Thought Provoking

ATD speakers are at the forefront of the industry. They are the trendsetters who are forging new paths; you’ll learn how today’s trends are being activated, and find out what’s on the horizon for tomorrow.

Check out some of the highlights of the concurrent sessions of the conference below!

How AI and Machine Learning Will Support Learning and Talent Development Decision Making

by Cook, Ian

Learning professionals need to keep an eye on advances in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) because of their potential to improve business areas traditionally led by human judgement. The benefits and challenges of these technologies make it increasingly critical to understand how AI and ML affect learning, and when their use will be most effective. This session will demystify AI and ML by putting them into human terms, so that you can know with confidence when to utilize these innovations in your talent development activities. Find out which learning decisions will benefit the most, which ones are out of scope, and how to make the judgement call on when to apply them. 

Build an Actionable Competency Model in Weeks

by Lasse, Cheryl

A competency model describes what it looks like to be great in a role. It provides a baseline that tells you what skill gaps exist and what development activities are needed. It optimizes all phases of the employee life cycle, from recruiting through career planning, and supports coaching, mentoring, and culture change. With the increased pace of change, employee expectations for ongoing development and rapid career growth, and knowledge drain from retiring Baby Boomers, competency models are more necessary than ever to provide your organization with a competitive advantage.

From Immersion to Presence: How Virtual and Augmented Reality Are Revolutionizing Learning

by Gronstedt, Anders

The virtual reality (VR) revolution has arrived. It's both a virtual flight simulator for spacial technical training and the ultimate empathy machine for sales, service, leadership, and unconscious bias training. VR brings immersion to new levels---the feeling of presence, of actually being in another place. In this session, you'll get to try mobile VR and watch demos of high-end VR from Fortune 500 companies with room-scale positional tracking and hand controllers.

Learning Analytics: Achievable, Actionable, and Possible

by Yates, Kevin M.; Mattox, John; Phillips, Ph.D., CPLP, Patti; Vance, Dave

For decades, analytics has been used in government, corporations, and research institutions. But what about learning and development? Is it realistic to expect data and analytics play a role in the work of learning and development? Absolutely! There's no L&D team too small or large to harness the power of data-driven decisions and actionable analytic insights. All you need is a plan, and that's exactly what you'll get in this session. The speakers will share insights, research, and best practices for L&D analytics.

Beyond Perception to Truth: Using Data to Transform the Classroom

by Rioux, Sheila; Stern, Barry

The missing link of leadership is often the disconnect between the perception and reality of a leader's skills. Now, in the digital era, you have the capability and responsibility to create learning experiences that go beyond perception to reach truth. In this session, discover how to use a blended learning approach based on the "truth triangle" of self-perception, business context, and scientific rigor. Leveraging new technology, learn to employ a cycle of scientific assessment and curated development to create a virtual learning experience tailored to an individual's strengths and weaknesses, and rooted in the business context of their job. 

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Bringing Creative L&D to the Legal Industry: How We Transformed Traditional Training

by Baker, Katrina

Delivering great content is hard enough, but it's even harder when your learners are a bunch of smart, busy attorneys. Now take that audience and spread it across the globe! How do you keep the attention of an audience that isn't required to listen to you? And how do you bring innovative L&D to an industry that continues to rely on traditional training techniques? This is a case study of how a forward-thinking law firm transformed its traditional training program.

Recalculating Your Destination: Why Career Development Needs a GPS

by Montero Salvatico, Yvette

The world is changing, and we know that the future workplace will look very different from today. People are reframing the entire meaning of work, exploring careers across different disciplines, embracing their creative and entrepreneurial spirits, and finding work that fulfills them. In this new environment, employees are the navigators of their career GPS, constantly "recalculating their destination" to adjust for new technological advancements, economic disruptions, and reimagined aspirations. 

How to Build and Grow a Successful Talent Development Business

by Cohen, Stephen

Thinking about starting your own talent development firm? Struggling to grow your own? Wondering what the recipes for success or failure are in this industry? Why some firms are successful and others are not? In this session, the speaker will answer these questions and many more through easy-to-absorb lessons learned and real-life mistakes made. This session offers 12 steps to successfully build and grow a talent development business.

How to Find a Meaningful Career

by Horan, Jane

What does it mean to have a meaningful career? What drives us? How do we uncover where we want to go? And, what matters most in our careers? This session will explore meaning by looking back on pivotal events to design a road map for the present and future. Using reflective questions and paired discussion, you will delve into these pivotal events to examine strengths, values, unique qualities, and, ultimately, purpose. You'll learn how to understand the here and now to make decisions, become unstuck, and navigate a career you own. You'll leave with practical tips on how to find meaning, and the ability to unlock hidden talents to transform your work, career, and life.

Powerful Mentoring: Empower Mentors and Supercharge Results

by Labin, Jenn

More organizations are turning to mentoring as a cost-effective, sustainable, and scalable way to create strategic talent results---and finding out that they don't have a pool of capable and confident mentors ready to go. This session will dive into the key skills needed to drive truly effective mentoring relationships. With plenty of activities, a live social media feed, and video cameos by industry leaders, this session will keep you moving and learning.

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Engaging Storytelling Techniques to Captivate Every Audience

by Hubka, Stephanie

Have you ever watched an audience grapple with relating your content to their own experiences? Have you struggled to capture their attention, engage their minds, or even earn their trust? As instructional designers and trainers, we have one immediate goal: Connect with learners. Connections are at the heart of learning transfer, and a critical component of learning application. How do you create that connection? That's where storytelling comes in! Storytelling is an incredible strategy for building authentic connections between you and your learners. This session will provide a road map to help you craft your own captivating stories; you'll also apply the road map as you create your own story in real time. We'll talk about the science of storytelling, how to select the right story for your training, and how to effortlessly integrate stories into instructor-led, e-learning, and virtual sessions.

Lessons From Cavemen: Using Stories in Technical (and Nontechnical) Training

by McDermott, John

Cavemen taught technical hunting and gathering practices to family and peers using rock art and stories. Today's technical training is often dry and boring, especially if the learner is not highly motivated to participate. Trainers and facilitators are sometimes uncomfortable incorporating stories, often because they were never taught how. By returning to the roots of training with stories in technical training, we can bridge the gap between learner and content, helping participants to internalize the material more efficiently. Storytelling also helps build rapport between the facilitator and the group by humanizing otherwise challenging content. In this session, you will work in groups and use the three must-have story elements along with an easy-to-follow template to develop an impromptu story. You are encouraged to download the handouts before the session.

Developing Mindful Leadership Within Your Organization

by Adams, Juliet

To be effective in the complex, dynamic, and fast-paced context of the 21st century, managers and leaders need to improve their capacities for resilience, collaboration, and leading. Research suggests that mindfulness helps develop these capacities. This session is designed to bust myths and provide the practical knowledge you need to decide whether mindfulness can help you and your organization perform better. You'll also learn how to introduce mindful tools and techniques in a way that resonates with your organizational culture. 

3 Counterintuitive Strategies to Build a Coaching Culture

by Bungay Stanier, Michael

You want your managers and leaders to coach more. You know coaching is a foundational skill, one that drives both engagement and impact. When you have a successful coaching culture, teams are stronger and results are better. But if you're like most organizations, you've struggled to get your coaching culture to flourish. In this session, you'll roll up your sleeves and blow up some of the old rules. Drawing on 20 years of change management experience, the speaker will lay out a practical way of understanding culture that identifies the key points of influence, share a simple way of talking about culture that makes change possible, and upend three typical ways of thinking about a coaching culture that actually hinder more than they help.

Developing Agile Leaders: Coaching for Rapid Change

by Downs, Lisa

Today's fast-paced work environments demand that we as talent development professionals are well equipped to deal with rapid change, and are able to effectively adapt to uncertainty and support our leaders to do the same. This session is for those working with leaders at all levels, regardless of industry, looking to develop them as coaches in service of not only the leaders' growth and development in agility and change management, but also of the development of their people.

3 Secrets to a Retail Giant’s Number 1–Rated Culture

by Stallard, Michael

Employees in a culture with higher levels of human connection also benefit from experiencing greater wellness. In this session, you'll learn how one popular retail chain makes human connection the heart of its culture. In doing so, its employees are more productive, more engaged, more collaborative and cooperative, and less likely to leave. Additionally, the company was rated number 1 in America in the Forbes/Statistica study of large company cultures. You'll also discover how to transform culture, a term that is vague to most managers, so that it is simple, memorable, and actionable.

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How to Improve and Measure Sales Training ROI

by Burke, Christen and Carpenter, Michael

It's no secret that today's work environment is not conducive to learning: 90 percent of training material is forgotten within 30 days, 55 percent of reps lack basic sales skills, and the average employee is interrupted every three minutes. These daunting stats compel sales leaders to wonder: Which strategies are modern sales organizations using to engage with reps and improve training? And how can I measure my training return on investment (ROI)? This session will offer a firsthand look at the sales learning challenges faced by one software company, and how it used reinforcement learning, mobile video, and microlearning to empower its 
sales team and improve and measure ROI. This session will provide actionable insight on how to employ these training strategies. It will also explore how mobile video training tools help reps foster collaboration and personal connections.

Cultural Awareness: Capturing the Value of Diversity

by Morris, Jim

Imagine what could happen if you and your team understand and value cultural diversity, cooperate globally in the most effective way, and improve results through intercultural teamwork. Working in an international organization requires specific competences and communication skills. It's important to recognize and accept different modes of working together in intercultural teams. To do so, you need to find the right approach that motivates people in different cultures, gets their buy-in, and leads to results. This session provides an essential introduction to cultural awareness through storytelling, film clips, music, and exercises.

Global Diversity and Inclusion Benchmarks: We’ve Learned What Works!

by Molefi, Nene; O'Mara, Julie

This session is delivered by two seasoned diversity and inclusion (D&I) practitioners, one from the United States and one from South Africa. They'll demonstrate a replicable systems-change process, two activities, and numerous best practices. The process is a guide that leads to both the betterment of society and improved organizational performance. There are 151 benchmarks at the top three desired levels---Best Practices, Progressive, and Proactive---in 14 categories. One activity is "D&I Insights and Approaches," which involves a self- and organizational assessment and discussion. It provides a key as to why implementation may be successful or not. The second is a checklist activity---"Where Are We?"

The Bullseye Principle: Influence Emotion to Motivate Action

by Mills, G. Riley (Gary)

The ability to communicate with purpose and clarity is the key to personal and professional success. In this session, you will learn how to communicate using the secret technique global leaders use so you can influence stakeholders, quickly establish credibility, and deliver engaging and effective training to ensure learning outcomes.

Keys to an Amazing Competency-Based Training Program

by McClary, Joe; Naughton, Jennifer

This session is designed for training professionals who want to develop a competency-based training (CBT) program for their organization and need a simple but thorough guide that goes beyond the basics. The session is designed to be highly practical and go beyond an introduction. You will examine some of the more subtle and difficult steps in developing a quality competency-based training program, along with best practices. 

Radical Candor: Creating a Culture of Feedback in Your Sales Organization

by Kirkman, Lauren

Is feedback a normal part of everyday operations within your sales organization? Does feedback strengthen your sales team's performance, or are they left feeling demoralized or demotivated by occasional constructive feedback? Top-performing sales reps are often described as being "coachable," but this attitude of openness to feedback doesn't always happen on its own. Creating an environment where feedback is encouraged, expected, and part of the daily sales culture will promote openness to receiving feedback at every level of the organization. This session will provide you with an understanding of the common missteps that organizations make, and demonstrate actionable steps to cultivate a successful culture of feedback within your sales organization today.

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