Posts Tagged ‘training and development’

7 Leadership skills that EVERYONE should develop: number 6 – leverage others

August 8, 2011

One of the marks of a strong leader is his or her ability to leverage the talents of others in order to reach organisational (and individual) goals. Leadership isn’t about knowing (or doing) it all yourself, it’s about enabling others to learn, grow, contribute and achieve excellence.

1) Know your people
I hardly need to say that unless you know your people, you’re not going to know where their talents lie and therefore you’re not going to be able to leverage them.  How well do you know your team, what motivates them at work, their out-of-work interests and so on?

A participant on a course I was delivering recently told me about a team member of his who was terrified of public speaking. Common enough, you might think. However, the course participant knew that this individual sang in a band in his spare time and regularly performed in local venues at the weekend.

Using the rationale that if you can SING in front of a crowd of people you can speak in front of them too, he coached and encouraged the singer to transfer his skills to the public speaking arena … with conspicuous success.

Had he NOT made the effort to get to know his team, this vital talent – and its link to the workplace – might have been missed.

2) Look beyond the obvious
It’s all too easy to focus on the obvious, to pigeonhole people according to their job title and to assume that, because of the work they do, they’re going to be good … or conversely NOT going to be good … at certain things. Look beyond the obvious, though, for hidden and unexpected talents.

I used to work in an organisation where, in the marketing department, we were frequently required to come up with catchy titles for performances, projects and publications.

Whilst it was well outside his remit, someone who we’d often ask for input was the Finance Officer. Why? Because he had a knack for coming up with great titles and captions and had a way with words.

If we’d pigeonholed him as the number cruncher who held the purse strings (which of course he WAS … but there was more to him than that) we’d have missed out on some great headlines. I’d like to think too that he enjoyed being asked to contribute to something that wasn’t directly linked to his job role, but was still of benefit to the organisation as a whole.

3) Don’t value your skills above everyone else’s
This is a bit of a lesson in self-awareness and humility, both of which have a role to play in leadership. Many people, whether they realise it or not, will place their own skills at a higher value than those of others.

To the creative person who loves coming up with new ideas, the logical pragmatist is “boring and conventional”.  To the strategic realist, someone with strong people skills is “touchy feely”.  To the ‘blue sky’ thinker, the person who needs to establish a context is “stuck in the past”.

If you are to leverage the skills of others successfully, you must recognise them for the values that they bring, and not undervalue them because those values might be different to yours.

At the end of the day, leadership and leveraging the abilities of others isn’t actually about you … it’s about them, and about the business as a whole.

 

Recognising, valuing and leveraging the skills of others is something that requires us all to leave our egos at the door and give ourselves the challenge of looking for people who aren’t just LIKE us and able to ‘fit in’, but who are BETTER than us at a given thing, and who will provide the necessary challenge to move everyone up a notch. And that’s not always as easy as it sounds.

7 Leadership skills that EVERYONE should develop # 2: self awareness

June 18, 2011

To see ourselves as others see us – wouldn’t that be something? Genuine self awareness, and an ability to understand how others see us and the impact that our actions and behaviours have on others, is an important skill for the leader.

As with so many things, though, balance is the key: understanding how we are perceived by others needs to be balanced by our own confidence and sense of self.

Misalignment of that balance – in either direction – can spell trouble for the leader: whilst as individuals we’ll always judge ourselves on the basis of our intentions, we need to remember that others will be judging us on our behaviours.

Why is self awareness so important? Because it’s the beginning of Emotional Intelligence, and as author Daniel Goleman puts it in his bestseller, this “can matter more than IQ”.

In terms of Emotional Intelligence, self awareness is closely followed by four other factors:

·        Managing your emotions

·        Self motivation

·        Understanding the feelings of others

·        Managing relationships

So how, as a leader, can you become more self aware? Here are 5 top tips:

1) Try to objectively assess your impact

Being objective about our own behaviour is exceptionally difficult, because we’ll rationalise and make excuses for ourselves where things are going wrong.

If your INTENTION has been one thing, but the results are something different, take a close look at yourself and your behaviours to try to understand how you might be coming across.

I came across a stark example of this quite recently. A very senior executive in a global organisation had said his door was ‘always open’, but wondered how it was that few people ever seemed to cross the threshold, unless they were members of the senior management team.

A short while after this conversation, I relayed to him a concern that had come up in the training room, from a couple of participants who shared the same office. His response was to cut me off mid sentence with the response “what do these people want? They need to be empowered and learn to deal with these things!”

Hmm … let’s see, now. Might there be a possibility that staff are thinking, “He SAYS his door is open, but if you go in he’s likely to bite your head off”?

His intention might have been to encourage people to find their own solutions: his behaviour was very easy to interpret as that of someone whose door might be open, but his mind isn’t. The impact was that people DON’T come through his door – it might as well be closed.

2) Be aware of the little things

Self awareness isn’t just about the impact of overt or obvious behaviours – it’s about the little things too.

Imagine a Chief Executive who gives a stunning performance on the platform at the AGM about his optimistic outlook in the coming year. A couple of days later, he steps into a lift and a junior colleague is already there. The junior colleague asks him how things are going. He shakes his head and says “times are tough”.

What’s the understandable interpretation of this, in terms of the truth of the message AND the integrity of the speaker? What message do you think is going to be discussed in the canteen and around the water coolers of Head Office for the next month?!

Non verbal communications and behaviours that take place on an ongoing daily basis need to be considered in the light of self awareness. And actively managed.

3) Have some humility – listen to feedback

For some leaders, this can be a bit of a stumbling block –particularly if they work in (and perhaps perpetuate and enjoy) a culture where hierarchy is important, and where leaders are deemed to be infallible.

Sometimes, it’s necessary to have the humility to just accept feedback, even if you weren’t expecting it. On a recent training course,I offered some impromptu feedback on delegate presentations. One or two commented during the break that they’d not been expecting individual feedback. So?? Will you ignore it, then?

Norman Vincent Peale said that “Most of us would rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism”. Given that feedback helps to build self awareness, it’s necessary to be open to it.

360 degree reports are another case in point: I’ve done a lot of coaching around 360 degree reports (feedback reports gathered from peers and direct reports as well as managers). Occasionally I’ll come across someone who rates their own abilities far higher than anyone else does – more often it’s the other way round.

If your colleagues are saying one thing and you’re saying another, it’s worth considering the possibility that they can’t ALL be wrong.

4) What if you’re right and they’re wrong?

I was delivering a workshop recently, and one of the participants said “I’ve really tried to understand my impact with this person,but the problem’s not with me, it’s with them”.

If you’ve been objective about really considering what’s going on, this is fair enough. As I say, there’s a balance to be struck between your own sense of self, and the other person’s perception. You could well be right and them wrong. They might even have another agenda and are deliberately misunderstanding you or the situation

If this IS the case, what next?

This is where we have to move on, in terms of Emotional Intelligence, because you still have to manage your relationship with that person – influence them or whatever – in as productive a way as possible. And this will mean remaining self aware and confident.

No one should stop being self aware because they think they’re the one in the right.

5) Don’t be paranoid – impostor syndrome

I’ve already said that balance is the key here, and this is just as valid for leaders who LACK confidence on certain issues.

I worked with a senior leader recently who, whilst acknowledging that her colleagues respected her, felt deeply self conscious about her humble ‘working class’ roots. The fact that she had a strong accent, she felt, was betraying to everyone that she was a local girl made good. She saw this as a weak point, as she worked with a number of people at this senior level who had had better educational opportunities than she’d had, and who spoke with what she perceived to be a more refined accent.

The issue about her accent had taken on far more significance than it deserved. She was starting to feel uncomfortable in her role and to doubt her abilities – feeling like an imposter.

It took a considerable amount of coaching for her to arrive at the conclusion that her accent and background might actually be a source of inspiration for those further down the corporate ladder, who’d had a similar start to her own. In this case, what she saw as a weakness could actually be turned into a considerable strength.

Self awareness is NOT about denting our confidence and bringing us down to the level of other people’s perceptions.  It IS about genuinely evaluating our behaviours, how we come across, and the impact that we have on others, and building on this to develop our own abilities, and our relationships with others.

The leader who is not self aware is sticking their head in the sand … leaving their backside dangerously exposed.

Watch out over the next couple of weeks for the 3rd leadership skill that EVERYONE should develop: personal accountability.

7 Critical Leadership Skills that EVERYONE Should Develop

June 8, 2011

I’ve been privileged and fortunate to work over the years with a large number of people who are either in positions of leadership, who aspire to leadership, or who have had leadership ‘thrust upon them’ and want to develop their skills.

Through observing and working with them, I’ve recognised that there are certain leadership skills that the good ones simply can’t do without.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing them with you…so here we go with the first one!

LEADERSHIP SKILL #1: LISTENING

Just a quick thing, friends: I’m focussing here specifically on Listening and Leadership – if you’d like to develop your personal listening skills (identifying the mistakes that EVERYBODY makes, and learning how you can avoid them! ) then please have a look at the free download which will be at the Yara website at http://www.yaraconsulting.com within the next few days.

At the risk of stating the obvious, listening is a CRUCIAL skill for leaders to develop. Why? Well, first of all, why not? You don’t seriously think you have all the answers without input from others do you?!

More to the point, listening to people does two important things: it makes the speaker(s) feel valued and understood, both of which contribute to motivation, and indeed to further contribution from that individual or group. Nothing shuts down ideas, input and motivation quicker that people feeling ignored.

Listening also provides you with an insight and perspective that you wouldn’t otherwise have…and for leaders, I can’t overstate how vital this is.

Good leaders listen, and listen to the right people. Learning to do it and learning to do it well is a valuable skill which cannot be neglected.

Listening strategically

By listening strategically, I mean considering carefully to whom or what leaders are listening. Listening in the right direction can potentially have a profound impact on decision making and organisational direction.

There will of course be the usual things that leaders listen to: market factors, shareholders, regulators customers etc etc. However, there are a few other directions in which leaders should turn in order to listen strategically – and some issue of which they must beware.

Beware ‘Groupthink’: listening to the same circle of opinions and the same peer group is limiting. It just is.

If everyone’s in a similar position or has a similar mindset, is listening to each other, where is the challenge coming from exactly? Where’s the raw, external perspective? Where’s the often needed boot up the backside?

Take the blinkers off and get out more, and listen in different directions. Fresh perspective is vital for innovation and growth.

Beware forgetting where you came from: I love those fly-on-the-wall documentaries where the Chief Executive goes back to the factory floor, the call centre, the supermarket checkout or wherever.

They invariably learn a massive amount about their people by observing what they do, listening to them, and living their day to day experiences. Perhaps more to the point in terms of STRATEGIC listening, they gather ideas and customer insight that frequently translates into policy and/or new business.

Don’t just listen up and listen out….listen down as well.

Beware the ticking clock: the world is probably moving faster than many companies can keep up with it. Fads can become trends which become major market forces with frightening speed (take Facebook and social networking as a clear case in point.)

Times are changing so fast, it’s an absolutely necessity to keep an ear to the ground, and I’d venture to suggest that using both formal and informal channels is the only way to maintain a true grasp of what’s going on.

Market research yes. Internal reports, yes. But don’t underestimate the value of taking a few minutes to listen and observe what customers are saying to your front line staff. Listen to what’s going on in other areas of your customers lives. Listen out for apparently random connections in other sectors that could give you a commercial edge.

If you don’t have time for that sort of thing, MAKE time…and then honestly evaluate the return on investment of that time spent vs the information it yielded.

The mistake of thinking you don’t have to listen

For whatever reason, many leaders often appear to feel that they don’t have to listen.

Some undoubtedly feel the pressure of senior management to provide the answers. And some, frankly, seem to think that they have it figured out, have made it, and don’t have to listen any more.

If you’ve ever heard yourself say:

‘People expect us to give them the answers because we’re their leaders’.

‘I’m better informed than most’

‘I don’t have time to gather everyone’s opinions – it would just muddy the waters’

‘I know what I need to do: listening to other people could just derail me’

‘We asked them last year – there’s no point going back to them now…’

‘I’m the leader, it’s my prerogative’ …then watch out.

Leaders can rest assured that the QUICKEST WAY to destroy innovation and ideas, de-motivate people, create cynicism amongst staff and customers alike and undermine corporate and brand values is by either NOT listening to people (both internally and externally)…or by pretending to listen to them and then ignoring what they’ve said.

The bottom line is that genuinely listening – and in more directions than you currently are – will earn you respect, motivate your people (and therefore increase productivity and morale) increase customer understanding and therefore retention, and can lead to profitable ideas and innovations being recognised, captured and implemented.

Establishing forums for listening

There’s no point paying lip service to this sort of ‘strategic listening’: you have to DO something to make it happen.

At a broad brush level, it’s about creating a culture where listening is part of leadership, and where staff feel like active contributors whose ideas and opinions are valued, and this HAS to be role modelled from the very top, otherwise it’s just not going to happen. It’s also about creating and encouraging opportunities to listen in different directions, gathering best practice and ideas from other sectors and areas, ACTUALLY listening to customers, and trying something different…as opposed to just analysing statistics.

Mix it up. Get a fresh perspective. Do something different. Learn from it. Develop yourself. And grow your organisation.

Watch out next week for Critical Leadership Skill #2 – Self Awareness.

Unlock your hidden creativity – 3 key steps to getting it back again

April 30, 2011

 Creativity and innovation are what give a company its competitive edge… so how come the idea of ‘creativity at work’ can sometimes feel like a contradiction in terms?

Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll be sharing 3 key ways of uncovering your creative potential, as an individual or organisation. You DO have it… you just might have lost sight of it.

Before I start, an acknowledgment: I have my friend, the artist Blythe Scott  (at http://www.blythescott.com ), to thank as the inspiration behind this blog series: in addition to creating her own remarkable paintings, she also teaches people to draw, and it’s from THIS, together with my own research and the work of acknowledged experts in the field of creativity, that these insights have come.

Step 1.   “Turn the Chair Upside Down”

I’ve got no hand–eye co-ordination, and I simply CANNOT draw. I can’t replicate the 3D image I see in front of me on a flat piece of paper… for nearly 40 years, that’s what I thought. Yet in the last 2 months, I’ve learned to draw in a way I never thought I could.

I’ve heard many people over the years say that they are not creative, and whilst this is their genuine perception, it’s simply not true. They ARE creative.

Two things to bear in mind :

a) some people will be more ‘creative’ than others, and

b) ‘creativity’ does NOT equate to talent in the arts – it manifests itself in many different ways. Companies and individuals want to be ‘creative’ – they don’t all want to be artists or performers.

So what if you’re ‘not very creative’ and you want to be?

One of the things I remember Blythe saying a while back is that if someone who “can’t draw” turns a chair upside down, they are more likely to be able to draw it accurately.

Far from just being a metaphor for taking a different perspective in order to be creative, there’s some science behind this.

Understand that even in creativity, there is science. It’s not a dangerous free-for-all state of chaos to be feared or contained.

In her book ‘How to draw with the right side of the brain’ (lent to me by Blythe!) Betty Edwards explains that with most “non-artists” after about the age of 10, the logical left side of the brain dominates. It will look at a chair, face or house and say “Ah yes, a chair / face / house. I know what a chair / face/ house looks like” and draws not the thing it sees, but its own remembered symbol for a chair / face/ house.

People who “can’t draw” are probably drawing like ten year olds, because this is what happens.

Turn the chair or the image upside down, though, and the left brain doesn’t have a stored symbol for an upside-down chair or face or whatever, so the right brain kicks in and draws what is actually in front of it, resulting in a much more accurate drawing.

Accept the paradox that looking at some things creatively – not logically – can result in a more accurate, better quality result.

 Another factor explained by Edwards is that right brain creative work is very absorbing. It’s easy to get into a state of ‘flow’, or be ‘in the zone’ and lose track of time. Some people might have issues with ‘letting go’ in this way.

Be prepared to give creativity time, and to ‘go with the flow’. Experiment, test, try.

I’ve tried this ‘upside down’ technique with line drawings, furniture and photos… and it works. Drawing isn’t just about hand-eye co-ordination, as I’d thought for years. It’s about learning to see things in a different way. Now that I know how to see things in a different way, I no longer have to turn them upside down every time.

Understand that to be creative, you have to challenge yourself to see things in a different way, and from a different angle.

Have a go yourself. If you “can’t draw”, take a simple image or a chair, turn it upside down, and focus on what you SEE, not what you think you know is there. See what happens. To be honest, if the result is NOT an improvement on your usual ability to draw, you’ve either allowed some left brain interpretation in there and taken your eye off the image itself, or you’ve become a slave to time and rushed it.

Consider your own field of work. Where’s the metaphor here? Is there a process that’s existed for years that you can ‘view upside down’ in order to see it more clearly? A product perhaps? A behaviour pattern that’s just ‘the way things are’ that can actually be challenged?

If you remain sceptical about your own creative ability, think about small children and they way they draw, play and create in a very uninhibited way. ALL kids, given the chance and barring disabilities which might prevent it, will do this… even the ones who end up as lawyers and corporate strategists.

Somewhere along the line, through education, social factors and other things, their emphasis shifts from the creative to the logical.

But guess what? In my training programmes (which use a variety of creative methods) as soon as people are ‘allowed’ and ‘encouraged’ to be creative, or are given no option BUT to be creative, they can all do it. They can all contribute creatively in their own way. Some might feel awkward at first if they’re not used to it, but that’s natural. Given the right encouragement and environment and a mandate to be creative, people can. They just can. Without exception.

Allow yourself to think in a childlike way (NOTE – childlike, not childish – there’s a BIG difference).

Allow yourself to put aside the comfort blanket of left-brain logic and ‘go with the flow’… you’re only thinking, and no one’s going to get hurt!

Allow yourself to be creative: stop telling yourself that you’re not, start telling yourself that you’re re-discovering your creative abilities. And then do something different to prove it to yourself.

Next time,   I’ll be looking at your creative versus your editor brain, and how to make the most of both… so watch this blog space for Step 2!

What’s your Training Toolkit for?

January 29, 2011

So. What’s in your toolkit, and what do you use it for? No double entendre intended here folks: it’s just a bit of training jargon. Many is the training course that claims to give participants a ‘toolkit’ of learning resources, theories and methods that will help them work / manage / lead better back in the workplace. Despite its over-use (to the point of cliché) the term DOES serve as a useful metaphor.
 
However, my musings this week have prompted me to consider a deeper question: what do YOU use YOUR toolkit for? Creation or repair?
 
My brother is an artist and props maker (see www.ajh-art.co.uk). He has a VAST toolkit full of bits and pieces that he’s gathered over the years, with which he creates all manner of weird and wonderful objects.
 
Here’s the thing. He uses HIS toolkit to create. He has a clear vision of what he wants to make, and what it will look like when it’s finished – preparatory sketches help him keep on track throughout the process. 

He selects the right tools for each individual project. Sometimes there are subtle variations in these, depending on the precise finish he needs  – his is not a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach.

Crucially, if he doesn’t have a tool that he needs, he’ll either make one, or adapt one that he already has. It’s NEVER a case of “I don’t have the tool, so I can’t do the job”.

Compare his creative work with the way in which I use MY toolkit.  It contains the bare minimum – a couple of screwdrivers, a hammer, a pair of pliers and so on – and was one of the cheapest I could find.  I only ever dust it down and drag it out of the garage when something needs to be fixed.

If I don’t have the right tool, I’ll either live with the problem, or try to get someone else to fix it.

The artist is proactive. The reluctant DIY-er is reactive.

How do you use the ‘toolkit’ of knowledge that you’ve gathered, from life experience, from other people or from training courses? Do you create, or merely repair? Are you proactive… or reactive? Your answer could be making a HUGE difference to your workplace… and your life.

2011 – a year of doing things differently

January 5, 2011

Another New Year, another set of resolutions. For me, 2011 is going to be a year of doing things differently. Maybe it will start with climbing the stairs from time to time instead of taking the lift. I might even branch out of the usual three set menu items from The Panda Chinese Take Away and try something different. Maybe – just maybe – I’ll push the boat out and take a different route around the supermarket and try one or two new products that aren’t on my list! Woah!

Why? Because breaking patterns enables us to learn, experience and see new things. And because if we can do a few small things differently, we’ll be better able to tackle the BIGGER challenges, like dealing with change, altering lifestyle and facing the unexpected. It might not always be a resounding success… but it will be DIFFERENT. It won’t be the ordinary, mediocre same-old, same-old, and we’ll have learned something.

Why not take up the challenge yourself? Go on – try a couple of  ’different’ things a week. Say ‘yes’  a bit more often rather than using the usual excuse to say ’no’.  Talk to that person you think you know and really listen to them; how much did you not even know about them?  Don’t just pick the thing you want to do, like doing and know you’re good at… try the thing that freaks you out a little bit, just to see if you can. And, of course, don’t forget to tell me what happens, and what you learn.

So if you DO see me sticking religiously to my list in Tescos, or ordering the set menu at the Chinese, feel free to come up and remind me to do something different.

Why does training fail?

November 25, 2010

Imagine you were doing a bit of DIY in your garage  – putting up a few new shelves, lets say. Mid-way through your project, you went out and bought some new tools.  Rather than unwrapping them as soon as you got home and set to work using them, you thought to yourself “No. I’ll leave them in their packaging and save them until I’m doing a really important DIY job in the house.”

Unlikely, eh? You’d probably want to practise a bit in the garage before heading into the house to do something important and highly visible with  said new tools.

Funnily enough, a pattern of behaviour I’ve noticed a LOT is for training participants to earmark newly learned techniques and skills for a ‘special occasion’…rather than look to put them into practise as soon as possible. 

Using a specific skill set and structure to deliver feedback, for example – a very useful tool indeed – often seems to be put aside for a one-to-one meeting, or a performance review. Active listening skills will be tried out ‘in my next departmental meeting’.  Assertive body language will be attempted ‘when I give my next presentation’.

Two things here: the longer you leave implementation after the end of the training programme (or any new knowledge acquisition) the less likely that implementation is to actually happen. Those new learning tools will stay in their packaging on the garage shelf.

The second thing is….why wait until a crucial moment to bring those skills out? Doesn’t it make more sense to practice in low risk, everyday situations  before embarking on that highly visible front-room project where everyone is going to see the results?

Pick something you’ve learned. Practice the day after your course. Heck, practise on your friends, your family, your dog, on the evening after you’ve finished your course. 

Do something. Test it out. Refine it. So when the big moment comes, you’ll be ready and able, and not looking blankly at a shiny new tool still in its packaging, wondering what to do with it.

How to Learn

November 1, 2010

Yep – sounds like a strange one. What do you mean, “how to learn”? Isn’t it obvious?

Well, yes and no.  Yes, because we’re learning and picking up information all the time and from all sorts of different sources. No, because often we don’t make the connections between what we’re doing / experiencing / seeing / hearing and our lives and work.

When delivering training, I often come across people who will constantly ask for ‘specific company x examples’ of whatever behaviour, leadership style or management theory is being explored. They just don’t seem to be able to make connections between things that happen outwith the workplace and their own lives, work and activities…or maybe it’s too much effort to make those valuable connections. 

The truth is almost ANY behaviour or experience can be relevant to employees at ‘company x’ …if they know how to learn from it.

Building a Learning Organisation

October 7, 2010

Maybe the first question should be “So what exactly IS a ‘Learning Organisation ??” It does, after all , sound like the sort of consultant jargon that’s wheeled out to impress people without fully knowing what it is.

Well, ask yourself this: how much EASIER would managing performance, delivering innovation, creative thinking, analysis and strategy development and generally moving a company forward be if everyone in the organisation was open to a culture of learning and change? If PERSONAL development and continued learning was an accepted norm amongst employees…rather than being signed up for the odd training course?

Happily, there’s been a lot of research in this area (Donald Schon, Chris Argyris, Peter Senge etc etc) which defines far more accurately what we’re talking about here.

From the grass roots perspective of  someone who’s devised and  / or delivered a range of learning programmes in a wide variety of organisations large and small, the obvious factors that an organisation needs to consider are:

TO ELEVATE THE STATUS OF LEARNING:  this requires some leadership from senior management (who, after all, are not omniscient!) …and some sincerity. An ‘I’ve arrived’ mentality at senior level is usually coupled with a ‘do what I say, not what I do’ approach to learning and development, which doesn’t work. People can see right through it, and will copy senior management actions rather than instructions when push comes to shove. 

Disrespect for HR and Learning and Development departments doesn’t help here, neither does a culture where workplace learning is seen as corrective or remedial.

TO CONDONE THE ENJOYMENT OF LEARNING:  I try very hard NOT to work with organisations who insist on a ‘death by powerpoint’ , didactic approach to learning.  I’ve even had one look at some photos from one of my training course and remark that ‘it ought to be toned down a bit – it looks like they’re having too much fun’ .  How boring. How uninspiring. How UNlikely to motivate someone to want to learn and grow more.

YES, the outcomes are serious,and business objectives must be met:  but if people can enjoy and engage with the learning experience, it is more likely to have a lasting impact in the workplace…and lead to continued learning and growth.

SUPPORTING THE IMPLEMENTATION OF LEARNING: this should involve some effort to shift the culture of an organisation. It’s a bit pointless, for example, sending people on creative thinking or assertiveness courses, and then having them come back to a stagnant work environment that tells them to shut up and get on with the same old same old.

So, who really DOES want a culture of learning and growth in their organisation?  Because that could mean some changes in attitude and mindset…

Who’s in da room??

September 26, 2010

How much do we MISS by taking people at face value – by being too quick to assume that a person is only as much as his or her job title suggests?

One of my favourite questions to ask participants as the start of a workshop or training session  is what’s their “secret skill”  – something that their colleagues wouldn’t necessarily know about them.

There have been some fascinating answers: someone who made stained glass windows; someone who had a license to captain a cruise ship; an Olympic diving medallist; someone who dressed up as Ranger’s Football Team’s mascot Broxie Bear at home games; musicians; artists; sportsmen and women; a skydiver; TV quiz show champions…a truly astonishing array of talents and interests.

Do companies have ANY IDEA WHATSOEVER about the true extent of the talent within their own four walls? I imagine not. Are they missing out on opportunities and ideas? Without a doubt.