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Training design, leadership, time management, work-life balance, coaching, working remotely, presentation skills... These are a few of our favorite things! Do you have a great idea for a blog post that would be of interest to the Lake Superior ATD community?

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  • 04 Jan 2023 10:50 AM | Juli Lattner (Administrator)

    Author: Lisa Munson

    Last fall, a colleague asked me if I would be interested in creating and facilitating a training for business leaders on influential storytelling. In my career as an Instructional Designer, I had never designed and developed training on this topic before. And I was up to the challenge!

    But the request came with a few requirements – the ‘how’ of storytelling needed to be simple and easy for leaders to use. How could I do this? Keeping these requirements in mind, I quickly discovered the ABT Narrative Structure by scientist-turned-filmmaker Randy Olson. ABT stands for AND, BUT, THEREFORE. It’s an easy framework to remember and can help you craft a concise and impactful story.

    So, if you have ever asked yourself any of these questions:

    • Would a story make a difference here?
    • Would it persuade or motivate my audience?
    • Would it clarify complex information?

    If you answered “YES” to any of these questions, then please join us for Storytelling to Influence and Inspire at the next ATD – Lake Superior Chapter virtual event on January 17th from 11:45 AM-1:00 PM.

    In this session you will learn about:

    • What is storytelling?
    • Why is it important?
    • How can it be used to influence and inspire?
    • The ABT Narrative Structure

  • 06 Dec 2018 8:54 AM | Deleted user

    By: Kathlynn McConnell, CPLP, Director of Learning and Development for MCCU and President/Chief Refueling Officer for Lifestyle Consulting Services

    Have you ever uttered any of the following about team members when you are trying to train them on a new process or product: “I must have told them 10 times how to do that, and they are still doing it wrong!”, “I don’t know why they just don’t get it!” , “they should know this by now!”  

    To ensure actual transfer of learning is occurring, we need to perform a little C.P.R. – no, this does not involve pounding on anyone’s chest. This is an acronym for 3 crucial steps involved in learning. Implementing these 3 steps will not only save YOU time in training your team members, it will help your team get up to speed more quickly and accurately.

    C- refers to content. I know – you have so much to share and they have so much to learn, yet taking the “firehose” approach can overwhelm learners. To make it easier for your learners to absorb and retain the information you have worked so hard to prepare for them, define what content they absolutely NEED TO KNOW and what content is NICE TO KNOW. Covering the “need to know” knowledge/tasks/procedures first ensures they have the foundational pieces without overwhelming their brain cells. Once they have grasped the “need-to-knows”, you can then sprinkle in the nice-to-know nuggets.

    P – refers to practice. Deliver up to three elements of content, then stop to allow the learners to practice what they have learned so far. (Ex: pose a question and have the learners arrive at a solution on their own,or have them pair up to discuss the topic then teach back to their partner/larger group) Doing so will help uncover any gaps in comprehension and allow you to address these areas before you introduce more information.

    R – refers torevisit. A mentor once told me, “never do for the learner what the learner can do for themselves.” A “review” is done by the facilitator and involves recapping the points discussed. A REVISIT is done by the learner and includes accountability. Here are a few revisit questions you can pose to your learners to ensure the learning is retained past the training room door:

    • What are three ways you can use this information?
    • How do you think applying what you learned will affect outcomes?
    • Write one sentence explain a key concept you learned
    • What are the top three learning points you gained today
    • Write one question you still have about what you learned today

    Designing your training with C.P.R. in mind will not only save YOU time in training your team members, it will help your team get up to speed more quickly and accurately.

  • 04 Dec 2018 9:56 AM | Deleted user

    By: Kim Ellsworth

    If you’re like me, you might dream big and then struggle with motivation when your aspirations feel too distant. Whatever your goal might be: weight loss, overthrowing the patriarchy, solving world hunger, or boosting morale in your organization, start with small steps and remain consistent. 

    I love the example of Rosa Parks. Growing up I admired her, I recall even using my dolls to reenact the Montgomery Bus Boycott. But I knew little of her life before or after December 1, 1955, when she was arrested for refusing to give up her seat on a bus. That day sparked a movement and helped facilitate momentous changes in our nation, but the story behind it is much bigger, and perhaps less glamorous, than one single moment of courage when facing an injustice. The events of that day were a culmination of many small but consistent steps year after year.     

    Rosa Parks had a long history of activism and training (LaMotte, 2014). She had served as the secretary for her local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) for twelve years prior to her first arrest (Friedman, 1999). She attended a ten-day training camp learning about nonviolent resistance (LaMotte, 2014). Her actions were “the result of long-considered convictions and years of work, training, and practice” (LaMott, 2014).

    It is tempting to look at one inspiring moment and one great actor and forget about all the other moments and actors that paved the way. This narrow view of history can be immobilizing. Glorifying someone with a “hero narrative” (LaMott, 2014, p. 66), doesn’t compel us toward action because we don’t think of ourselves as heroes. Therefore, we admire people who achieved great things, without realizing that we can also achieve great things. 

    In Montgomery, Alabama, small, but consistent, steps paved the way to a large-scale societal change. The same thing can happen in our daily lives and in our organizations! I bet we can all think of transformational leaders who have transformed the way we understand the world of work: Henry Ford, Stephen Covey, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Cesar Chavez. I would presume none of their achievements happened overnight, but with consistent steps and ongoing action, they were able to accomplish big things. I would encourage you to dream big, and to steadily and consistently work toward your goals. 

    One tool I love to help me channel my dreaming, is a modified version of appreciative inquiry. This exercise can be done individually or as a group.  First, think about where you are. Be honest. The good, the bad. Write it down in one column. Then, dream about where you want to be. Go ahead and dream big! Do you want 100% participation in your employee training programs? Great goal! Do you want to improve employee retention by 50%? Fantastic! Write those goals in another column. And then it’s time for the imagination to take hold. You know where you are. You know where you want to be. What steps will help bring you from one point to the other? This is an excellent group brainstorming activity. I think you’ll find that the dream might be momentous, but the steps toward success are feasible. 

    In the inspiring words from the book World-Changing 101, “Don’t discount the value of beginning” (LaMott, 2014, p. 61). 


    Cooperrider, D., & Whitney, D. (1999). Appreciative inquiry: collaborating for change (booklet) San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Communications.

    Ellsworth, K. (2018).  The Power of the Consumer: Boycotts and Bravado(In-process, unpublished master’s thesis). College of St. Scholastica, Duluth, MN.

    Friedman, M. (1999). Consumer boycotts: effecting change through the marketplace and media. New York: Routledge.

    LaMotte, D. (2014). World-Changing 101. Montreat, NC: Dryad Publishing


  • 10 May 2018 11:36 AM | Deleted user

    Written By Pam Solberg-Tapper

    Research shows that the typical American professional spends from one hour to over four hours each day in meetings depending upon their job. The way you present yourself in work meetings can have a big impact on your career. If you don’t participate you can give the impression that you don’t know what’s going on or don’t care. But speaking up in meetings can be a big challenge if you lack confidence in talking in front of others. Here are seven leadership techniques to help you be visible, provide value and demonstrate your confidence in meetings.

    The Contributor shows expertise by contributing ideas and information

    “What about this idea?” Or “The data shows that we are above budget.”

    The Initiator suggests taking a different approach when the group is stuck.

    "How about looking at this from the end point and then work backwards?”

    The Supporter adds supportive comments and affirms the work of the group.

    “We seem to be making good progress on this issue.”

    The Summarizer conducts a short recap or review of what has occurred.

    “This is what we have so far….”

    The Clarifier asks a question that can benefit the group member’s understanding.

    “What did you mean when you said…?”

    The Expediter speaks up when things seem to have been discussed enough and checks to see if it’s time to advance to the next step.

    “Are we ready to move forward or do we need more dialog?”

    The Focuser brings the group back to central issues when it gets off track.

    “It seems like we are heading in a different direction, should we continue along this path or get back to the agenda?”

    By using a variety of these meeting techniques, you will display confidence because you are visible and speaking up. You also provide value to the group by helping the meeting be more productive.  


    Pam Solberg-Tapper, president of Coach for Success Inc., is a Duluth-based executive coach, professional speaker and adventure marathoner. For questions or to submit questions or ideas for future columns, please contact her at pam@coachforsuccess.com or 218-729-0772.

  • 11 Apr 2018 5:33 PM | Deleted user

    By: Julie Zaruba Fountaine
    Wellness Coordinator, College of St. Scholastica

    What comes to mind when you think of happiness? A yellow smiley face? The feeling of warmth when thinking about a dear friend or family member? Watching a beautiful sunset? What if you could learn to incorporate more happiness into your life? What would that mean for your relationships, your work life, and your personal life? Most of us would say we would like to increase our happiness but what does that mean? 

    Happiness is the state of contentment and well-being. It is our human nature that encourages us to seek happiness. What if instead of seeking happiness you could cultivate it? The concept of positive psychology helps us to cultivate happiness by utilizing evidence-based practices. 

    Knowing what positive psychology is not can be just as helpful as knowing what positive psychology is. Positive psychology is not about being happy all the time, it is about not suffering all of the time. Positive psychology is an empirical, science-backed field founded by Martin Seligman. Martin studied traditional psychology for several decades until he realized the system was flawed. He wanted to understand why psychologists did not study what makes people happy. Seligman started the first set of research experiments at the University of Pennsylvania to find out what makes people flourish. What he discovered is optimism is a characteristic people can learn. People flourish when we practice gratitude, meditation, and positive communication in relationships. A recent meta-analysis involving over 200 experiments in positive psychology concludes that practicing happiness improves our lives in all areas including health, relationships, work, spirituality, and achieving lofty goals.

    If you want to learn more come to the ATD presentation, Happy Hour: An Introduction to Positive Psychology on April 17th. During the presentation you will be introduced to the field of positive psychology, the happiness equation, and learn how to cultivate positive emotions. The hour will be an interactive session where you can develop the skills you need to increase your level of happiness.

  • 13 Mar 2018 3:11 PM | Deleted user

    By: Naomi Christensen, graphic designer at Minnesota Power and ATD Board Member 

    Have you ever attended a training and received exactly what you needed? Have you ever purchased online and found the process for selecting your items and checking out was easy, intuitive and delivered exactly what you were looking for? If so, you experienced great design. Great design doesn’t just happen, it’s the product of an intentional process called “Design Thinking.” 

    Design Thinking consists of 5 key components: empathy, definition, ideation, prototyping and testing.

    Always begin with empathy, asking “for who am I creating something” and “what do they want or need.” You have to put yourself, as much as you can, into your customers’ shoes and try to see things how they see them. This may involve focus groups, interviews, online surveys or gathering statistics. If you’re developing training, who are you training and where are they coming from? What is common knowledge and what should be explained? Are there pain points they experience in using your website? This stage is foundational in the design process. Your end product will succeed or fail based on how well you empathize with your end user at the beginning.

    Once you lay your foundation, then you need to define the project. This may sound backward; wouldn’t you already know what you want to do before you approach your customers for their perspective on the project? Think of it this way: when you began the process, perhaps you knew you wanted to create a new website, but you may have uncovered new insights in the empathizing stage that change how you’re thinking about the project or scope. In the definition stage, you use a newfound understanding of your audience to define the project in a more specific way based on what you learned.

    Now that you know what you intend to create and for whom, we move into ideation or brainstorming. How are you going to address the customers’ pain points? What are others doing to innovate in your field? What  trends have you noticed in delivering services, and would they apply here? This is a team activity. Generate ideas and perspectives from your working group on how to solve the issues you see and how you can meet your viewers where they are. Gather ideas first, then refine them and make some decisions about what course of action you will take.

    Next, prototyping! Put all the ideas you’ve generated into action within the project you defined. Pen to paper, nose to grindstone! In this stage, you build or craft the piece you defined for your audience with the ideas you generated. Give it your best shot!

    Get your prototype in front of your audience and gather feedback. Depending on your audience, you need to tailor your approach to asking for their thoughts. You may use an online survey, a focus group, personal interviews or test environments to make it easy for test users to give candid feedback. The mode of testing will depend largely on what your particular project is or how people will interact with it. 

    After gathering feedback, you may have to loop back to ideation if there are big issues that need to be addressed. Follow through to prototyping and testing again until you’re hitting the mark with your audience. 

    Great design takes time, but it’s absolutely necessary if you want to create a quality product or experience for your intended audience and ultimately achieve your goals. Remember that you must lay a solid foundation for any project by starting with empathy for your customer, end user or audience. Focus on who they are and what they need and let that serve as your compass through the rest of the process.

  • 06 Feb 2018 12:57 PM | Deleted user

    Post written by Candi Broeffle, MBA and Certified Professional Coach, Composure Executive Coaching

    Transitions come in all shapes and sizes.  Some are minor; like taking on a new role at work, starting an exercise program, or redecorating your home. Others are major; like losing your job, having a baby, or losing a loved one. Transitions are changes that are sometimes chosen by us or given to us. Either way, change is stressful.

    When we are stressed we tend to approach the situation in two ways:

    • From a state of resignation – “Why is this happening to me?” “No one understands what I am going through.” “Why won’t they help me?” or “I can’t do anything about this.”

    • From a state of aggression – “Why did you do something so irresponsible?” “Where were you when I needed you?” “It’s her fault I had to leave.” or “I’m so stupid.”

    Moving beyond the stress and the negative emotions involves more than just thinking positive thoughts. The following four disciplines will help you to build resilience in the most trying times:

    • Awareness – take the time to observe and assess yourself and everything around you in the moment. Understand that what is true for you is not necessarily the Truth.

    • Acceptance – no matter how much you feel it “shouldn’t” be happening, it is happening.  Resisting what is happening only causes you pain. Don’t take things personally, and don’t look at anything that happens as more than it actually is. Don’t catastrophize!

    • Conscious Choice – being present to what is happening allows you to consciously make choices of how you will respond. Rather than responding from just your thoughts or emotions, tap into your intuition as well.

    • Trusting the Process – by focusing on long-term growth versus short-term rewards, you are less likely to get sidelined. Look for the lesson in each experience as you constantly review your plan and make shifts as needed.

    By tapping into the four disciplines you will understand the fear you are experiencing and gain a fresh perspective.

    Finally, let’s remember that fear and excitement feel the same. Choose excitement!

  • 11 Jan 2018 9:12 AM | Deleted user

    Written by Ted Schick

    Speaking, training, presenting--- any word you want to use---is a craft. And ideally, your craft is evolving and improving as you work towards mastery.

    Moreover, our craft is deliberate. Everything we do to convey and teach content should have purpose and intent. Nothing we do as craftsmen is an accident as it applies to teaching and instructing—it is all very intentional.

    Content + Delivery = Success. You just can’t have one without the other to truly be successful. In this fun and informative presentation, I model the tactics and techniques while sharing the keys to our craft. Teaser:  Here’s your first rule—It’s not about you. If you never forget this one, you are on your way to a KILLER presentation.


    Join us next week as Ted Schick dives deep into creating and executing presentations that will inform and impress your audience.

    Tuesday, January 16 
    11:30-1:00 pm
    Minnesota Power

    Register Today


    About Ted Schick:

    Residing in Fredenberg Township, MN, Ted is a corporate trainer, professional speaker and consultant with his own business, Schick Corporate Learning. A retired naval officer who rose up from the enlisted ranks, Ted has over 30 years experience leading people.

    With over 25 years in teaching and presenting, Ted holds a BA in Business from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, received a teaching certificate from Bemidji State University, and a Master of Education from the University of Minnesota, Duluth.

    Ted is active in his community with Spirit Mountain Ski Patrol, local animal humane societies including Animal Allies and Friends of Animals and has served as a mentor for Mentor Duluth. In his “spare” time, he has been a stand-up comedian, teaches Boot Camp fitness classes, serves as a personal fitness coach and is a seasoned triathlete.

  • 07 Dec 2017 10:30 AM | Deleted user

    Written by Kathlynn McConnell, CPLP

    Answering emails while viewing a webinar and reading a report could earn you the title of “multi-tasker.” Being labeled as a “multi-tasker” seems to be a badge of honor these days. However, earning this badge by trying to focus on two or more tasks at the same time or trying to switch rapidly between them means we're not giving any of the tasks our full attention. In the end, this actually reduces our productivity.

    Not only do we become less productive, multi-tasking may add to our stress and impatience because we are only partially present, leading to increased misunderstandings and mistakes. So, how do we ditch this unproductive badge of multi-tasking? Here are five easy-peasy steps to help you begin your 2018 journey to productivity and sanity:

    1. Don’t allow smaller tasks to interrupt the one you are currently focused on. For example, don’t answer emails while you are on a phone call and vice versa.

    2. Complete the task you are involved with before moving on to the next one. This allows you to be more fully present and attentive to each detail, leading to fewer mistakes and more enjoyment by moving the task from your “to-do” list to your “to-DONE!” list.

    3. Straighten up your work area before you begin your tasks for the day. Clutter tends to rob us of our peace and presence and it tantalizes us to randomly focus on things other than the task at hand.

    4. Turn off ringers, beeps and email notifications while you are engaged in a specific task.

    5. Check emails on the hour instead of every minute of the hour.

    Consider not multi-tasking for at least one hour a day as a New Year’s Resolution for yourself. You can get a head start on being more productive and sane in 2018 now by putting at least one of the steps into action each day. I double-dog dare you…

  • 06 Dec 2017 7:35 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Written by Dawn Johnson, Past-President

    December 4th through the 8th is Employee Learning Week.  Employee Learning Week is an annual celebration sponsored by the Association for Talent Development. 

    You might ask—why celebrate employee learning?  

    Employee Learning Week highlights the important role that learning plays in organizational success.  Often we think that employee training and development comes in the form of a class.  Others may believe that the full responsibility to train employees is the role of the “training department.”  This belief couldn’t be further from the truth.  Yes—it is true that an organization’s training department may be responsible for the most critical training or content that is needed by large numbers of employees (new employee orientation for example.)  However, employee learning comes in many different forms and from a variety of sources.  Corporate trainers, safety trainers, leaders, and even co-workers play a key role in the successful development of employees.  Learning may take the form of a class—or it may simply be a co-worker sitting with a new peer and demonstrating a procedure.

    Employee growth and development is also the responsibility of the individual employee.  Employee Learning Week is a great time to inspire and encourage employees to continue to develop their own skills.  We often forget that many employees work on professional development activities on their own time, but the organization benefits from the new knowledge and skills every day.

    The Lake Superior Chapter of the Association for Talent Development would like to encourage you to take time this week to recognize the importance of employee learning. 

    Here are a few simple ideas:

    • Send personal thank you notes to leaders and employees that take time to mentor others in your organization
    • Promote opportunities for tuition reimbursement or other company sponsored learning programs
    • Provide treats to your department to celebrate and highlight their commitment to their own learning
    • Learn something new together during a staff meeting this week (work related or something just for fun!)
    • Share our blog posts this week with others inside and outside of your organization

    Have fun celebrating Employee Learning Week and join the Lake Superior Chapter in 2018 for more great opportunities to learn!  

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