About the Company
Since 1994, The Learning Connection has helped existing businesses invest in their human capital and improve core competencies to accelerate performance and profitability. The Learning Connection also consults with new and existing businesses and organizations to develop Human Resource systems, cohesive leadership teams and organizational health.
Whether your need is for one person, a team or the entire organization, The Learning Connection can help with analysis, design, and implementation of educational and developmental services customized to help you achieve your short and long term goals.
“Knowledge does not reside in a book, a databank, a software program; they contain only information. Knowledge is always embodied in a person, carried by a person; created, augmented, or improved by a person; applied by a person; taught by a person, and passed on by a person.” ~ Peter Drucker
The pursuit of knowledge, the transfer of knowledge, and the joy of applying knowledge embody The Learning Connection.
Our Core Values:
- We believe that people are your core business asset.
- We believe in structuring an engaging learning environment that builds both confidence in the learner and knowledge for the institution.
- We encourage and practice creativity in our work.
- We support growth of small, local businesses and rural communities by donating 10% of profits or resources.
- We are committed to lifelong learning and continuous improvement of our products, services and people.
Our Core Competencies:
- Organizational Development
- HR systems and Human Resource Management
- Facilitated Learning of all soft skills
- Platform Speaking (includes writing of content and coaching for delivery)
Our Vision Statement:
Transforming people, teams and organizations to become data-driven, knowledge-based service providers.
Meet Your Knowledge Navigator
Kristine lauched her business in 1994 to pursue her passion for teaching and helping others succeed. She is gifted as an educator, coach, and facilitator with 25+ years of experience transforming people, teams and organizations across the Midwest. She is an early adopter of innovative instructional techniques and supports her consulting assignments with relevant academia and industry experience. Her methodology of deliberate practice impacts the entire workforce and improves performance at all levels. In other words, shift happens!
Kristine has coached numerous agri-preneurs in marketing, HRM and business development iniatives, but her most cherished role is that of Organizational Development (OD) Practicioner. After obtaining her Master’s in Adult Education, she completed several short courses on quality management and quality learning and integrates systems thinking into her consulting and evaluation practices, ensuring clients that she does more than just “train” people.
Prior to her role as a consultant, Kristine taught high school agriscience and is the only volunteer to be honored four times from the American Farm Bureau Federation for outstanding promotion and education programs in agriculture –one of her national award-winning ideas is now a state FFA contest in Michigan.
From 2002-2005, she served on the leadership team that designed and implemented the first multi-channel “Buy Local” campaign in Michigan that increased sales of fresh Michigan products by 100%. Through collaborative community efforts, she helped launch the highly popular Farmers Market at the Capital, a Farmers Market at Henry Ford Hospital and several Farm to Chef and Farm to School programs that still exist today. During that time she also consulted in the development of the MSU Product Center for ANR and became a certified Ag Innovation Counselor, helping numerous agri-preneurs with business and marketing development, She is a founding member of Ag Transiton Partners, a tri-state consortium of consultants who are coaching farm families through transition and succession planning, and is a consultant to the WI Center for Dairy Profitability. She also consults with organizations on adult learning theory and application.
She is a member of American Agri-Women, Capital Area Local First, FFA Alumni, and the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and an accomplished author with publications in the field of agri-entertainment and program evaluation.
Kristine is a pioneering leader, having helped establish and subsequently serve as an officer in a State FFA Alumni Association, a Toastmasters International Chapter, and a Business Networking International (BNI) Chapter. She also obtained her Advanced Toastmaster degree, competed in public speaking contests and coached 4-H youth to top honors in state and national speaking contests.
Kristine is effective because she is a dynamic presenter and “self-contained innovation team”. She utilizes her marketing mindset to create participant-centered curriculum and engaging content, as well as helping her clients identify their competitive advantage. Clients comment on herdown home delivery style, keen eye for review, and unbiased analysis.
With knowledge and know-how, experience and expertise, and wisdom and wit, Kristine will transform your team, classroom or boardroom.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is a Knowledge Navigator?
A “Knowledge Navigator” is simply someone who navigates, or facilitates, the transfer and application of knowledge.
Q: What is the difference between knowledge and information?
According to Margaret Wheatley, there is a widespread belief that the organization that knows how to convert information into knowledge, that knows what it knows, and that can act with greater intelligence and discernment are the organizations that will make it into the future. Knowledge management is a survival skill – but only if done right. Knowledge is not a “thing” that can be measured: it is created by human beings and should be renamed “human knowledge” to accurately reflect its nature. It is natural for people to create and share knowledge, but because it is a choice, they only willingly share if they feel committed to the organization, believe their leaders are worth supporting, feel encouraged to participate and learn, and value their colleagues. Knowledge is born in chaotic processes that take time. It is everywhere in the organization, but we won’t have access to it until we create work that is meaningful, leaders that are trustworthy, and organizations that foster everyone’s contribution and support by giving staff time to think and reflect together.
Q: What is a Practitioner?
A practitioner is one who practices their trade or skill. In our approach, we want learners to become practitioners by allowing them the opportunity to practice a new skill at work, to think and reflect with a coworker or immediate supervisor, and to get feedback before learning new content. To accomplish that objective, we implement a process that includes the proven model of deliberate practice.
Q: What do you mean by “deliberate practice”?
Deliberate practice contains four elements:
- The practice focuses on a well defined task
- The task is at an appropriate level of difficulty
- The person receives informative feedback
- The person has opportunities for repetition and correction of errors.
Q: What is Appreciative Inquiry?
Appreciative Inquiry deliberately seeks to discover people’s exceptionality – their unique gifts, strengths, and qualities. It actively searches and recognizes people for their specialties – their essential contributions and achievements. And it is based on principles of equality of voice – everyone is asked to speak about their vision of the true, the good, and the possible. Appreciative Inquiry builds momentum and success because it believes in people.
Q: How will measurement transform people, teams and organizations?
Small and medium sized businesses (SMB) are competing for the same resources and shouldering higher business expenses. Employers are scrambling to fill gaps left by retirees and expect their companies will start offering employment options to attract or retain semi-retired or retired workers in the future. At the same time, companies are trying to keep younger employees, who have less loyalty to their company, are less engaged and less committed. In fact, over 50% of the average workforce is disengaged. SMB’s are training new employees for jobs, but traditional “training” programs do not address root causes or improvement efforts. In many cases, people and teams are other-directed rather than self-directed and measurement is diminished by those who become experts at the numbers game.
Now more than ever, organizations need to create measures that more closely resemble feedback. They need to understand that defining and using measures must become everyone’s responsibility and they must use a measurement system that supports the relationships that give rise to the behaviors of accountability, learning, teamwork, quality and innovation.
Q: How do we get started?
- Identify “what should be” for people, teams and the organization as a whole through interaction, dialogue and reflection.
- Focus on results, or outcomes, instead of efforts. (SMART goals can be interchanged with outcomes)
- Ensure that all managers and supervisors support a Culture of Inquiry and are willing to invest in an ongoing process of improvement.
- Define the process and behaviors needed to create the desired results.
- Question the process. Identify assumptions.
- Decide on indicators. What will we measure? How will we measure our measures?
- Benchmark the indicators. Measure results. Measure again.
- Celebrate successes.
- Implement improvements
Q: Why must we establish a Culture of Inquiry?
Our vision for building a culture that actively promotes and supports improvement through measurement is taken from the great work of Integro Leadership and their model for a Responsibility-Based Environment (RBE), Dean Spitzer, author of Transforming Performance Measurement, and Margaret Wheatley, author of Finding Our Way. In a RBE, people want to do good work, are trusted, and take personal responsibility for their actions. (The opposite of this is command and control behavior in an environment of low trust where efforts are rewarded and employees are actively disengaged).
The similarities and benefits from working in a Culture of Inquiry are:
1) a change in attitudes about learning and the use of knowledge,
2) repeated use of a deliberate process to build institutional knowledge,
3) a belief in people as the creators of knowledge, and
4) a renewed focus and clarity on vision and purpose.
The consequences of not having a Culture of Inquiry are wasted resources, fear or mistrust, and unachieved or underachieved potential of people, teams and the organization.
Q: What is the ROI for investing in a series of learning and coaching rather than a one-time training event?
- Employees focus on achieving objectives together using indicators tied to business outcomes.
- Less likelihood that valued employees will be tempted to leave.
- It supports the new Culture of Inquiry.
- Stronger relationships, built through coaching and feedback, result in greater productivity.
- Increased skill retention and quicker application to work tasks.
Q: What is the difference between behavior and personality?
The Learning Connection is an award-winning distributor of instrumented learning resources from Inscape Publishing. Inscape has invested heavily in validating and promoting the DiSC® Dimensions of Behavior model as the foundation tool for building positive relationships worldwide. They also research and design electronic learning tools that lend insight into individual and team development, pioneering the powerful Focus, Reflect, Act model. We prefer DiSC because our clients love the accuracy and applications of it. The DiSC model provides a new language for describing behavioral differences. People CAN change their behavior, but not their personality. We are most successful in our relationships and work when we flex our behavior to meet the needs of different people and situations. However, with an understanding of both personality and natural behavioral tendencies, you are better equipped to recognize, understand, appreciate and value all people.
Q: How is performance improvement conducted in our organization?
We utilize an integrated and inclusive process to design specific assessment tools for each client and situation, and then assist our clients in accelerating their marketing efforts to capitalize on new information. For organizational transformation, we measure changes in outcomes, not effort, specifically, changes in functionality, knowledge, attitude and behavior. We work with individuals, teams and organizational leadership to identify indicators and tools to ensure continuous improvement through feedback and human interactivity.
Note: “DiSC” is a registered trademark of John Wiley and Sons
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