Employee Learning and Development
Summer 2020 Midterm Exam
Bradford Consultants (BC) is a professional services firm that provides consulting services to improve business processes. Many of BC services fall under the areas of organizational design, work-flow analysis, efficiency improvement, and leveraging technology to improve business outcome effectiveness. Founded over 40 years ago , BC, is similar to other firms of this type (e.g., law or accounting firms) in that the same people who sell the services are also those that do the work. As in a large law firm, the more senior professionals manage junior professionals. Most BC professionals have an MBA degree or advanced degree in the Human Resources or Operations Management field.
BC has a wide range of clients, who vary in size and industry. Each client is sold to and serviced by an BC professional, referred to as an account manager. Depending on the size of the account, the account manager might have a few junior people helping on the account. Account managers for the bigger accounts are called Key Account Managers (KAM). Each KAM might be handling three or four accounts at one time while also trying to sell services into new accounts. Each KAM might lead a team of about eight professionals. Therefore, each KAM might have two to four professionals on the team to help service each account. Many BC professionals aspire to become a KAM. Skills alone are not enough to succeed as a KAM; for example, KAMs also appear to be highly collaborative and self-directed. There are three Sales VPs, who each oversee five District Managers, who each oversee six KAMS (plus other account managers).
The pressure on each KAM had increased in recent years both from competition and fewer dollars being spent by companies for these types of services. While their professional training prepared them to service accounts, KAMs were never really trained to be expert salespeople. They were given some basic sales training, as well as management and leadership training, before they first became account managers. For the 90 KAMs at BC, this might have been 10 to 12 years ago.
BC tells potential clients that they often need an outside firm, such as BC, to help them identify and improve their processes. Luke Bradford, CEO of BC, decided to do what they preach and ask an outside person or firm to help them increase sales among their KAMs.
Christina Lopez, VP of Human Resources, has asked you in to design and develop a holistic training and development program for these KAMs. She tells you the following:
“Through networking, Luke decided to approach Sean and Geri Johnson, a husband and wife team to develop the training. After listening to their ideas for a needs analysis, Luke said, ‘The needs analysis you suggest will take too long. I can give you input from our client satisfaction survey and you can speak to our 3 Sales VPs. I am in a hurry to get something done as soon as possible. I think, no, I want this to be an in person training session. They get too much of the online training, always on their laptops taking self paced stuff. I am going to invite 30 KAMs. Each VP will have their five District Managers pick two KAMS to invite.’ The Johnsons moved quickly and developed an overview design for the training, showed it to Luke who then said it was okay to go ahead and book the conference space. The training will be called: Key Account Management Program (KAMP).”
Christina continued, “This all happened in the two weeks I went on vacation. When I returned, Luke apologized for not waiting until I got back, but he wanted to get everything rolling. I asked him a few questions about how the consultants would ensure this training would incorporate all the activities both before and after the event to make it successful. He did not know the answer; so we called the Johnsons. They said my concern was a good one, but they specialize in creating the learning event itself and not all the best practices that go along with it. At that point, Luke fired them and told me to get someone to help with this project.”
Christina then tells you the constraints you are up against:
Christina shows you the design document the Johnson’s created:
|Module||Instructor Activity||Trainee Activity||Time|
|Strategy for the next five years;||Presentation||Listening||9 – 11 am|
|Break||11 – 11:20 am|
|Objectives of the program||Presentation||Listening||11:20 – 11:30 am|
|Client perspective (review of client satisfaction results)||Discussion||Listening, participating||11:30 – 12:00 pm|
|Lunch||12:00 – 1 pm|
|Influence Selling Skills||Presentation, video, group discussion||Listening, observing, responding||1 – 5 pm (includes a break around 2:30 pm)|
|Networking Dinner||Participating||6 pm – 10 pm|
|Negotiation Workshop||Presentation, video, group discussion||Listening, observing, responding||8:30 – 12:30 pm
(includes a break around 10 am)
|Lunch||12:30 – 1:30 pm|
|Working on your own account||Time keeping||Participating, providing guidance (KAMs sit in small groups and discuss how to apply the learning to their own accounts)||1:30 – 3:30 pm|
|Wrap up||Presentation and Answer Questions||Listing and asking questions||3:30 – 4:30
(Note: program end at 4:30)
Christina also mentions: “While we told the KAMs the start and stop time for each day, we have yet to tell them anything else. We can change the design of the program and add any important pre- and post activities and reinforcement.”
Christina provides some additional important information:
So while we cannot cancel the classroom training, there is so much you can do to make it successful!
Please answer each of the following 5 questions. Please be sure to number each of your answers.
(This exam is worth 32 points – points for each question are indicated in parentheses.)
Question 1 (12 points): What specifically should be done to ensure that KAMP is successful (e.g., it provides KAMs with the appropriate skills, knowledge, and abilities; it keeps the skills alive after the event, it leads to the transfer of training to the job and long-term results)? For example, What should be done before the KAMP event; during the KAMP event; after the KAMP event?
Your response should include specific actions to take as well as rationale for your ideas by citing any of the class reading/material).
Note: Your response should not include collecting more needs analysis information (save this for Question 5).
Question 2 (5 points) Please indicate what should be done to make the skill development modules (such as Influencing and Negotiation) successful; for example: who is involved in developing the modules, facilitating them, types of activities, any use of breakout rooms
Question 3 (5 points): Specifically, how will we provide the KAMs with training on motivating their team? Please state your rationale for your approach – including citing any class/reading material. Be sure to indicate if this training is at KAMP or not.
Question 4 (4 points): If Luke decides to invite any of the VPs or District Managers to the two days of training, what role should they play? Why?
Question 5 (6 points): Besides what was done, what else would you have added to the needs analysis?
Please Note: If you choose to incorporate any of your responses to Questions 2 or 3 or 4 into Question #1, please still answer Question 2 through 4 separately (it is okay to make references to Question #1 and not necessary to repeat everything that you might have included).