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TrainMilsSpring2016Evolving your sales training to fit Millennials.

The retail sales workforce is evolving, but is your sales training evolving with it?

For the generation currently moving into the workforce—Millennials—the “right now” culture has transformed the way they learn, how they process new information, and it’s influenced the ways in which they interact with those around them. Yet, even as these behaviors have spread to the workplace, many retailers have found themselves unprepared or unable to adapt.

GPISpring16Looking at gender pay inequality.

There has been much discussion recently regarding gender pay inequality. This conversation reached fever pitch with the disclosure that female actors earn less than their male counterparts. This information was made public as the result of the unauthorized disclosure of information from hackers. In response, the head of Sony Pictures stated that this is what was negotiated. In the world of corporate America, a similar cry has been heard. It’s reported that women currently are earning 78 cents for every dollar earned by men.

FinanceSpring16Who is responsible for keeping sensitive data secure?

Clients’ social security numbers, addresses and telephone numbers are examples of sensitive data that corporations must protect and keep private. International transactions, as well as current and future development plans, may also contain sensitive data. Who is responsible for keeping this data secure and out of the wrong hands? What role does the accountant play in assuring that this data is secure?

I’ve had the privilege of working in the enterprise software industry for more than a quarter of a century. Along the way, I have learned that it can be challenging to unlock a company’s growth potential while maintaining profitability. 

Creating and executing a well thought-out plan to guide a company through its journey is essential. This way, companies are more likely to be successful in accomplishing their goals. 

After joining Sparta Systems in 2011, I set an audacious goal to more than double the company’s revenues, taking it from a steady state to accelerated growth stage, while maintaining strong profitability. 

With the U.S. economy consistently recovering and growing over the past couple of years, the labor market continues to tighten. As a result, employers are finding themselves increasingly worried about whether they will have the necessary talent needed to drive business success and support their own growth.

When faced with this challenge, most companies focus on external talent – they want to know where the supply of new hires will come from and when. They often build up their own internal talent acquisition function, sometimes making the dubious assumption that increasing resources to this team will solve their problem. In reality, this is rarely a solution.

A model for employee ownership certainly is W.L. Gore & Associates, a company owned by an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) and by Gore family members. One of the most innovatively managed companies in the country, it has been on Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work list every year since 1984. It generates more than $3 billion in sales, has 45 plants in locations around the world, and employs about 10,000 associates.

In a recent blog, business author Seth Godin wrote, “When (part of) your marketplace embraces a ‘new’ that makes no sense to you, it’s essential you understand the point of view that’s leading people to embrace this new idea… You probably need to understand why other people were touched, inspired or found something worth talking about.”

Godin makes a point that relates to senior executives and managers and the necessity of being willing to learn when something happens that we may not at first understand, and that tests our learning ability in the face of newness. From here, it’s not a large step to the broader issue of continuous learning.

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