And Now For Something Completely Different…

To hear some of my colleagues at the National Speakers Association talk about my decision, I am either a genius or an idiot. I am either an industry leader who will reap the rewards, or a moron who will put myself out of business. Then there are the ones who choose to ignore the whole issue. What issue? Online training, more specifically, creating an online option for all of my training programs that clients can access 24/7.

The business issue boils down to three choices:

1) Do nothing. Business is good, so I can just keep doing what I am doing, speaking to people live, in-person. This would be the “Ignorance is bliss” choice.

2) Avoid online at all costs, as it has the potential to cannibalize existing business. This would be the fear-based, resistant-to-change choice.

3) Make a big move because my clients are looking for the best possible training solution, and online delivery is now part of the answer. Users are more comfortable with online than ever before, and bandwidth makes possible what was impossible just a few years ago. In fact, online optimizes my time on-site with clients, and makes that time even more valuable because we can get more targeted and customized than before. Online creates solutions and choices we never had access to. This is the proactive business building decision--and the one I am going with.

I spent several months researching platforms for delivering training content online. During this time, I also interviewed contractors about current use of and readiness for this option. (If you want to know more about the thirteen things you should look for in your new online training system, read my next article.) As I started my research I was already leaning toward going online, but I wasn’t convinced. I simply hadn’t found a good technology to do it. Most of the platforms I demo’d were vanilla and simply not compelling enough to keep me, nor you, engaged. However, I knew moving online was the right decision--for me and my clients--once I found LightSpeed VT and their interactive virtual training experience.

I pride myself on associating with top-tier institutions and organizations. The University of Notre Dame and The Marines are two I am particularly proud of. In fact, the foundational principles instilled in me by those two organizations are ones I hold close every day. Principles of integrity, excellence, and mission focus readily come to mind. LightSpeed VT has quickly proven itself to be a worthwhile business partner. Their technology is simply the best on the market when it comes to online training. Now, I am sure many of you hear “online training” and immediately think about mind-numbing voice-over PowerPoint webinar that goes on for too long, and causes students to check out too soon. I call this feel-good training for the manager, because they feel good that they are providing something. (They would feel nauseous if they knew how poorly it was being received by the employees.) LightSpeed VT is so different, you have to experience it to fully understand my excitement. This is a great time to email me for a demo!

There is an old cliché that says if you want to be a millionaire, you should hang out with millionaires. In this case, I want to deliver the best business and leadership training you can get, so I am using the same platform that the best in the business are using. With LightSpeed VT, I am using the same multi-million-dollar platform that some of the biggest names in speaking are using. Tony Robbins, Tony Allesandra, etc., are examples of people who use it. It is not cheap. In fact, it is the most expensive solution on the market. But it is worth it. Of course, those people I just mentioned don’t focus on the construction industry. So I am proud to be the first to bring it to you.

Once you buy into the concept of incorporating virtual delivery into your leadership development program, the rest is easy. You sign up all your leaders for the system. For what it costs to deliver a day of training in person, we can train far more people on far more subjects. In just a few weeks, we will have two courses online and ready to go: the often-requested Leadership vs. Management and Generations in the Workplace. Throughout 2014, I will be adding many more programs, with still more to follow in subsequent years. Your employees get access to the entire library! And you get access to the learning management system that helps you track, measure, and monitor who is using the system and how well they are retaining the material. Think about that eager leadman who has been tapping you on the shoulder, saying he is ready to be a foreman. Now you can tell him to take all the courses over the next year or so. After he completes a course, you meet with him and talk about what he learned and how he is applying it. Or, despite your encouragement, he might choose not to take any of the courses! That leads to a simple conversation at promotion time.

While virtual training with FireStarter will not solve your leadership development challenges, it will bring a new dimension to help you address those challenges. I look forward to talking with you about how we can work together to bring this dimension to your team. Let me know if you want to kick the tires on the system. I will send you log-in instructions so you can demo the system for a few days. You don’t even need to talk to me first. Just send the email and dive in. We can talk after. But let’s make sure we do talk about your training needs and see how VT is part of the solution.

“Enjoyable, knowledgeable, and thought-provoking presentation delivered with finesse.”

Brian Newsome