Archive for March, 2011

Yet Another Award Prompt

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

I swear, I didn’t pay ’em.

And yet, as if on cue, this e-mail arrived today, just a few hours before I sent out the latest video edition of BRAINSNACKS, my beloved newsletter.

This issue of BRAINSNACKS addresses questions I get about why winning awards is important, and I’ll be gosh darned if this ain’t another great angle.

It arrived as if on cue...

The e-mail is from Socialtext and reads:

Hi Deb-

As an IT leader, we thought you’d be interested to hear about a customer of ours who just got the CIO 100 Award for their use of the Socialtext social software platform. You can read their success story here.

Socialtext would love to help you get the CIO 100 Award next year.

More than 6,500 organizations have improved employee engagement and effectiveness company-wide within a month of adding Socialtext. If you’re interested in getting these sorts of results for your company, I’d be happy to set you up with a personalized demo.

In the meantime, here are some resources for you:

Warm regards,

Paula Glogovac
Sales Development

What’s the pitch? If you want to win awards, work with us.


7 Tips on Winning Awards – Tip #3

Monday, March 21st, 2011


Until you’ve done a few, you have no idea how time-consuming it can be to complete an award application. The longest I’ve done is 35 pages but even shorter ones can take surprisingly long to put together.

Recall the famous quote, featured on my Web site:

“If I am to speak ten minutes, I need a week for preparation…if an hour, I am ready now.” – Woodrow Wilson

It really does take more time to be succinct. More on that in Tip #6 (“Be succinct.”).

What will you need to do?

1. Get organized: Depending on submission length and complexity, this could be as easy as setting up a few meetings or as detailed as a long spreadsheet of questions, subject matter experts (SMEs), status updates, etc.

2. Reconnoiter the territory: AKA do your submission homework. Winners carefully review not just the application and judging criteria but also scour the award site for additional resources such as a list of tips, a preparatory Webinar, examples of winning submissions, etc.


Time is your frenemy.

3. Gather the data: Some SMEs are easy to find, schedule time with, talk to, coax information from and persuade to send you PowerPoint decks, graphics, charts, metrics, etc. But don’t count on it.

Also, don’t count on being able to identify the right SME, right off the bat, especially if you work for a company with tens of thousands of employees (you know who you are). Prepare for triangulation.

4. Write the darn thing: If you’re a fast writer and it’s a short application, you’re golden. Otherwise, be realistic about how long you need to synthesize all the data into a coherent, compelling story. If it’s a 35-pager, get prepared.

5. Manage the approval cycle: Having only one SME who gets back to you right away with minimal edits is bliss. You should be so lucky (and very often, I really am, and thankfully so).

Remember, too, that there are likely higher ups who’ll need to weigh in. With ridiculously busy schedules. Who might request major last-minute changes.

6. Battle the Technology: Increasingly, award applications are online. COUNT ON having technical issues, especially on deadline day, when everyone who didn’t read this post is scrambling to submit and the servers are on overtime.

Be sure to carefully review the online application well in advance so there are no last-minute surprises. Trust me on this one.

So how MUCH time does one need to complete an award submission? I once did 11 submissions in six weeks, but that’s not a pace I recommend, unless you’re OK with sleep deprivation (we did win eight!).

Obviously, it will vary according to any number of factors, but here are some very rough rules of thumb if you’ve never done one before:

– A single-program award: 6-8 weeks

– A ranking award (not including the Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For, which takes 6-8 months all tolled): 8-10 weeks

These are words to the wise. Use them well!

More tips!

See Tip #2: Read the Question

See Tip #1: Know Who You’re Talking To

Where Does Your Brain Put Social Media?

Thursday, March 17th, 2011

My 2nd iPhone screen - news fraternizing with communication

Mine, apparently, puts it with news.

Or so I discovered when I finally cleaned up some iTunes mess I had made and downloaded the lastest iPhone software.

iOS 4.3 allows you to group your apps into categories and move them around to the screen of your choice.

I found myself with a dilemma:

Do I put my Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, TweetDeck, etc. apps with iTunes, NetFlix and the like, or with my news apps?

[Spoiler alert: you’re about to see where I get my news – extrapolate about my world views at will]

I switched them back and forth a few times but settled on the social media/news co-mingling.

To me this felt very telling. I was grouping together my information sources, formal and informal.

Travel apps grouped in a folder - sweet.

These are the sources I consult when I want to know what’s happening – in the world, in business, with my friends and family.

Five years ago, my wellsprings of data were very different.

Were yours?

Where does your brain put social media?


And I’ll Say It Once Again

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011

You’ve got to know who you’re talking to, aka your audience.

Last week, I went for a walk.

Accompanying me was Steven, my friend, neighbor and creative collaborator (including partner in crime on my holiday video – check out his new Web site), and his faithful beagle, Boris.

Boris Neuman, Wonder Dog

[I sometimes Boris-sit for Steven and his lovely wife when they don’t want to leave their beloved boy–er, dog–alone, but that’s a tale for another day, and one of the many reasons I’m so fond of them.]

It was a blustery day, complete with precipitation, including a bit of the frozen kind. When we returned to our building, James the doorman asked, “So how is it out there?”

“Horrible!,” Steven replied, making a face to match.

“Not so bad,” said I at the same exact moment, also with an expression to match.

We looked at each other.

“Hey,” said Steven, “I’m from California! What do you want from me?”

“Yep,” I said to James, “and I’m from New York. And there you have it. It’s all a matter of perspective.”

And so it is, whether you’re a CEO, a marketer, a communications consultant or a doorman.

p.s. Boris had no comment.

Learning Program and Team Awards 2009-2014


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


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)