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    Here's the December 2010 issue of Psyche-Selling TM eNewsletter, so Merry Christmas and  Happy New Year, it's time we get ready for 2011.


    If you are somehow accountable for arranging for training, you might be doing some level of training needs analysis (TNA) or evaluating which training programmes you might want to implement for your colleagues next year.


     Yet, our feedback from many Training Managers and even HR Directors is that determining the right training needs for each Business Unit, or even each department, is getting increasingly tougher due to fast-changing business focus and an increasing need to measure training effectiveness.  The fact that most training outlines and trainers' profiles these days looked as if it's been written by the same person!


     Hence, this month's topics:

  1. Using the Six Thinking Hats® to Analyse Training Needs and Evaluate Training Programmes; and

  2. Why Proper Pre-call Planning Can Make or Break Your Sales Efforts


     This issue's main article is on  "Using the Six Thinking Hats® to Analyse Training Needs and Evaluate Training Programmes", and it is about how you can clarify your thinking and identify the right programme for the right training need and the right way to measure results.


    In brief:

  • With rising expectations on the impact and effectiveness of training in organisations, Training Managers are finding it more challenging to meet such demands from their colleagues;

  • Instead of focusing on what training courses to purchase and implement, Training Managers will have to start focusing on the expected positive behavioral changes of the targeted trainees;

  • Without having much resources, Training Managers can leverage on the Six Thinking Hats® to define training objectives, assess needs, and implement training programmes that deliver business results.    Read on... ...  


    To read the rest of this newsletter, pls. click here (


    In the meantime, I will be on vacation in Singapore from 19 December 2010 till 10 January 2011.  I'll still be contactable via e-mail:


Using the Six Thinking Hats® to Analyse Training Needs and Evaluate Training Programmes

by c.j. Ng

Certified Facilitator, Six Thinking Hats®



     Elyn has been tasked by her boss to plan out her company's training plan for the forthcoming year.  "Elyn, can you help us identify a few training programmes that will help us in our teamwork, communications skills and general productivity for the coming year?", that was what Elyn's boss tells her.  No clear budgets, no specific training needs and no indication how to measure training effectiveness.


     As what she did in the past, Elyn calls up a few training vendors whom she knows and ask for the training outlines, trainer profiles and of course the pricing of those programmes they have.  She then meticulously schedule the training workshops for each of specific groups of colleagues in her company.  When she is done, she presents her "training plan" to her boss, showing her meticulous schedule she has created.


     Without looking at the line-up of training programmes, the boss takes a glance at the total training costs and makes a very simple comment, "Wow, that seems like we are spending a lot of money on training.  Are you sure we can get the effectiveness from these training?"

     Before Elyn can comment on her boss's comment, her colleague, the Sales Director who is also present at the meeting makes the following remark, "I don't think my sales team needs simple things like communication skills training.  We need something that is more relevant to our work.  I don't think I will be committing my department's budget to this training."


     Now Elyn is feeling really red-faced.  After spending weeks to come up with a "training plan", what she gets is doubt from her boss, and downright rejection from her colleague in front of her boss.


     Being the very meticulous and highly responsible person that she is, Elyn turns to the Six Thinking Hats® to find out how she can analyse her company's training needs and evaluate training programmes more effectively.


Conducting Training Needs Analysis Using the Six Thinking Hats®

     If you don't know what are the Six Thinking Hats® as yet, you can refer to our past newsletter to get more information.  To help us understand how to apply the Six Thinking Hats® in Training Needs Analysis, here's a brief overview:
  1. Blue Hat - The focus and purpose of any training is to make trainees change their behaviour (for the better, hopefully).  Hence, throughout your Training Needs Analysis, you need to stay focus on what behaviours you want your colleagues to change, so as to improve their performances

  2. White Hat - Information on what kinds of behaviours need to be changed does not exist in a vacuum. 

  3. Yellow Hat - While training IS about changing behaviours, it may make sense to start asking your BU Heads and functional managers what are the strengths of their respective teams first, before you start asking what are their weaknesses.  When you start with asking the weaknesses, people get defensive.  When you start with asking their strengths, people become modest.  Besides, there may be some strengths that need to be strengthened, which is also a positive change in behaviour.

  4. Black Hat - Once you understand the strengths of your colleagues, find out what are their weaknesses, or areas of improvements, or performance gaps.  This is usually the biggest reason why the respective BU or department is willing to allocate budget to the training programme, as the training is viewed as solving a critical problem.

  5. Green Hat - As there will always be demands to measure training effectiveness for different types of training programmes, this is where you need to be creative to find out cost-effective ways to measure training effectiveness.  The Green Hat is also very much required for cases where standardised training programmes are not suitable, and customisation is required.

  6. Red Hat - At different times in the development of your training plan, you can calibrate the emotions of your colleagues as well as yourself, particularly if you or your colleagues feel confident or cot confident in a certain approach.  If any party feels hesitant, there might be some unresolved concerns that may require your attention.


     When putting on your White Hat, here are some other sources where you can collect more information:

  • Performance appraisals or performance management plans (PMPs) or talent management plans;

  • Talking to Business Units (BUs) Heads and functional managers to find out what are some of the performance concerns they have for their team, and which behaviours need to be addressed;

  • Conducting in-depth conversations with targeted trainees


     Perhaps the Red Hat of some readers at this point could be: if I'm going to put on my White Hat and collect so much information, how do I have the time AND resources to do so?


     The good news is that you don't need complete information of all that is happening within the BU or the department.  You just need to get the relevant information about what behaviours need to be changed.


     It is also very important when putting on the White Hat is NOT to ask your BU and department heads what training courses or workshops they think their team needs, because the courses mentioned by the BU Head may not be the right remedy to change behaviours.  After all it is you, not them, who is the expert in training matters.


     Better to put on the Yellow, Black and Green Hats to find out their team's strengths, weaknesses and possible solutions to make them better.


Evaluating Training Programmes Using the Six Thinking Hats®


     Now that you have found out what are the behaviour changes are required for your colleagues, the next thing is to identify ways how best to effect those changes. Here are some suggestions:

  1. White Hat:

    • What are some of the information that you already know about related training programmes?

    • What are some information that you would like to know?  Where can you get them?

    • How do you measure success?

  2. Yellow Hat

    • What are their key strengths?

    • What are their track records?

  3. Black Hat

    • Can they really deliver as promised?

    • Will the participants buy in to their ideas?

  4. Green Hat

    • How else can we make the training more exciting?

    • How can we improve effectiveness?

  5. Red Hat

    • How do you feel about it?

  6. Blue Hat:

    • How shall we then proceed?

    • How shall we ensure training effectiveness?


     The unfortunate mistakes that most training managers make when evaluating trainers and training programmes are:

  • Asking if the trainer has experience training their industry.  While this might sound like a fair assumption, it depends on the type of training involved.  We were approached once by a huge chemical company for our sales training programmes asking if we had experience training or selling in their industry.  After some thought, we told them that while both the cosmetics and coatings products belong to the chemical industry, they have totally different customer and selling needs.

  • Insisting on working with a world-renowned brand for every single programme.  Actually, it's a good thing to work with big brands, since their products are much likelier to be well-tested and developed.  It's only a mistake that when you need to have a great deal of customisation and localisation, and yet source for off-the-shelf big-brand training programmes.

  • Insisting on older trainers with lots of grey or white hair.  Again, the perception is that older trainers are more experienced and therefore able to share their in-depth experiences, which may not be true.


Using the Six Thinking Hats® to Manage Your Time


     At this moment, some Training Managers would probably be wondering "Why on Earth should I go through so much trouble just to analyse training needs, and evaluate training programmes.  Can't I just follow what my predecessors and their predecessors did, since nobody complained anything about what they did?"  


     Here are some Blue Hat reasons why you MUST pay more attention to training needs analysis and training programme evaluation:

  • Regardless what industry you are in, chances are competition are getting increasingly stronger by the day.  Usually, the people who work in your company are becoming the main source of competitive advantage;

  • Senior managers are getting more involved in the training effectiveness of their programmes, and they are demanding to get more results for every dollar spent on training; and

  • The Training Department is getting more professional and effective, and younger Training Managers and Assistants (those born in the late 80's) are doing what they could to measure training success.  Hence, my dear current Training Managers, it's either you shape up or you ship out!


     As Sun Tzu says in the Art of War, "If you can march 1,000 miles and NOT feel tired, you will be undefeatable"  (行千里而不劳者,行于无人之地也).  What it means is that if you are able to do the extra work and deliver better results for your company and colleagues, you will eventually be the main beneficiary.


     Need help in conducting better training needs analysis and training programme evaluation without over-working yourself?  Simply e-mail or call +86 21 58768009 for Mary to find out when is the next Six Thinking Hats® working session in China.

Power Breakfast Hour: 18 January 2011
Using the Six Thinking Hats® to Analyse Training Needs and Evaluate Training Programmes


     Join International Sales Force Effectiveness consultant c.j. Ng as well as Senior Consultant of de Bono China Mr. Phil Law in this Power Breakfast Hour in Shanghai where you will find out:

  • How to use the Blue Hat to what are the behaviours that need to be improved, and how to measure the improvements brought by training;

  • How to use the White Hat to gather information and inputs to determine what needs to be trained;

  • How to use a combination of all Six Thinking Hats® to implement the right training programmes that will deliver your desired results


VENUE:  Crowne Plaza Shanghai • 400 Panyu Road (near Fahuazhen Road) • 上海银星皇冠酒店 •  番禺路 400 号 (靠法华镇路)

DATE: Tuesday, 18 January 2011

TIME: 08:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m. 



     To make this a more conducive discussion, we are expecting a small group of about 15 people only. The room can only take in 18, so please register early to avoid disappointments. Please e-mail your registrations to 


     You can also download our Power Breakfast Hour video on Using the Six Thinking Hats® to Win More Sales and Get More Customers Part 1.


     Pls. check out our web sites and for more inspiration.


Need a Keynote Speaker for your Major Sales Conference?


     Whether you are holding a conference for your regional staff, resellers or even customers, we have the right speaker who can help you deliver the spirit of your conference, and effect positive changes to meet your goals.


     The topics our speakers can speak on include:


    • Using the Six Thinking Hats® to Win More Sales and Get More Customers
    • Why Some Sales People Succeed While Others Fail?;

    • How to Lure Away Your Competitors' Key Accounts, and Make Them Buy from You Instead?;

    • Improving Sales Productivity by Motivating the Sales Force;

    • Sun Tzu and the Art of Strategic Decision Making;

    • The End of Guanxi as We Know It!; and many more!


     Simply e-mail your requests to or call +86-21-6219 0021 for enquiries.  Sample video and audio recordings available upon requests.


Practical Tips for Sales People:

Why Proper Pre-call Planning Can Make or Break Your Sales Efforts


By the Brooks Group


Even though he was talking about battle, Napoleon put it best when he said, “To be outmaneuvered? Yes. To be surprised? Never!”

And that’s why it’s important to harp on the “basics.” One of the most important (but easily overlooked) is the critical role of pre-call planning. It simply can’t be underestimated. For every call, you ought to spend time preparing. However, some salespeople believe "winging it” is okay. They’re wrong.

Pre-call planning is the research, data-gathering, and preparation a salesperson must conduct in order to be fully prepared for a sales presentation. It involves both the physical and mental preparation required for success. In this month’s newsletter, we’ll go deeper than the most basic pre-call planning elements. Sure, you’ve got to know where your meeting is taking place, who you’re meeting with, and other information like that, but let’s talk about the more commonly overlooked things to consider before walking into a sales call. Here's a list...

Structure: What are the formal and informal structures within the organization? Who will be involved in making the decision to buy from you? What roles do people play relative to your solution? For example, one person might be using it while someone else will be making the decision about whether to buy in the first place.

Current Situation: Determine what's in place already. What solution is your prospect using today? How can you leverage weaknesses in your competition? If this is a current client, what buying records do you have for them? What have they bought from you in the past? Having this knowledge is particularly important in case the person you’re meeting with doesn’t remember it.

Opportunities: Make a list of possible opportunities with this particular client. Be sure to think about more than the most obvious. In other words, the reason you’ve been granted a meeting with this prospect might only be the tip of the iceberg. For example, are there other problems your prospect might be facing that you can help with? What lies beneath the surface could be the difference between an average sale and something tremendous. Be sure to consider all possibilities.

Landscape: What attitudes do the people you’re meeting with have about your offering? Are there people who – for one reason or another – might be resistant to you or your company? Take the time to consider what the landscape looks like.

Essential Collateral: If there's a particular piece of collateral material you can't go without, be sure to bring it. This also goes for warranty documents, testimonial letters, case studies, etc.

Whatever You've Promised: If you've already spoken with this prospect, what have you promised to bring? Don’t forget it! That mis-positions you as disorganized and that’s never a good way to begin a meeting!

Leverage: What current clients or other resources can you leverage during a call with this prospect. Is there a way to use resources that you (or your company) have developed to maximize the time you're spending with a prospect? For example, do you already do business with a client of this prospect? How could you leverage that relationship to maximize this meeting?

This list is certainly not exhaustive. And, to that point, it's important to remember that there’s a balance when it comes to pre-call planning. It’s definitely easy to get lost in planning and spend too much time preparing for a sales presentation. It’s up to you, as a professional salesperson, to be sure that you have enough information to succeed without wasting time.

Finally, here’s a bonus tip: Don’t forget to confirm your appointment! There’s a pretty good chance (especially with today’s super-busy people) that you’ll be forgotten. Nothing’s worse than taking the time to prepare for a meeting…only to discover all your time and energy was wasted.


If you would like to get more and better ideas how you can plan better to get your customers to buy more from you, you can e-mail or call +86-136 7190 2505 or Skype: cydj001 and arrange to buy me a mocha.  All information shall be kept in confidence.



Sales... ...the lifeblood of a company, a matter of "life and death", survival or extinction.  Indeed, something that needs to be studied, applied and re-modified consistently.


Yet today,

  • many companies still don't have a coherent approach as to how they can generate more sales and achieve better margins;

  • many sales people are still lying to their customers so that they can meet their targets at the end of the month;

  • many customers are still waiting ethical and professional sales people to help them find out their real needs, and provide solutions that work


Psyche-Selling TM is set up so that companies and sales people can make healthy profits and STILL provide genuine solutions to customers.


Psyche-Selling TM would like to create an environment where customers can trust sales people to give them what they want, and NOT be pushed with all kinds of products and services.  In return, customers will become loyal fans of these ethical and professional sales people, and repay them many fold for the long-term.


Psyche-Selling TM will not rest, until the above is achieved.  Not just in China. Not just in Asia.  But everywhere where buying and selling takes place.


Psyche-Selling TM is a wholly-owned brand of Directions Management Consulting Pte Ltd that specialises in the field of improving sales performance by enhancing the performance of the entire sales team.  Apart from the regular "selling skills training", Psyche-Selling TM conducts pre- and post-training analysis, interviews, monitoring and reviews, working closely with managers and even senior management, to deliver real improvements in sales leadership and performance.


Hence, Psyche-Selling TM would like to be known as the preferred choice of outstanding and remarkable clients, and pride ourselves as such.  We will also be continuing to assist our clients achieve greater heights in 2009 and beyond.


Enquiries and suggestions, pls. e-mail or visit




Mailing Address: Shui Cheng Nan Road 51 Lane No. 9 Suite 202 Shanghai 201103 China