BLOG - Ideas and Insights

  • 12/13/2017 10:18 PM | Paul Venderley

    In the annual ATD-Orange County Holiday Celebration and Volunteer Recognition Event, Chapter President Jeffrey Hansler look a moment to share his vision for our Chapter's future.

    And he asked a question:

    What is the greatest value ATD-Orange County can provide to talent development professionals and their organizations?

    Jeffrey didn't give the answer outright, more's the pity. He did share his strategy for the coming year: to provide our members with multiple opportunities for outrageous value, and suggested that the majority of those opportunities will not reside in our programs, but in the roles within our Chapter.

    Let's take a look at what he's getting at by exploring our Mission and Vision.

    Empower local professionals to effectively develop talent in the workplace.

    We're a community of talent development professionals passionate about what we do.  We want to enter the workplace and ... develop the talent of the people we work with.  YET: not all of us are empowered to do this, not unless we've been in the industry for years, and have built up credibility borne of research and experiences.  How do we get that empowerment?

    Let's look to our Chapter Vision for that answer.

    Be the space in which to practice and perfect your talent development skills and build your professional network in Orange County.

    One of the things each of us works to provide in our training environments is a safe space for people to learn and share their thoughts.  This safe space is crucial for our participants to try new things without the risk inherent in failure.

    ATD-Orange County is that safe space for the talent developer. 

    Think of it.  This community is a microcosm of a training department.  From program coordination to marketing and communication, from lesson planning to leadership, if it's done in your training organization, it's done here.  ATD-OC is the source for your development plan in whatever talent development skill you need to work on.  Need a mentor?  Look to our Chapter Leadership.  Need to develop your mentoring skills?  Join the Chapter Leadership.

    Over the course of the next few days, we're going to publish our Volunteer Special Recognition Awards.  These are folks who have come to ATD-OC with a passion to help and a passion to practice.  Listen to Past President Kathleen Dvorak-Ashelford praise their work, and you'll hear her mention time and again how someone tried something new, experimented with an idea they were working on, and impacted not only the Chapter but their own ability to credibly say: "I've tried this, here's how it worked, and here's how I'll apply this technique in your organization."

    If you're looking for a safe space to grow your skills as a talent developer, we invite you to look to the heart of our community.  We're busy, but were empowered to both serve and develop a training organization 200 members strong.

    (In the picture, we're meant to be the fellow holding the ladder.  The one with the telescope? That's you, planning out your future.)

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  • 11/14/2017 5:03 PM | Paul Venderley

    While leading his session titled: “Leadership Agility and Culture Change Through the Power of Play,” facilitator Gary Muszynski introduced us to the handpan.

    This instrument is a recent contrivance which appears to have first been produced in the 2000’s. It looks like a metallic tortoise shell, and its sound is reminiscent to that of a steel drum (which apparently are also called ‘steel pans’). Here’s a video to give you an idea of what a handpan sounds and looks like.

    We did not get good seats for the concert...Gary’s handpan came out at the end of the session, as Gary discussed how an improvisational leader reacts in moments of change or ambiguity. But there was another message that struck me as I watched Gary's performance.  Gary's improvisation came from his passion for the simple act of making music, and of embracing new ways to make that music. When he learned of the handpan he didn’t dismiss it as a curiousity, content with his established career of playing instruments with a rich tradition and history. Instead, he chose to move beyond the way he had always been doing things and considered how he could incorporate this new, unheard-of instrument into his program.

    Moving beyond the way things have always been done seemed to be a theme throughout the ATD Regional Conference (Southern California Chapter), at least in the sessions I had attended.

    It began with Galen Emanuele’s keynote “Creating a ‘Yes, And’ Culture of High-Level Performance and Engagement,” in which the simple activity of composing a letter one word at a time opened the group to broader improvisational and creative possibilities. It continued with Paul Signorelli’s challenge that today’s classroom need not be confined within four walls (we knew that), or even within one organizational structure. In his workshop on creating video learning content, Tim Smith challenged us to think about different ways to utilize tools we already have, and created a quick instructional video using -- wait for it -- PowerPoint. And when he was not leading a group of talkative talent development professionals wordlessly, with naught but a Shaker Egg, Gary Muszynski was demonstrating how a simple activity of moving rocks around in a circle could lead to deep insights about everything from supply chain to collaborative leadership.

    There’s passion in that simple act of moving beyond the status quo. Passion in exploring a new route, in wondering how a new technique or tool could be applied to your current environment. There’s excitement brewing in the simple phrase “Yes, and…”, and a thrill in uncovering the sublime within the simple.

    And in those introspective moments borne on the ride home, a question arose: am I bringing that passion to my work?

    If you’re now thinking: “Golly, sounds like I missed an interesting conference,” don’t worry. I’ve little doubt that these presenters won’t be a part of ATD ICE when it comes to San Diego next May.

    Obligatory ICE Conference Link here

    Obligatory prompt to use our Chapter Code when registering here.

  • 10/19/2017 7:50 PM | Paul Venderley

    An interesting point came up in last night's Training and Technology SIG Meeting:

    During our analysis, we focused on our audience. We did not clearly define our audience's audience.

    In other words...

  • 08/04/2017 2:20 PM | Paul Venderley

    As the social media universe continues to expand and evolve, it's more important than ever to conduct an analysis of:

    • Who you are trying to reach
    • Your purpose for connecting to those people via social media

    During this Analysis phase, we may find that the traditional methods of asking our audience what they'd like most to hear from us won't work because our audience isn't quite talking to us.  Fortunately, there are several other tools that can help us identify the key words that will help search engines such as Google or Bing to connect people looking for our services to our online presence.

    As we start to Design our strategy, it becomes vital to consider where we're going to be focusing our efforts.  Rather than select a social media platform because it's the coolest new thing (we've done that), we need to determine what we plan to contribute to the social media conversation, and select the best platform to support that.

    LinkedIn remains the go-to platform for professional development and networking.

    Even though it ranks low on daily usage, its power is in its impact on search results.  LinkedIn is the social network MOST often appearing at the top of Google search results.

    But your profile won't appear on search results unless you optimize it by using as many of the LinkedIn fields and options available to you, taking care to include those keywords that you've identified in your analysis. Remember: you're about to undertake a significant effort to communicate to a vast audience of strangers.  But even the most well-crafted post or stunningly shot videos won't matter if not one member of that vast audience has a means to find you.

    That said: bios are static.  The social media network is moving, liquid, incessantly chattering, looking for the person who is on the cutting edge, or the stalwart who has mastered the best practices.  Once you're set up in LinkedIn, you'll need to engage with others on the platform.  Going to them will be more impactful than waiting for them to come to you.  You can do that by participating in Groups which, though a bit difficult to find, can come with significant exposure.

    The 2 billion+ user gorilla in the social media universe, Facebook's value is not in search engine results, but daily activity.  This is where people go to share daily, sometimes hourly.  If your audience is following you here, you've got a better chance of reaching them with the latest news.

    You'll want to decide where to invest your time.  Do you want to develop a community where your audience will feel more comfortable sharing their ideas and carefully crafted opinions?  Or do you want to develop a business profile where the focus is more on brand development?  Both have their pros and cons, as does implementing a combination of both.

    We delve into these subjects with a bit more detail in our Summer Social Series.  Chapter Members can find session summaries and recordings here:

  • 07/12/2017 11:59 AM | Paul Venderley

    On March 14, 2016, the BizSIG held a group meeting titled: Your Online Platform: Using Social Media to Promote Your Brand. We introduced the vastness of the social media universe via the Conversation Prism, originated by Brian Solis in 2008. That was the third version of that model. 

    A little more than a year later, the Conversation Prism has been updated.

    As the social media universe expands, it also evolves. Facebook was fun when it was friends, family, and Farmville. LinkedIn made sense as an online resume and networking resource. But now these tools are viewed as marketing channels, necessary venues for the promotion of one’s professional brand. Anyone who’s anyone not only has an online presence, they are contributing to multiple social media channels.

    How does one stand out within this cacophony? By strategically approaching how they use social media.

    Fortunately, as talent development professionals, we’re familiar with a model that help us strategically approach the creation and distribution of our training content: the ADDIE model.

    How could a decades-old model designed for the crafting of impactful training interventions apply to social media? Let’s take a look.


    In our Training and Technology SIG (shameless plug), we discussed the concept of a “Primary Learner Persona.” This is the person for whom your training is being created. 

    Your brand should have that as well. Who are you trying to reach? Not all the companies in Orange County. Not all the companies who are looking for training. No, you’ve got a specific niche. Who are they? Where are they? And what do they want to know? 

    Speaking of niches, what’s your purpose for connecting via social media? Are you joining as a creator? Seeking to engage a community? Is your plan to influence others with your expertise? 

    We ask because your presence on social media can’t be just about your business or brand. Like good training content, what you share must have a strong WIIFM for your audience.


    What sort of content will you generate? I’m partial to blogging, but I’m set curmudgeonly within the minority. Content these days needs to be media-rich, and take advantage of the unique features within the social media network you select. 

    ATD-OC has begun producing video to promote their events, expanding their social media imprint in both Facebook and YouTube.


    Once you know both yourself and your audience, and you have a clear vision for your content, you’re ready to create content. Developing content’s easy. More difficult is developing content that gets shared, that brings people to your site. 

    How the content is created will be dependent upon the social media channel you use. LinkedIn content should be created for the white-collar professional. Facebook users skew younger. Pinterest users are primarily mobile. People tend to use Twitter for news consumption.


    Key to implementation: communicating who you are. Give considerable time to your social media profiles, and take advantage of the unique features each platform provides to differentiate yourself from everyone else.


    It’s not just about the Likes, it's about the engagement. Does your audience respond to your content? Do they share it? Does your own site get more traffic after a post? Do you get phone calls? 

    Most sites provide analytics to let you know the answers to the above questions, and more. Frequent evaluations will allow you the opportunity to make tweaks to how you communicate via social media.

    Let's discuss further

    This is just the start of the conversation we'll be having this summer in our Summer Social Series.  If you'd like to join us, register today!

  • 06/23/2017 11:28 AM | Paul Venderley

    In the Training and Technology SIG's June session, we determined that all things being equal, authorware selection can be based on personal preference. Something you can accomplish in Captivate you can most likely accomplish in Storyline, and vice versa. But it's very seldom that all things are equal, so we consider the following:

    • Sophistication of project.
      The project may be a linear "page turner" derived straight from a PowerPoint deck, or be more interactive than a children's science museum.  Is this a Tier 1 project?  Tier 3(the one slide from our session that lists these tiers can be found here)?  You can complete a Tier 1 project in a Tier 3 program, but that will take more time and effort than you typically will be allowed.

    • Client preference.
      In our project's case, our client has a history of using Adobe Captivate. And while the product we produce will not necessarily be downward compatible with their version, OneOC will have options for maintaining the content based upon that existing relationship. 
      Other clients may have previously purchased Articulate-generated content, and become frustrated that your Adobe-generated content doesn't have the same features. That small detail may trigger learner frustration in the long run.

    • How the course is to be delivered.
      Multi-language? Consider Storyline. Mobile? Captivate has been leading the way in responsive learning projects. HTML5?  While both programs boast features that only function in .swf, Adobe historically has fewer HTML5 bugs, and an HTML5 tracker to point out where issues may hamper your course.

    • The graphical components of the course.
      Will we benefit from the hard work of other artists using the stock footage and other curated graphical assets? Storyline's fine. Are we going to rely on user-generated content (including our own) that will require editing?  Adobe works well with the powerful graphical editing tools their folks create on the side.

    • Our own personal preferences.
      Articulate provides a robust template that has been accepted by clients world-wide and can be tweaked to meet branding needs. We can open a project, design, and publish with ease. Captivate's published skin invariably requires scrutiny for even the most basic of projects, but allows the designer to fiddle with the minutiae, allowing unique end results that are specific to both client and project needs.

    What do you think? 

    Did you just select one eLearning authorware and stick with that?  Or are you like others in the Training and Technology SIG, with multiple authorware software licenses?  

    What criteria did you use to make your authorware selections?

  • 04/28/2017 11:36 AM | Paul Venderley

    Designed by Freepika - www.freepik.comfree-photoconcentrated-businessman-looking-at-a-light-bulb-with-diagrams_978471.htmA few months ago, we launched a survey to determine how our community utilizes LinkedIn. 60% of our respondents most use LinkedIn to nurture their network. A distant second (20%) use LinkedIn to represent their expertise.

    Mind you, we had five respondents, which does not make a valid statistical sample. In fact, one could argue that the results better indicate that, while a majority of our members are on LinkedIn, it is not widely used as a resource, at least until we are in transition.

    Which prompts a follow-up question: in this age of personal branding, what steps do those in the talent development field take to represent themselves online professionally?

    From there we wonder: what online tool DO you use as a resource for your professional development?

    We've watched David Pogue activate Twitter to crowdsource an answer for a question. Social media communities such as Yahoo! Answers and Quora have been created specifically to solicit answers to the burning questions in our lives.

    There's a whole universe out there of people both asking questions and developing social credibility by answering them. Where do you venture?

    Let us know in the comments.

  • 04/06/2017 6:45 AM | Denise Ross-Admin (Administrator)


    Convince Your Boss

    In today's economy, every dollar an organization spends has to be justified. You know that an ATD and ATD Chapter membership is worth the financial investment. Now let's convince your boss.

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    Need to hone your instructional design skills? Is your company launching into mobile learning? ATD members benefit from discounts on premier professional development, including workshops, certificate programs, and our Master Series assessment programs. No other organization offers the kind of professional development geared specifically to the needs of today’s talent development professionals.

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    ATD keeps its members up-to-date on the latest industry trends, resources, and best practices through newsletters, webcasts, blogs, and much more. Members receive a monthly copy of TD magazine, ATD’s award winning publication that keeps you updated on leading-edge content from the industry’s most sought-after thought leaders. Members can also benchmark their organization’s training practices against those of the industry’s best through the State of the Industry report, ATD’s definitive yearly review of training and development trends.

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    The dollar value of both the Professional and Professional Plus membership levels are double and triple the yearly dues. What this means is that the access to content and discounts members enjoy are worth substantially more than the cost of membership. Investing in your own professional development through a cost-effective ATD membership will pave the way to growing your own knowledge and skills, and increasing your value to your organization.

    Networking Opportunities
    By joining ATD, you will be exposed to more ideas, more knowledge sharing, and more best practices from industry leaders and experts—ideas you can bring back and implement in your own work. You gain access to an unparalleled network of talent development professionals from peers to mentors to industry leaders. From our online member directory to our annual conference and country, state, and regional events, there are a variety of opportunities to meet, connect, and grow your network—and your expertise.

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  • 02/01/2017 11:01 AM | Paul Venderley

    Our chapter is run by volunteers. They are the life blood of our existence, and the ATD OC Board works tirelessly to ensure volunteers receive much in return.

    On November 2, 2016, the Wall Street Journal posted the growing trend of business schools to move away from internal case studies and focus more on experiential learning opportunities in the ‘real’ world.

    From now, THINK of your ATD-OC Chapter as your Experiential Learning One-Stop Shop.

    As our 2016-2017 President, Jeffrey Hansler says:

    "We are giving you the keys to the car. We are dedicated to having you get behind the wheel and drive. We are obsessive about creating opportunities for you to innovate, experiment, to fail and get up again, and lead others by example.

    We constantly create opportunities for you to close the knowing/doing gap. To take ideas from your head and bring them to life. To give you the experience of applying your innovative ideas and leading innovation on a team and contributing to others as you massively learn from your experiences which is something you cannot get from the knowledge base of Google.

    Engage with us, learn the specifics of your own knowing/doing gap. Share the news and come and play with the car, hit the gas, do some spins, and burn rubber."

    Our ATD-OC Strategic Objective for 2017 is:

    Increase member engagement through 200 active volunteers annually – that’s two-thirds of our chapter membership:

    • 90% self-assessment of positive experience
    • 75% serve 10 or more hours per year
    • 50% come back to volunteer again

    Our ATD-OC Vision Statement is:

    Be the space in which to practice and perfect your talent development skills and build your professional network in Orange County.

    Our ATD-OC Mission Statement is:

    Empower local professionals to effectively develop talent in the workplace.

    Jeffrey Hansler states: "It is not the WHAT we accomplish, it is the HOW we accomplish it. And the above becomes the operational guide and measurement for staying on track.

    At ATD-OC, our chapter volunteers are guaranteed an awesome Talent Development Experience and the best coaching and mentoring in the world. I speak from experience here. So, take a leap with your career and volunteer.

    What volunteer opportunities can help advance your Talent Development career?  
    Find out here:

  • 01/23/2017 1:31 PM | Paul Venderley

    When asked which social networks our members belong to, LinkedIn stands out the most.  Which comes as no surprise; ATD OC is a professional development community, and LinkedIn is recognized as the online space for professional networking. 

    I’m interested in a few other questions, however. 

    • How frequently do we use LinkedIn?
    • Why do we use LinkedIn?

    You can answer those questions by clicking this unassuming link, which will take you to a short survey.

    Common wisdom is that we professionals use LinkedIn for networking.  I believe I saw a bit of that in action over the past few weeks, as I’ve been managing ATD OC’s social media communication for a little over a year, and LinkedIn has notified my network that I’m celebrating a work anniversary.  The congratulations have been trickling in over the past few weeks – little pings in my network of people who, briefly, remember my involvement of some part of their past business lives. 

    I confess, my LinkedIn networking skills are similar to my peers: I check in, see that someone’s got a job announcement of sorts, and congratulate them. 

    Of my ATD OC network, I can point to two people who truly use LinkedIn as a networking device, seeking information and opinion about something I profess to know about.

    LinkedIn also has Pulse, which I’ve turned to more recently since my Facebook feed has overwhelmed my senses with political sniping and social dismay.  There, at least, I will find a preponderance of network-sourced professional news.  Yes, social media does rear its ugly head in the LinkedIn news feed, but not to the extent of Facebook.  Perhaps I’ve curated my network more assiduously there.

    But LinkedIn is meant to be about interaction! Networking! Community!  Once we have tweaked our LinkedIn Profile to perfection, we’re supposed to do something with it, get it noticed!  And that takes me back to my question:

    Why do we use LinkedIn?

    We’d like to hear your thoughts on this, so again: here’s the link to our survey asking for your experience.

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