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TCPI News Vol. 1, No. 4

February 5, 2001

In this issue:

  1. Of Mice and Men - Lessons for Change
  2. E-Learning: Weathering the Transitional Storm
  3. Effective Negotiation Skills: Part Three

1.     Of Mice and Men - Lessons for Change

Michael Tull reviews Who Moved My Cheese? in the latest issue of The Communication Project Magazine and finds that everything you every needed to know about change you can’t learn from your mouse. Mr. Tull, a Senior Associate at The Communication Project, reviews the issue of organizational change presented in the popular book and offers some additional considerations for dealing with change.

"It is not enough to understand that if our cheese is moved, we better get off our seats and find it. The potential decisions and actions are more diverse," writes Mr. Tull. "Our responsibility is to fully understand the change and what is expected. Then we are in a position to move in a direction that supports our personal well-being and growth."

To bridge the gaps he finds in the book, Mr. Tull offers Three Lessons for Handling Change:

1. Change is inevitable – monitor your environment and anticipate it.

2. Respond to change – adapt quickly and enjoy the adventure.

3. Be ready to change again.

Additional options for responding to change are discussed in Tull’s review-article. Read "Who Moved My Cheese? Is Not Enough.

New Magazine

TCPI is pleased to announce a new issue of Communication Project Magazine available on our website.

2.    E-Learning: Weathering the Transitional Storm

The medium of e-learning is examined in Marvin Gottlieb's article, "Are You a Tortoise or a Hare?" What are our expectations from e-learning? What needs to be considered in choosing an e-learning solution? Dr. Gottlieb covers the key questions and offers four rules for making the transition to e-learning for your training needs.

The following excerpt is from Dr. Gottlieb’s article in the new issue of The Communication Project Magazine. Read the full article.

While it’s true that we can do things electronically today that were part of science fiction lore only a few years ago, we can’t do all of the things we want to. Some day – maybe soon – the Net will connect us so seamlessly that it will stand out as the only logical solution to many of our communication and knowledge transfer challenges. We aren’t there. So, in this transitional phase I suggest the following rules of engagement for companies and their training professionals who are the generals and soldiers in this engagement between technology and teaching.

Rule 1 – Don’t join the stampede

Many companies who charge out of the gate with e-learning have stumbled on some key hurdles, including:

--employee time for training/learning

--cost vs. value

--content quality

--perceived difficulty of e-learning

--lack of technology infrastructure

--internal resistance to technology/change

Any one of these hurdles will trip up an e-learning effort. More than one will shut it down. Check your environment for the most effective ways to gain acceptance for e-earning technology in your culture.

Rule 2 – Don’t commit to one platform

It is seductive to envision handling all of your e-learning needs by selecting one of the many vendor platforms with embedded authoring systems. However, selecting a platform to manage all of your e-learning needs requires that you conform to the limitations of that platform.

As much as possible you need to remain "platform independent." While this may require more development work on your end, design training that is easily adaptable to different vendor platforms. Avoid complex branching screens and pop-ups that are more the province of CBT, and are usually annoying in Web environments. It is also advisable to have a separate vendor for registration and tracking if you can’t manage the database in-house.

Rule 3 – Make sure you have the full support and understanding of your stakeholders and participants.

Every design and implementation process must have a pilot component. You need to assemble a task force that compiles both enthusiasts and skeptics. Provide opportunities for your target audience to interact with the program and provide input. Conduct a force field analysis of your implementation strategy. What are the drivers? What are the restrainers? How can you enhance the drivers and reduce or eliminate the restrainers? E-learning will not sell itself, and giving orders will not make people learn.

Rule 4 – Reach for the moon and settle for the tops of the trees.

Challenge your designers and e-learning providers with your highest goals. Many technical people are resistant to tampering with the machine once they get it running a particular way. However, when presented with a particular request, they often rise to the occasion and come up with excellent solutions. Often your idea will not be technically feasible. However, if you limit your thinking at the outset you are almost assured of coming up with less than you might have if you allowed your imagination to roam.

Read the full article.

3.     Effective Negotiation Skills, Part Three

This is the second of a four-part series on negotiation skills, based on the Twelve Principles of Negotiation by Marvin Gottlieb and William J. Healy. Each part will handle three principles as follows:

Part One: The Players

Part Two: The Process

Part Three: Success Defined

Part Four: The Power of Disagreement

The key players and the process of negotiation have been handled in earlier newsletters (see December and January issues of TCPI News). This month our attention focuses on how success is defined in negotiation. The most successful negotiations include three things: divulging information only when necessary, understanding what is valuable to the other side and to you, and doing your homework.

PART THREE: Success Defined

Principle 7: Even in a collaborative environment, best results are obtained by keeping the other party on a "need-to-know" basis.

Be very careful about the information that you provide to the other party in a negotiation; the wrong information can be used against you. Always avoid signaling anything to do with your own deadline. However, always look for signs and signals regarding the other party’s approaching deadline such as a concession on an issue, an increase in the pace of events, or an entrance of a new person into the negotiation.

Principle 8: The value of something is always in the eye of the beholder.

Anticipate that certain things that that are low-value tradeoffs for you may have significant value to the other side. The true value of any point in bargaining is its value to the other party, not its value to you. The value of a concession needs to be determined before it’s offered. Once offered, it is difficult, if not impossible, to revalue a concession. Offer only concessions that meet an agreed need, otherwise you are giving away potentially valuable points and receiving nothing. Also be sure that you receive something in return for something you are giving up. Save some concessions for later in the process.

Principle 9: Success in negotiation is directly related to the amount and kind of preparation preceding the negotiation.

Certainly, there is not enough we can say about the importance of planning. In fact, the necessary awareness, sensitivity, understanding or perception of style, knowledge of your limitations and power, the ranges of your deal, and the value of your concessions or tradeoffs, are all affected by how well you do your homework. When all is said and done in a negotiation, you can never be overprepared.

Review the twelve principles.

Gottlieb and Healy, Making Deals: The Buisness of Negotiating

TCPI’s customizable Negotiation Skills course.

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