Whether it’s developing his own classification system for cabernets or overhauling a customer training program to make it more streamlined and intuitive, Bradley LaFave is always game for an exercise in improvement—especially if it involves pruning the complexity out of overly complicated processes.
After all, why worry about nuances like tannin, fruit, and body when all it really comes down to is quality-versus-cost. That’s why Bradley’s wine system features three simple levels of classification: Weekday Cabernets are everyday, lower-cost wines—the ones you’d drink any night of the week. Weekend Cabernets are a little richer and fall into the mid-tier pricing range. And finally, Holiday Cabernets are the higher-end wines reserved for celebrations and special occasions.
While Bradley’s cab-rating rules have yet to catch on among wine aficionados—though he is confident they will—his consultative approach to training certainly has caught on at WebPT. The way he sees it, a lecture-based training approach is less effective than a training program rooted in conversation, because learner participation is what truly drives information retention. So, when he became WebPT’s Training Manager a couple of years ago—about a year after he was hired as a trainer—he immediately started reworking the company’s strategy for helping new Members learn how to get the most out of WebPT’s software. “We’ve changed the training process from being mostly regurgitation to more consultation,” he said. As part of that transformation, Bradley spearheaded the implementation of online learning modules that allow users to explore WebPT’s functionality at their own pace while completing comprehension self-checks along the way.
The result: by the time a new Member gets on the phone with a WebPT trainer, he or she already has a solid foundation in WebPT’s capabilities. That way, the Member can use his or her phone time to ask questions and dig deeper into all the ways WebPT can cater to his or her needs, specifically. Since introducing the revamped training process, Bradley and the rest of the WebPT training team have seen a noticeable shift in the quality of their interactions with Members. “It used to be more robotic,” he says. “We did a lot of talking, but didn’t provide a lot of resources. When we started to build better content, they [Members] could use their time with the trainer more effectively.” And as much as Bradley loves to talk—he readily admits that he could talk for hours “and not even be able to tell you what he talked about”—he would much rather provide time-pressed WebPT Members with shorter, more valuable consultative calls.
Luckily, Bradley has another outlet for his natural gift of gab: his coworkers. “There are certain days I laugh so hard I can barely breathe,” he says. “I love the interactions we all get to have. We get through the day by having fun and keeping a positive demeanor, and I think that positivity shows through to our Members, too.” And he’s quick to point out that even though everyone in the training department is hyper-respectful of Members’ jam-packed schedules, there’s always time for a training wisecrack or two. “We’re pretty serious for the most part, but we like to have a mixture between being relevant and also slipping in some bad training jokes,” he says. After all, there aren’t too many audiences out there who appreciate a good laugh at Medicare’s expense.
Internally, the training team offers a dose of comic relief to their peers in other WebPT departments with their famous email memes—funny photos and phrases centered on industry and company-wide topics of interest. ICD-10, for example, provides ample meme fodder for Bradley and his staff. All jokes aside, though, the team is busy creating an arsenal of training content around ICD-10 to ensure WebPT users can not only use our code selection tool successfully, but also properly adjust their coding and documentation practices to ensure minimal disruption after October 1. “With ICD-10, the real challenge is being specific and accurate with your coding, and we’re going to help you do that, because we’ll ensure you use a full code,” he says. “We have a positive mentality about it.”
While training is Bradley’s main gig, he doubles as an amateur resort manager during Arizona’s nice-weather months. “I kind of run a bed-and-breakfast for friends and family, like October through May,” he says. And considering that most of his visitors come from his home state of Michigan, his willingness to offer a sunny escape from the Midwest winter blues is greatly appreciated by all of his guests—particularly his three nephews. “They think my pool is a water park,” he says.
Eventually, Bradley may make his way back to the cold, hard north—perhaps to pursue his dream of owning some type of waterfront business. For now, though, he’s perfectly happy soaking up the desert sunshine and helping rehab therapists achieve greatness. “PTs are definitely caring people, and it’s been interesting to learn about the PT industry,” he says. “That’s one of the main things that really drew me to this job—being able to work with people who help people. I might not be able to help people in that way, but it’s cool to support the people who do the helping.”
Fave Five with Bradley
- Favorite food: Steak and Dairy Queen Chocolate Xtreme Blizzards (not together)
- Favorite movie: National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
- Favorite sports team: Detroit Tigers
- Favorite musical artist: Alicia Keys
- Favorite place: Anywhere near water