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The CRM Learning weblog will be regularly updated with helpful training tips, articles, and other news. We encourage you to comment and share ideas. Come IN!
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What Makes A Good Team Player?

September 2nd, 2016

Organizations which provide team building training to their employees recognize the power of what a high-performing team can accomplish, and they invest time and resources into building stronger, more collaborative teams. Team building videos and exercises can challenge employees to evaluate how they behave when on a team, and provide tips to improve communication, cooperation and trust.

But, what skills or personal characteristics make a good team player? Interestingly, the best teams are made up of very diverse people with different personalities, but that all coalesce by exhibiting self-awareness, interpersonal honesty, and mutual respect.teambuilding


We all tend to have different “styles” when it comes to working in a team. Some of us tend to be task-oriented, wanting to focus the group on the steps needed to accomplish the goal, while some people are more comfortable communicating, working to mediate differences and talk through challenges and ideas. Others still are great at challenging – they naturally ask “why?” or “why not?” and question assumptions, forcing the team towards better innovation and critical thinking. No matter what our natural style, though, it’s important to be aware of how we interact in groups and be able to “dial back” our style when necessary, or even switch styles when the team needs it.

Interpersonal Honesty

It’s important to understand that a good team player is not a “yes-person,” someone whose main concern is achieving consensus and not rocking the boat. As any good team building training will teach, teams only succeed when individual members feel safe enough to speak up when they disagree or feel something isn’t right. High-performing teams rely on members who are creative rather than conformist, and who bring interpersonal honesty to the table in order to push the group to higher standards.

Mutual Respect

With all the benefits of having a team comprised of diverse individuals – fresh ideas, different expertise and unique experiences – comes the potential for conflict and “head butting.” Therefore, team leaders and members should become adept at managing – not avoiding – conflict, and channeling it in productive ways. This begins by team members exhibiting mutual respect towards each other, even when they disagree. Behaviors like not interrupting when you disagree, listening with an open mind, and avoiding talking behind someone’s back all demonstrate respect. Because a clash of viewpoints is essential for creative, high-quality solutions.

CRM Learning offers numerous team building videos that help teams build trust and respect, learn their natural communication styles, and speak up against the status quo.

Team Building: What Makes a Good Team Player? focuses on Glenn Parker’s four types of team players, illustrating how groups can build on the strengths of each personality to reach team goals.

Groupthink A powerful reenactment of events surrounding the launch of Space Shuttle Challenger helps viewers see how “groupthink” can lead to costly decisions.

See other team building videos here.

Build Employee Morale By Staying More Engaged

August 27th, 2016

The leadership skills exhibited by an organization’s executives, managers, and supervisors set the tone for employee productivity and morale. questionsWhen leaders are disengaged, untrustworthy, and fail to ask for input or give any kind of feedback to their team, employee morale and performance suffer. But, when leaders are competent, accountable, inclusive, and are genuinely engaged in the day-to-day functioning of the organization and their employees’ lives, team members take notice and feel excited to come to work every day.

Providing comprehensive, effective leadership training to your formal and informal leaders is the best way to improve their leadership skills. Leaders must understand how vital their own behavior is to the success of their employees – they should lead by example by being present, trustworthy and generous.

Be Present and Engaged

Ask any lower-level employee, and they can describe immediately what a disengaged leader looks like: someone who spends meetings (and even one-on-ones) looking at their phone or tablet, and who is disinterested in status updates, employee ideas or participating in discussions or company functions. Instead, learn to be a leader who pays attention, is fully present in meetings and who asks thoughtful questions to draw out the input of your colleagues. Set the standard for your team’s work by showing employees that you are highly competent and are interested in what they have to say.

Be Trustworthy

Another leadership skill that is an employee morale-booster is trustworthiness. Leaders can build trust by being open and forthcoming with information, even bad news. They can also demonstrate trustworthiness by doing what they say they’re going to do – being someone who can be counted on and who keeps their word.

Be Generous

Lastly, leaders should be generous – with their time, their praise, and their credit. Leaders are busy people, but you should learn to recognize when a person or a situation warrants a bit more time – avoid acting rushed, and be giving of your time. Also, good leaders go out of their way to praise employees for their efforts and results; this builds morale because everyone likes to feel valued and recognized. Also, a leader can show their generosity by sharing credit with others when he or she is successful. A sure way to lose credibility with your team is by taking all the credit for a success, so never pass up an opportunity to “share the glory” with your team members.  

You don’t have to be a born leader – exemplary leadership skills can be learned. CRM Learning has been providing award-winning, effective leadership training videos for over 40 years. Leadership: What’s Trust Got To Do With It? tells the story of a team leader who, when met with budget cutbacks and his own lack of accountability to his team, regains their active participation by learning five essential trust-building behaviors.

How The Power Of Words Can Change The Dynamic of Your Workplace

August 20th, 2016

Words are powerful – they can be weapons of conflict and confusion, or tools for encouragement, clarity and harmony – and effective communication_skillscommunication skills training can help any team wield words in a way that benefits both team members and the whole organization. If your team struggles from occasional negativity, disagreements, miscommunication, or problems with morale, plan some communication skills training soon to learn how changing your words can change the dynamic of your work.

CRM Learning offers numerous communication skills videos that help teams communicate more clearly and respectfully, whether in front of a group, one-on-one, in person, or electronically. Using techniques like choosing clear language, being a receptive, empathic listener, and showing people you value their input all reinforce the power that word choices have on your work environment.

Choose Clear Language

Many times communication breaks down because we fail to say exactly what we mean. The failure to be precise and thorough can result in a misunderstanding, at worst, or at best, can eat up time because the listener has to ask follow-up questions to decipher our meaning. While there ARE occasions when it’s socially polite to be indirect, we need to know how to speak directly, clearly and openly in most workplace situations. This requires knowing the objective of the conversation, and using precise language to obtain it.

Be an Empathic Listener

It may seem counterintuitive, but sometimes the word choices that will help you most are either choosing NOT to speak, or using words to enhance your listening. Empathic listening requires you to listen to others with the intent to understand them, not to reply. When you are preparing your response as you “listen” to others instead of really trying to understand them, your focus is on YOUR needs, not the speaker’s. Conversely, when you listen for real understanding, you set aside your opinions while you’re listening, so your mind is clear enough to hear what is really being said. This results in greater clarity, better solutions to complex problems, and faster problem solving.

Show People You Value Their Input

Another way communication skills training can help you use words to change the dynamic of your workplace is by teaching employees to communicate respectfully and inclusively (even during disagreements). Using phrases like, “I’d like to hear what you think about this,” or “Who here has a different opinion?” helps you show your co-workers that their ideas and input are valued. When in an argument, go out of your way to remain respectful: tone things down, listen, and look for a solution.

Communication skills videos from CRM Learning can help you and your organization employ the power of words to change your workplace dynamic. Verbal Communication breaks successful verbal communication into 5 critical components. The Power of Words is a short meeting opener video that gets right to the heart of communication that works, inspiring people to choose their words carefully. And Empathic Listening, featuring Stephen Covey, gives practical tips you can incorporate immediately into daily conversations to ensure that you are listening with the intent to understand.

Building Trust With Patients: Trust Point Exercise

August 13th, 2016

Activity: Trust Point Exercise
Time: 50-60 minutes

Set the stage (5 minutes)
Remind participants that a big part of patient satisfaction stems from the degree to which a patient trusts his or her healthcare provider. It is crucial that everyone in the healthcare field understand that each encounter with a patient represents a “trust point” in which you either build the patient’s trust in you, or lose their trust.

  • Trust points involve contact with our patients by phone, in person, by email, by any means.
  • Trust points are an opportunity for the patient to learn something about us as an organization, and about us as individuals.
  • The best trust points leave a positive impression on the patient.

Explain to participants that the purpose of this activity is to help them:
– Understand the relationship between patient care, clinical interaction, and organization/practice success.
– Review typical patient interactions and identify trust points.
– Examine trust points and develop ways to improve the patient experience.

Introduce the Activity (5 minutes)
Tell participants that over the next 40-50 minutes, they are going to take a close look at the trust points in their practice or department, and how they interact with and relate to patients through these transactions. Explain that this will be a small group activity, with each group discussing one of the four phases of the patient care experience. When all groups are done, they will report back to the full group on the trust points they’ve have identified.

Say: Let’s examine our practice/department by breaking it down into four main phases of the patient care experience (write these on the flipchart):

  1. Check-In – from the time a patient makes an appointment or walks in the door.
  2. Procedure or Visit – the actual clinical interaction we have with a patient and the patient’s reason for coming to us.
  3. Recovery and Follow-up – this can be as complicated as post-surgery or as simple as providing test results or calling in a prescription.
  4. Behind-the-Scenes – insurance processing, setting appointments, transferring files, matching forms, calculating costs, arranging for home medical equipment, etc.

Each of these phases provides a series of trust points with our patients – so each one has plenty of opportunities for us to fail or succeed.

Hand out the Trust Point worksheet. Click here for worksheet PDF.

Ask the participants to break into four groups. (They can use any method they want to create four groups, but each group should include staff from different practice areas to promote idea sharing.)

Assign each group one of the four practice phases: Check-In, Procedure or Visit, Recovery and Follow-Up, or Behind-the-Scenes.

Have the groups use the Trust Point Worksheet to guide the discussion of their assigned practice phase.

Have groups complete the activity. (20-30 minutes)
Give each group a flipchart page. Have them create their flipchart page to look like the Trust Points Worksheet.


  1. Identify a “reporter” for your group. The reporter will fill in the flipchart and present your group’s findings to the full group in the next step of the workshop.
  2. Identify as many trust points as you can in for your assigned treatment phase. Write these in Column 1.
  3. For each trust point, write what the patient needs in Column 2.
  4. In Column 3, write what we need for each trust point on the practice side of the equation – including any technical or system requirements.
  5. In Column 4, write down what we need or expect from each other at each of the trust points.
  6. Later, we’ll use Column 5 to brainstorm how to make things better for the patient at each of the trust points you identify. We’ll do that as a full group.

Walk around the room to answer any questions.

Debrief the Activity (20 minutes)

  1. Have the reporter for each group post their flipchart and describe their small group’s findings for their assigned phase.
  2. Begin the brainstorming process. For each Trust Point, ask the full group to come up with ways to make things better. The reporter should write these in Column 5 of their flipchart.
  3. Depending on the time you have available, allow more or less discussion of each group’s ideas.
  4. Tell the participants that you will type up the completed flipcharts and make them available for everyone’s use after the workshop.

Where do we go next? How can we start to implement these suggestions?


This training activity excerpted from the Leader’s Guide for the best-selling It’s a Dog’s World training video from CRM Learning. Preview the video and see why it is our all-time best-selling patient satisfaction training video. Also, check out our It’s a Dog’s World e-learning module. This e-learning is the perfect way to reinforce individual employees’ knowledge and skill after the group has viewed and discussed the video.

Communicating Respectfully: Understanding The Part You Play To Avoid Misunderstandings

August 6th, 2016

One of the key ways to demonstrate respect in the workplace is through your communication with others. Being a respectful communicator means more than just not offending anyone; you also show respect by communicating clearly and working to prevent misunderstandings by doing things like tailoring your communication style and confirming your understanding.delegates

Techniques for Becoming a Respectful Communicator

Tailor Your Communication

When you’re speaking or writing to someone, do you take the time to really think about who that other person is, and consider how they would like to be approached? Do you alter your message, your words, your tone of voice, your volume, or your body language to accommodate their preferences? Tailoring your communication to suit your audience is one way to show respect in the workplace, and ensure that there’s not a perceived lack of respect (which can cause miscommunications to occur). In diverse workplaces, we all occasionally need advice or guidance when it comes to understanding other cultures and generations.Take the time to learn about your audience, consider how they would like to be addressed, and show respect by tailoring your message for them.

Confirm You Understand the Other Person

Respectful communicators make an effort to confirm their understanding of what’s been said. Most people are familiar with the term “active listening” – the act of rephrasing what the person we are talking to has said, to verify what we think we have heard. In a work environment with a healthy mix of generations, genders, languages, and cultures, active listening becomes even more important. Listening and confirming your understanding really comes into play when accepting a new assignment, when serving customers, or when dealing with a co-worker for whom English is a second language.

Know the Difference Between Appropriate and Inappropriate

We all have boundaries when it comes to the things we do and don’t like to talk about with our co-workers. But sometimes we forget that our boundaries are not always the same as others’. Pay attention to how others are responding to what you say or do, and alter your course if it’s making others uncomfortable. The simplest approach is to just avoid making comments that could demean, hurt or belittle others. You should also avoid inappropriate language, and never share information that wasn’t meant to be made public. To be a respectful communicator, think about what you say and how appropriate it is for the workplace and the people you work with. Sometimes, our thoughts, jokes and opinions are better left unsaid.

Communication is how we get things done at work. If you can improve your respectful communication techniques to accommodate the diversity of people’s backgrounds, experiences and opinions, you will reap significant benefits.

CRM Learning’s The Respectful Communicator: The Part You Play teaches employees to demonstrate respect in the workplace by confirming their understanding, caring about the way they come across, communicating with decency, and valuing the input of others. CRM Learning also offers many other training videos on respect in the workplace.

5 Customer Service Skills To Improve Your Team’s Performance

July 26th, 2016

Stellar customer service skills are invaluable for any customer-facing team to possess. Your team’s strength depends on their ability to connect with, serve and accommodate your Customer Service imagecustomer’s needs. Providing informative, entertaining and motivating customer service training will prepare your employees to handle any customer service situation successfully.   10 Things Accountable infographic

Here are 5 customer service skills that will improve your team’s performance and set you apart from your competitors:

Always approach a customer’s questions and concerns with a relatable demeanor. As a customer service representative, it is your job to understand and empathize with their concerns. But as a fellow consumer, remind them that you know what it’s like to be “the customer,” and you CARE about their questions, concerns and comments. Let them know that you will do everything in your power to assist them.

Active Listening
When dealing with any customer – whether in person, over the phone, or even by email or live chat – communication is occurring and the customer expects to be listened to and HEARD. Active listening skills are vital to these exchanges. First, make sure you are paying attention to the customer and are avoiding distractions (like other customers, your co-workers, or checking your phone). Then, to listen actively, feed back what you think you’ve heard the customer say to ensure your understanding is correct: rephrase their question or statement and listen to whether they confirm what you’ve said, or need to further explain themselves. This step will go a long way towards avoiding misunderstandings and making sure you’re serving the customer’s need on the first try. 

Anticipate the Customer’s Needs
It is always a customer service “win” when you can proactively anticipate your customer’s needs and wants and provide for them before they even have to ask. If possible, be a few steps ahead of your customer by doing small, thoughtful things like: having a pen out and ready, refilling their glass before they have to ask, or knowing what question a customer usually asks in a situation, and providing that information ahead of time. Discuss ways you can anticipate your company’s customers’ needs at your next customer service training event.  This proactive attitude will impress your customer and make them feel cared for.

Game Face
At times when serving customers, you will be faced with unpleasant situations that may not be easy to deal with. When handling an unruly customer who is using personal attacks, it is important to remember you are here to serve them, and to keep a professional “game face” on. As a representative of the company, it is your responsibility to uphold the integrity of your organization, regardless of the situation. Becoming emotional or giving “attitude” back to the customer are not acceptable responses to upset customers.

When a customer has a concern or issue, it is crucial you handle the concern in a timely manner. No customer enjoys waiting when they are upset or frustrated with your company. Be vigilant about the customer’s time and how much of it they have spent handling this issue. Do your best to act quickly: get them the answer they need, find the item they’re searching for, bring them their bill, or research the problem. If you must make them wait, communicate regularly to let them know you’re still working on the problem and will get back to them as soon as possible. Timely, efficient customer service could turn a negative experience into a positive one.

CRM Learning has several customer service training videos that depict many of these situations and customer service skill points. If your company has a customer service team, it is essential to administer high-quality training. Browse all of the customer service training videos on our website to improve your team’s performance and confidence when dealing with customers.

Infographic: 10 Things You’ll NEVER Hear from a Truly Accountable Person

July 24th, 2016

Infographic: 10 Things You'll Never Hear From a Truly Accountable PersonAt CRM Learning we have found that some of the most impactful training an organization can do is in the area of accountability. Accountability training conveys the importance of building a culture focused on taking responsibility and keeping commitments, seeking clarity, answering for results, and learning from mistakes.

Here’s an INFOGRAPHIC that drives home the point that with proper accountability training comes accountable mindsets, and never having to hear statements like these at work ever again!

Visit our Accountability training topic page for the best accountability training videos available online.


Understanding Different Types of Harassment in the Workplace

July 19th, 2016

harassment/bullying imagePreventing and addressing harassment in the workplace is extremely important for any organization. Providing every employee with harassment training is a critical step to provide an effective, safe work environment. Training will help employees recognize and understand the different types of harassment in the workplace, and will also help them feel safe talking about any harassment they experience. Proper harassment training will better prepare your staff should a situation arise.

What are the different types of harassment in the workplace?

Harassment comes in many shapes and forms. Good harassment training will teach employees to recognize harassment based on race, ethnicity, age, gender, or religion, and also sexual harassment and bullying.

Here are just a few examples of how “harassment” can take different forms in the workplace.

Race: Employee makes racial slurs about Asian people within earshot of many people on her team.

Age:   Manager resists hiring young people because she feels they have too much of an entitlement attitude.

Gender:  Boss always assigns event planning to women because he feels women are generally better at “that kind of thing.”

Religion:  Employee hassles a co-worker whose faith prevents her from celebrating birthdays or holidays.

For more information on the differences between harassment and bullying, see this Handout on our blog.

Understanding what these different kinds of harassment look and sound like helps employees to be aware of how to recognize the signs, and what to do should they witness or become a victim of harassment.

How can you administer harassment training to your employees?

Not only do your employees need to be trained in harassment in the workplace, but your managers and supervisory staff do, as well. At CRM Learning, we offer a variety of harassment training videos.

Our programs offer numerous topics designed to fit your training needs, including videos on general harassment, sexual harassment, harassment training for managers, and building respect in the workplace. It is important to know the boundaries of acceptable behavior, and the legality of actions or words said in the workplace. Our training videos go over these subjects in great detail. The ultimate goal is to promote a harassment-free, respectful environment for your staff.

Harassment training is an important key to your employees’ knowledge and success at work. Visit our website to preview all of our harassment training videos that will better educate your employees.

How To Streamline Your Meetings and Make Them More Productive

July 12th, 2016

image of a business meetingMeetings are designed to occur in an allotted amount of time to address topics and business in an orderly fashion. In the workplace, you want to ensure your meetings are productive and effective. All too often, however, meetings are sidetracked with time-wasting discussions, unproductive behaviors, and weak meeting leadership. Motivating meeting openers and focused agendas can set the tone for a meeting and guide the session where it needs to go.

Have an Agenda

Proper organization of the meeting is just as important as the content and topics covered. You want to ensure an adequate amount of time is allotted for each topic in order to keep the meeting moving. Create an agenda for your team to refer to throughout the duration of your meeting. This prevents meetings being taken off course by distractions, talkative employees, and side discussions.  

Stay Focused

Focus is key. You don’t want to waste anybody’s time attending your meeting (this begins by only inviting people to the meeting who are absolutely necessary). It’s important to stay within the context of the agenda you’ve set. When you set your goals for the meeting, keep in mind that every meeting should have a purpose. Decide ahead of time what answers or decisions you need to walk away from the meeting with. Then, all discussion should be somehow related to that initial purpose and your set of goals.

Define Takeaways

Takeaways symbolize a successful meeting. If your goals are clearly defined in the agenda and discussed effectively during your meeting, the steps following the meeting should be very clear. The attendees of your meeting should have clear takeaways (who owns what task, and when it’s due). At the conclusion of your meeting, there should be an answer to every question/concern that was discussed. If there wasn’t, there should be follow-up steps to find answers to those questions. Accountability is incredibly important; therefore the meeting leader should take the initiative to clearly define the next steps that should be completed prior to the follow-up meeting. This ensures that by the next meeting, the to-dos of every member were clearly defined and completed.

At CRM Learning, we offer the best team building training videos. Explore our meeting management training videos, like Meeting Robbers, Meetings, Bloody Meetings, and The Invisible Meeting to ensure your meetings will be productive and effective in the future.


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