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Posts Tagged ‘Vendor management’

When you facilitate workshops (or teach, or train, or preach, or….), you have to pull illustrations from wherever you can.

Even a toddler’s bedroom. Let me explain.

People marvel when my wife or I explain how we enforced bedtimes (and wake-up times) with our kids when they were young.

When I explain the simple technique, and the principle behind it (The External Authority), any parents in my Project and Vendor Management workshop start scribbling notes furiously. It may be the most high-impact takeaway in the course!

Here’s what we did – we used THE CLOCK as the authority. When THE CLOCK says it’s 8:00 pm, then it’s bedtime. It’s objective and non-personal, and you can’t argue with Mom and Dad, because the external authority has decreed what the reality must be.

Even better – they weren’t allowed to leave their bedrooms in the morning until THE CLOCK said 7 am.

7-00-clip-art

In this way, we remove any nagging negotiation between parent and child by pointing to something “above” all of us, something that carried with it a sense of inevitability and external authority. How can you argue with the march of time??

(Have young children at home? I know you’re scribbling notes right now!!)

OK – so, what does this have to do with project and vendor management, or any other facet of corporate life?

A great deal.

When projects begin to go off the rails due to miscommunication or scope creep, it’s generally because there hasn’t been a carefully defined and articulated project plan. An agreed-upon project definition, with an agreed-upon process, a defined timeline and budget, and an agreed-upon scope of work.

That project plan is THE CLOCK.

The last thing you want to get into as a project manager is a schoolyard brawl with internal stakeholders or external vendors over what has happened to a going-south-project. The project manager(s) often end up getting the blame in these scenarios. This is prevented is by creating a detailed project plan that everyone consciously agrees to up-front. The plan, and its scope, becomes the external authority, reigning in unauthorized changes and enforcing a level of project discipline on all contributing stakeholders.

Now, it’s not you against them. It’s you and them being accountable to The Plan. Which can only be changed by high-level stakeholders (ultimately) responsible for budget and timing.

You can see how the appeal to an external authority is used all the time in corporate life. Sometimes, with very good effect; other times, as an excuse and evasion of responsibility.

For example – what sounds better: “I’m firing you because I just don’t like you,” or, “According to our manual of company behavior, we’re going to have to let you go because you violated Rule #37b on April 12th.” One of these is strictly personal and can lead to a lawsuit; the other has a whiff of objective inevitability.

Or this: “I tried to herd all the cats, but somehow the project ended up 20% over budget and 3 weeks late,” vs. “The VP of Sales signed off on a change to the original scope in order to include 2 extra videos on August 3rd, which impacted the budget by 20% and pushed back our final deliverable by three weeks.”

Are you involved in managing projects or vendors? Your best friend is detailed definition and up-front agreement. You always want to the clock on your side!

Also on the Impactiviti blog: Tossing Trainers into the Deep End of the Pool 

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Malpractice. I’m on a mission to stop it.

Specifically, the malpractice that happens when unprepared trainers are put in charge of managing projects and vendors.

You can help me stamp out training malpractice! Here’s how…

By and large, people do not join our training departments with these skills already developed. That’s where Impactiviti comes in.

We set you, and your department, up for success by providing training and consulting services to implement best practices in vendor and project management.

Here are our unique offerings to set your department up for success:

  • Focused workshop on Best Practices in Vendor and Project Management, imparting the skills and knowledge necessary to transition from field sales, to effective training management and collaboration (coming soon – on-demand eLearning version!)
  • Targeted vendor recommendations – we talk about your needs, and I identify (through the Impactiviti network) the ideal vendor(s) to consider.
  • Vendor Optimization/Alignment Consulting – see this post about the benefits of a strategic “reset” of your vendor roster.

So, call me and let’s talk (973-947-7429). There is no charge for discussing your training needs, or for receiving vendor recommendations. I can explain more about how that works when we talk.

Let’s set your people up for success!

GlenD

Also on the blog: Tossing Trainers into the Deep End of the Pool

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I recently had the opportunity for most of a week to sit down with a number of my T&D clients and talk about their outsource vendor landscape. As you may relate, every department comes up with a series of vendors that are accumulated over time (by various people, for various reasons), until the picture looks somewhat like this:

Roster time

Look familiar? Don’t worry, you’re in good company!

It’s called accumulation by accretion, and it happens all the time (this is especially prevalent in companies that have been growing rapidly, have re-organized recently, or have been through a merger).

In that collection there are a few go-to vendors (who may be getting overloaded), there are under-performers, and there are definitely some mis-matches. And, with the turnover of training personnel over time, there is often a lack of clear understanding of vendor competencies.

Every once in a while, a department needs a Reset, which is what several clients were discussing with me:

reset align

The Reset process involves a department-wide analysis, evaluation, and categorization process, including an aligning of current vendors with their core competencies, and the identification of new suppliers to fill in current and future gaps. The outcome? Strategic resource alignment and a go-forward Vendor Map.

This brief video explains:

Operational excellence only comes about by intelligent planning. It’s something we do here at Impactiviti – partnering with clients to bring order to the outsourcing process.

This process, joined to a training workshop on Best Practices for Project and Vendor Management, is a big step forward in Operational Excellence for the department. Optimization of outsource resources can result in major budget savings and far more successful execution of projects.

Also on the blog: Tossing Trainers Into the Deep End of the Pool

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deepI have often likened what happens to new Life Sciences sales trainers coming in from the field as being tossed into the deep end of the pool – at least, when it comes to figuring out how to perform unfamiliar tasks like vendor and project management!

And yet – what is one of the most important competencies listed by our life sciences training leaders? That’s right – Project Management.

The ability of training managers to plan and execute projects is crucial to their success. The last two editions of LTEN FOCUS Magazine certainly make that abundantly clear:

(derived from LTEN/TGaS Advisors survey, FOCUS magazine, Spring 2017)

(derived from LTEN/TGaS Advisors survey, FOCUS magazine, Winter 2016)

Over the last 20+ years working with Life Sciences T&D departments, I have found a consistent gap in the on-boarding and developmental training of staff in the key skills required for project and vendor management. I don’t know how many people I’ve talked to who have nodded knowingly when I talk about “the deep end of the pool.”

Yet, here’s a crucial perspective to understand – the competencies developed for this role are central to ALL future roles, because, if you think about it – it’s all about pro-active collaboration skills (planning, influencing, communicating, defining, process-shepherding, teaming, evaluating, etc.).

It’s not merely project management – it’s corporate life.

So, here’s the 10 million dollar question – are we training our trainers to become effective vendor and project managers? Or are they being thrown into the deep end of the pool to “learn as they go” the hard way?

We certainly don’t send sales reps out that way, do we?

So…what’s the solution?

Impactiviti offers industry-specific training for Project and Vendor Management. This targeted program (delivered either on-demand or live) is built specifically for Life Sciences training departments, and has been embraced by many top companies over the past 6 years.

We address all the money-saving best practices that lead to successful engagements with vendors. The things that you definitely don’t want to have to learn the hard way. Here’s an overview of what we cover:

The Impactiviti workshop is available in both live and on-demand formats.

It’s time to put an end to lost training budget dollars and preventable mistakes that lead to project failures. Contact Steve Woodruff at Impactiviti (973-947-7429; AskSteve@impactiviti.com) to discuss how we can help you implement these best practices in your training department.

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Way back over a decade ago, when I was still working with a vendor company, we ended up involved in a project that started taking on water and sinking fast.

The main reason why? Company failure to effectively on-board a new training manager.

This high-profile, pre-launch project was not with some small-time startup pharma. It was with a division of a major drug company. And there was a perfect storm of circumstances that propelled this project toward disaster.

This learning system initiative was begun with one trainer heading up this department, who then was cycled to a new position. A new trainer was brought on board from the field, who had no prior experience in training.

Or managing projects.

Or working with vendors.

And whose on-boarding (if there was any) didn’t even include awareness of the headquarters Medical/Legal/Regulatory review process!

Rough waters? Oh, it gets worse.

This drug was a co-promote with a startup that had never commercialized a product before, but which had its say in any kind of training and messaging to be developed!

Needless to say, this effort devolved into a navigational nightmare. It was not at all clear how were going to arrive at a safe destination.

Perhaps it was a mercy that the drug was ultimately not approved by the FDA.

Many vendor/partners have similar stories they can tell. A lack of best practices in project and vendor management can lead to very expensive mistakes and inefficiencies.

titanic

While there are many lessons to be learned from this incident, one of the key ones for me was: companies need to quickly and pro-actively on-board their trainers with the skills and knowledge needed for their new set of responsibilities. This is a relatively small up-front investment with a huge ROI in role effectiveness.

I never forgot how disruptive the incomplete on-boarding training was to to this overwhelmed trainer as he faced a bunch of unfamiliar challenges. In fact, it was one of the incidents that led me to eventually develop the Impactiviti Project/Vendor Management workshop for life sciences trainers, which we’ve delivered for many training departments over the past years.

Costly disasters like this one are preventable. Contact Steve Woodruff at Impactiviti (973-947-7429; AskSteve@impactiviti.com) to discuss best practices in on-boarding your trainers, including the annual subscription to our Project/Vendor Management course (also available this spring in on-demand format!)

ALSO: Five Compelling Reasons to Provide Project Management Training

 

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– WORK FOR HIRE 

I always ask in my Vendor/Project Management Best Practices workshop – does anyone know what these three words mean?

Almost nobody ever does.

Not knowing what “work for hire” means can lead to very costly mistakes when outsourcing training development to vendors.

In this quick video, I explain why every trainer needs to know about those 3 words:

Work For Hire addresses the critical issue of who “owns” the content/solutions/platform being used for your training initiative. This is not something salespeople coming into training from the field can be expected to know about – at least, not without proper on-boarding regarding vendor and project management.

Some clients have paid for training content to be developed, but because the ownership of the actual materials (the IP, or Intellectual Property) was not properly spelled out in the contract, they have had to pay over and over again for the expanded use of the content.

In such a case, three words were missing in the Statement of Work: Work For Hire.

Other clients have ruined relationships with valued vendors by treating licensed training content as if it was now owned by the client, and therefore usable/reproducible at will.

That’s called…well, stealing.

I’ve spoken with vendors over the years who have had their workshops ripped off by clients (deliberately or inadvertently) because these issues of Intellectual Property were not properly understood and enforced. It has costly ramifications, both legal and relational (and reputational).

ourstheirs

These matters of intellectual property, licensing, ownership, and usage are some of the many business-critical issues we cover in the Vendor/Project Management Best Practices workshop. I have delivered this workshop “live” for a number of major pharmaceutical companies over the years.

This proven program will be available this spring for my life sciences clients in on-demand (eLearning, annual subscription) format, so that your training managers can gain these skills at any time.

Contact Steve Woodruff at Impactiviti (AskSteve@impactiviti.com) for details.

SEE ALSO: Stop Losing Those Training Dollars!

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If you could invest $10 to gain $100 (or to keep from losing $100), would you do it?

I would.

Especially if that same investment could keep my team from embarrassing failures and losses. That’s why we invest in training trainers in Project and Vendor Management Best Practices.

Putting training managers in charge of outsourced training development projects is risky business. Here are some of the common (& very expensive) failures that regularly arise:

  • Poorly-defined specifications that lead to scope changes (always more $$!)
  • Miscommunications with internal stakeholders and external vendors leading to missed deadlines
  • Choosing the wrong supplier for the project and ending up with a costly, sub-standard deliverable
  • Time and money lost trying to get an out-of-control project on track due to lack of clear process

benjaminsI worked on the vendor side for 10 years and saw first-hand how costly it can be to have people running projects who have never been trained in the basic principles of project and vendor management.

I have also served as a vendor/client consultant for almost 11 additional years, and I cringe to remember all the budget dollars I’ve seen floating out the windows of client training departments. One bad decision in just one year’s time can lead to losses of 20K, 50K, even 100K or more.

You’ve seen this happen before, right? Maybe multiple times.

What’s the solution?

Impactiviti offers industry-specific training for Vendor/Project Management. This targeted program (delivered either on-demand or live) is built specifically for Life Sciences training departments, and has been embraced by many top companies over the past 6 years.

We address all the money-saving best practices that lead to successful engagements with vendors. Here’s on overview of what we cover:

pm-outline

It’s time to put an end to lost training budget dollars and preventable mistakes that lead to project failures. Contact Steve Woodruff at Impactiviti (973-947-7429) to discuss the best investment for your training department.

ALSO: Five Compelling Reasons to Provide Project Management Training

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