Podcast by InnovatorsBox®

Dear Workplace: Season 3

Rethink Leadership by Rethinking How We Train

Dear Workplace – a Podcast by InnovatorsBox®. Hosted by Monica H. Kang.

Reimagine how you thrive at work through conversations that matter. Hosted by workplace creativity expert Monica H. Kang, we’ll study the latest trends, changes, and challenges to untangle workplace people problems. We’ll talk with executives, innovators, and experts and visit different industries around the world so that you get first dibs into the changing workforce. 

Tune in on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or your preferred platform of choice!

In this insightful episode, Monica sits down with Ross Robinson, Head of Client Success at Accelerator Performance, to discuss the future of training and development. They explore how training can be more engaging, effective, and tailored to meet the needs of a diverse workforce. Ross shares his extensive experience and insights on creating impactful learning experiences, the importance of cultural sensitivity in global training, and the emerging role of technology in learning and development. This conversation is a treasure trove for anyone looking to enhance their skills or lead their teams more effectively in an ever-changing business environment.

Guest: Ross Robinson

Head of Client Success for Accelerate Performance

Ross has 20 years of experience successfully starting and selling multiple businesses, selling enterprise solutions, being a top producer in SaaS selling, and even doing door-to-door sales early in his career. Ross works with some of the largest global brands, such as Google, Meta, Square, Adobe, Uber, and more, to provide ultra-customized communication training. Ross earned his Bachelor's Degree in Marketing & Advertising from Brigham Young University and a Masters degree in Business Administration from the University of Texas. He has lived in Europe and South America and loves hanging out with his wife and four children. When Ross isn’t working, you’ll often find him hiking, camping, or woodworking.

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Episode Shownotes

1. Episode Title: Rethink Leadership by Rethinking How We Train

2. Host: Monica H. Kang, Founder and CEO of InnovatorsBox

3. Episode Description:

Learning shapes leadership, but how we learn is equally crucial. In today’s discussion, I’m joined by Ross Robinson from St. George, Utah, who specializes in training leaders and trainers. Drawing from his global experiences and diverse upbringing, Ross emphasizes the importance of meeting people where they are, especially in training, sales, and people development. As Head of Client Success at Accelerate Performance Sales Consulting, he leads global clients and coaches in reimagining people development. 

4. Guest: Ross Robinson, Head of Client Success for Accelerate Performance

5. Key Topics Covered:

  • The impact of personalized and engaging training methods.
  • The evolution of sales and customer interaction.
  • Cultural influences in global training environments.
  • The importance of simplicity and relevance in learning programs.
  • Future trends in training and development, including the role of AI and technology.

6. Highlights

  • Ross discusses his career journey from early sales roles to leading training initiatives for major global brands.
  • Insights on integrating life skills into professional training to enhance learning effectiveness.
  • Strategies for creating impactful learning experiences that are both engaging and practical.

7. Quotes from the guest:

    1. “I think one of the things that I, as you said to your question about how has my idea of sales even changed? I found that I do best when I am as most natural to myself, like as genuine.”
    2. “We need to think of training as a journey, not just a moment. It’s about learning, applying, and mastering over time.”

8. Contact Information:

9. Closing Thoughts by Monica Kang:

Monica emphasizes the importance of continual learning and adaptation in both personal and professional growth. She encourages listeners to embrace the journey of learning and to apply the insights shared by Ross in their own professional endeavors.

10. Episode Length and Release Date:

Episode Length: Approximately 36 mins
Release Date: June 13, 2024


Monica H. Kang
To get better at something, practice is a good start. Learning is a good start. When it comes to growth, learning, practicing are all very important process and stages of growth. To be aware where you are and to realize where you want to be and heading towards that direction, that’s growth. Well one thing I’ve been thinking a lot of as a trainer and a coach is of course how we do that because yes, the same material, even if its by an amazing content, well organized and thought out, how you train and how you learn could deeply influence what you digest and what you understand. Well remember how for instance you had certain subjects when you were a student that you didnt like or felt it was difficult. 


Monica H. Kang
I bet if we had a teacher who was able to make it fun, relatable and implementable, you might have been saying, hey, actually I’m pretty good with math, I know how to do this versus oh my gosh, I have to go to this math class again. Well maybe that’s a little personal for me, but I hope that you hear an example that comes truth for you because you see today I want to untangle that a little bit more with my guest. Ross Robinson is the head of client success for accelerator performance known as AP. And not just here, but for the past 20 plus years. He has extensive experience successfully starting and selling multiple businesses, selling enterprise solutions, being a top producer with SAS, selling and even doing door to their sales early in his career. 


Monica H. Kang
But I would also say he is very good at training and training the trainer, whether its content is on sales leadership or something else, he understands and does the deep work to make it relatable, fun and tangible. And I know this because I work with him. I partner with AP where I do some client projects in Korea with them and it has been a joy working with Ross and the team, understanding how they rethink training and leadership development. So today, as he works with some of the largest global brands such as Google, Meta, Square where Adobe, Uber and more, he is all about providing ultra customized communication trainings. With his background in marketing and advertising and business administration, he has gained business insights in and out. 


Monica H. Kang
But I think having grown up and lived in Europe, South America and Asia with his family, he has learned to realize that to get the best results you got to start by listening and really empathizing. What does your audience need? So from its travel time to working in different industries, how Ross is advising us to rethink about training. Let’s dive in. 


Monica H. Kang
So very excited to have my friend Ross here. Ross, thank you so much for joining us today. Very excited to dive into this conversation of how we continue to build better leaders. And you’ve been thinking about this for a long time because yourself have been on both lens as a trainer, but also leading teams and have sold company and just gone through all those different gamuts. Bring us back to actually perhaps maybe your first job in first career. Do you remember what it was like? Because I know often that sometimes bring a memory to how we might think about work. 


Ross Robinson
Yeah, absolutely. Monica, thanks for having me on the show. I appreciate that. And, yeah, it’s funny, when you asked that question about my very first job, it depends how far we want to go back. My very first job was actually a paper route. Boy, they are almost non existent anymore. You know, where you actually would deliver papers in the morning. This was when I was in middle school and about ten years, eleven years old. But it was one of those first jobs where I really learned this idea of working hard. You had to get up early before school. You had to go and deliver these newspapers. Then we had to go actually collect the money from our subscribers. 


Ross Robinson
And so you got to work with, I think it’s probably the first time, which is really the foundation of my career, was communicating with other people, especially sometimes adults when I was a child, and learning how to better communicate with other people as you interacted with them. And so that’s really my first career. But then moving out of that is I went into sales out of college and started in that area. But we can. Yeah, we can explore any of those areas. 


Monica H. Kang
Well, thank you so much for mentioning that. I mean, it highlights very much of your insight into your exposure of working with multiple people, customer experience, as well as the angle, as you said, on sales. You’ve been in sales both on many gamuts. Tell us a little bit more. What was your first impression about when somebody said sales or working in sales versus now what you think about sales? 


Ross Robinson
That’s such a good question because I think when you hear that word sales, like you said, there’s so many different feelings that come within us based on our own experiences with someone in sales or with sales. And I would say probably one of the interesting things is, Monica, of all the people, I think I am probably the last person who would have thought I would have gone into sales. It was not something that I had intentionally planned on doing. And my first job traditionally was a door to door salesperson. I was selling security systems, door to door knocking all day long. It was extremely hard work. It gave me this idea, though, this sense of how do you think fast on your feet? How do you communicate with other people? 


Ross Robinson
But over the years, and even in that job, I think one of the things that I, as you said to your question about how has my idea of sales even changed? I found that I do best when I am as most natural to myself, like as genuine, and I have this genuine interest in helping people figure out their problems and solving those problems. And I find that sales is a really great way to do that because you have this opportunity to speak and communicate and find out what’s going on with someone and then see if there is a good fit there for what you’re offering and being able to solve a problem for them that can be really meaningful. 


Ross Robinson
And so when you look at it from that lens, that kind of has driven how I feel about kind of sales, but also even now into my career that I do now. So it’s kind of started there, but it’s this idea of helping other people be able to solve their problems that’s so meaningful. 


Monica H. Kang
No, it’s really impactful to think about how I often think about, like, geez, this job or this career or this ward, how it made me feel versus, like, when I was in it, or later on realize, wait, there’s many ways how you interpret it, as you have pointed out. And I think especially now working in learning and development and being a trainer and training the trainer all the time in your current position, you get to now reposition that and think about, hey, what if we make this conversation, whether it’s sales or whatever, that what is to be more meaningful? And I’m curious to kind of jump to that a little bit more. 


Monica H. Kang
In the present day, we’re going to go back to the nitty gritty in between, but to bring us back to your day to day now, what is your day to day like now? Because I feel like you do so much. 


Ross Robinson
Yeah, it’s great. Sometimes I wonder as well. No, I think that’s a great question. Yeah. So I think what I do now, especially when it comes to l and D, is a little bit different when you think of traditional learning and development, because I work for a company that works with a lot of learning and development teams at large global organizations. And so what they do is they come to us and say, hey, we need an extension of our team. And a lot of times we need people who are really good at delivering training in a fun, dynamic, engaging way. And we don’t have necessarily maybe the resources or the skills in our organization. 


Ross Robinson
And so we need someone like your team to understand the content and then be able to go out and deliver in multiple areas, whether it’s in Korea or in Japan or in South America and Brazil, whatever it may be. We have a team that we work with and that we help be able to deliver in a dynamic way. And then the other part, too is the other side of that coin is teams come to us and say, hey, we just need help developing content that is really engaging as well. Not just the delivery of it, but the actual development of it. And so where I come in is I work with those organizations, I work with our teams, I deliver, I also build content, but now I have teams also who I manage, who do a lot of that as well. 


Ross Robinson
And it’s just really fun and exciting to kind of see and be able to interact with them. So that’s kind of the context of where I connect with the learning and development world is more of kind of as a vendor, as a consultant, as we call it, who they hire us. And it’s been a really fun and enjoyable experience because all the companies are so different and so unique. 


Monica H. Kang
And that speaks a really key question, I think, for our conversation today, because we want to get a chance to better understand what’s really going on, right? Like L and D, as Ross has mentioned, is learning and development. The industry, I think, has gone through a lot of changes of what it means, where you prioritize. I think even the term of, like, how do we make something engaging, interactive? That concept has evolved of, like, what’s the level of interactivity actually fun? Versus, like, you know, that’s like, just like a waste of time. So I’m curious, let’s say somebody who’s tuning in right now, whether they’re an L and D or they’re working with somebody who’s, like, wanting to create a more meaningful program as their partner, what would you say? 


Monica H. Kang
These are at least two or three things you should absolutely have if your program wants to be impactful, what would you say? 


Ross Robinson
Yeah, I think there’s a lot of different elements. As you think about us as human beings, there’s this idea that we want to learn, right? This idea of knowledge. And so with learning and development, oftentimes that’s where we think about going. However, I think where we’re moving towards and where you see more organizations kind of really focusing on is this idea of not only do we need to know the content or the information, but we need to know then how to actually apply it into our everyday work routine and also become really good at those skills. So just even knowing isn’t really enough anymore. It’s the ability to apply and then be actually really good at it. And that’s a little bit more challenging because it’s not a one and done training. 


Ross Robinson
It really needs to be something that is done over time, because to develop a skill like anything, it just takes time. And so one of the core elements of creating a really effective learning program is this idea that, hey, we want to think about it in phases. We want to teach content so people get the knowledge, but then we also need to teach them how to then incorporate that content into their daily routine. And then how can they keep working on it and maybe even receive coaching or feedback from whether that’s managers, whether it’s a team like us, who then help them develop those skills over time so their confidence, their ability to actually use those skills becomes greater and more effective. 


Ross Robinson
So I think that’s probably one of them is, like, this idea of looking at it more of like a journey than just a moment. And related to that, Monica, I would say the second part of that is in order to do that, the content actually has to be more relevant to them. Like, sometimes we work with organizations and it’s very generic content, and we hope that the audience, the learners, will then be able to interpret and figure out how to apply that to their world. But with all the stresses that are going on, people working from home, there’s been a shift, obviously, in how people work today, and it takes a lot of mental capacity to do that. 


Ross Robinson
And so if the idea is, hey, I’m going to give you this knowledge and then I’m going to let you figure out how to apply it, that’s okay. But it’s not enough anymore. Like, even in the training itself, you really want to be able to understand, okay, what does your world look like? Let me give you some examples that are actually from your conversations, for example, where you’re applying, let’s say, a skill so you can actually hear how that might sound. Any way that you can help them bridge that gap, to be able to be like, oh, okay, yeah, I see how that works, or I see how that person has applied it into their routine, which is the exact same role that I have. It helps lower the mental capacity that the team needs to be able to then apply that skill. 


Ross Robinson
So I’d say that’s kind of like the second and then the third on there. When it comes to just thinking about your program, like, you know, so one, making sure that there’s kind of a path there it’s a journey, not just a moment. Two, it’s actually really relevant and specific. I would say the other part that’s really important is you want to look at it. And this kind of relates back to when I first got into this career. And what made me fall in love with this industry was this idea of content and delivery should not be looked at separately, but they should be looked at as one. And this is really important. And I think I see a lot of organizations missing. This is this idea. 


Ross Robinson
Like, you can have really great training, content, materials, information, but if it’s delivered in a way that’s not very effective or with someone who’s not skilled or have the skills to do that, then it lands flat. You can take content that’s okay and have a really great facilitator, and they can make it come alive and make it better. But in an ideal world, you have both. You have really engaging content and then you’ve thought about how it’s then delivered so that those are actually kind of working in tandem. Like they, you know, the way you build the content is thought of and developed in way of, okay, well, how am I going to actually deliver it? Because I will build the content differently if I’m going to deliver it in an e learning environment versus a live environment versus a virtual environment. 


Ross Robinson
The activities, what we do is going to be a little bit different. So if you can do both of those and think of that as one whole program, you’re going to be really in good shape. So those would be the kind of the three areas of advice to make that program really helpful and engaging and effective. 


Monica H. Kang
This is so key. No, I appreciate you erasing these and also going through bullet points. I hope folks are hearing out how you’re approaching it because it’s kind of a reflection of how holistic you also prepare and think through real talk, though, let’s admit it. I’m sure for folks as well who are listening, and even for me, as I’m reflecting, the number one thing that they are probably noticing is Monica and Ross. That all sounds great, but let’s admit it, that sounds like a lot of work. How do you know how to make sense of quality work, where to stop, where to continue? And I’ve had the pleasure of working with Ross, appreciative of how much care and thoughtfulness he and the team has go in and what they do. 


Monica H. Kang
But I do wonder sometimes, are we nitpicking too much or are we not fighting enough on the details? Did we miss something? And so I’m curious, for us, for you, like, how do you know when to go? Like, no, we gotta hash out more versus, no, I think we’ve dug the hole deep enough. Let’s stop it. We gotta just actually enjoy it. 


Ross Robinson
No, absolutely. And it is, it’s a lot of work. Anytime you’re trying to pass on knowledge to someone or help an organization generate the results they want through their team of people, that is a lot of work. But I think you have tapped into something that’s really interesting, and it’s this idea of simplicity. I think all too often we will get into a program or someone will give us materials and they say, hey, we want to cover all of this an hour and a half. And you’re like, wow, you could maybe cover all of that in a week if you had it, but in an hour and a half, there’s absolutely no way. 


Ross Robinson
If you want people to actually consume the content, you as the learning and development team or the people who’s trying to pass that knowledge on, you have to be okay, taking a step back and simplifying it to saying, okay, if I could get my team to do this one thing or these two things better, we’re going to see better results. It’s far better to spend an hour one skill or two skills than cover five skills in 1 hour. You will get far more out of your team and the results will better. And so I think you’re right. It’s this idea of stepping back and saying, okay, are we trying to cover too much? Do I need to simplify this down a little bit? And then let’s just get our team working on that first. 


Ross Robinson
The other area, too, that I find that is also important is that we put so much emphasis on this idea of creating the content. But really, people learn in doing. I mean, we all know that if you think about even as simple as learning like a new board game, it’s like you start learning the instructions and you’re like, okay, finally, like, let’s just start playing. I’ll figure it out as we go, you know? And so it’s the same idea with adult learning and training as this idea that you say, hey, let’s just get you started. I know a program is going to go well if it’s simple enough that someone can actually go out and start doing it. And then if I can follow up with that person and maybe do like a second round or say, okay, let’s talk about what we learned. 


Ross Robinson
What were some of the challenges, what things that were difficult. Let’s now make some tweaks. Let’s add to that. People are going to retain it better. They’re going to actually do it more. And then that simplification actually creates better results. 


Monica H. Kang
That’s so important. No. Thank you so much for sharing that and reminding us of those grounded principles. I want to revisit some of your chapters earlier as well in your career, because all of those different experiences also helped you recognize why everything that you shared is important. So I know some fun facts that you’ve worked extensively globally as well, and traveled for fun as well. Bring us back to those times, like, how has that experience been for you? And what were some things that surprised you that you learned that helped you in your career throughout? 


Ross Robinson
Yeah, that’s a great question. So I grew up overseas for the first part of my childhood. So I was really young. I was one till I was almost nine. I grew up in England. We then moved back to the United States. We always had kind of an international element to it. My mother had lived in France. My father had lived in Korea. He speaks Korean fluently. He had lived there for a service mission. He had done. He’d done military over there. 


Monica H. Kang
I didn’t know that either. 


Ross Robinson
Yeah. And his work career. My oldest sister actually was born in Korea, so there’s a lot of international element there. When we lived in England, it’s much easier to kind of travel around. So we used to go visit different countries. When I moved back, I also did it in my, when I was 19 years old, I went and served a service mission in South America, where I learned Spanish and lived in Chile for two years. So I got to experience that culture. My sister also did kind of similar, but in France. And then in my own career, I actually started in marketing at one point, too. I did quite a bit of sales and marketing. And part of marketing, they needed help in kind of the product development. 


Ross Robinson
So I used to travel over to Asia quite a bit because we had factories in Asia, and I would work with our factories over there and our team members over there, whether that was in Taiwan or in Shanghai, in Hong Kong, and did some business there as well. And then over the years in training, I’ve been able to travel all over from South America to Europe to Asia as we deliver. But all those experiences have been really helpful because you’re right. Like, in my career right now, you want to be able to connect with people where they’re at. And so how I train someone in Asia is going to be very different than in Europe or in the United States. And even the language I use or the analogies I use, I need to be really cautious of that. 


Ross Robinson
And so I think just being able to live in those areas and having friends who live in different areas around the world has been really beneficial because you just have a little bit more of a sense of some of the challenges or the nuances that you should be sensitive to or really more than anything, knowing that you don’t know and that you need to ask questions and find out the cultural differences so that you can be as helpful and valuable as possible and respectful. 


Monica H. Kang
Well, thank you so much. I get to also learn some fun facts. We could have totally nerded out this conversation in Korean if it was in a different context. No, appreciate you sharing it because it’s a humble reminder that often we’re so busy doing at the moment of that we forget also, hey, we have become who we are because of our past and past experiences as well. And it’s a constant reminder of like, the person we strive to be tomorrow is also influenced by what we decide to do today as well as the things that happened in the past. I’m curious for you, as you continue to also train the trainer, building on these different experiences, what’s helping you stay grounded? Because again, those are all wonderful experiences. But also like your day to day work still requires a lot of high quality. 


Monica H. Kang
You got to still look out for and you’re still one person, like making sure you got to take care of yourself. So what helps you stay grounded? Because I think for those who are, especially in the trainer seat, and this is a term for those who are new, basically the role of somebody who’s maybe responsible for training other trainers. So you have to even be more intentional than just the L and D, it’s not just you training one time. You’re thinking about how the trainers are leading and Ross does both the training and train the trainer and curriculum development and all of that. So how do you ground yourself? How do you make sure you stay sane in the midst of it all? 


Ross Robinson
Sometimes it’s hard and I think we all go through that. We’re not perfect at that and you’re trying to balance life and everything that goes into that. In terms of train the trainer and our team, we have a great team. I think if I were to take one step back, I have found that the better people you surround yourself with, it helps you stay grounded. You know what I mean? So I think the way when we hire even trainers for our organization, who then I then later work with and do train the trainer with or partner with on projects. It’s important. There’s certain elements that you look for, right? You want someone who’s going to work hard. You want someone who has what I call a humble confidence. 


Ross Robinson
Like, they’re confident, but they also always were trying to learn and improve and open to ideas. And then even, like, a positive energy. I mean, everyone sees this, whether you’re in a grocery store or you’re at a coffee shop. You know, when you engage with someone who just has this, like, positive energy, that’s really contagious. And so if I can surround myself with those types of people, it makes my life a little bit better, helps me stay grounded. It helps me feel like I’m having a little bit more balance. And my father used to always teach me that. His grandmother used to tell him, he said, you know, and my dad would say to me, you know, Ross, you’re no better than the next person, but you’re no worse than the next person. And so it’s this idea that you learn from everyone. 


Ross Robinson
I may be, like, doing a train the trainer, but, man, I am just so impressed. I am by no means the best trainer in any way, even though I might be in that role of train the trainer. So my goal is that when I work with our team, I want to find out what is that special element that person has. You know, like, Monica, how you speak and communicate is unique and different and is special to you and is different from maybe someone of our other facilitator. And so I want to tap into that. I want to enhance that. I want that to come out more. And so it’s not like, hey, there’s only one way. It’s always like, hey, there’s these principles that guide us, but I really want to pull out that person, and that’s really fulfilling, that’s energetic. 


Ross Robinson
That gives me more purpose in life. And so being able to be surrounded by those right people, I think makes a big difference. And then you learn from everyone else. And when you do that, it creates a much more innovative, collaborative environment where you end up generating a more synergistic results. Like, one plus one isn’t two. It’s actually three or four or five, because you’re tapping into people’s special uniqueness. Hope that makes sense. 


Monica H. Kang
That’s so true. To play devil’s advocate, though, there’s probably some folks who was probably listening was like, okay, that sounds great, but, like, how do you feel? Find those people, hire those right people, because it’s also been a bit of a challenge to not only find the right talent, hire them, but also even retaining them. What’s kind of your insight and tips on that? 


Ross Robinson
Yeah, I think that is really a challenge, and I think that evolves. And as you watch the industry and how people and their careers and what’s happening is how long they stay at a job or how people are working from home. I mean, there’s just all sorts of elements that play into that. You know, when we do hiring for ourselves, one is our best resource is actually from our team. We get the best recommendations from people that we know in our network. They know us best. They’re on our team. They know what our style is, how we like to work. So then they say, hey, you know, this is a really good person that you could communicate with or speak with. We, of course, do resumes. We do the research, we do simulations. 


Ross Robinson
And so when we hire someone, we have them teach us something, and we always want to see how they are. And it’s not just how well they communicate when they do a simulation, because we’re a team of trainers who are training, communicating with people, we also try to see just how they respond when we give them maybe a little bit of pushback or a difficult situation or the timeline is a little bit tight, it’s okay if they can or something. It’s actually not really the end result. It’s how they respond in those situations. And so it helps us kind of sift through people a little bit easier and faster. And I think that is something that sometimes is missing. 


Ross Robinson
In other jobs of mine where I was in charge of hiring, we did everything from a resume to then we even had them just leave a voicemail of like, hey, tell us about yourself in one to two minutes about why you think you are a great fit for this job. Some people didn’t want to do that work. So we thought, well, hey, listen, we need someone who’s going to be a hard worker or willing or wants this job enough, they’re willing to do it. Some people would go five minutes. So they told us they didn’t really listen to instructions very well. And other people were just not as great a community. So it wasn’t always just how they communicated. It was, did they follow the instructions? Were they willing to do it? And so anytime I would say to your audience, if you can. 


Monica H. Kang
So the details. 


Ross Robinson
Yes, those details. You got it, Monica. Like, if you can add in little elements like that where you can actually see them do something, give them a little bit of a use case and have them work on it a little bit and see how they respond or how long it takes them. Those things will give you way more insight than even sometimes an interview. And then the interview is just kind of more the cherry on top, the confirmation of everything. 


Monica H. Kang
It reminds me one time when I was applying for a project, I don’t know if it was an accident, but they didn’t send me the link. And so I realized I was like, oh, wait, we didn’t get the link. But maybe, I don’t know, maybe they were testing me. And then later on I think they said like, oh, we didn’t plan to, but I think that was a great test. You managed it well. Good job. And so you make a good point, because in reality, nothing goes as planned. And so a reminder of looking out for it, but also looking out for that, even during the trainings, once you even bring on. Speaking of which, I’m curious. I want to talk about the future of where training is going. So I know you care about the holistic, the journey, interactivity. 


Monica H. Kang
We spoke about all of that, the thoughtfulness. But what do you think is going to be even more important? I mean, with the tech changes, AI has changed so much. I feel like how we think about remote is still impacting work. First generation people are still unhappy about a lot of the layoffs. And so if you have to give some thoughts in what’s coming, what do you think is going to be even more important in the future? 


Monica H. Kang
What would it be? 


Ross Robinson
Yeah, I mean, that is a really fascinating question. And we’re seeing some patterns, I think, and it’s from both ends, from the consumer of the training and the person who’s delivering the training. So you see that because of the layoffs, because of a lot of changes that have been happening, you have a workforce, a group of people, the receivers of a training, who are not really worried about do I know the details of the features of our product or service they’re worried about, am I going to be able to feed my family tomorrow while I have my job? So there’s a very distracted workforce. When a company is going through several layoffs, that becomes really challenging. Your audience is going to be having a difficult time. 


Ross Robinson
And so we found that a lot of our learning and development team members are saying, hey, we’re getting requests from our audience, from our learners. Can you help us learn how to deal with change a little bit better or different coping mechanisms and skills? So they’re more kind of like these life skills versus, hey, how do I sell to this person? Or how do I talk about this technology? So there’s an element of that’s going on in a team that, you know, an audience that is sometimes a little bit worn out. You know, they’re like, wow, do I really now have to sit down and do a training for an hour and a half, 3 hours, 4 hours? You know, we used to do trainings that were full day trainings. 


Ross Robinson
Now, you know, if you can get a group to do an hour and a half, that’s a great thing. 


Monica H. Kang
So that’s a miracle. 


Ross Robinson
You see, there’s this trend of just, yeah, it’s a shorter attention span because they’re worn out a little bit, they’re a little distracted. So how you approach a training has to be adjusted a little bit. And whether that’s in person or virtual, there’s some different dynamics there that I’m seeing. So, for example, with virtual training, you always want to tie your training to. I find it works better now if you can tie the concepts that you’re talking about to. To life in general. So we might be teaching some skills about how to better communicate about your products or services, let’s say. 


Ross Robinson
But if you get more engagement from the audience, if you talk about some ways in which that helps them in their life, whether it’s them finding, you know, as they are communicating in other jobs or with their personal relationships, people tend to perk up a little bit more when they see that these are skills that can be applied to more than just work, work. And then the other area, too, that you see is in person. Without a doubt, people love when they get to interact with each other. You now have a workforce that they still, even though some people have come back to the office now, it’s kind of even shifted a little bit back to where they now are more remote again, or they’re doing a hybrid every time we do surveys. 


Ross Robinson
Without a doubt, the number one thing that they love is, whether in person or virtual, is I loved interacting with my colleagues because they just don’t get that anymore. You think about that, especially if they’re in other departments or with other team leaders and they’re not on the same team anymore. They don’t see each other in the halls or at lunch. They don’t get to have that engagement. And so we work into our trainings as much group work, whether with a partner or in groups, and they’re discussing something, or if you’re in person having time for them to get into larger groups and discuss something, that is the highlight for them. 


Ross Robinson
And I think it’s something that will continue to be important going into 2024 as we continue this year, is that people really need that human connection in the training as they do it. So that’s one of them. The other thing I find is, Monica, you mentioned AI technology. 


Monica H. Kang


Ross Robinson
Another big trend that we’re seeing, and this is kind of interesting, is that people are becoming so excited about their technology, about the tools that they have, that when they go into conversations, let’s say, with a potential customer, with a colleague, maybe an investor, a lot of different types of audiences, they are so tech heavy. We’ve kind of forgotten this idea that as human beings, we’re more interested in, what can you solve for me? Like, what are the elements that you can do for me? There’s this human element that is missing sometimes that we need to remember to insert into the technology. You know, like, what does that technology help you do as a human being? What problems does it solve? How does it help you have a better, more engaging conversation with someone because you have more information. 


Ross Robinson
Now, what is that human element? And so we’re getting a lot of requests from companies to say, hey, our team is too focused on spitting out all the tech jargon that we have to our audiences. How can we help them take that approach of the more human side of, like, hey, let me ask you some questions. Let me figure out what you’re interested in. What are you dealing with now? Let me show you now how that tech can help you. And this. You see more from the larger tech companies. They’re still investing in that. I find smaller ones are not. 


Ross Robinson
They’re so excited about that, but the larger ones are saying, hey, as we build up this tech and this AI technology, we also need a team, a workforce who can speak about it in a way that is understandable to our audience, that is relatable. And I think that’s also a trend that we’ll continue to see as tech becomes more and more AI, machine learning, all of that becomes more part of our world. 


Monica H. Kang
Well, thank you so much for sharing those insights. I think it’s so timely and needed that we reflect on them. You shared a lot of golden nuggets here in our conversations. What’s a final wisdom you’d like to share for innovators as they walk away from today’s conversation, no matter where they are in their journey? 


Ross Robinson
I think probably the big thing for innovators as you think about the space that we’re talking about, is this idea of sharpening the saw, is sometimes the way you think about it. What I love about learning and development is it’s an opportunity to create a culture more than learning and development, right? More than anything that who we are. But this culture of I can spend hours sawing at the tree, and I’m so busy sawing at the tree, it takes me 8 hours to do it. If I would just stop and sharpen my saw a little bit, I could get it done in 4 hours. And I feel like learning and development, we’re so busy sawing that we forget to do that. So oftentimes in a training, I’ll say, hey, team, what percent of your time do you spend actually working on your craft? 


Ross Robinson
Refining, doing training? You spend probably 10% if at most 90% doing the work, 10% just refining your craft. That’s not very much. But if we as a organization, if we can instill this culture of hey, it’s important for us, like one of our core competencies as a company or as an individual is this idea that I want to refine my craft. I’m going to always be learning, always be trying to get a little bit better, even if it’s just 10% or 5% of my day. That creates a much larger, more innovative, synergistic environment for everyone. You’re able to come up with much better ideas. You’re able to have a little bit more energy. You’re able to progress your career. If you can tap into that concept of I can always be learning. 


Ross Robinson
And I think that’s part of the reason why I’m passionate about what I do, why we’re in this. And that might be a kind of a golden nugget if you can take that into the world that you’re in. 


Monica H. Kang
Well, thank you so much for sharing this and reminding us that learning is a continuing journey. Innovators, I think you know the drill, right? Continue to stay in touch. We look forward to hearing your comments and questions. But Ross, thank you so much for joining us today. Final question is, what’s the best way folks can stay in touch with you and reach out to you? 


Ross Robinson
Thank you. Yeah, well, thanks for having me, Monica. Probably the best way to people reach out to me is just on LinkedIn. They can also visit our company [email protected], but yeah, you can reach out to me on LinkedIn and happy to connect with anyone and answer anyone’s questions. 


Monica H. Kang
Thank you, Ross, again, for joining us. We look forward to continue exploring and learning and honing, as you have reminded folks. Thanks for tuning in for another conversation. We’re so glad you’re here. I’ve mentioned many times. Check out our blog where we will have all the resources to follow up with Ross. And if you ever can’t find any, just send me a quick [email protected] the blog is dearworkplace.com. You will be able to find all the resources, but thank you again for joining. We’ll be back again next week with another story. Thank you, Ross, for joining us. We’ll see you later. 


Monica H. Kang


Ross Robinson
Thanks, Monica. Bye. 


Monica H. Kang
Thank you Ross, so much for sharing these insights. I’m so glad you were here. And thank you all for joining us for another conversation. I hope this has inspired you to reflect upon how we can rethink about training and why those perspectives matter. I’m your host, Monica Kang, founder and CEO of InnovatorsBox, and thank you again for tuning in. Find us at Dear Workplace by Innovators Fox at any of your favorite podcast platforms. I’m your host, Monica Kang, founder and CEO of Innovators Box, and thank you again for tuning in. Have a wonderful day and I’ll see you soon. Thanks again for joining us. Amazing podcast team who has worked with me at InnovatorsBox Studios. 


Monica H. Kang
Shout out to audio engineering and producing by Sam Lehmart, audio Engineering assistant by Ravi Lad, website and marketing support by Kree Pandey, graphic support by Lea Orsini, 


Monica H. Kang
Christine Eribal, and original music by InnovatorsBox Studios and writing, interviewing, podcasting, directing, and all that jazz by me, Monica Kang. Share us your feedback and suggestions as we continue to look to improve and answer the questions that you have about the workplace. We continue to look to improve and answer the questions that you have about the workplace. Have a great day and I’ll see you soon. 

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