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Learning and Development's Two Customers
Imagine if you had to satisfy not one set of customers but two. Both were demanding, and each was looking for quite different things. Well, such is the lot of the learning professional. Not only do you have to provide a great service to your clients, business sponsors and key stakeholders, you also have to deliver satisfying experiences to your end users – the learners.
The Learning Stack
One of the critical success factors for learning is reflection. In fact, most people would agree that learning cannot take place without some level of reflection. Let’s look at how we can use this to underpin the thinking for a learning intervention and the subsequent learning transfer.
I have developed a very simple model with five levels of reflection which I call the Learning Stack. The higher up the levels you can push the learner in terms of the quality and quantity of the reflection, the more likely it is the learning will stick, and be transferred into behavioural change.Unconscious reflection
I know ‘unconscious reflection’ sounds like an oxymoron, but it occurs when we practice something and improve our performance without consciously reflecting on what we need to do to improve. We have an unconscious targeting mechanism that guides us towards improvement. This ‘practice makes perfect’ process is very evident when we practice physical skills such as driving or typing or sports skills. Conscious reflection
This is what we normally regard as reflection where we consider what happened. Note that for this reflection to be useful from a learning perspective, it needs to be questions based. We need to be asking ourselves how things could be different, who can do it better and how do they do it and so on. Simply reflecting on how good, or how bad, you did something has little effect without a questioning overlay. External reflection
If we take our thoughts and externalise them to a journal, a colleague, or just the dog on a walk, we need to re-formulate the disorganised content from our internal processing into an ideas sequence and language that is understandable in the outside world. This ‘translation’ for external consumption adds another level to our thinking. External reflection with consequences
When we think there may be consequences to us externalising our reflection, or if we think someone will judge us based on what we put out there, we will think twice. We add another layer of reflection to try and imagine what someone else will think about us based on what we are planning on externalising to a coach, a boss, a blog or an email. Teaching someone else
I am sure you have heard the aphorism that the best way to learn something is to teach it. I believe it is more accurate to say that the best way to learn something is to prepare the lesson plan to teach it. It is the reflection on how to prepare and present the material to novices that deepens understanding, rather than the presentation itself.
Level four is a result of what social scientists term the ‘audience effect’. There are some fascinating experiments on this effect where students were asked to put their English homework on a blog rather than just handed in to their teacher. The extra level of exposure their homework received caused them to improve their standards considerably. This is well explained in Smarter Than You Think by Clive Thompson where he cites a range of experiments and research. He sums it up on page 55 as “the effort of communicating to someone else forces you to think more precisely, make deeper connections, and learn more.”
Although this Learning Stack is a very simplistic view of a complex process, it is useful. For any learning intervention, you can consider how far up this Learning Stack you are pushing the learners. Have a look at any programmes you are currently delivering, or about to deliver, and consider what levels of reflection they trigger in the learners.
Coaching for learning
In their book Transfer of Training, Mary Broad and John Newstrom estimated that merely 10% of the dollars spent on training resulted in actual and lasting behavioural change. And that’s obviously not enough. They did some research into who it was that made the biggest impact on transfer of learning. They found that the greatest difference was made by the learner’s manager in setting expectations before the experience and then following up after. This video shows why coaching does such a fantastic job of supporting a learner through a learning experience.
Sixteen great training tips for writing good emails by Training Works
Sixteen great training tips for writing good emails
Many staff who in past years would have perfectly good conversations on the phone are now having to write emails instead. It’s also worth remembering that an email is, after all, an electronic letter and should follow most of the conventions of letter writing which many people have forgotten, if they ever knew them in the first place.
Having training in writing emails gives staff at all levels the confidence to write really professional, warm, well laid out accurate emails. For many customers their only impression of the company will be from the quality of the email, and if an email is badly spelt, poorly laid out or sloppy in any way, it will lose the company sales.
Remember that every email is an advert for your company so make sure it’s a good one by using the following hints and tips:
1. Have a relevant subject in the subject line so it can easily be found
2. Use a salutation e.g. Dear or Hi (unless you’re in a live email conversation)
3. Use the correctly spelt name e.g. Sarah not Sara
4. Leave a line of space before going into the main details
5. Say something nice in the first paragraph
6. Don’t put whole words in capitals, it gives the impression of SHOUTING
7. Have an average of 15 - 20 words per sentence
8. Have an average of 3 lines of text per paragraph
9. Use bullet points to help condense information and make it easier to read
10. Use a line of space between each paragraph
11. Use the correct grammar
12. Use the correct spellings
13. Punctuate well
14. Have a sign off e.g. Many thanks
15. Always type your name even if you have an email signature (after all you would always sign a letter even if your name was typed)
16. Have a great email signature with your name, position if relevant, company name, what the company does, web address, landline numbers, phone numbers and LinkedIn link where relevant (as people often look at an email to find out how to contact you again)
Are Sales Apprenticeships Suitable for Experienced Sales Professionals?
Sales Training provider Mercuri answers the questions you've always wanted to ask about the Level 4 Sales Apprenticeship Standard
Apprenticeships are suitable for anyone interested in improving their knowledge, skills or behaviours within their current role or, a role they aspire to. Apprenticeships are an effective way to upskill existing staff, and recruit new talent into your business.
The Sales Executive Level 4 standard was released by the Institute for Apprenticeships at the beginning of November 2018.
An apprenticeship standard (as opposed to a framework) is linked directly to a job role and provides learners with a comprehensive suite of skills, knowledge and behaviours needed to be fully competent in their chosen role. The standard enables apprentices to demonstrate full mastery of their role by the end of the learning journey.
The Sales Executive Level 4 Standard lasts up to 18 months (a government requirement for all apprenticeships is that they last a minimum of 12 months) and the government offers £6,000 funding per learner. The funding is available through a co-investment model or through your Apprenticeship Levy fund.
The skills developed during the Sales Executive Level 4 include analytical skills (such as customer needs and customer engagement), sales planning and preparation, how to find and develop new customers, negotiation and closing techniques.2
Here are some of the common questions about the Sales Executive Level 4, answered by Dan Hodgetts, Apprenticeship Consultant and Barry Hilton, Managing Director at Mercuri International (UK) Ltd:
I’ve already completed some sales training - can I still do a sales apprenticeship?
Absolutely. Existing sales training can be a great foundation to a sales apprenticeship. Furthermore, those who already have a degree or NVQ are still eligible for a sales apprenticeship providing there is evidence to show they will benefit from an improved Knowledge, Skills & Behaviours for a specific job role, future employment or career progression.
If there are any particular areas in the apprenticeship that learners want to specialize in or learn more about, additional, free-standing sales courses can be undertaken.
Note for employers: Your apprentice must be working at least 50% of their working hours in England and have the right to work in the UK.
How often would I see my apprenticeship coach?
This varies to suit the needs of the learner and employer. Dan Hodgetts states that as a minimum, a learner can expect monthly contact and support from their trainer. This doesn’t have to be face-to-face, it can be via Skype or on the phone. There will also be on-site meetings as part of the learning process as training is completed on the job and off the job.
How is the apprenticeship taught?
On a modular basis over a period of up to 18 months. At the end, the Association of Professional Sales (or a similar independent End Point Assessment Organization) will verify through a variety of assessment methods, that each learner has acquired the knowledge, skills and behaviours outlined within the standard.
What’s the success rate with the Level 4 Sales Standard?
As the standard was only released in 2018 the statistics on overall success rates have not yet been recorded as the first apprentices to complete this standard will not reach the end of their learning cycle until circa April 2020. However, learner satisfaction rates are measured continually and currently sit at a minimum of 98%.
Is the standard suitable for experienced sales professionals, who have been in their role for a number of years? Or is it too junior?
Barry Hilton, Mercuri MD explains:
“Most people learn most about their jobs in the first year, and so someone with 10 years of experience may very well have one year’s worth of knowledge, repeated ten times. It’s a question that many sales professionals find very challenging to answer. Our belief is that even experienced salespeople will draw huge benefits from having a formal planned, measured and immersive training. I would recommend this standard very much to any salesperson who is in a customer facing role.”
Show me the data: the case for learning analytics
Data is the fuel that drives effective decision making. Without the right data, you’re relying on guesswork and hoping for the best. Data allows you to accurately assess needs, compare alternative approaches, assess progress and determine results. We look at the arguments for data analytics for learning and performance.
Sacred Cows and Red Herrings - Part I
I’m going to take an irreverent look at what I think are a couple of sacred cows. This might annoy you, or you might even applaud it, but I doubt it will leave you without your own opinion.
You see, a sacred cow (when used as an idiom) is something that is regarded with such respect and veneration that it is considered immune from question or criticism, immune from tampering.
But what if this veneration is misplaced?
I am talking about Learning and Engagement (yes, with capital letters).
They are beautiful aren’t they, as we look at them. They are things of wonder, and well worth striving for. Well worth the mighty effort to make them happen. There are so many people that focus on these two things. There is so much written about them. Everybody says they are wonderful, necessary and depending on the pundit, the cure for all our problems.
I have nothing against Learning and Engagement per se. I simply think we are looking at the wrong things. They are both red herrings, distracting us from what we really should be focusing on.
A red herring (when used as an idiom) is a piece of information or suggestion introduced to draw attention away from the real facts of a situation. A red herring is a type of strong-smelling smoked fish that was once drawn across the trail of a scent to mislead hunting dogs and put them off the scent.
Let’s not get put off the scent. Let’s focus on what is more important: Performance.
Performance is what the business wants. Performance is what the customers want. And actually, Performance is what the workers want. It’s my belief they would love to do a good job if only we would enable them to do so.
Let’s consider Performance first, and look at learning and engagement (look, they have lost their capital letters) along with many other factors as servants in support of Performance.
It’s interesting how many people in L&D and HR struggle to come up with good and useful definitions of both learning and engagement, struggle to find ways to effectively measure them or measure the changes they have made in them through their interventions. They struggle to justify their value of the business based on changes to both learning and engagement. Where there have been improvements in performance, they struggle to prove that those improvements were the direct result of changes to learning and engagement.
There are enough isolated cases so there is always a case study or two to prove that learning and/or engagement are good things. And they are, but I think focusing on them as an endgame, as an outcome is not helping us.
When I ask someone in L&D to reimagine their role so that their total focus is on ensuring capability at the point of work when a worker has a job in front of them, their thinking changes. They start thinking in much more practical terms about how they can enable and help that worker do the job that is immediately in front of them. Some learning may be required, but often it is other changes that are necessary to ensure capability at the point of work.
The same thing happens when I talk to HR people about engagement, and changing their focus away from engagement and onto capability, and thus Performance.
We are talking here about enablement. If we enable people to do their job, how does that affect them, affect their engagement, and their learning?
There are many things that we can do to enable people without ‘using’ learning and engagement. Instead, give them the right tools, the right information, processes that flow well. Fix the things that frustrate them. Take the brakes off what they are doing. Performance will improve.
I believe that when the brakes are taken off, and someone can do better, they will. They will also become more engaged and willing to learn as they can see that better performance is possible. It wasn’t them being stupid, it wasn’t them not caring; it was the systems and processes and environment they were being asked to work in.
Just for now, do a thought experiment for yourself in your role and imagine that your total focus is on enabling a worker in your organisation, so they are capable of doing what needs to be done. How would that affect you? How would that affect them? How would that affect the customer? How would that affect the bottom line of the business?
Maybe, or maybe not. What do you think?
Communicating with sound
Sound is a medium that matters. Your audience can listen to a podcast or a radio programme while they’re busy doing other things like walking, driving or keeping fit. You can add narration and sound effects to your animations and videos or leave it to music to set the mood. Sound is a medium the learning professional can master without the need for in-depth technical skills and professional tools. Perhaps it's time to listen in.
Learning is a human experience
Humans need humans and never more than when we are learning. As we move from a situation in which most learning is face-to-face to one in which we make use of digital content and perhaps even AI as the vehicle for a learning experience, we don't need to give up on our humanity.
Good Decisions make Great Businesses
Your Company’s success is directly related to the good business decision taken by leaders and staff.
It is the decisions made by people in your organisation that will determine the future prosperity of the business.
It is therefore essential to ensure your people can:Develop their ability to make good business decisions Understand the wider implications of their decision making Ensure their business decisions align with the needs and strategy of the business Assess their business making ability Show evidence they can make good business decisions
Making good business decisions is not easy. It requires:Knowledge about the business Knowledge about the actual decision area Understanding of the impact of the decision on the business Understanding how to influence and lead people to carry through your decisions
To learn to make good decisions requires the ‘right’ practice environment. At Business Smart International we provide such an environment through our business simulations. We enable people to improve their decision-making skills by giving them the knowledge and then the environment to apply this knowledge.
Our business simulations are World Class as are our results. Please visit us on:
or Call: +44 (0) 845 371 3088
Levy Funded Development - Have you recognised the opportunity?
Upskilling for our future – The Apprenticeship Levy
What is the biggest lie in life? How about – ‘People like change!’.It’s a cliché popular with management particularly when a workforce is required to do something it’s not happy about. Why are people resistant to change? Change requires thought. It draws more energy than normal. It creates disturbance and can make some feel inadequate. Change nurtures vulnerability, uncertainty and fear. Resistance is magnified by lack of understanding. On the flip side, change frequently provides opportunity, signifies progress, encourages development and improves output. People are often happier after change has occurred.
British industry’s collective reaction to the Apprenticeship Levy has been fuelled by sporadic and ad-hoc communication about the levy, defensive behaviour from existing providers and a pinch of short-term thinking by some employers.
As our national capacity to invent, make and own things seems to daily diminish, there is a real possibility that longer term, the UK will become no more than a low skill, service delivery mega-centre off the north west coast of Europe. How many have grasped the potential magnitude of the opportunity for UK PLC’s presented by the Levy?
Before summarizing the opportunity, let’s consider the counter argumentation, much of which is built not on ideological objection, but on simple lack of understanding.
Why use the Apprenticeship levy?
The opportunity to acquire accreditation in roles previously deemed too intangible to quantify is a compelling case for commitment. As an example; Sales is largely ignored by career advisors and academia mainly because the profession is poorly understood by both. Young adults reliably informed of employment pathways to financial security, career progression and entrepreneurial opportunity will be very interested. Building a qualification around core business and life skills which have already created companies, jobs and wealth is vital to national economic health. Investment in human capital ticks a very important box for Millennials whose value set differs markedly from that of their parents.
It’s too bureaucratic and inflexible
For whom? Process is necessary to ensure learners reach the end-point. To generate commitment and drive learner achievement, rigour must be applied. The use of public money necessitates the elimination of any possibility of misappropriation. Quality must be assured and this demands attentiveness. Regarding flexibility; process need not however equate to rigidity. The Level 4 Sales Apprenticeship can be tailored specifically as the need arises, even though most core competencies in Sales are common across roles and industry sectors. Training providers now need a greater degree of agility than ever before to support the needs of the employer.
The opportunity cost
Businesses are often prone to short-termism and evidence of that is easy to find. Many companies worry about lost productivity costs and in particular - lost sales. It seems few are considering the multiplicative power of a more able and stable sales team which can improve conversion rates, lower the cost of sale, increase turnover and grow the customer base. Equipping the next generation of sales professionals requires investment from individual and employer alike, otherwise the old cycle in which only the strongest survive is perpetuated.
Change is inevitable. The learning marketplace in the UK has undergone a significant alteration. Budget holders across the country are considering whether training provisioned through hard-fought internal negotiation can now be funded through the Levy. This means either; more human capital development can be accessed or, the money can be diverted elsewhere in the business.
Providers with specialist expertise are enabling themselves to be the partner of choice in a market segment previously roped off and inaccessible. Employers frustrated by the low-quality people development delivered by some providers in the past now have exciting alternative choices.
Return on investment now reigns supreme. Business owners, who have now been forced to part with their hard-earned money to spend on Apprentices are, rightfully so, wanting to know that the result of their financial investment will yield increased returns in productivity, revenue and staff retention as an absolute minimum.
Apprenticeships Training Providers now, more than ever need to be responsive to meet the individual needs of employer and learner simultaneously whilst assuring an underpinning theme of quality along the entire journey.
The UK has a real chance to catch up and even overtake some of our fiercest economic competitors by investing in a skills-focused future beyond the EU. Collectively, we need to grasp the opportunity with both hands. In times of change, the adaptable prevail.
About Mercuri International
With a commitment to delivering innovative training solutions and over 60 years’ experience helping companies worldwide transform their business results, we develop and implement training to help your people become tomorrow’s leaders, managers and sales professionals utilizing a blended learning approach: classroom, digital eLearning, one to one sessions, webinars and tutorials. www.mercuri.co.uk
Reference & Further information(Dunn, Apprenticeship Levy Pricing Young People Out Of Training, 2018) - www.newstatesman.com/spotlight/2018/03/apprenticeship-levy-pricing-young-people-out-training The Association of Professional Sales: https://www.associationofprofessionalsales.com/ Institute for Apprenticeships: https://www.instituteforapprenticeships.org/about/ Apprenticeships for England: https://www.app4eng.info/
Sarah James | Tel: 0330 9000 8000 | email@example.com
Is it Really John’s Fault?
There is a task in your workplace that needs to be done. Sally can do it, but John cannot.
Our automatic assumption is that John does not have what it takes to do the job. John is not competent, and if we ever want John to be able to do the job, we need to give him some training and instruction so he becomes competent.
It is easy to see that for someone to do that job, they have to be as good as Sally. So we spend what might be quite a lot of money and effort ‘fixing’ John so he can work effectively alongside Sally.
This might all be true, however, there is another possibility that is almost always overlooked. There is another possibility that is almost always a cheaper solution.
Sally is more experienced than John, and she knows the little shortcuts, the tricks to making that particular machine work, the ways to bypass the system when it gets in the way, who to call when something she needs is missing and how to deal with all those little things that conspire against success.
If those barriers against success were absent, perhaps John could do the task, and do it well. So actually, he is competent for this particular task, and it is the environment that surrounds the task that is not ‘competent’. It is the faulty environment around John that renders him incapable in the moment of doing the task, even though nominally he is competent.
So you have two options. You can train John with all the knowledge and skill that Sally has in order to overcome the problems in the environment that surrounds the task, or you can fix the environment.
Which would cost you less?If you fix the environment, then others like John can also do the task. If you fix the environment, then Sally won’t need to bend the rules in order to get the job done. If you fix the environment, it is much easier to stay legal and compliant. If you fix the environment, people new into role will reach proficiency much more quickly.
The moral of the story is, when there is a performance problem, do not automatically blame the performer. It might be the stage that you are asking them to perform on, that is faulty.
(Originally published https://russellhrconsulting.co.uk/the-hr-headmistress-blog/is-it-really-johns-fault/)
Compliance v competence - ten years on
I was looking through some old presentations the other day, trying to find some inspiration on the subject of compliance training, and I found this one. I was amazed to find that it was 10 years old and that there wasn't really anything about it I'd change.
For the learning professional, compliance training continues to provide lots of work but I'm not so sure it's not a deal with the devil. Tick-box training damages our reputation, at a time when we're looking to establish our credibility as performance consultants and learning experience designers.
There is a better way!
Humility vs Power: Are you a Shackleton or a Scott?
Last week I had the pleasure of attending the 2019 Merit Summit in Vienna. It was my first time at the event as well as being my first time in Vienna. As I reflect on two full days of listening, connecting and learning, I wanted to distill some of my personal take-aways from the event. This comes at a particularly self reflective time for me, as I have now set up my own business after leaving Citi in December.
The overwhelming theme for me was that of Connection. It has manifested itself in many ways as a rallying call for anyone wanting to be successful in the new world of work.
Connecting the dots for L&D Professionals
Seek, Sense, Share! I've long been an advocate of PKM theory, especially as advanced by Harold Jarce. The Merit Summit ended up being a big fat episode of seeking, sensing and sharing for me! I found it incredibly rewarding as I noticed opportunities to connect people in my network with new individuals and ideas as they showed up for me during the two days. I intentionally didn't pack my schedule with back-to-back sessions, meetings and workshops. I tried to select speakers and topics that challenged my thinking and then gave time to reflect and synthesise as the day went on. Less was definitely more in Vienna.
It all started on Tuesday night at a superb dinner generously hosted by Sigrun & Sofia of the HR Builders. I met some old and new colleagues including Gerard Penning of Shell, Celia Berenguer of Sanofi and Richard Howell (who is a leading International Change Consultant). Building relationships in this type of environment is incredibly helpful. In my case I really enjoyed the seeking and sharing of new knowledge and understanding within a mini professional social learning network. Stories helped build relationships and personal connections. This theme was to continue throughout the week and has reinforced my belief that L&D Professionals of the future will be great story-tellers, intuitive connectors and generous enablers of learning.
Leaders as Connectors
Tuesday was kicked off by Gerard Penning's key-note speech on Leadership. In his typically engaging style, Gerard used no slides, and simply told stories about great leadership. He focused on the importance of Respect, Curiosity and Resilience as being key ingredients in a successful leader. The theme of Respect was to raise it's head in the debate that I participated in an hour later.
The debate was entitled 'Paradoxes of Leadership: Humility Vs Power.' I shared the stage with three wonderful colleagues: Celia Berenguer of Sonofi, and Tracey Camilleri of Saïd Business School, and the debate was expertly moderated by Michael Banks.
I feel strongly that this isn't really a paradox. When leaders demonstrate humility they exert considerable power and influence. In fact I consider humility to be a key ingredient to the projection of real power by a leader.
The key here is the definition of 'power'. I define progressive power as the ability of a leader to influence others to go on a journey of personal and collective change. It has a long term time horizon and requires the development of considerable follower-ship. Humility is a fundamental ingredient.
However short term power (I would call this limited power), where power is being done 'onto' others requires very little humility. However this is not really 'leading', rather it is simply 'commanding' and has a short and limited shelf-life in terms of leading others in times of change. In his excellent book 'Kinds of Power', James Hillman talks about a form of Social Darwinism that continues to poison our preconceived idea of how leaders should show up. Society still thinks of leaders in the cult of the Victorian-era 'hero-leader'. There is always a winner at the expense of losers and often winning the race by any means necessary is paramount (even if that means sacrificing team members). For this reason I've always been a fan of the arctic explorer Ernest Shackleton, rather than his contemporary Robert Scott!. (Shackelton didn't reach the pole but managed to bring all of his men home alive while Scott reached the prize but tragically perished with his men).*
The debate was a healthy one where the main point of difference centered around the topic of fear as an enabler for learning. Some felt that fear could be used by a leader as a motivating factor to generate leaning in their team. Personally I strongly disagree. Certainly, having challenging environments can offer great learning opportunities, and leaders should stretch their people by exposing them to those situations. But they must always do so with respect and support. It's here where connection is key. Firstly the manager builds trust and connection with the individual and co-creates learning as a result. Secondly they must connect the work to a clear shared purpose. Lastly they will connect stakeholders to form coalitions by aligning around a common goal.
The Employee - The Future is Social
As our idea of successful leadership matures, we see the importance of the leader as a humble connector. Equally, leadership is becoming democratised. The very smart Lori Niles-Hoffmann really made us sit up and think about this in her presentation on the Gig Economy. We are building flatter, more open and agile organisations to prosper in the new world of work. The separation between employees and leaders is increasingly grey. This new gig economy will ensure that more and more of the workforce are coalescing around work and projects rather than roles and organisations. The successful worker of the future will be the one who has their 'connector' dial constantly turned to 'high'. If we are seeking and sensing and sharing in our networks we will be alert to the opportunities to add value and collaborate around important work and opportunities. We will seamlessly contribute to the network, while connecting others to opportunities. We'll also know that by paying into this social dynamic, in effect a form of 'paying it forward', we will simply be increasing our access to opportunities in the future. The future is indeed social.
* I would highly recommend the book Shackleton's Boat Journey by F.A. Worsley. Worsley was Shakelton's skipper on this voyage and their tale of survival and rescue is so remarkable it seems fantastic that this a true story. Shackleton's leadership was remarkable.
When performance support trumps learnig
This past year I have worked with clients on a number of projects in which the sole focus has been supporting employees in adapting to a change by providing resources that they could access at the point of need – a process that we normally call ‘performance support’.
In a world of immediate access to information at any time of day and night and wherever you happen to be, we no longer expect to have to acquire all the knowledge required to do our jobs. Yes, we still need to understand fundamental concepts and principles, and to develop key skills, but the rest we can look up as we need it.
Performance support is not quite the same as learning
The purpose of training or any other learning experience is to bring about a long-term change in knowledge, skills or attitudes – and that's not an easy thing to do. Depending on the requirement, we need to apply just the right strategy to help our learners make lasting connections in their brains. This process takes time and success is never guaranteed.
Learning and teaching activities aim to build lasting knowledge and skill. When future problems occur, the individual can access their memories to help them decide what to do. They can then take action.
With performance support, we are not concerned with long-term retention. It doesn’t matter whether the users of our support systems remember anything – just that they're able to get the job done. So, if we have an immediate problem, we access the support system to find out what to do and we take immediate action.
Performance support is not completely separate from learning. You could regard it as knowledge that exists externally to ourselves, as a sort of ‘outboard brain’. George Siemens described it like this: ‘Instead of the individual having to evaluate every bit of information, he or she creates a personal network of trusted nodes - people and content, enhanced by technology. The act of knowledge is offloaded onto the network itself.’
Traditionally, we have used performance support materials as part of the follow-up to a formal programme. Our courses are supported by a modest selection of resources - perhaps a handout or a checklist.
The modern approach still values courses as a way to engage people with new learning and to help them establish confidence. But the emphasis shifts to what happens next, how we follow-up to support learners at the point of need.
You could say that it’s becoming more important for people to know where to look or who to talk to than it is to know the what, why or how.
Deciding when performance support is the right approach
One of our most important tasks is to decide what needs to be taught in a course – or through some other sort of learning activity – and what can be included as a resource. Let’s look at some criteria that will help us decide …
Performance support is going to be useful when a task is performed infrequently. It’s unrealistic to expect people to remember what to do in every eventuality. Better to provide the information only when it’s needed. A good example would be a form you only complete once a year – by the time the next year comes around, you can remember very little.
Another indicator is when the task is complex. Even when you perform a task fairly frequently, you may not be able to remember every rule, every code, or the precise sequence in which every action should be carried out. Performance support tools refresh your memory and give you confidence that you’re getting the job absolutely right.
Performance support comes in handy when there are tricky problems to resolve. Even when you are well trained and have a lot of experience, you can be caught out by particularly thorny problems. A support system can provide you with a method for tackling the problem or access to others who might have experienced the problem before.
Another indicator is when job holders change frequently. When employee turnover is very high, the argument for training diminishes. Better to provide really excellent performance support which allows those who are new to do an acceptable job first time.
And then there are situations when there is simply no time for training. Better performance support than nothing.
Performance support is better when it’s learner-centred and agile
Obviously, it’s possible to determine requirements for performance support from the top-down – after all, managers have valuable insights into what would unlock performance in their areas of responsibility. But no-one knows better what would work in the real world than the people who are doing the job.
The best way to approach performance support is from the user’s perspective. Talk to employees; find out what challenges they face; get a feel for the contexts in which these challenges occur; ask employees what they feel would help them to overcome the challenge. They might say that they could really do with some training. More often than not, they’ll say they need a quick video, a checklist, a template, a fact sheet or a decision aid.
Don’t set about creating these resources as if each was a Hollywood production. You’ll save yourself a lot of time and trouble by working up a quick prototype and testing it in the field. Who knows? It may just be fine as it is. Typically, you’ll make some changes to take account of the feedback and put it back in the loop again. Performance support is best approached from an agile perspective.
I hope you feel inspired to make an impact with performance support in your organisation and that you’ll do this working alongside your users.
Who is responsible for learning transfer?
Is it L&D, or the line managers?
I have heard many people in L&D say something like this… “You asked for training; you got it. Job done. Our responsibility finishes at the end of the course. Learning transfer is not our responsibility.”
This attitude arises when L&D set themselves up as an order taker, as a shopkeeper. One tool which is commonly used by these shopkeepers is a traditional Learning Management System with its list of courses and events that people can book to attend. It’s like ordering something off an online shopping site where the seller is not involved in any way with how the product will be used. Some even have a background algorithm that says, “Other learners who attended this course also attended these other courses."
A common lament I hear among L&D people is the lack of access to the top table and a lack of involvement in top-level decision making. I often find that the people with this lament are the very same people who have the shopkeeper attitude. Think about it. Would you as a senior decision maker in an organisation want to have the head shopkeeper from a small peripheral department at your board table? Not likely.
So, start getting interested in how people are using your training courses, and why they order them in the first place. Assume that at least part of the process of learning transfer is your responsibility and notice how that shifts your thinking about your role as a trainer and as a course/programme designer. People want a training course to solve a problem they have. What is that problem? Become someone who solves problems for people rather someone who just sells stuff that might be a solution. If we are buying anything other than a commodity, we really appreciate the expertise of a salesperson who takes the time and effort to find out what problem we are trying to solve and then guides us to a viable solution.
And often management says it’s not their responsibility either. They say that their job is operational excellence, not staff development. “L&D should be doing staff development.”
There are two aspects to this. One is that most management role job descriptions include a section that states their responsibility for developing the members of their team. If the job description does not include this responsibility, it should. The second aspect, which they also cannot run away from, is that most of the learning that happens at work, happens on their watch in the general day to day workflow. The 70:20:10 learning model tells us this, and even a moment’s reflection also tells us this from our own experience of where we learned to do what we do at work.
What most managers don’t understand is that unbeknownst to them, they have superpowers. These powers manifest themselves every time the manager answers a question, delegates a task, has a conversation or has any other interaction with a team member. They also manifest when a team member observes how their manager interacts with anybody else either directly or in any other way. By their actions, the manager sets the mini-culture within the team to be accountable or not, to learn or not, to blame or not, to help or not, to experiment or not, to seek excellence or not, to serve customers or not, to go the extra mile or not. Employees look to their manager for a lead to understand what is rewarded and what is frowned upon.
Every manager has an immense effect on how their team functions and performs, and most of them don’t begin to comprehend the magnitude of their power. They are already ‘developing’ their team members to behave a certain way by being the manager they are, and they have far more power over developing/moulding team behaviour than L&D ever will. A manager cannot abdicate their input into staff development because it is already baked into their role. The question is whether they become aware of their power and use it consciously, or whether they remain unaware and use it haphazardly.
Extract from Paul's latest book Learning Transfer at Work: How to Ensure Training >> Performance available on Amazon and our website http://pal.gl/dx
A House by the Sea - Musings on Learning
This animation has been rescued from the archives. It was produced back in 2013 for a client project and then filed away but I think it deserves a wider airing. It uses storytelling to explore some of the most fundamental issues of teaching and learning. I hope you enjoy it.
Curating content for learning in 3 minutes
In a fast-changing world, it can be frustrating to be out of the loop. If you don’t have enough information – about the latest strategies, current best practice, changes in the market, the most exciting new tools and technologies, what people are thinking and doing – then it’s hard to do the best job possible.
On the other hand, with the myriad of new communication tools at our disposal, you can easily have too much information. You simply don’t have the time to sort through all the new content that’s fighting for your attention to find what’s really relevant.
This is where the content curator takes over, doing the hard work to save everyone else the trouble.
Is learning the right focus for L&D people?
The goal of the learning and development person is to help people learn. That makes sense doesn’t it? After all that is their job title.
But what does the organisation really need?
Organisations need more than people who just know lots. They need people who are capable of doing the jobs that the organisation needs to be done.
If you have the choice, which would you prefer; an employee who knows lots about the job, or an employee who is capable of doing the job?
Most people would opt for the capable employee. The worth of most employees to an organisation is based far more on their capability to do their job than on their knowledge of things relating to the job. Of course, part of capability is having the right knowledge, but it is only part.
My suggestion is that the role of anybody responsible for learning and development within an organisation needs to be much broader. It needs to encompass all that is needed to ensure that employees are capable at their point of work.
It is interesting to note that in a number of progressive businesses (for example Nestle, Tesco, Lloyds Bank) the role of Learning and Development Manager has been replaced with the role of Capability Manager. This is far more than just a change in job title. This change in emphasis on the role from learning to capability has quite a profound effect on how people in these roles do their job.
How would this change of role change your thinking?
What would happen within your organisation if someone is focused on ensuring that all employees are capable of doing the job they are employed to do?
I would bet that much more effort would be put into performance support. That is, making sure that employees have to hand the information and tools they need to get their jobs done. This would be apparent in better intranet resources that are easy to access and intensely practical. It would show up in the provision of simple job aids and crib sheets. People would be able to connect more quickly to experts to get immediate questions answered.
Beyond these ‘information’ based performance support aids, there would also be a focus on what is stopping people from getting the job done, what is stopping them being capable at the point of work. So many times people are unable to do their jobs well due to inadequate tools or dysfunctional systems. These operational issues are also part of the capability agenda.
So don’t just think learning as the answer to improving performance. Think capability.
NLP Logical Levels Of High Performing Teams
I am often asked, “What ways can you use NLP to create high performing Sales teams?”
When creating a high performing team or refining an existing team, it is important to go through the logical levels of high performance which was created by Robert Dilts.
Imagine you see your team as this high-performance garden. Green grass, rockery, brilliant colours, trees with deep roots that can withstand any weather, with consistent fruit produced from the tree, and a garden shed with the perfect tools to keep the garden working perfectly.
Now imagine your current garden is full of weeds, rotting bark, long overgrown grass, limited fruit, and is bland and grey in color, with no shed to keep your perfect tools in. I am sure you would agree that this is not the garden you want?
Logical levels allow you to go through the levels of high performance and identify blind spots, increase motivation and refine the skills that enable you to understand what high performance looks like, sounds like and feels like in your team. It enables you to create the exact garden you want to in order for your team to grow and flourish.Environment
Where and when are you most effective as a team? What environment does that look like, sound like and feel like?
Our external environment where we work, and where we live has a direct impact on our external behaviour and motivation. Consider that it is both ours and the team's environment that dictates our attitudes, behaviours, and motivation.
Imagine you are a gorilla in the jungle with all the other gorillas, you have trees to climb, fruit to eat and other gorillas on the same mission as you, with the same passion. They are all pushing you to be a better version of yourself. I am sure you can imagine how you and the team would flourish?
Now imagine you are a gorilla on your own in a desert in a dry and hot environment with no one to support you, limited water and limited food. I am sure you can imagine how demotivated you would be?
It is worth considering these questions when crafting or evaluating your sales team environment in order to make sure you all aligned.What is working in your environment? What is not working in your environment? What do you want instead? Behaviours
What are our standards? Where are we going? What will behaviors will take us there?
Remember, if we are disempowered or empowered it directly affects our physiology, our state and then our outer behaviours and therefore results.
What behaviours are we tolerating as a team? Who do we aspire to become, and what behaviours will enable this? The interesting thing is that behaviour is linked to our results as individuals, teams and towards our clients or customers.
Every behaviour is perfectly designed to get us a result, whether that's the one we want or the one we don't. You can usually tell everything you need to know about a team by looking at their behaviour. Pay attention, not to what people say, but what they do. The behaviour is either useful or not useful for the direction you are going.
When working to get the best out of a sales team, ask the following questions. When you ask these questions it is important to write down the first thing that comes to mind. If I asked for your email address how quickly would that come to you? That's right, that quickly. All change is unconscious, and those answers and insights create high performance.What do you do that’s working for you? What do you do that's not working for you? What don’t you do that's working for you? What don't you do that's not working for you? Skills and Capabilities
The level of skills and capabilities of the team are in direct proportion to the results you create.' As people may have skills and capabilities that are not being put to use, Or those skills need to increase to deliver the results you need.
The interesting thing is that most teams focus on what they are not very good at? Why? Because that is what everyone else does. It's important to look at your aspirations both as a team and individually. What strengths do you already have? And if you developed your strengths, which ones will accelerate performance? Where are your opportunities for skill and capability development? Skill and capability development must be part of the workflow. Coaching, small workshops, team meetings, and webinars must be consistent to enable your team's skills to be honed.What skills and capabilities do you do well? Where are your aspirations, and what skills will get you there? What skills and capabilities do you want to develop? What are your strengths and how do you hone those? Beliefs and Values
Our individual beliefs are so important and whether you think you can, or you think you can't, you're right. Most limiting beliefs are learned and they are designed to keep you safe. This is great if you are wrestling a tiger in a jungle. Not so useful if you are trying to hit a sales target.
When you have a limiting belief it is always worth reframing it. “I can’t” What would happen if you could? “I am not confident” In what ways could you be trusting yourself” Remember beliefs either empower or disempower. Sales is almost like a pro sport, and what do they do? The warm-up before training and games to get into peak state and go above feelings because that's where performance is.What beliefs would empower you daily? What beliefs do you hold that are not useful? What would be some more useful beliefs?
Our personal values and team values provide motivation and drive. If one of your team is not performing there could be a values misalignment. What values do the best salespeople hold? What values does your underperformer hold? What's the gap?
The reality is that everyone has different values and it is important to respect that. What are the collective team values, and are they in alignment with where you are going? If your team's values are misaligned with your customers or clients values then this can cause conflict and you will get results that are not useful.
Here are some questions to ask to ensure high motivation and alignment. Elicit these values and build your team around them.What's important to you about your customers or clients? What's important to them specifically? What's important to you as a team? What's important to you personally? I what ways can you satisfy your values? Identity And Purpose
What the one north star you are all aiming towards, what’s your highest purpose as a team?
Our purpose has to be so big that it would take a lifetime to get there. This will drive a huge amount of motivation, and who you become in the process would be far greater than who you are now.
Remember that without purpose and direction nothing happens. It' your purpose that enables you to go the extra mile for each other, for your customer, and clients.What purpose do you stand for? Who are you that's more than your role? What's the one mission you are all on? What the highest intention of your work?
You have just learned Robert Dilts logical levels and how to apply this to create a high performing sales teams. It's important to work on all levels of your team garden, from the roots all the way up to the fruit.
Your perfect garden starts with environment, behaviours, skills, beliefs, values and your purpose. Get your team into a room and place the questions on flip charts and spend 2 hours answering the questions in this article. Then agree on next steps in each area and be accountable for the change, bring this to life.
When you have any questions please get in contact.
Journeys, not just workshops. making the most of 70:20:10
It’s time to get a bit more creative with these well-known numbers.
We’ve come a long way since the days of once in a career ‘everything you need to know about leadership’ retreats, enter-trainers, and imitation leather-bound manuals (We all have them!). However many organisations are still playing lip-service to the 70:20:10 philosophy of working and learning.
(If you’re not familiar with the research, 70:20:10 is the work of Morgan McCall and the Centre for Creative Leadership. In short, they found 70% of learning comes from on the job experience and 20% from relationships with significant others. Just 10% is down to formal learning interventions such as training events and workshops.)
If anything, most organisations are adopting more of a 10:20:70 philosophy. In other words:Attend the workshop (The 10%) Have a de-brief with your line manager (The 20%) Hope to put your new skills and knowledge into practice through your day to day work (The 70%)
This is just lazy learning – turn up, stay awake, and ‘get developed’.
To me it leaves a lot to chance and wastes a huge opportunity. If we adopt a learning ‘journey’ mindset, maybe we can make the most of the informal learning that takes place outside the classroom, in order to maximise the formal learning in it.
They say a picture paints a thousand words, so here it is.
A learning journey starts way before the workshop. And not just through optional pre-reading or watching the odd Ted Talk. It involves real, purposeful discovery activity, linking subject matter to the individual’s role and team, and gives learners the opportunity to explore, experiment, and create stretch before they enter the room. This is learning through doing.
Imagine a world where learners arrive with a head already full of learning, eager to share insights, challenge their thinking further, and develop new ideas. Now you can really hit the ground running.
The coming together part now becomes more about sense-making than imparting new knowledge. More about sharing and collaborating than passive listening. And when leaders share their insights with peers, coaches and mentors before, during and after, the 20% comes into play in the right way, at the right time.
Now, having made sense of what we’ve learned, we can turn Insight into Action – with more purposeful, meaningful activities, initiatives, and team conversations. If planned well, these become not just the follow up activity for one learning event, but the forerunner for the next.
70:20:10 isn’t a linear thing, it’s a framework for continuous learning, a framework for a learning journey.
It takes effort yes, on the side of both the learning designer and the learner. However it also makes the vital difference between transactional and transformational learning experiences.
Think journeys, not just workshops for 2019.
Leadership is different now.
Remember the world is changing at a supersonic speed, and if you are not developing in accordance with this, you and your team may get left behind.
Over time your team becomes a reflection of you, so your attitudes and actions matter.
If you want your team to achieve, develop, become leaders and create a high performing winning culture, you must start with YOU.
Here are some insights to transforming your team!Collective North Star
What’s the one mission and vision you are all working towards? Is it empowering and does it create motivation and results?
Does it embody everyone’s beliefs and values? If it only embodies what you believe, people won’t work as hard and they will be resistant.
When it embodies what they believe and value they will dig deeper for that, and feel empowered along the journey, almost like they are working towards a cause bigger than themselves.Individual motivators
What really motivates your team individually? If you think its money for all, then you could be wrong and could be trying to motivate people with tactics that are not effective.
Everyone has a unique motivation, and the best leaders understand what motivates their people and design an ENVIRONMENT to motivate people to deliver results important to them. It’s the environment that people work in that either disempowers them or empowers them.
Leaders also understand how to change their approach to get the best out of others. Some team members may need encouragement, a push in the right direction, a pull, they may need empowering, they may need someone to talk to, and someone to say it how it is, or someone that leads by example.
Achievement, development, money, recognition, progression, excellence, empowerment, trust, acknowledgment, family, security, stability and reward are all things that could MOTIVATE your team. Do you really know what motivates your team?Leverage individual strengths
I think this image says it all. If you focus all your time telling people the things they are not good at, this creates burnout. Remember you hire people for their strengths, why are you not leveraging them? All great teams recognize their strengths and how to leverage them.
Create coaching sessions and workshops to identify your team’s strengths and then give them tasks and projects which capitalize on them. Imagine a large team all driving their strengths to deliver results. The reality is that strengths come naturally to most people, so there is less resistance, more motivation, enjoyment and an increase in performance. This is one of the secrets to high performance.Create a team of leaders
Give your team projects which capitalize on their strengths, and also projects which would help them grow into the leaders you know they are capable of. Your team may fear certain things where there could be an opportunity. Encourage them to confront certain fears as this is where the gold can be hidden.
If you know that one of your team members has a skill for something, empower and enable them to run a project or coach other team members on this. This will develop their leadership skills and you won’t be the only voice. GREAT leaders lead from the back and watch their team flourish. If you can develop a team of leaders, this will strengthen the unit. People will step up when needed.Push peoples comfort zones
Remember complacency can impact your results and team morale. Empower and enable your team to set big goals and have big aspirations. Realize that it is being able to push the comfort zone of what is possible that delivers results. This creates resilient and solution-focused team members. Is your team settling for the norm? Where are your opportunities to push the norm and challenge the status quo?
The crucial thing is when your team are being pushed and challenged, you must be the COOL head. You must be able to think clearly under pressure, as this is where a good coach comes in. Are you a calming influence? How do you shield your team from the pressures? How do you enable them to flourish in times of challenge? Do they have the skills to push their comfort zone and deliver results? Remember that when your emotions are high, your logical problem solving is low. If you are calm, then you stand a much greater chance of a successful outcome.Lead the coaching culture
The reality is you must develop as a coach. It should be a number one priority. If you give a man or woman a fish they will eat for a day (telling) If you teach and man or woman to fish they will eat for a lifetime (coaching).
This approach will be a reoccurring investment and people will become more solution focused. They will be able to peer to peer coach, they will develop more resilience, accountability, and results.
You must lead this, as for your team to believe in coaching, it must come from the leadership, and that’s you. How many hours per month do you spend coaching?
How many hours per month do you spend telling? Remember that people believe what comes out of their mouth, so if you can enable people to find the solutions themselves this drives accountability. If your team struggles with accountability, its time you became a good coach. Don’t can go half in or half out, you must commit to coaching mastery and your team will excel.Authenticity creates transformation
Are you pretending to be someone you are not? Because leadership should not be about titles. This would be about one person influencing another.
Surrender your ego when you have a team, it’s not about you anymore. Do you come into work and think because you are the manager or leader you have to act a certain way? Remember that the elephant in the room only causes fear and anxiety. You are responsible for clearing the air.
The ability to be authentic to your team creates a connection, an open culture, transformation and enthusiasm. You will find more people come to you for support, coaching and you will identify challenges you didn’t know were there. This will strengthen the teams bond and deliver an increase in performance.
Remember the team can sense when someone isn’t telling the truth and this creates resistance. The key is to be who you are outside of work and be that person inside work. Giving honest and open feedback is crucial and showing you are human.
Don’t forget who you are and what makes you great. Create an environment that you love. What motivates you? Does your environment embody that? What small changes could you make now?Accountability is crucial
Do you have advocates in your team? This is crucial for driving accountability as in time, people will self-coach. Create leagues and challenges to drive accountability, and ensure you check in with people on their progress.
Ensure you have advocates of your plans and ensure they are also driving team accountability.
They key here is also delivering what you promised. Become a leader of good values and be them consistently. What values do you hold as a leader? And are you consistently being them? Do you practice what you preach?
Coaching and Mentoring – why the difference matters; by Helen Caton Hughes
I was privileged to attend a conference on mentoring in dentistry last weekend with some great speakers. It was particularly interesting to be reminded of the history of coaching and mentoring and where those terms originated.
It also led me to reflect on why Coaching has become the go-to personal and team development tool – for individuals and organisations - particularly at times of change.
To quote a recent study commissioned by the International Coach Federation: “Using coaching to lead an agile culture is correlated with greater confidence in employees’ capabilities in planning and executing change.”The coaching/mentoring back story
‘Mentoring’ is a term that’s over 3,200 years old. It refers to the wisdom and advice given from an uncle (Mentor) to his nephew Telemachus, the son of Odysseus. The words of wisdom include telling Telemachus it’s time to grow up. The practical advice addresses how he is going to achieve his goal of finding his father.
Coaching has a shorter history. It originates from C19th students' need to get through their exams at the end of a fun-packed university experience: strong on practical help and low on the wisdom of needing to grow up.
The turning point for Coaching came in the mid-twentieth century. Franz Stampfl MBE pioneered interval training and coached Roger Bannister to his four-minute mile. It’s been associated with high-performance results ever since."Strong coaching cultures are more than twice as likely to be high-performing organizations."
Along came Timothy Gallwey in the early 1970s who made a bridge between high-performance athletics and workplace achievements; and the link between external success and internal shifts, through his ‘Inner Game’ work.
My own coaching story started when Gallwey first came to the UK. I attended a training where we worked in pairs, listened to each other and discovered the previously-invisible gremlins sitting on our shoulders.
It wasn’t called ‘coaching’ back then, but the collaboration between Gallwey and the late Sir John Whitmore, was certainly the birth of the £/$multi-billion profession that we see today used by the world’s top leaders, executives and managers.
According to the ICF/HCI report, "strong coaching cultures are more than twice as likely to be high-performing organizations".So what’s the big deal about the differences?
My own theory about the rise and rise of coaching is based on three key shifts:Self-directed learning Clear leadership behaviours The need for collaboration From teaching to learning
The shift away from 'teaching' is still not yet fully recognised in the education field.
In my schooldays teachers had books. We had books too. We read the books. We learned what they said. We repeated that back in our exams.You got high marks for ‘being right’ You were marked down for being ‘wrong’ You were told 'copying' was 'cheating'
Now we live in a world where the knowledge, facts and information are at everyone’s fingertips. Books are lovely; but you don’t need them.
The ability to access information shifts learning to the learner. It requires an internal locus of control. It empowers the individual.
But only if the learner understands the essentials about discovering facts, holding opinions, drawing conclusions and taking decisions.
There's an attitudinal shift to self-directed learning, as well as a practical one.
It’s a whole new paradigm – where the teacher becomes facilitator, sometimes mentor, and also a coach.The shift from management to leadership
At school I was told what to do. At work the same happened. The workload came in; supervisors and managers shared it out.
It was predictable; we knew what to do and when to do it by. It was a jigsaw puzzle where you found the edges, then used the line between the earth and sky to fill in the middle bits.
In today’s world predictability is out and volatility is in. Jigsaw puzzles are out. Complex problems abound.
In the workplace this requires a different kind of leadership. Individual leader need a strong sense of internal locus of control, not the old-style externally-focused‘command and control’.
Leaders need vision because they need to know and share where they’re going. And where they’re taking the team. The 'what' or 'where'.
They need to feel connected to their own values (part of the internal locus of control), so that when they share their vision they also share its importance. The ‘why’.
Leaders need to know what behaviours are expected of them. We’ve covered the thinking cluster of leadership behaviours, but there’s also the need to inspire others, through that vision.
That means significantly better communication skills, through building other peoples’ confidence, as well as their own. Not just imparting information.
And this is where coaching comes in.
A mentor can tell you how they built their own confidence, or how to present well. But unless the leader or manager internalises that expertise, it only resides at a superficial ‘how to’ level. The 'who'.
A good coach supports leaders to become that inspiring speaker, not telling them what to do (because they know that bit); rather by drawing out their innate skills, strengths and expertise.The shift from personal success to collaboration
Today’s world requires collaborating across traditional boundaries. The lines between departments, industries or sectors are increasingly blurred.A biologist runs a university computing department Healthcare services are delivered through public, private and charitable sector partnerships New product design teams work with market research departments to develop and launch new products
Collaboration is needed everywhere. Because change is everywhere. Another role of leaders is to involve people, so that they can collaborate.
'Copying' becomes learning from 'best practice'; benchmarks help you identify 'world class' and emulate those standards in your organisation.
Line management is out; matrix management is here; and the even lighter-weight agile or SCRUM management methods are just around the corner.And where does coaching fit into that?
It can be challenging to collaborate. It takes courage and assertiveness.
Especially if someone hogs the credit for your ideas. Or takes them and leaves you out of the team.
Today’s leadership requires respect and trust for these methods to be successful in times of change and uncertainty. Coaching supports people to model and practice these behaviours, and to assert these expectations from others.
To quote from the ICF/HCI 2018 report: "Addressing leadership style, strengths and blind spots; overcoming resistance; building resilience and change readiness; and finding processes and tools are the most frequently cited reasons for using coaching activities for change management."
This isn’t to dismiss mentoring, by the way. Not at all.
I completely value the insights and advice from my business mentor. I get the equivalent of “it’s time to grow up” and the practical advice on how to deal with specific problems. But while mentoring gets me over the hurdles and helps me fill in the jigsaw puzzle that is our business plan, coaching develops my inner game. It gives me the courage to address the challenges; the power to lead by making others powerful; to take feedback; and the determination to ensure our business succeeds in today’s volatile and uncertain world.
About the author: Helen is a multi-disciplinary author, leadership consultant and coach, founder of the Forton Group of Companiesdelivering leadership, coaching and mentoring qualification programmes internationally.
 “Building a coaching culture for change management” September 2018, publ. HCI and ICF,
IBM and LEADx launch executive coach Amanda
Interesting collaboration between IBM and LEADx launch the world’s first AI-powered executive coach. Finally, you can provide personalized coaching and leadership development at scale - are you already using eCoaching in any shape or form?
This is Interesting!
Really makes you think!
What stops people being capable?
Capability is a slippery concept.
For some time now I have been discussing capability with people in HR, people in L&D, and people with chief executive responsibilities in both the public and private sectors. What I have found remarkable is the lack of consistency in how people use the word capability.
Given that any organisation has a purpose - and achieving that purpose is dependent on the people in the organisation being capable of doing all the tasks that need to be done - I would have thought that capability would be so fundamental to success that people would have a handle on it. Or at least the successful people would.
In fact, I have been surprised at how little focus people put on capability in most organisations.
What is even more interesting is how surprised they are when this is pointed out to them. I often do a little thought experiment with them, and it goes like this.
Imagine you are the chief executive of a new business, and I am supplying a team of people to you to work in the business. I give you a choice of two different teams. Team 1 is welleducated. The members have been on lots of training courses, and they know lots of stuff.
Team 2 is capable of doing the work that needs to be done in your new business. Which team would you choose for your business?
99 per cent of people I ask this choose the capable team. We seem to know that in the moment when the job needs to be done, capability to do the task counts far more for business success than any amount of formal learning. If capability is so important, what is it? How can we define it? How can we measure it? And how do we need to understand it so that we can improve it?
Find out the answers and the components of capability. Do you agree? Do you have different suggestins?
How Innovative are your Talent Development Solutions?
My biggest take-away from the annual Association for Talent Development (ATD) conference and exposition in San Diego was the focus on innovative, technology-based learning solutions. On the expo floor and in numerous sessions, attendees heard about exciting new developments using technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Chat Bots, SimBots, Virtual Reality, Business Simulations, and Augmented Reality.
But how much actual disruption and innovation is actually occurring in learning today? To give us insight into this question, Advantexe conducted a survey of visitors to our booth.
The Survey Matrix
We built a Learning Innovation Matrix (LIM) along two axes: traditional learning solutions to innovative learning solutions, and live delivery to virtual delivery. The four quadrants are:Innovative/Live – New solutions being incorporated into live learning events (example: improvisational role plays with professional actors playing prescribed roles) Traditional/Live – Conventional in-person learning events (example: instructor-led classroom event using printed materials and/or slides) Innovative/Digital – New learning leveraging virtual delivery mechanisms (examples: Artificial Intelligence and Virtual Reality) Traditional/Digital – Conventional learning modalities leveraging virtual delivery mechanisms (example: webinar)
The illustration below shows how we populated the LIM with a variety of learning solutions along these axes, coding each in terms of its cost.
In our booth at ATD we asked more than 70 people these two matrix-specific questions:In general, in what quadrant would you place your company right now? In what quadrant is your company likely to be in the next five years?
We also asked:What barriers need to be removed to allow your company to be more innovative?
The Survey Results
Question 1 – In general, in what quadrant would you place your company right now?
Given all the expo’s buzz about innovation in learning, I was somewhat surprised with the results of this question. Over 80% of responders work in companies that deliver traditional training.44% provide only live, classroom learning 36% provide traditional learning using basic digital delivery tools such as eLearning and webinar Only 19% felt their companies currently provide innovative learning solutions
Question 2 - In what quadrant is your company likely to be in the next five years?
While much of today’s cutting-edge technology is new and unverified, we assume it will become more familiar and proven over the next five years so we expected to see a pretty drastic change in the responses to question 2. The data supports this assumption.Our respondents predicted a significant reduction of traditional/live training, assuming it will decline from 44% (current state) to 18% (five years from now) Much of that shift is predicted to go to digital delivery: Innovative Training/Digital Delivery – is expected to increase from 13% to 29% Traditional/Digital – is expected to rise from 36% to 40% Innovative Training/Live Delivery – is expected to grow from 7% to 13% 42% of respondents said that in five years their companies would be offering innovative solutions, a significant uptick from the 19% that are currently providing such solutions
In general, we heard a lot of enthusiasm for innovation in learning. Responders said things like“I see digital delivery tools giving us the flexibility to have learning on demand vs. waiting for the next time the course is offered in six months or a year.” “I’m looking forward to using artificial intelligence and other new technology to really make training come alive and be more sticky.” “My company is global. Innovative learning should help us to work together across geographies much more efficiently and create a truly common culture.”
Barriers to Innovation in Learning
Given this level of enthusiasm, and the reality that disruptive innovation in learning is here to stay, we asked, “What barriers need to be removed to allow your company to be more innovative?” There were four consistent responses:Security – The biggest concern about moving to digital and innovative solutions is security of data. Responders indicated that for every learning solution involving digital delivery, their IT and/or Risk functions request reams of information and special testing to ensure the associated data is secure. These functions also require an unprecedented level of data security verification from external learning vendors, to the point where some vendors are increasing their fees to cover the extra administrative work involved with security compliance. “Technology will not work” – Some responders said that while they thought many of the new technologies are “cool,” they are not sure the technologies will work, or will fit their organization. “Unless someone figures out how to overcome the challenges of awkward goggles that have to be sanitized between each use, things like virtual reality will never happen.” “Augmented reality seems cool, but it is really hard to implement. None of the apps that play the AR solutions are standardized.” User Readiness for technology-based learning – Responders expressed a concern that most people still like to learn face to face. Despite the opportunities presented by immersive technologies, responders worried that they will not be readily adopted because of learners’ reluctance to interact with “robots.” Cost – While many responders recognized that costs of innovative solutions are high because they leverage new technologies, they were not convinced that costs will come down anytime soon.
At ATD we clearly heard that companies are struggling to make the leap to digital and innovative learning solutions. At the same time, most learning professionals we spoke to were excited about the possibilities new technologies bring to the talent development space. As an organization that focuses on innovation in talent development, we at Advantexe see the enormous potential of integrating workstreams with learning tools and Artificial Intelligence to create individualized learning journeys available on-demand. We’re excited about leveraging technology to achieve the elusive “holy grail” of learning: proving the business impact of training.
Advantexe Learning Solutions is an award-winning, global, training and performance improvement organization specializing in Business A...en, Business Leadership, and Strategic Business Selling using computer-based business simulations as the catalyst for learning.
We partner with you to build the skills your professionals, managers and leaders need to execute their business strategies and achieve improved business results for your organization. Advantexe provides your organization with integrated learning journeys that incorporate adult learning methodologies and a learn-by-doing approach to ensure a continuous learning environment that enhances retention, encourages immediate real-world application, and maximizes your return on training investment. Our learning toolkit includes skills assessment simulations, dynamic learning engagements, and reinforcement tools to produce a measurable impact on your business.
181 Inspirational Quotes for Leaders of Growing Businesses
(This article was first published on our Coachical blog: https://coachical.com/inspirational-quotes-for-leaders/)
If you’re looking to grow your business, it is important to stay motivated and keep an open mind. Inspiration is the first step to success. We’ve brought together a variety of quotes from business leaders, gurus, change agents and other great minds to help inspire you to grow your business and achieve even greater levels of success.
On our blog you can filter the quotes by different topic areas, by year and we have also selected our favourites. To all explore all 181 using these filters go to https://coachical.com/inspirational-quotes-for-leaders/
But here are our favourites:
“A leader...is like a shepherd. He stays behind the flock, letting the most nimble go out ahead, whereupon the others follow, not realizing that all along they are being directed from behind.” – Nelson Mandela
“A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves.” – Laozi
“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” – John Quincy Adams
“What helps people, helps business” – Leo Burnett
“Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.” – Winston Churchill
“A man who wants to lead the orchestra must turn his back on the crowd.” – Max Lucado
“The key to successful leadership is influence, not authority.” – Kenneth H. Blanchard
“Don’t be intimidated by what you don’t know. That can be your greatest strength and ensure that you do things differently from everyone else.” – Sara Blakely
“Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren't used to an environment where excellence is expected.” – Steve Jobs
“The most important job you have is growing your people, giving them a chance to reach their dreams.” – Jack Welch
“Leadership is about taking responsibility, not making excuses.” – Mitt Romney
“Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.” – John F. Kennedy
“Successful leaders see the opportunities in every difficulty rather than the difficulty in every opportunity.” – Reed Markham
“Don’t find the fault, find the remedy.” – Henry Ford
“Good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision, and relentlessly drive it to completion.” – Jack Welch
“A leader takes people where they would never go on their own.” – Hans Finzel
“Leadership is a choice not a position.” – Stephen Covey
“Leaders think and talk about the solutions. Followers think and talk about the problems.” – Brian Tracy
“A leader is someone who demonstrates what’s possible.” – Mark Yarnell
“Leadership is not about titles, positions or flowcharts. It is about one life influencing another.” – John Maxwell
“Change will not come if we wait for some other person, or if we wait for some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” – Barack Obama
“A good leader is a person who takes a little more than his share of the blame and a little less than his share of the credit.” – John Maxwell
“The very essence of leadership is that you have to have vision. You can't blow an uncertain trumpet.” – Theodore M. Hesburgh
“The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one that gets the people to do the greatest things.” – Ronald Reagan
“Average leaders raise the bar on themselves; good leaders raise the bar for others; great leaders inspire others to raise their own bar.” – Orrin Woodward
“The quickest way to grow the sales of your business is to grow your people.” – Robin Sharma
Think we’ve missed an epic and inspiring quote? Check out our full list at https://coachical.com/inspirational-quotes-for-leaders/ or do comment your favouirte quotes.
Digital Learning Glossary – What does it all mean?A Glossary of frequently used terms for those outside the online learning bubble
(For the full glossary, to ask a question or add your comments please visit https://coachical.com/digital-learning-glossary/)
Digital learning solutions have enriched the way we learn and opened up new opportunities to enhance or, in some cases, to replace the more traditional course/classroom-based approach.
Due to its accessibility, ease of use, visual appeal and mass-scalability, it’s easy to see why digital learning is becoming a popular choice for many employers.
The different options available are hugely diverse. To those outside the online learning industry (and even some with extensive experience) it can be difficult to work out what the key difference is between different types of digital learning and what particular terms refer to.
Here we provide a glossary of some key terms for those outside the digital learning bubble.
If you come across another term you’re unsure of, please add it in the comments section and we’ll provide you with a simple definition. Or if we’re unsure… we’ll ask the wider community for you.
Beginning with digital learning itself… digital learning is any type of learning that uses digital technology and enables learners to gain knowledge and skills. This encompasses a variety of ‘online’ solutions.
Here are some other terms that typically come under the banner of digital learning. Though this is by no means an exhaustive list:Blended/hybrid learning Mobile learning Mobile apps E-learning E-books Gamified Learning / Gamification Computer-based training
On our website we provide a basic definition for each... check it out here: https://coachical.com/digital-learning-glossary/
Have you come across a term you would like us to explain for you? Ask us on our website.
There is a strong link between leadership and learning...
Good leaders inspire learning, but not because they talk about learning. They inspire and engage, and people respond by following. In order to follow, people take action. In order to take action, people will learn what they need to learn.
Think of a time you really wanted to do something new. What did you do?
You took action and did anything you needed to do to achieve your goal. And almost certainly you needed to do new things, or do things differently. And that means you had to figure out how to do them. You had to learn something new because you were inspired to achieve a goal.
Learning in adults tends to be a goal-oriented process, particularly in the workplace. we do things for a reason, including learning. If there is no goal, no desire to participate, no engagement, then learning dies. If training is delivered that does not relate to a present goal, the learning is not received. You can’t teach someone something they feel they don’t need.
In this way there is an obvious impact of leadership on learning via the mechanisms of inspiration and engagement. What about the other way round? Does learning have an impact on leadership?
When people learn new things in order to pursue a goal, and it makes the pursuit of that goal easier, the goal seems closer and more attainable. A goal that you can reach out and almost touch is more motivating than one that seems impossible because you just can’t imagine ever being able to do it.
So, it is important to make learning available to people as and when they need it in order to follow a leader. Doing so makes the leader’s job so much easier, and their goals so much more attainable.
If you would like to find out more about the link between Leadership and Learning and how leadership programmes can fail, download our Best Practice Guide by Paul Matthews here.
It doesn't have to cost a lot... but it does require a focus.
I joined my current organisation a couple of years ago. I was asked to look into our exisiting learning technology and build a strategy for improvement. At the time, we had an LMS, an aging e-learning authoring tool, and an assessment tool. We also spent lavishly on content providers, more 'portals' than I can count, but were bemoaining our inability to utilise the latest silver bullet (video), and were looking to purchase more Learning Experience Systems. Every other day I was being asked to fix, buy, create, implement.
You can probably imagine that the underlying architectures were a bit of a mess; that there was plethora of interfaces and data feeds that needed regular upkeep, that there was a mound of un-used, hidden content, and that there was an inordinate amount of meaningless data hidden in the depths of the LMS.
So... what to do? Create.
I set a very simple strategy; let's stop buying, and lets start investigating what we already have, lets maximise our already considerable spend, lets improve our relationships and leverage our vendor support mechanisms, and lets focus on one or two new delviery channels that we know will work within our systems architecutre, and simultaneiously improve our strategic offering.
So... after 18 months, where did that get us?Well our LMS is now the top app within the organisation. We erradicated the need for end users to 'search' the LMS to find content. Content is now directly acesisble from anywhere within our network (our comms department liked that one). We improved the quality and effectiveness of our elearning, as well as reduced production time (it used to take 25 days to produce a course, now it takes 5). We've also increased our capacity to design digital assets too. We enabled podcasting, and embedded 'user generated' and 'micro' concepts and solutions. ... a stable ViLT platform, and have re-written our ... to ... 'delivery shedule' resulting in easy access to training as well as increase in all quality measures, and decrease in training costs. We employed blended designs to reduce training time from 18 weeks to 8 weeks (with an uplift in output) ... a powerful instructional design metholodgy that engages even senior stakeholder We use social learning We build interactive microsites in an afternoon, and update them regularly based on user feedback We measure engagement, qualiity and impact and are currently working on ROI/ROE We have a very passionate and digitally literate L&D team
So... how much did this cost... in fact, not a 'lot'. The technology was already there, it just need understanding, a touch of optimisation, a bit of design thinking, and a smidge of relationship building.
So... what's next? A little investment is needed for the next step; implementing AI, Playlists, Full VILT integration, perhaps a content revision, and a complete re-fresh of our competency approach.
Do reach out if you like to talk modern organisational learning.
Practical Systems Thinking in L&D
Hi All - I'm very interested in systems thinking, particuarlly the practical application of models and ideas as they relate to L&D. I'd be really interested in connecting with others for discussion and sharing - reach out
Rules, Roles & Ethics in a Training Workshop
Having had some time during the quieter summer Corporate training period I’ve been reflecting on some of the potential challenges when considering rules, roles and ethics in the selection and use of experiential learning activities and replaying some of the conversations we’ve had on this topic.Activity Selection – as a Training Workshop designer, the choice of activity can represent not only the learning you want your delegates to achieve, or the behavioural changes you want them to rehearse, but also your role as a ‘leader’, reflecting their organisation values & culture. This was raised in an article in January by Roger Greenaway on using the well known 'Helium Stick' exercise. See Roger's Monthly Newsletter . I know this is a very popular ice-breaker or opening exercise for many trainers and can be slotted into any group or team programme without thinking through the consequences - which as Roger quite rightly points out can include ‘a claimed success (by the group and the facilitator) that almost certainly depends on foul play or on low awareness or on poor observation.’ At what point do the potential unintended consequences of using an activity outweigh the intended consequences?
If selecting an exercise where insufficient materials or resources are initially given to group, yet they are asked to solve a problem, is that an acceptable way to encourage them to ‘be creative’, or does it reflect a culture where poorly crafted objectives are the norm, and leaders expect colleagues to do high quality work with inadequate tools?
See https://shop.rsvpdesign.co.uk/helium-stick-with-facilitation-notes to purchase this activity. Roles – as a Training Workshop Leader there is a tacit or explicit assumption that you are in a Leadership role, whether or not you see your principal role as a facilitator of learning. It always surprises me when I bring our experiential learning activities to groups of trainers to experience them, and they say things like ’he probably hasn’t told us everything’, or ‘that material is likely to be a red herring’ or ‘this is probably impossible’. I wonder what their experience is that they should immediately distrust the Training Workshop Leader? Perhaps there is too much use, selection and creation of experiential activities where the task activities are such that the leadership role played by the facilitator or trainer is that of someone who knows they are asking a group to do something that can’t be done? At best this is insincere and at worst it is a poor leadership role model. Rules – many participants will react when told activity rules include ‘wearing a blindfold', or ‘not speaking to anyone’, or ‘not sharing information with others’, by saying things such as ‘this rule makes no sense’, or ‘why should I obey a rule in a silly game?’ A poor response from a Training Workshop Leader would include ‘Well that’s the rules of this game so please abide by them!’. A better response might be ‘How are people in this organisation decide which rules to follow? Is every rule automatically followed or are some bent or broken, and if so, who decides?’, or perhaps ‘This is not designed to be a simulation where the task is very similar to your job role. It is a learning process where you have the opportunity to experience some learning in an unfamiliar situation. The rules reflect some constraints which are similar to those in real life, and therefore as in real life, we hope you will treat them as important rules that reflect things such as Health & Safety, or Corporate Compliance’. As leaders, I think either the Training Workshop Leader has to model an organisational culture where rules are important and should be followed, or to clarify why and where it might be appropriate not to. However, rules should reflect metaphors for some real-life constraints and not simply to make an activity more challenging or interesting. Ethics – sometimes there will be a ‘trick’ or an answer to an activity that if revealed too early, may make the learning impact less effective for individuals or a group. I think care has to be taken on how to choose and apply such activities following some of the issues discussed earlier. So while it might be ethically acceptable for a leader to ask someone to do a task, (for learning or coaching purposes), knowing they could help them by telling them the answer, it is less acceptable for a leader to ask someone to complete something that cannot be done. For example, an activity was described to me where the participants were asked to complete a jigsaw with an incomplete set of pieces provided; and another suggested deliberately making a change in a task without the knowledge of the participants, so that it became unachievable (under the guise of getting participants to react to ‘change’). I find both these approaches lack a basic code of leadership ethics and I would not want to put myself in the position of deliberately misleading a group. Perhaps in the first activity if say all the pieces were available but perhaps spread amongst different sub-groups, then that could be an acceptable design, and in the second, if it was incumbent to regularly check that conditions haven’t changed, then that might also be acceptable - but I suspect I would still take another approach to experiencing the ‘change’ process!
I’d love to hear other’s views on these areas – here at RSVP Design we try not to design, supply or use any activity in our catalogue that might fail our reflected leadership role or ethics guidance as listed above.
We think it’s important.
Pipe dreams - Are your forecasts wishful thinking?
Sales people are generally optimists – you’ve got to be. It’s a tough gig and even the best are likely to fail twice in every three attempts. In fact, it’s the only profession where you can fail more than you succeed and still become a super success. Not a luxury open to brain surgeons or pilots!Unquenchable optimisim and sales forecasting
Sometimes our unquenchable optimism gets in the way, or at least confuses us and others. Sales forecasting and opportunity management is a perennial problem for many organizations. In the 90s CRM specialists convinced the corporate world that they had the answer and the introduction of expensive, feature rich systems would solve all the problems. Yet, here we are, three decades on and ExCos are still pulling their hair out because pipeline does not turn into revenue.
What’s the problem?A reluctance to disappoint? Lack of realism? Poor opportunities?
The list could go on. The reality is that individual sales skill must be underpinned by practical tools which manage the quantity, direction and quality of sales activity. Sales people need to be doing enough of the right things in front of the right prospects in the right way to succeed. A £6m sales pipe to cover a 1.5m delta is great but, not in November when your prospect to order cycle is four months long.Are you identifying the right stakeholders?
Leaving stale opportunities in the pipe to inflate it, not identifing the right stakeholders in the decision making process, failing to identify if the prospect actually has a budget or even a need are some of the many reasons why many sales forecasts are simply pipe dreams.
When you understand how to manage individual and team level QDQ (Quantity, Direction and Quality) of sales activity the dreams become reality. You cannot manage result but you can manage the activity which creates the result.
Coachical - A New Digital Coaching Tool
In this video, Bigrock Client Director Jon Luckett gives an interview about our new digital coaching tool and the benefits it offers learners and business leaders alike.
We would love to recieve some feedback from the industry and invite readers to take try a Coachical topic (just £60 +VAT and you get a load of online learning content too)
See the video transcript and accompanying blog post here: https://coachical.com/an-introduction-to-coachical-an-interview-with-jon-luckett/
Is mobile learning the de facto standard for learning at work?
What’s the first thing anyone does when they want to learn about something these days? They pull out their mobiles and look it up on Google, Wikipedia or YouTube. Easy!
Mobiles are now ubiquitous. Whether in the office, out on the road or at home, we get all our information from them. Organisations are increasingly realising that mobile learning is the best and most cost-effective way to educate and train their employees. To put it another way, mobiles provide the lowest cost solution for accessing the greatest quantity of knowledge. It’s fast and flexible.
A well-designed mobile learning module is fast as well as flexible. It can be accessed from almost anywhere in the world and won’t take up as much of the learner’s valuable time. Rather than having to be in a certain place at a certain time to receive training, learners can access their learning while on a train or sitting in a hotel room.
We know from the Agylia Learning Technology Research Project that people don’t generally sit at their office desks to learn - 76% of them areout of the office and 66% complete their modules at home. It seems that, when learning is easily accessible, useful and enjoyable, people are quite happy to study and complete tasks outside working hours and in any free time during the day.
This flexibility has led to a rapid growth in microlearning, a training technique which has benefitted enormously from the advent of smartphones and vice versa. Microlearning delivers teaching programmes in small, specific bursts that learners can access wherever and whenever they want. It holds great appeal for staff and companies alike. According to a recent Association for Talent Development (ATD) study, 92% of learning professionals expect their organisations to increase their investment in it this year.
Microlearning is a perfect fit for the way we use our mobile devices to consume and digest information. In particular, the larger touchscreens of tablets are ideal for gesture and game-based interaction, which helps to stimulate our senses. However, in order get the best out of this happy marriage of technology and learning, there are three steps you should take before you tie the knot.
Make sure your content is specifically designed for mobile learning. Mobile first should be your maxim. Recognise the advantages of a ‘bring your own device’ (BYOD) policy - including ease of access to content, increased productivity and morale as well as cost savings. Run your learning programme on a dedicated App.
This last step is the most important for the following reasons:
Mobile users don’t like using a generic browser. They know the delivery of the information won’t be as good. It takes them longer to find it - even if they have a URL. An App says to the user, “here is the information you need”. A browser says, “here is a place to start looking for what you need’’. The latter is extremely off-putting, not to mention irritating. With an App there is more consistency in the way information is displayed. It is still the case that different browsers on different devices can cause some elements to be displayed differently. An App ensures that that won’t happen. Within an App environment, (consistent) branding is much easier. With an App you can deliver all sorts of messages and set up a common destination for them, all with a single tap. An App is the ideal vehicle for sending push notifications to users. It is widely acknowledged that, while only 5% of promotional email messages are seen, an impressive 97% of push notifications are opened and 90% of them are seen within the first three minutes of their arrival!
Today’s learners want to be able to access their learning and support materials at convenient times and in surroundings of their choice. Mobile learning Apps are the easiest way to provide this service. While there may still be a requirement for more formal learning in the work environment for some specialist skills, mobile learning has become the accepted solution for most learning requirements and its popularity is increasing all the time.
SKY TV UK Case Study
SKY UK Limited (formerly British Sky Broadcasting and BSkyB) is a telecommunications company which serves the United Kingdom and parts of Europe. Sky provides television and broadband internet services and fixed line telephone services to consumers and businesses.
Sky offer outstanding training and development opportunities to staff as they believe the performance of their people is a key driver of their growth and success and everyone learns throughout their career. They want their staff to be equipped to deal with queries across all of their products so it is easier for their customers to interact with them all.
Senior Procurement Manager
Sky is a project, process based business. Projects are running daily in all departments and across all job functions.
The SKY supply chain and procurement team wanted to improve the way they deliver projects, particularly with the way they interact with what they consider are the core ‘project managers’ of the business. However, they do not want a typical ‘project management’ course as they do not want to become project managers. Instead, they wanted to manage and lead their own procurement projects more effectively.
They selected Supply Chain Academy, to develop a unique and highly practical training session where core principles of project management were taught and delivered around their real live projects. This SMART business simulation approach used real work scenarios and provided delegates with all the tools and techniques they needed to support them as they instantly applied the learning to their work.
The Supply Chain Academy helped the team:recognise when it is appropriate to adopt a ‘project’ approach to managing their workload apply a simple lifecycle to a project to break it into easy to manage stages clearly define their projects to provide real clarity in terms of project scope, roles and responsibilities, and other key factors confidently plan, organise and document a project by using a wide variety of tools that add value to the project management process become more effective in monitoring and controlling the project work, change requests and resourcing pressures by using best practice processes and techniques understand what lessons can be learnt from managing work using a project approach tailor their approach to projects of varying size and complexity
Blyth Priestley, Senior Procurement Manager, confirms that the improvements in team performance are already noticeable:- She commented: “The team have made real positive changes since the training day at Supply Chain Academy; the course was highly relevant, a good mix between theory and practice and colleagues appreciated the relevance of the scenarios and case study to help them take the learning and apply at work. This has been a great opportunity for the team to come together to share their knowledge and learn new skills, whilst at the same time create action plans to become more efficient.”
Informal learning – critically important, but neglected
Informal learning is a big thing now in learning and development. The 70:20:10 model, and others, tells us that informal learning is vastly more important than you’d ever think given the way ... usually carry out learning, training and staff development.
Most people will say they learn by doing things. Think of your own experience and ... yourself: how ... I come to learn what I know in order to ... my current job?
In fact, think of everything you have ever learned. Most of it you will have learned through living. You could almost say that learning is an unavoidable (and desirable) side effect of life. Without that ability to learn ... live, ... would have been consigned to the evolutionary dustbin a long time ago.
Informal learning and training courses
Let’s look at one area of informal learning that is hugely important, ... is usually neglected. This is the informal learning that MUST take place after a training course, if that training course is to have any impact on performance and business results.
You know how it is: you attend a training course, then you get back to a full inbox and several small fires burning. For most people, little is done that relates to their training course, even if they had to set goals in the course or were given some specific tasks to complete or resources to ....
... employers spend good money on these courses, and would quite like to get some business benefits from that spend.
To get such benefits, ... must realise that classroom learning is only a small part of the total learning that is required to operationalise the new knowledge and skills introduced by the training programme.
Learning must continue beyond the learning that occurred in the classroom. There is much more to behaviour change, and subsequent performance improvement, than just a classroom event.
Informal learning is unstoppable
It is not that learning completely stops after the classroom. Organisations rely on informal learning, even if they ... not aware that they ... doing so. People ... learning all the time, and without that learning, organisations would be ... in the water within months, or probably even just weeks.
It is virtually impossible for us to imagine a world without informal learning. Learning for us is such a fundamental part of our existence that ... don’t even notice it, any more than ... notice the air ... breathe.
Triggering informal learning<... /> Informal learning is not, generally speaking, directed by anybody. It is a natural response to observing others, having conversations and reflecting on experiences. It is triggered as a result of what’s going on.
However, the informal learning that needs to happen in relation to a training course often doesn’t happen, because it is not triggered anywhere near frequently enough, or in the right way. If ... want to generate informal learning that is focused on a training course, ... must find some way of triggering it and directing it. And therein lies part of the problem.
Informal learning is very powerful, ... its power comes largely from its informality and its place within the flow of our lives. When ... seek to direct it, ... can kill its power by killing its informality, by separating it from the natural flow of our lives.
So how can ... direct informal learning without rendering it powerless?
It seems to me that ... need a halfway house where ... ... ‘managing’ informal learning, ... with a light touch that does not destroy it. It is like ‘managing’ a butterfly you hold in your cupped hands: too tight, and you kill the butterfly; too loose, and the butterfly escapes and you have no influence over it at all.
Informal learning by and large happens through activities, through people doing things or observing things, and then reflecting on those things. That reflection is magnified if the learner discusses those things with somebody else.
To achieve this you will need to delegate activities that have been carefully designed to trigger the desired reflection and learning, then debrief those activities to get the magnification effect.
You will also need to wrap some measurement around the process to check if what you ... doing is working, and to obtain information on how you might improve the process.
If you put this in place following a training course, you ... doing what is called ‘learning transfer’.
Excuses people use
Delivering lots of activities to people following a training course, debriefing them and holding them accountable for doing the activities, and then applying measurement, gives you a lot of administration to ....
One of the reasons that people almost never ... this kind of training follow-up is that they shy away from the administrative overhead, especially when they have so much pressure to deliver other courses.
It becomes obvious that you need a digital platform to manage all of this. And when you ..., voilà, you have what people call a Learning Transfer Platform (LTP).
Another common excuse for not initiating learning transfer is that the line manager is too busy or not skilled enough to debrief the activities, and obtaining external resources to ... this work ... not affordable.
In my opinion, the line manager should be having those kinds of developmental conversations anyway in their regular one-to-one meetings, so ... ... not asking them for any more time or skill.
Letting them off the hook for not doing their job is counterproductive and symptomatic of deeper problems. Having said that, for some programmes, a cohort buddy or a subject matter expert may be a better person to debrief training follow-up activities.
Another excuse from the delegates themselves is that they don’t have time to ... follow-up activities. It’s important for all the stakeholders to realise that the training course is not just an event. It should be set up, sold, or marketed to the stakeholders as a longer-term programme.
For example, you might call it a five-day programme spread over six months, one day of which is in the classroom.
The requirement to ... follow-up activities should be ‘baked into’ the programme.
Learning Transfer Platform (LTP)
Quite honestly, the excuses I have heard from most people for not doing learning transfer properly really don’t wash. In my experience, the introduction of an LTP streamlines the process and makes the excuses look rather ridiculous. A good LTP will manage the informal learning that is specific to the follow-on required after a training course.
And it gives you another acronym to use!
Of course, at the time, the workers will still be informally learning lots of other things that ... unrelated to the training course. Learning transfer doesn’t need to impact anything else that they ... doing, ... what it does ... is impact the likelihood that they will start behaving differently following on from a training course.
This article was written for and originally published on https://www.trainingzone..../deliver/training/informal-learning-critically-important-...-neglected and has been republished with TrainingZone’s permisson.
Foundations of LeadershipWHAT EVERY IT MANAGER NEEDS TO KNOW - SO THEY CAN MANAGE THEIR PEOPLE AS WELL AS THEY MANAGE THEIR SERVERS
There are 5 key ideas that every technician needs to master in order to successfully make the leap from a technical career track into leadership. If you want to go from Sys Admin to CTO, then these are for you. Here is a brief introduction to each:Leaders unleash POTENTIAL
As a leader, almost everything you are accountable for will be delivered by the people that you lead. You won’t be writing the software, your developers will. You won’t be running the backups, your Ops team will... and so on. This means that your leadership ability, or lack of it, will be the largest single factor influencing your personal success.Leadership transforms potential into the desired results by organising talent.
In other words, Leaders make something happen (desired results) that has never happened before (potential) through other people (organising talent).
The import phrase is through other people. A leader’s job is to provide an environment for their team to excel – and ensure that they do!Leaders do things on PURPOSE
As a leader, you must provide the essential WHY that motivates your team to work hard and deliver exceptional results. People want to know why things need to be done a certain way and why you are asking them to ensure a certain deadline is hit. You could try ‘because I said so’ but that rarely produces the desired results and intelligent, capable people are unlikely to hang around very long in an environment which is led in that manner.
As the ancient proverb says: without a vision, the people perish.
A clear purpose makes the unbearable bearable and the boring endurable.Leaders ensure their teams make PROGRESS You can make progress or you can make excuses. You cannot do both.
You and your team are not paid to be busy, although we often behave that way. You are not paid for your time - although that is often how employment contracts are written.
You are not paid for the hour, you are paid for the value that you bring to the hour.
Working on a project brings no value - but completing the project does bring value. Do not allow your team to focus on all the things they are 'doing' instead change the language of your daily updates to ask what has been finished.Leaders PROTECT
In the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey builds his ideas on the principle that being effective is a combination of getting the job done and protecting the means of doing the job. Many leaders focus on the first half – getting the job done, we neglect the second – protecting the people, places and tools needed to do the job. Think of it in terms of the Captain of a battleship.
His first duty is to protect his ship, second to complete the mission.
For many leaders today, we focus on completing the mission, and neglect the ship.Leaders have a PROCESS
As leader, it is your responsibility to ensure there is a process in place so that your team and organisation learns from events – whether they are ‘successes’ or ‘failures’ – they are all opportunities to learn and improve. Do not waste them!
Processes bring consistency and predicability. Processes run the business, people run the processes.
You can learn more about each of the 5 Foundations of Leadership and how they apply to a career in IT in my book - and you can download your own copy for free for a limited time: www.cool-waters.co.uk/foundations
Serious about Diversity? Then focus on Inclusion.
Inclusion is the only path to real diversity success.
Diversity alone delivers nothing - in fact if left to its own devices it can cause havoc, impede performance and damage reputation. That’s because conflict among people who are different is the natural order of things. We are all naturally tribal and we tend to prefer those who we perceive to be the same as us (whether they are or not) – and be wary of those we perceive to be unlike us (whether they are or not).
Diverse teams are important for three reasons :to increase performance by leveraging the differences that team members bring in areas such as knowledge, outlook, experience and skillsets (the performance incentive) to ensure equal opportunity (the moral case…think reputation risk) to benefit society (the social case…think corporate responsibility)
If teams are not inclusive :they will not perform as well as they could equal opportunity will be impeded, because some individuals will be and feel stifled diverse individuals will leave or languish
So if you want to realise the potential that diversity offers, be it innovation & creativity, more talent, access to diverse markets, equal opportunity for all or whatever else, inclusion is the key that unlocks that performance.
There is no other way.
Top tips :Weave inclusion thinking into all areas e.g. in recruitment processes ask candidates for feedback on how inclusive your processes are, in your teams conduct skills audits to see if your people’s abilities are being used to full effect, in your supply chains ask suppliers what else they could do for you. Survey your staff and ask them how included they feel. Their comments will give you clear indications of what’s working and what’s not. Do it regularly to gauge progress. Think about your senior management team, how its members are different and whether those differences are valued or suppressed. Educate them about the critical importance of inclusion for unlocking the potential of diversity. Get on board with unconscious bias and really address it. It’s not a fad, it’s a critically important part of the inclusion challenge. Go beyond training and implement solutions – there are many out there. Appreciate how hard inclusion can be to achieve. Regularly meet people who are different, who you would not normally meet, and analyse your thoughts about them. How do you feel about them before, during and after meeting? Do you manage to get beyond the stereotypes they represented? How much more effort was involved in interacting with them? Were there awkward moments? Would you be friends with them? Would you hire them? Would you recommend them to others? Feel the difference discomfort and aim to understand why.
PRM Diversity Consultants
Hybrid Learning - The best blend of online and live workshops
Online and mobile learning tools provide an unprecedented opportunity to deliver high quality learning content and business tools right into the user’s hand, whenever and wherever they need them.
Whether you’re looking to support a wider training initiative or simply deliver learning in a more modern and innovative way, a hybrid approach can help.
Watch this video for more on the benefits of a hybrid approach: https://youtu.be/YSzsa3tja_0
Digital learning tools enable us to create a broader, deeper and smarter learning journey that everyone in your organisation can benefit from.
Bigrock are about to launch a new digital coaching tool, that can help make hyrbid learning a reality in your organisation. Register your interest in Coachical here: https://www.bigrockhq.com/coachical/
Overcoming the challenges for L&D in 2018 – the Survey results
We asked Learning & Development Managers and Directors within UK businesses to answer 5 key questions that get to the heart of the challenges for L&D in 2018.
*** Download it for free at http://bit.ly/LnDSurvey2018 (no sign up required for People Who Know members) ***
I would love to hear your feedback and personal experiences.
Chaos, Uncertainty & Change – How do we handle it?
We arranged an exciting evening filled with some very accomplished speakers dealing with change in the uncertain times we live in. In the video you can see a quick recap of the evening.
Speakers are often used as the catalyst for change within business. To make the Change happen, you will require behavioural change in order to turn that catalytic energy into the Change you want to see. The cost of forgetting, or of inaction, is not worth considering.
If you wish to download the accompanying ebook, you can do so here; https://www.ontrackinternational.com/change_ebook/
Assessing adverse impact in recruiting talent
Harvey Nash are a global recruitment company that values the importance of diversity. In 2016, they partnered with Thomas International to evaluate whether there was any evidence of adverse impact in their robust recruitment process.
Over 12 months, Thomas tracked hundreds of applicants for positions at Harvey Nash, monitoring demographic diversity, behavioural preferences and the eventual outcome of applications. Harvey Nash know that diversity is more than just demographics, and recruit with diversity in behavioural preferences, motivators and personality in mind.
Statistical analysis looked at the chance of each demographic group progressing and dropping out at each stage, using impact ratios, statistical tests and practical tests. The result? No evidence was found that any group was being adversely impacted in the recruitment process, though we were able to make recommendations to make processes even better.
Following the outcomes of the study, Harvey Nash were successful in becoming the first recruitment company to achieve the National Equality Standard, one of the UK's most rigorous and prestigious accreditations for diversity and inclusion.
The Future of Workplace Learning: Presented by Ben Reed, Nimble Product Consultant
Filmed at the Growing Gloucestershire Conference 2017, this 30-minute session is an overview of some of the main drivers for the future of workplace learning, presented by Ben Reed, Nimble Product Consultant.
WATCH VIDEO: https://youtu.be/BRQJ147gQ7w
About Ben Reed
MLIA DIP, NLP Practioner, HND Hotel Management, Training and Coaching Consultant: Ben is an active evangelist for modern learning within the workplace. As a Product Consultant for Nimble Elearning, his day is often spent understanding what businesses want to achieve with their workplace training.
Ben has over 25 years of involvement in consultancy, training and development in a wide range of sectors which include; financial services, manufacturing, energy, logistics, automotive and IT to name a few. A business coach, specialising in relationship development, the psychology of sales, goal setting and strategic planning, Ben is also an NLP practitioner working with clients to develop a clear picture of where they want to be and what they want to achieve.
Ben is deeply involved with the charity sector, providing support for charities to help reduce training costs. Ben has 27 years serving on the Board of Directors for YMCA Cheltenham and is a volunteer youth mentor at The Door in Stroud.
Binary success in the digital world for Nimble Elearning
The trophy shelf in the Nimble Elearning office is looking crowded after the company won back-to-back awards within the space of a month.
Their success began by being named Business of the Year at the Stroud Life Awards. The award honours firms who have made a difference to Stroud’s economy. Judi Bonham, one of the judges said of the company, “The Nimble entry demonstrated their commitment to the Stroud area and community, through their staff, local customers and how they introduce their wider customer base to all that our Stroud area has to offer when visiting them on site."
It’s quite a coup for the Stonehouse-based elearning company. Stroud is a national “hotspot” for the industry so competition can be fierce. Managing Director, Neil Hyde said at the event, “Nimble enjoy supporting our many local customers and introducing to our national customers to the delights of Stroud. No matter the size of the organisation, Nimble takes pride in supporting our customers every step of the way and we get tremendous satisfaction in playing a part in their success.”
The company’s continued growth has meant those visiting the Gloucestershire town have included some big names: Laura Ashley, Costa, Premier Inn, Ann Summers, Gatwick Airport, Pukka, EasyJet.
Growth of their customer base has allowed Nimble to expand and this became a significant factor when they won the Gloucestershire Live Award for ‘Digital Business of the Year’.
The judges looked for evidence of exceptional delivery, site engagement and functionality, security, innovation, ethical practice and sales growth. As Neil Hyde explained, their secret is because “Nimble Elearning helps companies create their own professional and engaging elearning. we. work across many industry sectors such as health, security, retail and charity at a global, national and local level.”
The company’s expansion has included customers from all over the globe, best illustrated by their latest - Sydney Airport. This success is due to themes that regularly feature in customer reviews:
Ease of use: “Nimble stands out as being the most comprehensive and easy to use solution on the market.” EasyJet
Cost effectiveness: “With Nimble we've delivered triple the training in six months. We've grown our suite of training and are now able to track results and produce individual development plans. In nine months we've created 50 courses and our staff have completed over 5000 courses... and we're just getting started.” Europa Insurance Group
Ongoing customer support: “The support from Nimble has been outstanding – nothing is too much trouble. It's just a great experience." MoneyPlus.
It’s not surprising the Nimble team are also excited about their recent inclusion in The South West Business Awards, where they were short-listed for Outstanding Business of the Year. It's been a busy start to 2018 already as Nimble Elearning have just finished exhibiting and meeting new audiences at Learning Technologies at London Olympia and are looking forward to CIPD in April.
Nimble is no ordinary elearning website; we've made it super simple to create engaging courses and share them with teams.
With Nimble Author, create elearning teams will love with its super-easy course editor. Publish SCORM courses and quizzes that work on every device and LMS, and Nimble Elearning supports customers every step of the way with its free training and support programme.
Nimble's beautifully simple LMS allows people to effortlessly manage their elearning.
Do more on http://trynimble.com.
Nimble Elearning are Winners of Business of the Year, Stroud Life Awards
Nimble Elearning have won Business of the Year at the prestigious Stroud Life Awards 2017.
Watch the video: https://youtu.be/67mrsorZHVM
Organised by Stroud Life newspaper and sponsored by WSP Solicitors, the award is about honouring firms who have made a difference to Stroud’s economy.
Competition was tough amongst the top three, with Fluid Transfer who have won the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in International Trade and Rempods, investment winners from Dragon’s Den and a previous Stroud Life Award winner.
Judi Bonham, Managing Partner at WSP Solicitors said, "As one of the Judges, the Nimble entry clearly demonstrated to me their commitment to the Stroud area and community as a whole. This commitment shows through their staff, local customer base and by the way they introduce their wider customer base to all that our Stroud area has to offer when visiting them on site."
Nimble Director Neil Hyde adds, “Nimble is extremely proud to have been selected Business of the Year and to be a part of the Stroud community. Nimble enjoy supporting our many local customers and introducing to our national customers to the delights of Stroud. No matter the size of the organisation, Nimble takes pride in supporting our customers every step of the way and Nimble get tremendous satisfaction in playing a part in their success. Nimble’s continual commitment to Stroud stems from a solid belief in the outstanding services, talent and expertise the people of the Five Valleys has to offer.”
ABOUT THE STROUD LIFE AWARDS The Stroud Life Awards rightly puts Valley and Vale businesses and people in the limelight. Every year they discover and celebrate new talent, and share successes and the Awards are a fantastic opportunity for businesses and the community in Stroud district to shout about it. The Stroud Life Awards have established themselves as the most prestigious event in the local calendar since they were first held eight years ago.
6 steps to developing a high performing team
Working as part of a team can be an incredibly rewarding and motivating experience, especially when the team is highly efficient and collaborative. Accepting that challenges will arise and knowing what you are made of can help boost your own team contribution. Nothing builds self-esteem and self-confidence like accomplishment in the face of adversity.
So, how can you build and develop a high performing team?1) Communication, Communication, Communication
Communication is something we all take for granted and a lack of understanding of how to effectively communicate as a team can cost businesses excessive amounts of time and money every year. Making sure there is a focus on team communication skills will lead to improvements in employee motivation, productivity and profitability.
There are many barriers to effective communication, ranging from not listening, making assumptions, conflicting messages, perceptions and emotional distractions - to remove and/or limit their impact will be the first step to becoming a high performing team.
Teams which communicate understand what needs to be achieved and allow themselves to support or challenge each other in equal measure. This allows a nurturing culture to develop where everyone will look out for one another and make allowances for mistakes. Constructive challenge allows individual and team growth. Agility and change ensures that projects don’t stagnate and the environment becomes one which is flexible, creative and passionate.
"The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion it has already taken place."
George Bernard Shaw
Are you more of a teller, a talker, a listener or a writer? Understanding both the preferred communication style of yourself and others will instantly drive effective communication. You will then be able to modify your behaviour to that of other people to get the best reaction out of them, and vice versa, ensuring clarity, trust and respect are present.2) Where is the starting point? Know where you are and where you want to be
To take your team to the next level, it’s imperative to understand the inner-dynamics of how you all work together. Can you answer the following questions about your team?Do you know the strengths of the team so you can maintain them? What are the team’s limitations to improve on? What is the role of each person in the team and why? How will this team react to change? Where is there potential conflict in the team?
Completing a team audit will provide clarity around where your team stands, not only as a unit working together but also in the wider business. It will inspire the team to achieve more, pinpoint training needs and identify skill gaps that can be filled through upskilling and recruitment.3) Making sense of emotional intelligence
Emotional intelligence (EI) is a powerful driver in effective team working that, if mastered correctly, can transform understanding of the team's ‘DNA’.
"Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power.”
The concept of EI can be summarised as “the capacity to harmonise thought and emotion”, by which we mean an individual’s ability to understand and control their own emotions, as well as recognise and manage those of others. This requires a person to be self-aware, perceptive and able to regulate emotional responses in various situations.
If a team can consistently utilise the knowledge given by EI, they will naturally foster an attitude of loyalty and engagement, communicate effectively and can fine-tune their team-working skills to push for further success.4) The foundation of any successful team is trust
A successful team has trust at its foundation. Without trust, teams cannot move forwards due to fear of conflict and a lack of commitment. Establishing trust between team members can take a team from a satisfactory level of performance to an outstanding set of results. Being open and honest about strengths and limitations in our workplace behaviours can generate trust between team members. An understanding of our own personality traits can illustrate how and why we behave the way we do and how we interact with other people and then make behavioural modifications if necessary.5) Feedback is a gift
360 feedback is a peer-analysis approach to giving constructive and honest feedback, which provides your business with an objective framework for identifying performance gaps and developing self-awareness. It enables teams to gather performance feedback from their managers, colleagues, team members and customers and then compare this feedback with their own perception of their performance.
This style of feedback is essential in helping teams to recognise how their behaviour is perceived across the business. Is the team dynamic working? Or is it having a negative impact on the perception of the team across the business?
By opening your team up to feedback from others, you will receive essential feedback and recommendations that could help you to take your team from good to great.6) Now let’s maintain it
Once you've set the foundations - maintain it! A collective commitment to making individual and team improvements, that enhance performance and capitalise on strengths, will ensure your team is constantly working together as effectively and efficiently as possible. Re-visit these commitments as often as you need to. As situations and targets change, update and reconsider what your team needs to do to keep the momentum going.
When team members work well together, there is little they cannot accomplish. Make sure you're looking at the bigger picture when it comes to your teams and increase your chances of developing a high performing team.
Diversity in the workplace; how psychometric assessments provide a level playing field.
Psychological tests and assessments come in many forms, measuring characteristics like your personality traits, behaviour preferences or ability with words and numbers. There are many common assumptions about gender differences in these areas: are men more assertive and better with numbers than women? Do women have higher empathy and better verbal skills?
A recent focus both in psychological literature and HR practice is on ‘unconscious bias’ (unknown biases people hold towards others that can relate to many different characteristics). Important people-related decisions can be unintentionally influenced by individuals’ unconscious biases or widely-accepted stereotypes that may not be grounded in fact (acas). How can the negative impact of this be avoided?
Using gender as an example, research has demonstrated that there are relatively small gender differences when measuring personality (Costa, Terracciano & McCrae, 2001). You will likely observe greater differences between two individuals of any gender than between men and women overall. The same can be said for ability measures, minor gender differences can be observed but they are usually so small that again, you would notice differences between any two people rather than men and women overall (GIA Technical Manual).
The use of psychological tests and assessments can add great value to people decisions, be that recruitment, promotion or leadership development. An additional advantage is that robust psychological tools have to demonstrate that they have no ‘adverse impact’ against particular characteristics, such as gender. If individuals are advantaged or disadvantaged on a psychological tool by virtue of their gender then it is not fair to use that tool for decision-making.
Robust psychological tests and assessments can help provide a level playing field for individuals, providing objective metrics about their traits, behaviours and cognitive abilities, all of which can reduce the influence of people’s biases. Thomas International are currently partnering with a large recruitment business in London, tracking up to 500 graduate applicants throughout their selection process. The aim is to demonstrate that their processes (behavioural profiling, interviewing) do not negatively impact the chances of people progressing who have protected characteristics.
Costa, P.T., Terracciano, A., and McCrae, R.R., (2001), Gender Differences in Personality Traits Across Cultures: Robust and Surprising Findings, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. Vol. 81. No.2. 322-331.
http://www.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=5433 – accessed 16:33, July 2017
General Intelligence Assessment (GIA), Technical Manual (2017), Thomas International
Enabling change, enabling success
If mindfulness and wellbeing ... at the top of your people agenda right now, it could possibly be because your organisation, like so many others, feels that the rate of pace needed to grow is a challenge for your people. So how can you slow things down for your people while keeping pace with market demands?
Businesses will be familiar with traditional change models and may consider them when looking to effect cultural change.
Has the path of change evolved?
Change is necessary when new processes, technology or products ... introduced to a business. Moreover, adjustment is normally required by everyone and, because ... all have our own preferred way of being communicated to and our own moral compass, the same message will be received and interpreted differently by individuals and teams. In the past our people have needed to receive the ‘great news about our future’, get over themselves and adjust. Either that or leave!
Many leadership courses require us to understand the impact that poorly planned change can have on individuals and teams.
“...'re encouraged to consider the people that ... manage, and plan our communication well, leading by example – embrace the change, it is positive!”
When does change become a state of normal?
Today’s world requires continual movement, for us to innovate, stretch and grow. ... need to be agile and receptive to the increasing demands of our customers while watching game-changing technology take our competitors into new markets.
If ... stay with traditional ‘tried and tested’ change advice, ...'re at risk of our people becoming apathetic or worn out. Our goals should be written in concrete ... the plans to get there should be in sand, considering the differences in our people when modifying our approach in how ... work with them.
The transition from a traditional business to a market-leading one can be uncomfortable and take longer than the budget permits in some cases. The impact will be realised through stress-related absenteeism, reduced productivity, team conflict, negative performance management and attrition.
Past employees can review us through social media and, in return, you would hope that customers and employees, current and future, could receive a balanced view of our business, the way that ... operate, our services and our innovation. This may not always be the case if change has been poorly executed or our people just can’t change with us.
What about the employees that stay? Why ... they stay? Is it because they're more resilient, or is it something else? How can you keep them motivated?
Well-communicated change, where people ... on board and involved from the beginning, should reduce the dip in performance that most organisations accept simply because ... ... told that this (the change) is what is going to happen and what ... should ... as a result.
How can you transform from a ‘change agent’ or a ‘change enabler’?
Let’s consider an environment where your people and teams ... empowered to effect change. Collaborative and authentic leadership requires clear and consistent communication providing facts and evidence that change is required. Challenges and questions need to be managed respectfully and honestly. For example, a meeting is called to discuss the findings of a competitor review. The problem and the consequences of this potential threat ... shared. Everyone has input into how the business can maintain its competitive edge. Cross-departmental teams could be formed to work on ideas of challenges together. Often leaders feel that they must own the business problems. This is not the case. Normally our teams ... creative and have more to add than they're give them credit for!
This may be simple, ... it is highly effective. ... stimulate creativity and passion within our organisations that allows personal development to flourish. Highly effective organisations employ people that ... multi-skilled and can work across multi-disciplines to deliver on projects that will grow our businesses. Apprentices, interns and graduates can flourish and develop experience quickly where they can add value to creative thinking and problem-solving tasks or projects. After all, they're the future in terms of our succession plans. More importantly they have a view of tackling problems based on facts and ... not constrained by conventional views that ... all carry when ... have worked in a business for a while.
So, back to the leaders. This can create some discomfort in the short-term. ... can find ourselves feeling out of control or not the ‘subject-matter-expert’ ... start to work on cross-functional projects or ... seconded to other areas of the business. This discomfort comes when ... reach a point of new learning.
“... need to appreciate that future leaders need to embrace skills and expertise that they may not possess. Everyone needs to be encouraged to learn from mistakes, to be humble and ... for help, from this true collaboration is achieved.”
Leadership could never be in such high demand as when ... ... going through change. Leaders should be reminded that the reason they're in the position that they ... is to simply lead.
So, what does the change-enabling leader need to ...?
Let go of personal insecurity
Accept that the role of the leader is to manage the vision and people to achieve it. Invest in understanding the team’s strengths, goals and motivation to ... their best.
Create trust and share feedback on strengths and limitations
Sharing feedback is healthy and needs to be balanced. Honest dialogue within the team allows people to express if they feel out of their depth. This could provide another team member with a new challenge. Celebrate this honesty and try not to hold people accountable to responsibilities on their job descriptions. The team will not grow.
Let go of convention while holding the company’s vision close
The vision of cultural change needs to be imagined and shared by all. Leaders need to demonstrate that even ambitious plans ... achievable with the right motivation and mindsets. Celebrate wins along with way, demonstrating that the progress being made is important and positive
Empower decision-making at all levels
Supporting and coaching is easier said than done, especially if a quick solution is evident. Most people will take responsibility and step up if they can make decisions. Accountability and ownership ... important to us all and is relevant for even the most junior of team members. As a leader, it is occasionally wise to turn a blind eye to the methods of achievement as long as the expected outcome is achieved.
Take away the fear of reproach of mistakes
Making mistakes is in our human nature and provides points of learning. A collaborative leader will be approachable and on hand to coach or mentor individuals through these mistakes, allowing growth and opportunity to own issues and make it come good. Sometimes leading by example means rolling up one’s sleeves and getting stuck in to help. This does not mean taking the mistake away, ... keeping in mind that showing is sometimes better than telling.
Proactively encourage teams to grow through ‘lessons learned’
A team that possesses a philosophy of supporting one another should also be able to challenge each other’s decisions constructively. Lessons learned ... valuable; they should be recorded for future reference as they ... likely to be in project management processes moving forward. Ultimately, valuable lessons ensure that ... ... not repeat them.
Change is sometimes called ‘continuous improvement’. If you think about it, it makes total sense. People ... innately scared of change, nut ‘continuous improvement’ is something that ... all strive for. Allow your continuous improvement to happen, harness your approach to managing it and focus your ‘plan of concrete’ towards being a successful change enabling leader.
How does your leadership stack up in an environment of continuous improvement? Contact us about our Thomas tools to see.
Are your people ready for cultural change? - video
In today’s demanding and competitive market conditions, companies must adapt to survive and thrive. Cultural change is not always easy, but it is always possible. Managing the process requires understanding, commitment and tools.
With our innovative people assessment tools we create success stories for organisations in times of cultural change – and, now, cartoons!
Featuring Amir Qureshi, CEO of Thomas International, in caricature-form, find out how we can support you in managing and achieving cultural change.
I still like to listen to Simon Sinek talk about Why, How and What.
Let me know your thoughts on this notion of Why, How and What. I tend to use a variation of this to help clients understand how best to articulate their needs - context, process and outcome.
What do you think?
Is there really a need to change how we work with millennials?
I quite liked this article - 10 Reasons Millennials Are No Different From Any Other Generation - by M. Morris (from the ListVerse.)
It got me thinking about all the noise around trying to adapt ho businesses work to suit millenials. Are we getting it wrong? What do you think...
Every generation likes to think they’re special. Every generation is wrong. Even the Greatest Generation, who grew up in the Depression and kicked Hitler to the curb, were just doing what their own ancestors did with the Kaiser a generation before.
Yet for some reason, millennials think they’re different. Maybe it’s because the media keep telling them they are. Maybe it’s the arrogance of youth. For whatever reason, millennials are convinced their specialness eclipses that of all other generations. Here’s why they’re wrong.
Economic Insecurity Is Nothing New
Millennials came of age during the banking crisis of ’08. According to the media, this was an epoch-shaking event that left them uniquely scarred compared to previous generations. However, every generation experiences economic catastrophe.
For Generation X, Black Monday in 1987 was their apocalypse. The following recessions crippled Western economies well into the ’90s. For Baby Boomers, two oil shocks, an energy crisis, and the nightmare of stagflation was their personal Great Recession. Before that, the Greatest Generation grew up in the Great Depression.
Recessions are a part of life. Every generation will experience one. We’re sure those walloped by the Panic of 1796 or the South Sea Bubble felt uniquely disadvantaged.
Smug Tolerance And Openness Come And Go
It’s an oft-repeated myth that millennials are uniquely tolerant. In fact, evidence from both the US and Europe says they’re no more tolerant than Gen X. Yet even if we believed the majority of young people were racially open, pro-LGBT diversity fans, it wouldn’t make a difference because tolerance and openness are always ebbing and flowing.
Gen X, who grew up post-segregation, were supposedly the first colorblind generation. The Boomers notoriously celebrated different sexualities in their Summer of Love. The Greatest Generation lived in a more racially progressive time than the preceding Silent Generation, who were born at the nadir of US race relations.
And yet tolerance isn’t always increasing. Some generations are marked by an increase in intolerance (post-Reconstruction, for example). These attitudes are always changing throughout society. Being part of that change does not make you special.
Each Generation Uses New Tech To Disrupt
Smartphones, apps, 3-D printing . . . one of millennials’ defining traits is supposedly its use of new tech to disrupt the old order. They’re pioneers, addicts. They embrace tech like no one else before them.
Or do they? Successive generations having been using new tech to disrupt society since our ancestors first invented the wheel.
Remember the Dotcom Bubble? That was a big dollop of Gen X tech disruption laced with some harsh reality. Or the advent of personal computers? Or the arrival of microwaves? What about when washing machines changed housewives’ lives? No doubt each of these generations felt it was riding the crest of a wave into a tech utopia, too.
Every New Generation Is Called Lazy And Entitled
Reputable outlets from the New York Times to Forbes have printed articles suggesting every millennial is work-shy, lazy, and entitled. There sure is some laziness here, but it’s not on the part of millennials. It’s on the part of journalists too work-shy to learn older generations have been making these accusations for millennia.
Two decades ago, the New York Times was printing identical articles about Gen X, calling them immature and lazy. Life magazine in 1968 said “the phrase ‘to make a living’ could have absolutely no meaning” to entitled Baby Boomers. Even the ancients got in on this. 2,800 years ago, Greek economist Hesiod was calling the younger generation “frivolous” and work-shy.
Every New Generation Revolutionizes Sex And Dating
Tinder, Bumble, online hookups . . . it’s often said that millennials have completely revolutionized dating and mating. In a way, they have. But only because every generation has its own sexual revolution.
Take Gen X. It was on their watch the casual hookup became a cultural talking point. Or the Boomers, with their love-ins and supposed discovery of the female orgasm. Or the Greatest Generation, who relocated to the suburbs and changed what married life looked like. Millennials swiping right is just the latest twist.
Each New Generation Fails To Revolutionize Work/Life Balance
They want to work to live, not live to work! So claim roughly 100 billion articles about millennials in the workplace. But this position isn’t so unique.
Check out those old manifestos by the hippies. Or the ramblings of the Beatniks. Or the punks. Or the stuff the Jazz-age guys or the Bohemian artists said. The specifics vary, but it all boils down to “life is short, and I don’t wanna spend it working.” It’s a classic stage of youth idealism.
We all know what happens next. You grow up, get a job and put all that stuff behind you. Then you start moaning that the next generation doesn’t understand the value of work.4
Being Adventurous Is Not A New Invention
They’re a bunch of rich, entitled teenagers, gadding about Europe on their parents’ dime, going to parties, sleeping around, and throwing money away on booze. Darn those millennials and their gap years, right? Not quite. These teenagers were born in the 18th century and were taking part in the Grand Tour.
We mention this because one of the most persistent myths about millennials is how uniquely adventurous they are. But heading off into the wide blue yonder has been a rite of passage across cultures for centuries.
The Boomers took the Hippie trail across Europe and Asia. Gen X went backpacking around the world. Further back, foreign travel was an essential part of a man’s growing up. Everyone from Marco Polo to Jesus Christ spent years traversing parts of the Silk Road. The only difference is millennials now Instagram the whole experience.
Narcissism Has Been With Us Since Before Narcissus
“Millennial” is often used as media shorthand for “narcissist.” Countless articles decry millennials’ obsession with selfies, social media, and filling their Facebook feeds with pictures of themselves. Surely, this is a sign today’s young people are more self-obsessed than ever.
Know what would be really narcissistic? Hiring the world’s greatest painter to paint you into an epic biblical scene. Compared to the extremes the Borgias of Renaissance Italy took to be remembered, uploading a selfie to Instagram seems positively humble.
The Victorians and Edwardians used early cameras to take selfies, just as earlier people had flattering portraits painted. If they couldn’t afford that, they carved their names on a wall. There’s a reason Narcissus is such an enduring figure: His self-obsession is something all of us can identify with.
Millennials Do Not Have A Monopoly On Ethics
From ethical shopping to shaming corporate tax avoiders, millennials are meant to be the most ethical generation yet. Businesses are even told to increase their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) to attract millennial talent. For millennials, it’s all down to what’s good for the world.
Except it isn’t. Consulting firm CEB recently did a survey of attitudes to CSR. The generation that put the most emphasis on it were Baby Boomers, with 41 percent saying they valued it highly. For comparison, only about one-third of millennials agreed.
What about ethical shopping? Research into shopping habits suggest millennials are no more likely to pick up Fair Trade products than the rest of us. Nor are they the first to take the social justice fight against systemic racism to the man. Just ask the Boomers who marched with Martin Luther King.
Generational Divides Are Meaningless Anyway
Millennials are people born between 1980 and 2000. When the Great Recession hit, the oldest were nearly 30, while the youngest were in elementary school. The oldest remember 9/11 viscerally. The youngest never knew a pre–War on Terror world. Today, the youngest are in High School and grew up with Hunger Games and smartphones. The oldest are entering middle age and had a childhood of SNES gaming and Arnie films.
In short, their life experiences are so different, it’s insanity to stick them in box and pretend they’re the same. Some millennials are already old enough to complain about kids today, while some are so young they still haven’t discovered who they are.
However much the media might like to lump them together and tell them they’re unique, the truth is millennials don’t really exist. They’re just people, as adventurous or entitled or tech-focused or narcissistic as the rest of us. The sooner everyone stops thinking this mythical
Millennial CEO: Focus on Employee Growth and DevelopmentMillennial CEO: Focus on Employee Growth and Development Chief Learning Officer spoke to N6A’s Matt Rizzetta about what it’s like to be a millennial CEO, the importance of workforce development, and how that impacts his leadership style.
June 1, 2017
by Marygrace Schumann
Matt Rizzetta was 26 with a baby on the way when he founded North 6th Agency and began managing the business out of his basement. Through hard work and delivery, Rizzetta grew N6A into an award-winning brand communications agency.
In an industry littered with predominantly older CEOs, Rizzetta’s age has offered him a unique perspective on management and leadership. As a millennial CEO just starting his business, Rizzetta’s primary goal was trying to prove himself. Now, he’s switched his focus to fostering an environment that promotes internal employee growth as a means to maximize the company’s success.
Chief Learning Officer: As a millennial CEO, how do you handle managing and educating those in your age range? Given the stereotypes out there about millennials, is it different than educating other generations?
Matt Rizzetta: When I first started the business I was young. We had just started our company out of my basement, and we were doing everything to try and convince clients to work with us and staff members to come join us. The proof had to be in the pudding for me to be able to recruit employees.
Fast forward, it’s eight years later; our business is completely different. We have 50 people now; we don’t really have a ton to prove to anybody in terms of our ability to succeed. So, now, my leadership style is much more personal. I think, what I’ve learned through the years, is you need to invest in getting to know everybody, especially at the millennial demographic. There’s certainly no one-size-fits-all approach to managing people around me, whether they’re my age, younger than me, older than me — that’s something I’ve found to be applicable to all types of folks I’m managing, regardless of where they fit into the work chart.
CLO: How important is a learning culture for your business’ success? What value does that investment bring to your organization?
Rizzetta: Our business really is only as successful as our people. That’s why we’re investing in a culture of learning appreciation and professional development. You want your people to feel just as invested in the success of the business as you do, and the best way to do that is to promote from within. By investing in educating your staff, they’re going to realize the benefits of that because they’re going to make more money, and they’re going to get leadership roles at younger ages.
CLO: What is the correlation between monthly performance reviews and leadership development?
Rizzetta: We’re eight years old as a business, and this probably came about two or three years in. We just started to scale, and I started to really see the need for objective data-based metrics and checkpoints to show our employees where they stood in the company, where they needed to grow, and in some cases, what was holding them back from being promoted. Our old system … annual performance reviews, it’s much more subjective than objective. Nobody should ever be surprised sitting down with their supervisor and hear for the first time, feedback about their performance at the one year mark.
So, we developed this objective, KPI-based system. Every month you sit down as an employee with your supervisor… You get ranked in certain categories that are customized according to your core role in the company. You see crystal clear how you’re performing. People have been promoted more quickly than they would have in our old system, and they’ve made more money earlier on.
CLO: What advice do you have for young leaders?
Rizzetta: Listen to your people. Your greatest asset you could have as a manager is your ability to benefit from different perspectives around you. As a leader, it’s on you to constantly keep learning. You’re going to have a pretty special business if … you can just commit to listening to your people, holding yourself accountable, and then making adjustments on a regular basis according to what they’re telling you.
I would not be afraid to experiment. I have this saying: Don’t be afraid to experiment and to move the barn to find sunlight. You never want to bet the farm, but don’t be afraid to move the barn around if you’re going to benefit from more sunlight. You don’t want to be stuck in your ways. You want to be very comfortable operating in an environment of innovation and experimentation. If you’re a young, aspiring leader, commit to that.