1879 – Fractional Learning with Jake Stahl

In this episode of the Thoughtful Entrepreneur, your host Josh Elledge speaks with the CEO of Jake Stahl Consulting, Jake Stahl.

Stahl Wide

Jake Stahl's role as a fractional chief learning officer provides a strategic advantage for companies that value employee development but lack the resources for a full-time CLO. His method offers access to high-level learning strategies without needing a full-time executive, providing essential flexibility for scaling and adapting in a rapidly changing business landscape.

He emphasizes the importance of thorough training and development to ensure a substantial return on workforce investment. Jake points out that inadequate training can result in higher turnover rates, which are costly and disruptive. By prioritizing quality training programs, companies can increase employee engagement, boost performance, and drive business success.

Jake highlights the importance of interactive learning experiences in response to the expectations of today's workforce. Employees seek active involvement in their learning beyond passive lectures. Using technology and innovative teaching techniques, he crafts immersive learning environments that engage employees and promote more profound understanding.

Key Points from the Episode:

  • Role of a fractional chief learning officer
  • Importance of effective onboarding and training for new employees
  • Investment in proper training and development for high return on investment and reduced turnover
  • Expertise in instructional design and psychology of learning
  • Understanding the learner's perspective and customizing training programs
  • Creating interactive and engaging learning experiences for employees
  • Approach to thought leadership in the learning and development industry
  • Practical advice for businesses to improve training and development processes

About Jake Stahl:

Jake Stahl stands at the forefront of conversational dynamics, earning widespread acclaim as a fractional Chief Learning Officer. His innovative ‘Adaptive Conversational Blueprint' is transforming the landscape of sales, equipping sales professionals with the skills to become relational architects who build deep connections with their prospects. This groundbreaking approach is further enhanced by his development of the 2/10 Rule, which upends conventional views on the flow of conversation by prioritizing rhythm and cadence.

With an illustrious career spanning over three decades, Jake has made significant contributions to the field of training and development, sharing his profound knowledge and expertise across six countries and positively impacting the lives of more than 10,000 individuals. Beyond his professional achievements, Jake is a master mason and a devoted father to four children, seamlessly integrating his vast practical experience with his deep insight into human connections. His work not only strives for the art of perfect conversation but also significantly empowers businesses and professionals through mastery in communication.

About Jake Stahl Consulting:

Jake Stahl Consulting emerges as a revolutionary solution amidst the growing challenges companies face in hiring executives while managing costs effectively. The firm offers a game-changing alternative to traditional training departments that can incur expenses up to 150% of yearly salaries when considering benefits, unemployment insurance, onboarding, and more. By questioning the status quo, Jake Stahl Consulting proposes a transformative approach that enables sales teams to navigate and master the art of conversation without reliance on restrictive scripts, which often obscure rather than solve underlying issues.

This consultancy doesn't just offer a new technique; it embarks on an in-depth exploration of the human psyche, applying advanced psychological methods and social psychology research to tailor solutions that deeply resonate with each client's unique requirements. With nearly a century of combined expertise, the staff at Jake Stahl Consulting act as strategic partners, empowering businesses to enhance their sales outcomes significantly. Clients gain access to vast real-life experience and expert advice without the usual burdens of resume vetting or recruiter fees, paving the way for sales strategies that are personal, effective, and deeply rooted in understanding human behavior and decision-making processes.

Tweetable Moments:

03:37 – “If you let that person go, you're spending that money again and still dealing with the loss of revenue you already have budgeted.”

Links Mentioned in this Episode:

Want to learn more? Check out Jake Stahl Consulting at

Check out Jake Stahl Consulting on LinkedIn at

Check out Jake Stahl on LinkedIn at

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Josh (00:00:04) - Hey there, thoughtful listener. Would you like consistent and predictable sales activity with no spam and no ads? I'll teach you step by step how to do this, particularly if you're an agency owner, consultant, coach, or B2B service provider. What I teach has worked for me for more than 15 years and has helped me create more than $10 million in revenue. Just head to up my influence. Com and watch my free class on how to create endless high ticket sales appointments. You can even chat with me live and I'll see and reply to your messages. Also, don't forget the thoughtful entrepreneur is always looking for guests. Go to up my influence. Com and click on podcast. We'd love to have you. With us right now, it's Jake Stahl. Jake, you are a fractional chief learning officer. I believe that is the first. I don't think I've had a lot of fractional dots. fractional chief learning officer. I think you're the first one I've ever had. You are also the founder of Jake Stahl Consulting.

Josh (00:01:15) - You are found on the web at Jake Stahl Jake, thanks so much for joining us.

Jake (00:01:20) - Josh, thanks for having me. It's an honor to be here.

Josh (00:01:23) - Well, so first question is what does a fractional chief learning officer do.

Jake (00:01:28) - Right. So Josh basically a fractional chief learning officer is a fractional head of training and development. So I will do onboarding for the sales team, help people get used to the culture, help people understand their job plus sales training them in the process. The number one reason people leave within the first six months is that their onboarding went very poorly. And I can't tell you how many companies I talked to that they understand they don't have it mastered, but they're hesitant to hire somebody to do it because they're so expensive. And that's why the fractional part of it comes into play. So less expensive option, but you're getting world class talent.

Josh (00:02:07) - Yeah. Well, so for someone that let's say that they have a full time learning officer, what does that typically look like.

Josh (00:02:14) - You know, what's their day to day operations. And if you don't mind talking maybe about maybe we could kind of lay out some stages of how to work with a learning professional. maybe you could talk about that.

Jake (00:02:27) - Yeah, sure. So when I first start with a company, we do an hour consult. So we kind of get a lay of the land as to where they are. And I've worked with companies that have nothing, and I've worked with companies that have training departments that just want to refine the way they bring people on board. So once we do the the consult, then we will talk about their current processes in place. What are they doing? How are they doing it? What's the current employee response from the onboarding. And we kind of take it from there. But the nice thing, Josh, is any program we develop is going to be proprietary. So it will be developed by them. With my consult, it will be kept by them and they can use it in perpetuity.

Jake (00:03:07) - And I always guarantee it will be scalable. So if your company grows the program will be easily global as well. But I work with a lot of training and development departments that just need that tweak. And and that's okay. That's what we're here for.

Josh (00:03:22) - what is Jake, in your experience? The general ROI from investing in better learning and better resources, you know, better onboarding? how can that affect our operations and impact?

Jake (00:03:37) - Well, let's take a look at it this way. Let's say you're bringing on a sales rep who has a quota of, let's say, 500,000 for the year. You've already budgeted on that 500,000. So that's a huge investment you're making. When you bring somebody on board. To bring somebody on board is usually around 20,000 just to get them to walk through the door. That's all your headhunting recruiting efforts. It's everything like that. So by the time you add in the hardware, the software time and the licensing, adding in their benefits package, their salary, you're talking 180,000 just to get somebody to walk through the door.

Jake (00:04:13) - So let's say that with their $500,000 quotient, they're not trained well. And they only bring in 250. You add that 250 to the 150 to bring them in, or 180 to bring them in. You're talking an over $400,000 investment. So take that and then you multiply in let's say a training program costs you 20,000. You're getting a huge return on your investment. Because, Josh, if you let that person go, you're responding that money and you're still dealing with the loss of revenue you already have budgeted. So the training is a fraction of the cost it would take to have a poor person in the job or somebody who's not well adjusted. And then even worse hit that person winds up leaving.

Josh (00:05:00) - and so I'm sure, you know, especially if we think about an early stage business and they're starting to put these things together. maybe they're documenting all their processes. I mean, they're, they're trying their best to create the resources available for new team members that may be coming on board. Where might how they document these processes not be as effective as bringing in a true learning professional? what do you know that we don't know.

Jake (00:05:30) - Well is how to put it together. If I had to put out a bumper sticker, I'd say I solve random acts of training. We all do the best we can, and we put together these acts of training. But what we don't do is set up employees for success. So I can teach you how to sell, and I can teach you how to, you know, work with a manager or a mentor. But then to really put together, you put it into a program that's reproducible and scalable. You have one central place for all of your resources and your collateral that you're going to use. You have a steady mentor program built up. So the benefit to this, Josh is having a turnkey operation once it's all built out, and once it's organized and put together into a a strong semblance or a strong order to reproduce, it takes minutes. It's just that upfront investment that takes a little bit more time. So what do I know that you don't? I would argue probably nothing. I just know how to organize it better, make it flow better, and to use instructional design so it's retained and you get a level of proficiency.

Josh (00:06:34) - Yeah. Would you, you know, kind of share some of the tenets of good instructional design. You know, especially in light of bad, which maybe in your, you know, in your professional life. Yeah, I see this all the time. Let me go through a couple of a couple of very high level. Please stop doing this like you're just wasting time wasting everyone's effort. And no wonder you have bad results where any, any kind of major red flags that you'll see out there.

Jake (00:06:58) - Yeah, there's a couple. One of them is people use PowerPoint as a book. So what they'll do is they'll set up a training program and they'll put a PowerPoint with hundreds of words on them that just they may be organized well, but the human brain isn't designed to process anything more than bits and chunks of information at a time. So the first is we work on the the PowerPoint slides, and we make sure that they're where they need to be. The second is we introduce other points of learning.

Jake (00:07:26) - The worst thing a company can do is take all of their PowerPoint put into a learning management system, assign it to somebody, and when they're done, say you've been trained, oh, you need to manage how it's going. You need to manage the expectations. And in the end you need to measure for proficiency, not just knowledge. There's a lot of times I'll see somebody pass a, multiple choice quiz, but then when they get in the situation they were just trained for, they don't know how to do it because there's been no practice or proficiency. And then I think the third big piece, Josh, is you get a lot of companies that will put together a training and they'll say, okay, do it quick. We've got two weeks. We want to get them up and running and out there. So it's the old, you know, £10 into a £5 bag scenario. So what I do then is I show them how to create information and how to create knowledge that's easily accessible, easily returnable.

Jake (00:08:24) - And then I show them how to measure proficiency. So a lot of is is all good intention. It's just when you try to teach that way it doesn't always translate well to an end product.

Josh (00:08:37) - Well, what types of companies do you work with?

Jake (00:08:40) - So I work in any industry. I've worked through ten different industries. My sweet spot is typically the smaller companies because they're the ones that just don't have the money to put into a training department, you know, a good head of training and development. You're you're going to spend two 2240 a year on salary. There's no need to do that for the amount of work I need to do with the experience I have. I like to work with a smaller companies to give them an affordable option and to give them the edge they need against the larger companies by training everybody effectively.

Josh (00:09:14) - Now. And do you typically like when you're. Well, I guess it can vary wildly by based on, you know, what the needs of the client is. But let me ask you just a little bit more about because you had mentioned something about managing, the journey, for, let's say, a new hire.

Josh (00:09:35) - What would be some of those maybe interactive ways where we can kind of hit the pause button and kind of check in on each other, make sure that this is driving. This is making sense. Like how do we what would be some examples of ways that we could structure that.

Jake (00:09:49) - Some of the ways to structure it. And first let me say what isn't a way to do it? As companies we typically do smile sheets. And those are the sheets that rate things on a 1 to 5 stars. So we say, you know, give me a smile.

Josh (00:10:03) - I'm, I'm I'm nervously shifting my eyes back and forth because that's exactly what we do.

Jake (00:10:10) - But that that only measures a certain point in time. And frankly, Josh, it measures a mood. So I'm going to rate you based on the mood I'm in. And if I'm in the honeymoon period of just working with you, my rating may be much different than after I've had a chance to evaluate you after a while. So the smile sheet is great, but it should only be one part of the journey.

Jake (00:10:28) - Another part can be in a company 360 degree feedback. So how did the other instructors feel that instructor did, and how did the classmates feel about the other classmates? Because training is two people, right? It's the trainer and the willingness of the student to be trained. So a lot of times when you involve other students to say, hey, Josh did great in class, and and Jake really clammed up, he didn't do much of anything. It gives the trainer a different perspective. Another thing I do is I encourage journaling during the training journey. So when somebody gets into training, jot notes, journal how you felt, even if it's great, even if it's lousy, but journal it out. There's ways to do anonymous feedback and polling during classes, but the process of teaching a class, then just getting a 1 to 5 star review at the end, although it it can give you a decent view, it's not going to give the whole view.

Josh (00:11:26) - Yeah. And so your website, Jake, is Jake Stahl consulting.

Josh (00:11:31) - Com and by the way, I would also encourage folks to come find you on LinkedIn because you share a lot of valuable content there. would you mind maybe just sharing some of your like, what is it that you are contributing to the world in terms of thought leadership today? Like what are some of the things maybe you're excited about or passionate about that maybe deserve to be talked more about in kind of the learning development world?

Jake (00:11:58) - I'm really glad you asked that, Josh. I think learning development has become, unfortunately, a process of let's put something on a video or in print, and then we put it on a learning management system and we sell it to people as subscribers. And what's lost, Josh, is the true basis of training development, which is the psychology of the learner. What are their perceptions? What's their conditioning? How do they make decisions? How do they learn? I have a degree in psychology with multiple certifications in neuro linguistic programming, and what that allows me to do is really help companies understand what their learners are going through and how to best create content that's going to work with them.

Jake (00:12:39) - Training has become a process, and it shouldn't be. It should be a customized development based on a company, their demographic, their size, their people. And and it's lost that somewhere along the line. So what I'm doing right now, Josh, is I'm creating sales programs that are unlike any of the others. We look at how to talk to the customer and build a relationship, not in the traditional aspect of talking back and forth, but in the aspect of understanding what they're going through right now and what their decision making process is. Think about in the way of an email. I tell my clients, you never write your own email ever. You may send it, but you didn't write it. It's written in the mind of the person receiving it. They're going to view it how they want in the lens that they're in, and the mood that they're in in the day that they're in, in the moment that they're in. So they write it. So if that's the case, wouldn't it benefit us to know more about them before we chose our communication method? And that's what I'm pushing for now in Josh, I'm writing a book that comes out in the late summer, and that is based on valuing the cadence of a conversation more than the content.

Jake (00:13:53) - So how to establish a trust within the first couple of minutes? And we should be doing that with our trainees as well.

Josh (00:14:00) - What do you mean by cadence?

Jake (00:14:01) - So if you and I get on a call, Josh and I just start talking about me exclusively. Your attention span may be great in the beginning, but it's going to trail off as nice of a guy as you are. It's going to trail off. Yeah. However, if I open the conversation by talking about you for 2 or 3 minutes, it's going to make a significant difference. Because what's our favorite thing to talk about ourselves? Exactly right. So and what that does psychologically, Josh, is it changes your view of me because you don't say I had a great conversation. You say, I had a great conversation with Jake. So you attribute those good feelings to me. So part of the cadence, Josh is establishing a back and forth where you're actively listening, actively talking, and then you introduce the content once people are at their peak receptiveness.

Jake (00:14:57) - Because here's what happens, Josh. You'll get training programs all the time that say listen better and communicate better, but they never tell you exactly how. My theory called the 210 rule, tells you exactly how to do that.

Josh (00:15:12) - I like that, I like that, I mean, certainly some Dale Carnegie going on in there, but, no, that's, you're absolutely right. Well, Jake, so your website, again, is Jake Stahl when somebody goes there, what would you recommend? I know you've got a resources tab. you've got some other content here.

Jake (00:15:29) - I would suggest you go to my blog. You're going to get a good idea about my philosophies on the blog because, Josh, I'm not for everybody. Some people just want a sales process and a sales script, and that's not what you'll get from me. However, if you look at even, I have a list of media appearances of all the podcasts I've been on, webinars I've given. So if you look at that, you'll get a better feel for who I am and what I have to offer.

Jake (00:15:55) - That being said, there's multiple places on my site where you can book a one hour free consult. It's not a sales consult. It's to see if we can work together. See if I can meet your needs. See if I meet your needs. But it's a one hour free consult. And I would suggest, if anybody has any doubts or even inquisitive book, that consult. And I'd be glad to talk to anybody. So look at me on my background blogs, podcasts, media appearances, and then book a time and we can talk.

Josh (00:16:26) - Yeah, yeah. Some of your blog articles that may be interesting to folks. I like this one. Scientists say we make 35,000 decisions per day. Here's five ways to make them better. If you want to learn what those five ways are. We got to go to the blog Jake Stahl Consulting. Com man, I'm like digging all into your content and stuff like that. I'm looking at your LinkedIn articles as well, but you are again fractional chief learning officer.

Josh (00:16:52) - And as well you are the CEO and founder of Jake Stahl Consulting. Your website, Jake Stahl Consulting. Com Jake, thank you so much for joining us.

Jake (00:17:01) - Josh. Thanks for having me.

Josh (00:17:07) - Thanks for listening to the Thoughtful Entrepreneur show. If you are a thoughtful business owner or professional who would like to be on this daily program, please visit up my influence. Comment. Guest. If you're a listener, I'd love to shout out your business to our whole audience for free. You can do that by leaving a review on Apple Podcasts or join our Listener Facebook group. Just search for the Thoughtful Entrepreneur and Facebook. I'd love, even if you just stop by to say hi, I'd love to meet you. We believe that every person has a message that can positively impact the world. We love our community who listens and shares our program every day. Together, we are empowering one another as thoughtful entrepreneurs. Hit subscribe so that tomorrow morning. That's right. Seven days a week you are going to be inspired and motivated to succeed.

Josh (00:18:06) - I promise to bring positivity and inspiration to you for around 15 minutes each day. Thanks for listening and thank you for being a part of the Thoughtful Entrepreneur movement.

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