Interview with Cynthiann King

MORE IS BETTER:  THE POWER OFLIFETIME LEARNING

Thank you for joining us today for another Infuse Interview talking with the pros, where we hear insights on how the pros have traveled their roads to success. My name is Leslie Mizerak with Mizerak Executive Coaching and today I'm talking to Cynthiann King.

Cynthiann is vice president of Learning and Development for Weidner Apartment Homes. She served 21 of the top 50 multifamily firms and over 40 state and local industry associations in her 25 years of experience. She's a National Apartment Association Institute certified instructor and served on the NAAEI education curriculum committee. Cynthiann is also well known as a powerful motivational speaker. Cynthiann thank you for joining us today.

QUESTION: WHEN DID YOU FIRST DECIDE YOU WANTED TO BE AN EDUCATOR? 

Well, I first decided to be an educator actually as a five-year-old. I come from a family of teachers and I have some great family focus on being a lifelong learner; just for an example my dad was a self-made man, put himself through college, went from a factory shop floor to the vice president of quality control throughout his career: a lot of education and more importantly, a lot of exponential learning. My mom, at the age of 82, decided to get her college degree in Psychology so she could understand people better, how do you like that? So, I really grew up in an environment that really valued education and I found a lot of great energy, focus, and ongoing enthusiasm for life in general to just really be an educator, as well as, a lifelong learner myself.

QUESTION: WHAT DO YOU THINK IS THE GREATEST BARRIER TO AN EFFECTIVE TRAINING PROGRAM?

You know, that's a really good question. I think that in our industry we become better and better at really identifying the needs of our learner, considering the different audiences that are going to be a part of effective training programs, and really making sure that we have performance Improvement. The big deal is really do a great needs assessment, understand what really needs to happen, and then the best venues to make that happen.

So, for example, there's been a movement in the last, oh probably 15 years now, to do this called the 70-20-10 approach. In fact, there is a website called 70-20-10, 70-20-10 Forum etc. The thinking here is that 70% is experiential learning. So, this is where you are really helping associates solve problems on the job, they're experiencing new and challenging opportunities and situations, and then working with other people who are helping them reflect and understand what was learned and what needs to be learned. So that's a very effective highly engaging motivational way to really learn.

20% is exposure in more of a social learning experience. Meaning, do we have communities, networks where people can share in a casual manner and really get to understand what is it that others know that they need to embrace as well? And this is also were coaching and mentoring falls in with lots of great feedback and continuing exposure to really what they need to know, how they need to know it, while keeping in mind a person's preferred learning style.

And then the 10th part of it is the formal learning. So, this is where you have structured courses, structured programs, etc. So a really great effective training program considers all of those elements and really puts in a practice a multitude of ways that different learners can learn and get reinforced.

The whole reason why training programs even exist is to make sure that people are getting what they need in terms of the skill and giving them access to the practice of that and then the authority to use it. I like to say “skill will access authority”; we can't control someone's will, but we can certainly provide them with the vehicles and the venues to learn skills, access to practice it, and then the authority to take intelligent risks and use that information.

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