So what's a smaller enterprise to do? Ludwig fine-tuned his own in-house version of "train-the-trainer," a three-stage procedure that transfers knowledge from individuals to branches to the entire company. "We create a separate team, make them into experts, develop the materials and send them out to the field," he explains.
Once everyone is trained, the CIO ensures a smooth "go live" date by conducting a mammoth simulation on a Saturday. Just about everyone comes in, and some, including the CEO, role-play as customers calling in orders.
In one case, a top sales executive who was sure she could handle the new system cracked under the pressure and went home in tears. "Better to cry on a Saturday than a Monday," Ludwig quipped, which became a running joke. And the saleswoman, of course, got the additional training she needed. Problem solved.
This was first published in June 2005