Tag Archives: it education

2016 IT Manager Institute training schedule

Hello and Happy New Year. 2016 will be my 14th year delivering the IT Manager Institute to managers all over the world via classroom and self study. We also have open slots to deliver the program in the US and Canada when you confirm 6 or more students. Classroom events can be delivered in 3, 4 or 5 days as desired. Contact me at info@mde.net if you are interested in hosting a class for your company or community in the US or Canada.

This year, we will deliver our open classroom programs in 3-day events. The days will certainly be full in order to cover all the material, but this gives you an opportunity to save in registration fees, time and travel expenses.

Plus, we will deliver two Advanced Institute classes following two of our standard IT Manager Institute programs in Dubai (May 25-26) and the US (September 16-17). These programs are for Institute Graduates ONLY.

CLICK HERE for more information or to download a brochure.


Motivate and Develop IT Employees with an IT Training Plan

Training and education is one of the most powerful motivators for IT employees. It always ranks in the top 3 reasons why IT people stay with their company while money usually ranks 7th or lower.

What this means is that you should have a training focus for every employee in your organization.

A focused training plan will do a lot for your IT organization:

  • Reduce or eliminate knowledge silos and technical skill gaps
  • Develop skills depth
  • Motivate employees

Employees are motivated by the fact you are investing in their professional development and doing things that will make their job easier when you create more depth.

It helps if you have an overall game plan and a tool that helps you see your entire training focus. One of the tools I used recently in a management consulting engagement is the IT Training Plan below.

 IT Training Plan - General

IT Training Plan

 Using a template like this is simple and it highlights exactly what you want to see:

  • Training you need to prioritize
  • Who needs to receive the training

Quick steps:

  1. List the training you want to focus on in the first column.
  2. Highlight the high priority training classes.
  3. List your employees across the top row.
  4. For each class, identify those who have functional knowledge by shading the appropriate cell green.
  5. For each class, identify each employee you want to target training for by shading the appropriate cell red.

It’s that simple, , , now you can easily see what will be trained and who will receive the training. The final step would be to determine who should develop and deliver training for each class, , , and then target the training dates.

One recommendation is that when you actually deliver the training classes, you should consider recording the class so it can be used again for other employees in the future.  Take a look at the post Create a training studio for your company to learn how to develop a training studio quickly and inexpensively.

Invest in your people by providing a focused training curriculum that hits every employee in your organization, , , it pays real dividends.

CLICK HERE to download the customizable IT Training Plan template

Create a training studio for your company

class-2Training is a tremendous motivator for IT employees so identifying a training program for each of your employees is very important. The same thing is true for other employees in your company.

Something you should consider is creating a training studio for your company to develop and package training classes that can be used over and over. It’s a lot simpler and cheaper than you probably think. It can even save your company thousands of dollars in training expenses.

There are many variations to “packaging” a training class, , , anything from creating an audio file that can be listened to repeatedly, , , developing a PowerPoint presentation that you do a voice-over and record, , , to video recording a live presentation.

Each of these variations are easily accomplished and inexpensive to produce with today’s technology.

The easiest to do with both audio and video is the 2nd option, , , creating PowerPoint slides and recording a presentation, so let’s focus on this approach.

Let me clarify something. In this approach, you will record an audio voice-over and screens of a PowerPoint presentation as you deliver it in a controlled studio setting, not in front of a class or group of people, , , although you certainly could record in a live class.

recording a class

What you need:
There are just a few things you will need to develop and package training programs effectively, and you probably already have most of it:

  • Laptop or PC
  • PowerPoint software
  • Camtasia Studio software for recording a presentation
  • High quality microphone
  • Quiet room to record in

A couple of comments here, , ,

First, Camtasia Studio is one of the best and easiest recording products available and it’s inexpensive at $299.00 as of this post. I use it and highly recommend it. Camtasia records your PC screen and audio as you work through a presentation, , , browse the Internet and make comments, , , whatever you do is recorded while it is turned on, , , can even access your PC webcam to record you if you wish.


Second, good audio is a requirement so you want a good microphone. The good news here is that audio quality has improved significantly and a quality microphone is inexpensive. I have a professional grade Audio-Technica microphone on my desk that I use, but you don’t need to spend what I had to spend 7 years ago. I recently purchased a small portable mic to take with me on the road and it does a great job, , , almost as good as the pro mic in my office.

The mic I bought is a Samson Go Mic Compact USB Microphone – Plug n’ Play from Amazon.com; sells for $39.99 at time of this post, , , plus it’s usb and works with no additional software, , , it’s been a great tool for me.

Did I say portable? The case is 2 x 3 inches, , , slips in a small pocket of my briefcase.

Samson Go microphone  Samson GO-Mic

Steps to take:

  • Develop a PowerPoint presentation for your training class. Prepare bullet talking points for each slide in your presentation – it will help you focus and cover all the key points when you record your presentation.
  • Install your microphone and test it so you know it works
  • Install and become familiar with Camtasia Studio – Now, Camtasia has lots of features and capability, but you don’t need most of it initially. There are only two key things you need to learn to get started:
    1. How to record your screen and audio while you presenting
    2. How to edit out the sections where you make mistakes in the recording. In any recording session there will be mistakes, , , deleting these minor hiccups is easy with Camtasia.
  • Set up a quiet room to do your recordings. The microphone is quite sensitive and will pick up outside noise so you want to do your recordings in a quiet space.
  • Set up your PC to record – turn on the audio and Camtasia recording.
  • Do a quick test of just a slide to insure all is working as you expect.
  • Record your session
  • Edit as needed to clean up the recorded session
  • Publish your session to the desired format you want to use. Another nice thing about Camtasia is that you can publish your recordings to mp4, YouTube, and other formats that makes your recordings accessible by virtually any PC, laptop, or mobile device technology.

You can set up a recording studio in your company quickly and easily and at a very low cost to begin developing training programs that can be used again and again, , , not only for your IT organization but for your entire company.

Total cost if you already have a laptop and PowerPoint (and most of us do) – $338.00. Not bad when you consider doing this can save your company thousands of dollars by reusing packaged training programs, making them available over the internet, etc.

IT Manager Institute – Webinar Series

The week of November 28 – December 2, 2011 I will deliver a 5-day IT Manager Institute via webinar so anyone in the world can gain access to a “live” presentation of our highly successful program.

Date:  Monday, November 28th through Friday, December 2nd, 2011
Time:  8:00am to 2:00pm each day (US Central Timezone, , , GMT -6) each day with breaks.
Where:  From your PC or laptop connection to the Internet

Seats are limited
and the price for this first webinar class
is reduced by 30%.

In 2012, I will deliver quite a bit of training via webinar including the IT Manager Institute. You will hear more about this training series in the weeks to come, , , I have been quite busy preparing for a major launch of new IT manager products and services in January 2012.

The IT Manager Institute webinar to be held next week includes 5 days of instruction and the ability to take the ITBMC exam upon completing the course. All you need is a good internet connection and time to sit in on the class. Registration fee is $1,950.00, , , 30% discount from my classroom format and will include the same instructional information, class materials and BONUS items you receive in a class, , , plus the ability to take the ITBMC exam to obtain your IT Business Manager Certification.

This will be my 47th IT Manager Institute class but the first one delivered by webinar. Take advantage of the discounted price while you can.

Spend five days with me and learn practical processes that will help you achieve more success and receive over 100 IT management tools to make it happen.

Program details are at www.mde.net/institute

Register now

$ 1,950.00
5 days of online training with Mike Sisco

Start an employee training program in minutes

In my last post, I emphasized the need your IT people have in training and education, , , it is a key motivator for IT people and ranks as one of the top 3 reasons people say they stay with their company in surveys year after year.

How would you like to have the ability to customize your own training curriculum in minutes and make it available to your employees?

Tom Mochal and I spent three years developing weekly 20 Minute IT Manager (20MITM) training sessions to make a comprehensive training library available to IT managers.  There are 162 sessions in the series, each 20 minutes or less in length, , , an ideal time to focus on a specific topic.

Many of our clients host weekly training lunches or early morning training breakfasts for their team where they deliver a 20MITM session while everyone eats. At the end of the session, they discuss the training material and how it applies to their situation or what they can take from the session to improve their business.

The 20MITM sessions focus on 5 major categories that are important for IT organizations in any industry:

  • IT management
  • Project management
  • People management
  • Leadership
  • Personal development

In these categories, there are dozens of training classes that are appropriate for every IT employee to learn about, not just your IT managers. For instance, all your employees would benefit in learning about:

  • Problem solving techniques
  • Project roles
  • Simple project management tools
  • Fundamental status reporting
  • Dealing with an unhappy client
  • Effective communication tools
  • Understanding IT employee work behavior
  • Prioritizing your work
  • Coping with stress
  • Active listening is the key to effective communication

CLICK HERE to download and review the entire list of 162 sessions.

From such a large and diverse list of topics, you could create several training tracks for your staff, , , one for managers and supervisors, one for project managers, one for Help Desk staff, another for the programming support team, , , even one for your desktop technicians.

You could also put the training programs onto your Intranet and make them available for anyone in your company via the Enterprise license.

Create a specific program targeted to a group of people or make it available as needed in your company. The point is that you are making an investment in your people’s education and growing their professional skills, , , and this investment is valuable for your employees and your company.

Why is it valuable? Simple, , , one single tip or tool discussed in any one of the 20MITM sessions could be worth thousands of dollars to your company in cost savings, improving productivity, or avoiding a key risk.

Purchase individual licenses for $499.00 each or an Enterprise license for $2,000.00 that gives anyone in your company access to 162 online training sessions via your Intranet. It also gives you a great vehicle to develop teamwork and improve productivity of your IT organization.

CLICK HERE to learn more.

GET STARTED in minutes by ordering the complete 20MITM series, 162 sessions in all.


20 Minute IT Manager sessions are also available in single sessions at $9.99 each. Details are available at www.20minuteitmanager.com.


Top motivator for IT people is training and education

One of the top motivators for IT staff is always training and education. IT people have a huge need for continuing education in order to develop their skills and become more valuable.

Training and education is always in the top three reasons why IT employees stay with their company, what motivates them, and what they look for in a company.

If you are not investing in your employees, they will become disillusioned and seek alternatives that feeds this need; it can even cause them to leave your company. Because training is such a big issue for IT employees, you should develop a specific training program for each employee every year and include it in their Performance Plans.

Doing this shows commitment and an interest in your employee, , , and they pick up on it very quickly.

Some managers don’t want to train or educate their employees for fear it might position the employee to go somewhere else. My belief is that if you are managing your organization well, this investment is a big reason people stay with you, , , not look for ways to leave.

There are many training options these days, especially with all the online classes. There is absolutely no reason to not have an active training focus in your company in today’s world, , , and if you do not, you are missing a real opportunity with your employees.

The benefits are huge. Not only will your staff be doing things better, this investment goes over great in your efforts to improve morale, build teamwork and to develop a more capable organization.

Start an employee training program in minutes
In my next post, I’ll give you a quick and easy way to create an employee training focus in your company in minutes.

Quick results from the IT Manager Institute

One of the things that gets me excited and encourages me to work even harder is when I receive a positive message from one of my IT Manager Institute students or someone who is using one of my IT manager tools.

The best messages are the ones that talk about the value they are getting from something they learned from me.

Kelly Reed attended my IT Manager Institute class a couple of weeks ago, our 44th program since delivering the first one in 2003. He is getting some quick results and that’s exactly what we like to hear.

Here is what Kelly told me yesterday in an email message:
“Just wanted to let you know that I received my IT Business Manager Certificate. Thanks again for everything, I feel like I have true purpose and direction now as I embrace my new role.

On a cost saving note, I am in negotiations with our company’s wireless provider. Looks like we are looking at a savings of $18,000 per year!  My CFO has been so impressed with what I am doing now (Cost Savings, IT Assessment and even how I am talking to her with less detail), she wants me to make sure I take your class again next year as a refresher!

This is what it’s all about, , , helping IT managers of the world achieve more success. Thank you Kelly for sharing with me.

We receive hundreds of positive comments like this one every year and it always “makes my day” when I hear about someone achieving more success in their company. GREAT STUFF !!

In a few situations, I’ve actually had managers tell me on the last day of the IT Manager Institute class that they have talked to people in their company about something they learned in class and have already started to find some cost savings or beginning to use a new management tool.

Do you think a CFO or CEO notices this when you start focusing on the business value opportunities that exist in managing an IT organization, , , or finding ways to save money in your company without being told to look for it?

You bet they do, , , and as in Kelly’s case his CFO noticed a change almost immediately upon his return to their company. What’s even better is that his CFO told him about it and realizes the value of the company’s investment in Kelly’s IT manager training.

Let me say this again, , , POWERFUL STUFF  for both Kelly and his company!!

Here are a few quotes from our most recent IT Manager Institute class:

“The value of this material exceeded my expectations. The course was exceptional and I would recommend it for any current or future IT manager.” 
Greg Horton, Nashville, TN

“Best seminar and learning class I have taken. Wish I had this class many years ago. I plan to implement several things with my team in the next couple of weeks” 
Ken Schernekau, Atlanta, GA

“Mike, I want to thank you for your class and your real world experiences that you brought to the table.  It very much gave greater meaning to the material being taught.” 
Steven Payne, Charlotte, NC

“Mike presented information thoroughly on a level of great understanding. This material will assist me as I grow and hone my skills as a leader.”
Kamela Breeding, Atlanta, GA

“Fantastic! Hit all areas of IT and business, really opened my eyes. The material and tools are priceless! This experience has by far gone way above and beyond what I could have ever expected.” 
Kelly Reed, Couer d’Alene, ID

The IT Manager Institute is available in classroom and in an online self study format, , , same material including the ability to earn your IT Business Manager Certification (ITBMC).

Details at:   https://itlever.com/it-manager-institute/
Class photos at:  https://itlever.com/institute-photos/

helping IT managers of the world achieve more success

What’s different about the ITBMC certification?

Certifications have become pretty much the norm in the IT world. Let’s see, there are dozens of technical certifications, project management certifications, and even a few management certifications. In fact, you can get a certification on almost anything in the IT world, , , it seems that IT people really like certifications.

I may be an exception, , , ,they don’t mean that much to me and never have. The same thing goes for titles, , , call me whatever you choose, just pay me well, let me do my job, and recognize me for the results I get.

But, , , titles and certifications are important for a lot of your people so you don’t want to underestimate the importance in someone else’s mind. In addition, some certifications are now required just to get in the door for an interview with some companies.

In reality, a certification doesn’t mean you can actually do the job well, , , it just means you have received the knowledge and been certified by passing an exam in many cases.

You probably know my company offers the IT Business Manager Certification, ITBMC. I never would have if not for the encouragement of the managers who attended our first few IT Manager Institute programs.

I’ll deliver the 44th and 45th IT Manager Institute program this month and I can tell you that the ITBMC certification has probably been one of the reasons for the longevity and success of the program, , , this is our 9th year in delivering the program with hundreds around the world to receive their ITBMC status.

I can hardly wait to deliver each new class, , , they are a lot of fun and seeing the enthusiasm for the program is very rewarding.

At the end of the day
Certifications do not guarantee you will be successful. What they indicate is that you have received knowledge about a particular subject and passed an exam that suggests you have a good comprehension of the material.

Execution is something else, , , you still have to do the work that is required in order to achieve success.

That’s why I structured the IT Manager Institute program to not only deliver the material of what to do and how to go about it in class, , , I also give you the tools to make it happen plus some takeaways to help you implement the IT Management Process we teach to achieve more success. Things like:

  • 30 Day Action Plan, , , specific steps to take when you get home
  • My entire library of e-Books that reinforce the class presentations
  • IT Manager ToolKit containing 102 tools and templates to use immediately or modify as needed
  • Ongoing support and access to me for assistance

The IT Manager Institute program is unique in many ways because of how we structure the class and also the additional tools and resources you take back to your company. Because the class follows a structured process and is delivered in a “how to” format, your retention is better, , , plus you have many resources to help you remember things from the class.

The bottom line
I think the key to any certification is how well people respond to the program. In our case, we have a 100% positive satisfaction from those who have attended. The reason is simple, , , the practical processes and tools are easily understood and put into practice, , ,  and they work.

It’s one thing to understand a concept. To succeed, you have to actually do the work and that’s why the IT Manager Institute program is structured so you can follow specific steps and use tools designed for specific uses that lead to more success in an IT manager role.

An ITBMC beside your name says something other than signifying a technical skill. ITBMC says you have learned the importance for your IT organization to deliver tangible and quantifiable business value in support of your company. It also indicates an understanding that IT initiatives are driven by business needs and issues and that every initiative you recommend will be cost justified and targeted to some specific business value.

Why is this important? It tells senior managers of your company you have a business perspective when managing your IT organization, , , not so focused on technology and missing the tremendous business leverage opportunities your IT organization offers your company.

Business managers become business partners, , , and without having these “partners” in your company, your success will be limited.

As I prepare for next week’s class, I get a high sense of enthusiasm in thinking about meeting a whole new group of IT managers and giving them the tools and resources that potentially changes their life and boosts their career.

They will leave with the knowledge and tools to make it happen, , , but they still have to do the work just as with anything in life.

Check out Institute class photos at https://itlever.com/institute-photos/

More photos at http://www.mde.net/institute/page4.html

In-house training the easy way

There are many areas where your company can benefit by having “canned” training classes. The tools that are available today are pretty awesome and so easy to use.

What type of training do you do in your company, , , or what would you consider doing if you had something you could provide to people in the company?

Examples might include most anything, such as:

  • New employee orientation from Human Resources
  • Benefits enrollment guides
  • Operations policies and procedures
  • Employee Handbook
  • Change management processes
  • Employee education and training program guide
  • Any number of employee development classes
  • Filling out expense reports
  • Virtually anything your people might need to know
  • Process to fulfill a PC order
  • How to deal with a difficult client
  • Management training

To deliver training by having someone deliver a class is time consuming and costly. But to provide training via an e-Learning class on your Intranet can help boost productivity and get the information to people who need it, , , regardless of where they are in the world.

Some training is pretty static in that it doesn’t change very often. For this type of training, I highly recommend using a PowerPoint plug-in called Articulate Presenter.  You can find it at www.articulate.com.

I used Articulate to develop our 20 Minute IT Manager training sessions as well as my IT Manager Institute Self Study. It’s a great tool with a very nice and flexible user interface. When installed, it becomes a plug-in option to your PowerPoint application and gives you lots more options than comes just with PowerPoint.

Your Sales and Marketing organizations along with Human Resources and Operations organizations have lots of opportunities to package training, sales collateral, and other information that’s useful for employees, clients, and prospects of your company. Articulate Presenter can be used for many types of projects and is worth taking a look at.

In addition, Articulate QuizMaker is excellent quiz and testing software and integrates into Articulate Presenter or you can run it standalone as you wish.

Are you a good boss or a great one?

I just read an excellent article in the Harvard Business Review titled, Are You a Good Boss – or a Great One?

The research behind this article suggests most organizations have a group of managers of different levels of competency:

  • a few great managers
  • some capable managers
  • most are mediocre
  • poor managers
  • some awful managers

It’s a classic bell curve as you might expect.

Authors Linda A. Hill and Kent Lineback suggest that the primary reason the vast majority of managers becomes “stuck” at levels below GREAT is because they stop working on themselves.

I have to agree with their conclusions because I have seen the same thing in my career in working with thousands of managers. But, I think there is more to the issue:

  • In an IT manager’s case, we often do not know how to develop our management skills
  • In addition, most companies do not have anyone in the company who knows how to develop an IT manager’s management skills
  • If you look for training for an IT manager, good luck in finding something practical that works in a true operational management situation

Let me comment on this final point. In every IT Manager Institute program I deliver, I continue to hear managers say they have been looking for help but could not find anything until they stumbled upon my information.

It’s a big reason I devoted my life to developing practical tools and training to help IT managers achieve more success ten years ago.

How can a manager become “Good” or “Great”?

First of all, your objective should be to become a GREAT manager. The authors of the HBR article suggest you need to ask yourself, “How good am I?” or “Do I need to be better?”

Take a look at the bell curve above. Where would you place yourself? Most would rate themselves a bit better than their actual performance would indicate.

A better question, “Where would your clients (senior managers and Department managers of your company) rate your performance as a manager?”

The good news is that there is a path to becoming a GREAT IT manager. It’s available to you if you choose to invest in yourself, , , and investing in yourself and your career is something we should all be doing for our entire career. For example, I try to invest in at least two training programs a year that will help me become a better small business owner.

CLICK HERE to read the rest of the HBR article, , , it is well worth your time.