Thursday, April 3, 2008

Global Village Goes to the University of Makati

February 16, 2008. It was an early start for half of the Global Village team. At 9 am, Shannon Borntrager and Bong Fernandez, educators and trainers for Global Village Academy, were headed to the University of Makati to teach three junior accounting classes.

The two educators were there to give the students a preview of the Global Village workshops—the Campfire Series, Interview Preparation, and Professional Communication.

The preview classes consisted of parts of the Campfire Series, Professional Communication and the Interview Preparation. It was during those classes that we saw how Global Village’s workshops enlightened and helped these students.

Although it took the students a bit of coaxing before they spoke up it was evident that they were eager to learn and quite enthusiastic. Shannon and Bong fielded dozens of questions a
bout interview myths and tips and it was apparent that the students wanted to know more.

The highlights of the day were the screening of some very keen students, the Campfire Series video presentation, and ice-breaker activities.

The looks and smiles on the students faces showed how successful Global Village was at helping out and touching the lives of the Filipino youth.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Around the Campfire — Telling Stories About Knowledge

After a week at the entrepreneurial grind, Friday doesn't necessarily translate to a cessation of work, but it does mean you can celebrate another week in the game and a few deliverables out the door, etc. Before the stampede to the local tavern (back near the PC Supermarket), the instructors downstairs at Global Village had spent the day deconstructing the previous week's classes (following Peter Drucker's dictum: "Follow effective action with quiet reflection. From the quiet reflection will come even more effective action".)

What they came up with is as cool as it is simple: a series of events (I won't call them classes since it won't the same old boring structure where someone stands up and drones on punctuated by a few games and exercises) that tell stories about knowledge. Interactive, multimedia, facilitated, fun. We're calling them Campfire Stories and we're setting them up like this:
  • Organized around themes that matter to people
  • Highly interactive and media-centric
  • Focused on impact that transmits valuable, living knowledge vs. than desiccated data
  • Short duration (we have free elearning modules online to support the rote portion)
  • Priced so anyone can come (php200)

Monday, January 14, 2008

Global Village Ignites!

While our cousins over at TDS (see below) are all about Call Center and BPO training, we take a different approach where we emphasize a more generic approach to learning. We figure not everyone wants a call center job so we've been hatching courses designed to help people succeed in any professional endeavor they may decide to pursue.

Global Village is a little different than other outfits since all of our instructors are TESDA certified (as is our shop), we have about 20% native English speakers on staff (and they actually teach class), and we are all about the learners. We believe learning should be engaging, fun and relevant.

Our first two classes are
Interview Prep for the Real World and Business Communication for Professionals. Each course is designed to help you get ahead in a flattening world led by people who instruct from experience. (stay tuned for instructor profiles this week).
  • Interview Prep for the Real World — You never get a second chance to make a first impression. Interviews are your opportunity to showcase talent and demonstrate your abilities as well as assess a potential employer. Global Village provides you with a week of inside information on how interviewers operate; assessments designed to identify and help you emphasize your strengths; and a portfolio of information to keep critical items at your fingertips so you can focus on the interview.
  • Business Communication for Professionals.— In a globally connected economy, communication is the key to success. Knowing what to say as well as how to say it can make the difference for your career — wherever that may take you. Working with native English instructors, our workshop will prepare you to speak, comprehend and write with the confidence to move ahead.
Come on down for a quick assessment and talk to us. We're near Ortigas on Shaw Boulevard near the corner of Pioneer & Shaw. Unit 304 Emerald Place Building, 604 Shaw Boulevard, Pasig City. Give us a call at 02.638.4819.

To Global Village Academy from Commonwealth:
  1. Take a bus going to Shaw. (e.g.Crossing Ibabaw, Megamall, Boni, Mall of Asia).
  2. Get off at the EDSA Central Pavilion side of Shaw Boulevard.
  3. Ride any jeepney going towards Pasig or Antipolo.
  4. Tell the driver to drop you off at the Caltex gasoline station.
  5. Count down 4 buildings from the gas station.
  6. Our building is located right next to Pan de Manila.
To Global Village Academy from Cubao/North EDSA
  1. Take a South bound bus or MRT from North Edsa Station and get off at Shaw Station.
  2. Get off at the EDSA Central Pavilion side of Shaw Boulevard.
  3. Ride any jeepney going towards Pasig or Antipolo.
  4. Tell the driver to drop you off at the Caltex gasoline station.
  5. Count down 4 buildings from the gas station.
  6. Our building is located right next to Pan de Manila.
To Global Village Academy from Makati
  1. Take MRT and get off at Shaw Station.
  2. Ride any jeepney going towards Pasig or Antipolo.
  3. On your way, you’ll pass by a Caltex gas station.
  4. Count down 4 buildings from the gas station.
  5. Our building is located right next to Pan de Manila.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

TDS' 2nd Annual Training Conference - Industry Knowledge Funnel

Another year has somehow passed — I'm marking the passage not with the New Year (which always seems a bit hazy), but with a professional event. TeleDevelopment is ramping for their next learning about learning confab called "Tomorrow's Trends in Todays Training".

What's makes TDS's event a standout is that it's largely the consequence of the Company's work in the field of teaching people how to work and succeed in the Call Center/BPO environment. This platform of expert knowledge supports a cast of industry experts that will be sharing info on three major tracks:
  • Needs — Understanding the demands of instruction in our industry's high-velocity environment
  • Techniques — Best practices for corporate education in the call center context.
  • Results — Where the proverbial "rubber meets the road:" What makes training programs create impact? How can training departments meaningfully interface with operations teams?
The industry's growth to date and the anticipated ramp over the balance of the decade mean that corporate educators will be challenged in ways that will demand faster, better, more accountable learning. TeleDevelopment's 2nd Annual Call Center Training Convention, Tomorrow’s Trends in Today’s Training, means we will be better prepared to do just that with learning that impacts performance for bottom-lien results.

Plan to attend the 2nd Annual Call Center Training Convention, Tomorrow’s Trends in Today’s Training, February 19 and 20, 2008 (Tuesday and Wednesday)
8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Ballrooms A, B and C of the Renaissance Hotel in Makati

For booking arrangements go to the TeleDevelopment website to sign up.

If you're looking for additional information, just contact Abby of ArdentComm at telephone numbers (02) 328-8841 or 328-8842. Telefax (02) 328-8843. E-mail address

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Rocking for Hope

These past few days I've been attempting to celebrate my advanced age and the New Year with a little contemplative activity. One of the things I'm most proud of from 2007 was our planning and execution of a free, charity rock concert dubbed Rakaza!.

This event supported Childhope Asia Philippines where we raised money and in kind donations as well as exposed the charity to hundreds of Manila denizens — most of whom work in the the BPO world (we picked up over 1,000 names for our list).
Childhope Asia Philippines is a not-for-profit NGO operating in Metro Manila assisting over 1,500 street children annually through its Street Education Program.

A quick look at the rotating banner next to this post show some shots of the night's line-up that included Urbandub, Radio Active Sago Project, Sinosikat?, Spy, Iray, Epic, Badburn, Rubberpool, Funkarival, Brightclub, Valve8, Basilica, Oyatoya, and MOI. The event was hosted at the Decagon in Sliver City Mall, beautiful Pasig City (we were the second group to use the facility).

Skarlet hosted the affair and she rocked the house. Likewise, evening faves were Radio Active Sago Project (my favorite Manila band) and Sinosikat.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Exhumed and Noted

The End (of the year) is nigh and I'm frantically excavating all the stuff buried in stalagmites of paper that populate my home, office, and/or home office.

Item 1: Lawrence Casiraya of noted that Carol Dominguez, President and CEO of John Clements Consultants, believes that there is a "more pressing" need for management skills in the country's business processing outsourcing industry. This she identified as a the critical item for the industry to address based on a series of focus groups wherein 50% of the respondents "cited bad management as a reason for leaving a company."

This highlights an area of talent development that is under-served at the moment: front line managers who have risen through the ranks quite rapidly to accountability for spans of control that wildly exceed their life experience, emotional maturity, and overall ability to cope with the stresses of management pressure to achieve more with less (especially as the dollar loses value and margins are compressed).

Item 2: In a postscript to Flattening and Topography, I ran across a WSJ OpEd piece by Michael Lynton, the CEO of Sony Pictures. He notes that American cultural hegemony is giving way to localized culture as it elbows onto the world stage (using the forces of globalization). His cites popular Chinese films such as Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon and Kung Fu Hustle as well as that prolific font of whimsy: Bollywood.

Without commenting on the rapidly dominant countries' economies or the widely dispersed nature of their cultures (or Mr. Lynton's interest in position Sony Pictures as an organization promoting global cultural diversity) — he does have a point: "...Hollywood is not simply a place in Southern California. It is a symbol of an entertainment culture which is becoming as diverse as it is universal."
What this means to people devoted to corporate education in locales outside their served clientele (like North America and Europe) seems to be opaque at the moment but this trend of cultural heterogeneity creeping around the edges of the dominant paradigm bodes well for a global business community where culture is not lost, but remains a practical tool to study and learn the art of the polyphony.

Item 3: Delving deeper into the stack of Wall Street Journals mouldering in the corner yields an article by Ravi Venkatesan, the Chairman of Microsoft India discusses business responsibility in an emerging nation where economic inequity is quite prevalent (as in much of Asia). His July, 2007 opinion piece offers some prescriptions for how to think about ways to guarantee a future defined by economic advancement rather than instability and lawlessness.

In particular, I'm drawn to his ideas on education and its delivery over large distances to people with disparate backgrounds. He notes that Microsoft is working on ways to learn English using a computer or a cellphone. At one of our organizations, we are exploring the same goal — although we are focused more on the combined face-to-face and eLearning approach (a mobile interface could be extremely valuable as well).
I believe that the Philippines remains a largely un-tapped source of talent with much of the population locked in labor and unskilled work (32% of the employed population). With tools that allow people to collapse distance and access best practices, we unlock opportunity and provide the foundation growth and prosperity.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Compensation Conundrum: 13th month

One might surmise that The Philippines is widely thought to be something of workers paradise if you spend time in the Mabuhai lounge at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport. There is some truth to the this idea — the Department of Labor (DoLE) does tend to presume employee complaints against management are valid and in the absence of definitive evidence to the contrary will often rule on a worker's behalf.
I suspect that this derives from an attempt to level the playing field in an economic environment where the gulf between rich and poor can be immense and the lack of meaningful government social intervention means that people are often at the mercy of their employers. See the quoted decree below (tough to find, by the way):

Presidential Decree No. 851: Requiring All Employers to Pay their Employees a 13th-Month Pay
WHEREAS, it is necessary to further protect the level of real wages from the ravage of worldwide inflation; WHEREAS, there has been no increase in the legal minimum wage rates since 1970; WHEREAS, the Christmas season is an opportune time for society to show its concern for the plight of the working masses so they may properly celebrate Christmas and New Year. NOW, THEREFORE, I, FERDINAND E. MARCOS, by virtue of the powers vested in me by the Constitution, do hereby decree as follows:
Section 1. All employers are hereby required to pay all their employees receiving a basic salary of not more than P1,000 a month, regardless of the nature of their employment, a 13th-month pay not later than December 24 of every year. (Note: The salary ceiling of P1,000 was removed by President Corazon Aquino in 1986 through Memorandum Order No. 26, which provides: "Section 1 of Presidential Decree No. 851 is hereby modified to the extent that all employers are hereby required to pay all their rank-and-file employees a 13th-month pay not later than December 24 of every year.")
Section 2. Employers already paying their employees a 13th-month pay or its equivalent are not covered by this Decree.
Section 3. This Decree shall take effect immediately.
Done in the City of Manila, this 16th day of December 1975.

While computation approaches vary somewhat, the fact of the matter is that you have to pay this for non-managers (and expatriates aren't entitled either), and you need to pay before the 24th of December to stay legal in the Philippines. Many companies leave this for late in the year or simply go into denial. It pays to plan ahead since missing this important payout will create internal chaos with managing your people (since most count on this to make Christmas) and the legal impact could far exceed the outlay for extra salary.