Being a great Leader

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It’s no secret that organizations who wish to be successful over the long term strategically pay attention to their leadership pipeline. Yet shockingly, 56% of companies report that they are not ready to meet their future leadership requirements. When considering the necessary elements to include in an organization’s leadership pipeline strategy, alignment with and demonstration of organizational values is rapidly migrating to the forefront for many Human Resource executives.The question remains, how can a focus on values and culture be woven into the leadership pipeline process? Here are three simple strategies:

Know the Culture and Values You Want
Culture is the aggregate sum of the behaviors exhibited within an organization. Unfortunately, an organization can have a culture that they did not plan for and do not want. For example, an organization may be driving for increased revenue growth and hence be incentivizing employees around upselling or offering add-ons. This may inadvertently rob them of the customer-service culture they identify in their values or mission statement, because employees and managers are more focused on what they are incentivized with or measured against.

                              
The solution is to bring clarity to leaders surrounding the priority of values and initiatives. Not only is it necessary for employees and leaders to deliver on the revenue growth commitments, it is also critical that they deliver on the agreed-upon service standards. Knowing that this is the standard, right from the top, will help build a pipeline of leaders who are Maximize Zone Leaders, who can both deliver on their  commercial commitments and model culture and values
Explicitly Incorporate Your Values into Leadership Development Training
When cultivating and grooming future leaders, it is critical to design leadership development training that reflects the culture and values that will set the organization up for future, long-term success. It is ideal that current leaders, who already have the vision of the culture and values, have a significant influence in the development of the training.Rich Butler, Senior Director of Global Training and Development for Papa John’s, who has been spearheading Papa John’s Leadership and Culture initiative over the past two years, states, “It has been very important to our CEO and founder (John Schnatter) that Papa John’s fuel our growth with leaders who will role-model the culture and values that are near and dear to his heart.”

Thus, Butler and Papa John’s have been explicitly training the organization’s leaders, around the values, leadership behaviors, and culture they expect their leaders to model, coach, and require.

This has had “incredibly positive results” on both attracting great future leaders into the organization, and building a great pipeline for the future, reflects Butler. “We have always had a passion to promote from within,” says Butler, “however, being explicit about the values and leadership culture we expect and training our leaders, is putting us in a position to fill our leadership pipeline faster and more effectively.”

Measure Leaders Frequently and Link Advancement to Quality Scores
Organizations have relied on instruments like 360-degree assessments for years to measure the values and leadership behaviors that they want their leaders and future leaders to espouse.

While a powerful tool, 360-degree assessments can be cumbersome to execute, and often cannot provide the frequency necessary to assess if leaders are accurately modeling the expected values and leadership behaviors required, as they also strive to deliver their commercial commitments. Thus, organizations often find themselves promoting leaders who are only delivering on commercial commitments. Over time they regret these promotions, as the leaders are not modeling the values and leadership behaviors. Further, they are not coaching or requiring the behaviors of their direct reports, because they simply lack the credibility to hold anyone accountable for that which they do not do themselves.

What is a viable solution to frequently measuring values and leadership behaviors?

One solution is the Pulse Check. A Pulse Check operates similarly to a 360-degree assessment; however, it is much shorter (6 to 12 questions) and can be executed monthly or bimonthly. This increased frequency helps to promote higher levels of awareness and accelerates behavior change. Moreover, when the results are discussed with regularity and leaders can see the connection between advancement and the quality of their scores, it builds a deep conviction in them of the importance of living by these values and beliefs. It also viscerally demonstrates the importance of coaching and requiring these values and behaviors into the next generation of leaders.

When every leader in the leadership pipeline understands the organizational values and embraces their accountability to model, coach, and require these values as they deliver their commercial commitments, and as they experience the connection between living these values and their professional advancement, the result is a leadership pipeline full of future leaders who know and live the organizational values and culture.

This alignment contributes to fewer leadership gaps, smoother leadership transitions, and the ability to stay on the charted course of building strong leaders who deliver on commercial commitments and model the culture and values.It’s no secret that organizations who wish to be successful over the long term strategically pay attention to their leadership pipeline. Yet shockingly, 56% of companies report that they are not ready to meet their future leadership requirements. When considering the necessary elements to include in an organization’s leadership pipeline strategy, alignment with and demonstration of organizational values is rapidly migrating to the forefront for many Human Resource executives. The question remains, how can a focus on values and culture be woven into the leadership pipeline process? Here are three simple strategies: Know the Culture and Values You Want Culture is the aggregate sum of the behaviors exhibited within an organization. Unfortunately, an organization can have a culture that they did not plan for and do not want. For example, an organization may be driving for increased revenue growth and hence be incentivizing employees around upselling or offering add-ons. This may inadvertently rob them of the customer-service culture they identify in their values or mission statement, because employees and managers are more focused on what they are incentivized with or measured against.    The solution is to bring clarity to leaders surrounding the priority of values and initiatives. Not only is it necessary for employees and leaders to deliver on the revenue growth commitments, it is also critical that they deliver on the agreed-upon service standards. Knowing that this is the standard, right from the top, will help build a pipeline of leaders who are Maximize Zone Leaders, who can both deliver on their  commercial commitments and model culture and values.  Explicitly Incorporate Your Values into Leadership Development Training When cultivating and grooming future leaders, it is critical to design leadership development training that reflects the culture and values that will set the organization up for future, long-term success. It is ideal that current leaders, who already have the vision of the culture and values, have a significant influence in the development of the training. Rich Butler, Senior Director of Global Training and Development for Papa John’s, who has been spearheading Papa John’s Leadership and Culture initiative over the past two years, states, “It has been very important to our CEO and founder (John Schnatter) that Papa John’s fuel our growth with leaders who will role-model the culture and values that are near and dear to his heart.” Thus, Butler and Papa John’s have been explicitly training the organization’s leaders, around the values, leadership behaviors, and culture they expect their leaders to model, coach, and require. This has had “incredibly positive results” on both attracting great future leaders into the organization, and building a great pipeline for the future, reflects Butler. “We have always had a passion to promote from within,” says Butler, “however, being explicit about the values and leadership culture we expect and training our leaders, is putting us in a position to fill our leadership pipeline faster and more effectively.”   Measure Leaders Frequently and Link Advancement to Quality Scores Organizations have relied on instruments like 360-degree assessments for years to measure the values and leadership behaviors that they want their leaders and future leaders to espouse. While a powerful tool, 360-degree assessments can be cumbersome to execute, and often cannot provide the frequency necessary to assess if leaders are accurately modeling the expected values and leadership behaviors required, as they also strive to deliver their commercial commitments. Thus, organizations often find themselves promoting leaders who are only delivering on commercial commitments. Over time they regret these promotions, as the leaders are not modeling the values and leadership behaviors. Further, they are not coaching or requiring the behaviors of their direct reports, because they simply lack the credibility to hold anyone accountable for that which they do not do themselves. What is a viable solution to frequently measuring values and leadership behaviors? One solution is the Pulse Check. A Pulse Check operates similarly to a 360-degree assessment; however, it is much shorter (6 to 12 questions) and can be executed monthly or bimonthly. This increased frequency helps to promote higher levels of awareness and accelerates behavior change. Moreover, when the results are discussed with regularity and leaders can see the connection between advancement and the quality of their scores, it builds a deep conviction in them of the importance of living by these values and beliefs. It also viscerally demonstrates the importance of coaching and requiring these values and behaviors into the next generation of leaders. When every leader in the leadership pipeline understands the organizational values and embraces their accountability to model, coach, and require these values as they deliver their commercial commitments, and as they experience the connection between living these values and their professional advancement, the result is a leadership pipeline full of future leaders who know and live the organizational values and culture. This alignment contributes to fewer leadership gaps, smoother leadership transitions, and the ability to stay on the charted course of building strong leaders who deliver on commercial commitments and model the culture and values.

Author Bio
John Wright is President of Leadership Development and Learning Events, Eagle’s Flight. John has extensive experience in the design and delivery of a diverse portfolio of programs. In addition to his executive responsibilities as President of Leadership Development and Learning Events, John is considered a valued partner to many executive teams. His insight and experience enable him to effectively diagnose, design, and implement complex culture change initiatives in a collaborative and engaging manner. Moreover, John’s experience in global implementations allows him to draw from a deep well of history to create unique and customized solutions.
Source- http://bit.ly/2uspkmQ

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Corporate training events come with a certain set of expectations from employees. Whether those expectations are positive or negative is up to the organizer. Employee events like staff retreats, conferences, monthly or quarterly meetings, and even office social gatherings can be opportunities for corporate training, even if participants don’t realize that they are learning at the time. how-to-embed-corporate-training-into-employee-events Subtly integrating learning into employee events can help prevent preconceived notions about corporate training from getting in the way of education. This is especially true for organizations that don’t have a great track record with training. Employees who feel that corporate training is a waste of time or boring will be pleasantly surprised with a well-executed and unexpected learning event.

You can come up with different creative ways to integrate corporate training into employee events. These are just a few examples:

Make It Immersive

The more engaging a training event is, the more likely an individual is to retain information. Immersive training events capture attention and enable participants to learn and practice new skills in a safe environment.  When you tie those lessons back to the real corporate world, you have a room full of people who learned a new skill without even realizing they were participating in a corporate training event.

 

Download A Guide To Creating Interactive & Engaging Company Events

 

Here are some simple things you can do to create an immersive training event:

  • Don’t leave out any details so your participants feel like they are really in the experience
  • Make it energizing; the more exciting and energized the room, the more buy-in you’ll get from your participants
  • Incorporate an experience where participants are mixing and mingling with people they don’t normally work with. This will allow participants to try new things while learning new skills and understand how things are across your organization

Make It Subtle

Nothing says “corporate training” like a personality test or a slide deck chock-full of bullet points. Many individuals automatically shut down when the projector turns on. On the other hand, when participants walk into a room and suddenly feel like they have been transported to an alternate reality, they can’t help but have their curiosity piqued. Before they know it, they are learning how to forge effective partnershipswhile completing a mission. After a few hours of wheeling and dealing, their ability to identify and capitalize on strategic partnerships has skyrocketed. Do the participants feel like they were at a corporate training event? No. They were too busy boosting profits by connecting with the right partners.

Mix It Up

Add a little variety to the day to keep participants engaged and on their toes. When employees don’t know what’s going to happen next, they can’t become complacent. You can keep minds and bodies more attentive by:

  • Using multiple formats like video, lecture, games, and contests
  • Scheduling part of the event outdoors when possible
  • Using different areas of the space you are in
  • Changing the layout of the room or doing some activities while standing or moving around

Merge with Management

It’s a lot easier for employees to feel that corporate training is valuable if leadership is doing it with them. When leaders are present at employee events and participating in the learning activities, it demonstrates a commitment to organizational development and helps individuals connect better with managers. Employee events are an excellent opportunity to build company culture by creating a common language and enabling individuals at every level in the organization to have a shared experience.

Make It Fun

Many employee events have a single activity that participants find fun and engaging. However, these are often surrounded by more typical activities like presentations, brainstorms, and breakout groups. This inconsistency causes participants to tune out in between the fun sessions, and the result is a loss of momentum throughout the day. If your corporate training event is immersive from start to finish, participants don’t have the opportunity to disengage. Maintaining a consistent theme for the entire event, even during meals and breaks, will keep minds on the task at hand. When done well, an immersive corporate training event will keep participants puzzling over problems and solutions after the event.

When planning your event, don’t forget to theme:

  • Food
  • Prizes and gifts
  • Decorations
  • Music
  • Conference materials
  • Newsletters or announcements leading up to and after the event

If the term “corporate training” triggers yawns and skepticism in your workplace, it’s time to consider a different method. The goal of a corporate training event is to produce long-term skill sets that participants are excited to use in the real world. By integrating immersive educational experiences into employee events, you have the opportunity to impart new knowledge and create an enjoyable experience at the same time. After one successful event, next time you say “corporate training,” you’ll be greeted with a completely different attitude.

What other methods have you used for embedding corporate training events into employee events?

 

johnAbout the author

Since 1991, John has acquired extensive experience in the design and delivery of a diverse portfolio of programs. In addition to his executive responsibilities as President of Leadership and Learning Events, John is considered a valued partner to many executive teams. His insight and experience enable him to effectively diagnose, design, and implement complex culture change initiatives in a collaborative and engaging manner. Moreover, John’s experience in global implementations allows him to draw from a deep well of history to create unique and customized solutions. John’s passion for developing people makes him a sought after speaker, partner and coach and is evident in the high praise he receives from clients.

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Leaders play a critical role in any organization, which is why it is so important for everybody in a leadership position to embody the culture and be a positive role model for others. When this doesn’t happen, the result can be toxic or destructive, creating a long-term impact on the company that can take years to reverse. the-4-signs-of-toxicdestructive-leadership-in-organizations

In fact, a recent article in Psychology Today stated that toxic leadership is on the rise and that “[t]here’s a clear symbiotic relationship between toxic workplaces and the toxic leaders who inhabit them.” While toxic leadership can sometimes be a result of inherent personality traits, organizations can avoid going too far down a destructive path by knowing how to identify the signs and changing course before it’s too late.

Look for these signs to determine if your organization is at risk of toxic leadership:

1. Poor Listening Skills

Leaders who don’t make time to listen to employees will miss out on critical information that can impact the company. Even when individuals have an opportunity to share their thoughts, if those ideas fall on deaf ears, it can be demoralizing and frustrating.

The signs of poor listening skills:

  • Employees have stopped offering ideas for improvement.
  • It is difficult or impossible to schedule a meeting with leaders.
  • Leaders multitask in meetings or change the topic of conversation.

2. Lack of Feedback

Listening is the first key to good communication, but providing feedback is also essential for a healthy relationship with leadership. When leaders provide little or no feedback about performance, employees are left guessing or assuming that their behavior is acceptable. This applies to both negative and positive feedback. A leader who does not correct poor employee performance can’t expect beneficial change, but without positive feedback, employees are not given the full opportunity to flourish and grow.

The signs of lack of feedback:

  • Employees do not have timely annual reviews.
  • Individuals are left to make decisions that leadership should handle.
  • High performers are now just producing average results.
  • Employees repeatedly make the same mistakes.

3. Lack of Accountability

Everybody occasionally makes an error or misses a deadline, but when leaders do this time and again and are not accountable, it will trickle down through the entire organization. The result will be lost efficiency and an organization filled with people who do not feel responsible for the outcomes of their work.

The signs of lack of accountability:

  • Leaders blame their team when something doesn’t go well.
  • Employees express frustration with leaders for not following through.
  • Leaders do not admit when they make mistakes.

Unleash the Power of Teamwork: Learn More in This Guide

4. Bad Behavior Modeling

“Do as I say, not as I do” is not an effective attitude in the workplace. Leaders cannot expect employees to embrace a culture or behave in a certain way if they do not model those behaviors themselves. This type of attitude can be further damaging to a leader because it demonstrates that their words do not carry weight. Why would an employee commit to going the extra mile when the boss doesn’t demonstrate the same  commitment?

Signs of bad behavior modeling:

  • Managers have expectations of their teams but do not deliver the same level of performance.
  • Leaders are not present in the workplace.
  • Leaders do not behave in a way that supports the company culture.

Fortunately, all of these signs of destructive leadership can be corrected once they have been identified. Leadership development programs can be tailored to each individual to address areas of weakness at any point in the leadership pipeline. Whether an individual is a first-time manager or a C-level executive, they can benefit from leadership training to address these types of concerns.

 

Dave_rootAbout the author

Dave joined Eagle’s Flight in 1991 after having spent a number of years with a Toronto-based accounting firm. Since that time, he has held a number of posts within the company, primarily in the areas of Operations, Finance, Legal, and IT. In his current role as both Chief Financial Officer and President, Global Business, Dave is focused on ensuring the company’s ongoing financial health as well as growing its global market share. In pursuing the latter, Dave’s wealth of experience and extensive business knowledge has made him a valued partner and trusted advisor to both our global licensees and multinational clientele.

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When an organization decides that the customer should always be the first consideration when making any type of decision within the company, it’s critical that every employee understands what this means. More importantly, they must fully embrace the concept of customer centricity and feel empowered to take the necessary steps toward making every customer experience an excellent one. Customer centricity training will get everybody on the same page and create the framework for a truly customer centric business. what-does-customer-centricity-training-entail-blog

The intent of customer centricity training is to teach the behaviors that contribute to a culture that always puts the customer first. Your training sessions should include the following content:

Understanding What Customer Centricity Means

If you asked 10 people in your organization today what customer centricity means, you are likely to get 10 different answers. After customer centricity training, every employee will have the same response: putting the customer first in everything you do. Of course, there is more to the story than that simple phrase, but the first step in customer centricity training is defining what it means to be a company that is not just customer-friendly, but customer centric.

Defining the Desired Customer Experience

What does your organization want a customer to think and feel at every step from the first interaction through a sale and beyond? Without direction from leadership and a unified training program, every employee will have a different opinion, and it won’t always achieve the level of excellence you desire.

Download the free Guide to Effective Leadership Training & Development here!

The details are up to you, but defining what you want the customer experience to be like is a necessary part of customer centricity training.

Learning How to Claim Ownership

Many employees think that if they don’t interact with customers, they don’t need customer centricity training. They couldn’t be more wrong. Every single employee in an organization (from the janitor to the CEO) need to always think about how they impact the customer experience with their actions. For example, a warehouse employee influences the customer experience in the way that a product is packaged for shipment. They may never speak with a customer in the course of doing their job, but if they pack a product carelessly and it breaks during shipment, their actions have a negative impact on the customer experience. Every employee should ask themselves on a daily basis what they can do to improve the customer experience.

Learning How to Take Action

Another key component of a typical customer centricity training is teaching individuals how to take action in the organization and providing them with a structure to do so. Take the example of the warehouse worker who packs hundreds of shipments every day. They have an idea to include a card in every shipment with the name of the person who packed it, along with a photo and unique quote. They believe that packers would be inclined to do their jobs more carefully if they felt a sense of ownership, and they also think it would delight customers to have the package more personalized. Before customer centricity training, this employee might not feel empowered to bring this idea to a superior. After training, they would know to ask:

What is preventing me from taking this action, and how can I overcome that hurdle?

The training should also provide a framework for moving ideas through the organization. They would know whom to go to for authorization, additional training, or whatever would help them move beyond the hurdle.

If you’re not sure if your organization could benefit from customer centricity training, start from the beginning and ask 10 people in your organization what customer centricity means. The results will speak for themselves.

 

johnAbout the author

Since 1991, John has acquired extensive experience in the design and delivery of a diverse portfolio of programs. In addition to his executive responsibilities as President of Leadership and Learning Events, John is considered a valued partner to many executive teams. His insight and experience enable him to effectively diagnose, design, and implement complex culture change initiatives in a collaborative and engaging manner. Moreover, John’s experience in global implementations allows him to draw from a deep well of history to create unique and customized solutions. John’s passion for developing people makes him a sought after speaker, partner and coach and is evident in the high praise he receives from clients.

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If you are revamping an existing employee training program and plan to implement experiential training, the process can sometimes feel challenging; especially if you’re new to this type of learning. Here are a few guidelines to follow to make the switch to experiential employee training less overwhelming: making-the-switch-to-experiential-employee-training-where-to-start

1. Define the Behaviors You Want to Change

One of the essential elements of successful training is linking the content delivered to real-life scenarios in the workplace. One way that an outside training provider can do this is by going through a discovery process within in your organization prior to the event. This discovery process will enable the training team to discover the perceived and real needs and to customize the training so new concepts will resonate more effectively with participants and connecting the dots during the debrief will be easier.

 

Here are some of the elements uncovered during the discovery process:

  • Common terms used in the organization
  • How the business is structured
  • Shared values in the company culture

2. Find the Right Experiential Training Provider and Check Their Track Record

Experiential training providers that have a track record of success will have no trouble providing testimonials and references from organizations they have worked with in the past. Consider these other factors about a provider:

  • How long the company has been in business
  • What types of organizations they work with
  • How much repeat business they get
  • How many experiential training programs they offer
  • Whether or not they have won any awards; and what those awards are
  • Do they provide customized solutions for the exact challenges you are addressing
  • Will they become a close partner that is truly considered part of your company or do they act as a 3rd party provider with a limited relationship

Select the Right Facilitator

Facilitators have the power to make or break your an experiential training initiative, and if you don’t choose the right one, your participants won’t engage and you won’t get the best return on your investment. There are countless corporate training providers in the world, but not all of them will help you achieve your training goals.

Some of the qualities to look for in an experiential training facilitator are:

  •    An established track record delivering experiential training across a range of industries
  •    A genuine interest in improving your organization
  •    A commitment to tailoring the training content to your needs
  •    The ability to conduct an intensive debrief that links training and on-the-job real world application

3.  Come Up With a Retention Plan

Behavior change doesn’t start immediately after training. It takes time and ongoing knowledge reinforcement for individuals to successfully apply their new skills and for new behaviors to become ingrained. Many corporate trainers take a one-and-done approach that leaves you wondering what happens next. Look for an experiential training provider that offers post-training support, including:

  • Retention and measurement tools
  • Long-term training strategy development
  • Ongoing coaching
  • Performance evaluation tools
  • A reporting system for tracking progress

4. Feel the Excitement

Experiential training is exciting. If you don’t get at least a little jazzed up when talking to a potential provider, chances are, they aren’t going to deliver the type of training that makes employees want to come back for more. You can also get a sense of this when listening to testimonials or talking to references. If the tone and language don’t convey a certain level of excitement about the training, consider evaluating other options. Just like hiring new employees, you look for candidates who want to be there and excel, not just show up to get the paycheck. The best experiential training providers will stand out by their enthusiasm for their work.

As you evaluate experiential training providers, look for companies that emphasize a discovery process, have expert facilitators who are passionate about learning, and provide ongoing support so you get the most from your corporate training program.

 

IanAbout the author

Ian has been with Eagle’s Flight since 1997, and is Executive Vice President, Global Accounts. He holds an MBA in Finance and Marketing from the University of British Columbia. Ian spent 12 years at Nestlé Canada and brings a wide range of experience that includes practical business experience in management, sales, program design, development and mentoring. He works closely with the Global licensees to ensure their success as they represent Eagle’s Flight in the worldwide marketplace. He has developed outstanding communication skills and currently is the Executive in Charge of a large Fortune 500 client with a team of employees dedicated to this specific account. As a result, Ian has been instrumental in driving the company’s growth and strategic direction.

You want to get the most from your company training programs, both in terms of organizational results and economically. It’s just good business. Failure to choose a program that aligns with employee and company needs often means the organization will not see a return on investment. If you have determined that your organizational training initiative isn’t delivering the desired results, it’s time to figure out why. As you evaluate your existing company training programs, consider these five common reasons why they might not be providing ROI.five-reasons-your-companys-training-programs-arent-providing-roi

1. You’re All Over the Map

In general, executives and human resources personnel should implement the specific types of training that best address organizational needs. When this doesn’t happen, the corporate training program lacks direction and cohesion. You can identify this problem when you hear comments such as “That training was interesting, but I don’t understand how it applies to my job” or, even worse, “Why are we even doing this?” If individuals can’t relate the training to practical solutions, or if they don’t feel that it’s relevant to their jobs, you won’t see results, and your ROI will suffer.

How to fix it: Clearly define your organizational goals and identify the company training programs that will help you achieve them. For example, if you’re striving to develop high-performance teams, look for a training program that focuses specifically on the key elements of teamwork.

2. You Haven’t Connected the Dots

It’s a change in behavior after the training that increases performance, not the training itself. Whether you seek process improvement or increased customer service from your employees, make sure you tie the training to reality and clearly articulate the behavior change you expect to see. Your employees need clearly defined outcomes of the training in order to change their performance effectively and for your training to have an impact on results.

How to fix it: Every training session should include a discussion about how to apply the newly learned skills in real-life work situations. Make it clear that change is expected and ensure that individuals have the resources and knowledge they need to implement the desired behaviors. It’s key to revisit the training afterwards to ensure participants remember what was taught and they continually apply it to their jobs. Some organizations find it helpful to run a quick activity learned during training in meetings to reinforce the training importance and application.

3. Your Train(ing) Is on the Wrong Track

Not every training is the right fit for every individual. If your company training programs don’t match the skill levels or job functions of the people in the room, you could be wasting valuable training dollars. You can diagnose this problem when you hear things like “That training was way over my head” or “I already knew all of that stuff; what a waste of time.”

How to fix it: Perform a skills assessment to identify knowledge gaps in various roles and at different levels within the organization. Then select the programs that are most appropriate for certain groups of individuals. For example, if your organization wants to develop a pipeline of future leaders through a leadership development training initiative, focus on developing front-line employees with leadership potential, mid-level managers, and supervisors. Select courses that are suitable for each job level and build from there.

4. You Don’t Have a Retention Plan in Place

For company training programs to be truly effective, individuals need to remember what they learned.  Some learning decay is normal, but if you aren’t proactive about reinforcing new knowledge, you are contributing to a lower training ROI. Participants will lose 70% of what they learned in the first week after training.  The impact of training fades before the learning can become ingrained in the organization.

How to fix it: Organizations that focus on support, follow-up, and real-world application get the greatest return on training investment. Develop a retention strategy that includes periodic refreshers, quizzes, and discussion groups to keep the new knowledge and skills in the forefront.

5. You Aren’t Measuring Performance

Measuring performance after training is critical for improving ROI. If individuals lag in some areas that training content addressed, you can immediately confront the issue. However, you may have forgotten about this key step when initiating your training. You won’t know where the gaps are unless you measure results.

How to fix it: You can’t fix what you don’t measure. Knowledge retention and behavior change should be measured before your initiative is kicked off and at various points after the training ends. Measurement can be performed through feedback, surveys, testing, or other methods. You can also use internal milestones such as fewer customer service complaints or more repeat sales to identify training ROI.

Finding the best program to train staff members does not have to be difficult. Keep these five tips in mind as you evaluate company training programs and a good ROI will naturally follow.

 

SUEAbout the author

Sue, an authority on training and development, has over 20 years of experience in the creation and delivery of programs and custom designed training solutions for Eagle’s Flight. As Chief Operating Officer, Sue’s vast senior leadership experience and facilitation has established her as a trusted partner and organizational development expert for numerous Fortune 500 companies.

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Introducing new concepts, systems, or processes in a work environment is rarely as simple as sending an email and immediately getting the desired results. Successfully convincing individuals to change their behavior in the workplace requires:

  • Clear communication about expectations
  • An organizational training program that provides the necessary skills
  • Consistent reinforcement and measurement 5-change-management-activities-to-add-to-your-meeting-agenda

This might seem like a tall order, and indeed it does require a comprehensive overall strategy, but there are some simple change management activities you can do on a daily basis.

Meetings are the most logical place for change management activities because you have the attention of the entire group at the same time. You can ensure that people be hear the message and create a greater likelihood of understanding what you say. Consider adding these change management activities to your next meeting agenda:

1. Status Updates

Have an agenda item for status updates about  initiatives occurring in your organization. For example, if your organization is shifting to a customer-centric culture, a sales staff meeting might include an update about the new sales process that is under development. This is also a great opportunity to gather input from the sales team about how to be more customer centric and get the team to start thinking in that mindset.

Status updates should include:

  • What initiatives are currently happening
  • The status of each initiative
  • The next steps for each initiative

The individuals providing the updates will have to stay on top of their assigned tasks, and others will feel more involved in the process, especially if they have the opportunity to provide feedback during status updates.

2. Reinforcement Exercises

If your strategy includes organizational training, one of the most important change management activities you can do is reinforcement exercises. The human brain will only retain so much information (10-30%) after a training session, unless you actively recall the lessons learned. Adding a quick reinforcement exercise such as a quiz, game, or discussion about how to apply the new knowledge in the workplace will keep the information fresh in the minds of participants and encourage them to apply and use their new skills.

3. Introduce the Next Initiative

Make time to discuss the next change that is on the horizon, even if you don’t plan to roll it out for several months. Communicating early about changes to come will allow individuals to mentally prepare in advance. Providing regular updates about the plans in the pipeline will reduce the inevitable anxiety that people feel about change. Giving individuals an opportunity to provide feedback will make them feel more invested in the process and increase the likelihood that they will embrace the new systems. Clear communication about upcoming initiatives also demonstrates that leadership has a strategy in place and a plan for executing it.

4. Recognize Successes

Create an agenda item that prompts you to identify all of the successful milestones or accomplishments since the previous meeting. These could be as simple as an individual who exhibited one of the desirable behaviors identified in a recent training, or as significant as a team who measurably improved their sales numbers. When individuals know that leadership is paying attention and that they will be rewarded for their efforts, they are more likely to adopt the changes you are introducing. and more likely to perform at their peak. Many leaders don’t realize how impactful recognition can be, especially in a public form like a team meeting.

5. Action Items

Every productive meeting should include action items that are assigned to individuals and have clear deadlines. Action items go hand-in-hand with status updates on your agenda. Everybody knows that they will be expected to report back to the group, increasing the likelihood that they will complete their assigned tasks. Action items also provide the benefit of keeping a project moving forward.

It’s unrealistic to expect individuals to change their behavior without some motivation. Including these change management activities in your meetings helps maintain momentum, gives leadership a forum for introducing new changes to come, and increases accountability. What agenda items did you include in your last meeting?

 

sueAbout the author

Sue, an authority on training and development, has over 20 years of experience in the creation and delivery of programs and custom designed training solutions for Eagle’s Flight. As Chief Operating Officer, Sue’s vast senior leadership experience and facilitation has established her as a trusted partner and organizational development expert for numerous Fortune 500 companies.

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the-secret-power-of-cross-functional-teamsIf you are looking for your colleagues to innovate, engage, and eliminate inefficiencies then look no further than the concept of cross-functional teams. Cross-functional teams bring a fresh perspective to solving an organization’s problems. Here are four reasons why cross-functional teams can be a company’s secret weapon:

1. They Break Down Silos

Sales, marketing, IT, finance, legal, manufacturing, data analytics, etc. All potential parts of your organization – How well do they know about and work with each other… really?  If your company has been operating in silos, cross-functional teams can be the answer. Simply put, cross-functional teams open up lines of communication across the company, leading to greater efficiency.

Be careful though, as cross-functional teams can easily devolve into disarray, if you’re not careful. A researcher writing in Harvard Business Review claims that 75 percent of cross-functional teams fail. Why? Because employees from different areas in a business don’t like working with one another, or more accurately, they don’t know how. This pitfall of cross-functional teams can be avoided with strong team leadership. An appointed team leader is essential to keeping professionals with different backgrounds and skills on task and to keeping the focus on the team’s end goal.

2. They Eliminate Blind Spots

Have you ever had your marketing department develop a brilliant campaign for customer outreach…only to find out later that the customer service department has actually been fielding customer complaints about the very features that the marketing team’s campaign planned to highlight? That’s time, money, and employee morale down the toilet. But imagine if someone from customer service had been on the campaign development team—they could have headed off this unintended consequence much sooner. Gathering the appropriate input from all of the functions that specifically and tangentially touch a company initiative can create efficiencies and save on embarrassing, time consuming errors.

3. They Cultivate Creative Problem-Solving

Cross-functional teams by definition create organizational creativity – simply by putting different employees from different functions together. People from different backgrounds and expertise bring fresh eyes to old problems. When professionals become too close to a problem, they fail to see the workarounds right in front of them. Enter cross-functional teams…When functional innovation is needed to create growth, efficiencies or product diversity… enter cross-functional teams. When corporate performance has flattened or begun a decline… enter cross-functional teams. Organizational problems are solved by employees all pulling in the same direction.

4. They Illustrate a Company’s Larger Mission

When colleagues feel connected to an organization’s larger mission, it leads to higher levels of engagement and, ultimately, a culture of high performance. The culture of a company is how the organization brings that mission to life; this cannot be accomplished without people and their buy-in and dedication. Cross-functional teams allow their members to see how their role and purpose fit into the larger organization to continue to drive the culture and the mission in the right direction. IT allows team members to clearly see how their role directly impacts everyone else in the company (how marketing impacts the sales team; how sales then impacts productions, how the customer service team impacts sales, etc). The examples are endless. Intentionally creating opportunities for employees to influence employees, should require the same amount of time and effort as is taken to craft and cascade the mission everyone is focused on.

Forming cross-functional teams can be a rocky process if your company hasn’t leveraged them well in the past; although the benefits will make it worthwhile. This is where smart team development comes into play. Team development activities can help ensure that colleagues from different areas of the company work better together. Remember to make team development an ongoing priority—not just a one-time or once-a-year activity.

Have you delved into forming cross-functional teams at your own organization? What has been the outcome so far?

paul

About the author

As Executive Vice President Global Performance, Paul has extensive experience in consultation, design, and delivery of programs over his 20 year career with Eagle’s Flight. Through his genuine personable approach, Paul is not only a trusted advisor but also a valued partner to his clients; he works seamlessly to ensure that Eagle’s Flight solutions are aligned to their needs and desired outcomes. As a result, Paul is the account executive for Eagle’s Flight largest account. Many of his clients are multi-year accounts from multinational, Fortune 500 companies.

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Individuals at every level in a business benefit from ongoing training, including leaders. Experiential training is one of the most effective ways to deliver new concepts in a manner that is both memorable and engaging. conference To make experiential learning effective, it must have impact on real-world problems and solutions. To do this, it has to meet the following criteria:

  • Mirror reality - The activity must be a reflection of the real situations that participants encounter in the workplace.
  • Produce predictable learning - You must know in advance what new skills or concepts the participants will learn from the experiential training event.
  • Visceral involvement - When participants are fully immersed and engaged they form the strongest memories and absorb more new knowledge.

Experiential learning can be applied at all levels of the business from basic time management skills to learning how to improve internal processes. Regardless of the concepts you want employees to learn, there are some standard methods you can apply.

The experiential training methods you would use to teach leadership skills are the same methods you would apply for any other type of skill you want employees to learn. Here’s what to look for:

Disguise the Real World but Replicate the Business

We know that experiential training exercises mirror reality, however it is important that the scenario is nothing like the environment that leaders encounter on a daily basis. The actions and processes must replicate the business, but it has to be done in a way that the business reality is disguised.

An example for leadership training might be acting as the sheriff in the Wild West. The experiential training exercise should replicate the challenges one would face as a leader in the workplace — time management, making quick decisions, conflict resolution, etc. — but the setting removes the participants from their daily surroundings and allows them to take action without real consequences.

Use Principle-Based Design

Break down larger goals into principles so that they are easier to absorb and so that participants can experience each component in the training. For example, if the goal of the experiential training is to develop better time management skills, you might break it down into each of the following principles:

  • Identifying barriers to effective time management
  • Planning and organizing time for personal success
  • Understanding that activity does not equal productivity

As the sheriff in the Wild West, a leader must learn how to successfully manage their time while juggling a lot of various responsibilities. By learning the key principles of time management (or any other topic), participants can better apply their new knowledge when they return to the real world.

Learn by Doing in a Safe Environment

The ability to take action without real consequences is an essential component of experiential training for leaders. The cornerstone of experiential training is learning by doing. Throughout the course of the event, participants must take actions, and those actions have consequences. However, because you have created a safe environment where those consequences do not apply to the real world, participants can fail, try again, and learn from their mistakes.

Using the sheriff and time management examples from above, the sheriff might discover that one of the barriers to time management is that they have to personally handle every issue that arises, no matter how large or small. In the experiential learning exercise they have the freedom to solve this problem by appointing a deputy and seeing the consequences of that action without the real-world pressures of transferring responsibility to another person.

Experiential Training Methods for Leaders

The primary difference in experiential training for leaders versus other individuals is the desired outcomes. When it comes to leadership, there are various experiential training goals you can reach depending on where each leader is in their journey.

Leaders in the Pipeline

If you have identified potential leaders, take advantage of the time you have before they step into a supervisory role to teach them leadership concepts like:

  • Building effective relationships
  • Managing time
  • Communicating and listening
  • Fostering collaboration within a team
  • Managing conflict in the workplace
  • Reducing stress

Managers and Supervisors

Individuals who already have direct reports can benefit from the practical leadership skills that will help them apply those concepts in the real world:

  • Creating a culture of accountability
  • Maximizing productivity
  • Building and leading teams
  • Communicating for impact
  • Coaching individuals to achieve results

Seasoned Leaders

High-level leaders may have reached their career goals, but this doesn’t mean they can’t benefit from experiential training to continually hone their leadership skills, including:

  • Maintaining personal and organizational accountability
  • Accelerating performance at every level
  • Involving all stakeholders in decision-making
  • Delegating and empowering
  • Fostering high-performance teamwork
  • Mastering organizational communication
  • Linking strategy and tactics
  • Leading an organizational transition

By applying the proven experiential training methods of mirroring reality, using principle-based design, and creating a safe place to test new ideas, you can improve leadership skills no matter where you are in your career.

 

 

Dave_rootAbout the author

Dave joined Eagle’s Flight in 1991 after having spent a number of years with a Toronto-based accounting firm. Since that time, he has held a number of posts within the company, primarily in the areas of Operations, Finance, Legal, and IT. In his current role as both Chief Financial Officer and President, Global Business, Dave is focused on ensuring the company’s ongoing financial health as well as growing its global market share. In pursuing the latter, Dave’s wealth of experience and extensive business knowledge has made him a valued partner and trusted advisor to both our global licensees and multinational clientele.

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Creating a Leadership Culture at Every Level of an OrganizationA culture of leadership in your organization has many great benefits, especially if it exists in every level of your company. A leadership culture will make all your staff feel like valued stakeholders thus striving to deliver results and exceed expectations. Best of all, they feel valued and empowered. Individuals tend to rise through the leadership ranks, which means your organization retains staff and the on-the-job knowledge they’ve accumulated. This is no small accomplishment. Although few metrics can truly quantify the loss of knowledge when staff members move on, costs do add up in terms of recruitment, lost opportunities, and replacement.
By creating a leadership culture at every level of the organization, you’re also creating a culture of accountability, boosting overall productivity, and raising organizational outcomes. How can you get started? Below we’ve outlined five methods to create the leadership culture.
1. Provide the Right Foundation

Prepare newer and junior-level staff to be leaders in waiting by giving them skills to increase focus, improve efficiency, and maximize their individual impact within a team. They need to be able to be accountable and lead themselves and their own projects before they translate those skills to leading a team. These foundational tools include time management, communication, and listening skills. By acquiring these skills trainees learn to:
Communicate effectively, recognize and work around barriers that break down communication
Practice active listening which helps avoid communication conflicts and misunderstandings
Manage their time effectively which will set them up to have the time to learn and take on more responsibility

2. Build Self-Awareness

Self-awareness is very important; it allows individuals to learn how to build relationships with their personal style and understand how to best interact with others. Behavior profiles are simple to complete and will allow your staff to analyze their style of interaction. Team members will learn their specific attributes, strengths, and opportunities for growth and improvement. Because there is a direct connection between relationship building and leadership, these self-assessment tools can be powerful for everyone assessed. Staff at all levels of the organization learn how to leverage the differences and the talents of other people on their teams and within the organization.
How do you create a thriving culture? Learn more in Phil Geldart’s book. Get a free copy!

3. Offer Targeted Leadership Training

Leadership skills training is often most applicable for frontline employees with leadership potential and mid-level managers. This type of training offers them the skills, techniques, and methods to actually lead a team or department. They’ll learn to put their decisions into action. Through training, participants are able to:

  • Understand their role in the organization
  • Plan, organize, and manage in a productive manner
  • Work more closely with direct reports, colleagues, and senior management
  • Encourage team performance
  • Make and implement decisions

4. Ensure Fluid Teams

Supervisors and managers should understand how their actions impact their immediate team and the environment around them. This is a practical leadership skill. This knowledge allows for:

  • Strong leaders that are the crux of high performing and focused teams
  • Team leaders who are confident in giving and receiving feedback
  • Leaders willing and able to coach their direct reports
  • Leaders that take an active role in their personal and professional development

5. Don’t Leave Out Executives

Encourage executives to attend leadership programs to polish and improve their skills. All great leaders continue to learn and improve. These programs help those within an organization’s top ranks:
Define a common organizational language and ensure its consistent use

  • Create accountability at all levels
  • Encourage self-esteem to unleash human potential
  • Increase the importance of teamwork throughout the organization
  • Creating a leadership culture at all levels of the organization leads to an empowered workforce with limitless potential. Put these tactics in place and see the dividends pay off within your own organization.

About the author

sue

 

Sue, an authority on training and development, has over 20 years of experience in the creation and delivery of programs and custom designed training solutions for Eagle’s Flight. As Chief Operating Officer, Sue’s vast senior leadership experience and facilitation has established her as a trusted partner and organizational development expert for numerous Fortune 500 companies.

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