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In an increasingly competitive and information-driven world, it’s imperative that organizations empower their employees to continually expand their knowledge and develop new skills. Taking that to heart, FCC Services recently piloted two valuable programs – Rivers of Information and FreshBiz – that are now also available to the organization’s clients.
Rivers of Information
The adage that “Knowledge is Power” has never been truer, but in today’s digital world, the amount of information and knowledge available is overwhelming. Rivers of Information is an approach to gather and organize this information around specific topics of interest and deliver it in a digestible format.
“Rivers of Information is a concept that allows you to identify resources or hubs of information on a topic, and set up an automated process – a river – that will deliver relevant content to you,” says Nicole Sullivan, a consultant in FCC Services’ Organizational Effectiveness group. “An individual can then establish a regular review of the information to become knowledgeable about that topic.”
This empowered learning approach builds more well-rounded individuals and brings valuable insights and thinking into the organization.
“Setting up Rivers of Information helps employees keep abreast of relevant topics, enabling them to be ahead of the curve on workplace and industry trends, which can improve productivity and enable better service to customers,” says Jay Lux, FCC Services’ Vice President of Organizational Development. “Everyone in the organization, especially senior executives, should be actively seeking out information about what’s going on in the world so they can live up to their full responsibility to lead and implement effective strategies.”
Directors, too, need to stay abreast of topics and issues that might impact – either positively or negatively – the organization in order to provide effective governance and oversight.
“As organizations get larger and more complex, and the business environment also becomes more complex, it’s essential that directors know what’s going on in the economy, world political affairs, trade policies and technology,” says Leslie Hilton, FCC Services Vice President of Governance/Board Development. “We also know that directors are extremely busy outside of their board service, and employing Rivers of Information can deliver them the information they need much more time-effectively than searching the enormous amount of information available on the internet.”
A River of Information can be as simple as setting up Google Alerts or subscribing to individual news services. Using digital tools like information aggregators can streamline the learning process by delivering the information rather than the individual needing to go out searching, which can lead to distraction.
“Rivers of Information is an intentional process for individuals and organizations to define relevant and interesting topics,” says Chris Keller, Senior Vice President of Talent and Leadership Development with FCC Services. “A department or team can also discuss topics that they want to collectively learn about, split up the topics to diminish the impact on each, and then share their learnings with each other so it becomes collective wisdom.”
Playing games at work may not seem that productive, but FreshBiz is a game-based simulation designed specifically for businesses as a tool to increase collaboration, creativity and proactivity.
“We liked this particular simulation and format because it’s focused on entrepreneurial thinking skills with the premise that you don’t have to be an ‘entrepreneur’ per se to have this mindset, but can utilize it regardless of your role,” says Jean Cantey Segal, Chief Learning Officer of Learning and Consulting Services for FCC Services. “It addresses things like communication, problem solving, collaboration, innovation and critical thinking, skills are that becoming increasingly vital to business success.”
The goal of the game is to successfully retire to an island. Each player on a team has their own business and needs to amass land and rent income by buying spots on the board, similar to Monopoly. Whether one person or an entire team makes it there depends on the strategies employed. Lisa Parrinello, FCC Services RMIS Senior Account Executive, says her team made the decision that either their entire team would retire or none of them would. They combined their resources and bought assets together, so they all benefited each time a player landed on an owned space. Their team won the game when FCC Services played it in January.
“The biggest takeaway from the game was recognizing that collaboration is the key to success, and we need to figure out how to work together so we all win,” says Lisa. “Another valuable aspect of the game was learning more about my colleagues’ different perspectives, how they think and the different strategies they use, which I think will help us work even better together in our jobs moving forward.”
FreshBiz is about underscoring the value of collaboration in the real world, understanding and employing creative thinking, and adapting to get better results. “In order to do well in this game, teams need to turn their ideas into reality, and recognize that when they hit a roadblock, the solution is to collaborate and explore new options,” says Chris. “This mindset happens in the game, but people can take this and translate it into their business lives. When you have more employees thinking this way, the organization benefits.”
Game-based learning does more than build rapport during the experience itself: “It’s kind of a mind trick because players’ brains react as though the situation is real. When a team is collaborating and solving problems, it really rewires the brain so those skills become embedded and ready for use in real-life situations,” says Jean.
FreshBiz is effective both within a team and across functions, though FCC Services suggests that the optimal audience size is 25-30. FreshBiz will be premiered at the Learning Conference, July 24 - 26 in Nashville.
For more information about FreshBiz or Rivers of Information, contact us at email@example.com.
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