Archives for January 2012

Face It: Parting is Such Tweet Sorrow

We’ve been waiting for a case like this: a lawsuit in the U.S. over who owns a Twitter account, and over the related question of how much a social media “follower” is worth. The results of the case between mobile phone news site PhoneDog and

a former worker could help clarify tricky issues around social media portability.

We wrote about this topic in June—just before PhoneDog filed its lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in the Northern District of California. Among the points of our story was that social media ownership was an uncharted frontier. More and more employees post material on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter—often on behalf of companies. These social media accounts are increasingly important to both parties. They allow firms to promote their brands where people increasingly gather, and they enable individual workers to establish a professional voice and show skills that could help their careers.

But exactly who “owns” the accounts, the content and the followers has been unclear. Can employees take Twitter and LinkedIn accounts with them when they leave for another firm? Company policies often are silent on the issue, while laws and court cases haven’t caught up with the technology.

That’s why the recent case involving PhoneDog and ex-worker Noah Kravitz is potentially important. PhoneDog claims the @PhoneDog_Noah account that Kravitz used was the company’s. And, the company says, the roughly 17,000 followers of the account are worth $2.50 a month, meaning that Kravitz owes the firm $340,000 for using the account for a period of eight months after he stopped working for PhoneDog.

Kravitz, who changed the handle of the account to @noahkravitz after he left PhoneDog, tells a different story. In court documents, he portrays the lawsuit as a response to a separate lawsuit he filed against PhoneDog for allegedly unpaid wages and profits. He also says PhoneDog did not initially object to his continued use of the account and in fact asked him to send out tweets on PhoneDog’s behalf after he left the firm.

Kravitz also disputes the worth of his Twitter followers, saying that PhoneDog’s methodology would value Lady Gaga’s following of more than 12 million people at more than $3.6 billion a year—a figure higher than the gross domestic product of some nations.

And Kravitz raises interesting arguments about account “ownership” and confidential company information. “Neither the account nor any of its followers are properties of PhoneDog,” he states in a court document. “The account itself is the exclusive property of Twitter, not PhoneDog. The account’s followers, on the other hand, are humans and … humans in the United States are not ‘property’ and cannot be owned.”

I suspect the courts will view these claims as specious—since what’s at stake here is account control more than ownership. But the humans-can’t-be-property argument does jibe with the way that social media followers often are loyal to people rather than institutions. And it will be intriguing if the court punts the whole matter of control to Twitter itself. I’m sure Twitter won’t enjoy having to settle these sorts of spats.

A hearing is set for late January.

One other provocative point in Kravitz’s court documents: Twitter accounts are nearly the opposite of secret. PhoneDog sued in part for “misappropriation of trade secrets,” claiming that the password to the @PhoneDog_Noah account was “confidential information” that “would be of substantial value to PhoneDog’s competitors if it became known to them.”

But Kravitz says he created the account and password, and that the account is highly transparent. “Unlike a password to a company’s computer network or server, logging into a Twitter account allows one to view only information already widely known (e.g. lists of followers that is already displayed on the account’s homepage and thereby easily assessable to competitors and the tweets which are available to everyone at times).” (Emphasis in the original.)

One factor that may aid PhoneDog in the dispute is that the former Twitter handle incorporated PhoneDog’s name. That’s an approach suggested by Mitch Danzig, a member at the law firm Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo in San Diego. This naming convention may help companies prove they control social media accounts.

When we spoke with Danzig last year, he made another point worth repeating: organizations should get in front of the issue. In other words, craft explicit policies on social media portability. That way, you won’t have to wait for this lawsuit to be resolved to give your managers and employees greater clarity.

About the Author:

Ed Frauenheim is senior editor at Workforce Management. Reprinted from Workforce Online.

How One Agency Measures Training ‘Return on Expectations’

The training division of a federal agency was in trouble. In a conversation with their leaders, three increasingly common events were detailed:

1. Business leaders typically were not requesting training support for strategic initiatives.

2. On the rare occasion when business leaders requested employee training, it was for events to be delivered in abbreviated time windows.

3. When training leaders contacted business leaders, it was primarily to inquire about training no-shows.

These issues created an “us versus them” mentality. In short, training was seen as a cost, not a benefit, to the organization. The training department urgently needed to demonstrate its value to agency mission accomplishment or risked losing staff members and a significant portion of its budget.

Context and Background Information

The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is a federal government agency that functions in a human resources capacity for federal government agencies. Its mission is to recruit, retain, and honor a world-class workforce to serve the American people. OPM creates regulations, or “regs,” with which all government agencies must comply.

In recent years, several regs related to training evaluation and effectiveness have been released. In June 2011, OPM released a field guide for training evaluation based on the return on expectations (ROE) model to assist federal agencies in meeting the regs. This validated the ROE model as the U.S. government’s methodology of choice for creating and demonstrating training value.

Impact Study Program Selection Criteria

This government agency has several sites around the U.S., each under the protection of a specially trained law enforcement team. As training and law enforcement shared the mutual goal of enhancing their working relationship, a course entitled “Law Enforcement Report Writing” was selected for an impact study. Additional reasons for selecting this course include:

1. It is a relatively simple program that would make a clean yet convincing study.

2. Proper report writing has huge Level 4 (Results) implications because good reports can support convictions of criminals and discourage expensive litigation.

The training department was informed enough to know that while formal training creates the foundation for success, it is insufficient alone to produce significant results. The formal, blended learning consisting of e-learning and instructor-led modules teaches officers how to respond to on-site incidents; interview witnesses; take accurate notes; and write concise, objective reports (Level 3 behaviors).

Additional required drivers, or factors designed to achieve maximum on-the-job application and subsequent results, include:

1. Additional customized on-site training covering typical incidences (conducted in 8 of 12 city sites).

2. Informal feedback and coaching from seasoned peers on written reports.

3. Formal feedback and coaching from supervisors on written reports.

4. Formal up-the-chain review of written reports, with the option to “kick it back down the chain” for review.

5. An overall comprehensive system of documentation and accountability.

6. Personal responsibility and determination of the reporting officers.

Definition of Success

Eight agency sites participated in the study. The first task was to determine what ultimate success would look like. In other words, how would the agency ultimately benefit from good incident reports? Three observable, measurable outcomes (leading indicators) were selected:

1.Serve justice to criminals.
2.Minimize agency legal liability.
3.Create an image of respect for agency law enforcement professionals by internal and external colleagues.

The impact study was structured to determine the relative strength of each of the required drivers in contributing to the accomplishment of these outcomes and of the overall mission.

Impact Study Process

Quantitative and qualitative data were collected and continually analyzed over several months. This process maximizes results because problems and disconnects are identified and fixed before they can reduce overall outcomes and program impact.

After the program, Level 1 / Level 2 hybrid surveys and interviews of training participants were conducted. These were targeted to determine how well the program itself was designed and delivered.

After 45 days, Level 3 / Level 4 hybrid surveys and interviews were administered for 85 reporting officers and 28 leaders, from supervisor level to area chiefs. These focused on how well the initiative was working post-training (Level 3 critical behaviors and required drivers, and Level 4 leading indicators). The surveys included questions about the usefulness of the training and each of the required drivers.

Finally, the leading indicators and ultimate Level 4 results were assessed through structured interviews with law enforcement captains and chiefs.

Program Results

Program results were reported against the three leading indicators identified as experiencing the most impact from the report writing course and related follow-up.

1. Serve justice to criminals:

•Three instances of success were noted.
•In no instance did criminal activity go unpunished.

2. Minimize agency legal liability:

•Six instances were detailed in which proper incident reports successfully thwarted potentially costly lawsuits
•In no instance was there successful litigation against the agency.

3. Create an image of respect for agency law enforcement professionals by internal and external colleagues:

•Numerous positive verbal testimonies were noted and detailed.

Data collection and analysis throughout the process and resulting program modifications were cited as important contributors to the maximization of program results.

During the final presentation, the captains and chiefs enthusiastically endorsed the effort and resulting evidence. ROE was maximized and demonstrated.

A major collateral benefit of the impact study was an agency decision to use the ROE methodology for all mission-critical programs.

About the Authors:

Dr. Jim and Wendy Kirkpatrick work together in Kirkpatrick Partners, the One and Only Kirkpatrick company. They are the creators of the Kirkpatrick Business Partnership Model and the New World Kirkpatrick Model.

Reprinted from Training Magazine Network

Building a Global Leadership Pipeline

Globalization has effected major changes in the business environment. As the world shrinks and globalization increases, companies are constantly changing strategies and operational procedures. Having the right leaders at international and multinational companies is critical to corporate performance. Managers and executives need to be able to motivate, influence and enable individuals across national boundaries and cultures to accomplish a company’s goals.

Part of a global leader’s impact is that person’s ability to increase an organization’s capacity to evolve into a global company and to grow a business strategy for the larger global marketplace. This kind of corporate evolution demands that an organization prepare future leaders who can successfully carry out global corporate strategy. Global leadership development (GLD) provides much-needed competency.

Why Is There a Global Leadership Shortage?

Global leadership demands are qualitatively different and significantly more complex than those for domestic leadership. Leadership values in different locales also vary. Further, there is a shortage of global leaders which hinders companies’ global business strategy execution. In previous generations, the global leadership competency was not required. However, changing business environments and the shortage of prepared global leaders creates an immediate and critical need for global leadership development.

GLD programs to address the gap between global leadership needs and the capacity shortage should be a major focus for talent management and learning and development leaders.

The lack of leaders ready to take on global roles in emerging and expanding markets indicates that learning leaders’ current GLD program offerings are deficient. In DDI’s Global Leadership Forecast 2011, only 38 percent of the 12,423 leaders who participated reported the quality of leadership in their organizations as very good or excellent. Worse, only 18 percent of HR professionals surveyed reported a strong bench to meet future business needs.

Despite these dismal statistics, there is a growing consensus around the most valuable global leadership attributes: personality, values, cultural background and corporate work experience; global leadership competencies: engagement in personal transformation, knowledge, networking skills, social judgment skills, self-awareness and self-regulation; and learning and development methods: expatriate assignment, global teams, experiential learning, coaching, intercultural training, assessment and reflection.

How Do Global Leaders Develop?

Effective global leaders often stand out in four primary areas: personality traits, values, cultural background and corporate work experiences. The personality traits are perhaps the hardest to change and develop, as well as the most difficult to assess during the recruiting and succession planning process.

Nonetheless, assessing personality is valuable because it impacts the effectiveness of the GLD experience. The “big five” personality traits include: extroversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, emotional stability and openness to experience. From here, it is important to determine what global leadership competencies are not only necessary, but complement the aforementioned personal attributes. Six global leadership competencies have been found to be most relevant.

Once a company identifies the competencies critical to performance, the next step is to design and provide learning and development opportunities aligned with those competencies. Global leadership learning and development methods range from high- to low-contact, and include a variety of experiences, all offering a different result.

The recommended talent management framework  provides a systematic, comprehensive system integrating recruiting, succession planning, career development and continuous learning and development to attract, identify, select, develop and retain the pipeline of high-performance, high-potential future global leadership talent today’s organizations need.

This framework effectively shows the relationships between personal attributes, global leadership competencies and learning and development methods, and aligns each with specific talent management functions. As such, it lays the foundation for a theory of global leadership development that is practical in implementation.

The goal of this conceptual framework is to provide the structure learning leaders need to develop global leadership. At one level, this framework may be perceived moving left to right similar to an employee lifecycle, as an individual moves from being a global leader candidate to a global leader.
However, the framework also represents GLD as an iterative process in which a global leader continues to develop through different experiences and never actually completes the GLD process. Business environments and organizations’ needs change, thus leadership competencies must evolve accordingly.

Making a Global Leadership Framework Work

Once a GLD framework has been established, some questions may still remain: Which personality traits and competencies are most important for a specific job function? Which learning and development methods are most effective to develop each global leadership competency?

In a 2010 study conducted by the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education and Wharton School of Business, answers to these questions were collected from global leadership development practitioners in Western cultures, specifically the United States.

The study concluded that when building a global leadership development program, it is recommended the learning leader use an integrated approach of:

1. Recruiting and succession planning based on the personal attributes.
2. Career development based on the global leadership competencies.
3. Learning and development based on the methods most effective per competency.

For the recruiting and succession planning function, companies should leverage personality traits. For the career development function, a company needs to leverage global leadership competencies, which are similar to personality traits and depend on a global leader’s job function. Once the global leadership competencies are clearly defined in career development, the learning function determines the appropriate development methods.

GLD programs must clarify the global leadership competencies to be developed per job function before designing programs and subsequent learning and development methods. It is important that companies building a GLD program provide a well-blended learning plan using multiple learning and development methods, including, but not limited to: coaching, building global teams, experiential learning, expatriate assignments, reflection, assessment, networking, mentoring, job shadowing and on-the-job assignments.

A balanced GLD program should use different development methods, dependent on the desired competency. Also, companies should prioritize their learning budget based on the global leadership competencies that are most critical for each job function. This would include an effort to develop self-awareness in their CEO, operations and financial leaders; engagement in personal transformation in their HR, operations and information technology leaders and CEO; and self-regulation in their financial and operations leaders and CEO.

Research on global leadership attributes, competencies and learning and development methods has significant implications for global leadership development programs, including:

1. Practitioners need to use a manageable list and clear definitions to clarify the distinctions between personality traits and global leadership competencies.

2. The difference between domestic and global leaders is not the competency per se, but the degree of proficiency per leadership competency.

3. The most effective learning and development method depends on the global leadership competency to be developed, requiring companies to design programs and prioritize their learning and development budgets.

The implementation of these strategies can provide companies with prepared, organized and successful leadership to execute their global business strategy.

About the Author:

John Gillis Jr. is the founding partner of First Order Consulting. Reprinted from Chief Learning Officer magazine

Computer-Driven Simulation Builds Key Leadership Skills

When Cox Enterprise’s Cox Leadership Program (CLP) needed an action-learning simulation to support its curriculum, the company turned to PressTime, a computer-driven behavioral simulation created and distributed by Discovery Learning. After observing the simulation at a company in Canada, Susan Edwards, Cox’s business effectiveness and executive development consultant, decided it met the leadership program’s learning objectives.

“We were looking for an active learning experience that would require participants to build skills and knowledge in planning, strategy execution, decision-making, collaboration, and feedback,” says Edwards. “We wanted a strong business focus, but we also wanted an emphasis on people capability and engagement. This simulation appeared to do exactly that.”

PressTime is designed to simulate situations that compel participants to make the fast-paced and diverse decisions that project managers and team members have to make every day.

“Basically, the simulation has the group running the development arm of a company,” says Lance Rigdon, CLP participant and senior director of technology at Manheim Digital, a subsidiary of Manheim owned by Cox. According to Rigdon, the company in the simulation makes typographic materials, and although it’s been successful, technology changes are forcing the company to make changes.

“The company’s primary product, while good, now is dated,” explains Rigdon. “To keep the company competitive, we had to figure out which of

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several new products to invest in, and then deploy a new product that will satisfy the needs of our customers.”

Rigdon explained that CLP participants all got to play different roles in the simulation—scientists, marketing, HR, planning, production, and finance. He chose the role of marketing representative to get out of his normal role.

“I got to be the voice of the customer in our simulation and would get notes from time to time from sales and others in the organization urging us to go faster, or driving us in terms of product features,” says Rigdon. “It was my responsibility to ensure the team didn’t lose sight of the important features our product needed to support. It was a great opportunity to see some of what goes into other roles in the company. The simulation is realistic, and you get to see the impact of your decisions almost immediately.”

Edwards says the simulation achieved what the company hoped for by teaching participants how to think strategically. “The simulation provided valuable lessons about specificity, or lack thereof, in strategy and the implications for execution,” says Edwards. “They got to experience the realities of starting out with agreement on a solid strategy and then see what happens when everyone becomes distracted by day-to-day urgencies.”

This gave them plenty to discuss during the debriefing about individual behaviors and group dynamics, says Edwards. “The experience provided valuable knowledge and practice in all the areas targeted, which were feedback, collaboration, decision-making, planning, and strategy execution,” she says.

According to program evaluations, the learning was seen as valuable by the executives, many of whom reported that the PressTime simulation provided the most valuable learning from the entire week-long CLP experience.

Reprinted from Training Magazine

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