What Subject Specific Classes Can Do For You

What Subject Specific Classes Can Do For You

Moving from the role of an employee in an equipment dealership to being a consultant was an interesting transition. I started at Hewitt Equipment, the Caterpillar Dealer in Quebec, in March 1969 on a one-year contract. While with Hewitt I was given the opportunity to learn and grow my skills. I never forgot that. In 1978 I moved to Western Canada and worked for Finning Tractor and Equipment. In 1980 I moved back to Alberta where we started our consulting business. Through those twelve years I was given the opportunity to learn. I could never have done the work I did as a consultant without all of the training I received while working for those two Caterpillar dealerships. That opportunity for learning is what our subject specific classes can provide for you.

I don’t think I was very different then than the millennials and younger generation today. I needed to learn. I HAD to learn to progress in my work. I think the younger generations today are in exactly the same frame of mind as I was at their age. If I am not learning and progressing, I am wasting my time and should be looking for something else. I continue to be in awe at the knowledge of these younger generations. They have so much more knowledge than we Baby Boomers had at a similar age. I suppose that is a normal progression in society but it is one that needs to be respected. These younger generations are what we older generations have to rely on in our dotage.

In the consulting business I would be involved in identifying opportunities, negotiating solution options and implementing change. This invariably involved teaching people how to do things the “new” way. Before I started at Hewitt, I taught education at McGill University in Montreal. I absolutely love when I see the lights go on in a students’ eyes when they “Get” it. That really turns my crank. In the early 1990’s most of the OEM’s (Original Equipment Manufacturers) and business associations (AED Associated Equipment Dealers) stopped doing any management training in the Parts and Service business. I thought I could fill that void.

I spent the summer of 1992 creating three “text” books for management in Parts, Service and Product Support Sales. In other words, I created the foundation from three management training classes. I set up the classes to take place over three days and split the learning into six distinct categories. Selling, Operations, Asset Management, Finance, Leadership, and Standards of Performance. This was the beginning of Quest, Learning Centers. In 2016 we incorporated Learning Without Scars and transitioned to the internet. We now offer the largest selection of internet-based employee development classes in the Industry. We have ninety-four subject specific classes available to the parts, service and selling aspects of Product Support.

Last week the focus of our blogs was on the assessments. This week we are moving to our classes. The foundation question for the assessments, is what is the department that you are interested in reviewing. We start the same way with the classes. You select a department and then we take you to the class options for that department. We will take you to the next step tomorrow.

The time is now.

For more information on our programs and what we can do for you, please visit our website at learningwithoutscars.org

Why Do We Need to Change?

Why Do We Need to Change?

Robert Quinn says “One key to successful leadership is continuous personal change. Personal change is a reflection of our inner growth and empowerment.”

It’s important to evolve and to adjust as we grow deeper in the knowledge of ourselves and those around us too.

But why are people afraid to change? Why is change so difficult when we all know it’s inevitable?

James Belasco and Ralph Stayer, authors of the book “The Flight of the Buffalo,” couldn’t have said it any better “Change is hard because people overestimate the value of what they have and underestimate the value of what they may gain by giving that up.”

This week let’s think about the changes we’re afraid of making in our own lives. Are we overestimating the value of the very things we hold near and dear to us? Are we underestimating what the future may hold? Something to think about. Let’s be more aware of the need for change.

Today we finished an upgrade to our Learning Without Scars website.

We would like to invite everyone to come take a look at our new layout here.

Brian Shanahan, of Shanahan Strategy, with whom we have been working on our websites for ten plus years, has done a terrific job for us.

This change allows our clients to utilize e-commerce to purchase any of our Learning Without Scars products. It also shows a different focus on learning by utilizing our Skill Assessment Tools. From the scores achieved on the Job Function Skills Assessment we now offer a “Learning Path” recommendation of classes to take in order to improve their Skills Level. Those classes have been reorganized and the layout of their presentation has also been re-imagined here.

With the change to the website we have focused on getting in place many of the things that our clients have requested of us so far:

  1. Simplicity
  2. Ease of Navigation
  3. The ability to complete transactions online
  4. Excitement on the site

You will ultimately be the judge. But we are pleased. You will be hearing a lot more about this each day. We hope you take some time and look at the new site and give us any feedback you wish. We would welcome your help in keeping us as the most comprehensive and current employee development platform in the Industry.

The time is now.

All offerings are available at learningwithoutscars.org. Contact ron@learningwithoutscars.org if you would like to plan for a custom program.

Building Blocks – the LOD program

Building Blocks – the LOD program.

Last week we gave you an update on “Where Are We Now” with Learning Without Scars. This week we show you our Learning On Demand product – LOD. This is our learning structure which uses “building blocks.”

Learning On Demand is a subject specific class, there are currently 81 subject specific classes. This class requires the student to make an investment of about two hours, of their time, to continue their path of learning and getting better at what they do professionally.

The film you are about to see will give you an explanation of the LOD. Program. Enjoy.

The Time is Now.




Badges and Socrates Continued: A Look at the Big Picture

Badges and Socrates Continued: A Look at the Big Picture

Last week, we took a look at the price tag attached to formal university education, and the reality of the “brand” driving the costs.

Now we turn to Mark Kamlet, the Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA. He talks about the changes in the school such that the Arts and Science coexist. As he says “Carnegie Mellon is focused on truth, beauty and what connects the two.” Scholars had been thinking very hard about two intellectual questions which will define the age. “The nature of human cognition and the uses of information technology.” This is how computers and the internet are affecting the thought patterns of humankind. This led to studies on neuroscience. People learn differently according to their brain patterns. We have learned in the past two decades that “there are connections from the temporal lobe back to the parts of the brain that process and interpret new information, an unending loop.”

Carey tells us the story of Patrick Suppes. He was a lucky man. In 1930 a group of progressive education reformers came together in Washington, D.C. to talk about the nation’s High Schools. They found that the high school learning had become too rigid and narrow. To test their theories, they chose thirty schools across the nation. One was the Tulsa Senior and Junior High Schools. Patrick Suppes got a very high score. He enrolled in the University of Oklahoma which he found academically unchallenging and transferred to the University of Chicago where he received a BS in Meteorology. Next was the war and he was assigned a posting in the South Pacific where he was able to continue his studies. He returned after the war and obtained a PhD from Columbia before landing a teaching job at Stanford.

He got married and he and his wife had a girl. She entered Kindergarten in 1956 and her father became very interested in how children were learning mathematics. As time passed he threw himself into “learning science.” He became interested in how computers could help improve education.

In 1966 he published an article in Scientific American titled “The Uses of Computers in education.” He found that each student needed to be taught in an individualized way – each student needed a personal tutor. He said “the computer makes the individualization of instruction easier because it can be programmed to follow each student’s history or learning successes and failures and to use this past performance as a basis for selecting new problems and new concepts to which the student should be exposed to next.” He was learning that online education produced modestly better results than those receiving face-to-face instruction.


The world of education today is enabling us to learn from anywhere.  The concept of higher education no longer needs to be reserved for those who can afford the time and tuition of education as a full-time pursuit.


We will continue with the last part of our discussion next week.


The time is now.

Customers for Life #MondayBlogs

In selling, we often look towards finding new customers and cultivating a relationship with them.  But what about the customers we already have?

Japan taught us the concept, and value, of “customers for life.”  With proper care, via a “hugger” or a “hunter,” there is no reason for us to lose our existing customers.

Customer Retention is often overlooked in our average marketing focus, as we seek to broaden our reach.

We must be wise, and be sure to appreciate and nurture the relationships we already have.  There is no “old business” in our business: our relationships are dynamic, and changing as our industry does.

The time is now.



Rejection #MondayBlogs

Have you ever noticed that professionals have a hard time with hearing “no” from their customers?

We take it personally.

We feel we are being rejected.

I contend that every “no” you hear from your customer is a gift.  It brings you that much closer to the sale, to the “yes” that you want to hear when you are trying to make the sale.

When it comes to overcoming objections, we have to remember that it isn’t personal.  The objection doesn’t mean that we are in some way “less than.”  The objection tells us about our customer, about our competition, about how our company is perceived within the marketplace.  The objection doesn’t mean there is something wrong with us.

We often forget this fact.


Don’t be afraid to close the deal.


The time is now.


Let’s Get Serious About Our Employees #MarketingMonday

Some thoughts for your consideration:

You have seen over the past two to three weeks a change in the approach to the blog. We have been exposing Vimeo based film clips. You have seen our promotional trailer, the animation of Socrates, an introduction to the company and a video clip on market segmentation. I want today to present a situation and then pose some questions in the Socratic Manner. Socratic teaching forces people to come to their own conclusions.

Employees transition through three or four stages in their career:

  • Enthusiastic Beginner
  • Disillusioned Learner
  • Capable but Cautious Performer
  • Self-Reliant Achiever


Unfortunately, it is their immediate supervisor that has a direct impact on this transition. Too often we get stuck at the Disillusioned Learner as a result of the style of the boss or the lack of any interest from the boss in the employee.


As individuals as we move from school to work we have to overcome a series of things that I will call “personal obstacles.” These things come from our families, our friends and peers and our schools. I have often said we are taught to be obedient in our developmental years and when we get to the workforce we are asked to think on our own.


These obstacles normally are


  • We are told everything we want to do is impossible
  • We are afraid of hurting those we love by pursuing our own dreams
  • We are afraid we will fail in pursuit of our dreams.
  • We are afraid to succeed.


One of the important questions we need to ask of ourselves is “what would I do if I wasn’t afraid?”


In our training approach, we are developing an employee development program that will take each employee in the parts and service groups from the enthusiastic beginner to a self-reliant achiever. My question is “how do you achieve that today?


The time is now.

Why Backorders Happen #MondayBlogs

Sometimes, a part won’t be available within your store, or your chain of stores, or from your supplier, OEM.  When a backorder takes place, you can never forget to conduct an analysis of WHY this has happened.

If our customers tell us what they want, shouldn’t we give it to them?

This means providing them with parts and service beyond compare.  To do that, you have to know what is going on in your inventory management.

The time is now.


Differentiate Your Market #MondayBlogs

There’s always some crossover between our industry, and the automotive industry, the aviation industry, trucks, trailers, and so on.

When we think about marketing, we automatically think of the end result of all of our marketing endeavors: a sale.

But in order to make a sale, we have to know our market.  This means more than having a script or having general knowledge.  Who are your customers?  What, exactly, is it that they need from you?  What relationship do you share with them currently?

Remember, people sell.  It is a relationship.

The time is now.