Professional Development Program Framework

Objective

To develop “service-oriented” professionals who discover and pursue opportunities for their personal and customer success and implement effective business solutions.

Desired Outcome

The Professional Development (PD) program will develop service-oriented professionals who implement competitive business solutions. These solutions are based upon the customer’s requirements and provide renewed value to the customer’s business by providing service, using appropriate technology, team and customer skills.

Modus Operandi

Combine “business” curriculum with the technical curriculum over the duration of the resident PD school. Business curriculum activities occur around the technical curriculum, which occupies upwards of 80% of each business day.

The business problems shall be developed based on the progress of the technical curriculum, so that the learned technology may be used as the technical portion of business solutions and proposals.

The business curriculum is designed to be “experiential,” based on fundamental “soft” skills that are presented in lecture, but developed and honed via highly interactive business activities, problems, and deliverables.

Concept of the Course

Service Orientation

“Service-oriented” refers to the philosophy, and the actions resulting from the implementation of the philosophy, of serving customers. In today’s business world, “service” is the key differentiation. Service orientation is based on “service”.

“Service” (singular) is not the same as “Services” (plural). “Services” are those features and advantages that a customer receives from a vendor or supplier organization that are tangible, expected, defined, AND paid for. Businesses must be paid for their services or they will not survive. Selling services is a business in itself, and is NOT what “service-orientation” is all about. Services can be delivered without service.

Service is defined as “…helpful, beneficial, or friendly action or conduct; act giving assistance or advantage to another.”.[1] Service is the intangible, highly visible, high impact, positive surprise (i.e., not expected) that is rendered by individual persons (NOT organizations) and valued by the customer. Service is not costed nor paid for. Service is that intangible which is provided by an individual and is of little or no cost, but is highly valued by the customer. It’s the extra something voluntarily done for the customer that differentiates the individual (and by extenuation, the individual’s organization) from the competition.

Service is continually evolving process where those things that “surprised/delighted” the customer last month become the things the customer expects this month. As a result, service becomes recognized over time through sustainable, upgradable value.

Service-oriented professionals look for ways and means of serving their customers through sustainable, upgradable value while delivering products or services.

Effective Solutions

Effective solutions to business needs encompass more than technology, and do not occur in a vacuum. Effective solutions recognize the business “system” as the integration of the people, process, and technology of the customer. Opportunities to deliver value exist in each of these areas within a business. However, the effective solution will deliver substantially increased value by addressing these business needs in an integrated fashion:

Effective Solutions = (People + Process + Information)Value

Author’s Note: In the year 2010, we are now squarely within the “Information Age,” and the word “information” replaces the word “technology” within above formula and in this description. Technology merely delivers efficiency, not effectiveness; and in 2010, has now become a commodity; an operational expense. Information is the asset.

By themselves, stand-alone solutions to each of the components needs (people, technology, process) have little value. Solutions which address how people effectively use technology, with process improvements, deliver the most value. This means that in business, the application of the service philosophy and action(s), by the customer(s) using the solution, produce the “value added” to each of the components of effective solutions.

The development program is the opportunity to establish an environment in which to develop the theme and mind set of focusing on the value of pursuing opportunities with effective solutions, and building successful relationships.

[1] Webster’s New World Dictionary, College Edition 1968.

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