Leadership Chronicles
        practice with us, not your customers 
May 2013



"Practice isn't the thing you do once you are good. It's the thing you do that makes you good."    

 Malcolm Gladwell


Spring is here and life is grand. Our May newsletter features an article from a new contributor, our own Jason Mitchell. It's a very interesting view of practice and roleplaying from the actor's perspective. There is also an article that blurs the lines between traditional workshop training and 'one to one' learning. And of course there are lots of other interesting things to explore as well. Enjoy!


All the best,

Randy Sabourin & Cam Anderson 


Actors in Training :
Why Actors and Improvisers Make Great Coaches

 By Jason Mitchell

As a sales training professional with a performing arts background, one of the biggest hurdles I have to overcome when I explain what I do to potential clients usually sounds something like this:   "How can a bunch of actors teach me anything about sales?"   Clients come to us at e-roleplay when they are looking for innovative and effective training solutions, where the learning in which they invest is sustained and actually sticks when their employees get back into the field.  Our incredible team of professional roleplayer/coaches all have backgrounds in the performing arts--whether that's live theatre, improvisation, stand-up comedy or something else altogether. It is precisely because of these backgrounds that our roleplayers are ideally suited for training and coaching work.  Let me use one experience of mine as a starting point.


I'm in one of those large, banquet-style hotel meeting rooms that anyone who has been to their company's annual meeting or a sales retreat can picture. I'm sitting across the linen-covered, round table from a Sales Rep, whom I will call Jim.  We have just finished roleplaying a scenario in which I was a small business owner and Jim was trying to sell me his product while integrating his company's new branding approach.  I give him some feedback about not pushing so hard on solutions and about asking me some clarifying questions to find out why I chose a particular business model, noting how this will help him tailor the branding piece to me so as not to sound scripted or robotic.  He takes a long pause and stares at me, finally saying,"Have you ever been in sales?" I have to admit that I break out in a bit of a sweat for a moment, and then decide honesty is the best policy. "No, I haven't," I say.  "I've been in involved in sales training for almost 10 years, but my background is in acting and I've been a customer all my life.  All I can tell you, Jim,  is that when you said my business plan is totally wrong and didn't make any sense, and then pushed hard on how I should change my business, I felt defensive and I immediately stopped listening to you."  I explain further that I had an emotional response to his statement that immediately, and perhaps permanently, affected how I felt about buying from him. 

  Read the rest of this article....

One to One versus One to Many:
Do We Really Need a Crowd to Learn? 
by Randy Sabourin

Traditional learning wisdom tells us that if we to need educate or train a large amount of individuals, we gather them in a classroom or workshop with a teacher teaching and students learning. This process has not served us as well as it did Socrates, who had Aristotle and his peers search for the answers through group discussion and debate. The model of a single teacher educating a group of those eager to learn remains as the foundation for our educational system. This approach works well because students are truly learning new content and the teachers are more knowledgeable. When we graduate to a corporate learning environment we encounter a very similar delivery process. Participants experience a combination of 'one to many' workshops and webinars. This 'one to many' approach still rings true in a corporate setting economically until costs associated with travel and lost opportunities mount. Research reveals further challenges with the model:   learners only retain 15% to 20% of the knowledge provided during these group setting learning assemblies.   


The solution to higher education is recognized throughout almost every profession as 'one to one' coaching, which helps transform knowledge into skills through individual attention and adaptation. A coach directs practice to specific areas and motivates the learner to achieve new heights. In the sporting or corporate learning world, the costs associated with this 'one to one' approach restrict its application to a select few.


We recently conducted work for a client that challenged the economic model that prevents 'one to one' coaching and new learning from working side by side. 

We know your time is valuable so we thank you for taking a minute to look at our view of business and the world around us. You can find more information at our site or
 send us your thoughts and suggestions.


 Cam & Randy

In This Issue
Actors In Training
One to One vs One to Many
Video Feature - Dan Ariely
Best of Tweets
RayFish Footwear
Dan Ariely:
What Makes Us Feel Good About Our Work?
Dan Ariely: What makes us feel good about our work?
Dan Ariely: What Makes Us Feel Good About Our Work?


Quick Links

Best of Our Tweets:
ASCI Tweets

Rise of the young philanthropists - The New Philanthropists: More Sophisticated, More Demanding -- and Younger

Innovation is a question of luck, says tech visionary

Are you an expert, an interpreter or a catalyst? Good article.

Execs like LinkedIn, want more relevance from social networks - interesting research

Interview with the guy who invented SCARF, David Rock, always interesting -

10 Things Really Amazing Bosses Do -

How to make the most of your creative employees - Rules? I think not.

How to clamp down on happy clams - Why Your Company's Worst Performers Are Happy As Clams

It's official: Women make better bosses than men - Yes, women make better leaders

Be flexible instead of being the hero - How to develop a flexible leadership style

The Usefulness of Useless Things

Turn off the noise, Carlos Santana says - Carlos Santana On Creativity In Business And Art -

RayFish Footwear     
Click to Watch
From Sea to Street - Grow your own sneaker. 
ayfish Footwear creates personalized sneakers made from genuine stingray leather. Their groundbreaking bio-customization technique allows you to design your very own transgenic Rayfish.