Leaders as Teachers
By Janice Steffen, Leader Development, Deloitte Services LP
Deloitte’s secret for ensuring that our learning programs are great is hardly a secret. Yes, we have award-winning development programs and creative instructional design. Yes, we have a state-of-the-art learning facility (Deloitte University located in Westlake, TX) and leading-edge technology in our classrooms. But neither of these guarantees that our learners are growing and developing as leaders or has an exponential impact on our professionals. The secret insurance policy at Deloitte that breathes life into our programs, changes the trajectory of our people and their careers, and has the broadest influence on our people and clients is our leaders who are teaching in our classrooms.
Deloitte, a professional services organization, teaches approximately 50,000 professionals per year at Deloitte University. This equates to 4 million learning hours per year where our professionals are in a classroom to develop technical, professional, industry, or leadership skills. With that amount of time spent learning, you might think Deloitte has a cadre of professional facilitators teaching our programs. We don’t. We expect more than that. We want those who have the most relevant experience and expertise in our businesses to be teaching the next generation of young professionals. That means our leaders—our partners, directors, and senior managers who are leading our client engagements and working alongside our clients to solve complex challenges—are the ones in our classrooms.
While that sounds great in theory, we have all been in a classroom where the teacher is strong technically, but it just doesn’t translate. The smartest accountant, consultant, or financial advisor may or may not be able to transfer his or her knowledge to others, let alone motivate learners to be better versions of themselves. And isn’t it expensive to pull your leaders out of the market to teach? Wouldn’t it be fiscally more responsible to hire a few learning professionals to do it?
We discovered that while professional facilitators can engage and motivate students, they haven’t walked in our learners’ shoes. And while our leaders have walked in our learners’ shoes and have wisdom to impart, they often do so through lecture. In an effort to couple the powerful experience and stories only our leaders can provide with the art of engagement professional facilitators provide, Deloitte cultivates those facilitation skills in our leaders through a program called Deloitte Faculty Excellence or “DFX.”
DFX is not a one-shot deal or inoculation. To be excellent at facilitation, someone must do it repeatedly—experimenting, refining, and honing his or her skills each time. The first step is attending a DFX session to ground our leaders in the fundamental models, techniques, and tools that are proven to promote engagement and learning in the classroom. During the session, our leaders practice, experiment, and receive feedback from credible DFX coaches. Next, they co-facilitate a program with a more experienced facilitator. This provides them with a valuable role model and on-the-job development in the moment. Our leaders then teach often, many of them several times per year, each time practicing new techniques and reflecting on the impact they made on their learners. At our national programs, where we have more than 100 leaders on-site to teach, we provide DFX coaches who float between the classrooms to observe and provide development feedback. This creates a development opportunity for both learners and facilitators.
Deloitte currently has approximately 4,400 leaders who teach at Deloitte and are DFX certified, with more leaders getting certified each month. Equipping these leaders to motivate and engage learners inside the classroom helps us confidently meet the high standards of our people and clients outside the classroom. Deloitte made a significant investment in Deloitte University. DFX is helping to make sure we are getting the most out of that investment.
Some of the key insights we have learned since developing and delivering DFX over the last several years include:
- Leaders lead the way. The best return on our investment happens when we can equip our own leaders to be outstanding facilitators. This happens when our learners are engaged and motivated to learn new skills and behaviors. We get a return when our learners take these new skills and behaviors back to their engagements and are motivated to share them with their team members and clients. And we get an even further return when our leaders use the art of facilitation with their teams and clients.
- The camera never lies. Video recording and playback, along with candid feedback, provides a view of truth we often don’t get to see of ourselves. Growth and development happens more rapidly where self-awareness resides.
- Get from good to great. Becoming a great facilitator takes time and lots of practice. Rarely can a leader perfect the art of facilitation through education alone. Experience is the key. DFX coaches provide observation and feedback to help our leaders as they teach to continue to hone their personal style and skills.
- Probe for the answers. We know adults learn best through self-discovery. Socratic questioning transforms our classrooms and other interactions into engaged discoveries with our learners and teams. Our leaders are coaches who “guide from the side” and are no longer “sages on the stage.”
- Everyone remembers a good story. The art of storytelling is a powerful facilitation technique that takes careful planning and practice to be most effective. Guidance and the practice of telling stories are part of DFX certification.
By ADP Sales Learning and Communications Teams
The typical ADP Sales Associate is constantly on the go, trying to make as many face-to-face prospect meetings as possible to increase their chances of making a sale. To facilitate these efforts, ADP decided to begin issuing sales associates the Apple iPad with 4G access. This would provide sales associates with instant access to the sales tools and product information they need and significantly simplify their job.
The rollout of the iPads began in June 2012. To date, ADP has rolled out more than 3,000 iPads. A dedicated mobile environment containing downloadable apps also was created to provide associates with access to key marketing materials, training, customer relationship management (CRM) access, proposal generators, and product demonstration. The apps are organized by business unit and sales role to make it easier for associates to get the specific apps they need.
One of the challenges the Sales Learning group faced with the rollout was making sure all of the existing training was “mobile ready.” Due to the iOS restrictions of Flash media and other types of documents, it was critical to test more than 170 courses to ensure that they would work properly on the iPad.
During the course of a two-month period, more than 580 training videos were updated to accommodate the iOS platform. This was achieved by dedicating a six-person team consisting of three ADP Learning technologists, two sub-contractors, and one QA editor. The team logged more than 1,200 hours for this project and converted everything within their project deadline.
In addition, the team incorporated a tracking API into the courses so they could gather statistics on the number of associates accessing the course from the iPad versus their laptop. The current statistics show that 27 percent of associates are using an iOS device to participate in the training. These numbers are expected to increase dramatically as more and more iPads are issued, and the technology is adopted at a higher rate.
Based on feedback from our sales associates, having access to these apps has given them the following advantages:
- Ability to drive innovative conversations with the prospect/ client through the use of mobile technology
- Ability to easily access presentations on their mobile device, as well as demonstrate ADP’s mobile solutions, during the initial conversation
- Allow the learning organization to provide just-in-time performance support to help the sales associate prepare just before a sales call
In FY’14, our new business bookings for Employer Services and the PEO grew 7 percent, totaling more than $1.4 billion for the year. In addition, Employer Services worldwide client revenue retention for the full year improved to an all-time high of 91.4 percent. We believe this growth is at least partly attributable to our ongoing efforts to support our sales associates in developing a more streamlined, targeted sales process, such as supplying them with iPads and a dynamic mobile environment.