Lutheran Brotherhood is an $8 billion ﬁnancial services business headquartered in Minneapolis. It has 1500 employees located in its home oﬃce and 1700 out in the ﬁeld. When word around the oﬃce surfaced that the sales force at Lutheran
Brotherhood were using their laptop computers as deadweight in their car trunks during the winter, it was clear it was time to update what once were cutting-edge computers and software (purchased three and a half years ago). In their search, development and implementation of a new easy-to-use
laptop computer system that would help increase the productivity of its sales force, the company adopted a company-wide focus based on teamwork among departments. This approach eventually led to peers teaching each other the new technology. The outcome? In just 5 weeks, almost all 1500 members of Lutheran Brotherhood’s sales force learned how to use the new laptop technology. All signs indicate the training programme was a huge success: not only was there positive feedback from the sales representatives, but the company’s sales have also began to rise since the new laptops were introduced. Although it would be unwise to attribute the sales rise solely to the implementation of new technology, it clearly seems to have made a signiﬁcant contribution in one way or another. Within a period of 6 months, sales ﬁgures rose an average of 25 per cent compared to the same period in the previous year. In developing the peer training programme, Lutheran Brotherhood
initially were aware that two elements were going to be key in the successful introduction of the new systems:
& direct sales force participation in developing the programme to ensure they would have a sense of ownership in the new technology;
& interdepartmental involvement from employees throughout Lutheran Brotherhood.