Falsification of Data: Truth or Consequences

justthefacts  By Peggy Salvatore and Terry McGinn

Sometimes expert knowledge isn’t really knowledge at all. In fact, if your data sounds too good to be true, it just might be.  Sadly, for reasons of human sloth, greed or carelessness, sometimes the experts who supply your data are giving you bad information – and they know it.

In Finding Your SMEs, we discuss times when you may be dealing with conflicting expertise or when you may be asked to ignore some information and favor other information in your documentation to please a stakeholder. In those cases, you aren’t dealing in bad data. Rather, you are dealing with differences of opinion.

That’s an honest debate of the relevant facts.

Falsifying data to purposefully mislead someone is different than simple disagreement among experts.

When you are dealing with falsified data, there are no facts. There is no honest debate. There is only an intent to deceive. In regulated industries that depend on quality data to remain in legal compliance, falsified data can have many bad outcomes including products that are substandard, dangerous or deadly. Your best defense is to know your regulations and how to work with them because, remember, you can be guilty simply by omissions.

Remember Volkswagen? What About Your Drugs?

In 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency discovered that many VW cars were outfitted with software programmed to falsify data during emissions testing showing the cars met carbon dioxide emission standards. The brand suffered substantial damage and the company was exposed to up to $18 billion in fines when it was discovered the cars actually emitted up to 40 times the allowable amount. This attempt to defraud the public resulted in massive car recalls and a loss of company credibility along with profits.

Money lost. Reputation lost. Environment damaged.

In biopharmaceuticals, clinical trial data is the stuff upon which the Food and Drug Administration makes decisions about the safety and efficacy of pharmaceutical products. Does data get falsified there, too? Unfortunately, yes!

A 2001 study showed that falsification of scientific data used in FDA evaluations of experimental drugs was not uncommon, and it ranged from falsifying the identities of clinical trial subjects and their physical exam results to creating duplicate records to achieve the desired number of trial subjects.

It still happens today.

Just a few weeks ago, a Kyoto University research group headed by Nobel laureate Shinya Yamanaka was found guilty of fabricating all six main data figures in a study published in Stem Cell Reports. The study claimed it had modelled the blood-brain barrier in vitro using pluripotent stem (iPS) cells. Yamanaka, who won the 2012 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine for discovering iPS cells, reportedly was going to donate his salary to the university as a mea culpa but the damage to his reputation will live beyond his paycheck.

Bad data can hurt – or even kill- patients and it exposes the biopharma research companies who rely on quality data to potentially billions of dollars in fines and, at the end of the day, the delay or loss of up to a billion dollars in research and development for a product that can’t be supported by strong, reliable data sets.

Is Your Data Subject to Tampering?

One of the ways to ensure that your data is valid is to have strong processes in place for data collection and auditing. Long before an FDA or compliance inspector finds a problem with your product or process, you can lock down your documentation with well-written and faithfully executed standard operating procedures.

By taking some strong action today, you can implement steps to avoid harm to your brand reputation, delayed or denied product approval, heavy fines, jail time and, of course, harm to patients.

If you would like to discuss your process for developing and implementing standard operating procedures, write to us at workingwithsmes@gmail.com and schedule a no-obligation appointment for a review of your organization’s data integrity vulnerabilities.

Terry McGinn has worked in regulated industry for many years and has experience in written procedures that will help pass scrutiny of a regulatory authority inspection.

Back by Popular Demand: More on Writing Standard Operating Procedures

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3 Tips for Creating Transparent SOPs

Co-written with Terry McGinn

Each company in a regulated industry is required to follow written procedures.  The written procedure describes how steps or tasks are to be followed to achieve the desired outcome or result.  Having these steps identified permits the distant or precise way to achieve the end of your process or practice. 

Knowing the critical nature of having written procedures, your standard operating procedures and best practices need to follow a few procedures of their own so you can replicate what you do across your organization.  In other words, your standard operating procedures need to be transparent and streamlined.

One of the many purposes of the SOP or best practice process is to ensure that the process flow can meet expectations. Done well, your standard process or procedure should result in a quality product or achieve the desired result every time.

Knowledgeable and trained  personnel must have the SOP available to follow because no matter how many years’ experience they may have, even experts get stuck for a variety of factors. In fact, some experts know their jobs so well that they think they can skip or modify steps, take shortcuts, or do it from memory. This is a red flag!

The SOP should be written in a logical process flow that will allow someone looking for the cause of a failure later can pinpoint where  a difficulty arose. Reviewing the SOP with someone internally or externally who is checking or auditing your procedure should allow them to identify what and where things  went wrong.

When you have a point of failure, an examination of the SOP should indicate gaps or problems that can include one or more of a host of issues including materials, equipment, environment and much more. Often, a failure can point to the source of your complications by reading the SOP against practice.

A well-written procedure or best practice document will:

  1. Be written to describe the flow clearly to anyone trained on it
  2. Include every essential step without including extraneous steps or materials that can and should be accessed elsewhere
  3. Always be followed by everyone from the new hire to the veteran employee using the current SOP

Expect you will have changes to your SOPs on occasion. Expect you will need to review your documents periodically according to your SOP. And expect that when you have a clean, clear, streamlined SOP process that your errors should be few and easily identifiable.

To summarize, standard operating procedures and best practices need to follow procedures of their own so you can replicate what you do across your organization.  In other words, they need to be transparent. If they are the opposite of transparent – opaque – they are hard to follow and may result  in errors.

If you would like to talk to us about your SOP process, give us a call for a no-obligation preliminary review of your procedures.

 

Terry McGinn has worked in regulated industry for many years and has experience in written procedures that will help pass scrutiny of a regulatory authority inspection. To have a conversation about writing your standard operating procedures, write to us at workingwithsmes@gmail.com to set up an appointment.  

Photo by Drew Hays on Unsplash

The Difference Between Thought Leaders and Subject Matter Experts

rita-morais-108397-unsplash  A colleague who read my book Working with SMEs approached me and posed the question, “What is the difference between a thought leader and a subject matter expert?”

She didn’t ask the question as a challenge, and I don’t think she expected an answer on the spot. She asked it in an exploratory way. We looked for a moment at each other, and I said I would think about it. I knew there was more to the distinction than an easy definition of each term. For the last two months, I’ve been thinking about it.

Another colleague recently said she is sick of the term “thought leader” and thinks it has become overused and meaningless. I agree that the term and concept is in vogue, but after much consideration, it is not meaningless. If someone is known as a thought leader, they are someone who has earned recognition for their opinion because their experience gives them a catbird seat on a particular issue. The term “thought leader” is only meaningless if someone refers to themselves that way.

I liken “thought leader” to the term “sensei” because it is not an honor you can bestow upon yourself. When I studied Lean, I encountered a man who referred to himself as a sensei or “wise one”. Other Lean practitioners took me aside to explain that he had committed a faux pas because one does not refer to oneself as a sensei. It is presumptuous. Other people may refer to you as a sensei, but you may never call yourself one. In that way, just because someone calls themselves a “thought leader” does not make it so.

Thought Leaders Have Perspective and Vision

A thought leader is someone who has perspective due to their vast and deep experience in an area. They are sought by others to share their opinions with the group to help others gain perspective. Because of their perspective, thought leaders also have vision. They can usually see around corners into the future. Due to their perspective and often (but not always!) deep experience, a thought leader can make an educated guess about the direction events will take. A true thought leader earned it through years of deep thought about an  issue, and sometimes after years of making mistakes, too, giving them vaunted vision about the way things could be .

Thought leaders usually have some sort of platform. It could be within their organization, industry or profession. It may be a broader platform like the New York Times where a columnist can inform and influence millions of people. The visibility of a platform like the New York Times will catapult someone into thought leadership.

Thought leaders are exactly that – they have thought about things a long time, have opinions that are valuable and valid based on their background, and are willing to be out in front of the crowd leading others in a certain direction.

Last year, I spent four days attending a live, online seminar by author, speaker and trainer Brendon Burchard called the Thought Leader Roadmap. I wanted to see what he had to say about thought leadership. He is of the opinion that you can either be a thought leader by experience or you can become one by studying an issue in depth and then speaking out about it from a position of knowledge after repackaging what you’ve learned from reading and interviewing experts.

Which neatly leads us to the difference between thought leaders and experts.

Experts Have Deep Knowledge about a Subject

Some academicians have actually come up with a literal definition of a subject matter expert. An expert is someone who has studied a topic for about 10,000 hours or at least five years. Many true experts in complex topics like physics and biochemistry become experts only after 20 years or more of diligently working in the field. However, their subject matter expertise does not necessarily make them a thought leader. Some of the world’s greatest SMEs are unknown people toiling in the corner of a lab somewhere. They aren’t leading anything or anyone. However, they may be blazing trails in science or technology that very few people will ever know about, except that your smartphone knows where you are, your Internet connection gets more reliable every year, and cancer is now considered a chronic disease in some circles.

A SME is not always the brilliant biochemist in the corner lab, though. A SME in your organization is someone who knows something very well after years of being in your company. You have subject matter experts who know your business deeply and possibly even irreplaceably in accounting, sales, engineering, manufacturing and administration. They aren’t thought leaders. Most people don’t know what these quiet SMEs are thinking or even know who they are. And for the purpose of being a SME in their corner of the world, the concept of thought leadership is irrelevant.

Some SMEs are thought leaders, but being a SME does not make you a thought leader. Most, but not all, thought leaders are SMEs.  However, if you are a thought leader in your field either because you put yourself out there as one or other people turn to you as one, you will eventually need to develop deep and broad expertise. If you are a thought leader and not an advanced expert, your thought leadership will have limited value. Yes, some people are always behind you and those people will regard you as a leader. Others who are true SMEs look to thought leaders who have the same or greater level of expertise, so the farther ahead you are in your field the more people by sheer numbers are behind you.

A thought leader who is a SME with deep and broad knowledge is suited to lead many. A thought leader who is developing their expertise but willing to step out front will lead fewer. Both will have impact but one will have much greater influence on the future because they are speaking into many lives.

How would you define a thought leader? Who do you know who you would consider a thought leader?

Standard Operating Procedures and Accountability: Perfect Together

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By Terry McGinn and Peggy Salvatore

We’ve been getting quite a bit of interest and feedback regarding our series on standard operating procedures, so we’ll continue writing about this topic this week.

After all, inherent in the word “expert” is the idea that something is done correctly. Correct procedures and best practices need to be captured and passed on. Sometimes, though, it seems the only people who care if the SOPs are followed are the experts who wrote them.

Truth is, everyone needs to care. Accountability right down to the last man or woman is absolutely the key essential ingredient in ensuring regulatory compliance.

Train for Accountability

Employees who are tasked with executing the many small, incremental steps are responsible only for their piece of the process. Sometimes in the laser-focus on one task, people may lose sight of the bigger picture. That bigger picture – a safe product going out the door – needs to be reinforced occasionally. Training usually steps in here for both reinforcement and correction. When that fails, the regulatory authorities will notice. Companies get slapped with government warnings and fines at a higher rate than the average person may realize. But if you are in a regulated industry, you know how often you are out of compliance.

Think about dialing the failure point back to its origin. The failure point is when the SOP is not correctly written, understood and applied.

Only then does the employee fail to perform to specifications.

Only then will training have to step in for often very expensive correction.

Only that will happen when an audit reveals you are out of compliance with your SOPs, and the Corrective and Preventative Actions (CAPAs) applied at that point of failure. That doesn’t need to happen.

In a perfect world, it should look like this:

Point of Success

If your current plant is not operating flawlessly as above, identify your points of failure:

  1. How many people are asked to retrain personnel after a deviation or equipment issue?
  2. How many SOPs do you have? Are they overwhelming or conflicting?
  3. Are they easy to understand and do they follow a logical, stepwise process?
  4. After a deviation, is the SOP reviewed?
  5. Are people observing the CAPAs?

And, the big question…

Do your employees feel responsible and accountable for performing their jobs according to the SOPs in place?

Employees feel empowered when they are able to follow well-written SOPs, and when they are acknowledged for contributing to a well-run organization. Points of failure cannot be business as usual. Organizations that accept points of failure as the status quo have a company culture that unintentionally encourages non-compliance.

Maybe that is worth repeating:

Organizations that accept points of failure as the status quo have a company culture that unintentionally encourages non-compliance.

And the road to audit hell is paved with regulatory non-compliance.

The Solution

Dial back your points of process failure to the source.

Ask yourself:

  • Are my SOPs well written?
  • Do my employees feel a sense of responsibility for performing to specifications?

If your answer to either of those questions is, “No” or “I don’t know”, give us a call.

We would be happy to speak with you.

Unlike some problems in the universe, the problem of poorly-written and executed SOPs can be solved. Let’s do it.

Terry McGinn has worked in regulated industry for many years and has experience in written procedures that will help pass scrutiny of a regulatory authority inspection. To have a conversation, write to us at workingwithsmes@gmail.com to set up an appointment.  

Photo by Drew Hays on Unsplash

Building Bench: Analyze Your Current Level of Expertise Before Hiring and Training

thZHXF49YI   Guest Blogger Robert B. Camp, Getting to Lean

Any sports analyst can tell you that the depth of your bench (the number and skill of your players), determines your ability to play the entire game with intensity. In a business, the depth of your bench determines your ability to take on new projects, even when you are already working on some major contracts. It also determines the skill level of projects you can take on, and to a large degree, determines how quickly you can grow. In short, bench depth is as important in business as it is in sports.

I once worked with a client that wanted to grow 5X in the next two years. That was a tall order, so before we got ahead of ourselves, we base-lined the current state of the business. Although there were some material concerns, this business was largely built around installation labor of a technical product.

To quintuple in size in just two years, the existing labor force had to be at the top of their game. Moreover, the company either needed to hire or train new employees at a rapid pace, all while continuing to execute on their current contracts. That was a tall order and led us to conduct a rapid assessment of their present employees. To do this, we used a 3 steps process.

  1. We asked every leader to develop a list of the job titles that reported to them
  2. Next, we asked them to develop a list of skills required by each job title
  3. Finally, for each skill, we asked them to establish the expected level of competency required by someone in that job title

Where multiple leaders had people with the same job titles, we cross-levelled the skill and competency expectations across the organization.

With this information, we created a blank matrix of Skills and Expected Competency for each employee.  We then asked leaders to assess each worker’s actual competency in performing each skill. By comparing an employee’s actual competency to that expected, we were quickly able to assess the strength of the employee and the department.

What did we learn through this analysis?

  • who in a group needed what training
  • what training needed to be conducted organizationally, and in what order
  • who in the group was most deficient, so we could initially focus on them
  • which skills we needed to concentrate on first and where in the organization those skills were required
  • who in the organization was competent to be a coach/trainer for others deficient in that skill

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COACHING: This matrix can become a tool in the ongoing coaching of employees and the establishment of growth goals.

PROMOTION:  We established an expectation that for an employee to be promoted they first need to demonstrate proficiency in the new job.

Our Results?

You’ll recall this employer wanted to quintuple in size and revenue in just two years. After reviewing their employee training matrix, this employer:

  • knew what skills they needed to hire
  • established that all new hires must demonstrate their competency in a skill before being hired
  • began intensive training classes in areas where the organization had scored poorly

In short, this process allowed the employer to recognize that their strengths rested in the skill of their employees and to begin intensively BUILDING BENCH to grow their organization.

How do you think your company would fare in an analysis like this? Are you ready to find out?

Contact Robert to learn more about how to apply this process. He will be happy to review what is needed to implement a similar system within your organization. And, of course, you can engage him to build this comprehensive Bench Strength system for your company.

robert@gettingtolean.com

 

 

 

10 Tips to Develop Best Practices and SOPs

peter-clarkson-240141 By Peggy Salvatore and Terry McGinn

When we are out in the field as trainers and consultants, we see different companies but a lot of the same problems. You may have heard the expression, “When you’ve seen one company, you’ve seen one company.” That is partially true. While each company and industry has their own culture and way of doing things, some issues are common across companies, industries and cultures.

One of the most common and preventable problems we see around training is that after training is over and best practices are instilled, personnel eventually either go back to the way they’ve always done it or find a different way around the new process. It’s not evil intent, it’s just human nature. Over time, people find a shortcut, an easier way or just forget the right way. And if things appear to continue to get done, nobody notices. That is, until you have a problem like a bad batch of product or find you are irredeemably over budget.

With a few best practices applied to development of your standard operating procedures and some vigilance, you can avoid these common and sometimes fatal (if you are making pharmaceutical products or building cars, for example) mistakes.

Call in the Experts to Validate Your Standards

When you are talking about the development of your best practices and standard operating procedures, you can’t leave the development of these documents to just anyone. You want to engage subject matter experts to make sure that the best practices and SOPs that you are capturing are, indeed, what needs to be happening for your organization to be

  • Compliant with regulatory authorities
  • Meeting your corporate targets (think financial goals, think manufacturing yields.)
  • Building products according to specifications
  • Serving customers quickly, efficiently and courteously, and
  • Making sure your standards are met across the organization.

Deviation is Undesirable

Remember high school? The kid who skipped school, cursed in front of your parents and spit on the sidewalk? Deviance. Not acceptable. Outside the bounds of what good looks like. Deviance is undesirable. Same goes for your business.

You establish the way your products need to be built to meet industry regulations, the way you want your customers to be treated so they come back, and the way your billables and receivables need to be handled so you can operate within the law, remain profitable and provide value to society. Somebody has figured all that out in your organization. Those are your experts. They create the standards, write the best practices and standard operating procedures. When everything is new, it is probably done very close to the right way.

Over time, you are likely to encounter “drift”.  Drift occurs when new people come in who don’t know why you did it that way. They may not even have access to your SOPs. They may be trained or mentored by somebody who deviates and gets by with it. Or maybe they just forgot the right way to do it.

That is why, when you are bringing new people in to your business, train them right the first time and then continuously qualify them. Make sure your procedures are documented the way you want them, check them with your experts to make sure they are current, and have them in a form so they are usable – that means available, applicable and understandable – so you can get people up to speed.

10 Tips for Designing Your SOPs

We have developed a list to avert the kinds of problems we see every day. While much of our experience is in the pharmaceutical industry, this list can be applied to many businesses because best practices and common standards make any organization run more smoothly. These are issues we see not just in one company or one industry, but have seen in many companies and industries. We interact with trainers from many companies, and this is what they say, too. Here is our list that you can use for your own SOP development. And while you are at it, see if you can add a few ideas of your own:

  1. Streamline your SOPs. Restructure them to simplify them so you can put your processes to work for you. Make them simple but inclusive enough that you are still meeting standards and regulatory requirements. Eliminate hurdles, extra steps and vague language.
  2. Better educate your personnel. Don’t just throw any training at them to check the box. Actually train them to know what to do and when to do it by developing effective learning plans built by professional adult educators. And you make it easier on yourself when you hire knowledgeable personnel that can hit the ground running.
  3. Use your own staff members to write your SOPs and train your staff. Nobody knows your business like the people in it.
  4. Develop curricula that works. Make sure it is structured to result in the right actions taken at the right time. If it needs a checklist, write one. If it requires a short video demonstration, record one.
  5. Build train-the-trainer programs for your staff so your experts can be better communicators and mentors. Just a few simple tips can make most employees into effective trainers. Also, remember that not all experts make good trainers, so don’t assume your top performers are the right people to be teaching the rest of your staff.
  6. Cut “un-need” time down to only what is needed. Your “un-need” times are those unnecessary tasks and busy work that don’t add anything to productivity or the bottom line.
  7. Keep good talent. Make sure your best people are motivated to stay and perform for you. Some people really are irreplaceable.
  8. Build a future of qualified personnel. Figure out who your future experts are and invest in them.
  9. Reduce CAPA (corrective and preventative action) and rework by building a culture of doing it right the first time. Also, teach people how to investigate issues and problems for corrective action. Always follow the SOP no matter what else is going on. Occasionally re-familiarize personnel with it because the longer they do a task, the more shortcuts and “drift” occur in work. Train on a continuous basis with qualified people and maintain qualifications to make sure they are doing it the right way.
  10. Ensure your training remains current. That refers not only to content but also to style. Your learners are changing and your old training might be correct but ineffective. Update it.

Bonus Item: Train people to begin work right away. When you hire competent people who are ready to do the job, they will want to get up the learning curve quickly and begin to produce, so make sure you give them the knowledge and tools to produce quality work right out of the gate and provide the ongoing training and oversight to maintain the quality of their work.

What is on your wish list for creating SOPs and best practices for your organization? We can help you hire competent personnel, build training that works and streamline your processes so you are doing only what you need. Contact us at workingwithsmes@gmail.com.

Photo by Peter Clarkson on Unsplash

 

Knowledge Management in Six Easy Steps

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Good morning, class.

Yesterday someone asked me the question, “What is the difference between knowledge transfer and knowledge management?” I figure if a veteran in the training industry asked this question, lots of people would appreciate this clarification.

Quickly, we’ll review the concept of knowledge management and how transfer of your internal expertise is a critical part of a valid knowledge management plan but it is not the whole magilla. Today, the best corporations consider themselves learning organizations. Learning organizations are built around knowledge management plans. So to be top drawer today, you need to be thinking about this process.

  1. Identify what your employees need to know and fill in knowledge gaps.
  2. Prioritize what you will spend valuable corporate resources to collect – is this important enough to spend time and money on?
  3. If the answer is yes, collect it. This is the part where you may discover that you need to call in experts to fill in your knowledge gaps.
  4. Store that information in a way that is easy to retrieve using the most appropriate technology to the task.
  5. Then you transfer that knowledge to workers who need it, and we often call this training. Whether it is formal training or not, in some way, take the important information that you have documented and make sure it gets passed on to other people so you keep the best practices going forward.
  6. Finally, maintain this documentation in a way that others can find it, use it, update it and keep it relevant.

“We Need More Training” (e.g. Knowledge Transfer)

Or do you?

A story that circulates in industry is that when a company has a problem, the answer is “training”. In response, training professionals are called in and their job is to do a needs analysis to determine if, indeed, the answer to the identified problem is training. Often, the training professional will find that the real solution isn’t more training, but some other issue that screams for correction. The other issue is often cloaked as a lack of knowledge, but the real problem may be a poorly structured employee incentive program (you get paid for doing it wrong or docked for doing it right) or a more systemic issue of a poisonous company culture of non-excellence that rewards mediocrity or outright incompetence.

When you’ve transferred the knowledge and you still don’t get the performance that you want, check your incentive plan and look at the culture.

A valid knowledge management plan is one that keeps information current and moving through your organization to the people who need it and use it to advance your business. If you think your knowledge management plan is breaking down at the knowledge transfer part of the cycle, then after you’ve trained your people, make sure they are incentivized to do their jobs right the first time in a culture that supports excellence.

Reading assignment for extra credit: In Pursuit of Excellence by Tom Peters and Robert H. Waterman Jr. A classic on business quality practices.

Class dismissed.

The Online Course Opportunity and Your Expertise

jazmin-quaynor-392995The week between Christmas and New Year’s Day is typically one that is slow or completely non-existent for business. Traditionally, I use that week to do a lot of offline activities to plan for the upcoming year. This year I took two great online courses, and decided to build one of my own in 2018.

First, the plan.

The last few years, I went through Michael Hyatt’s Your Best Year Ever online course and found it very helpful in the way it structures your planning process, challenges your assumptions, pressure tests your goals and is full of logical advice. He has captured the course in a book that launches today, Tuesday January 2, and if you grab it now it comes with some bonuses available until the end of the week, Friday January 5. His bonuses are terrific  and will help you apply what you learn in the book. If you are still in your planning stage for 2018, I recommend it. Here’s a link that will get you the book and bonuses.

As part of my 2018 goals, I am going to build an online course to accompany the launch of my next book due out later this year. The book, Retaining Expert Knowledge: What to Keep in an Age of Information Overload, takes the Working with SMEs series into some new territory. Writing this book met one of my 2017 goals to write a book with a major publisher, and I am very happy about meeting that goal. (More about the upcoming book in later blog posts.) Writing a book is just the first step, however, because it is getting the book and ideas out to the public that is the most important part of the process.

As part of that effort, I am going to build an online course to help readers apply the content of Retaining Expert Knowledge to their areas of expertise and their companies. Which leads me to the second course I took last week.

Executing the Plan

Big plans are accomplished one small step at a time. As Michael Hyatt says in his course (paraphrased), you only need to take the next small step to attain big goals. If your goal is big, hairy and audacious enough, you won’t know exactly how to get there. Hyatt advises that you set goals outside your comfort zone and take the very next small step that you can see, and it will usually appear in the form of resources or some kind of help that you need. That is exactly what happened. I had signed up with an elearning hosting platform, and they offered a course to make the most of your investment.

For three days, I delved into how to use this particular online platform and now I am very excited about building and presenting an online course for Retaining Expert Knowledge.

The course reminded us:

  1. Online learning is mainstream.
  2. Education is now lifelong.
  3. People want bite-sized information.
  4. Information wants to be free.
  5. The size of the online opportunity is about to explode.

Learning from Experts

For those experts who read this blog and the trainers who work with them, that list tells us that we’ve only just begun. As knowledge and information explodes, we have so much to share and people have less time to absorb it. It is a great time to share what you know and do it in a way that you can reach a lot of people.

Massive amounts of information are free or very inexpensive. Because information is free, you have to earn the space you take up in someone’s brain. Keep it short. Keep it relevant. And provide value. Blogs are one of the new “free information” sources, as well as endless streams of webinars, podcasts and more.

That is why when building a course for sale, experts need to build premium courses.  Your Expertise 101 is free, and Your Expertise 301 premium course has some price attached to it as well as support that helps your learners apply the information.

Today is the first workday of 2018. It is exciting to do what we love. And it is equally exciting to share what we love. If you are an expert in some area and have something to share or teach, think about the fact that adult learning is all-the-time, online, bite-sized and much of it is free.

You don’t have to wait to be asked. Get out there and share what you’ve got. People want to know. You can be part of the knowledge explosion.

 

Make 2018 Your Best Year Ever!

. Lost305656_YourBestYearEverHyatt_posts12  No matter how good your life is, isn’t there one thing you want to  achieve that has exceeded your grasp until now? Time to saddle up. With two more weeks to 2017 on the calendar, it’s time to come up with a plan to reach your next highest level.

Let me recommend Michael Hyatt’s Your Best Year Ever online course and the new Your Best Year Ever book for goal-setting and goal-achieving.

Many of my readers are experts, executives and people who like to excel. Because I know that you like to make the most of life, that is why I call this to your attention to this program.

Last December, I jumped into the Best Year Ever online course through one of the Best Year Ever affiliate partners, Ray Edwards, top-drawer copywriter for people like Tony Robbins, Jeff Walker and Hyatt. Those of us who took the online course with Ray benefitted from his support, wisdom and humor all year with online support groups in real time. It was fun and provided a level of interaction with others that was truly helpful in moving some of the mountains in my life and getting me unstuck when things got tough.

[To take the course with Ray, here’s a link that will get you support through Ray Edwards International.]

Working through the online Best Year Ever course over five days for an hour each morning between last Christmas and New Year’s Day, I looked at all areas of my life, saw where I was already living large and places where I wasn’t living very well at all. I made some adjustments, I worked hard during 2017 and had a lot of support from Ray’s team. I moved a few mountains…well, at least, got a few scoops of dirt in my shovel…in some important areas.

The 20 pounds I wanted to lose? They went to the Lost and Found. I lost some and most of them found me again.

The book I wanted to write? Check. My first professionally published book combining much of my work is slated to come out early in 2018. More on that as we get closer.

My finances? Meh.

I learned a few things. One is that you can really make massive progress in a few areas of your life and check off a few important boxes. In other areas, you can continue to plan, line things up, course correct and continue.

That’s what I am doing for 2018. Because I took the journey in 2017, I can recommend enthusiastically that if you still have a few mountains to move, this is a great way to do it. You’ll go through a self-assessment and goal-setting process that will reveal some things to you and show you the way forward. And you’ll get year ’round support from people who have done it before. The course has a few options, some with online support and some with a live conference option.

Your Best Year Ever program has been a bright light in 2017 for me. Therefore, it has  been an honor to be part of Michael Hyatt’s launch team of 500 believers who are promoting the book version of Your Best Year Ever. No, I don’t get paid to say this. I do, however, get the satisfaction of being part of something valuable and being an evangelist for something worthwhile.

For those of you who don’t know about Michael…

Michael Hyatt is the grand-daddy of online leadership mentors and a role model for entrepreneurs. Among the recent proliferation of online businesses owners and self-published book authors, Hyatt stands out as the one who cut the trail, the one who went first and showed others the way. He built a very successful online business with a lot of self-discipline, planning and focus. He has broken down his methods in a series of online courses, books and live programs.

Hyatt first came to my attention as the CEO of Thomas Nelson publishing, the company I knew as the publishers of John Maxwell’s leadership books. Maxwell is iconic in the leadership industry. If Hyatt led that company, I figured he is the real deal. He is.

To get started making 2018 Your Best Year Ever, click here to take the Best Year Ever online LifeScore survey find out where you stand now in all domains of your life. Then decide which mountains you will move in 2018.

For those who would rather read the book, it will be available January 2, 2018. Here’s a link to pre-order Your Best Year Ever the book.

NOTE: There are several different links that will lead you to the Best Year Ever online course directly through Michael Hyatt, one that will lead you to the online course with support from Ray Edwards International, one that will take you to a page to pre-order the book and one that leads you to a free online LifeScore to get you started.

 

 

Can Experts Teach? Well, Sometimes…

aaron-ang-61849   Yesterday I met for coffee with an expert in operational efficiency. He runs workshops, and he observed that the experts he has met have trouble teaching what they know. He said the best teachers are people who are middling performers – people he described as performing at 60 to 80 percent of someone who is excellent.

Because middling performers have had to work so hard to be good enough, they understand how to acquire their craft, skill or knowledge. They know the steps so well because they figured them out so they could attempt to replicate greatness.

Greatness, on the other hand, just is. And people who are great, just are. They can’t tell you how they do what they do because it is instinctual and innate. Therefore, my coffee companion concluded, it is pretty hard to get a great person to teach a class or teach anyone anything effectively.

This observation is the basis for the Working with SMEs book in which I describe the innately great person as an unconscious competent, they don’t even know what they know, so they have trouble telling others. The book explains why the conscious competent –  the person who knows what they know and how they learned it – is the best teacher of a craft, skill or knowledge. In their struggles, the conscious competent has put the building blocks in place to acquire something valuable.

We can probably all think of exceptions to this situation, but for the most part, he was correct.

Mel Torme – arguably one of the greatest jazz singers of all time – recorded a master class for PBS in the early 1960s where he described some of his technique. On the other hand, when you observe his face and mouth, and listen to his tone, you know how much of what he did was purely instinctive and based somewhere in his soul.

Imagine Picasso teaching someone how to paint. Then look at Guernica and imagine the mind that conceived those images. That greatness came deep from within his soul, and went far beyond paint, brush and canvas to the very meaning of existence.

For a genius in the world of science, read Ray Kurzweil who imagined artificial intelligence and leads humanity to the next level of possibility through technology.

Hard to teach that kind of inspiration.

To find a teacher, look for someone who has broken down the components of a piece of greatness into replicable chunks.

To find your own greatness, look deep inside yourself and find your truth. Everyone is a great something, and your soul knows what that is.

Photo by Aaron Ang on Unsplash