What the Doctor Ordered: Training, Technology and Leadership

What the Doctor Ordered: Training, Technology and Leadership

I’m not a doctor, but I like to play one in my current role as a Technology Training Coordinator.  I like present to our faculty and staff over MediaSite in costume as “Doctor Nikki”.  But no matter what role I’ve had: whether “Dr. Nikki” the trainer, Nikki the IT, or Nikki the leader, I realize that the best way to solve a problem is to diagnose it and then have the right people treat it, not the reverse.

A Training Problem. Do you have trainers and presenters who lack the skills in the first place?  Don’t expect the technology to compensate.

A Technology Problem. Does your site have a bad user interface?  Do your forms use field labels with really hard to decipher language?  Do you have processes that could be automated to eliminate the potential for human errors?  Then don’t train around design flaws.  Your users can only be expected to remember so much.

A Leadership Problem. Have your leadership expected the technology to guide the policies and business processes instead of the other way around?  Does your leadership fail to hold individuals accountable?  Then don’t implement more technology.  Don’t implement training programs without holding individuals accountable for their professional development.

Take it from “Dr. Nikki”, when you have a problem in your department, the last thing you want to do is send it to the wrong specialist.  It’s like sending someone with a heart problem to a brain surgeon.

How have your organization’s problems been “misdiagnosed”?   Have any been corrected?  I’d like to hear about it.

Photo Credit: “Pills” by Mattza

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leadership, Management, problem solving, technology, training

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This post was written by:

Nikki Massaro Kauffman

Nikki Massaro Kauffman - who has written 42 posts on .eduGuru

Nikki is a multimedia specialist with Penn State's World Campus Learning Design unit, creating and editing multimedia for online courses.

Previously, she was technology training coordinator with the Penn State University Libraries, responsible for technology training offered in the Libraries' 20+ departments and 30+ library locations.  

Over the years, she's been she served as an interim associate director of instructional technology and multimedia, a programmer, a database specialist, a Microsoft Certified Master Instructor, a continuing education instructor for seniors and adults with disabilities, and a high school English and communications technology teacher.  

Her interests are in the areas where technology, training, and communication intersect.  She holds degrees in both computer science and in education.  She is also an insomniac and an extreme extrovert with an indiscriminate love of language (including expletives).

10 Responses to “What the Doctor Ordered: Training, Technology and Leadership”

  1. Avatar image
    Michael P. Says:

    Great post. Seems like you wear lots of hats or scrubs might be more appropriate for this article. What do you think is the most prevalent problem of the 3 you listed? Or is it more of a per case basis? Just wondering..thanks for you input.


  2. Avatar image
    wilhb81 Says:

    Nice prescription, Nikki. I will definitely take it for sure. By the way, how long do I have to take this medicine?


  3. Avatar image
    Nikki Massaro Kauffman (author) Says:

    @Michael P: Thanks. I’ve been in each of those roles in some form or another, so I know it’s easy for each role to blame the others or to look to the others to solve its own internal issues. To them , I say “Physician, heal thyself!” Sometimes we need to do some self-assessment before looking for solutions. I wouldn’t generalize to say the problem is with any one group or another, but there is a tendency (even with IT people) to think a technical solution will solve organiational issues.

    @wilhb81: Thanks! Needs assessment should be an ongoing process, so it looks like you’ve got to add this to your maintenance prescription plan… ;)


  4. Avatar image
    Chicago prostate cancer Says:

    The most prevalent problems I see are problems with management. All too often there are great employees but they go unmotivated or underutilized for their specific skills and talents. It all comes back to the leadership not doing their jobs. Regards!


  5. Avatar image
    Liberal Education Says:

    Great post. I do believe that those are the same three things that our government is currently lacking!


  6. Avatar image
    Arthur F Carmazzi@Leadership Development Says:

    The leadership role in Training must be one of meeting an objective, Not one of learning the material. When you focus on learning participants seldom come out with much value. Yet, if you as a trainer have the passion to help them meet their ultimate objective, and inspire them in the process, the learning becomes a byproduct of a result they are committed to.


  7. Avatar image
    Leadership Styles Says:

    “A Training Problem. Do you have trainers and presenters who lack the skills in the first place? Don’t expect the technology to compensate.”

    A very good point, expertise is needed to leverage the power of technology. Tech cannot get there by itself.


    • Avatar image
      Leadership Development Services Says:

      “A Training Problem. Do you have trainers and presenters who lack the skills in the first place? Don’t expect the technology to compensate.”

      Your trainers must be skillful and knowledgeable enough for you to gain the knowledge that you will be needing to support your job. Self study is good. But it’s better to have someone expert to give you the ideas and impart the knowledge that you ought to know and that will also help you grow.

      I’m glad to say that I have a good trainer in our office that teaches me and shares everything he knows that makes me handle my job easier.


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    Leadership Coaching Says:

    Great post. Sometimes people look to technology to magically solve all problems without first making the best use of people first.


  9. Avatar image
    do follow blogging Says:

    Nice post. Training, Technology & leadership run hand in hand. This is something which a lot of BIG organizations lack now days.


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