The Business of Meetings – Episode 188 – How to Measure Behavioral Changes and Learning and Development with Chris Taylor
Today, we have the great pleasure of speaking with Chris Taylor, the Founder and CEO of Actionable.co, a company at the forefront of revolutionizing how organizations measure the impact of their investments in learning and development.
There are many parallels and commonalities between the meetings and events industry and the work Chris is doing. He joins us today to discuss some valuable insights revealed in a survey, share stories, and impart the wisdom he has amassed throughout his journey.
Actionable.co CEO Chris Taylor works at the leading edge of learning sustainment and impact measurement for progressive organizations.
Described once by a client as “a curious blend of Boomer and Gen-Y”, Chris is often called upon to act as a bridge and translator between generations at work, our new state of constant change, and the impact technology has on team dynamics. He brings a self-deprecating sense of humor and groundedness to his keynotes and workshops, ensuring attendees leave inspired and well-equipped to drive real change back in the workplace.
Through Actionable.co, Chris brings empirical evidence and stories to illustrate how we measure ROI on corporate learning initiatives and the systems to ensure every program creates a lasting impact. He has personally consulted with over 400 organizations across six countries in almost any sector you can name.
In addition to being a regular speaker for both public and private events, Chris has penned over 150 articles for dozens of publications, been quoted in The National Post, Toronto Star, and Globe & Mail, and hosted 90+ thought leader interviews for the iTunes #2 ranked business podcast, The 21st Century Workplace.
Chris embarked on his first business venture at the age of twelve. Later, with dreams of becoming a film producer, he pursued a path in film school, only to realize its challenges. He then shifted his focus to sales and marketing, discovering a profound passion for sales leadership and the art of selling. In his early 20s, he successfully ran his own business, but success got the better of him, and his arrogance led to its downfall, motivating him to embark on a soul-searching journey to understand where he went wrong. That journey disillusioned him with how information got consumed conventionally and drove him to explore the transformative power of how a different learning application could lead to changes in behavior, eventually leading him to create a training company. His company eventually evolved into a licensing business and became a software company. Actionable.co satisfied his desire to quantify and improve how learning gets applied.
Chris currently resides in Toronto with his wife and two children and frequently divides his time between Canada and Australia.
Key Insights from the Survey on Achieving Impact through Training
From a recent survey focused on achieving impact through training programs, several pivotal insights emerged, emphasizing the critical interplay between content, context, and personal relevance in driving successful behavioral changes.
Content-Context Balance to Elevate Training Effectiveness
One of the central findings of the survey underscored the significance of the content-context ratio within organizational training programs. Traditionally, many training sessions focus on cramming as much information as possible into a limited timeframe. However, that approach often needs to pay more attention to the essential element of context. The survey revealed that the emphasis has to shift in order for training to lead to changes in behavior.
More Effective Training Sessions
Training sessions should not merely deliver information but also provide an environment where participants can reflect and answer the fundamental question, “So what?”. For optimal results, training initiatives should allocate a minimum of three to one, ideally, five to one, in terms of time spent on context building versus content delivery. By affording participants ample time and space for self-reflection, the training becomes more effective in promoting meaningful change.
The Power of Personal Relevance
Executives may articulate why a change is vital at a high organizational level. Yet, genuine motivation for change only arises when individuals discern how that change would affect them personally. So, a connection between training content and unique aspirations, challenges, and objectives of every individual is required to foster deeper motivation and commitment to change. Training programs should create an environment that encourages participants to reflect on and internalize the content.
Leveraging Meetings and Events for Organizational Impact
For professionals in the meetings and events industry, the survey findings emphasized the potential for meetings and events to become instrumental in driving organizational impact. Events can serve as valuable touchpoints for organizations, effectively communicating their goals and objectives. Including meaningful content-context discussions and ensuring that the content resonates personally with the attendees allows meetings and events to become catalysts for changing how people behave within organizations.
Demonstrating the Long-Term Impact of Meetings and Events
Incorporating training and learning components into events presents an opportunity for organizations to showcase their long-term impact. By tracking the behavior changes of event attendees over time, organizations can establish a direct link between the event and outcomes such as improved employee retention, increased sales, or enhanced leadership skills.
The Power of Defining Event Objectives
Defining a clear objective for an event and measuring its progress allows organizations to ensure that their event will drive meaningful change and align with strategic priorities.
Integrating Training Components into Events for More Impact
By integrating training and learning components into events and measuring their long-term impact, organizations can demonstrate the value of those initiatives and justify investing in them.
Smaller Cohorts and Accountability in Learning
Smaller cohorts of around five to eight participants are ideal for fostering engagement and driving change. Accountability partners also play a significant role in maintaining commitment to learning and change. Emphasizing one behavior change at a time and implementing accountability measures allows organizations to increase the likelihood of participants successfully applying their new knowledge and skills.
Overcoming Business Challenges with Humility
An important lesson Chris learned was the value of seeking honest and sometimes critical feedback from trusted advisors. Surrounding yourself with people who challenge your ideas and provide candid assessments can lead to more informed decisions and ultimately contribute to resilience and business growth.
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