OPTIONS: THE WAY OF BUSINESS
WRITTEN BY: ADAM CHAN
Any transaction in FOCUS Adventure starts with the incoming inquires from prospective clients. Inquires can stream in by different channels like, phone calls, emails through referrals and captured by online form. Regardless the incoming channels, all the information will be recorded in a standard way, i.e. the OPTIONS form. The form aims to elicit clients’ learning needs. Briefly, the OPTIONS form is,
Objectives refer to things like learning outcomes, purposes, etc.
People refer to group size, demographic of participants, special physical needs, etc.
Time refers to amount time to be invested, date and time of the proposed program, etc.
Investment refers to the budgeted funds for the impending program
Other considerations refers to less common items like special dietary needs, physical conditions of the learner, critical coordination with other agencies, etc.
New Ideas offer an opportunity for the clients to become creative. Some experienced clients could transfer some brilliant ideas from previous programs that might work well for the impending program.
Site refers to preferred venue for clients.
Clients who contact us through phone would have all these information filled up by a project staff but those who visit the website can complete the online OPTIONS form. Suffice to say that with the information, drafting the first-cut proposal would be possible. Once the inquiries are recorded, they will be distributed to the respective project staff as main contact points. Also referring to the OPTIONS form, the suitable facilitator can be selected to represent FOCUS Adventure for subsequent engagement activities.
The appointed project staff would engage the clients by initiating a meeting. Meetings are not restricted by in-person. It can be carried out via tele-conferencing or video conferencing. At the first contact (meetings or tele-conference), the facilitator would walk through the OPTIONS form to clarify with the client for any discrepancies. The walk through process will also help to surface new needs which were not conceived of at the point when the OPTIONS form was being filled up.
The outcomes of those meetings should provide adequate information for the program developer (facilitators/trainers) to develop the program. Sealing the deal within one meeting is possible provided the requirements are straightforward. When dealing complex learning issues, more than one meeting may be needed. Eventually, the project staff will send the completed proposal to seek for clients’ inputs and approval. If necessary, subsequent meetings can be initiated. Once the clients have approved the proposed program, the required resources would be secured.
From the helicopter view, the OPTIONS form represents the starting point of the Learning Needs Analysis (LNA) of the business of the process. In order for the programs to be considered suitable, it is essential for LNA to be carried out at the onset of the inquiry. The information captured by the form when being used properly in program design can produce desirable outcomes for the clients.
From the training perspective, it is useful for new Projects partners to step onto the steep learning curve. The form provides an adequate coverage for any new Projects partners to start serving the clients without having to learn through the arduous process of trial and errors. Using the form as a guide, reasonably accurate information can be obtained. As mentioned, just from the OPTIONS form, we do not expect 100% coverage. However, it can certainly help to generate an initial draft to maintain the interest of the inquiry. One of the key reasons is respond time to the clients. Even if the initial proposal sent is not totally customized, it does create an impression that FOCUS Adventure is paying keen interest in the inquiry. That is important from customer service point of view.
More from the training aspect; Senior Projects partners can evaluate the competence of the new Project partners from the entries made onto the OPTIONS form. This can serve as a consistent gauge when measuring progress and competence of the new Projects partners.
Click this link to see the online OPTIONS form: