 ASTD Panel Report: FPL, Sprint and Pacific Bell
Chapter 20 Synopsis from Pacific Bell study by Linda McGregor
Chapter 21 Evaluations from Dell Computer
Chapter 22 Health and Interpersonal Skills

AUTHOR’S NOTE

What would explain the evidence, presented in this book, that people changed their beliefs and their behaviors in only three days of training?

THEORY 1: LEFT BRAIN / RIGHT BRAIN / WHOLE BRAIN : TWO BRAINS PROCESSING => ENERGY => HUMOR

THREE OTHER THEORIES

While I’m attracted to the “whole brain-energy-success” theory, there are other possible explanations of what happened at Sprint, Pacific Bell, Chase, FPL, and other large corporations.

THEORY 2: CREATING A LEARNING ORGANIZATION
THEORY 3: LEARNING ESSENTIAL SKILLS
THEORY 4: FLOW FOR SUCCESS

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