Archive for October, 2010

On the Job learning for IT professionals right from starters to senior mgmt

October 27, 2010

 

On the Job learning for IT professionals right from starters to senior mgmt

  

ACCURACY/ATTENTION TO DETAIL

 

 

Ability to process information with high levels of accuracy.

 

1. Basic Understanding

 

Scenario #1

  • On a sheet of paper, write down those tasks and work products that require great attention to detail in your work area.
  • Next to each one, write down the process or procedure to ensure its fault-free status and the related consequences of not being wholly accurate.
  • In a meeting with your manager, review your document and explain how attention to detail affects desired business outcomes in your function or work unit.

 

2. Working Experience

 

Scenario #1

 

  • Conduct some research on the Allied Normandy invasion during June 1944 (e.g., Stephen Ambrose’s D-Day, the movies “Savings Private Ryan” and “The Longest Day”). Focus on activities associated with preparing for the military invasion.
  • As you review descriptions of what needed to be done before the invasion, develop checklist of critical details associated with the success of the operation (e.g., timing of launch, equipping of troops, arranging supply lines over water and land).
  • For each item on the checklist, write down the implication of errors or omissions as well as potential tools and techniques for minimizing the risk of mistakes and oversights.
  • Share your lists with a group of peers and transfer the learning from the beaches of France to the accuracy demands of your work place.

 

3. Extensive Experience

 

Scenario #1

 

  • Arrange to shadow a senior manager who is noted for his/her unrelenting accuracy and uncompromising attention to detail.
  • As you watch the manager go about his/her job, pay particular attention to how she/she:
    1. Handles high volumes of data with great accuracy
    2. Balances speed with accuracy
    3. Uses quality control tools, techniques and checking mechanisms that represent best practices
    4. Motivates others to meet or exceed quality outcome targets
  • Use notes from your shadowing experience as the basis for a knowledge  transfer with your direct reports.

 

4. Subject Matter Depth and Breadth

 

Scenario #1

 

  • Imagine that you’ve been asked to write an article for “Information Week” entitled “Getting It Right in IT—Every Time.”  The source of the article’s content will come from an interview with a senior manager in your organization, one who is viewed as a teacher, coach and guru in the accuracy arena.
  • During your interview, focus on how he/she assesses the value, costs and impact of errors associated with processing and checking large amounts of information, evaluates tools and techniques that enhance overall quality outcomes, provides support to the firm’s quality management process, and coaches others in prescribed methodologies and mindsets.
  • Share notes from your article with your direct reports in a “best practices” work session. Generate discussion about how they can best transfer the learning to their direct reports.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

APPLICATION DELIVERY PROCESS

 

 

Knowledge of major tasks, deliverables, formal methodologies and disciplines for delivering new or enhanced applications.

 

1. Basic Understanding

 

Scenario #1

 

-Through networking and workplace research, compile a list of key activities involved with the delivery of application functionality. In addition, locate some documentation that covers application delivery methodology.

-Share the results of your research during a “date dump” with a peer.

 

Scenario #2

 

-On a sheet of paper, detail the macro roles and responsibilities of the IT and business functions.

-On the same page, describe how a specific application methodology is put to use in your work area.

-Meet with your manager to review your document and make any necessary changes.

 

2. Working Experience

 

Scenario #1

 

-Plan an extended “field trip” to an application development team. During your “visit,” record notes in a journal on development  methodologies, standards, documentation and underlying policies, as well as phase and task dependencies.

-Later, share your journal entries with a peer who has previously been involved in application delivery initiatives and augment your entries.

 

3. Extensive Experience

 

Scenario #1

 

-Arrange to shadow a senior team leader who oversees all aspects of multiple development projects.

-Keep notes on what you see and hear and copy any whiteboard notations related to the development effort. Pay particular attention to dialogue surrounding the benefits and risks of various methodologies, as well as external benchmarks that guide the development process. Be sure to capture any best practices documentation that arises during the course of the development work.

-Review the contents of your journal with a peer and ask him/her for enhancements to what you have learned.

 

4. Subject Matter Depth and Breadth

 

Scenario #1

 

-Arrange an in-house seminar for you and your peers during which a senior IT executive offers an historical perspective on application delivery processes, outlines industry-wide trends, discusses issues surrounding global distributed applications, and shares his/her thinking on the subject of selecting and applying new delivery methodologies.

-Video-tape the proceedings and make a copy available to your direct reports.

-Design and oversee a training session for your direct reports based on the video-tape content—one highlighting the broad array of delivery methodologies, products and platforms.

APPLICATION DEVELOPMENT TOOLS

 

 

Knowledge of a variety of specific tools and toolkits for development and support of applications.

 

1. Basic Understanding

 

Scenario #1

 

-Create a virtual Application Development Toolkit of your own.

-Conduct research on the web and throughout your unit in order to identify and “stow” various types of application delivery platforms, toolkits to support the development of new systems, as well as production systems, and the standards, policies and practices that underlie the technology.

-Once you’ve populated your toolkit, explain its contents to a peer and respond to any questions that may arise.

 

2. Working Experience

 

Scenario #1

 

-Ask to join a project team that is likely to use an application development toolkit.

-During your project work, note how team members utilize features and facilities, follow standards and guidelines, choose among various toolkits for different development platforms, discuss features and uses of tools for any one platform, and document the specific toolkit.

-At the project’s conclusion, review what you’ve observed and learned and direct any relevant, remaining questions to the project team leader.

 

3. Extensive Experience

 

Scenario #1

 

-Shadow a senior application developer while he/she utilizes toolkits on behalf of a project.

-Keep a journal during your experience, paying particular attention to how the developer assesses the appropriateness and effectiveness of an individual toolkit, resolves issues occasioned by the use of the toolkit (e.g., functions, features), coaches others while explaining the pro’s and con’s of a particular toolkit, and helps develop and drive best practices.

-Share your journal entries with a peer and receive feedback on what you have learned.

 

 

 

4. Subject Matter Depth and Breadth

 

Scenario #2

 

-Assume that you’ve been asked to build a job description for an IT leader who makes superb use of application development toolkits.

-Ask the CIO to identify someone at EDU Corp who fits this description.

-Spend some time interviewing the exemplar. Your questions should focus on how he/she leads the development and integration of multiple platform  development tools, as well as directing application delivery toolkit design and implementation. In addition, get a sense of how the leader interacts with others during the integration of third-party software, consults on the choice and use of workbench tools, provides implementation help on toolkit enhancements, and—based on marketplace intelligence—recommends specific uses of emerging technologies in the toolkit environment.

-Have the CIO review the job description and make needed changes and additions. Share the final description with your peers for their review, comment and future use in assessing employee performance.

 

 

BUSINESS CASE JUSTIFICATION

 

 

Knowledge of approaches, tools and techniques for justifying a project, equipment or staffing expenditures by identifying cost, benefits, opportunities and threats.

 

1. Basic Understanding

 

Learning Scenario #1

 

-Through networking, locate two business cases for recently-funded projects.  

-Arrange to interview the lead “authors” of each case. 

-During your discussions, focus on the initial need and rationale for the investment, sources of data for justifying the expenditure and the overall process for advancing the case.  

-Make a brief presentation to a group of peers on the fundamentals of building an effective business case.  

 

Learning Scenario #2

 

-Imagine that you have been asked to research, write and present a case for expanding the size of your group’s current work space.

-Outline a project planning process for the case.

-In your outline, address the following:

  •  
    1. the kinds and sources of information you’ll need
    2. the relationship between the investment, the business need and the ultimate benefit
    3. the bottom-line justification for more work space
    4. process steps for building and justifying the case with management

-Using the outline, make an oral presentation of the case to your manager.

-Receive feedback on how effectively you “made the case.”

 

2. Working Experience

 

Learning Scenario #1

 

-With the help of your manager, identify someone who recently developed a case for additional staffing that was not funded.

-Interview the employee with the goal of understanding how his/her case development experience, current standards and best practices were used to justify the case.

-Ask for an overview of the case development process.

-Probe around the cost/benefit analysis and how it was documented.

-In addition, determine whether or not the case was consistent or at odds with current requisition requirements for new hires.

-Learn why the case was not funded.

 

Learning Scenario #2

 

-Ask a colleague to participate in a case development role play.

-Your role is that of a manager who has just been given a project whose deadline cannot be met with your current staffing level of C++ programmers. You are asking for three new, full-time employees.

-Develop your fictitious case in writing: apply your own experience, cite best practices, and specifically confront the issue of current slow “time-to-hire” outcomes. Be sure to document the case as it relates to the cost of part-time or contract employees.

-Your colleague is a group executive who must approve your new staffing requisition.

-After you’ve developed your case, forward it to your “executive” colleague  prior to your meeting.

-During a role-playing session attended by your manager, make your case verbally to the executive and respond to his/her questions and concerns.

-Ask your manager for feedback on your business case and its justification.

 

3. Extensive Experience

 

Learning Scenario #1

 

-Identify a client group that is in the initial case development stages for a medium-sized project.

-Shadow your IT colleagues during the entire case justification process: during client interactions when technology needs and solutions are discussed, when benefits of other options are proposed and when contingency plans are advanced and debated.   

-Keep a diary of what you see and hear. 

-Be sure to receive, review and annotate the actual case statement. 

-When the final decision has been made, review key process milestones with the case development leader. 

 

Learning Scenario #2

 

-With your manager’s help, identify someone who has developed cases in which buy-versus-lease options for major investments are explored, analyzed and resolved.

-Meet with the individual and learn specifically how a recent buy-versus-lease analysis was accomplished (sources of data, emerging hypotheses, non-financial variables and final outcome).

-In addition, ask how his/her long-term, multi-project experience analyzing costs and benefits—as well as associated risks—adds value and facilitates current case development efforts.

-Read and review a copy of the actual case statement.

 

4. Subject Matter Depth and Breadth

 

Learning Scenario #1

 

-Imagine that you are writing an article for “Information Age” entitled, “Building the Case for Major Spends.”

-Using your networking skills, identify and interview three-four individuals who routinely develop high-cost, high-impact business cases.

-In your questions, focus on:

  •  
    1. How he/she typically identifies opportunities for high-level tech investments
    2. Differences in the case development process between medium-sized investments and large-scale ones
    3. Getting to “yes” when the stakes are high

-Based on your interview results, outline your article and share it with your peers.

-Ask for detailed feedback on the content of your “article” and provide your direct reports with a copies.

 

Learning Scenario #2 

 

-Ask to attend two or three major business case presentations to senior management.

-During the formal presentation, pay particular attention to the communication skills of the speaker, the choice of media and graphics to gain the attention and buy-in of the audience, as well as the speaker’s ability to persuade and convince others during the question-and-answer session.

 

Learning Scenario #3

 

-Meet with an experienced individual who is considered a thought leader in the development of business cases for large projects.

-Learn during your conversation how he/she utilizes their deep experience and expertise in the analysis of the costs, benefits and desired outcomes for new initiatives.

-In addition, determine how that expertise has—over time—helped to shape the firm’s policies and procedures associated with business case justification.

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

BUSINESS ETHICS

 

 

Knowledge of practices, behaviors, applicable laws, rules and regulations governing proper business conduct.

 

1. Basic Understanding

 

Scenario #1

 

-Locate and refer to the organization’s written code of business conduct.

-On a sheet of paper, display two column headings: “Proper Conduct” and “Improper Conduct.”

-Mentally develop six scenarios, half of which reflect appropriate business conduct, the other half of which reveal unethical behavior, consistent with the “code.”

-Summarize each scenario under the appropriate column and share your chart with your manager.

 

Scenario #2

 

-Use the intranet or your networking skills to locate EDU Corp’ official policy on confidentiality.

-Review the policy, taking note of its potential application to your work group.

-At the next meeting of your project team, share details of the confidentiality policy with team members. Answer any questions as best you can. For questions you cannot answer adequately, ask your manager for his/her assistance and relay the response(s) to your team.

 

2. Working Experience

 

Scenario #1

 

-Arrange to meet with a senior manager in your group.

-Explain to the manager that you are eager to learn about past events, decisions, conflicts, or activities that assumed ethical proportions.

-Ask the manger to share with you four-five real-life, work-based scenarios in which ethical considerations arose.

-Take notes, highlighting the issues involved.

-Later, reflect upon your own experience in the work group and, on a sheet of paper, summarize three additional ethical scenarios.

-Share your document with a peer and discuss its content.

 

 

 

 

Scenario #2

 

  • For a period of one month, keep a detailed log of the specific activities you are engaged in, decisions you make, choices you render and other key events during the course of each work day.
  • After a month’s time, review your work log and identify instances where ethical considerations were applied or, conversely, occasions when you should have brought ethical oversight to bear.
  • Review your annotated journal with your manager and seek his/her feedback on the ethical dimensions of your work chronicle.

 

Scenario #3

 

-At an upcoming New Hire orientation program, ask if you can attend the session during which the organization’s code of business behavior is discussed.

-During that part of the program, take comprehensive notes of what is said about the rewards for ethical behavior as well as the penalties for unethical behavior. Record any illustrative examples that are provided.

-In the event that no orientation program is scheduled for the near-term, ask your manager to address a meeting of your peers on the same topic: the consequences of ethical behavior within EDU Corp.

 

3. Extensive Experience

 

Scenario #1

 

-With your manager’s help, identify someone in the organization who has recently investigated a possible instance of unethical behavior. 

-Arrange a meeting with that staff or line person to review the specific processes that were invoked for investigating, documenting, and adjudging the behavior, as well as determining what ultimately should be done. 

-Take notes and file for future reference. 

 

Scenario #2

 

-Using the on-line index for recent articles in the “Journal of Business Ethics,” read and take notes on monitoring and controlling key, recurring ethical breaches such as speculative activities and sexual harassment in the workplace. 

-Outline your key findings and, using your notes, host a roundtable discussion with peers during which you identify best managerial practices in this area of concern. 

 

 

 

 

 

Scenario #3

 

  • Obtain copies of all relevant documents outlining legislative matters pertinent to business conduct—at the local, state/provincial and federal level.  
  • Read and review the materials. 
  • On a sheet of paper, display three column headings: “Local,” “State/Provincial” and “Federal.” 
  • Adjacent to the left-hand column, write, “Unethical Behavior.” List three-five examples of breaches in ethical behavior. 
  • Fill in the vertical columns with the relevant legal content (i.e., guidelines, statutes, prohibitions and remedies).
  • Share the content of the chart with your peers and discuss its implications for work in your unit.

 

4. Subject Matter Depth and Breadth

 

Scenario #1

 

-Access the Society for Business Ethics website and search for relevant material on the global administration of codes of conduct.

-During your review of the material, pay particular attention to any articles, abstracts or conference proceedings that emphasize the implementation and communication phases of these large-scale policies, programs and practices.

-Outline your findings, discuss them with your peers, and distribute them to your direct reports.

 

Scenario #2

 

-Meet with an attorney from the Office of the General Counsel to learn how the firm’s code of ethics is, from time to time, reviewed, modified and enhanced.

-During your conversation, determine which events, innovations, changes in the marketplace, or amendments to intellectual property law occasioned these alterations to the code.

-Have the attorney cite some specific examples of how and why the existing code of behavior underwent transformation or modification.

-Share what you learned with your direct reports in a meeting.

 

Scenario #3

 

-Arrange to attend a symposium sponsored by the AMA or Society for Business Ethics in which historical and future dimensions of domestic and international business ethics are addressed.

-Take note of major insights, particularly as they either track or seem at variance with EDU Corp’ past record and future focus in this area of corporate behavior.

-When you return, brief your direct reports on what you have learned and answer any questions that may arise.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BUSINESS MATH

 

 

Knowledge of and ability to calculate and interpret numbers and relations among numbers used in conducting business transactions.

 

1. Basic Understanding

 

Scenario #1

 

  • Enroll in a basic mathematics review course at a local college or school extension program.
  • Ask your manager to develop and administer a series of work-related mathematical problems and/or calculations that you must solve.
  • Review the results with your manager.

 

2. Working Experience

 

Scenario #1

 

  • Ask to be put in work situations where you will have to demonstrate mastery of various computational tools (e.g., calculators, spreadsheets) as well as your knowledge of fractions, decimal point notation, metric and non-metric scales and basic statistical functions.
  • As apply the tools and perform various calculations, be sure to ask for feedback on your methodologies and, more importantly, your accuracy.

 

3. Extensive Experience

 

Scenario #1

 

  • Determine who in your group is considered a “math mentor.”
  • Ask if you can shadow him/her for several days.
  • During your observations, pay particular attention as the mentor helps others master new financial and mathematical computations, troubleshoots on challenging calculations and teaches others how to use various functions on a spreadsheet.

 

Scenario #2

 

  • Ask a peer to identify someone who is particularly skilled at math-based interventions and the pursuit of quantitative hypotheses in a business setting.
  • Meet with that individual and ask he/she walk you through several recent examples of mathematical insight (e.g., testing formulas involving many expressions, verifying a process for selecting the measurement methodology and selecting and explaining the rationale for the use of a key measurement in a business context).

 

4. Subject Matter Depth and Breadth

 

Scenario #1

 

  • Imagine that you have been asked by HR to develop a job description for an internal “Senior Math Consultant”—someone who helps others master and apply new mathematical concepts in the workplace.
  • To build your description, network with a number of employees who have benefited from the mathematical counsel of others and ask them to detail what occurred during these interactions (e.g., learning new ways to measure business activities, having his/her data analysis validated or corrected, introducing new statistical techniques for problem solving and underscoring the value of advanced math, such as linear programming, to the business).
  • Based on what you learn, flesh out your job description with an emphasis on consulting activities and behaviors and review it with your manager.

BUSINESS PROCESS DESIGN

 

 

Knowledge of business process design that encourages a critical, fresh look at key processes and focuses on maximizing organizational performance.

 

1. Basic Understanding

 

Scenario #1

 

-On a sheet of paper, write down your definitions of “business process design” and “re-engineering.”

-Next, conduct a web-search for best practice definitions of each term. Compare these versions to your own.

-Based on the four entries, develop a new and improved version for each concept.

-Share your definitions with your manager and ask for feedback on your work.

 

Scenario #2

 

-Ask a peer to identify a specific work-related situation requiring a new systematic approach to heighten efficiency and effectiveness.

-Spend time formulating a business process re-engineering solution that can be applied to the situation your peer has described.

-Meet with your colleague and describe your suggested solution, using any flow charts and/or diagrams that help to “tell the tale.”

-Ask for feedback from your peer, make any relevant adjustments to the process design and discuss the final version with your manager.

 

2. Working Experience

 

Scenario #1

 

-Identify a re-engineering team that is currently analyzing an existing business process as well as the logic that supports it.

-Ask if you can sit in on the group discussions, particularly when the team is grappling with ways in which the process can be simplified or, in fact, eliminated.

-Take notes during these sessions.

-Meet with your manager, explain the nature of the work group’s focus, and share with him/her the critical outcomes of their deliberations and decision making.

 

Scenario #2

 

-Imagine that you are helping to create an audio archive of best IT practices for the local Academy of Science and Engineering.

-Arrange to attend a project team meeting during which team members discuss work flows of varying complexity, as well as rules and business logic governing those flows. Tape record the work sessions.

-Play the tape back later in the month and take notes on key “audibles.”

-Share the tape with your peers and explain its potential value for training employees who are new to EDU Corp.

 

3. Extensive Experience

 

Scenario #1

 

-Imagine that you have been asked to arrange for a senior business process engineer to speak at a college conference sponsored by the Education Division of the I.E.E.E. The subject of the talk is “Re-engineering that Works: Concepts, Methods and Tools for Today and Tomorrow.”

-“Prepare” his/her deck of slides and hand-outs.

-Preview the slides with a peer, discuss what you feel is the most important content, jointly determine what is truly “best in class” information about re-engineering.

-Use the deck as a learning tool at a meeting of your direct reports.   

 

Scenario #2

 

-With the support of your manager, facilitate an in-house seminar to which you invite a representative from the Department of Public and Government Affairs and a well-regarded senior engineer.

-The joint presentation and discussion will focus on ways in which regulatory demands drive the redesign of business processes.

-Take detailed notes on the back-and-forth, share them with your peers, and file them for future discussion with your direct reports. 

 

4. Subject Matter Breadth and Depth

 

Scenario #1

 

-Seek out the in-house business process/re-engineering expert at EDU Corp. 

-Learn as much as you possibly can about the ways in which his/her considerable experience serves to enhance how he/she goes about new project management assignments.

-In your queries, ask not only about subject matter mastery—and how to achieve it—but how she/he continues to maintain an “edge” in the face of ever-changing business and technical environments.

-Record the most helpful take-aways after your discussion for future reference and share them with your colleagues.

 

 

Scenario #2

 

-Assume that you’ve been asked to speak at the departmental New Hire orientation program.  Your subject is how best to apply external experience and organizational knowledge to internal business process design.

-To bring yourself up to speed on this dynamic, arrange to speak with someone who is justly regarded as an engineer with broad marketplace experience and proven agility for translating the external to the internal.

-Take comprehensive notes that will constitute the outline of your onboarding presentation.

-Share the outline with your peers.

 

Scenario #3

 

-Arrange to witness formal or informal knowledge transfer from an expert process engineer to senior executives within EDU Corp.

-Indicate that what you’re most interested in is how marketplace trends are identified, packaged and “delivered” to individuals who are not “close to the ground.”

-Observe a management briefing during which an externally-focused engineer shares current trends and future directions in the larger business process design environment.

-Take notes on what you learn. In addition, approach the “expert” and ask him/her how they establish and maintain ready access to innovation and shifts in the technical and business arenas.

 

 

 

 

CONFIDENTIALITY

 

 

Knowledge of practices and policies governing disclosure of information about the organization, business activities, and employees.

 

1. Basic Understanding

 

Scenario #1

 

  • Think about a time in your non-work life when you were entrusted with privileged information or a secret.
  • Write down the rationale for keeping the secret, who would have benefited from access to the information, who would have been adversely affected, and what the ultimate impact of non-confidentiality would have been.
  • Review the business implications of this personal experience in your own work group with a peer, citing relevant work-place examples and the consequences of inappropriate disclosure.

 

Scenario #2

 

  • ·        Ask your manager where you can find documents and manuals that outline firm policies regarding confidentiality and inappropriate disclosure.
  • ·        Review these documents and share with a peer their location and core content.

 

2. Working Experience

 

Scenario #1

 

  • Team up with a peer and develop a series of potential, work-related scenarios in which confidentiality might or might not be required.
  • Based on your knowledge of firm policies, indicate for each scenario whether or not you believe confidentiality would be required and why.
  • Meet with your manager and review the document, scenario by scenario. Ask for advice on tools that might help manage non-disclosure and how, for each scenario, access authorization might have been given to others.
  • During your discussion, be sure to learn about specific areas of work, issues and privileged information that mandate confidentiality.

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Extensive Experience

 

Scenario #1

 

  • Develop a written case study that outlines a hypothetical, high-impact decision (e.g., staff lay-offs, firm merger, migration to a new database management system).
  • Distribute the case to your direct reports.
  • Host a case discussion during which your participants share their thoughts about current policies and procedures that would apply, how and why confidentiality should be attached to the case decision, the risks and potential outcomes of breaches of confidentiality, criteria for sharing privileged information, and other options for determining how to handle the confidentiality around this matter.
  • During your assessment of participant views, include personal experiences in this area and underscore the specifics of the firm’s policies and procedures.

 

4. Subject Matter Breadth and Depth

 

Scenario #1

 

  • Identify a senior executive who—over the course of his/her career—has had to keep many company “secrets.”
  • Ask him/her to deliver a presentation to your entire work unit on confidentiality in the work place: impact of breaches on profitability and reputation, industry standards and tools for managing confidentiality and improper disclosure, his/her role in enforcing confidentiality policies firm-wide, and consulting on related issues to senior management.
  • Take notes for future reference and subsequent discussion with your direct reports. 

 

 

CONFLICT MANAGEMENT

 

 

Knowledge of tools and techniques for anticipating, recognizing and effectively dealing with existing or potential conflicts at the individual, group or situation level.

 

1. Basic Understanding

 

Scenario #1

  • After consulting the American Arbitration Association or Association for International Arbitration website, conduct additional research to determine why conflicts typically arise.
  • In addition, record some examples of both healthy and harmful conflicts and the reasons that you have labeled them as such.

 

Scenario #2

 

  • Assess and record current and planned activities of your work group regarding actual or possible conflicts.
  • For each conflict, suggest a possible resolution.
  • In the event that you figure in any of these conflict scenarios, describe how you might behave differently in order to facilitate a solution.

 

2. Working Experience

 

Scenario #1

 

  • Attend an external seminar or workshop on state-of-the-art conflict arbitration and mediation practices.
  • Take notes on required communication skills, resolution methodologies, positive confrontation techniques and ways to seek and establish collective agreement.
  • Report on what you have learned to a group of your peers.

 

4. Extensive Experience

 

Scenario #1

 

  • Seek out a senior manager who is thought to be skillful at identifying and resolving conflicts in the workplace—and who has done so successfully in the past.
  • Spend some time with him/her in order to learn about conflict detection techniques, when and when not to involve others, and instances in which the manager was successful in mediating positive resolutions to difficult situations.

 

Scenario #2

 

  • Research actual examples of constructive and destructive conflicts in the workplace, referencing anecdotes from the firm and case studies in the public domain.
  • Review the various strategies that were used to resolve these conflicts and assess the extent to which they were or were not appropriate.
  • Present some of these case studies to a group of your peers.

 

4. Subject Matter Depth and Breadth

 

Scenario #1

 

  • Reach outside the firm to someone who is likely to witness significant strife in their line of work (e.g., team coach, department chair at a college or university, head nurse on a hospital floor).
  • Interview the individual and learn as much as you can about:
    1. coaching others on best practices in diplomacy and conflict management
    2. creating a culture in which healthy contention is acceptable and valued
    3. getting adversaries to reconsider their opinions and arguments
    4. mediating conflicts in ways that promote reconciliation and win-win outcomes
  • Consider how you might apply these external learnings to conflict management within your group.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CONSULTING

 

 

Knowledge of approaches, tools, techniques and roles and responsibilities in providing technical or business guidance to clients within and outside own area.

 

1. Basic Understanding

 

Scenario #1

 

  • Browse the revised edition of Peter Block’s Flawless Consulting.
  • As you review the contents, pay particular attention to the roles and responsibilities of the consultant, the nature of productive client relationships, and the critical phases and processes of a client engagement.
  • Capture key take-aways in writing and share them with a peer.

 

2. Working Experience

 

Scenario #1

 

  • Ask to be assigned to an upcoming consulting engagement as a passive observer.
  • Shadow the team from the initial client meeting and proposal stage through project completion and de-briefing.
  • Keep a journal of what you saw and heard, with a focus on:
    1. Documenting the client’s needs, objectives and project scope
    2. Explaining clearly the processes, deliverables and costs of the engagement
    3. Communicating with the client both formally and informally
    4. Conducting the work with focus, energy and accountability
    5. Identifying add-on consulting opportunities
  • At the conclusion of the assignment, share your journal with the team leader and ask for his/her thoughts on what you observed.

 

3. Extensive Experience

 

Scenario #1

 

  • For an internal consulting assignment, ask to shadow the client throughout the course of the engagement.
  • View the consultative process from the client’s point of view.
  • Pay attention to the proposal and formal “pitch,” consultant-client interactions, the analytics and documentation stages, and the presentation of pro’s and con’s associated with different solutions.
  • When the project is finished, de-brief with the client on his/her assessment of the engagement and its outcome.

 

Scenario #2

 

  • Identify an internal consultant who is regarded as both a thought leader and client service champion.
  • Arrange to interview the consultant with an emphasis on setting and managing client expectations, leveraging prior experience in multiple engagements and providing oversight and direction to the entire team and client over the course of any one project.

 

4. Subject Matter Depth and Breadth

 

Scenario #1

 

  • Reach out to an external consulting firm that is currently working with EDU Corp.
  • Ask to shadow a practice leader as he/she works with senior management  on feasibility studies, functional problem solving, setting strategic direction, and advising on a number of inter-related issues.
  • Gain exposure to how the lead consultant collaborates with your firm and finds new opportunities for the mutual “good.”
  • Make particular note of how and when communication takes place between client and consultant.

 

 

 

CORE APPLICATIONS SYSTEMS

 

 

Knowledge of major production application systems for delivery of services to internal and external clients.

 

1. Basic Understanding

 

Scenario #1

 

-Ask your manager to conduct a brief “chalk talk” during which he/she outlines the operational importance and benefits of all core applications used in your area of the firm.

-Take extensive notes.

-Share your notes your notes with a peer and store them for future reference.

 

Scenario #2

 

-On a sheet of paper, list the major functions and services of your work unit.

-Next to each function or service, add the core application associated with that function or service.

-Ask your manager to review your work product, offer corrections, and invite your questions.

 

Scenario #3

 

-Ask a senior member of your team if you can shadow him/her as they go about finding or “looking up” system-specific documentation in the EDU Corp database.

-Watch carefully as she/he locates relevant data for at least three different core application systems.

-Take notes on the “map” that your colleague followed during the search, share it with your manager, and ask for his/her observations and feedback.

 

2. Working Experience

 

Scenario #1

 

-Partner with an experienced systems engineer on a core application system for a major function or business unit.

-Ask that he/she provide you with a running commentary on the application capabilities in play, their overall utility, and ways in which they promote business success at either the functional or unit level.

-Keep a journal of what you observe on screen and hear from the IT professional.

 

 

 

Scenario #2

 

-Learn when the next new hire orientation/onboarding program will take place.

-Attend a formal “organization-review” presentation by a senior application systems professional.

-Take detailed notes on content related to key personnel, roles and responsibilities.

-Later, use your notes as the basis for a repeat presentation to a colleague.

 

Scenario #3

 

-With advice from your manager, select a major application system or subsystem within the work unit’s infrastructure.

-Ask a colleague/peer to help you review all available data, specifications, history and enabling outcomes of the system, paying particular attention to core business requirements of the application.

-Discuss with your colleague possible enhancements to the system. Capture these in a brief document.

-Arrange a meeting with the manager who is most knowledgeable about the system, during which you and your colleague present your suggestions for system enhancements and upgrade.

-Listen carefully to the feedback you receive and share the content of the overall experience with your manager.

 

3. Extensive Experience

 

Scenario #1

 

-Imagine that you are a reporter for “Information Week” who has been asked to write an article that details the specific features and identifies the various benefits of developing core applications for multiple business groups.

-Arrange to interview two-three senior systems engineers.

-During your conversations, focus on the “why’s” as opposed to the “how’s” underlying the features and pay-offs of these core applications.

-Based on the notes you have taken, outline the content of the article and share its contents with your peers for their reactions and comments.

-Make any suggested changes to the outline and use it as a basis for a roundtable discussion with your direct reports.

 

Scenario #2

 

-Identify a source within the group who has planned and helped implement the entire lifecycle of a core application—from determining application enhancements to conversion to retirement strategy.

-Interview this individual to gain specific insight into the entire planning process for the core application.

-Use the opportunity to ask questions about the thought processes that drove the planning and implementation stages of activity.

-Provide your manager with a summary report on what you learned.

 

4. Subject Matter Depth and Breadth

 

Scenario #1

 

-Ask to spend some time with a design engineer who is responsible for features and considerations in emerging major applications.

-Have the engineer conduct a “show and tell,” during which he/she demonstrates the design process at work—for current or recent initiatives.

-Be sure to ask specific questions about how these new applications will enable or enhance business outcomes.

-Share what you have learned with a peer during an informal discussion.

 

Scenario #2

 

-Conduct an online lit review focused on “high-level data flows between core systems.”

-In reviewing relevant articles and journal entries, determine the most compelling logic behind the best conceptual framework.

-Take notes on the best conceptualization of the subject matter.

-Share your notes with your peers for their feedback and suggested additions to your notes.

 

Scenario #3

 

-Identify someone who has provided advice and counsel on the conversion and retirement of core application systems.

-Arrange a meeting during which you get the “consultant” to walk you through a recent internal “engagement.”

-Pay particular attention to how and when the individual interacted with others during the conversion and retirement phases of activity.

-Be sure to ask if there were any instances when the project team pushed back on his/her advice and what the outcomes of those discussions were (i.e., how the exchange of ideas affected the timing and nature of the conversion or retirement phases).

 

Scenario #4

 

-Assume that you’ve been asked to deliver a speech at an international conference on the subject of “Core Applications: Then and When.”

-Your speech will broadly cover the history, evolution and future of core applications.

-Determine where you are most likely to obtain the best subject matter content for your speech.

-Speak with your peers about other sources of information.

-When you’ve completed the research phase, summarize your findings in outline form.

-Share the skeleton of your speech with your colleagues for their review and feedback.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DECISION MAKING AND CRITICAL THINKING

 

 

Knowledge of tools and techniques for effective use of a broad range of factors, assumptions, frameworks and perspectives when solving problems.

 

1. Basic Understanding

 

Scenario #1

 

  • Think about a recent time when your manager informed you and/or others of a decision that needed to be made.
  • Ask your manager how he/she identified the need for making that decision (or another one).

 

Scenario #2

 

  • Write a “white paper” on local decision making in your work unit.
  • Include in your document:
    1. The decision makers in your group
    2. The characteristics of an effective decision-making process
    3. The decisions you are empowered to make and examples of those you are not authorized to make
  • Share the “white paper” with your manager and solicit his/her feedback.

 

2. Working Experience

 

Scenario #1

 

  • Conduct a web search on the subject of decision theory.
  • In your review of articles, books and web-based information, take notes on:
    1. Techniques for risk/benefit analysis
    2. Best practices for documenting data, stakeholders and relevant processes in the analysis
    3. Use of  “systems,” theories or disciplines for making decisions
    4. Nimble ways of identifying, clarifying and prioritizing critical issues, data and relevant ideas
  • Share your top-line findings at an informal session with your peers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Extensive Experience

 

Scenario #1

 

  • Assume that you are doing background research for an instructional video entitled, “The Decision Maker Decides.”
  • Identify a senior-level executive in the organization who has recently made a “buy” decision on new hardware or software.
  • Arrange to meet with him/her and ask that he/she “walk you through” the entire decision-making process, with particular attention paid to the decision-making style he/she displayed, how precedent and experience influenced the outcome, predictions for the potential impact of the decision based on various options, and ways in which others were involved in the process.
  • Based on what you have learned from the discussion, develop a “best practices” document and share it with your peers and direct reports.

 

4. Subject Matter Depth and Breadth

 

Scenario #1

 

  • Align yourself with an executive who has been asked to make a major decision having large-scale organizational implications.
  • Shadow the decision maker throughout the analytical process, interactions with stakeholders, discussions about timing, use of models and practices to enhance decision outcomes, and the final decision rationale itself.

 

Scenario #2

 

  • Have a conversation with several peers that focuses on specific aspects of his/her past decision making.
  • Specifically, ask them to explain the difference between the content and context of a decision, detail how he/she guided effective decision making despite a related crisis, and discuss ways in which he/she chose to use both inductive and deductive reasoning in different decision making environments.
  • Review your notes from these discussions and develop an instructional module for direct reports based on your research.

 

 

 

 

 

 

DELEGATION

 

 

Ability to empower and motivate associates to accomplish results for which the manager has ultimate responsibility.

 

1. Basic Understanding

 

Scenario #1

 

  • On a sheet of paper, record two-three recent instances in which you were assigned a task by your manager.
  • Next to each activity, list the person who was responsible for each aspect of the assignment as well as the challenges and milestones associated with completing that task.
  • Based on your list, have a conversation with your manager about what constitutes effective delegation.

 

2. Working Experience

 

Scenario #1

 

  • Drawing on your experience with timely and appropriate task delegation, ask one of your direct reports to undertake an assignment for which you bear final responsibility.
  • Jointly discuss the objectives for the assignment, agree on what success will look like, develop a work plan, monitor progress through “check-in’s” and mid-course briefings, and offer feedback and advice as needed.
  • When the assignment is complete, ask the employee for his/her detailed reactions to your management of the delegation process and the extent to which you could have improved the outcome.

 

Scenario #2

 

  • Meet with your manager and, based on his/her practical experience and expertise, engage him/her in a discussion about how best to link an employee’s competencies and authority with a specific task or assignment.

 

3. Extensive Experience

 

Scenario #1

 

  • Identify an opportunity when a manager outside your work unit will be delegating a task to a direct report.
  • Attend the meeting when the assignment is given and the planning accomplished.
  • Throughout the duration of the assignment, check in with the manager to monitor progress to date and capture his/her perspectives on getting feedback from the employee, accepting blame when necessary, and encouraging accountability through the granting of both formal and informal authority.
  • Share your major learnings from this experience with your direct reports. Ask each of them to develop a checklist of “Delegation Do’s and Don’t’s.”

 

4. Subject Matter Depth and Breadth

 

Scenario #1

 

  • Ask one of your direct reports to identify and recruit an authority on delegation to make a formal presentation to the entire department.
  • Give the employee authority to plan and accomplish this task, but ensure that the timeline for completion is well understood.
  • Monitor the speaker identification process and intervene when necessary to offer encouragement, especially when your employee encounters set-backs and barriers.
  • During the actual presentation, take notes on the case studies cited, especially as they reveal theoretical frameworks and assessment strategies that support and drive the successful delegation of work.
  • Host a de-briefing with your direct reports to review the speaker recruitment process and the presentation itself.

 

 

EMERGING TECHNOLOGIES

 

 

Knowledge of emerging technologies (systems that are new to the organization as well as those that are new to the information systems industry).

 

1. Basic Understanding

 

Scenario #1

 

  • Arrange to interview someone outside your industry (preferably in the manufacturing sector) who is responsible for recommending the procurement of new equipment.
  • During your conversation, learn how he/she identifies emerging or new products that are attractive to the company. In addition, probe for how new products or associated processes have had an impact on the business. Obtain examples of how exploiting innovation has paid off for the company.
  • Later, review the methodologies and mindsets you learned about and detail the analog for the IT role within your function.

 

Scenario #2

 

  • ·        Through networking, build a list of publications (of general relevance and interest as well as those with an industry and IT focus), professional associations and external networks that could prove helpful to you in your current IT role.
  • ·        Share the list with your manager and make additions as warranted.

 

2. Working Experience

 

Scenario #1

 

  • Ask to be placed with a “watchdog” group that is responsible for assessing and implementing new technologies at the firm.
  • As part of the team, keep a detailed journal during which you note how members of the group identify new technologies, build the case for their purchase or lease, explore the risks and rewards of the technology, raise innovation awareness and examine details associated with implementation.
  • Review key learnings in your journal with your manager upon your return from the group assignment.

 

 

 

3. Extensive Experience

 

Scenario #1

 

  • Imagine that you have been asked to author an article for “Information Week” entitled, “Gotta Have It!: How Big Business Makes Big Bets on the Best New Thing.”
  • Attend a major IT trade show (e.g., C.E.S., CeBIT).
  • During your walk-arounds and attendance at formal presentation and product introductions, pay attention to what you see and hear as it relates to how IT leaders anticipate, plan for and implement value-adding new technologies—at the right time and the right cost. Be sure to capture data around ways in which pursuers of innovation make their business case for innovation and demonstrate its positive impact on the bottom line.
  • When you return, share your article notes with your manager and round out the behaviors and attitudes of a top-notch technology acquisition professional.

 

4. Subject Matter Breadth and Depth

 

Scenario #1

 

  • Arrange an interview with the CIO of your organization.
  • In advance, develop an interview guide that includes questions such as “When you think about the people in your organization who are superb at tracking technological innovation, what is it about them that makes them so successful in this regard?”
  • Probe around how top innovation adaptors get the attention of senior management, how they make the business case, how they communicate best practices while championing the new technology itself and how they extend the impact of implementation in a global context.
  • Share your take-aways with your peers and further discuss what contributes to the success of those who know best how to scout and harness innovation.

 

 

 

 

GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE

 

 

Knowledge of issues, opportunities and challenges for conducting business in the international marketplace.

 

1. Basic Understanding

 

Scenario #1

 

-Imagine that you are a senior executive in the MEA division of McDonald’s.

-You have been asked to conduct research around the culture-driven, country-specific implications of market entry in Nigeria.

-Before you can report back to the Group President, you must pose and obtain answers to a number of key questions.

-On a sheet of paper, write down 8-10 questions that you need to ask.

-Describe the situation and your investigative role to a peer and review your questions with him/her. Ask for feedback on your list of questions (e.g., were they all appropriate, were some questions missing).

 

Scenario #2

 

-Select a country (outside of your own) in which EDU Corp currently does business.

-Search internally and throughout the web to learn about recent and current activities taking place in that country.

-As you conduct your research, write down the various tools and resources you employed to find your answers.

-Send your list of tools and resources to your manager with an explanation of the underlying exercise and ask for his/her feedback.

 

2. Working Experience

 

Scenario #1

 

-Imagine that you have been asked by the dean of the local business school to give a lecture on “Doing Business in Argentina.”

-Develop a set of 10-13 questions surrounding the critical legal, governmental and financial implications of doing work in Argentina.

-Using resources at your disposal, answer each of these questions and work the content into an outline of your lecture.

-Show your outline to your manager and invite his/her comments.

 

Scenario #2

 

-Search for a set of organization-specific policies and operational procedures for conducting business in France.

-Once you have reviewed these guidelines, do some networking to identify an employee who has previously worked for EDU Corp in France.

-Arrange a meeting with that individual to learn more about the rationale for the policies and procedures you have uncovered. In addition, ask the individual to share with you anecdotes concerning barriers to putting policies to work and procedures in place. Take notes.

-Share your take-aways with a peer, preferably someone who has expressed interest in France and French culture.

 

Scenario #3

 

-Select a country (other than your own) in which the organization currently does business.

-On a sheet of paper, write down two column headings: “Helps the Business” and “Hurts the Business.”

-Search the web and/or your local library to identify social behaviors and cultural values that you believe might facilitate your organization’s business success as well as those that might thwart it.

-When you are done, share the content of your document with someone who has actually done business in that country in order to validate your research and test your assumptions.

 

3. Extensive Experience

 

Scenario #1

 

-Find someone in EDU Corp who currently trains and/or mentors others on country-specific legal, governmental, and economic issues across multiple borders.

-Invite the individual to address a group of your peers who lack business experience outside your country.

-Facilitate the conversation by asking in what specific ways the employee undertakes his coaching of others and how he/she determines whether or not they’ve been successful.

 

Scenario #2

 

-Network with local military, veterans affairs groups and related organizations to identify someone who has been on active duty in multiple countries within one region of the world (e.g., Southeast Asia, Africa, the Middle East).

-Have a conversation with the interviewee and ask that he/she describe similarities and differences between various countries in that one region. Be sure to probe around ways in which cultural attributes of specific societies posed unique challenges and offered different opportunities for success.

-Take notes on what you learn and share their content with a group of your peers.

 

Scenario #3

 

-Referencing EDU Corp’ overall policies and procedures governing global business conduct, consider how these might be translated on a regional or local level abroad.

-Using one country and the region of which it is a part, write down some specific ways in which you think the policies and procedures might be applied in that country and throughout that region.

-Share your written hypotheses with someone who has had experience overseeing business operations in another country and who also knows the entire region quite well.

-Ask him/her for insights into “doing business” locally in a manner that is consistent with the firm’s global policies and procedures.

-Share what you’ve learned with your manager.

 

4. Subject Matter Depth and Breadth

 

Scenario #1

 

-Seek an opportunity to interview someone at EDU Corp who has been responsible for implementing global business policies in one or more countries for one or more businesses.

-Interview him/her on the ways in which he/she drove the policies down to the operational level and how they later assessed whether or not those policies had taken root.

-Summarize what you learn in a memo to your “Global” file.

 

Scenario #2

 

-Access the proceedings of a recent World Economic Forum (Davos Summit) or industry-specific, global issues conference.

-As you read through the material, look for findings and assertions that might well affect the larger financial services industry as well as EDU Corp specifically.

-Separate out facts and phenomena into three clusters on a sheet of paper: “social,” “cultural” and “political” global issues.

-Arrange a meeting of your direct reports during which you present your summary of findings—as well as your insight into each one. Share with the group the initial source of your data and explain how you have customized the material to meet the emerging global needs of your business.

 

Scenario #3

 

-Imagine that you have been asked by Byte.com to address a plenary session at its annual conference in Rio de Janeiro.

-The subject of your talk is on your industry’s current trends, future directions and business-shaping experiences in the global economy.

-Reach out to senior executives with questions specific to your subject matter.

-In addition, undertake some selective research (e.g., “Foreign Affairs Quarterly,” UN Regional Reports, “CIO Magazine” survey results, Collapse by Jared Diamond) to augment your initial findings.

-Work your research findings into an 8-10-slide PowerPoint presentation that constitutes your address in Rio.

-Ask a number of your peers to attend a meeting during which you deliver your “address” and answer any questions.

 

Scenario #4

 

-Assume that you’ve been asked to write an article for “The McKinsey Quarterly” entitled “Go Global!”

-Speak with five or six senior-level executives, each of whom have significant experience running global or regional operations. Explain that you are writing a piece about historical and future perspectives on the global marketplace.

-Ask each executive to name two articles, books, research abstracts or conference proceedings that have been most helpful to him/her in understanding the rise of the global economy.

-Spend some time reading and reviewing the material and summarize the best collective thinking in an outline that takes up no more than two pages.

-Share your outline with the EDU Corp global exemplars and invite their comments and suggestions.

-Distribute your outline to your direct reports.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HARDWARE INFRASTRUCTURE

 

 

Familiarity with hardware technology and the global, regional and local hardware architecture.

 

1. Basic Understanding

 

Scenario #1

 

-Through networking, obtain work unit reference materials that contain information on the local hardware infrastructure, connectivity between hardware, software and network platforms, and processor and the peripheral hardware environment.

-Read through this material and develop talking points for an overview of the hardware environment. Make a brief presentation to a peer.

 

2. Working Experience

 

Scenario #1

 

-Imagine that you have been asked by a user group to craft a memo that provides an environmental scan of major hardware issues, technology implications for local operations, critical features of existing and planned hardware, standards and practices attached to hardware platforms, and environmental workplace factors influencing hardware operations.

-Seek out information on these and related topics by referencing internal documentation and speaking with new hardware implementation team members.

-Develop your summary memo and share its contents with your manager. Ask for feedback on what you have included.

 

3. Extensive Experience

 

Scenario #1

 

-Ask to shadow a senior-level IT professional whose focus is on assessing and executing hardware platform changes.

-Keep a detailed journal as you watch him/her in action, particularly as he/she trains others on the features and facilities of equipment, coaches team members on the impact of management issues and business strategies on hardware technologies, and describes the pro’s and con’s of various hardware platforms and features.

-Review your journal with the hardware expert and raise any relevant questions.

 

 

 

Scenario #2

 

-Arrange to join a team that is assessing a specific vendor’s product in order to determine its potential benefits for EDU Corp.

-Participate actively in the evaluation process, paying particular attention to the vendor plans and presentations that highlight features and facilities of the product.

-Summarize the events, activities and outcomes of the team’s work in a meeting with your peers.

 

4. Subject Matter Depth and Breadth

 

Scenario #1

 

-Attend an external IT conference targeted at senior-level professionals whose domain is primarily the assessment, selection, and implementation of vendor-sponsored hardware technologies.

-Take notes on the ways in which training and coaching of others takes place, especially as it relates to implementation and support of multi-vendor, multi-product infrastructures.

-In addition, pay particular attention to the development of appropriate practices and standards, and ways in which senior IT management tracks industry and vendor trends in the marketplace.

-Share a summary of what you have learned at a meeting with your direct reports.

 

 

INFORMATION MANAGEMENT

 

 

Knowledge of organization’s existing and planned information Architecture and Information Management (IM) Methodology.

 

1. Basic Understanding

 

Scenario #1

 

-Imagine that you’ve been asked to make a presentation to new IT hires about the EDU Corp information management philosophy, methodology and platforms.

-Consult internal documentation and network with others to build an outline for your presentation. Be sure to include an introduction to the basic concepts of corporate information as a critical and competitive resource.

-Share your outline with your manager for his/her review and feedback.

 

2. Working Experience

 

Scenario #1

 

-Host an internal seminar or briefing on information management. Ask a senior-level manager to make the presentation to a group of your peers.

-Ask the presenter to cover the basic requirements and issues for managing information, data integrity in your function, enhancements to distributed and centralized databases, documentation of EDU Corp guidelines and policies and ways in which he/she gets involved in back-up, recovery and archival initiatives.

-Take notes on the presentation and review them with your peers after the presentation to capture key data that you may have missed.

 

3. Extensive Experience

 

Scenario #1

 

-Arrange to shadow a senior IT executive as he/she works with others in an advisory or consultative role.

-Take notes on what you see and hear, particularly as the conversations focus on an information repository, differences between features and uses of IM platforms, operational standards at EDU Corp, the rationale for current and planned architecture, and topics associated with information architecture concepts, disciplines and practices.

-Be sure to ask the IT executive questions that arise during your shadowing exercise.

 

 

 

4. Subject Matter Depth and Breadth

 

Scenario #1

 

-Imagine that you have been asked to develop a training guide focused on high-level information management activities.

-To obtain content for the guide, arrange to interview a senior IT executive during which you ask questions regarding how he/she trains others, offers consultative insight into implementing new architectures and strategies in line with the business, helps define standards at the local and EDU Corp level, stays current with industry trends and technical products and services, and promotes best practices for information management.

-Based on interview notes, develop an outline and share it with your peers for their review and feedback.

 

 

INFORMATION SECURITY MANAGEMENT

 

 

Knowledge of processes, tools, techniques and practices for assuring adherence to standards associated with accessing, altering and protecting organizational data.

 

1. Basic Understanding

 

Scenario #1

 

-Conduct a web search on the subject of corporate data protection and information security breaches.

-Based on what you know and learn, imagine that you’ve been asked to create a poster for the office entitled, “Threats and Thefts: Enemies of Information Security and Integrity.” List various compromisers of data, as well as public alerts and warning systems. In addition, name tools and facilities for data protection.

-Share the poster content with your peers and ask for additions its content.

 

2. Working Experience

 

Scenario #1

 

-Imagine that you’ve been asked to develop content for a course being offered at the local university entitled, “Managing a Safe and Secure Information Environment.”

-Through networking and reading about EDU Corp policies and procedures, develop an outline for that course, emphasizing procedures for handling different kinds of incidents, procedures for addressing vulnerabilities based on examples from your own work unit, information in the public domain about data security, as well as monitoring, backing-up, recovering and archiving data.

-Share the course outline with your manager for his/her review and comment.

 

3. Extensive Experience

 

Scenario #1

 

-With help from your manager, identify a EDU Corp IT professional who is well-regarded for his/her knowledge of information security management.

-Shadow that individual for a week or so during which you observe him/her supervising the development and deployment of security practices, providing advice on major data platforms and security practices, explaining the features of EDU Corp-specific security technologies, defining operational standards, and consulting on high-level security concepts, disciplines and practices.

-Record what you see and hear in a journal.

-At the conclusion of your shadowing experience, de-brief with the security exemplar and ask any questions that have not yet been raised.

 

4. Subject Matter Depth and Breadth

 

Scenario #1

 

-Attend a professional conference during which industry best practices in information security will be addressed. Program content should be pitched to the CIO community or direct reports of the CIO.

-Pay attention to discussion about enterprise-wide security initiatives, the development of customized control processes, the definition of blueprints and standards for products and services, the latest industry trends in strategy and practice, and ways that high-level IT leadership affects information security in multiple environments.

-Discuss what you have learned with your direct reports.

 

Scenario #2

 

-Arrange to have the CIO address an audience of senior-level EDU Corp professionals during which he/she discusses how he/she leads, develops, directs and administers various control processes and security methodologies.

-Share what you have learned with your direct reports and invite any questions that may arise.

 

INTERPERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS

 

 

Knowledge of approaches, tools and techniques for working with individuals and groups in a constructive and collaborative manner.

 

1. Basic Understanding

 

Scenario #1

 

  • Imagine that you’ve been asked to make a presentation at the next New Hire orientation program on the subject of interpersonal effectiveness in your work culture.
  • Conduct research on the general need for and characteristics of strong working relationships.
  • With help from others, define how the organization’s culture specifically shapes positive interactions among employees.
  • Network to learn the names of employees with notably strong interpersonal skills and what it is about their behaviors and values that makes them so effective.
  • Roll up your data in an outline for your presentation. Share it with your manager and discuss its contents.

 

2. Working Experience

 

Scenario #1

 

  • Form a team of colleagues—some of whom you do not know—to undertake some community service work.
  • At a planning meeting, identify roles and responsibilities for each member of the team and agree on desired ways of working together to achieve your shared objective. Also discuss ways in which poor interaction might jeopardize the success of the initiative.
  • Facilitate brainstorming and the introduction of different points of view.
  • Perform the community service and host a de-briefing during which team members discuss high and low points of the project.  Be sure to cover the ways in which project group interactions influenced outcomes.

 

3. Extensive Experience

 

Scenario #1

 

  • Sponsor a formal team debate on a controversial subject (e.g., politics, foreign affairs, movie reviews).
  • As each side presents their point of view, take notes on the contributions of individual team members, the extent to which respect was demonstrated throughout and ways in which the debaters ultimately influenced the audience and one another.
  • Share your observations with the teams and audience and ask for feedback on what you saw and heard.

 

Scenario #2

 

  • Through networking, identify the manager in your unit who represents the “gold standard” of relationship building.
  • Arrange to spend some time the manager during which you provide some hypothetical scenarios involving:
    1. the need to build effective teams outside his/her work area
    2. an occasion when it is critical to establish credibility with a client
    3. a time when he/she must resolve unhealthy differences and tension between employees and groups of others
  • Record what you heard and learned during each role play.

 

4. Subject Matter Depth and Breadth

 

Scenario #1

 

  • Imagine that you’ve been asked to write an article about “Other-Directed Leadership” for “Psychology Today.”
  • Seek out a senior executive outside your work group who is known for his/her relationship building and interpersonal coaching skills.
  • Interview the executive in order to learn how he/she encourages others to build partnerships beyond departments, ways in which he/she develops initiatives to foster communication and cooperation, and why he/she was been effective in both coaching activities and setting the right interpersonal tone for others.
  • Based on your research, develop an outline of major take-aways and share it with your peers.

 

Scenario #2

 

  • ·        Conduct a lit review and/or web search on the subject of managerial arbitration and resolution of difficult situations.
  • ·        Record some of the core skills, mindsets and prescribed behaviors for effective intervention in difficult workplace conflicts.
  • ·        Deliver a brief talk to your direct reports, based on what you have learned.

 

 

 

 

IT ARCHITECTURE

 

 

Knowledge of concepts, philosophies and tools behind the design of applications, information and underlying information technologies.

 

1. Basic Understanding

 

Scenario # 1

 

  • Research and write a primer on your local architecture. Refer to systems documentation, hardware inventories and existing schematics to highlight the fundamentals, business justifications, core components, and interactivity of the technical infrastructure.
  • Share your output with your manager and ask for clarifications and changes as required.

 

2. Working Experience

 

Scenario #1

 

  • Select a peer to join you for an “information scavenger hunt.”
  • Each of you should have a sheet of paper displaying the following:
    1. Relevant architectural principles
    2. Standards of local architecture
    3. Guidelines of local architecture
    4. Functionality of hardware
    5. Functionality of software
    6. Functionality of telecommunications capability
  • Using available sources of information, you each seek answers to the six target statements.
  • After an agreed-upon period of time, get together and compare your lists. Discuss any variance between your answers. Meet with your respective managers to clarify anything about which either of you is unclear.

 

Scenario #2

 

  • Based on your current understanding and any additional research, develop some talking points that describe the underlying concepts, benefits and drawbacks of “open architecture.”
  • Share your document with your manager and invite his/her comments.

 

 

 

 

3. Extensive Experience

 

Scenario #1 (3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4, 3.5, 3.6)

 

  • With your manager’s help, identify someone with the necessary experience and expertise who you can shadow over a number of “typical days.”
  • Optimally, you should observe him/her helping to create an all-encompassing architecture, discussing implementation issues, monitoring the integration and/or migration of various technical platforms, helping define operational standards, and participating in a dialogue about the pluses and minuses of open architecture.
  • Keep a journal of what you see and hear.
  • Share the journal with the manager you shadowed and ask for his/her feedback on your notes.

 

4. Subject Matter Depth and Breadth

 

Scenario #1

 

  • Imagine that you have been asked to script one part of an instructional video entitled “Careers in IT.” Specifically, you are asked to focus on the role of a typical, senior-level IT Executive.
  • Based on what you know about this role, write down some activities you are likely to picture on screen.
  • Take your rough outline to a group of your peers and during your discussion, flesh out the “script.” Be sure to include on-screen activities that reveal leadership and coaching roles in the design of complex operating platforms, resolving issues that stem from the merger of different applications, developing technical architecture and related standards, keeping an eye on external trends, and consulting on global architecture issues with the IT community and business leaders.
  • Use the final “script” as the basis for a discussion with your direct reports. 

 

 

 

 

IT ENVIRONMENT

 

 

Knowledge of organization’s total Information Technology (IT) environment.

 

1. Basic Understanding

 

Scenario #1

 

  • Attend the next “Welcome to IT” session, during which the roles, responsibilities, core activities, functions, personnel and major activities of IT are presented.
  • Later, draw an organization chart of the IT function that captures what you learned at the session.
  • Compare your chart with notes and hand-outs from the orientation program and make any needed changes.

 

2. Working Experience

 

Scenario #1

 

  • Develop and deliver a detailed presentation about your department for a group of new IT hires.
  • Using your current knowledge, networking skills and research abilities, prepare a brief PowerPoint presentation that captures the role of your function, key customers, technology platforms, infrastructure, strategies and related issues, as well as an explanation of the function’s management goals and policies.
  • Share the content of your presentation with your manager and ask for feedback.

 

3. Extensive Experience

 

Scenario #1

 

  • Arrange to make a presentation to a group of non-IT community customers.
  • Based on what you already know about the function and what you are able to research, outline the presentation including the rationale for the technology infrastructure across functions, roles, responsibilities and relationships of note, strategy, benefits and shortcomings of existing technology, day-to-day priorities and interactions, and IT management philosophy.
  • Walk your team through the presentation, ask for feedback, and make any necessary modifications to your slides.

4. Subject Matter Depth and Breadth

 

Scenario #1

 

  • Develop a detailed job description for the CIO role in your organization.
  • To the best of your ability, write the job description, paying particular attention to marketplace, global and future-focused aspects of the job.
  • Ask your manager to review your work.
  • Arrange for a meeting with the current CIO in the organization and share the job description with him/her. Discuss components of the job that you may have omitted in your description, especially as they relate to benchmarking activities, explanations of the business model under which IT currently operates, and development and communication of best practices and processes.

 

 

 

 

IT ENVIRONMENT

 

 

Knowledge of organization’s total Information Technology (IT) environment.

 

Basic Understanding

 

Scenario #1 (1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4)

 

  • Attend the next New Hire OnboardingWelcome to IT session, during which the roles, responsibilities, core activities, functions, personnel and major activities of IT are presented.
  • Later, draw an organization chart of the IT function that captures what you learned at the session.
  • ·        Compare your chart with notes and hand-outs from the orientation program and make any needed changes.

 

Scenario #2

  • Ask someone from your job family who is very familiar with the EDU Corp IT environment to give you an overview of the software, hardware and processes used in your division.
  • Do the same for the other divisions within IT.
  • See if you can identify where the same process is done differently in different parts of the organization.

 

Other Learning Activities

  • Find out about the different EDU Corp offshoring models. Ask members of the IT CoE PMOs to explain why they use a particular model. Compare and contrast the different models used.
  • Regularly attend townhall meetings of your division.

 

Working Experience

 

Scenario #1 (2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.4, 2.5)

 

  • DAssume that you have been asked to develop and deliver a detailed presentation about your department for a group of new IT hires.
  • Using your current knowledge, networking skills and research abilities, prepare a brief PowerPoint presentation that captures the role of your function, key customers, technology platforms, infrastructure, strategies and related issues, as well as an explanation of the function’s management goals and policies.
  • Share the content of your presentation with your manager and ask for feedback.
  • ·        Find an opportunity to share your presentation with others. Post it on your job family community portal.

 

Other Learning Activities

  • Describe in detail the specific infrastructure that impacts your work group.
  • ·        Regularly attend Townhall meetings of other divisions within IT in addition to your own.

 

 

Extensive Experience

 

Scenario #1 (3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4, 3.5, 3.6)

 

  • Arrange to make a presentation to a group of non-IT community customers.
  • Based on what you already know about the function and what you are able to research, outline the presentation including the rationale for the technology infrastructure across functions, roles, responsibilities and relationships of note, strategy, benefits and shortcomings of existing technology, day-to-day priorities and interactions, and IT management philosophy.
  • Walk your manager team through the presentation, ask for feedback and make any necessary modifications to your slides.

 

Other Learning Activities

  • ·        Become a mentor to a new hire. Actively share your knowledge of the IT environment with more junior members of your team or job family. Share your understanding of the firm’s offshoring and outsourcing models.
  • ·        Benchmark your department’s IT environment against industry peers
  • ·        Attend industry conferences to learn about the changing IT landscape and consider how your division is currently addressing those changes. Share what you have learned with your work group and discuss how you can monitor and react to trends more quickly.
  • ·        Regularly attend Townhall meetings of other divisions within IT in addition to your own.

 

 

 

 

Subject Matter Depth and Breadth

 

Scenario #1 (4.1, 4.2, 4.3, 4.4, 4.5, 4.6)

 

  • DImagine that you have been asked by Human Resources to develop a detailed job description for the CIO role in your organization.
  • To the best of your ability, write the job description, paying particular attention to marketplace, global and future-focused aspects of the job.
  • Ask your manager to review your work.
  • Arrange for a meeting with the current CIO in the organization and share the job description with him/her. Discuss components of the job that you may have omitted in your description, especially as they relate to benchmarking activities, explanations of the business model under which IT currently operates, and development and communication of best practices and processes.

 

Other Learning Activities

  • Present an overview of the EDU Corp IT Environment at the “Welcome to IT” orientation session.
  • Based on benchmarking data collected from industry peers, consider what changes you would make to your own division or another. Facilitate a meeting with other members of senior management to discuss.
  • Act as a panelist in technology forums
  • ·        Become a mentor to a senior new hire and share your knowledge of the IT environment.

 

 

 

IT STANDARDS, PROCEDURES, POLICIES

 

 

Knowledge and ability to use and administer the organization’s technology practices, standards and procedures.

 

1. Basic Understanding

 

Scenario #1

 

  • Obtain a copy of Robert’s Rules of Order and review some of its contents.
  • As you read about the parliamentary procedures and standards that help facilitate effective meetings and debates, think about the underlying rationale for such detailed policies and “ways of operating” (e.g., fairness, efficiency).
  • Consider the analog standards and procedures for the IT function and summarize them during a meeting with a peer.

 

Scenario #2

 

  • Through networking and local research efforts, identify the technical standards and policies surrounding your function and area of work.
  • Summarize these “rules of the road” in a document and post it in your work space.

 

2. Working Experience

Scenario #1

  • Based on a suggestion from your manager, arrange to speak with a senior IT professional who has had recent experience developing, interpreting, applying, and revising departmental policies and standards.
  • Meet with the individual in order to learn how he/she specifically undertook standards documentation, offered feedback for enhancing key procedures and, if and when necessary, asked that exceptions to policies and procedures be reviewed and approved further up the line.

 

3. Extensive Experience

 

Scenario #1

 

  • With the help of several peers, convene an in-house seminar for your direct reports entitled, “The Criticality of Standards, Policies and Procedures.”
  • Invite a number of senior managers to discuss their role in developing mechanisms for monitoring compliance, developing joint standards across functions, assessing new and emerging technology standards and managing the development of policies and practices on an organization-wide basis.
  • Be certain to take extensive notes on what you heard and review their content with your direct reports after the seminar has been held.

 

4. Subject Matter Depth and Breadth

 

Scenario #1

 

  • Ask to shadow a senior IT leader whose current work likely involves the  development and implementation of standards for a particular function.
  • As you watch him/her in action, take notes on what you see and hear, especially as it relates to consultative and monitoring behaviors, as well as processes for communicating new or revised standards, procedures and policies to those affected by them.
  • At the conclusion of your shadowing exercise, spend some de-briefing time with the leader.
  • Later, share some of your new perspectives on IT standards with your direct reports.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

KNOWLEDGE OF ORGANIZATION

 

 

Knowledge of organization’s vision, structure, culture, philosophy, operating principles, values and code of ethics.

 

1. Basic Understanding

 

Scenario #1

 

-Research core businesses of EDU Corp by referencing internal documents (e.g., org charts) and external publications (e.g., annual reports, marketing materials).

-Capture these key lines of business on paper.

-Share the results of your research with a colleague to determine if your list is complete. Make changes as needed.

 

Scenario #2

 

-Imagine that you have been asked to guest lecture at a local college. The subject of your talk is “Ethical Behavior Is Good for the Bottom Line.”

-Find the company’s formal code of ethical behavior and business practices.

-Outline your lecture on paper by summarizing key components of the “code” and the reasons for subscribing to each.

-Share your outline with your manager for his/her review and feedback.

 

2. Working Experience

 

Scenario #1

 

-Reference the basic operating principles and practices of EDU Corp.

-Think back over the past six months and identify four specific business unit initiatives, activities or events in which you played a role. Write these down on a sheet of paper.

-Next to each notation, describe how that event or work product was or was not consistent with the firm’s operating principles and practices.

-Review and discuss the document with your manager.

 

Scenario #2

 

-Imagine that your work unit is about to become a publicly-held, stand-alone company.

-As part of the due diligence and disclosure process, you have been asked to report on several critical resource and strategic issues in your unit.

-On your computer, generate a list of:

      -key performers (and the role of each)

            -the three most critical business issues that need to be addressed in the short-term

            -those business/operational strategies to which the group is now             committed

-Share your analysis and “stakeholder” report with your manager. Invite comments on your work.

3. Extensive Experience

 

Scenario #1

 

-During a meeting with your manager, ask him/her to identify two-three work units or departments with which your unit has some interaction.

-Outline verbally the core functions, operational roles and business practices for each unit or department.

-Ask your manager for feedback on the accuracy of your observations.

 

Scenario #2

 

-As a precursor to your work in a departmental or unit planning process, review the agreed-upon mission and vision of your group.

-Consider how components of your early planning thoughts mesh with that mission and vision.

-Where you note a potential disconnect, capture those aspects of the emerging plan on a sheet of paper.

-Next to each “disconnect,” describe in writing why there is misalignment and how you might bring needed coherence to that part of the plan.

 

Scenario #3

 

-Take a look at the organization chart for your work unit.

-Pay particular attention to the underlying “logic” of the organization (e.g., how the pieces fit, how components serve the larger business objectives of EDU Corp).

-Ask a colleague to listen to a brief description of your organization during which you highlight the business and human capital rationale that lies “behind the boxes.”

 

Scenario #4

 

-Develop a potential bibliography that focuses on the firm’s history, growth, reason for being and workplace culture.

-After conducting online and in-house library research, compile an outline of core data regarding these company-specific areas of interest.

-Arrange to present your findings to a seasoned executive and/or corporate communications professional who is likely to augment your findings based on his/her deep knowledge of EDU Corp.

 

 

4. Subject Matter Depth and Breadth

 

Scenario #1

 

-Imagine that you are an agent of industrial espionage working on behalf of a competitor.

-Your “handler” has asked you to obtain data on three specific areas of focus in a business unit other than your own.

-On a sheet of paper, write down three column headings: “Departmental Structure,” “Departmental Operations” and “Top Talent.”

-Under each heading, describe the methodologies you will employ for obtaining the information requested and monitoring future progress and change of that unit.

-Share the premise of the exercise and its outputs with a group of your peers.

 

Scenario #2

 

-Arrange a meeting with several peers during which you solicit their thoughts and feelings about culture shifts needed in your area of EDU Corp.

-In addition, ask them for examples of desired behavior that are likely to hasten those changes to work culture.

-Host a meeting of your direct reports.

-During this informal session, outline the cultural changes you have discussed with your colleagues and offer related examples that make those changes “come alive.”

-Ask the group for additional best practices and learnings that might further drive the desired culture change.

 

Scenario #3

 

-Join an externally-focused work group charged with enhancing the EDU Corp’ reputation in the broader marketplace (e.g., Corporate Communications, Investor Relations, Trade Show team, Public Service task force).

-Share with the relevant work group your specific expertise and initial ideas to help shape a communication plan and related action steps for achieving greater visibility and impact outside the firm.

-Work closely with your colleagues to implement agree-upon initiatives.

-In addition, help identify ways to assess the short- and long-term impact of these initiatives on competitors, customers, shareholders, industry associations, and the public at-large.

-Report back to your peers concerning what you have learned from these outward-facing activities.

 

 

 

Scenario #4

 

-Ask to be included in the firm’s upcoming onboarding or new hire orientation process for the IT function.

-Conduct archival research within the company as well as online in order to learn about the organization’s commercial history. Pay particular attention to anecdotes and employee experiences that dramatize notable successes, innovations, set-backs, and societal contributions over time.

-Prepare and deliver a tightly-focused PowerPoint presentation on the organization’s history, industry niche, innovations, growth, challenges, and overall place in the global economy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LEADERSHIP

 

 

Knowledge of approaches, tools, and techniques for gaining cooperation and support of others.

 

1. Basic Understanding

 

Scenario #1

 

  • Do some reading about a world leader you personally admire (past or present).
  • As you learn more about this individual, take notes on what made/makes him/her particularly effective.
  • Make a brief presentation to a group of peers on the leadership traits your subject revealed over time and some specific instances in which they were most evident.

 

Scenario #2

 

  • Consider the life and career of two public figures who were ultimately viewed as ineffective leaders.
  • Determine what these two failed leaders had in common. Capture your thoughts in writing for a brief discussion with your manager.

 

2. Working Experience

 

Scenario #1

 

  • Ask to shadow an acknowledged business leader at EDU Corp.
  • As you watch and listen to him/her interacting with his/her team, pay particular attention to:
    1. How he/she makes and upholds commitments to others
    2. Ways of consistently showing initiative and confidence
    3. Attitudes and behaviors for inspiring others and demonstrating integrity
    4. How she/he communicates the desired future state and success of the function
  • After observing the leader in action, align the behaviors you observed with those of other business leaders whose work you know, both locally and in the larger corporate world. Share these examples of overlapping leadership behaviors with your direct reports.

 

 

 

3. Extensive Experience

 

 

Scenario #1

 

  • Ask to lead a project team.
  • Keep a detailed log of what accomplish every day and how well you think you did it. Be sure to capture instances when you set goals, motivated others, took a stand, credited others for their achievements, translated the larger vision into specific actions, and served as an inspiration and high-energy force on the team.
  • When the project is finished, ask your direct reports to provide with you with informal, anonymous feedback on your recent leadership and project management performance.
  • Review the outcomes with your manager and plan appropriate developmental initiatives.

 

4. Subject Matter Depth and Breadth

 

Scenario #1

 

  • Arrange to have an acknowledged community leader (politics, business, education) speak to you and your peers in an informal setting.
  • During the conversation, ask questions whose answers will help to explain how this individual goes about getting others to accomplish difficult things, drives decision making down the organization, inspires others to share and realize a shared vision, systematically communicates where the team is, where it’s going and how it’s doing, and ways of identifying underutilized human capabilities.
  • Review notes from this session with your peers to determine if you’re missing any critical, differentiating behaviors of highly-effective leaders.

 

 

 

 

 

 

LEARNING

 

 

Knowledge of tools, and techniques for grasping new concepts, acquiring new ways of seeing things, and revising ways of thinking and patterns of behavior.

 

1. Basic Understanding

 

Scenario #1

 

  • Conduct web research on “adult learning styles.”
  • Make note of different learning techniques, the tools to support each one and the circumstances in which they tend to be most effective.
  • When you have completed the research, discuss your current role with your manager and the ways in which continuing education will likely affect your professional growth and performance.

 

Scenario #2

 

  • ·        Ask a senior colleague to assign you a problem in an area totally outside  your knowledge and experience base.
  • ·        Identify tools, web-based instruction and networking options to solve the problem.
  • ·        Don’t be shy about asking for help.
  • ·        When you have completed the assignment—either successfully or not—write down some feelings you had during this learning experience (i.e., How did it feel to be learning about something outside your comfort zone?)

 

2. Working Experience

 

Scenario #1

 

  • Conduct an internal audit of your current subject mastery, knowledge gaps and developmental needs. Write these down.
  • Next, think about your demonstrated learning style (e.g., passive, proactive, web-based, classroom-centric) and preferences for knowledge and skill acquisition in the future.
  • Discuss your summary self-assessment in a meeting with your manager and choose an area of focus for short-term learning as well as the learning techniques you will employ.

 

 

 

 

Scenario #2

 

  • Choose a non-work-related topic in which you have interest but no knowledge (e.g., classical ballet, Australian football, World War I).
  • Develop an approach/strategy for becoming knowledgeable about the subject, build a core curriculum (i.e., books, multi-media, classroom instruction/adult education at a local school, peer interaction, the web) and identify a mentor/tutor to monitor your progress and provide guidance during your learning journey.
  • Throughout your learning experience, record some experiences you encountered along the way (e.g., frustrations, unanticipated insights, roadblocks, unexpected uses for the knowledge).
  • Meet with your mentor/tutor for an informal discussion of your new knowledge base and make plans for continuing and sharpening your learning quest.

 

Scenario #3

 

  • Meet with your manager and a local Learning and Development professional.
  • Ask them to suggest specific learning options for the time ahead: journals, magazines, professional blogs, other web destinations, association conferences and seminars as well as Credit Suisse Business School offerings.
  • Make some initial choices based on this list. Let your manager and Learning & Development contact know how useful you found these learning sources.

 

3. Extensive Experience

 

Scenario #1

 

  • Imagine that you are a professor of Organizational Behavior at INSEAD. You are conducting qualitative field research on what constitutes a “learning organization.”
  • Through networking, identify three-five managers whose strong, personal commitment to continuing education drives enhanced organizational performance.
  • Host a roundtable discussion during which you pursue lines of inquiry:
    1. How do you consciously apply performance feedback to the learning process and, as a result affect behavioral change?
    2. In what ways does your own learning style influence your professional development?
    3. How do you know when learning has occurred and understand its implications for work?
  • Share the major research take-aways with your colleagues.

 

Scenario #2

 

  • Determine who is a learning “master” in the organization.
  • Arrange to shadow him/her as they interact with others in a learning mode (e.g., monitoring programs that combine formal learning with on-the-job practice, assisting others in understanding their personal learning style and how to “put it to work,” and establishing an ongoing professional network inside and beyond the work group).
  • Keep a log of what you see and hear, especially during moments of interaction with others.
  • Share the contents of your log with your peers.

 

4. Subject Matter Depth and Breadth

 

Scenario #1

 

  • Using the internet and your networks inside and outside the firm, identify an organization (commercial or not-for-profit) that is known for its commitment to lifelong education.
  • Conduct an interview with the Chief Learning Officer or learning exemplar.
  • Focus your questions on the detailed behaviors of that individual (e.g., “If I saw you ‘establishing a learning climate,’ what would I see you doing?” or “How did you decide what incentives to offer for helping others learn the right things at the right time?”)
  • After your interview, combine your observations in a brief written profile of a Learning Leader at work and share it with your direct reports.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LISTENING

 

 

Ability to gather, clarify and apply information transmitted verbally, while exhibiting a genuine interest toward the speaker.

 

1. Basic Understanding

 

Scenario #1

 

  • Research “communication theory” with a focus on “effective” or “active” listening.
  • Arrange a meeting with a peer during which you verbally share the results of your research.
  • During your presentation, note the listening behaviors of your colleague (e.g., engagement, eye contact, non-verbal cues that he/she is “listening” not just “hearing”).

 

Scenario #2

 

  • Have someone videotape you at home or the office while you listen to the news on the radio.
  • Play the tape back and note relevant aspects of your listening style (e.g., attentiveness, acknowledgement)

 

2. Working Experience

 

Scenario #1

 

  • Arrange a role play exercise involving two peers and yourself.
  • Ask one peer to listen to the other colleague describe his/her most recent vacation.
  • As the observer, take notes on the listening behaviors of your colleague (e.g., whether attentive and engaged, susceptible to interruptions, likely to telegraph understanding with non-verbal cues, eager to ask appropriate questions).
  • Share your observations with your peers.
  • Review your notes later to help enhance your own listening style.

 

3. Extensive Experience

 

Scenario #1

 

  • At a management meeting, ask a colleague to keep a “listening log” of your reactions and behaviors during a formal presentation.
  • Ask the colleague to note how you responded to non-verbal cues, acknowledged the “delivery” of messages, appeared to accept other points of view, controlled personal reactions that might otherwise have shut-down communication, and asked appropriate and engaging questions.
  • Review the log and ask your colleague for any needed clarification.

 

4. Subject Matter Depth and Breadth

 

Scenario #1

 

  • Watch a tape of a parliamentary debate or UN speech.
  • When members of the audience are on the screen, assess their high-end listening skills (i.e., sustained levels of heightened interest, apparent accuracy in interpreting gestures and body language of the speaker, intellectual and emotional attentiveness).
  • Keep a log of what you observe and share it with a peer.

 

Scenario #2

 

  • Identify an internal or external speech coach to learn about techniques for enhanced listening.
  • Watch and listen carefully as he/she conducts a coaching session with a student. Pay particular attention to:
    1. How silence and paraphrasing are employed
    2. Specific techniques for signaling a sense of engagement and having been “heard”
    3. Effectiveness of the coaching style and quality of “course” content
  • Share any important learnings with your peers.

 

 

MANAGING ORGANIZATIONAL CHANGE

 

 

Ability to manage the successful and smooth transition from current to desired culture, practices, structure and overall organizational environment.

 

1. Basic Understanding

 

Scenario # 1

 

  • Select a non-commercial organization or institution (e.g., athletic league, museum, governmental agency, charity) that has undergone significant change over the past five years.
  • Write down some of the specific changes that have occurred, along with your thoughts about the rationale for each.
  • As best you can, identify some of the tools, resources and stakeholders who have contributed to those change initiatives and outcomes.
  • Share your work with your manager and discuss equivalent organizational changes that have occurred at the firm over the past few years.

 

2. Working Experience

 

Scenario #1

 

  • Direct your energy and thought to a change effort—no matter how modest in size or potential impact—in a non-office-based organization or affiliation (e.g., club, association, professional society, fraternal organization, family).
  • Play a strong, supportive role in the change initiative, identify resources to drive the effort, and adjust your own behaviors, expectations and style consistent with the desired outcomes.
  • Keep a journal of how you actively participated in managing organizational change and share it with your manager.

 

Scenario #2

 

  • Develop and record a hypothetical, work-focused change scenario.
  • Detail the nature of the change effort and the rationale behind it.
  • Include in your hypothetical write-up, how the process itself and the ultimate implementation of change will affect you, your unit and function.
  • Detail a communication or “get-on-board” plan to build employee acceptance and buy-in.
  • Review and discuss the scenario with your manager.

 

 

3. Extensive Experience

 

Scenario #1

 

  • With direction from your manager, join a project team or work group that is managing a change initiative.
  • Throughout the course of your involvement, keep a detailed journal of what you hear and see. Pay particular attention to the behaviors of the change champion/leader and how he/she uses prior experience to provide needed direction and support, focuses on the structure and tactics of the effort, monitors progress, develops plans and strategies for change adoption, and removes barriers to success.
  • Meet with the change management leader once the change has been implemented and discuss the contents of your journal.

 

4. Subject Matter Depth and Breadth

 

Scenario #1

 

  • Imagine that you have been asked by “CIO” Magazine to conduct an interview with a change management guru. The article is tentatively called “Change is Here to Stay—Confessions of a Serial IT Change Agent.”
  • With the help of your peers, identify someone at the firm—not necessarily an IT professional—whose change management skills and experience set him/her apart.
  • Conduct an interview with the change agent focused on techniques, tools and resources, definitions of mission and vision, transition and communication strategies and plans, role, relationship and process clarification, and methods for achieving wide-spread, multi-function commitment and support.
  • Present a summary of your “interview” notes at a meeting of your direct reports.

 

 

 

MANAGING WORKFORCE DIVERSITY

 

 

Ability to understand, appreciate and use the unique contributions of associates of varied cultures, nationalities, ethnic backgrounds, genders, ages, points of view, etc.

 

1. Basic Understanding

 

Scenario #1

 

  • On a sheet of paper, inventory your values, most observable behaviors, ethical and performance standards, primary language and other personal characteristics that you believe make you unique.
  • Ask a trusted peer, family member or spouse to develop a similar list of characteristics that “define” how you appear and “who you are.”
  • Compare the two lists, paying particular attention to the disconnects between your self-awareness and someone else’s perceptions.

 

Scenario #2

 

  • Conduct a web search on the subject of effectively managing diversity in the workplace.
  • Summarize key findings and resources for further study in a document for future reference.

 

2. Working Experience

 

Scenario # 1

 

  • Obtain photographs of eight-ten individuals from outside the workplace who are visually diverse in terms of gender and overall appearance.
  • Convene and facilitate a meeting of your peers, forming teams of two or three for participation in a learning exercise.
  • Distribute copies of one photograph to each team. Ask the team to write a “biography” of the individual pictured based on what they see and surmise (e.g., “A 38-year-old physicist raised in Chile, father of three, political centrist, avid cross-country runner who collects rare 18th century books and loves reggae”).
  • Ask each team to present their “biography” to the group.
  • When the teams have finished, share the actual background, interests and accomplishments of the individual pictured. Continue the exercise with additional photos.
  • Lead a discussion about the ways in which assumptions based on appearance drive prejudice and lack of tolerance in the workplace. In addition, discuss the positive impact of diversity in the firm’s global marketplace.

 

3. Extensive Experience

 

Scenario #1

 

  • Obtain documents outlining local and national law regarding diversity in the workplace and the consequences of illegal practices.
  • Share the information with your direct reports.

 

Scenario #2

 

  • Arrange and coordinate a “Diversity Fair” during which differences are celebrated, the business case for diversity is made, and managers discuss specific ways in which their mentoring and consensus-building activities with people of different backgrounds, talents and points of view have lead to better workplace contributions.
  • Distribute highlights of the proceedings to the entire organization.

 

4. Subject Matter Depth and Breadth

 

Scenario #1

 

  • Imagine that you have been asked to make a presentation to the firm’s Executive Committee entitled “The Whole Is Larger Than the Sum of Its Parts: Managing Diversity to Win in the Marketplace.”
  • Meet with an acknowledged leader in managing diverse employees to learn specifically how he/she promotes a collaborative workforce, facilitates candid interaction among people of different backgrounds and mindsets, coaches others to enhance their listening and speaking skills, and maximizes the contributions and business impact of diversity at work.
  • Share your interview notes with your peers and direct reports.

 

 

NEGOTIATING

 

 

Ability to negotiate successfully across the organization and with external vendors in a constructive and collaborative manner.

 

1. Basic Understanding

 

Scenario #1

 

  • Conduct an internet and/or library search on best practices in negotiating.
  • Take notes on the concepts, roles, responsibilities and techniques that underlie effective negotiating outcomes.
  • Share your best-case findings in a brief oral presentation to your manager.

 

Scenario #2

 

  • Learn what you can about the Vietnam Paris Peace Talks 1972-73 (e.g., www.usip.org/class/simulations/paris.html) and pre-match negotiations surrounding the 1972 Bobby Fischer-Boris Spassky chess match in Iceland. Pay particular attention to the negotiations that preceded the actual events.
  • As you review this material, focus on how the adversaries were or were not able to establish trust and rapport and whether or not the negotiations were ultimately effective for each side.
  • Summarize your key learnings in a discussion with a colleague or your manager.

 

2. Working Experience

 

Scenario #1

 

  • Prepare and conduct a role play exercise with a number of your colleagues.
  • Imagine that you have been asked to arrange a holiday party luncheon for employees in your work unit. You have been authorized to spend $30 per person. You research various options and determine that you’ll need at least $50 per person for an appropriate and enjoyable celebration.
  • Ask a colleague to play the role of administrator whose budget is funding the party.
  • Conduct the negotiation role play while others observe the proceedings.
  • De-brief and discuss as a group:
    1. The listening skills and probing techniques of both parties
    2. The extent to which each party focused on the issues at hand, not the personalities involved
    3. The ability to control unhelpful emotions during the process, as well as his/her willingness to critically examine and understand his/her own position.

 

3. Extensive Experience

 

Scenario #1

 

  • With help from your manager, arrange to attend formal negotiations with an external party (e.g., equipment purchase, contract extension).
  • Watch and listen carefully to both parties and observe how well each reveals their familiarity with the process itself, how apparent differences are ultimately cast as mutually advantageous, and the extent to which “no surrender” nevertheless achieves a “win-win” for both parties.
  • Share your observations with your manager, highlighting those aspects of the negotiations that you found to be particularly effective—on both sides of the dialogue.

 

Scenario #2

 

  • Ask to speak with someone who has recently conducted a successful negotiation on behalf of EDU Corp.
  • Quiz him/her specifically about how he/she notes similarities and differences between the issues and determines their potential impact on the process itself, best practices for determining when the negotiations are at an impasse and specific techniques both for explaining the risks and moving ahead.
  • Ask the negotiator to supplement these “teachings” with specific examples based on his/her experience.
  • Share what you have learned with your peers.

 

4. Subject Matter Depth and Breadth

 

Scenario #1

 

  • Imagine that you have been asked to write an article for the London Business School magazine, “Business Strategy Review.” The subject of the article is “Don’t Take ‘No’ for an Answer: Principles of High-Impact Negotiating.”
  • Arrange to meet with someone in the organization who is regarded as a superb, highly-experienced negotiator.
  • During your interview, focus your questions on how he/she selects a specific negotiating strategy, assesses the ultimate effectiveness of adversarial versus shared problem-solving styles, gains buy-in from those who resist, and describes instances in the past where his/her negotiations involved significant business risk in volatile, multi-party situations.
  • Share your outline of the article’s content with a group of peers and ask for their reactions and questions.

  

 

 

OPERATIONAL FUNCTIONS

 

 

Knowledge of major functional processes and associated operating requirements.

 

1. Basic Understanding

 

Scenario #1

 

-Conduct internal research to build an inventory of critical functional roles aligned with “local” operations in your work unit.

-Arrange a meeting with your manager during which you discuss the key operational functions and roles.

-Invite your manager’s feedback, corrections and suggestions and add them to your inventory for future reference.

 

Scenario #2

 

  • Imagine that it’s “Take A Child To Work Day” at the firm.
  • You have been asked to make a presentation on technology’s role in support of operating functions.
  • Develop the outlines of a brief PowerPoint presentation that you will deliver to the assembled children. Keep in mind that your slide content and supporting examples should be clear, concise and kid-friendly.
  • Share your slide show with a colleague and ask for feedback on its organization and content.

 

2. Working Experience

 

Scenario #1

 

-Choose a core operational function in the department for detailed study.

-Arrange for several fact-finding interviews with senior managers in the function.    -Focus on the mission and baseline responsibilities of the function.

-Review your notes and summarize your findings.

-Arrange a brief, note-based verbal presentation of your findings to a colleague who is unfamiliar with the function you are describing.

 

Scenario #2

 

-Select a critical operational function in the organization.

-Meet with the individual most recently responsible for developing a business plan for that function.

-During your discussion, ask about the performance objectives and business strategies currently associated with the function.

-Share the data derived from this discussion with your manager in a brief conversation.

 

Scenario #3

 

-Ask your manager to identify a subject matter expert responsible for keeping an eye on external regulatory entities.

-“Shadow” the individual as he/she goes about following trends and changes in the external regulatory and reporting arena.

-Note which of these monitoring activities involve internet searches, library research, interaction with Public Affairs personnel, conversations with industry trade associations, meetings with in-house lawyers, or attendance at company briefings.

-Be sure to keep a detailed journal of what your subject matter expert did, saw, heard, and recorded during these activities.

-When your shadowing role is over, share your journal with your manager and determine if he/she has any questions about what you saw and learned.

 

3. Extensive Experience

 

Scenario #1

 

-Meet with senior line managers across one-two functions in order to answer the question: “How have you effectively integrated technology into your operational function?”

-Review your notes from these discussions and summarize your findings for each function.

-Share your research results with your peers and ask for their feedback.

 

Scenario #2

 

-Assume that you’ve just been asked to write an article for “Operations Review” entitled “Assessing Industry-based Considerations and Concerns from an Operations Perspective.”

-With your manager’s input, develop a list of internal thought leaders in this area of focus.

-Create an interview protocol for data gathering.

-Conduct the interviews, review your notes and compile a list of what would constitute the headings of your article.

-Share your work with the subject matter experts and seek their detailed feedback.

 

Scenario #3

 

-Arrange to meet with staff from the Office of the General Counsel and/or Public and Governmental Affairs at EDU Corp.

-Structure your conversation(s) around challenges and concerns regarding cross-functional issues in the larger regulatory arena.

-Work your notes into a tightly-focused, three-five-slide presentation.

-Invite a number of your colleagues to attend your presentation of findings and best practices.

-Solicit from your colleagues advice and feedback on your presentation.

 

4. Subject Matter Depth and Breadth

 

Scenario #1

 

-Conduct a web and/or library search for books and articles on ”internal consulting—best practices.”

-Take notes, as appropriate and useful.

-After you’ve gained third-party insight on effective consulting, ask several of your peers if you can shadow him/her when they are next involved in advisory work with major functions in the organization.

-Follow the “consultants” during his/her interactions with functional personnel and pay particular attention to the oral communication that takes place.

-Afterwards, de-brief these colleagues about what you saw and heard.

-Capture the key behaviors of effective internal consulting on a document for future reference.

 

Scenario #2

 

-With the support and encouragement of senior management, undertake research that attempts to assess the firm’s operating functions in the context of the financial services industry itself.

-Develop your suggested approach and search methodology and share it with several peers. Solicit their input and suggestions for new sources of information.

-If necessary, consult with corporate resources that may be helpful in your efforts.

-When you have completed your research, develop a PowerPoint presentation that highlights your key findings.

-Identify an occasion to deliver your presentation to a large group of employees within the function (e.g., year-end review meeting, initial planning session for new budget year).

 

Scenario #3

 

-Conduct a web search focused on “effective managerial coaching.”

-Ask several colleagues to suggest the names of notably strong coaches who routinely “get people thinking about all relevant aspects of functional and cross-functional issues.”

-Spend some time with those “coaches” probing for detail regarding how he/she facilitates major shifts in mindset and action.

Scenario #4

 

-Through word-of-mouth and consultation with your peers, identify an externally-focused senior executive who is known for his/her intelligence gathering—especially as it relates to trends in the industry, star performers, and key competitors.

-Arrange to meet with the individual in order to learn what resources he/she has at their disposal for conducting this research on a regular and systematic basis.

-Capture these resources in a document for future reference.

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ORAL COMMUNICATIONS

 

 

Ability to express oneself and communicate with others verbally; recognizing that verbal communication is more than just language—it includes tone, style and structure.

 

1. Basic Understanding

 

Scenario #1

 

  • Choose someone in the public domain (e.g., state leader, movie star, local politician, newscaster) who is superb at verbal communication and another who is ineffective.
  • Watch and listen to live or taped examples of both individuals speaking.
  • Make notes on what constitutes success for one speaker and communication failure for the other. 

 

Scenario #2

 

  • Arrange to have someone video-tape you making a five-minute presentation on how you spent last weekend.
  • Review and critique the tape with your manager, paying particular attention to clarity, word choice and non-verbal expression.

 

2. Working Experience

 

Scenario #1

 

  • Ask three-five colleagues to serve as an attentive audience.
  • Prepare and deliver a five-minute briefing on a recent scientific or medical break-through that you have read about in the news.
  • During your presentation:
  1. 1.      Try to personalize the content
  2. 2.      Avoid jargon
  3. 3.      Assess whether or not your messages are being received
  4. 4.      Frame the content in ways that are appropriate to different members of the audience
  • Ask for detailed feedback on your presentation.

 

Scenario #2

 

  • Ask your manager to deliver an interim, oral performance review of your recent work.
  • During the session, be self-conscious with regard to your “listening” as opposed to “hearing” style (e.g., attentiveness, non-defensiveness).
  • Afterwards, ask your manager to assess the non-verbal signals you were sending and whether or not they were appropriate.

 

3. Extensive Experience

 

Scenario #1

 

  • Identify an individual who is widely-regarded as a fine oral communicator.
  • Arrange to attend several formal and informal sessions lead by that employee.
  • Take notes on what you observe and hear with regard to “reading the audience,” the use of expressions such as “I think” or “In my opinion” in front of skeptical and difficult listeners, the inclusion of clarifying examples and the ease and flow of delivery.

 

Scenario #2

 

  • Imagine that you have been asked to write an article for the business section of your local newspaper entitled, “Communicating to Win.”
  • Arrange to meet with a top-notch speaker in the organization.
  • During the interview, probe for tips on speaking without notes, measures of success with technical and business staff, and personal techniques for both obtaining relevant information and packaging it orally.
  • Review your notes and develop a brief oral presentation based on what you learned.
  • Without any speaker notes, present the key features of your “article” to an audience of peers.
  • Ask for feedback.

 

4. Subject Matter Depth and Breadth

 

Scenario #1

 

  • Attend a professional conference and listen to every keynote speaker who covers complex, technical material.
  • Take notes on how effective each speaker is and why you think so (e.g., making difficult subject matter easy to understand, personalizing interaction with diverse audiences, revealing depth of expertise and experience and using the right techniques and media to drive understanding and knowledge transfer).
  • Share what you observed and have learned with your direct reports and schedule oral presentations on a technical topic of their own choosing in the days ahead.

 

 

 

 

ORGANIZATIONAL SAVVY AND POLITICS

 

 

Knowledge of and ability to effectively navigate formal and informal communication and decision-making channels.

 

1. Basic Understanding

 

Scenario #1

 

  • Based on your knowledge of the work group, draw an organizational chart that highlights the structure and reporting lines within the group.
  • Locate an official org chart and compare your rendering with the actual.
  • Make needed changes to your version of the chart.

 

Scenario #2

 

  • Conduct a web search on the subject of “informal communication.”
  • List five-seven examples of “formal communication” and a like number of “informal” ones.
  • Based on your research and personal experience, record some of the risks and rewards associated with the use of informal channels of communication.

 

Scenario #3

 

  • ·        Conduct an e-mail poll of peers concerning the behaviors and personal characteristics that are most valued in your work group.
  • ·        Record the individual responses to your e-mail questionnaire, tabulate the data (in order of frequency response) and share the results with your manager. 
  • ·        Ask your manager if your poll results track with his/perceptions of what really counts in this environment.

 

2. Working Experience

 

Scenario #1 

 

  • Based on networking, personal observation and experience, work group protocols and org charts, develop a “Need to Know” list of key decision makers and stakeholders within your unit.
  • Similarly, develop a list alongside the first in which you identify individuals in other functions, departments or groups who are primary “consumers” of information.
  • Draw connecting circles around those names on both lists who you believe represent the greatest source of ongoing, cross-departmental communication.

 

Scenario #2

 

  • Prepare a list of 10-12 work activities or requests (e.g., “Project Completed,” “Volunteers Needed for Brainstorming Session,” “Request for Vacation,” “System Maintenance this Weekend.”
  • Meet with your manager to review the list and, for each message,  determine which individuals and/or work groups—both within and outside the unit—would “need to know.”
  • When making your determinations, agree on the preferred mode of communication (e.g., e-mail, in-person, memo).
  • During this process, solicit your manager’s advice on who should not be on the receiving end of specific communications and the reasons why not.
  • Ask you manager to highlight any individuals who he/she believes consistently use high levels of effective communication to drive decision making and/or problem solving.

 

3. Extensive Experience

 

Scenario #1

 

  • Read the chapter entitled “The Law of the Few: Connectors, Mavens and Salesmen” in Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point.
  • Ask several colleagues to identify someone who seems to fit the definition of a “connector”—someone with exceptional networking and communication skills.
  • When one name surfaces more than others, arrange to meet with that individual in order to better understand how he/she:
    1. Builds and maintains networks and alliances, both locally and across work groups and departments
    2. Communicates short- and long-term activities not only within his/her sphere of influence, but in other functions and work group.
    3. Gains detailed and useful knowledge concerning objectives, key issues, personnel and priorities within and across multiple groups
    4. Understands who needs to know what, when they need to know it, and what communication format or medium will work best
  • Report out to your peers on what you have learned from this conversation.

 

Scenario #2

 

  • Speak informally with your manager about the concept of organizational sensitivity and savvy.
  • Ask for some past examples in which he/she was exposed to an issue or challenge with large political implications.
  • Discover what your manager did to effectively address and resolve the issue in a proactive way.
  • Last, see if your manager can point out others in EDU Corp who consistently demonstrate great organizational savvy. Learn why he/she thinks so.

 

4. Subject Matter Depth and Breadth

 

Scenario #1

 

  • Imagine that you’ve been asked to co-author an article on organizational effectiveness for the “Harvard Business Review.”
  • You remember some of the theoretical and academic basics from your school days, but you’re hard pressed to provide the kind of case-based, real-life examples that “HBR” demands.
  • Determine who in your organization is exceptional at managing information, communicating what’s important, and picking and growing committed employees who thrive on collaboration and hard work.
  • To help you with your “article,” ask to shadow that exemplar for several days. Keep a detailed journal of what you see and hear. Pay particular attention to the ways in which he/she:
    1. Readily shares information with employees and stakeholders to gain commitment and high performance
    2. Matches the right key players with potential high-impact, high-stakes situations
    3. Is not only adept at forecasting potential roadblocks and set-backs, but avoids them by selecting likely targets of success
    4. Actively demonstrates and reinforces savvy organizational behaviors—often in the cultural context of the organization’s past and future
    5. Moves the organization’s performance needle by comparing his/her group or unit with others that are highly-effective
  • Share the content outline of the “article” with a group of your peers.

 

 

 

 

 

PLANNING: TACTICAL, STRATEGIC

 

 

Ability to contribute to operational (short term), tactical (1 – 2 years) and strategic (3 – 5 years) planning in support of the business plan.    

 

1. Basic Understanding

 

                  Scenario #1

 

-Ask two or three of your colleagues to volunteer for a brief “chalk talk” or “whiteboard” learning session.

-Explain to your colleagues that the purpose of this session is to collectively define the differences between “tactical” and “strategic” planning.

-Solicit the best thinking from your colleagues, capture relevant thoughts on the whiteboard, and seek final agreement on the two definitions.

-Share the out-put from the session with your manager, gain his/her reactions, and incorporate any suggested changes to the definitions.

 

                  Scenario #2

 

-Imagine that you have been asked by “CIO Magazine” to write an article about the planning process and cycle in your work unit.

-Develop a roster of individuals within your group who are likely to be helpful in your research for the “article.”

-Compile a brief, targeted set of questions for these colleagues, the answers to which will help you outline content for the article.

-Arrange and conduct in-person “interviews” with the individuals you have identified as sources of information, explaining in advance the purpose of these brief discussions.

-When you have concluded the data-gathering phase of your research, review your notes and develop a one-page outline for the article.

-Share your summary outline with your sources of information and ask for their feedback on your research.

 

2. Working Experience

 

Scenario #1

 

-Imagine that you have been asked by your manager to conduct a tour of your office/facility with a group of undergraduate IT majors from a local college. The focus of the tour is on how your group’s tactical plan gets translated into operational reality.

-Based on your knowledge of the group’s operational plan, develop a 1-2-page set of talking points that outlines major components of the plan. As you develop the talking points, keep in mind that the visiting students may not have the experience or classroom learning to fully understand the more complicated, EDU Corp-specific aspects of the plan.

-Explain to your manager the nature of this assignment and share your talking points with him/her.

-Ask for feedback on your role as “tour guide” in demystifying and explaining the operational plan.

 

Scenario #2

 

-Ask that you be given responsibility for day-to-day, operational oversight of a specific project.

-During the course of the project, keep a detailed log of every variance that occurs.

-Next to each variance entry, record the adjustment(s) that you and others determined were necessary.

-At the conclusion of the project, share the log with your project manager, review the nature of the specific variances, the corrective thinking that you and others brought to the occurrence, the different options that you identified, and finally, the ultimate resolution of the problem (i.e., were all available options explored, were the right adjustments made).

 

Scenario #3

 

-With the help of your manager, identify an upcoming initiative that calls for advance planning of multiple activities with systems and user groups.

-After learning who is ultimately responsible for overall project planning, shadow him/her during all aspects of the planning process, including interactions with systems personnel and the user community.

-As you follow the planner through key meetings, conversations, e-mail exchanges, telephone calls and computer use, keep a detailed diary of what you saw, heard and read during the entire planning process. Be sure to include the content of interactions between the project team and members of the user group.

-While you shadow the planner, be sure to ask questions along the way—especially questions having to do with why he/she decided to do or say what he/she did.

-Use your shadow diary as a benchmark for future involvement in team planning activities.

 

3. Extensive Experience

 

Scenario #1

 

-Ask your manager for help in identifying a recent work plan in which you played no role whatsoever.

-Have your manager copy or write a project “brief,” in which the overall goals and objectives of the project are clearly outlined.

-Working from that skeletal brief—and knowing what you do about current unit resources available to you and “your” plan—develop a roster of resources (e.g., people, software etc.) that need to be allocated in order to ensure project success.

-When you have completed the resource allocation summary, arrange to meet with your manager and discuss your suggested approach.

-During your discussion, have your manager share with you the actual resource allocations that were made and discuss any variance between the dedication of those resources and the ones you suggested.

 

Scenario #2

 

-Have a peer retrieve a copy of a strategic plan that is no longer “in play” within your unit.

-Ask him/her to provide you with the overall goals and objectives of the long-term business plan.

-Using these desired outcomes, compile a list of specific, detailed questions that need to be answered in order to flesh out and refine the overall plan.

-Meet with your peer who gave you the plan to review your detailed questions and determine what—if anything—is missing. During this discussion, pay particular attention to the underlying importance of these details to long-term strategic success.

 

 

4. Subject Matter Depth and Breadth

 

Scenario #1

 

-Consciously develop a climate at work that frequently reinforces the goals and strategic direction of the organization with your direct reports.

-Host a one-topic meeting with your direct reports to discuss how the “talk is walked.” As an example, have the group volunteer observable behaviors that constitute support of goals and strategy. Compile a list of these behaviors for distribution to and discussion with their direct reports.

 

Scenario #2

 

-Make a point of getting out on the “shop floor” and speaking directly with end-users and internal customers about the changes in the direction of their business, marketplace challenges, shifting IT needs, and other critical issues that can and should inform and drive the EDU Corp strategy.

-After compiling this customer feedback, convene a meeting with your peers during which you outline suggested changes you would make to the strategy in the context of this new data.

-Link back to your customers with the results of your deliberations with your peers.

 

Scenario #3

 

-On a monthly basis, conduct a targeted internet search, reach out to vendors and meet with internal techno-gurus in order to learn about the most recent trends in technology. .

-Compile an index of these marketplace trends and for each one, write down the implications for the existing and/or emerging systems strategy.

-After you have compiled and annotated the list, meet with a group of your peers to review its contents, gut-check your assumptions, discuss the implications for existing technology and agree on next steps affecting the strategic direction of EDU Corp and your own work unit.

 

Scenario #4

 

-Make a point of meeting with senior leadership to learn more about the global strategic direction of EDU Corp.

-If no pre-existing forum exists for this interaction, develop your own strategy for accessing the nature and scope of the larger strategic initiatives—both current and planned (e.g., attendance at global IT conference, review of minutes from senior leadership team meetings).

-Based on what you observe and/or learn, develop a tightly-focused set of suggestions and relevant questions that might serve to enhance the existing and/or future strategy.

-Ask a peer whose judgment you value for the best possible avenue for communicating your thoughts and suggestions.

 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

 
 

 

 

 

   

PROBLEM SOLVING

 

 

Knowledge of approaches, tools, techniques for recognizing, anticipating, and resolving organizational, operational or process problems.

 

1. Basic Understanding

 

Scenario #1

 

  • Conduct research on the basics of problem solving, including processes and techniques for identifying problems and their escalation.
  • Summarize your findings and share them with a peer.

 

Scenario #2 

 

  • ·        Make a list of what needs fixing in your house or apartment.
  • ·        Next to each item, indicate how you identified the problem, what will be required to fix it and how and when you will go about resolving the issue.
  • ·        When you are done, consider how you might apply the same analytics and resolution techniques to your own work area.

 

2. Working Experience

 

Scenario #1

 

  • Arrange an informal lunch with your peers during which a senior manager discusses various manifestations of problem identification and diagnosis, documentation, analysis of data relevance and accuracy, as well as the risks and benefits of various resolution alternatives.
  • If possible, ask the manager to demonstrate several problem-solving tools in action as he/she walks the group through a real life problem and details stakeholder perceptions and concerns.

 

3. Extensive Experience

 

Scenario #1

 

  • Identify someone who is regarded as an expert problem solver; an employee who frequently organizes others in work groups.
  • Shadow that individual as he/she selects, organizes and leads others in problem-solving activities and shared resolution efforts.
  • Keep a journal of observed actions and interactions.

 

 

 

Scenario #2

 

  • Imagine that you’ve been asked to write an article for a local university’s “Engineering Review.”
  • Arrange to meet with a manger at EDU Corp who is regarded as a top-flight, innovative problem solver.
  • Interview the manager in order to learn how he/she determines which approaches work best on different kinds of problems, how he/she goes about developing alternative resolution strategies for high-impact problems, and how he/she identifies and shares best practices, tools and processes.
  • Review the notes for your article with your manager.

 

4. Subject Matter Depth and Breadth

 

Scenario #1

 

  • Network in order to identify one-two employees who have recently worked on a problem-solving team lead by an acknowledged “master.”
  • Speak informally with these employees about what they observed during the assignment. Specifically:
    1. How the group leader achieved consensus on process, risk assessment, various decision points and criteria
    2. Ways in which stakeholders and problem-solvers were organized for success in solving a high-impact problem
    3. How training was conducted on surfacing alternatives and assessing their impact
  • Share what you have learned with your direct reports.

 

Scenario #2

 

  • Arrange a meeting with a resident expert at problem solving—someone who leads problem-solving efforts at the highest levels of the organization.
  • Quiz the individual about:
    1. Ways in which larger business issues and long-term trends are considered in problem solving
    2. How best-case practices and solutions are established for new and different problems
    3. Methodologies for managing resolution for high-impact problems across functions
  • Summarize the responses in a brief memo to your peers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

 

 

Knowledge of major products and services and product and service groups

 

1. Basic Understanding

 

Scenario #1

 

-Armed with a complete “shopping list” of company products and services, determine the utility of those offerings on the part of end-users. This may entail several e-mail exchanges with internal marketing personnel, and/or reference to company advertising, product specification materials, advertising samples, etc.

-When you have determined the use for each of product and service, write down those applications next to each one.

-File the list for future updating.

 

Scenario #2

 

-Through internal networking and a web search, determine the likely sources of product and service information.

-Create a computer-based “map” or graphic that highlights sources of relevant product and service data, as well as marketing materials that support the sale of those products and services.

-Share your map with your manager.

 

2. Working Experience

 

Scenario #1

 

-Imagine that you are a group marketing director at EDU Corp and that you have been asked to make a new product or service presentation before key members of the investment community.

-Choose a product or service that you are legitimately excited about.

-Referencing existing marketing materials, advertising briefs and product or service specifications, develop a four-six-slide PowerPoint presentation.

-Invite your manager and a number of colleagues to attend your formal presentation.

-When you are done, ask for feedback from the “investors.”

-Use your slides to help train new members in your work unit.

 

Scenario #2

 

-Identify a product about whose markets and delivery channels you know very little.

-Network with internal product development staff, sales personnel and marketing professionals aligned with that product in order to gain deep knowledge of current market dynamics and existing sales channels.

-Prepare a one-page “white paper” summarizing the information you have collected and send it to both your manager and your sources of information.

-Invite feedback from recipients of the “white paper” and file it for future reference.

 

Scenario #2

 

-Schedule a one-on-one meeting with a marketing or sales professional in order to learn more about the cost and pricing calculus for a recent product launch.

-In addition, ask about the employee’s experience with validation of product alternatives.

-Take notes on these discussions and share their content with a colleague.

 

3. Extensive Experience

 

Scenario #1

 

-Imagine that you’ve been asked to give a lecture at your alma mater on the role of monitoring critical issues, laws, environmental safeguards, regulations and codes of conduct.

-Meet with someone at EDU Corp who is charged with this very role. Explain the nature of your assignment and obtain as much written information about his/her role as possible.

-In addition, ask questions designed to make the subject matter come to life by mentioning specific, real-world experiences in which the commercial interests of EDU Corp were not necessarily aligned with the current regulatory environment.

-Based on your research, develop a six-eight-slide PowerPoint presentation based on the monitoring or “watch dog” role.

-Share the final presentation with your peers and ask for their feedback.

 

Scenario #2

 

-Identify a resident expert in the product development area who fully understands the interplay between implementing a product launch and the operational considerations that underlie it.

-Spend time with that individual, during which he/she reviews in great detail the specific launch of a product and all of the operational challenges and pay-offs that were involved.

-Take notes on what you have learned and share the “story” with a colleague.

 

Scenario #3

 

-Plan a “field trip” to a product planning and development meeting.

-Bring a tape recorder to capture dialogue from the session, especially exchanges that focus on the sequencing of activities that lead from the planning to delivery stages.

-Play the audio-tape back several weeks later to reinforce your real-time learning.

 

4. Subject Matter Depth and Breadth

 

Scenario #1

 

-Based on your understanding of product and service innovation, sales strategies and the financial implications of meeting sales targets, develop a five-seven-slide PowerPoint presentation that highlights two or three recent product and service introductions.

-Invite a number of colleagues to attend your presentation. Be sure to emphasize both the economic considerations of each development activity as well as its actual contribution to the firm’s financial success.

 

Scenario #2

 

-Search out a senior executive who is known as a great source of information on industry-wide trends and competitive offerings.

-Interview that individual, focusing on his/her methodologies for staying current and the tools at his/her disposal.

-Select a product or service category and—using the tools that the source recommended—begin to build a database of marketplace trends and relevant competitors.

 

Scenario #3

 

-Ask to be invited to a product planning session during which existing products will be assessed (both the firm’s and competitors’), their history and introductions over time discussed, and plans for the future agreed upon.

-Be an active listener, but also probe for specific lines of thought and analysis.

-Share your experience with a peer and cite ways in which this exposure has enhanced your overall product and service understanding.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RISK MANAGEMENT

 

 

Knowledge of process, tools and techniques for assessing and controlling an organization’s exposure (assets, liabilities, reputation…)

 

1. Basic Understanding

 

Scenario #1

 

-Conduct a web or library search focused on risk management: critical issues, best practices and ultimate benefits.

-Prepare two or three slides summarizing what you have learned.

-Invite a number of peers to a meeting during which you walk them through your mini-deck.

-Invite and answer any questions.

-Forward the deck to your manager for his/her review.

 

2. Working Experience

 

Scenario #2

 

-Imagine that you have been asked to author an article for a local business journal about risk management methodology at the work-unit level.

-Ask your manager to identify someone with the necessary subject matter expertise and experience to serve as your “data source.”

-Arrange and conduct an in-depth interview with the employee, probing as much as possible around critical steps and related procedures of the risk management process.

-Later, review your interview notes and develop a “storyline” for the article: a detailed outline of how a unit-level risk management engagement works.

-Share your outline with the interviewee to determine if you “got the story right” and make any needed changes.

-Forward the outline of the article to your manager for his/her review.

 

Scenario #2

 

-Choose a line of business other than your own.

-Arrange to meet with a senior manager in that business.

-During your discussion, ask a number of detailed questions concerning risk—how it is calculated for the business, how it influences business profitability and, more importantly, how one goes about selecting the appropriate risk management models and techniques to support that particular business.

-The manager may refer you to other sources with baseline responsibility for evaluating different risk management models. If so, conduct those interviews in order to build your knowledge base.

-Meet with your manager to review what you have learned during these conversations and gain his/her insight into how risk management models and methodologies are weighed and selected for your business.

 

Scenario #3

 

-Ask to be introduced to someone who regularly produces and analyzes risk management reports and communicates his/her findings to senior management.

-Shadow that individual as he/she sets about planning and shaping the dimensions of the report, interpreting the risk-associated details and packaging the results for management review. Keep a journal of what you see and hear, the systems-related initiatives at play and how the management ultimately “made sense of the numbers.”

-Share your journal with a peer who has had little exposure to the risk management world and field any questions that may arise from his/her reading of your work.

 

3. Extensive Experience

 

Scenario #1

 

-Join a team dedicated to implementing a function-wide risk management process with supporting tools.

-Keep a detailed journal during your work with the team and check in regularly with your manager regarding relevant aspects of mastering your learning curve.

 

Scenario #2

 

-Read and review a number of industry-focused risk management case studies.

-Pay particular attention to the specific models and the analytic tools that were used in the studies.

-Tie elements of the case studies to your own business and discuss those risk management insights with your peers.

 

4. Subject Matter Depth and Breadth

 

Scenario #1

 

-Through professional societies, business school contacts and industry associations, reach out to identify one or two acknowledged subject matter experts in the area of e-commerce and its implications for risk management.

-Arrange to have either or both experts speak before a group-wide IT audience.

 

 

 

 

Scenario #2

 

-Make a point of attending or reading the proceedings from professional conferences noted for their holistic “future-telling” (e.g., World Economic Forum, CES, MacWorld, Aspen Institute).

-Track technological, societal and geographic trends by interacting with executive education students and faculty at business schools as well as reading industry reports on recent trends in the larger marketplace (e.g., population studies, emerging markets, medical research, government regulation).

-Remain current on large-scale, global phenomena such as the AIDS epidemic, water scarcity and human genome research by reading magazines and journals such as “Foreign Affairs Quarterly,” “The Atlantic,” and “Science.”

-Demonstrate active curiosity about world events by attending non-industry-specific symposia on issues such as global terrorism, the Chinese economy and bio-engineering.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SERVICE EXCELLENCE

 

 

Ability to understand customer needs and expectations, provide excellent service in direct and indirect manner, and fulfill customer expectations.

 

1. Basic Understanding

 

Scenario #1

 

-The next time you dine in a restaurant, pay heightened attention to every interaction between the wait staff, you and any fellow diners.

-Create a document on your computer displaying two column headings: “Excellent Waiter Service” and “Poor Waiter Service.”

-Based on your recent dining experience, detail the highs and lows in the appropriate column.

-Arrange to meet with a colleague at work to review your recent customer experience, using your “service menu” as the content source.

-Be sure to include the percentage tip you left and the rationale for the amount.

 

Scenario #2

 

-Borrow, download or buy a book by Leonard Schlesinger that demonstrates the impact of outstanding customer service on the bottom line (e.g., The Service-Profit Chain, The Real Heroes of Business—And Not a CEO Among Them).

-Prepare a one-two-page book review.

-Arrange a meeting with your manager during which you share with him/her key findings from the book.

 

2. Working Experience

 

Scenario #1

 

-Ask your manager to identify someone in EDU Corp who has direct service contact with either internal or external customers and who consistently exceeds customer expectations.  .

-Arrange to meet with that exemplar and explain that you would like to “shadow” him/her while they interact with customers.

-Spend several days observing your service provider interacting with others, taking detailed notes on the what he/she did, said, wrote, heard.

-Capture highlights from the experience and file them for future reference.

 

 

 

 

 

Scenario #2

 

-Visit a local store, restaurant or organization with a reputation for living the “Customer is Always Right” credo (e.g., Stew Leonard’s, Saturn Auto dealer, L. L. Bean).

-Speak with a manager about personal examples of accepting responsibility for an error or problem even when the source of trouble lay somewhere else.

-Take notes.

-Based on your interview, outline a memo that captures the spirit of “getting it done regardless” and forward it to your manager for his/her review and comment. 

 

Scenario #3

 

-Imagine that you are a staff member in the EDU Corp Business School. You have been asked to develop the curriculum for a half-day training session entitled “A Sense of Positive Urgency.”

-Arrange to spend some time with an employee widely-known in the firm for his/her flexibility, service obsession and ability to be nimble and upbeat.

-Ask the individual to highlight specific instances in which he/she had to respond to unanticipated customer needs with “speed and smiles.”

-Later, summarize these customer-service provider experiences on a sheet of paper and share its content with your manager.

 

3. Extensive Experience

 

Scenario #1

 

-Locate and read the well-regarded article on SAS airlines and the “Moments of Truth” concept.

-Think about how that concept might be applied to the customer service infrastructure of your work unit.

-Develop a 5-7-slide PowerPoint presentation for several colleagues that summarizes the SAS story and includes your suggested application of the concept to your own work environment.

 

Scenario #2

 

-Seek out someone within EDU Corp who is comfortable talking about an instance in which the service provided failed to satisfy a customer—an occasion when the response to that disappointed customer was such that the firm’s reputation actually improved.

-During your discussion with the employee, learn about the specific service disconnect, what the employee did to fix the problem and why, as a result, the company’s reputation was actually enhanced.

-Share this knowledge with your direct reports during a discussion.

 

4. Subject Matter Depth and Breadth

 

Scenario #1

 

-Imagine that you are a management consultant hired by your EDU Corp to enhance service delivery. The focus of your work is on how best to re-engineer current business processes to achieve this goal.

-Knowing what you do about existing business practices and the underpinnings of superior customer service in your work unit, develop a memo addressed to senior management in which you advocate specific changes based on the consulting work you accomplish.

-Share the memo with your peers and spend some time with them testing the hypotheses of your arguments and the service-enhancing recommendations that result from them.

-Suggest that your peers share the revised documents with their direct reports for further study and discussion.

 

Scenario #2

 

-Identify someone at EDU Corp who has been successful in utilizing Customer Relationship Management software to achieve ever higher levels of service success.

-Interview that individual in order to learn: 1) how and why he/she chose the specific CRM product 2) any cost/benefit analysis brought to bear on the investment 3) why he/she thinks CRM has helped drive service levels up and 4) how he/she is measuring the impact of CRM on the service bottom line.

-Use what you learn to make future decisions regarding the acquisition of CRM software.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SYSTEM AND TECHNOLOGY INTEGRATION

 

 

Knowledge of features and facilities for integration and communication among applications, data bases and technology platforms.

 

1. Basic Understanding

 

Scenario #1

 

  • Attend an internal project planning or briefing session during which system or technology integration is discussed.
  • Take notes on the basic principles that underlie integration efforts, as well as the risks and rewards associated with technology integration initiatives.
  • Based on what you see and hear, write a brief memo to your manager in which you outline existing software, hardware or application integration efforts in your area of the firm.
  • Meet with your manager to ensure that you have accurately captured both the overarching concepts behind integration efforts as well as specific ways in which such initiatives have been translated into your workplace.

 

2. Working Experience

 

Scenario #1

 

  • Arrange to shadow a member of a system integration project team.
  • Keep a detailed journal of what you see and hear, especially as it relates to the planning process itself, characteristics of success, and the melding of applications, data, technology bridges and various IT platforms.
  • Meet with a peer who has not had any experience in system or technology integration and conduct a post-project debriefing based on what you have learned.

 

3. Extensive Experience

 

Scenario #1

 

  • Imagine that you have been asked to deliver a lecture to an advanced Computer Science class on the subject of “Making System or Technology Integration Work.”
  • To develop content for your presentation, network with experienced system and technology integration professionals, track recent industry trends through web-based articles and conference proceedings, and gain knowledge of the best practices, risks and pay-offs of successful initiatives.
  • Write an outline of what you have learned and share it with your peers for their review and comment.

 

4. Subject Matter Depth and Breadth

 

Scenario #1

 

  • Ask the CIO to identify a senior-level IT professional outside the financial services industry who is well-known for his/her consultative and advisory skills in planning, developing and implementing large-scale integration projects across multiple technologies. 
  • Arrange to speak with this integration guru either on the phone or in person.
  • During your discussion, and based on his/her experience in migration and integration initiatives, ask about specific instances in which problems occurred and how they were resolved.
  • Share what your learn from this conversation during a meeting with your direct reports.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TEAM MANAGEMENT AND TEAM BUILDING

 

 

Ability to form, build and manage effective teams.

 

1. Basic Understanding

 

Scenario #1

 

  • Conduct some targeted web-based research on effective team building. Focus on the characteristics and required action steps for creating effective and cohesive teams, as well as the factors that contribute to ineffective teams. Learn about the practical challenges of building and managing virtual teams.
  • Think about a recent time in which you were a member of a team and, based on what your research revealed, assess the extent to which your team (virtual or traditional) satisfied the criteria for an effective work unit.

 

2. Working Experience

 

Scenario #1

 

  • Watch a movie that highlights an effective team at work (e.g., “Saving Private Ryan,” “Apollo 13,” “Endurance,” “The Right Stuff,” “The Italian Job,” “Alive” or “We Are Marshall”).
  • As you view the action, take notes on how the team is formed, how roles, responsibilities and ground rules are determined, how progress is maintained and assessed, and how individual contributions are encouraged.
  • Share your observations with a group of peers and ask them for additional insights into the characteristics of building and managing highly-effective teams.

 

3. Extensive Experience

 

Scenario #1

 

  • Arrange to shadow an expert team builder during a project sequence.
  • Maintain a log of what you see and hear as it relates to maintaining the enthusiasm and energy of the team, communicating internally and externally, defining mission and getting team members on board, and identifying unique talents and individual work styles for enhancing overall team performance.
  • Present the content of your log to a group of direct reports and ask them to share specific instances of great teamwork they have witnessed.

4. Subject Matter Depth and Breadth

 

Scenario #1

 

  • Conduct some research on best practices associated with transferring team management knowledge to others (e.g., coaching, demonstrating by example, lecturing).
  • Summarize your key findings in a white paper and discuss the learning methodologies with your peers.

 

Scenario #2

 

  • Assume that you’ve been asked to write an article for the “Harvard Business Review” entitled, “Total Team Management: Building and Sustaining Top-Performing Teams.”
  • With input from your peers, identify someone in the organization who is particularly adept at creating cultures where teams collaborate across functions and in which inter-team conflict and competition across organizational boundaries are virtually non-existent.
  • Conduct a best-practices interview with this exemplar, summarize your findings in a PowerPoint presentation, and share those findings at a meeting of your direct reports.

 

 

 

 

 

 

TECHNICAL TROUBLESHOOTING

 

 

Knowledge of approaches, tools and techniques for anticipating, recognizing and resolving technical (hardware, software, application or operational) problems.

 

1. Basic Understanding

 

Scenario #1

 

-Conduct a web search on the basics of technical troubleshooting and the disciplined process of identifying, reporting and escalating problems.

-Capture what you’ve learned in a brief “white paper” and share it with a peer.

 

Scenario #2

 

-Network within your work unit to learn the location of guides, resources and support systems for troubleshooting.

-Create a written inventory of these items and share it with your peers.

 

2. Working Experience

 

Scenario #1

 

-Arrange a site visit at a nearby manufacturing business. Ask to speak with someone on the shop floor who is thought to be an expert troubleshooter.

-Interview the troubleshooter and take notes on how he/she: approaches typical problem-solving situations, uses vendor-generated tools, guides and utilities, discovers and resolves issues in an efficient fashion, identifies the kind of processes and tools that prove most useful, most often.

-Share what you learned with a group of your peers, highlighting similarities in approach and desired outcomes as well as differences (e.g., EDU Corp hardware, software and communication-specific issues, as well as local processes and tools for resolving them).

 

3. Extensive Experience

 

Scenario #1

 

-Arrange a brown bag lunch with your peers during which a EDU Corp IT professional noted for his/her troubleshooting skills shares “war stories” and highlights specific techniques for identifying and defining a resolution approach.

-Ensure that the speaker covers such topics as: the business consequences of “failure” as well as the significance of efficiency and timing in problem resolution, the use of high-end diagnostic techniques and tools for unusual problems, and resolving integration or communication problems in a multi-vendor, multi-product environment—at times, using vendor-specific resources, facilities and services.

-Summarize what you have learned in a brief “talking points” memo to your direct reports.

 

4. Subject Matter Depth and Breadth

 

Scenario #1

 

-Arrange to videotape an interview with the CIO on the issue of high-level troubleshooting.

-Prepare a list of questions that focus on the resolution of complex “failures” (including how best to define hardware, software and communication problems), different troubleshooting techniques tied to specific problem categories, how he/she works with internal teams as well and vendors in resolving mission-critical challenges, and monitoring problem logs in order to build and capture organizational knowledge.

-Screen the video for your direct reports and answer any questions that arise. Store the video for future screenings with new employees.

 

WORKFLOW ANALYSIS

 

 

Knowledge of activities, tasks, practices and tools associated with analysis of a variety of work processes and associated document and information flow.

 

1. Basic Understanding

 

Scenario #1

 

-Conduct web research on the topic of workflow analysis: basic concepts, types, key activities associated with the process, and analytical tools that are typically employed.

-Have a conversation with your manager during which you outline what you’ve learned and gain from him/her an explanation of how workflow analysis takes place in your work area.

 

2. Working Experience

 

Scenario #1

 

-Join a project team that will conduct workflow analysis during a development initiative.

-Have a member of the team demonstrate a workflow software automation package.

-Learn how the team determines which administrative processes are amenable to workflow analysis, how documents or processes are actually tracked, and when certain issues related to repetitive and non-repetitive work processes are isolated and documented.

 

3. Extensive Experience

 

Scenario #1

 

-Identify an individual whose current role involved oversight of workflow analysis.

-Arrange to shadow that individual, taking notes on what you observe and hear.

-Pay particular attention to discussions in which the benefits and negatives associated with automated processes are raised. In addition, watch carefully as the workflow analysis leader coaches others, makes recommendations for business processes that would derive great benefit from workflow analysis, and relates prior experiences with analysis and design activities.

-Review your journal entries with your peers and director reports.

 

 

 

 

4. Subject Matter Breadth and Depth

 

Scenario #1

 

-Assume that you’ve been asked to write an article for “CIO” magazine focused on selecting and integrating workflow analysis technologies.

-Meet with the CIO at EDU Corp and ask him/her questions around the issues of evaluating new analytical applications, tools and techniques, comparing workflow approaches, identifying best practices for workflow automation, and monitoring trends in the industry and vendor population regarding new or enhanced technologies.

-Share your notes with your direct reports and offer to arrange advanced training on these topics in the time ahead.

 

 

 

WRITTEN COMMUNICATIONS

 

 

Ability to produce a variety of business documents that demonstrate command of language, clarity of thought and orderliness of presentation.

 

1. Basic Understanding

 

Scenario #1

 

  • Learn about the components and structure of a well-written memo.
  • Compose a memo that documents clearly and concisely a work-related event during the past few days.
  • Craft a cover e-mail for your memo and send both to a member of your job family who writes well for his/her review, editing and comments.

 

Scenario #2

 

  • Conduct research both in your own work environment and on the web for examples and characteristics of effective, well-written business and technical documents.
  • Reach out to your job family community (e.g., via electronic Bulletin Board) for help in locating business and/or technical writing that is uniformly poor (i.e., ungrammatical, unorganized, verbose, uninformative). Review these documents.

 

2. Working Experience

Scenario #1

 

  • Investigate and become familiar with relevant policies and procedures for internal and external communication.
  • In addition, locate and review documentation guidelines for different business processes and events.

 

Scenario #2

 

  • ·        Identify potential “writing workshop” environments, by referring to your job family community Bulletin Board.
  • ·        Ask your manager to place you on a project team engagement in which you will have to develop reports, user manuals and system and process documentation.
  • ·        Have the project leader and/or your manager review and edit your written materials.
  • ·        Be sure to meet with the project leader and/or manager in order to systematically review the edits and the rationale for making them. In addition, make time to discuss the challenges of writing for different audiences (e.g., business and technical, internal and external).

 

3. Extensive Experience

 

Scenario #1

 

  • When working on a project team, identify a roadblock or set-back during the course of the engagement.
  • Write two detailed memos summarizing the situation and suggesting a remedy for it: one for technical members of the team and another for the client.
  • Ask team members with experience and knowledge of effective technical writing to review both documents and their suggestions for improving your communication skills.

 

Scenario #2

 

  • Ask your manager/colleagues from other job families to provide you with examples of reports and documents that are effective at explaining complex issues in a concise, logical, fact-based manner. In addition, ask him/her to share some proposals with you that were successful in advancing the business case and persuading the reader.
  • As you review these documents, keep a log of the characteristics that underlie effective business and technical writing.
  • Finally, read some of the influential work of Edward Tufte on the effective presentation of complex information using graphics, tables, PowerPoint, charts and diagrams.

 

4. Subject Matter Depth and Breadth

 

Scenario #1

 

  • Establish a blog entitled, “Good Writing Can’t Be Taught. But It Can Be Learned.”
  • Spend some time speaking to highly-effective writers within the organization regarding critical elements of expository prose, special techniques for communicating complex ideas to business, technical and diverse audiences, and factors influencing successful co-authorship.
  • Ask for work samples that underlie these tips.
  • Based on what you have heard and read, craft content for the blog that tracks your improved writing skills and explains the “why’s” and “how’s” underlying your progress.

 

 

 

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