How working for Walt Disney made me a better employee.

Here at Intellezy we focus on getting companies and employers to invest in career development training for their employees. There is an old adage from the legendary Zig Ziglar, “The only thing worse than training an employee and having them leave, is to NOT train them, and have them stay.” When employers invest in upgrading their employee’s skills, they may wonder if they are training them for the next company in their career.  But studies show that an employee who feels invested in, valued and heard will give back markedly increased effort and commitment and is more likely to stay. I believe this is 100% true.

One of my favorite jobs in my career was working for Disney Animation in California for a short-lived movie called WildLife. Becoming part of the Disney family was a dream come true for me and I almost lost my mind the first day of training when they informed me that part of joining the Walt Disney Company was traditional animation training. I was the assistant to the Associate Producer. My job was sitting at a desk keeping budgets and production pipelines organized. Never did I dream I’d get to learn on the job! Now, straight up, I can’t draw to save my life, but the sheer excitement of getting to learn how to draw and animate characters was outer limits! For the first week of my new job, I would attend a class in the morning where I learned to draw faces and then characters.  We toured the main lot and saw Walt Disney’s original animation studios where we learned about the many layers of cells it took to create a cartoon character’s movement. Between the physical drawing and the historical knowledge, I fell in love with my company. Each week we would pile into a theater for “dailies”, the rough animations of upcoming movies and sometimes, I was asked to help with character voices and even input my ideas into a few story sessions. I felt like I was part of something BIG. I was totally invested in my job and wanted to work hard to put my company on top.

Receiving the training that helped me understand what my company did, the history of it, created my ownership of its success. It allowed me to participate more in meetings and feel comfortable adding input occasionally because I understood more.  It taught me more about the functions of the production pipeline which made me a bigger asset to my boss. And there were always opportunities available to learn more if I wanted to, all adding to the feeling of being valued.  Look at what my company was offering me so that I could have more skills! I felt like I was encouraged to learn more since it benefited me as well as my boss, and I brought that enthusiasm and loyalty back to my desk.

When employers invest in training their staff, they add confidence to the employee and obviously, increased skill knowledge. But it’s more than that.  Frankly, it shows they care about having the best employee around… YOU… and that’s going to make anyone feel good!

                 
Yours truly, back in the Disney days, surrounded by lots of cool animation and my fun goodbye poster from some amazing folks!

Be brave, be awesome and smile whenever possible.
Kristen Teixeira

*Invest in improving and advancing your skills with the new Office 365, other Microsoft programs and your Business Skills. A happy employee gives back!

Why is Development a necessary part of Training?

by Ryan Stebbins, Training Specialist                                              

When most of us hear the phrase Training and Development, we can instantly recall some of our worst corporate training experiences. Whether it was a day-long workshop on strategies which were never implemented or a mandatory training on software which no one was invested in, we’ve all had our fair share of disappointing trainings.

Now that we’ve taken a not-so-happy trip down memory lane, think about some of the BEST training experiences you’ve had in your career. What made those experiences stick out from the rest? Odds are it had to with the Development portion of Training and Development.

While Training is what ultimately teaches us new skills and knowledge, Development is long-term and ensures we hold on to our learned information. Where Training is focused on satisfying an immediate or present job task, Development is focused on growth and future performance. In other words – Training is nothing without Development.

In order to create worthwhile training initiatives, the learning can’t end when individuals leave the room or walk away from the computer. One way to ensure that a training is useful is to check in with participants at a later point in time to see if their learning has stuck. Make sure you’re training on relevant topics which will be used constantly in your work environment. This will allow for continuous development of skills outside of the classroom or away from the computer. Another way to make a training more beneficial is simply to engage your participants. While this may seem like common sense, many trainings eventually devolve into a lecture, and we all remember how much (or how little) we learned in boring classes. Finally, make sure you touch on the big questions: What are we training on? How do we implement/use it? And why should we care? You’d be surprised how often these questions are overlooked!

Ultimately, it is up to participants in a training to utilize the information provided to them, but a trainer has the control to convey that information in a way that facilitates individual development. Next time you provide training, or are trained yourself, think about whether you are giving, or have been given, an opportunity to improve after the session is over. Engineer your training and your learning so as not to neglect your development.

*Ryan is Intellezy’s newest star trainer and part of the amazing crew bringing you deeply developed courses with the best trainers to make sure you are getting the most out of your investment. From Office 365 to Windows Server Install to How to Interview… we’ve got it all!

Leave it to the Diva: Why Subject Matter Experts, well, MATTER…

We seek knowledge everywhere and obviously, want to learn from the best. One of the things I love about Intellezy is the caliber of trainers we have available. Subject matter experts who bring a wealth of practical and applicable knowledge delivered in easily digestible chapters. It’s important to know where to go to get the best.  As a mom, I think I know tons but really, I’m learning every day.  And I have definitely learned how important it is to have an expert on hand. Just ask my kids.

My Elsie is a fashion diva.  She is 8 years old and knows EXACTLY what one needs to wear to look sparkle-rific. And yes, that is, in fact, a word in our world. And in our house, it is a mandatory requirement of anything that kid puts on. When we were school shopping this year, she rejected many outfits for being too blah, no sparkle, no glitter, and when pressed why they wouldn’t do, I was told “There is just no LIFE to them, Mommy.  Listen you just gotta trust me. I KNOW fashion ok?”  I said “All right dude. I won’t suggest anything else. Here is your budget. I’ll just pay.” And 3 hours later, we left the mall with bags full of everything an 8-year-old fashion maven with an eye for sequins, sparkle and zebra prints could ever want. Of course, not one thing matched, but that little girl was the happiest kid on the planet.

The teenager was no easier.  I tried the same approach to try and steer him away from $69 completely ripped jeans and Thrasher t-shirts but the response was a simple “Mom, seriously? This IS totally what people wear.” So with new renditions of basically the same black clothes he wore last year, we headed home.

Now if you have kids, you know that school clothes shopping is supposed to be getting “outfits” that you can wear for the first 3 days and then go right back to the old stuff. But hearing my mother in my head, I tried to get my daughter to get pieces. However, the rationale of having a few pairs of pants and several shirts you can mix and match along with practical shoes for the playground and gym class is lost on a child obsessed with wearing every glitter shirt from Justice with a kitten on it, all the outfits from Disney’s Descendants and of course, fingerless lace gloves that “everyone in school who is cool is wearing.” And don’t even try it with a teenager.  I mean dude, we know NOTHING.

But really, I am a 46 years old mom of 2 who seeks the cleanest sweatpants in my clothes pile. Who am I to speak fashion? I remember being them. I was obsessed with shoulder pads, paisley sweaters and stirrup pants. My hair feathered just like Blair’s on the Facts of Life and I rocked the blue eyeshadow.  I was like, totally outrageous when I pulled into school in my two-toned Monte Carlo.

So this old lady will just leave today’s fashion to the experts: my kids. I will happily stay with my Spanx and $14.99 billowy “hide my pooch” tops from Marshalls and let the kids rock their looks.  When you want to know how it’s done, just follow the lead of the experts and you will do fine.

Elsie and Jax rocking their looks.

Be brave, be awesome and smile whenever possible.
Kristen Teixeira

*Trust the experts!  At Intellezy, we seek out the best of the best subject matter experts to help you learn the nuts and bolts of all the programs you need. Office365, Excel, Word, PowerPoint, OneDrive, Adobe, Oracle, Azure… learn at your own pace with fantastic instructors!

I call it Gathering. Tips to bring your job, and what you love, together.

Many of us just have a job.  Something we do to pay the bills.  But the lucky ones?  They feel passion for their career. That kind of excitement is contagious and why I believe passionate people are so successful.  So how do you marry what you love with your job?  One way is what I call the “gathering” method.  You work at places you like where you make the paycheck you need and gather from them the skills that will help you with your passion so eventually you can have it all.

PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT YOU LIKE TO DO
I like to talk. I love to make people laugh.  I want to make others feel good and encourage and inspire. And I love to organize. Big time. Every job I’ve ever had I have taken on a fun, nurturing, people role while organizing things.  From getting the birthday cakes to arranging the Christmas parties to helping with social media. I have included myself in the social aspect of my jobs since I started working when I was 13.  That’s %& years (you don’t need to know) of learning how to make people feel happy and a wealth of info at my disposal.

NOTICE THE SKILLS THE PEOPLE YOU ADMIRE HAVE
I have always paid attention to the people at my jobs who are genuinely liked and respected.  Are they funny?  How do they interact with others?  Work ethic?  Sense of humor?  How could I emulate their positive qualities? And what did they know how to do that I didn’t?  Computer skills? Negotiate?  Speak another language? What could I add to my personal grab bag that might propel me ahead?

FOCUS ON WHAT YOU CAN CONTRIBUTE
This does not mean bragging but rather, focus on the things you are good at and don’t be afraid to humbly offer your skills.  And then hit it out of the park! You never know when someone is looking for what you have in spades! And don’t wait to be noticed.  Show ‘em what you’ve got!

My background is predominately the music business.  I love all things music.  Almost every genre, every type of artist and show. From the behind the scenes prep to the show itself to the search for the next great gig or performer.  No matter how bad my day was, and there were many that left me like “Whaaaaaaaaat am I doing here?”, I was always excited to get up the next day and do it again. And when I look back I realize that for 20 something years I was gathering the bits and pieces in each job, from collaborating jazz music tours to cast parties for Disney films, that centered around my passion for being social.

Fast forward to today. I took the position at Intellezy to coordinate our video administration, something that spoke strongly to my OCD and organizational skills, but because of my years of gathering, now get to write blogs and make people laugh and work on our social media connection to the world. It’s amazing and I am truly passionate about my work.  What I’ve done has led me here and now I do everything I love!

So I encourage YOU to gather the bits and pieces of your work experiences so that you can find passion in what you do and know that we are here for you to help you enhance the skills you need.

Be brave, be awesome, and smile whenever possible.
By Kristen Teixeira


Me and my 2 best friends, Ang & Lex, WAY back in the day when I worked for Billy Ray Cyrus. What did I learn from him?  Be genuinely nice to everyone, every fan matters and always have the best snacks on your bus. 

What Would Peg Do? A lesson in business etiquette from the master.

Now, I know you all don’t know my mother, but let me tell you, she is one classy chick.  Army wife married to my dad for 63 years, raised 8 kids, and teacher for 40 years, all of which obviously places her in line for sainthood.  Yup, Peg is awesome.

She came from a very stern, Irish Catholic, Massachusetts family. Her mother was a strong-willed suffragette and her father was a highly respected surgeon. You can always see the pride in her face as she tells us of growing up in a strict but loving household, rich with antics and chock full of lessons learned.  And the biggest thing I learned from my mom is a saying that I follow every day and teach my kids:

“Good manners never go out of style.”

Ain’t it the truth? Think about the course of your day.  How often are you faced with the choice of whether to cuss someone out or smile and wave? From my kids in the morning to driving home after work, I am constantly two seconds away from that choice.  And nowhere is this more evident than in our business etiquette.

Now this doesn’t mean being stuffy.  Obviously, you need to know what is appropriate for where you are culture wise, etc., but if you are using good manners and polite etiquette you can usually genuinely be yourself and all will be well. But always think about the vehicle.
If you are face to face: are you listening? Making eye-contact? What is your body language saying? Are you dressed for the occasion?
If you are on the phone: are you focused? Listening? Is your office noisy? Are you munching Cheetos?
Even via email: are you being precise and to the point? Have you spelled their name properly? Are you sending your email to the whole office or just one person? Are you dropping saucy language in there?  (Tsk, tsk, Peg would not approve.)

How we handle ourselves in business, how we interact with coworkers, clients, and every person we meet or speak to during the day, is a direct reflection on our company. If you are employed, you are a representative, plain and simple, so you must make sure that you are handling yourself professionally with decorum.

Before you make your next move, remind yourself that “Good manners never go out of style” and I guarantee you will be ok. And if you are not sure, ask yourself: do you pass the Peg test?  Check out our videos on Business Skills for email and online meeting etiquette.


Nana Peg at the beach with grand #13.

Be brave, be awesome, and smile whenever possible.
By Kristen Teixeira

 

Keeping up office skills for trade based professionals

My very good friend is a skilled plumber. He works hard every day doing something that I am clueless about past turning off the water when the toilet overflows. He also has a business degree that he puts to use daily running his own company. I am constantly in awe of how many things he juggles at once. One of the things that keeps him moving forward and succeeding is learning new technology.  He understands the importance of the latest accounting software as well as mastering the art of social media. Those skilled in labor have apprenticed and studied and had real world, practical experience in their chosen field. That kind of experience can’t truly be taught in an online course. At the same time, it is recommended that those in a trade field keep their computer skills up to date for the future should they choose to retire from their field or change careers.

And that’s where we come in.

Online education allows everyone to learn a skill that can advance their career whether they are working on a construction site or in the office. It is a level playing field. From electricians to engineers, the field of e-learning offers everyone at every level an opportunity to learn.  And we make it simple with our easy to follow videos and skilled instructors. From the most basic of programs to the highly advanced, to business skills and even every day corporate focused tasks. By staying up to date with relevant business programs and practices, everyone in almost every field can succeed in a career change or shift.

Listen, I’ve done the “do-it-yourself” route more than once and several times been somewhat successful however, when it comes to wiring light switches or nailing on shingles, I know where to go. We value those in the trades more than we can say.  Those kinds of skills literally build the foundation of our lives. And we want to make sure that you can be successful at any point in your career so we offer a free 10 day trial, and a by the minute or business subscription. There is nothing holding you back from learning all you can!

Be brave, be awesome and smile whenever possible,
Kristen Teixeira

 

Sing, Sing a Song… How do YOU learn?

My last name is Teixeira. It’s one of those names no one understands and it causes massive confusion at the DMV, on the phone, well, pretty much everywhere.  It’s a doozie, and when my kids were little, I had to come up with little tricks to teach them how to say and spell it in case of emergency:

“It’s pronounced TEX like a cowboy, SARAH like a girl.”

“To spell it, you can sing the Old McDonald song and replace the O with an A. Let’s try it! Old McDonald had a farm, E-I-E-I-A!“

And there were more. Many, many more. God bless those kids, because I think I made up a song for everything from vocabulary to bedtime to Nana and Grandpa’s real names. I remember they thought I was crazy when I would force them to sing, but to this day, they remember it all.  My poor teen is mortified enough that I am teaching him to drive, but then I make him sing “Left and right and Left again!” to the tune of Mary Had A Little Lamb, and he could just positively DIE of embarrassment.  But hey, it will achieve 2 things for me.  First, he will never forget to look left, right, and left again and secondly, when he is 85 years old, every time he turns he will think of his mother. AS HE SHOULD.

Benjamin Franklin said “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.”

We all learn differently, but you must be involved to make it stick. When you find a way that works for you, whether it’s writing things down repeatedly, flash cards, word association, or a song, involving yourself in learning is critical to retaining information. Recently I was writing the subtitles for our American Sign Language tutorial, and it occurred to me that it was a great example of tactile or kinesthetic learning. To remember the signs, you had to physically do them, creating a new neural pathway. And now it is so cool to know that I have the communication basics if I meet someone who is hearing impaired.

One of the things I love best about our videos is the ability to stop and start, so you can work at your own pace. And the instructors involve you in the process of learning through examples so you can actually follow along on your computer to learn a new Excel trick, remember quick and easy lists for preparing a meeting, or say thank you in sign language.

Let someone know in ASL “YOU ROCK!”

Whatever way you learn best, just never stop.  It’s so exciting to improve an existing skill or learn a new one. Teach yourself a sign or even better, try singing… seriously… it works.  Start with your next left turn… you’ll see!

Be brave, be awesome and smile whenever possible,
Kristen Teixeira

Building High Performance Teams

Of course everyone wants their team to be high performing. Effective teams are essential to organizations in the modern world.

But what actually is a high performance team? And how do you become one?

Intellezy has just released a new course in its ever-growing Business Skills library that will help you answer both of these questions.

Taught by Kevin Mulcahy, a published author on workplace trends and an executive faculty member at two Boston-area colleges, this course will define what a high performing team looks like and how to turn any team into a powerful, high performing unit. Learn to form, manage, and grow valuable teams.

Here is a sample video from the course:

 

 

You can find thousands more short-segment videos like this one at  www.intellezy.com. Start your free trial today.

Love Those Sticky Notes in Windows 10

But do they seem stuck in a plain san serif typeface? That’s boring. But a few simple keyboard shortcuts can make the important bits of important sticky note text stand out.

–  Bold that heading: Ctrl + B
–  Make a book title you want to buy italic: Ctrl + I
–  Cross something off your list: Ctrl + T
–  Add bullets: Ctrl + Shift + L.

In fact, many of the common Word formatting keyboard shortcuts work the same in Sticky Notes like select all (Ctrl +A) and cut, copy, and paste (Ctrl + X, Ctrl + C, Ctrl + V).

By Carol Marion

Email Etiquette 101

Writing emails is something we all do daily. However, the proper etiquette of an email can easily be taken for granted.  Personally, I write numerous business emails every day, and so I thought it would be nice to refresh my memory on the how to’s of writing an email. So, I grabbed my sandwich, sat at my desk, and took 20 minutes to watch Intellezy’s new Email Etiquette course. Here is what I learned:

  1. Always add attachments to emails first. Yep, nothing more embarrassing than getting that email back saying “Thanks, Pam but I think you forgot to attach the document?” Doh!
  2. Compose your message first, then add recipients. Brilliant! Been there done that. Who hasn’t sent the unfinished email and then scrambled to recall or attempted to finish the unfinished product? If the recipient field isn’t populated, then your message won’t be sent.
  3. When writing mass emails utilize BCC. As much as I enjoy seeing the new intern’s color drain from his face because he just made a snide remark to an HR email blast and accidently hit “reply all”, I agree this is probably is the safer way to go.
  4. Avoid humor and irony. I struggle with this, because I am sarcastic at heart. But if they can’t see my face or they don’t know me, I can see where words can be taken the wrong way. And there’s nothing worse or unprofessional than adding LOL! or emojis in a business email to try to get your humor across.
  5. Try to answer emails 24-48hours. AMEN! Nothing irritates me more when I have to follow up and sound like a nag to an earlier email I sent 48 hours ago! I nag my husband and kids enough, I don’t need to nag my coworkers as well.
  6. Exercise caution when forwarding emails. Ouch, this one hurts.  Back in my newly employed days, I forwarded emails with sensitive information in it and paid for it. Always look over the full forward chain before forwarding.

 

Did you find these hints helpful? Or know someone that could use some training? Summer is the time of interns and new hires, so take our email etiquette course for a spin to get your new employees trained on proper email etiquette.

Take us for a spin! Sign up for a 10 Day Trial