A CykoMetrix Spotlight Production

Every week, the Spotlight shines on an amazing professional with a story to tell and lessons to teach. Welcome to the CykoMetrix Spotlight.

The following is an adapted transcript of the exchange between Sylvain Rochon, CMO at CykoMetrix as host, and Susan Gatti, CEO of ImmixID Consulting & Founder of the Disruptive Spark Training Formula. www.immixidconsutling.com

Sylvain Rochon: Welcome to Psychometric Spotlight. My name is Sylvain Rochon. I’m the Chief Marketing Officer at CykoMetrix, a leading edge combinatorial psychometric and human data analytics company that brings the employee assessment industry to the cloud with instant assessments, in-depth analysis, trait measurements, and team-based reporting features that simplify informed decision making around recruiting training and managing today’s modern workplace. Today, I have Susan Gatti. She’s the founder of the Disruptive Spark Method and actively teaches corporations, non-profits, and consultants how to increase the value of their training experiences by removing obstacles that stop our decent performance. Susan owns a sought-after learning solutions company and has a personal development program called Be the CEO of You. She contributes her expertise through articles, podcasts, and conferences. Welcome to the Spotlight, Susan.

Susan Gatti: Thank you so much. I appreciate it. I’m so happy to be here.

Sylvain: Very cool. Now, in the pre-recording, we always have a conversation. We were talking about transformational training.  Your specialty is how to create transformational training. Why don’t you start by explaining to us what that is?

Susan: I’d love to because it’s a fairly uncommon word and probably very misunderstood. I’m sure most of your audience is even saying to themselves, “I don’t even know what this is.” But here’s why you really should.  I come from the world of Learning and Development. I was an executive at multiple companies. I’ve owned an instructional design company for 10 years. So, I know everything there is to know about creating training. The thing about creating training is that training solves skill gaps, which is good. We all have issues with skill gaps and the newer you are in a position or in a space, you have more skill gaps that need to be solved. But the truth is results, behavior change, investment rate, and the things that you actually want out of your training program happen after the training is over, and they have almost nothing to do with the skill set anymore. So, traditional training methods that I’ve employed for years and years and that really were born from this whole idea of creating corporate university models is modeled after higher education. It was really the pursuit of knowledge and really the pursuit of understanding, conceptualizing, and internalizing knowledge. But that’s not what today’s modern companies or most people need, want, or desire. Right?

They want to do better in their job. They want to reduce a feeling of anxiety. Sometimes, when we work with new managers, we do really good research about what’s the biggest thing getting in your way. It’s this idea of, “I can’t sleep at night because I don’t know how to have this conversation.” It’s not that they don’t necessarily know what to say that would be the skill, but it’s, “I’ve never said it before. Now, I feel uncomfortable. What’s going to happen? What if somebody gets upset?” There’s so much more that goes along with it and the majority of the way training is set up, the way corporate universities are set up, the way I operated for over 20 years of my career. It didn’t allow for any of the real juice that actually could have the value of changing behavior, creating meaningful change to flourish on the other side. So, little bit of a long explanation, I’ll give you the nutshell. Transformational training is really about solving all of the problems, all of the things that create these gaps and people being able to effectively and easily implement. Skill sets is only 1 of 4. So, we can get into what those other 4 are later, but transformational training is really about addressing the entire person, all of their needs so that we can achieve the goals that they want to achieve as well as the corporation’s want them to achieve.

Sylvain: You touch very lightly on the topic here and I’d like to go a bit deeper on this. There’s the concept of, “Here’s a challenge or a problem, here’s a training that will fill that gap.” That’s a very standard way of thinking. Even in the school system, we know this as educators. When they learn something one day, they don’t necessarily absorb or keep it inside them for the long duration. It requires after-the-training effort, which you alluded to. So, to have transformational training work, doesn’t it involve training HR or whoever is going to carry the torch after a training has occurred? How do you make sure the material sticks to the person you’re training?

Susan: Great question. Just think about probably the last couple of trainings that you’ve taken, generally, the process is training HR. The outside vendor comes in, hosts XYZ training, day, half-day, full-day, week, whatever, and then they say, “Good luck,” right? Then they send you on your way with your workbook and quite frankly to answer your question, there’s no one really responsible for implementation training an HR department, myself included. We always believed that the department itself was responsible for the implementation. But honestly, they are not equipped to solve these other 3 performance areas that are required. So, I’ll give you an example. When we create training programs, they’re never a one-time event. So, they’re always spread out over time, which I’ll give the pandemic a little credit. There’s a lot of negative things about the pandemic but there’s been some beautiful things that have happened as a result of it. In my world, nobody wanted to come to training via Zoom, right? They wanted to be in person. They didn’t believe they could connect the same way. Now, we know that that is not true. So, the cost to bring people back together over and over and over again, the logistical challenges, the time out of work, all the barriers to creating more of a cohort type program where you meet on a regular basis to, as you say, to small bite-sized chunks of content that you then go implement, that you then come back to a qualified advisor, this is the kind of the key space. Actually, there are two things in there: qualified advisor and save space for exploration. We’ll talk about that in a minute. But you do need that person or group of people that can help you make sense of it. So, I often think about training as the news, right? That’s the information, and quite frankly, we don’t need live people in the same way we used to, to communicate information, right? We have videos. We have audio. We have podcasts. We have e-learning. We have all sorts of tools that are very effective in getting out the information, getting out the news. What we actually need are more qualified advisors that can make sense of it, that could be a facilitator. A lot of times our programs run in conjunction, so we’ll have a certified facilitator who’s now an advisor plus a subject matter expert because the other kind of barrier in there is that we don’t always have from an HR training background, the practical everyday experience of actually performing that function.

Quite frankly, we don’t need to, but that needs to be represented. So, I love a nice cohort model where we have the advisor who’s making sense of things, making sure the process is happening as it should, and the subject matter expert. So, to just kind of put a fine point on you, I feel like three things I brought out in there. One is we’re no longer forced to take a person and give them every piece of knowledge that they would need in one sitting, which is always what happened. We now have the luxury, the freedom, and the technology to drip that out over time, and we can do that very effectively. Then, what we have the luxury of doing through things like Zoom, team things as they are happening. We don’t even need new technology. Slack, workplace. The technology is in our companies now and being used really effectively. People aren’t even uncomfortable with it anymore that you can create these follow-up communities to do the deeper dive, to pull apart the barriers. I’ll tell you a couple of really cool things that happened in these meetings is the sharing of ideas is powerful. Crazy powerful. In one instance, it is hope for somebody who’s struggling. In another instance, it is the kind of that outlier that just picked it up really quick and has the ability to come back and share with everybody else the process that they figured out to implement it. And so, how great is it to be in this think tank kind of environment where people are freely sharing what works, freely sharing where they’re stuck, and they’re actually helping each other out.

A lot of times, as the facilitators, where they are, they just manage the conversation, the participants are actually driving a lot of the content. So, it’s a completely different experience than showing up to a workshop environment where we’re just pushing information at you, may be giving you a couple of opportunities to practice it in that environment versus this other space where you’re completely immersed in the learning as well as solving the obstacles that are keeping you from being able to fully implement what you’ve learned.

Sylvain: I think that’s amazing. It’s a type of thinking that we think about at CykoMetrix. We’re a toolmaker, so we’re just making software, really. We’re making a SAS software, but that’s the bridge that we were trying to solve as well through a tool. But how do you make continuous development within a team so that it sticks and there’s continuous engagement with HR and the service provider so that training continuously goes on, people feel engaged, and all that stuff? We have the same mind basically in this. We know this that it’s a good approach because that’s how people learn. It’s just simple as that. So, my next question is a bit of a tools question. In the assessments market, the market is not designed to facilitate that, that’s why we entered the market. It’s more like a one-and-done model. You buy assessments, and then, if you want to do more because you want to tweak, you have to buy more and it’s usually a hurdle with procurement and other departments. So, how do you manage this market? I’m pretty sure you do use assessments in some form or maybe not?

Susan: Yeah, we do.

Sylvain: You do? Okay. How do you follow your model while working with this segmented market with multiple suppliers and report based pricing?

Susan: So, we operate very similar and that we think about training as a product. So, we automatically shift from consumer mode of what do I want people to know to business mode of why haven’t the people been able to accomplish this, and I love to put the word in, yet. Because everything is figure-outable, everything is achievable, everything is accomplishable. I have a quote. Would you like my quote? This is my favorite part. This is my success formula. “You’re 1 skill set, 1 connection, and 1 resource away from everything you desire.” This is my word. Once you remove the bullshitery out of the way. We’ll talk in a little bit about what that is, but here’s the thing, right? It’s not about the information creating a transformation. It’s about how do you align resources, skillsets, connections, because connections are huge, and help people over the “I can’t” barrier so that they are taking those actions. So, I guess to your point, the biggest question for us is what’s in the way? It’s not what do I want somebody to know. It’s what’s the problem in the business? What’s the outcome we want to change? What’s the scenario that’s taking place in doing the assessment? Sometimes, that assessment is a simple as a focus group.

I can’t tell you how often people missed the simplest thing you could ever do, which is to put 6 people in a room who are in that position, and say, “Why not yet?” and allow them to freely speak about what’s in the way. I do this activity. Now, this is all very a little bit more subjective, a little bit more just sort of we’re looking for themes and patterns versus actually doing a more qualitative or quantitative analysis in what your company does. We do both. So, to design the program, you have to figure out what the problem is. You can do that with focus groups like we’re doing it, and simply really getting to the heart of what’s getting in the way. I do a fun activity every presentation I host, and I get the same response every single time. I ask people this, “Tell me one thing that you’ve always wanted to be able to do but you haven’t done it yet.” First of all, it’s always fun what they say.

Secondly, the responses are always the same. I have them write down 5 things and then we label them, right? Is it a skill set? It is a person or a connection that you need to make to help you achieve this or bring you along for it? Is it a resource that you need, maybe it’s more time, maybe it’s more staff, maybe it’s more team, right, maybe if your kids are at home and the nighttime doesn’t work, like whatever that is. And then, there’s the bullshitery, which is where you’re telling yourself you can’t. Where is your own mind saying, “This just isn’t for me.” When we have them evaluate that, would you like to know the general percentage of how many of those are actually a skill set training issue?

Sylvain: Of course, I’d like to know.

Susan: Like 1 out of 5. The only time that skews it is if somebody is brand-new to the skill because they haven’t even attempted it yet, so they don’t even know what the blocks are. So, they’re far more concerned about all the things they don’t know versus all the things they can’t do. But once you start to have some insight and expand the knowledge part, you run into all the other obstacles. So, it’s 1 out of 5. That’s like the simplest, quickest, easiest way that someone could do. In other companies, we actually do go out and benchmark through assessments. I actually really love your product. I’ve been thinking a lot about it since we did that because I do work with a lot of corporations and they do want more of the qualitative, actual number data, and they want to be benchmarked against other companies that are considered industry experts, or they want to be benchmarked against a scientific study. So, you do then go out and have the same population that you want to solve, complete one of these assessments, and you see what’s true across the board, right? Then where are their individual pockets of things that aren’t true.

What’s fun about that, I’ll tell you what makes a huge difference, and this is where I save companies a lot of time, a lot of money, so I’m not interested in creating 20 courses for you. I’m interested in solving your problem and I don’t believe courses actually do that. So, the majority of my programs are far less content, which is the most expensive part of your program. So, I had a client recently tell me when we did the research, they’re like, “We have 20 courses we want to run,” and I said, “Okay, great. Let’s look at those 20 courses and let’s look at it next to the data.” And I was like, “This course, nobody has a problem. This course, nobody has a problem. This course, nobody has a problem.” We narrowed it down to 5 main modules. Five main modules that we ran over a full year. So, we had a really nice cadence of pre-expand before they arrived, get the news out of the way, make sense of it in the session together, sent them off with a go-do assignment, come back the following session, and make meaning out of it. We were able to run it immediately. We didn’t have to create all the content.

Another big thing that a lot of HR and training managers that I speak with and coming from that world is your hands are tied, right? The business comes to you and says, “Susan, our right arm is falling off, and we need an immediate tourniquet.” And we go, “Okay, great. I’m gonna go do the needs assessment, create the content, and in 6 months, I can stop the bleeding for you.” No, it doesn’t work. But if you do a median on the needs assessment and find the one thing that you can solve, then you can go back and do all the other things. Can I just tell you a great story about this too? Again, this is coming from how I used to do things versus how I do things now with the Disruptive Spark methodology. So, years ago, I had a company come to me because there was a very large issue as they were going through a change management and they flipped systems. This was a banking institution. They flipped systems, and you know what that’s like for the end user. They were getting terrible press and nobody wants training more than when they’re getting terrible press. So, I was brought in and they’re like, “We have to create a culture of technology. Our people don’t know how to use technology, and we have to create a culture of technology,” which is great, right? Yes, we do. We did that, but it was 6 to 8 months to make this happen.

Meanwhile, in the needs assessment, what we found out was that people didn’t know how to clear the cache. They didn’t know one thing. They didn’t know how to clear the cache that came up in every focus group we ran. Instead of waiting 6 to 8 months to solve that problem, we created a marketing campaign that would help people to learn and memorize the system in process for clearing the cache and we solved that immediate problem. So, it’s like where do you actually need the transformation? So, okay. Great. We’ve identified that for our population, creating a culture of technology is huge for us and that’s a very forward-looking thing. That’s a journey to success. But wait a minute, right? We have a problem happening right now that we can solve immediately with a marketing campaign than a training course. So, that’s a great differentiator, explanation between creating programs that solve an immediate need versus creating programs that are about transforming or becoming something new or different.

Sylvain: I think that’s a big difference. I think what you’re doing is amazing. It’s impactful.

Susan: Thank you.

Sylvain: I’ve been an educator for 20 years, so I understand what you’re trying to do. Really important. I hope that people that are watching this will contact you for this transformational training because that’s how you change people and change lives, really.

Susan: That’s how you change lives, yes.

Sylvain: Whatever you learn at work, you bring home. You don’t disconnect it from the rest of your life when you learn something.

Susan: Honestly, I’ll give you a completely different perspective. I challenged companies that are so concerned right now about mental health in the workplace. Stop trying to make people better leaders and start helping people to identify and recognize where stress is coming from and how to rewire their action response to that. When you do that, you will be a better leader, a better parent, a better friend, you’ll be a better everything. So, again, companies think from their perspective, right? We are our whole selves, so whoever we are as a leader is pretty much also how we go to our friendships, engage with our significant others, raise our children. If you elevate any one of those levers, you elevate all of them.

Here’s another really fun concept for people to think about. The most impactful training is training you want to come to. So, I have a very unique perspective in that. I work with consultants that are selling training programs, which means they have to pull that thread of 1, 2 in order for people to pull out their credit card and pay for them. They have to be able to show results where they don’t get any traction. Now, on the corporate side of my work and in my years and years and years in that work, I never thought about that. I didn’t have to because we always have the fulcrum of you have to. So, you have to go to training, right? But people who show up as willing participants, pay attention, take greater action, are far more willing to go through the uncomfortable, awkward, messy initial phases of developing mastery than people who are forced to show up.

People who are forced to show up, physically show up, they’re not mentally present. They won’t take that repeated action and there isn’t enough desire for them to actually achieve the goal a lot of times. So, I really put a challenge out to corporations. If you really say that you believe in mental health and taking care of your people, take care of them and put them at the center of this circle, so that they are their best version of themselves and they will take care of their people and your customers. I issue that challenge out there. I issue that challenge.

Sylvain: You’re telling companies to make better people or help them becoming better selves?

Susan: Yeah. It’s a win for everybody. And when everybody wins, everything is better, right? That they want to show up, they’ll take the action, and they will literally become the next version of themselves that has greater awareness, greater emotional mastery, greater understanding of response actions that right now are so unconsciously programmed that unless you have the privilege of attending some sort of training around that, just operate in the background like a computer. So, we can teach leadership skills all day long, but a shift in leadership ability comes from a shift within yourself.

Sylvain: Well this was Susan Gatti, everybody. She is the CEO of ImmixID, Consulting and Founder of the Disruptive Spark training formula. I think your conclusion is magical. I don’t have anything to add after this. So, those of you who are watching this, contact Susan in the links that are provided in the blog or the video, whichever you’re actually watching or reading.  She’ll take good care of you.

Susan: I have a really great guide too. So, connect with me, ask me about the Disruptive Spark methodology guide, and it is these 4 keys to success on how you can begin to think about this in your own organizations too.

About Susan Gatti– www.immixidconsutling.com

Susan Gatti is a learning strategist obsessed with removing the roadblocks that limit participant performance.  She currently serves as CLO of her training consultancy, ImmixID, and is the founder of the Disruptive Spark™ Training Formula.  Susan is a leading voice for the disruption of traditional training methods that focus on information vs. the true desired outcome of participant transformation.  

Susan’s strategies for designing learning solutions and implementing programs have earned her rave reviews by some of the most recognized brands in the world and have made her the top choice for thought leaders who are creating programs for their brands.  She is a recognized national conference speaker and her articles have been featured in Chief Learning Officer.  To learn more about her revolutionary transformational training strategy visit disruptivespark.com.    




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About CykoMetrix – www.CykoMetrix.com

CykoMetrix is a leading edge combinatorial psychometric and human data analytics company that brings the employee assessment industry to the cloud, with instant assessments, in-depth analysis, trait measurements, and team-based reporting features that simplify informed decision-making around recruiting, training, and managing today’s modern workplace.

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