Hey Training Manager, is your Training Team mummified? Think about that for a second. What does it even mean? Maybe I spent too much time in the Halloween section of the store this weekend or maybe we have something to talk about.


When you think of a mummy, what do you think of? Probably something like a shriveled up, dried up person wrapped up in some cloth moaning and groaning as they stumble forward. Is that what you think of?


I’m guessing I am pretty close. Now, think about your team. Is there anyone on your team who resembles a mummy? Not physically but metaphorically. What I mean is, do you have anyone on your team who has let their learning or their self-development dry up or shrivel up? Is there anyone who is continually moaning and groaning about changes or work?


If you answered yes, you have a team, or at least a team member, that is or is becoming mummified. And, I don’t know about you but mummies creep me out.


So, a mummified Training Team is one that is not growing, not learning, not adapting, and lacks individual ownership.


Why does this matter? Other than the obvious, let’s talk about Learning Ecosystem competition.


Learning Ecosystems

The Learning Ecosystems of today are so much larger and so much more accessible than they were just 5 years ago. Learning Ecosystems can serve as competition to corporate training teams, especially mummified training teams.


These ecosystems expand beyond the typical in-house produced training offerings, which training teams usually produce. Learning Ecosystems consist of easy to access YouTube videos, search engine content, free online training, podcasts, books, and resources like Udemy, Lynda.com, LinkedIn Learning, and etc.


Learning Ecosystem


There is so much out there to serve the needs of learners and much of it is free or low cost, which competes with the value of your training team.


Basically, if somebody wants to learn something, they can usually find something online with a few clicks or swipes.


And, it doesn’t stop there. There are so many vendors out there who provide professional training services, which could replace your team.


So, if your training team is mummified or on its way to mummification, we need to reverse that and turn your training team into a thriving, results-driven team.


Teams who don’t change are at risk of becoming irrelevant…fast, if they aren’t already.


So, what are the signs of a mummified training team?


Signs of a Mummified Training Team

If you have heard phrases like “that’s not my job” or “I don’t know how to do that, so you will have to find someone else” from the members of your training team, I’d be worried.


If you have team members who don’t jump in to support and help one another or who try to shine by stomping on the work of others, I’d be worried.


Why would I be worried? I would be worried because these are signs that individuals are not 1) invested in doing great work; 2) continuing to grow and develop in their skills, or 3) being a team contributor. Instead, they are just stumbling along and most likely moaning and groaning as they go.


Another worrisome sign is lack of ownership. Hearing things like, “I sent Joe the training two weeks ago and have heard nothing back” makes me visualize a mummy with arms extended out and stumbling directionless. No brain. No accountability.


Personally, this drives me crazy. I have worked with people who treat accountability like a “hot potato”. Did you ever play that game in elementary school?


You know the one where you pass the ball around super-fast trying to get it out of your hands because it is a “hot potato”. I have seen countless people pass around projects, not just training projects, like we did in our elementary games of Hot Potato.


Your team members who are accountable will hold onto the “hot potato” until it is fully baked. They will keep checking on it until it is done. This is what ownership looks like. This is what you want and need on your thriving, results-oriented training team.

Been There. Done That.

I must confess that I have worked on and led mummified training teams. And, O.M.G, it was painful and hard to fix. In fact, your colleagues just might look at you like you are the problem when you start trying to fix the problems on your team.


People who don’t have initiative or who don’t like change or who aren’t team players, will scream their head off to everyone who will listen about how terrible you are and the mess you are making.


Anyone who has ever said leading a team is easy was wrong. You’ve got to lean in and dig in to fix the problems. Trust me, you and the team will come out stronger on the other side, if you do.

Lynn and Victor

Let me tell you about Lynn and Victor (these names are made up but the people are real).


Several years back, I went to work for an association in Dallas and Lynn was a part of my team. On my very first day in my very first meeting with Lynn, she told me she would never listen to me or anything I had to say because she had more than 20 years industry experience, and I didn’t.


It didn’t matter that I had a ton of experience in learning program development and she didn’t. In fact, she had no education experience at all, and she was managing an international learning program.


She had industry experience, and I had learning program development experience. We could have made a really great team, but she made it clear that I had nothing to offer and she wasn’t listening.


I didn’t handle the situation well. In fact, I did the worst thing I could have done. Nothing. Nothing at all. I was a new director at the time, and I wanted to make a good impression and make friends. Epic fail. It was like being the new school teacher who wanted to be friends with her students. Not good.


Victor, on the other hand, was a colleague of mine in another company, and we both worked for the same Training Manager, Lucy.


Victor was toxic to the team and the company. He complained about anything and everything and nothing was ever his fault. And, nothing ever got done right because he was always waiting on someone or someone was trying to sabotage him.

Every chance he got, he talked bad about our boss and every other member of the team. According to Victor, who was a Training Specialist, he knew more because he once was a VP.


He thought he was an expert and people should listen because he was the expert. Those who didn’t were morons, in his opinion.


Thinking about him still brings on a feeling of heaviness because he brought so much negativity to the team. And, sadly, he was allowed to do so for several years before the issue was corrected.


Both Lynn and Victor were toxic to their teams. Their attitudes impacted more than just them. They impacted the team. Good leaders, however, can reverse the toxicity and build thriving teams.



Building Thriving Teams

To build a thriving team, we need to know what a thriving, results-driven team looks like. It’s one where every member of the training team pursues learning and growth as well as adapts to change and owns projects like a dog owns a bone. Team members have pride in their work and their team and the company.


It can be tough to right a ship that is off-course but that is what we have to do to have a high-performing, thriving training team. If the team is doing mediocre work, not growing, and not owning their work, you’ve got issues.

At some point, those issues will rear their ugly head and cause problems. So, what can you do about it before the team becomes mummified, obsolete, or loses organizational credibility?


Well, what I should have done with Lynn, was to own my role as the director and as her direct report. I should have squashed that attitude in our very first meeting and Lucy should have dealt with Victor’s. Hindsight is always 20/20 though.


I have met other Lynn’s and Victor’s throughout my career, and you probably have or had a Lynn or a Victor on your team. You know the ones who think you don’t know what you’re doing or they can do it better or that they don’t need to do more than they already are.


Those people are bad for team morale. They make other team members uncomfortable when they see or hear them treat others poorly or talk negatively or don’t equally share the workload.


Low performers have perfected passing off work and not working as hard as other team members.


Those folks need to go or change ASAP.


Coach or Exit Toxic People

Because I want to believe people are good and want to do good, I typically try to coach problematic team members before escalating my actions. I meet with them, go over the issues, explain how they impact the team and give them 30 to 90 days to improve, depending on the issue.


If they are willing to work with me and have the right attitude, I’m in for the long haul. If they aren’t, they typically exit themselves pretty quickly because they don’t like being managed or coached in this way. Other times, you have to help them go.


Someone once told me, “You don’t fire people. People fire themselves.” People fire themselves by not performing to standard. This has always stuck with me.


When team members exit, with or without your help, your colleagues may wonder what is happening on your team. They may wonder if you’re the problem if more than one person goes or if you have a person on your team who likes to stir things up by moaning and groaning to everyone who will listen.


Just remember this, if you have team members who won’t work hard, who won’t learn new things, who won’t own their work, they are detrimental to the team. Period. 

Lead from the Front

If your training team shows any of the signs of a mummified training team, here are some things you can do to course-correct.


Your team looks to you, as the leader, to set the example of what is and isn’t okay. Conduct a personal check-up to see where you fall with your attitude and commitment to the team.


Inspect what you have allowed to pass as acceptable behavior. Does it align with how you want the team to behave? Does it contribute to a thriving, results-driven training team?

Success or failure ultimately falls on the leader of the team but team members also share in the ownership of team success or failure.


Coach those who want to be coached. Model the behaviors you want to see in your team. Provide opportunities for the team to learn and grow.


Opportunities to learn and grow can be team-produced by allowing team members to teach the team new things.


Hold daily standups where every member of the team is held accountable for work and follow-up, including yourself. Set performance goals that align with your expectations.


And, finally, exit those who are not willing to learn, grow, adapt, own work, or support the team.

If you found this post interesting, please help me share it by pinning it, tweeting it, leaving a comment below, or posting it. Also, if you have a particular training challenge you are facing, head over to The Hangout. You’ll find a great community of aspiring and established instructional designers who are eager to share their knowledge with you.


Trainologist Hangout


Until we meet again, take care!

The Testimonials are In:


Shola Richards

Working with Shanwtay and Katie at the Instructional Design Company was a dream come true. Their creativity, expertise, and professionalism throughout the entire process was beyond top notch. I engaged them to help turn my first book into a training course, and I could not be happier with how the final product turned out. If you have an instructional design project and you’re considering which company to work with, you can stop your search and thank me later. They are truly the best in the business.

Shola Richards


Graphic Designer

I joined the Instructional Design & Tech Accelerator Certificate Program because I struggled to find jobs in instructional design beyond the development phase. I’ve done a couple of training programs with lots of random projects, but I was overwhelmed, not connecting the dots, and not good at structuring my writing to hit learning objectives. I was looking for motivation and direction at beginning a better Instructional Designer.

After taking the Instructional Design & Tech Certificate program and joining my fantastic team for support, I found the structure and approach to be what I need to take my next steps, evening improving my skills in the development stage.

Gayle Bower


Teacher, Future Instructional Designer

I love how this course let’s you work at your own pace. I got great tips and learned many things. The ongoing support for multiple people and groups is what I love the best. You are never alone in this process. I have been able to adjust my resume and began creating a portfolio of work I’ve completed to add when applying for jobs. I use many of the PowerPoint skills in my lessons and trainings. I would highly recommend this for anyone wanting to become an instructional designer.

Laurie Henderson


Teacher, Future Instructional Designer

I have searched for the last few years to find some suitable career change where I wouldn’t have to earn another degree and where I could use the talents and skills I already have as a teacher. When I came across the Instructional Design Accelerator course, I loved the fact that Shawntay was a former teacher and could relate to a teacher’s need to transition from the classroom. This was what sold the course for me. Her experiences are invaluable especially when translating teacher duties to instructional designer duties. I would (and have) recommended this program to other teachers I know who are looking to transition out of the classroom. I do appreciate ALL of her feedback on my projects!

Wendy McMillian


L&D Project Manager

The Instructional Design & Tech Accelerator certificate program is one of the most comprehensive ID programs out there for beginners. If you’re looking to grow your schools in ID and development then I highly recommend this program. Not only will this program give you an overview of theory, but you will receive a thorough walkthrough of how to apply what you have learned. Although I had already secured a position in Learning & Development when I bought this course, it helped me to move up into a new position as a Learning & Development Project Manager!

Gabby Grimaldo


Future Instructional Designer

If you have any interest in ID, sign up for this program NOW! Shawntay and her team are top notch! The course content exceeded my expectations in a big way and the encouragement and support continues to be so valuable. You will not feel alone going through this course, you will learn so much, you’ll have many cheerleaders, and you will have fun!

Shanna Howe


Future Instructional Designer

I am really enjoying this program! It’s prerfect for someone who is thinking about a career shift to Instructional Design and does not have a lot of experience. This is my first real introduction to Instructional Design and it’s been the perfect beginner course to help me get my feet wet. The modules are broken down well and it’s great to go at your own pace and at your own time. The modules themselves are very comprehensive and you learn a lot from all of them. I really like how each one build upon each other and you’re working towards the bigger project of designing your first training course from scratch. I’m learning so much from going through this course! I was provided great feedback from Katie and Shawntay through the process via Trello Boards, comments on the Google documents, and Facebook group. This course has been well worth the time and effort and I appreciate the fact that I will always have the resources available to me after I complete the training (just in case I’m not quite ready to transition yet).

Aviva Berkowitz


Future Instructional Designer

I can’t say enough great things about the Instructional Design & Tech Accelerator Certificate Program! The length of the program is perfect; it doesn’t feel rushed and there’s just the right amount of structure to give you the accountability you need. There are so many opportunities to get live answers to any questions you have related to the course content or anything ID-related! This program gave me the support and structure I needed to both feel affirmed in the relevant skills I already had coming in and to fill in the gaps I had as a career-changer going into ID. Shawntay, Katie, and all the coaches are super helpful and supportive. I now feel confident that I have the tools and access to resources I need to apply for ID jobs without wondering if there’s something I’m “missing” in the preparation process. I’d highly recommend this program to anyone wanting to transition into ID or who just wants to brush up on their skills in the field.

Krista Johnson Awomoyi


Freelance Instructional Designer

I’d highly recommend the Instructional Design & Tech Accelerator Certificate Program. I’m blown away by how much I learned in just 12 weeks. I had ID experience prior to taking this course and was just looking to get a better understanding of applying adult learning principles. This course well exceeded my expectations! Not only did I gain a clear understanding of adult learning principles, I was also able to apply those principles by creating assets for your portfolio using PowerPoint, Adobe Premiere Pro and Storyline. The hands on support that we received was top notch.

Darlene Dalgleish


Instructional Designer

This program is one of the most robust yet fulfilling L&D programs I’ve seen. I learned so much about the industry and about the limitlessness of my own capabilities. I am so appreciative of Shawntay and all of the trainers who took part in the program. They went above and beyond with not only guiding, but communicating live and working one on one or in small groups. If you are on the fence, I say take the leap and you will not regret it! There’s so much to learn, not only from the trainers, but also the learners in your group. Everyone comes in with their own skills and can be additional support and guidance for you. Thank you for creating this program!

Shawnice Edge


Instructional Designer Training Facilitator

Shawntay is an amazing individual. She is very knowledgeable in all aspects of ID and eLearning. She is also very compassionate and loves to help and see everyone around her grow and prosper. Shawntay has been a great mentor to me and she has helped me mature as an instructional designer and eLearning developer. She has provided me with opportunities when others have overlooked me. I am very grateful to have met and built a lifelong relationship with Shawntay.

I recently got hired into my first instructional design / training position and Shawntay was one of the first people to congratulate me!

Brian Hightower


Freelance Instructional Designer

My teacher-to-instructional-designer journey began two years ago when I left my teaching comfort zone and started my first freelance ID job. Now, I’m stepping out of the classroom and taking my freelance work full-time, so I’m thrilled to be joining the Tech Accelerator program. Adding technologies like Articulate 360 and Adobe Premiere Pro to my qualifications will help me take my courses to the next level and attract more clients!

Sarah Smith


Teacher Transitioning into Instructional Design

I am genuinely grateful for this course. I wanted a real-world perspective and feel like I got it. I’m teaching now, but nearing retirement age but can see myself working as an instructional designer well into my retirement years. My other goal is to take as many courses in statistics as possible in hopes of bringing some mathematical precision to the ROI question. Like you say, getting accurate metrics to measure ROI can be a challenge, but I intend to work on that part. That’s unimportant right now, what is important is the fact that I feel like this course was well worth every penny I spent and I would to it again in a heartbeat. I have too much going on right now, but as soon as I get some time freed up I intend to take your course in project management.

Lee R


Turns Your Written Thoughts Into a Masterpiece!

Shawntay Skjoldager can turn your written thoughts into a masterpiece. She is great to work with and the most organized person I know!

Sheryl Rhoades
President and CEO, The Creative Entreprenuer


Shawntay has been incredible!

Shawntay has been incredible and her team is responsive and effective in translating my training programs into professional presentations. Don’t hesitate to contact her for your project.

President and Principal of HRM Consulting, Inc.


IDC is My Secret Weapon to Soar Above My Competition!

The IDC team has been my secret and special weapon of success. They have delivered above and beyond with every single project out in front of them. They have met and beat timelines. They have been Uber responsive every step of the way. I keep them on speed dial and have and continue to recommend them to friends and clients. If you are in need of instructional design and plenty more, this is THE ALL-STAR team that will more than deliver and help make you and your project soar above the competition.

LT. COL. Jason O. Harris
U.S. Air Force Officer, Special Operations Pilot, U.S.A.F. Academy Instructor, Motivational Speaker


A Tremendous Asset to the Project Team!

Working with Shawntay and the Instructional Design Company has allowed our university to meet the growing demands of our programs. Shawntay’s expertise allowed for the course development to be completed on time and met all of the university requirements. Shawntay’s project management skills were phenomenal and allowed my team to work on other areas while she completed this project for us. Her work is of high quality and her professionalism and willingness to help made her a tremendous asset to the project team.

Amanda Buckley
Academic Quality Assurance Specialist, Abilene Christian University


Creative & Highly Talented!

Shawntay is a creative and highly talented instructional designer.  She brought a wealth of knowledge, expertise, and leadership that enabled her to own the design and creation of a full scale facilitator curriculum and train-the-trainer program.  It was a pleasure to partner with Shawntay, her project management and communication skills ensured the project was on time and on budget.

Susan Gatti
President, IMMIXID


Breaks Down Mammoth Projects

“Shawntay is quick study and carefully synthesizes information for presentations that are clear, concise and captivating. Her personality draws the audience in and her content mastery is excellent. A team player and organizer, Shawntay has the ability to break down mammoth projects, keep everybody on time and on task.”

Rick Miller
Author, Speaker, Strengths Coach


eLearning Development

“I have had many opportunities to work with Shawntay—mainly in the support of implementing new eLearning initiatives. I have been very impressed by her ability to quickly learn how to use rapid eLearning development tools and effectively use them to create multiple courses within a short timeframe. Shawntay’s enthusiastic nature, attention to detail, and dedication to her work make her a pleasure to work with and a great asset to both Texas A&M University-Commerce and the broader training community within the Texas A&M University System.”

Ashley Christian
Director of Learning Strategy, Caveo Learning


Top Notch Professional

Working with Shawntay has been an immense pleasure. She is atop notch professional who brings enthusiasm and extensiveexpertise to professional curriculum development and execution. Her knowledge of tried and true techniques to maximize the effectiveness of presentations is invaluable.

Nancy Drapeau, PRC
Vice President of Research, CEIR - Center for Exhibition Industry Research


Fortunate to Find Shawntay!

“I was fortunate to find Shawntay when our organization was looking to expand and update our educational offerings. Shawntay proved herself to be an educational and personal development expert who immediately made an impact with our clients throughout Europe. Everyone who came into contact with Shawntay was immediately impressed by her level of expertise and willingness to share her knowledge with those around her. I would not hesitate to recommend Shawntay to anyone looking for an education subject matter expert.”

Jonathan Burt
Director of Qualifications and NSD Services, Mary Kay Inc.


Short Turn Around. On Time. Under Budget!

“We hired Shawntay to develop a training facilitator’s guide and PowerPoint slide deck for an operations manual heavy with technical content. The project was made more challenging by a very short turn around, 5 business days, and the fact that the operations manual wasn’t complete and was being updated simultaneously with the facilitator’s guide and slide deck. Despite these challenges, Shawntay delivered as promised. On time and under budget.”

Dave Beeman, CPP
Vice President, Andy Frain Services


Need an Expert Who Consistently Delivers?

“Working with Shawntay you will immediately notice her professional presence and poise, but over time her tenacious pursuit of excellence and her skills in instructional development and adult learning will really impress you. I worked with her at Mary Kay, and was able to experience firsthand her great rapport with regional partners in Europe, understanding their unique sales force training needs. In addition, Shawntay consistently exhibited grace under pressure, made executive decisions to move business forward. If you are looking for an expert who consistently delivers and goes the extra mile to get things done, contact Shawntay!”

Mellora Moore
Marketing Director, Academic Partnerships


Quality Products & Solutions!

“I had had the pleasure of knowing and working with Shawntay on more than a few occasions. I found her to be a very good business partner and very committed to delivering a quality product or solution in a timely manner. I have always had a positive experience in partnering with Shawntay and would recommend that you consider leveraging her talent.”

Judy Owen, CPC
Transformational Leadership Coach


“Invest in yourself and take your skills to the next NEXT level!”

Get yourself signed up for Shawntay Skjoldager’s Instructional Design & Tech Accelerator Certificate Program today and be on your way to success! Within the first week of taking her course, you will experience growth! Be sure to plug into her Facebook Q&A sessions for personalized help, too. This is THE course to take if you are new to instructional design or have landed on the training team and need help getting started.

Patrick Hodges
Managing Partner, PHiG


“Her enthusiasm for adult learning is contagious!”

Shawntay has exceptional knowledge and experience with all aspects of creating and implementing effective, performance based training for adults. She is exceptional at needs analysis – identifying target audiences and collaborating with business owners to keep training focused on business needs. And she is great to work with – always providing great support to get projects done on-time and on-target. She is always on the look-out for new and more effective ways to engage learners. Her enthusiasm for adult learning is contagious!

Mike Stubblefield
eLearning Developer/Instructional Designer, Vivos Therapeutics


“Spot on”

I have known and worked with Shawntay  as a education program director and use the expertise of ShawntayMichelle for the development of my presentations.  The service has always been “spot on” with professionalism, care and attention.  Shawntay’s recommendations to my ideas make me look good to my clients.

Owner, Certified Consulting Services


“Shawntay Skjoldager reached in and made my training life so much easier!”

I am new to the training design and development world and I was SO excited to get in there, but I really lacked the real-world knowledge that would set me apart from my peers. And, then Shawntay Skjoldager walked into my life with an outstretched hand and a seemingly endless list of ways to knock every training out of the park. From the Training Analysis Form to the Tay Tay tips, this course made my life so much easier and even ironed out the review process that I had been struggling with for months.

Take time to invest in your own learning and make sure to put Shawntay Michelle at the top of your personal development list!


Katie Carter
Training Specialist, LegalShield

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