Leadership development

You are currently browsing the archive for the Leadership development category.

4 Ways to Improve and Protect Your Credibility as a Training ManagerAs a training manager, you have to walk a fine line between, on one hand, meeting budget expectations and learning benchmarks set by company leadership and, on the other hand, delivering training that employees are actually excited to engage in. It can be a lot to balance, and you want to make a good impression on both sides of that line! Luckily, strengthening your credibility as a training manager goes hand in hand with strengthening your training offerings and how you present them to management and participants. Here are four ways to protect and improve your credibility while designing an exceptional training program in the process.

1. Focus on changing behavior for lasting results.

When you’re trying to get training buy-in from executives, you can improve your credibility by focusing on the end result: changed behavior. Training sessions are often framed as opportunities to learn new skills in a safe, supportive environment. Savvy training managers, however, understand that strategic training is not just about learning new skills—it’s about creating lasting behavior change. When it comes time to get budget buy-in from your company’s leaders for new training initiatives, frame your training not just as an opportunity for professional development but as a strategy for increasing employee productivity and effectiveness. Teaching participants how to improve behaviors, and supporting their behavior transformations after the training with retention programs, translates to on-the-job results. Higher productivity and effectiveness lead to higher ROI—an outcome that your leaders respect and expect.

2. Implement training that’s a proven success.

So, how do you change behavior through training? This is where experiential learning comes in. Through hands-on, discovery-based exercises, trainees “learn by doing” so that they’re able to learn new skills and practice them in one fell swoop. This approach to learning works: Studies have shown that with experience-based learning, people have a 70 percent recall of what they learned (compare that to just a five percent recall for passive learning methods). Plus, experiential learning not only is easier for trainees to remember, but it creates personal conviction—a necessary ingredient for true behavior change—by involving the trainees in the training itself.

3. Be clear that your training is more than “just a game.”

If your company hasn’t engaged in experience-based learning before, you may get some pushback—both from leadership and the trainees themselves. Sometimes, trainers may hear from trainees that they “don’t like games” or don’t see how a game relates to work. This viewpoint is understandable, because so many experience-based activities just feel like busywork with no deeper purpose.

Experiential learning, however, is different—because the skills and knowledge needed to change behavior are built into the experience itself. That usually becomes evident once the experience gets underway and trainees sink their teeth into the challenge. If you get pushback from someone who thinks a training “game” is just a time-waster, simply ask the participant to try the experience for a few minutes to really see if this is the kind of “game” that they dislike. They’ll soon become so engrossed in the real challenge at hand that they’ll forget their doubts.

4. Connect learning to real-world outcomes.

Improve your credibility as a training manager by ensuring that you’re focusing not just on the fun, immersive part of the training experience but also on what comes after: the debrief. In experiential learning, the debrief is when facilitators make the important connections between what participants just experienced in the learning activity and how that relates to their actual jobs. During the debrief, facilitators reveal that the same strategies that participants use to succeed during the training exercise can be used to succeed at work. For many participants, the debrief represents the “aha!” part of the training, where the value of the training clicks for them. While designing and implementing the fun themed part of an experiential learning session may be what gets many trainers excited, credible training managers know that the real magic for participants happens in the debrief. Keep your focus on creating a debrief that crystallizes learning for participants so that they can immediately apply that learning on the job. Your participants—and your executive team—will thank you.

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.

 

Re-blogged from Eagle’s Flight

Tags: , , , , ,

Meeting Halfway (Or More) in SalesThe Age of the Internet and evolving purchasing habits have made sales training more important than ever. With access to virtually anything online, the role of the salesperson has shifted. Customers have countless options, and they are no longer restricted to making a purchase at a single location or even at a physical store. They also have access to product information, reviews, and social recommendations that influence purchasing behavior. To be successful, salespeople must offer real, tangible benefits to customers, and that often requires shifting mindsets and taking a new approach.

Meeting the customer halfway is no longer enough. To build a loyal customer base, you must go above and beyond to serve their needs. This three-step process is the foundation of a modern sales approach that will contribute to better customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Prepare

Knowing the ins and outs of your products and services is not sufficient. You must also know what the customer needs, what problems they are trying to solve, and how your product addresses the challenges they are facing. Framing your product or service as the solution to their perceived problem is the first step in capturing their attention. To do this, you must understand your customer’s current reality and how your product can best serve their needs.

Sell

Once you understand the challenges your customers are facing, use the Five Gears of Selling to demonstrate that you meet their real and perceived needs effectively and authentically.

  • Executive presence – People with executive presence have the ability to draw others to them with excellent listening skills and the ability to read situations and react to them accordingly. Salespeople who foster this key trait will attract a larger audience, which ultimately leads to a larger customer base.
  • Real need – If you can’t demonstrate the real need for a product or service, customers are not likely to make a purchase. Articulating the customer’s current challenges and how your offering can help solve them will prompt a prospect to explore further.
  • Objections – As they dive deeper, customers will inevitably have objections to your product or service. Whether it is price, complexity, or fear of change, you must be prepared to overcome these objections in a way that eases their minds.
  • Close – A sale isn’t closed until the customer says yes. Learn the necessary sales skills to guide a conversation to a yes instead of another call or more time to think about it.
  • Next steps – Clearly articulate the next steps in the process so that the customer knows what to expect and when. Even a sale that has been closed can fall apart when communication breaks down or expectations are not met.

Remember that customers will only buy from people they trust and only if they understand the product and how it benefits them. Therefore, it is critical in the Age of the Internet to build that foundation with a potential client, before even attempting to close a sale.

Partner

Relationships with customers should not be adversarial; rather, they should be viewed as partnerships that can benefit both parties and continue to evolve over time. Identify where on the relationship spectrum you are with each customer and then optimize every opportunity to capitalize on that position. Change your mindset from closing individual deals or making single transactions to nurturing a long-term partnership. Customers will notice the difference and gravitate toward the company that makes them feel like they are participating in something greater, rather than being “sold to” when it’s time to make a purchase.

The evolution of the sales model cannot be ignored if you want to be successful in the modern world. If your sales team is not taking steps in this direction, the organization will eventually fall behind. Investing in sales training is the first step toward long-term behavior change that leads to meeting the customer more than halfway.

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.

 

Re-blogged from Eagle’s Flight

Tags: , , , , , ,

The Power of a Common Language in Customer RelationshipsExperiential learning is a valuable tool for improving a team’s approach to customer relationships. Rather than just explaining the importance of putting the customers’ needs first, experiential learning allows participants to get a deeper understanding of the positive impact that customer centricity can have, by taking them through an immersive experience that clearly demonstrates cause and effect. An important component of this experience is that participants share a common language.

HOW TO CREATE A MEANINGFUL COMMON LANGUAGE.

Creating a common language around customer centricity does not mean using cliché phrases like “the customer is always first.” It means allowing the team to develop its own common language from a shared experience that evokes a visceral feeling and causes the team members to shift their behavior.

Let’s use Rattlesnake Canyon, an Eagle’s Flight program, as an example. In this experience, teams compete to make as much money as possible by selling goods to a railroad company. Settlers buy individual products like livestock, lanterns, and tools and sell them to merchants who assemble them into kits. The merchants then sell the kits to the railroad, the end customer.

During the course of the experience, participants quickly learn that they can make a lot of money by buying and reselling pigs, so a pig-purchasing frenzy quickly emerges. However, after the railroad buys a certain number of pigs, it doesn’t need any more, and it stops purchasing them. This leaves settlers and merchants with an abundance of pigs that they can’t sell, ultimately limiting their resources and hindering their ability to provide their railroad customer with the other supplies. When the teams figure this out, a common language emerges: “Stop buying pigs!”

What happens during this experience? The teams become so focused on making money by buying and selling pigs that they lose sight of their customers’ needs. This quickly becomes apparent during the debrief, and because the participants have a shared experience using a determined common language, it immediately loops them back to the lessons of the experience.

HOW A COMMON LANGUAGE BENEFITS THE CUSTOMER.

Unlike lecture-based training, an experiential learning event like this has the power to resonate with a team for a significant period of time. Sharing a common language makes it possible to make quick course corrections along the way. For example, when one team member recognizes that they might not be putting the needs of the customer first, and they announce, “Stop buying pigs!”, they can shift their focus back to the intended goal.

Everybody on the team knows what the phrase means because they also learned the same lesson on a visceral level. They experienced a failure once in the game, and they don’t want to repeat it in real life with actual customers. Having this common language also allows the team to convey the concept of customer centricity succinctly without having to use more time-consuming communication approaches.

Rattlesnake Canyon is just one example of how the power of a common language can impact customer relationships. Every experiential learning event brings teams together in a way that other types of training cannot. By sharing in the successes and failures of the game and, most important, linking the lessons learned to the workplace, participants leave with a common language they can draw from in the future. They also gain a renewed commitment to improving performance on the job and building customer centric relationships.

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.

Re-blogged from Eagle’s Flight.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Measuring a company’s culture can be a challenging undertaking. While some parameters are clearly definable, others are more difficult to pin down. However, when your objective is to shift a company’s culture, it’s important to measure progress to determine if your efforts are resulting in your desired outcomes.

7 Vital Tools You Can Use to Measure Your Company's CultureWhen you consider that a company culture is the sum of individual behaviors, it becomes easier to identify measurement techniques. Making the transition from one culture to another requires behavioral change on an individual level, which is more difficult than you might expect. Even after an inspiring training event, it’s easy to slip back into old habits, especially when employees are faced with the daily pressures of their jobs. However, when individuals collectively make changes over time, the cycle is repeated, new norms are created, and the result is a new culture.

Let’s take a look at the seven measurement techniques that can be used throughout a successful culture transformation.

1. PULSE CHECKS

Before even starting a culture transformation initiative, it’s important to know the current state of the organization. A pulse check is a short questionnaire used to first capture the baseline culture and then measure change over defined periods of time. For example, you might ask employees to do a pulse check once every quarter to measure changes in responses to questions about how well the leadership models behavior that embodies the company culture.

2. KEY MILESTONES

An important component of culture change is clearly articulating the expected standard and identifying what must be done to achieve it. Creating key milestones over a period of 18 to 36 months gives employees and managers benchmarks to work toward. These milestones also help sustain the momentum of culture change over time. Many culture shifts start with a big push but can fizzle after a few months as employees revert to their old habits. Keeping these key milestones at the forefront as a measurement tool can help sustain the energy as people work to incorporate new behaviors into their daily jobs.

3. KNOWLEDGE TESTING

In the early stages of a culture transformation, it’s important to know if the new information being delivered during training is understood by participants. If the training didn’t resonate, you can’t reasonably expect changes in behavior. Knowledge testing in the days and weeks after training will confirm that employees learned the desired skills or will provide evidence that further training is required.

4. MOBILE BOOST LEARNING

After confirmation that the training was effective, fight the effects of learning decay with a tool like mobile boost learning. Meant to reinforce (not reteach) knowledge already acquired, boost learning can help keep new concepts and behaviors top of mind. Mobile tools can deliver short messages to reinforce behaviors that lead to better quality, efficiency, productivity, or whatever your defined culture change goals are.

5. SELF-ASSESSMENTS

As time progresses during a culture change, employees reach a point where they understand what is expected of them, have the tools to make the desired changes, and are making a genuine effort to apply new skills and change their own behavior. During this stage, self-assessments are valuable tools that allow employees to test these new behaviors in a safe environment. Working with a manager who is able to set clear goals for specific tasks ensures that employees are able to try a new behavior, make corrections, and generate feedback that contributes to lasting change.

6. MULTI-RATER ASSESSMENTS

The next stage in a culture transformation is when employees are not just testing new behaviors, but fully deploying them. At this point, multi-rater assessments that gather feedback from managers, customers, and direct reports can help refine these behaviors even further and optimize the culture. This level of measurement is not necessarily appropriate for every organization going through a culture transformation, as it demands more resources and a level of rigor that not every company needs. However, for organizations that want to achieve a certain level of performance, multi-rater assessments can be a valuable tool.

7. CULTURE IMPACT SCORECARD

All of the results from the above assessment tools can be combined into a culture impact scorecard or digital dashboard that allows you to centrally manage and communicate the importance of the culture in the organization. Having all of the data in a single location enables you to correlate all of the phases in adopting a new company culture.

  • Training
  • Knowledge
  • Application
  • Behavior change
  • Culture transformation
  • Business impact

Can each of these tools be used independently? Of course, but if you want to get the most from your training investment and measure how much of an impact your culture transformation efforts have on organizational goals, it’s important to employ measurement tools during each phase and tie them all together into a snapshot view. Measuring a company culture is not as simple as taking an occasional survey, but with a smart strategy and the right tools, you can measure transformation in action.

MichaelABOUT THE AUTHOR

Michael’s singular focus is rooted in staying connected to learners the moment they step out of the classroom and back into their busy jobs. As SVP of Learning Performance, Michael brings business savvy depth to ensuring learning is reinforced, applied and is optimally aligned to delivering on strategic objectives. His proven track record in creating measurement frameworks and reinforcement solutions that add value to the learner, leaders and executive sponsors is highly valued across the spectrum of our client engagements.

Re-blogged from Eagle’s Flight.

Tags: , , , , , ,

You know that your workplace learning needs to be effective, memorable, aligned with organizational goals, and within budget. But does it need to be fun?

The short answer? A big, resounding “YES!”

The longer answer? If your workplace learning isn’t fun, you’ll have a much harder time engaging employees, and your training retention rates may be in big trouble. Here’s why making learning fun is the smart path to training that truly changes workplace behaviors, and here’s what you need to do to make workplace learning both fun and effective.

Should Workplace Learning Be FunFun Learning Increases Engagement

Savvy training managers know that fun is strategic. When you make learning fun, the learning process feels practically effortless–which means your trainees won’t be watching the clock like a hawk or clocking out from the training altogether. Leveling up the fun increases participants’ interest levels and engagement. This accelerates the learning process because people tend to give their all to learning that interests and engages them. Think back to your favorite class in high school or college. Chances are, you were likelier to turn in your homework on time and study up for the test because learning about that subject was fun and exciting. The same thing applies to workplace learning!

Fun Learning Supports Learning Retention

Certain kinds of workplace learning activities are simply funner than others. For example, unless you booked a stand-up comedian to deliver it, a PowerPoint presentation or lecture just isn’t all that fun for trainees. The kind of workplace learning that gets participants excited and engaged is training that requires their full participation. This is when participants are encouraged to get up, move around, and interact with one another as they develop and practice new skills. Participatory learning activities banish boredom, leading to all of the benefits described previously.

Believe it or not, there’s more good news: “Fun” participatory training and effective, long-lasting training can also be one and the same. That’s because we remember what we do more than we remember what we hear. The learning decay curve is a big problem in corporate training; generally speaking, participants forget 70 percent of the new information they’ve just learned within one week. When participants “learn by doing,” retention rates dramatically improve—when you learn by doing, you’re likely to retain 75 percent of what you learned! For learning that lasts beyond the training session, you need to invest in fun, memorable experiences that immerse participants in the training at hand.

The Key to Making Learning Fun and Effective: Experiential Learning

Of course, not all participatory activities are inherently fun or effective. A poorly designed training exercise can leave participants scratching their heads instead of grinning. To ensure your workplace learning is both, consider adopting the practices of experiential learning. In experiential learning exercises, participants learn about and practice new skills that improve job performance. What makes experiential learning unique, however, is that the learning is masked by a theme, which serves as a metaphor for a participant’s job reality. For example, participants may be asked to work as teams to hunt down treasure in the jungle. During the debrief, the “metaphor” is revealed, and participants learn that the strategies that helped them win the themed game can help them win at work too.

Theming training experiences with experiential learning accomplishes two big training goals:

  1. It creates a safe space for participants to take risks and fail within the game so that they can learn from their failures. People will be less likely to take a risk in a training scenario if that scenario too closely resembles their job reality.
  2. It makes the participatory nature of the experience even funner! Not only do participants get to engage with each other, but they get to do so while embarking on an exciting quest that—at first glance—has nothing to do with work at all.

With experiential learning, you can design learning experiences that are fully immersive and full of excitement—and, by extension, increase the retention of the critical skills and behaviors you’re teaching trainees. So yes, fun can have a major effect on your organization’s bottom line!

How have you tried to make workplace learning and training funner for participants? What were the results?

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.

Re-blogged from Eagle’s Flight.

Tags: , , , , , ,

An annual or semi-annual corporate event is often the only time remote teams have the opportunity to interact with each other in person. Maximize this limited time with training sessions and activities designed to unify these teams and create lasting bonds that will transcend the physical distance between them.

Corporate Event Ideas That Unify Remote TeamsCorporate Event Ideas for Remote Teams

Team-building activities that create a shared experience at corporate events can have lasting effects, even after individuals have returned to their various locations. Having the ability to reference a shared experience after a corporate training event opens doors for communication and enables team members to quickly get on the same page about more complicated issues.

Use an Icebreaker to Get Reacquainted

Even though remote team members might work together on a daily basis, seeing each other in person can initially be awkward, especially if they have never met face to face before. Don’t assume that just because they communicate all the time via email, video, and other digital tools that they will fall into an easy rapport in person. Use an icebreaker activity to provoke conversations that will connect people on a personal level. Even a task as simple as finding ten things in common between two people can quickly warm up a room as employees are encouraged to dig deeper than a typical, surface-level conversation.

CONNECT OVER CULTURE

A gathering of remote employees is an opportunity to promote the internal corporate culture and galvanize the team around it. Linking training events to both the culture and the daily tasks, as well as challenges that individuals face in their jobs, will help create the habits that contribute to the type of culture desired. For example, an annual meeting of customer service representatives from all over the country is a perfect time to reinforce a culture of customer centricity by providing an experiential learning activity that builds conviction around always considering the customer first and then teaches the skills and behaviors that can be applied on the job. This type of training can be followed up with digital enforcement tools that keep customer centricity top of mind no matter where individual team members are located.

WORK TOWARDS A COMMON GOAL.

Experiential learning can be employed in many other ways to unify remote teams over a common goal, while teaching new skills at the same time. Whether participants are learning how to lead a meeting, plan time more effectively, or be more productive, the process of working together to solve a problem or overcome a challenge will create unity in a way that a lecture never could. When deciding what type of training or learning activity makes the most sense for your team, think about the current knowledge gaps that could be filled or the types of behavior change that could improve individual and team performance.

Remote teams are not uncommon in today’s business landscape, and it’s important to adapt training programs and corporate events to accommodate a changing workforce. Don’t assume that remote teams are already comfortable with each other, even if they have met before. Take the time to allow remote employees to reconnect in person before diving into a deeper training. Incorporate experiential learning into your corporate event to engage everybody and unify teams over a common goal that supports your business objectives.

EF authorABOUT THE AUTHOR

As Chief Operating Officer, Sue’s extensive senior leadership experience and facilitation skills have established her as a trusted partner and organizational development expert. She has a proven track record of successfully leading culture transformation in Fortune 500 companies and has established herself as an authority on training and development. Sue has over 20 years of experience in the creation and delivery of programs and custom designed solutions for Eagle’s Flight.

Re-blogged from Eagle’s Flight

According to the Deloitte Millennial Survey 2017, two-thirds of the workers in this generation plan to leave their work organizations by the year 2020. With Millennials expected to make up approximately 75 percent of the workforce by 2025, businesses cannot ignore the potential impact of this influential group. While 66 percent of Millennials are ready to change jobs, a similar percentage believe that their leadership skills are not being developed. Tackling this specific issue within your organization can help increase loyalty and build a robust leadership pipeline, especially as the Baby Boomer generation reaches retirement age.

Leadership Development for MillennialsLeadership Development for Millennials

In order to be successful in the long term, employers must evolve with the changing needs of the generations that flow through the organization. A company’s largest asset is its workforce. Ignoring leadership development for Millennials could result in a dearth of talent down the road. Consider the following tips as you create your leadership development strategy.

PRESENT A CLEAR GOAL PATH

Having the opportunity to advance in their careers is important to Millennials when making decisions about where to work. Presenting a clear path to leadership with milestones along the way will demonstrate that your organization offers career advancement. A structured training program that culminates in leadership development demonstrates a commitment to young up-and-coming employees and has the potential to increase loyalty among Millennials as they plan for their future career.

Practical tip: Present the path to leadership in the recruitment stage to attract top talent. Use milestones to benchmark stages of career growth and set clear goals for attaining the next level.

INCORPORATE TECHNOLOGY INTO TRAINING AND RETENTION

As the first whole generation to grow up with computers, Millennials have a strong connection with technology. Incorporating technology into your leadership development program will help keep these individuals more engaged and increase the likelihood of participation.

Practical tip: Use digital measurement and reinforcement tools to keep training concepts top of mind and promote ongoing engagement.

EMBRACE THEIR SOCIAL SIDE

In the age of social media and constant connectedness, Millennials expect to interact with others frequently and in short bursts, even in the workplace. Open communication is also important for this group, and internal social media platforms can be used to quickly disseminate information and solicit real-time feedback.

Practical tip: Tap into this desire to be social and collaborative by creating online forums, discussion groups, and social platforms to support leadership training initiatives.

GIVE POTENTIAL LEADER PERSONAL ATTENTION

Investing the time and resources into one-on-one coaching and mentoring will go a long way with the Millennial generation. Monthly meetings with mentors provide continual reinforcement that employees are not being overlooked for leadership positions. Millennials also tend to have strong positive reactions to praise and personal attention, especially from senior leaders.

Practical tip: Implement a coaching program to develop skills in potential leaders. Two-way mentorship programs among younger employees will also support the social and collaborative tendencies of Millennials.

Although every generation might have different goals and ideals, people of all ages can benefit from experiential learning for leaders. Having the ability to test new leadership skills in a safe environment allows participants to try new behaviors without the risk of failure. Following up experiential learning with digital reinforcement tools and one-on-one coaching will support Millennial preferences for using technology and gaining personal connections at the same time.

EF authorABOUT THE AUTHOR

As Chief Operating Officer, Sue’s extensive senior leadership experience and facilitation skills have established her as a trusted partner and organizational development expert. She has a proven track record of successfully leading culture transformation in Fortune 500 companies and has established herself as an authority on training and development. Sue has over 20 years of experience in the creation and delivery of programs and custom designed solutions for Eagle’s Flight.

Re-blogged from Eagle’s Flight.

Tags: , , , , ,

Everyone processes information with both the rational and emotional parts of the brain. For example, while the rational part of your brain might know that certain things are bad for your health (doughnuts, smoking, etc.), the emotional part of your brain can sometimes overcome this knowledge and rationalize these addictive behaviors. Whether it is operating out of habit, personal comfort, or simply satisfying a craving, the emotional part of the brain is a powerful force.

Engaging the Rational and Emotional Part of the Brain in TrainingHow does this reality apply to corporate training? The rational and emotional approaches are employed all the time in the workplace. Undesirable habits like cutting corners, procrastinating, and lack of communication are all products of the emotional brain. Employees know what they should do (their rational side tells them all the time), but they don’t always act on that knowledge. Fortunately, experiential learning can help employees bridge the gap between knowing what should be done and having the emotional conviction to do it.

Skill Set Versus Mindset

From an organizational training perspective, the rational and emotional sides can be viewed as skill set versus mindset. Skills can be taught through training, coaching, and modeling. Many employees don’t have a problem with acquiring new knowledge during a training session; however, the challenge comes when that knowledge must be applied in the workplace. Unless they have the right mindset during their daily work, they are less likely to apply their new skill set.

Experiential learning is designed to tackle both issues: acquiring the skill set and instilling conviction so that employees return to work with the right mindset.

How Experiential Learning Engages the Rational and Emotional Mind

Conviction is built on understanding and appreciating the consequences of one’s behavior. In life, a health scare might trigger a new commitment to quit smoking. In the workplace, failure to deliver expected results can impact the performance of a team or even an entire organization. Of course, the ideal scenario is to change the undesirable behavior before experiencing failure. This is why organizational training is such an important investment.

Experiential learning enables employees to experience the consequences of their behavior (both positive and negative) in a safe environment by paralleling real-life scenarios. At Eagle’s Flight, we refer to this as Heart, Head, Hands, Harvest. Here’s how it works in a nutshell:

HEART : BUILD CONVICTION

There must be conviction on the part of the learner that changing their behavior will benefit them and is worth pursuing. Without this desire to change, any training provided will be in vain.

HEAD : PROVIDE KNOWLEDGE

At this step, participants develop an intellectual understanding of the new behaviors and how they differ from their current behaviors.

HAND: TEACH SKILLS

Participants need to understand what actions to take to put new knowledge to use and the steps to follow in order to thoroughly apply the training. This is where the facilitator will connect the experience and the debrief questions to business relevance.

HARVEST: SEE RESULTS

This is where retention and reinforcement come into play. Post-training retention and reinforcement are vital to seeing long-lasting, sustained behavior change. This will help your organization curb the learning decay curve and ensure that your training dollars are well-spent.

After going through this shared experience, participants return to the job with a newfound appreciation of the power they have to make a difference and, most important, the conviction to change their behavior.

Start with Mindset, Finish with Skill Set

One reason experiential learning is so successful is that it first engages the emotional part of the brain. When you start by instilling conviction, participants are eager to learn, so transferring knowledge becomes even easier. People want to win the game. They want to know exactly what they need to do to be successful. This motivation helps overcome the hurdle of learning decay, because participants readily absorb new information and start to apply it almost immediately. They start with open minds and are more eager to learn, because they know that changing their behavior can contribute to better performance.

Employees must believe that their actions can make a meaningful impact on the success of the organization. The emotional part of the brain must be convinced that behavior change is necessary in order for the rational side of the brain to overcome habits and daily employee pressures. Experiential learning addresses both the mindset and the skill set to create lasting change that improves organizational performance.

MichaelABOUT THE AUTHOR

Michael’s singular focus is rooted in staying connected to learners the moment they step out of the classroom and back into their busy jobs. As SVP of Learning Performance, Michael brings business savvy depth to ensuring learning is reinforced, applied and is optimally aligned to delivering on strategic objectives. His proven track record in creating measurement frameworks and reinforcement solutions that add value to the learner, leaders and executive sponsors is highly valued across the spectrum of our client engagements.

Re-blogged from Eagle’s Flight.

Tags: , , , , ,

The 7 Cornerstones of Teamwork

What separates a good team from a dysfunctional one?

Often, when we talk about teams, we speak in generalities. We know a team must be cohesive and that team members must communicate well together, for example. But what specifically differentiates a high-performing team from the rest of the pack? At Eagle’s Flight, we’ve identified seven key differentiators. We call them the seven cornerstones of teamwork because if even just one cornerstone is missing, the entire team dynamic can crumble. Following are the seven components you need to cultivate and encourage teamwork within your teams.

1. Leadership

Why is leadership the first cornerstone of teamwork? When many people think of teams, they envision a group working together without centralized authority, sharing all responsibilities and decisions equally. In reality, that’s not how a team works best. If you don’t appoint a leader, you’ll face power struggles and clashes between individuals.

Designating a team leader isn’t just about avoiding team infighting about who should be in charge. A team leader takes full accountability for the team’s final results—which inspires the entire team to collectively complete the project.

2. Unanimous focus on a common goal

It’s easy to become sidetracked when working in a team, especially if it’s a larger group of people, and when a team is assembled with colleagues from different departments and specializations, members may also have different ideas about what the team should prioritize. That’s why it’s so vital to determine the overall goal as soon as the team is formed—so if members’ focuses start to wander, a leader can use this goal to refocus the team.

3. Clearly defined roles for subgroups

When teams are tackling large, unwieldy challenges, it’s often a good idea to break a larger team into smaller subgroups. The key when doing so, however, is clearly defining subgoals for these groups, with the understanding that each subgoal is in service to the overall team goal. Subgroups aren’t opportunities for members to explore tangents—they should be laser-focused on fulfilling their roles, in order to help every other subgroup succeed.

4. Shared resources

Have you ever been on a team where members hoarded resources for themselves? Maybe one of the subgroups used up most of the project budget, or a key member of the team neglected to share some important information that could’ve moved the project forward faster. Hoarding resources—regarding material goods and tools and “intangible” resources like ideas and information—is a hallmark of a dysfunctional team.

That’s why sharing resources is one of the cornerstones of teamwork. Some team members may have a tendency to hoard resources as if they were in competition with the other members. They want to make sure their specific task or subgroup goal can be deemed a success. Team members must realize that when they share with others, the team has a greater chance of succeeding together—which links back to the importance of establishing a unanimous, common goal.

5. Effective and frequent communication

A team can’t succeed without strong communication skills (that’s why so many team-building trainings focus on communication), but what does “strong” communication include? According to the seven cornerstones of teamwork, communication should be both effective and frequent. “Effective” means not just elegantly delivered but easily understood by all members of the team. If a team member can’t repeat back to you what you just said in their own words, then your communication wasn’t effective.

“Frequent” communication ensures a team leader consistently checks in with team members and their progress and reinforces the vision of the project or a common goal, which can all be easily lost in day-to-day activity. For example, frequent communication may mean starting every team meeting by having team members share the biggest wins or progress they’ve made toward the overall goal.

6. Consistent, united, and enthusiastic effort

Once teams get into the thick of things, the initial enthusiasm surrounding the team project often starts to wear off. Members might start arriving late to meetings, take longer to respond to emails, or even try to get some of their other work done while in a team meeting! Having each member pledge to stay consistent, united, and enthusiastic in their effort can help keep the momentum going when the going gets tough. It’s important to stress that team members rely on each other, so if one person starts to slack off—either mentally or physically—that affects how well and how efficiently other members can complete their tasks. And keeping the enthusiasm going isn’t just the job of a team leader; part of the responsibility of being on a team is a promise to give your all, all of the time.

7. Periodic and temporary suppression of the ego

This cornerstone of teamwork may sound like a mouthful, but it’s a pretty simple concept. High-performing teams tend to be made up of high-performing individual players. The only problem? High performers may have more trouble than most realizing they’re not always the smartest person in the room. Inevitably, a team member or two will disagree with the direction that the team, as a whole, decides to go in. When that happens, the team member has an obligation to keep his or her ego in check in service to the greater goal of the team. While sharing ideas and resources is vital to teamwork, knowing when to hold your tongue—if it only serves your individual agenda or ego—is just as important.

When each member of a team vows to uphold all seven cornerstones of teamwork, the team becomes so much stronger, creative, and effective. What cornerstone (or cornerstones) do you think is currently missing in your teams?

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.

Re-blogged from Eagle’s Flight

Tags: , , , , ,

How to Master Debriefs in Organizational Training

The success of organizational training depends on two things: an engaging training experience that is relevant to the work that people do and a meaningful debrief led by a skilled facilitator. If either of these components is missing, the training will fall flat. Without a powerful and memorable training experience, the facilitator will have nothing to draw from to tie it back to the workplace, and they will essentially be presenting information like any other lecture. On the other hand, without a solid debrief, even the best training experience will have limited results, because participants are less likely to link the lessons they learned to their real experiences on the job.

Let’s focus on what it takes to master a debrief in organizational training using a three-step approach.

1. Provide an Engaging Experience That Mimics a Real-Life Problem

Remember-you can’t have a meaningful debrief without the participants first going through a shared experience that requires them to solve the types of problems they face in the workplace. Think of it as a game that parallels real-life activities. The participants are immersed in a different world (the desert, the Wild West, etc.) and are wholly focused on overcoming a challenge, like surviving harsh conditions or mining for gold. Although they might not realize it at the time, the skills they must use to win the game can be applied in the workplace to improve performance. So, the first step to mastering the debrief is providing a memorable experiential learning activity.

2. Share How to Win the Game

After a successful experiential learning session, participants want to know how they did. Everybody wants to win, and after immersing themselves fully in the experience, they want to know what they could have done to achieve the greatest success. This is the facilitator’s chance to share with the group the various skills and behaviors that the teams could have used to perform better.

The specific components will depend on the experience, but it’s critical for the facilitator to clearly outline each component, explain why it is critical for success in the game, and describe how optimal performance leads to success. Defining the essential elements for winning the game leads to the next step: connecting the game to the workplace.

 

3. Translate Winning the Game to Winning in the Real World

After the participants understand what they could have done better to win the game, it’s time for the final (and most important) step in the debrief. At this point, it’s not necessarily clear to the group members that the new skills they learned in the game have any connection to the real world. After all, what does trekking through the desert have to do with managing a project in the office? As it turns out, quite a lot. The planning, preparation, and execution required to make it to the end are all skills that can be applied in the workplace, just in a different context.

The facilitator’s role is to ask how the challenges and successes experienced in the training can be connected to the workplace. The group members will ultimately reach the conclusion that they can make specific behavior changes on the job to achieve better performance. By applying the principles they used to win the game, they can also win at work. In order to do this successfully, the facilitator must do the following things.

BE PREPARED

The facilitator must be able to directly link the experience to the reality that participants face every day. This means being well-versed in the common language used at the organization, the relationships between people and teams, and any other internal nuances that impact behavior.

BE FLEXIBLE

Many activities elicit multiple principles. The facilitator should be prepared to focus on the ones that resonate the most with the group and allow enough time for a deeper discussion. For the concepts that the group members did not grasp as clearly, the facilitator can ask leading questions to allow them to come to the realization that there is more to take away from the experience than meets the eye.

Organizational training is a worthwhile investment, but in order to get the most from an experiential learning activity, an expert debrief is critical. A skilled facilitator who understands the organization and its objectives has the power to make experiential learning not just a game but a powerful event that creates lasting change.

EF authorABOUT THE AUTHOR

As Chief Operating Officer, Sue’s extensive senior leadership experience and facilitation skills have established her as a trusted partner and organizational development expert. She has a proven track record of successfully leading culture transformation in Fortune 500 companies and has established herself as an authority on training and development. Sue has over 20 years of experience in the creation and delivery of programs and custom designed solutions for Eagle’s Flight.

Re-blogged from Eagle’s Flight.

Tags: , , , , , ,

« Older entries § Newer entries »