Sunday, November 14, 2010

How to Overcome Your Fear of Spreadsheets

Disclaimer: The following post is a sponsored advertisement. However, I've reviewed and tried this new product and am very comfortable recommending it to Great Leadership readers.

In the world of Microsoft Office, I’ve always been more of a PowerPoint and Word guy. That is, the output of my work is usually words, pictures, models, and concepts. Except for an 18 month developmental assignment as a senior HR manager, I’ve never had to become proficient in Excel.

Sure, I can do the basics – set up a simple spreadsheet, or navigate around a spreadsheet someone else has already created. But when it comes to doing pivot tables and making charts, I’m in way over my head.

It’s not that I haven’t tried to learn it. I’ve tried a few instructor-led and self-study courses – they were OK – but deadly boring. I’d walk away all fired up, but without application and practice, the learning never stuck.

So when Sean Duffy, the owner of Excel Everest, approached me about partnering with him to promote his new product on Great Leadership, I was initially skeptical. That is, until I checked it out. It’s actually pretty cool. Here's a screen shot:

First of all, I like the design. It’s based on some good, solid adult learning principles. In an article for the Association for Learning Technology called “Make Them Struggle but Keep Them Smiling”, Duffy says:

“We think the secret sauce of Excel Everest is a set of design principles we followed through the course of development. We’d like to share these and propose that they’re broadly applicable to any learning technology that contains interactive elements. They are struggle, immediacy, delight, progress, beauty and navigational ease.”

It’s the “delight” part that I really like – go figure, an Excel tutorial with a sense of humor. Complete with dancing bears.

I also like the price. Having written about my preference for “frugal” training programs, I can appreciate a $34.95 price tag for over 20 hours of good training. Even better, for one week only, Great Leadership readers can use the discount code "leaders" and pay only $27.96, a 20% discount! This offer expires on November 21st.

Take a look at the clever 2 minute video on the homepage to learn more, or download the trial version and try it for free.

Who knows, maybe getting a little geeky in Excel might be just what you need to impress your co-workers and boss, improve your love life, and get recognized as a smarty-pants leader!

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