Archive for August, 2010

Never Mind the Why and WIIFM*

Tuesday, August 17th, 2010
*Gilbert and Sullivan fans, I’m hoping for at least a wry smile

When I teach business students about business communications, as I did last week at the University of Washington and previously at Washington State University, a key concept I want them to take away is “the why and the WIIFM (What’s In It For Me?).”

need to understand your audience and what motivates them. And believe it or not, employees are not motivated by directives that don’t explain (a) their reason for being and (b) why the employees should care.

Here is a great example. When I was manager of sales communications strategy for a national wireless carrier, I edited the weekly update to ~10,000 store associates. One day I came across this entry:

New Rules for Password Reset
Starting June 5, store associates will not be allowed to call Customer Service to reset passwords. All passwords must be reset online at: www.companyurl.com

Hmm. No why, and definitely no WIIFM. I asked the writer to give me more information, and it turned out both were really quite compelling. The reason for the change? Store reps couldn’t reset their password online – they had to call Customer Service. And you can imagine how popular that situation was, with store and CS reps, and of course with customers.

Plus, someone had run the numbers, and calculated that the company was losing a stupid amount of money on lost productivity.

So this was actually great news – but you’d never know it. Our rewrite read something like this:

Password Reset Now Online
Did you know that 1,000+ store reps a month call CS for password resets? That’s time away from our customers and $250K in lost productivity a year. Now everyone can do their jobs more easily—and help profitability—with fast, simple online password resets. Check it out at: www.companyurl.com

Now, was that “spin”? Sure. But what better proof that spin is not a bad word, despite its four letters?

This simple equation is a very effective guide for most communications: Why + WIIFM = Benefit. You could even try it at home.

Learning Program and Team Awards 2009-2014

ORGANIZATION / CATEGORY DESIGNATION

ASTD Excellence in Practice

Technical Training Award
Training Management Citation (for new programs)
Learning Technology Citation
Workplace Learning & Collaboration–Leadership Development (x2) Award, Citation
Workplace Learning & Collaboration–Onboarding Citation
Sales Enablement Citation

Brandon Hall Excellence in Learning

Best Custom Content Gold
Best in Learning Strategy and Governance Gold
Best Leadership Development Program Gold
Best Innovation in Learning Technology Silver
Best Leadership Sales Training Silver
Best Integration of Learning and Talent Management Bronze
Best Use of Games for Learning Bronze

Brandon Hall Technology Excellence

Best Advance in Social Learning Technology Gold

CLO Magazine Learning in Practice

Technology Innovation Gold, Division 1
Innovation Gold, Division 1
Business Impact Gold, Division 2
Business Impact Bronze, Division 2

 

Learning Organization Ranking Awards

ORGANIZATION / AWARD NOTES

American Society for Training & Development

ASTD BEST #1 (up from #32 in one year)
#2 (up from #37 in two years)

ELearning! Media Group

Learning! 100 #1 (first year on list)

Chief Learning Officer Magazine

LearningElite #1, #4

Training Magazine

 Training Top 125 #1, #2 (up from #41 in one year)
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