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Bring Out the Talent: A Learning and Development Podcast
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Bring Out the Talent: A Learning and Development Podcast

Author: Maria Melfa & Jocelyn Allen

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Tune into The Training Associates (TTA) “Bring Out the Talent” podcast to hear from learning and development talent and partners on their innovative approaches and industry insights. In each episode, TTA’s CEO, Maria Melfa, and Talent Manager, Jocelyn Allen will chat with subject matter experts and bring you casual, yet insightful conversations. Maria and Jocelyn use their unique blend of industry experience and humor to interview the L&D industry’s most influential people, latest topics, and powerful stories. Each episode has important takeaways that will help to create a culture of continuous learning within your organization. Tune in as we Bring Out The Talent!

59 Episodes
The past few years have caused many business leaders to rethink the way their organizations work, where they get the work done, and how long a workweek should be. Since the 1900s, a 40-hour work week has been the accepted standard in the workplace. But has the idea of a 40-hour – five-day workweek evolved? Research seems to suggest that less is more. But what are the ramifications of a shorter work week and do the benefits outweigh them? It also leaves the question of which is better: a 4-day work week, a reduced-hour work week, or a flexible schedule.In this episode of “Bring Out The Talent,” we dive into the benefits and potential challenges of a 4-day work week, discuss alternatives schedules, the effects a reduced hour work week can have, what to do if a reduced hour initiative flops, and so much more with our special guest, Jordan George. Jordan is an award-winning talent development leader and international speaker focused on empowering people and businesses to achieve their full potential. He is the Principal Consultant – Head of Client Solutions at Curium Solutions US, an award-winning business transformation consultancy working with global brands.  Tune in as Jordan shares invaluable insight and helps us better understand the possibilities of a four-day work week.
In this episode of “Bring Out the Talent,” we speak with Dr. James Stanger, Chief Technology Evangelist at CompTIA and recognized authority in security, information technology, workforce development, analytics, and open source. Dr. Stanger consults regularly with organizations such as the University of Cambridge, Oxford University, West Point, AstraZeneca, Target, and Dell – just to name a few. As an award-winning author, blogger, and educator, Dr Stanger’s writings for Linux Magazine, O’Reilly Media, McGraw-Hill, and Eselvier have been translated into over a dozen languages. In addition to his work as an active IT professional, he has helped design global education, certification, and badging programs in topics as diverse as security analytics, Linux administration, and web development.Tune in as we explore the rapidly changing technology landscape and hear what Dr. Stanger predicts will be the emerging tech trends and focus for 2023. Dr. Stanger will talk about some of the major issues the IT workforce will face the workforce in 2023 including: security, data analytics, and cloud technologies. He also will discuss issues facing the IT workforce today such as skill shortage, skill development, IT worker burnout, and more.
There are numerous studies showing the significant impact that leaders have on the quality of a company’s culture. A leader’s talent, skill, and knowledge can improve company culture and productivity exponentially. In fact, there is a 70% difference in culture quality between companies with great leaders versus inadequate leaders.In this episode of “Bring Out The Talent,” our two special guests, Angie Tinch and Kisha Dixon share a powerful story on transformational leadership. They note how an organization was both brave and vulnerable enough to admit when things were broken, and that in order to move forward, it was necessary to take a step back to assess and then address the dysfunction. It was discovered that there were misalignments and unclear visions between the management team and team members – they needed to come together. Through both weekly training sessions and the utilization of several workshops – including Clifton Strengths – they were able to turn their team around and have never been stronger. They now accept being vulnerable, have open communication, share their visions, increased their sales; and still use the principles taught, years later. Tune in as we discuss how the changes that the Girl Scouts of Kentucky’s Wilderness Road Council adopted have made a tremendous impact on the way they operate and lead, and how other organizations can achieve similar success. 
Leadership can be defined in many different ways, but author Joanne Ciulla said it best when she wrote, “Leadership is not a person or a position. It’s a complex moral relationship between people based on trust, obligation, commitment, emotion, and a shared vision of the good.” There are many leaders among us, and they’re found in various kinds of people, places, and even the most unlikely positions.Unfortunately, many people – especially women – struggle with leadership, as only 35% currently hold a leadership position out of the 54.3% that make up today’s workforce. What’s more, is that individuals may not even realize that they have the ability to lead or influence, because they believe that to be an effective leader, they must have a title, or they view leadership as something that has to be earned. People don’t need to change who they are to be an effective leader – they simply need to have a passion for what they do and learn how to leverage who they are to make an impact. In this episode of “Bring Out The Talent,” we are joined by Ashley Cox. Ashley is the Founder and CEO of SproutHR and author of “Transform Your Stories: Overcome Your Toxic Stories, Become a Courageous and Confident Leader, and Impact the World.”Tune in as we learn some tips to lead successfully and confidently in the workplace!
Research by the Brandon Hall Group found that organizations with a strong onboarding process improve new hire retention by 82% and productivity by over 70%. While creating a strategic employee onboarding process continues to be a key focus for many organizations, many miss the mark when it comes to building an effective new-hire program. In fact, a report from Gallup uncovered that 88% of organizations ‍don't onboard well at all! What successful organizations have come to know and reinforce is that a successful onboarding program is ongoing, with an emphasis on fostering relationships and creating connectivity and much more than paperwork. In this episode of “Bring Out The Talent,” we are joined by Zakiya Khalfani. Zakiya is a Facilitator, Trainer, and Senior TTA Consultant with over 32 years of experience. She is passionate about helping organizations create onboarding programs that help increase success and retention.Tune in as we learn how to onboard for long-term success!
Most organizations know the importance of continuous workplace learning, but are we teaching our teams how to learn? Oftentimes, corporations may miss the mark on developing a specific learning plan that identifies what is needed in order to close the skills gap. Furthermore, many employees enter the workforce without being fully prepared for the unstructured nature and complexities of the modern workplace learning environment.Organizations need a dynamic skills-focused strategy that enables employees to learn and apply desirable skills quickly and effectively.In this episode of “Bring Out The Talent,” we talk with our special guest, Dr. Trudy Mandeville, CEO and Chief Learning Officer of TCP Learning about what learning leaders need to make learning strategies more effective, and uncover learning myths. Tune in as we learn how to support and create a culture of continuous learning in the workplace!
Changing careers has become a growing movement among our current workforce. A recent poll has found that approximately 52% of American employees are considering making a career change, and 44% have already embarked on making the switch.One area seeing tremendous change is teachers pivoting away from academia and moving toward corporate learning and development positions. In this episode of “Bring Out The Talent,” we speak with Cyndi Threatt, Manager of Learning and Development at American Credit Acceptance. Cyndi was a 4th-grade teacher who after 7 years, pivoted into the corporate L&D space. She has since built a successful L&D department from the ground up and hired two teachers turned L&D contractors.  Cyndi discusses why teachers have the right skills and background that can help them quickly transition into corporate America.Tune in as we explore the career journey from a teacher to a learning and development professional!
A recent survey of large companies revealed that inadequate communication, both to and from employees, resulted in an average loss of $62.4 million per year.  In a separate study, it was reported that miscommunication costs smaller companies an average of $420,000 per year. Can your organization afford the cost of not focusing on developing effective communication skills?In this episode of “Bring Out The Talent,” we dive into the importance of clear and confident communication in the workplace, why having strong communication skills matters, how to develop a framework for effective communication with employees, and the benefits that an improved communication framework can bring to an organization with our guest, Michael Broussard. Michael is a communications expert, trainer, and coach.Tune in as we learn tips for communicating clearly, effectively, and confidently in the workplace!
A recent Accenture report revealed that 63% of companies that have chosen to implement a remote or hybrid workforce model witnessed high-revenue growth, whereas 69% of companies that did not embrace either of these models experienced either negative growth or no growth at all. For those organizations embracing a hybrid or remote workforce model, there has been a growing need to improve the strategies surrounding team building. So, how can managers effectively build teams and set them up for success in an ever-increasing virtual world?In this episode of “Bring Out The Talent,” we dive into how managers can effectively lead and support their teams in a virtual environment, common obstacles leaders may encounter when working with remote teams, and how leaders can create a positive and engaging culture for employees working remotely with our guest, George Karseras. George is a Coach, Author, and the Founder of TeamUp.Tune in as we learn how to maximize engagement and help teams thrive in a remote world! 
There is no doubt that employee happiness and a thriving workplace culture are deeply connected. So, what steps can an organization take to build the foundation for strong and happy teams?In this episode of “Bring Out The Talent,” we discuss the current state of workplace happiness, proven methods to build high-performing teams, how to help teams establish trust, and ways to explore what it means to be happy. We will also learn more about the Better Teams Assessment and ways that everyone within your team can think and behave as a leader - regardless of their level of authority, with our special guest Leigh Ann Rodgers. Leigh Ann is an IAF Certified Professional Facilitator with over 20 years of experience in the human development field and the founder and CEO of Better Teams.Tune in as we learn how to create thriving and high-performing teams.  
According to The Harvard Business Review, over 60% of change initiatives undertaken in organizations end in failure. Could this be in part to leaders and employees lacking the guidance and support needed to fully embrace the change? A separate study from McKinsey revealed that 70% of all change programs fail due to employee resistance and lack of support from the management. So, what steps can an organization take to ensure a successful organizational change?In this episode of “Bring Out The Talent,” we dive into change management within an organization, the skills and tools needed to be a successful change agent, challenges often faced when implementing changes, and tips on how to successfully manage change within an organization with our guest, Lynn Turner. Lynn is a Coach, Facilitator, Strategist, TTA consultant, and founder of Core XP Business Solutions.Tune in as we unlock the secrets to creating lasting and impactful organizational change!
Creating Radical Teams

Creating Radical Teams


Research has revealed that teamwork is more important than ever. So much so that approximately 75% of employees rate teamwork and collaboration as being very important and companies that promote collaboration and teamwork have reduced employee turnover rates by 50%. But in this new era of working, many leaders are struggling to cultivate strong teams and are looking for a roadmap for success. In this episode of “Bring Out The Talent,” we discuss creating radical teams with the author of “Radical Outcomes: How to Create Extraordinary Teams that Get Tangible Results,” strategist, and CEO of Oxygen, Juliana Stancampiano. Juliana dives into common workplace models that are no longer effective and how leaders can begin fostering extraordinary teams. We also discuss some of the biggest challenges leaders face when creating radical teams, the value of transparency and role clarity, how to effectively measure results, and what we can expect to see in the upcoming years surrounding teams.Tune in as we learn some tips on how to create radical teams.
As leaders, we wear many hats: coach, mentor, motivator, problem-solver, and beyond. But one role many leaders aren’t always prepared for is the role of ‘bad attitude modifier.’ Unfortunately, an employee with a toxic attitude can seriously disrupt things in the workplace. Research shows that when faced with a toxic employee, 78% of employees become less committed to their organization. In this episode of “Bring Out The Talent,” we take a deep dive into the importance of addressing a toxic attitude in the workplace and how to tackle the issue head-on. We discuss how leaders can address an employee or team who possess a toxic mindset, how to use feedback to create inclusion, and how to proactively promote a positive and inclusive workplace. To help answer these questions, we speak with Lisa Harrison. Lisa is a Diversity and Human Resources consultant with over twenty years of success in workforce diversity and inclusion.Tune in as we learn how to combat negativity to help promote an inclusive and positive workplace. 
A recent study revealed that companies that cultivate a positive and strong workplace culture could see as much as a 400% growth in revenue. 400%! A positive workplace culture is so important because it helps attract new talent, drives engagement, impacts happiness, and positively affects performance – do you know where your workplace culture rates? In this episode of “Bring Out The Talent,” we take a deep dive into the importance of workplace culture. We explore why leaders need to think differently in order to keep culture thriving, how to align your practices with your mission and values, how to adopt behaviors associated with an “employee-centered” leadership culture, common pitfalls leaders make when trying to change corporate culture—and how to avoid them, and so much more with our special guest, John Mancuso. John is a seasoned educator, writer, founder of Authentic Communication Matters, and beloved TTA consultant. Tune in as we learn how you can lead with a culture-focused mindset and shape your organization’s culture and ensure stellar productivity.
Unless you live in a cave, emotional intelligence is a critical requisite skill needed to be an effective leader or team member. Unfortunately, there is not enough emphasis placed on developing this essential skill. The good news is that emotional intelligence can be learned. In this episode of “Bring Out The Talent,” we take a deep dive into emotional intelligence and discuss the 4 fundamental competencies of emotional intelligence, how emotions can affect behavior and performance, the most effective EI assessments, and so much more with our special guest, Themum Crawford. Themum is an accomplished hands-on learning and development consultant with deep practical experiences in various workplace environments. She has the unique ability to expand the facilitation of topics into related principles, concepts, and theories while building an open and comfortable learning environment. Tune in as we learn from an EI expert how to develop a thriving emotionally intelligent workplace.
Most business leaders understand the power of a dynamic and positive workplace culture, but only about 15% of companies that embark on making such a change are successful. Which leads many business leaders to ask - why do so many organizations fail when attempting a culture change? There are many factors to consider when undertaking a culture renovation. Business leaders must ask strategic questions such as what specific actions need to take place to successfully change an organization’s culture? What does our culture represent? How do we reinforce behaviors that best support our company’s purpose?In this episode of “Bring Out The Talent,” we answer those questions and more with Kevin Oakes. Kevin is the CEO and founder of the Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp), the leading human capital research company in the world. Kevin was previously the founder and the president of SumTotal Systems, chairman and CEO of Click2learn, which was founded by Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft. Prior to joining Click2learn, Kevin was president and founder of Oakes Interactive which was purchased by Click2learn (then called Asymetrix), which Kevin helped take public a year later.Kevin has been a pioneer in the human capital field for over 15 years and is the author of "Culture Renovation - 18 Leadership Actions To Build An Unshakeable Company" and co-author of "The Executive Guide to Integrated Talent Management," published by ATD Press. Kevin is an international keynote speaker who was also previously chairman of ATD’s board and served five years as an ATD board member.Tune in as Kevin shares invaluable insight into the world of culture renovation and great tips from his book, "Culture Renovation - 18 Leadership Actions To Build An Unshakeable Company." 
According to Gallup, a staggering 85% of employees are not engaged or are actively disengaged at work, resulting in $7 trillion in lost productivity. But there is hopeful news, the Institute of Coaching revealed that over 70% of individuals who received coaching benefited from improved work performance, engagement, relationships, and more effective communication skills. They also reported that 86% of companies felt that they recouped the investment they made into coaching - plus some!So where, as leaders, can we begin when it comes to coaching? What are the first steps that leaders can take to cultivate a coaching mindset in the workplace?In this episode of “Bring Out The Talent,” we answer those questions and more, with Jay Caputo, a seasoned educator, trainer, certified master coach, speaker, writer, and TTA consultant.
While the economy is attempting to recover, the number of jobs still available has been a cause of concern for most employers. In fact, the latest data from the Labor Department revealed that there are currently 11.3 million job openings. Along with the slow return to work, we are experiencing the effects of the Great Resignation. With the challenge of finding talent - what should organizations do?To help us dive into recruiting and talent acquisition, we are joined by TTA’s Direct Hire Division’s Bryan Dick and Steve Miln. With over 20 years of combined experience in this field, tune in as this dynamic duo provides first-hand insight into the current state of Talent Acquisition.
In this episode of “Bring Out The Talent,” we speak with Allessandria Polizzi, PhD, CEO and Founder of Verdant Consulting. Last year, more than 3.98 million workers quit their jobs each month, the highest average on record. This mass exodus of employees, or “Great Resignation” isn't necessarily indicative of people not liking what they do but according to mental health experts, many people are in search of employers who make them feel more psychologically safe.To better understand psychological safety as it relates to the workplace and training in the workplace, we speak with Dr. Polizzi who has over 20 years of experience leading teams to help unlock their potential and helping organizations thrive. Dr. Polizzi discusses the role that psychological safety plays in training, how to address psychological safety in a hybrid workplace, the role psychological safety plays in the learning process, how psychological safety affects business outcomes, and what can leaders can do or start today to create psychological safety for their teams. Tune in and discover how you can begin to actively foster a psychologically safe workplace.
Curiosity is an increasingly important skill for employees. In fact, a recent study from the Harvard Business Review revealed that curiosity allowed employees to think more innovatively and rationally about decisions and come up with new and creative solutions. Additionally, leaders who encouraged curiosity had more trusting and collaborative relationships within their teams. Who wouldn’t want that?Unfortunately, some leaders unwittingly stifle curiosity, fearing it will increase risk and inefficiency. So how can business leaders and managers successfully cultivate a curious mindset within their teams and unleash the power of free-thinking in the workplace?In this episode of “Bring Out The Talent,” we answer those questions and more, with Dr. Jasmine Martirossian, Vice President of Marketing at TÜV SÜD Americas.
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