Learning in Practice 2014: Learning in Content

From left: Roger Connors, Taavo Godtfredsen


Partners in Leadership

In 2009, Brinker International Inc. — a company that manages casual dining experiences under the Chili’s brand — suffered in the economic downturn. Entrenched in a “blame game” culture, the company needed an overhaul to fix the low employeeengagement behaviors that brought down performance.

To help employees embrace the new economic reality, Partners in Leadership, or PIL, created an accountability framework, making it clear who is responsible for delivering results. To facilitate that, the company reduced the number of defined key results from 40 to four: team, guest, sales and profits. Leaders reshaped the cultural beliefs to get behind those four goals and broadly trained the organization on all levels.

PIL’s model has a “train, retain, sustain” framework. In training, they survey leadership teams to identify cultural issues andorganize them into actionable categories. They also organize to roll out content over a longer period, always with leader-led efforts.

Brinker cultivated the culture shift beyond training, integrating it with frequent meetings in each restaurant. The organization also used PIL’s digital tool suite to sustain learning via assessments for individuals, teams and organization performance.

With low turnover and much higher engagement, company stock increased from $4.17 in 2009 to a high of $55 in February 2014. One of the brighter examples of Chili’s improved customer service was a viral story where a girl with autism didn’t want to eat her burger because it was cut in half. Friendly staff accommodated the customer.  



Witnessing global organizations’ increased demand for changing, dynamic business environments, Strayer University wanted to expand its leadership-teaching capabilities. Lacking such a program, the organization partnered with the Jack Welch Management Institute and Skillsoft, a pioneer of cloud-based learning solutions, to develop the Welch Way Leadership Development program.

The core of the mission was to provide students and organizations with proven methodologies and credentials to excel in challenging business fields. Skillsoft’s Welch Way Management Development Program is delivered via an interactive online platformdesigned to be more than a requirement-fulfilling course. It offers step-by-step, self-paced learning using real-world examples and techniques, divided into modules and subdivided into steps.

Creating a new strategic business unit, Skillsoft expanded its portfolio of training and development content. To reinforce the material learned, the Welch Way Post-Program Activity Guides provide a series of weekly activities. Skillsoft intends to translate the courses in Spanish and French for better global outreach.

The integration of Skillsoft’s content and learning management systems with the Jack Welch Management Institute at Stayer University resulted in a stronger platform using flexible, mobile learning.


Intrepid Learning

State Street Global Advisors created exchange traded funds, or ETFs, in 1993. Managing more than $413 billion in Standard & Poor’s depositary receipt ETF assets worldwide, the organization created ETF Ed with Intrepid Learning to help financial intermediaries assess their knowledge of ETFs.

ETF Ed first evaluates knowledge gaps in investment professionals, and then creates a customized syllabus to target them. The program features mobile accessibility, marketable and shareable lessons and objects, and bridges theory and practice.

The effort is ongoing through 2014, with sustainment, enhancement and maintenance support as the current goals.