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Change is inevitable. From organizational initiatives and M&A activity to market conditions and leadership transitions, it’s not about if change will happen but when it will happen. Therefore, the key to change management success is to be proactive and train your leaders early. After all, it may not be the change that employees fear the most but rather how the change will be handled.

The key to change management success is to be proactive and train your leaders early.
Change of any magnitude triggers an emotional response. The corporate world may tend to shy away from or even suppress the emotions involved with change; however, it is a huge component to success. While managing the processes that need to be introduced or changed is important, you must have leaders in place with the emotional intelligence and people skills to manage and support the employees who will be the hands that make the change a reality.

While emotional intelligence may be partly instinct, your leaders will be better equipped if you train and develop their skills in the following three areas.

1. Communication

Transparency is key during times of change. Consider how behaviors, thoughts or actions can be interpreted or misinterpreted by employees. Not only should you be training your leaders on how to articulate a change announcement with logic and clarity, but they should also be aware of how they are non-verbally communicating with employees before the change happens. Appearing secretive can lead to negative emotions, such as fear or resentment, making change more difficult to embrace when it comes time to do so.

Once they have made the change announcement, leaders must apply their interpersonal and communication skills to influence, persuade, answer questions and discuss concerns. Equip them with the capabilities to foster a culture within their teams that encourages clarifying questions and open discussion. When employees feel supported and confident in a culture that promotes this genuine form of dialogue, they are more likely to embrace the change.

Equip leaders with the capabilities to foster a culture that encourages clarifying questions and open discussion.


2. Coaching

One of the most important managerial competencies that separates good leaders from great ones is coaching. The ability – or inability – of a leader to coach is exponentially amplified during times of change. Therefore, engaging with and coaching one’s employees through the transition is one of the greatest factors in the success of a change initiative.

The ability – or inability – of a leader to coach is exponentially amplified during times of change.

When done effectively, good coaching establishes a rapport that builds trust, confidence in the change and alignment for the future. To be a great coach, leaders must be trained to actively listen and ask exploratory questions to help team members articulate their hopes and concerns. Coaching encourages team members to find their own answers and formulate a plan for how they will personally succeed through the transition. Following up on a regular basis is critical to building trust and demonstrating the level of support employees receive during transitions.

3. Accountability

Leaders must be held accountable for their own actions during change to ensure its success. Employees are more likely to feel empowered and embrace the change when they see their leaders actively participating in and supporting the change initiative themselves. Leaders must walk the walk, not just talk the talk. The optics of leaders driving the new reality not only make the weight of change much less burdensome for everyone involved, but they actually serve to inspire collaboration and teamwork in order to implement the change. When everyone is held accountable for his or her own attitudes and responsibilities, and delivers accordingly, change succeeds.

During times of change, leaders must be proactively trained to have a mindset of constant consideration of how their actions, behaviors and words may influence the way employees internalize their accountabilities. Leaders who promote collaboration, input and teamwork during these periods of transition demonstrate that when everyone is engaged in working toward a common goal, it positively benefits the organization both in the present and in the future.

As John F. Kennedy once said, “Change is the law of life and those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.” Most organizations would agree with this statement. However, the understanding that often evades most leadership training on this topic is that change impacts each person uniquely. How it will manifest in each employee is different, and leaders cannot apply their skills in a one-size-fits-all manner. Leaders who are constantly honing their emotional intelligence and change management skills will fare far better when change does happen. They are the leaders who will be able to communicate, coach and hold people accountable, and they will achieve the desired outcome.

How change manifests in each employee is different, and leaders cannot apply their skills in a one-size-fits-all manner.

About the Author

John_Profile_WebJohn Wright is president of leadership development and learning events for Eagle’s Flight. His insight and experience enable him to effectively diagnose, design and implement complex culture change initiatives in a collaborative and engaging manner.

 

 

 

 

Source:- https://www.trainingindustry.com/articles/leadership/train-your-leaders-for-change-asap/?utm_campaign=PR%20-%20Social%20&utm_content=64721167&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook

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It can be tough when a member of your C-suite leaves—let alone your top leader. No matter how long they have been with your organization, it can be assumed that they have made an impact on your company’s processes and culture. Despite the loss, however, it’s entirely feasible to smoothly move your organization forward from where they left off.

Succession planning is the process of identifying and developing new leaders to replace those who are currently in those positions when the time comes. It’s a reality of business, no matter what industry you operate within. It’s also a process that’s overlooked: According to a study, roughly two-thirds of U.S. employers surveyed do not have a workforce planning process in place.

When implemented properly, succession planning can improve a company’s ability to build the next generation of leaders, which will give the company a competitive advantage. To help, here are five steps to take before your top talent leaves.

1. Profile the Top Performer

There’s a reason that your organization’s top performer is so successful: They possess a collection of characteristics and habits that inspire achievement. Rather than hire a new leader based on an undefined set of ideal characteristics, remove the guesswork and profile your top performer.

It’s important to identify if this leader is in a cross-functional, legacy role that will require multiple people to replace them. If so, it’s important to hire a collection of individuals who embody different traits that reflect those of the current leader. From maintaining strategic thinking to being excellent communicators, collaborators, and coaches, there are traits that nearly all leaders share. It’s up to you to identify which ones are most relevant to your organization’s needs.

2. Decide to Recruit or Promote from Within

After you profile your top performer and outline the traits you’re looking for in the new leader, it’s time to consider whether you want to recruit a new hire or promote an internal team member. While a fresh face may bring new ideas and a level of expertise to the table, it’s worth considering your internal team. Transitioning into a new role is much easier when you build up your leaders from within.

If it isn’t already, a strong leadership pipeline should be part of your strategy—it’s just smart business. Leaders who grow and develop within an organization are already aligned with the company culture and goals and are prepared to lead when their time comes.

3. Ramp up Your Training Program

To prepare for a leader’s departure, you can build your organization’s training program while they’re still part of the team. This way, you can leverage your top performer’s feedback to ensure that the program is designed to empower incoming leaders.

In addition to having a structure that allows employees to grow within your company, it’s important to offer a leadership development program that supports this growth. These programs must address skills that individuals should have at various stages, from first-time leaders to experienced executives. Having a leader involved in these programs ensures that they buy into the initiative and will be able to support their employees who embark on a similar journey.

4. Create a Mechanism for Ongoing Coaching

In the past, organizations generally operated with a top-down leadership structure that exclusively benefited executive-level employees. While a hierarchy may still be present across your organization, it’s important to offer ongoing training and coaching to employees at every level and in every department.

Training that’s coupled with ongoing coaching support produces better results. A study found that managers who went through training increased their productivity by 22 percent, whereas managers who experienced training and eight weeks of post-training coaching saw an increase of 88 percent.

Following up through retention tools, digital learning, and coaching is just as important as the training itself. No matter what methodologies you choose, sustained behavior change should be your goal.

5. Measure Results Over Time

As illustrated by the point above, training is never a one-and-done process. Instead, it’s essential to track and measure participants’ progress to ensure sustained development. Determining the return on investment of your training efforts is not only an indication of your leadership development program’s effectiveness but also an indication of whether or not your company is retaining its competitive edge and setting up new leaders for success.

In addition to traditional assessment and measurement tactics such as surveys and tests, companies can explore how assessments can help prime the leadership pipeline, which should be a major strategic initiative for any forward-thinking organization that’s preparing for new leadership.

Post-training assessments can help teams discover which employees have made the largest learning gains and identify common competencies that a company’s highest performers share. Training efforts can then be coordinated around these competencies to ensure that a pipeline of top talent is ready to step into leadership roles as needed.

 

About the author

John

 

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.

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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Dave_Root

You can have the most talented employees in the world, but if they’re not fully supported by your leadership, their talents will be wasted. That’s because a high-performance culture starts at the top of an organization. Leaders set the tone for a company’s focus and its values. If you want a culture of excellence to be one of those focuses, ensure your leadership team possesses these three key qualities.

1. Empowerment

A leader who hovers over their employees, watching their performance like a hawk, isn’t a true leader—that’s a micromanager. By contrast, a leader in a high-performance culture empowers employees to make smart decisions for themselves, and take responsibility for the results of those decisions. Yes, that means there may be some missteps along the way, but giving employees responsibility over their day-to-day actions and projects always pays off. When your employees become personally invested in their work, they truly give it their all. If their work is just going to be corrected by a “leader” no matter what, why bother to put effort into the work the first time around?

Great leaders can empower their employees in two big ways:

  • By Understanding the Importance of and Investing in Training for Employees

In order to improve and do their best work, employees must continually hone their skills. Skills training focused on instilling lasting behavior change is the ticket to a high-performance culture. When leadership invests in training like this, it sends a message to employees that their personal and professional growth is of utmost importance to the company.

  • By Modeling Desired Behaviors

You want your employees to feel empowered to make decisions and take responsibility for their actions? That’s not going to happen if, for example, your leadership team gets in the habit of asking employees to behave in a way they do not behave themselves. Employees take behavioral cues from leadership, so if you want your employees to feel empowered to behave a certain way in the workplace, the first step is to ensure your leadership team embodies those desired behaviors.

2. Authenticity

What does it mean to be an authentic leader? It means being true to oneself, yes—but it also means being true to those you serve. Transparency and honesty from leadership are hallmarks of a high-performance culture. Transparent leaders are dedicated to communicating frequently and openly with their employees—which makes employees feel vital to the organization. If employees constantly feel like they are being left out of the loop, chances are high that they may start to distrust leadership. A high level of distrust between leadership and employees is one of the biggest signs you might be dealing with a toxic workplace culture.

High-performance leaders are also honest, especially when it comes to employee performance. Sugarcoating feedback to employees only harms them in the long run, since it robs them of an opportunity to improve. Leaders at all levels must focus on providing feedback that draws a clear line between employees’ behaviors and the consequences of those behaviors. As discussed above, leaders can then empower employees to improve those behaviors by investing in time-tested skills training.

3. Open-mindedness

For a company to creatively flourish, a leadership team must recognize that the best ideas often don’t come from the top of the organization. An open-minded leadership encourages innovative thinking—and action—at every level of a company. Cultivating an open-minded culture of innovation may require some leaders to rewire their approach to success. That’s because for innovation to flourish, employees must feel safe to take risks…even if that occasionally leads to failure. Of course, employees are expected to learn from that failure and apply their new knowledge of what works and what doesn’t to their future endeavors.

In other words, leaders in a high-performance culture exhibit open-mindedness in two main ways:

  1. They’re open-minded about where good ideas come from. Hint: It’s not always the boardroom!
  2. They’re open-minded about what success looks like; success may not always translate to a direct impact on the bottom line.

When leaders tweak their mindset to define success as learning from calculated risks, then an innovative, high-performance culture will truly flourish. It’s worth noting as well that not all leaders are born with these qualities—and that’s okay. That’s what leadership development programs are for.

In your experience, what other qualities do you think a solid leadership team should possess?

About the author

Dave_Root

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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What Great Leaders Do to Make Culture Transformations Effective

Culture transformations have the power to make a company more efficient, effective, and profitable in incredible ways. If a company’s leaders do not take an active role in the transformation, any attempt at permanently changing culture will fall flat. So, what role should leaders play? Here are three things all great leaders do to lead their organizations through a successful culture transformation.

1. Great Leaders Start Now

Leaders at the top of an organization usually know if their company needs to undergo a culture change. Whether it’s departments operating in silos, a lack of innovation, or another culture issue, it’s often clear that change in the culture has been needed for some time. Unfortunately, even if leaders acknowledge this need, it rarely makes the top of the to-do list. There are always more pressing matters to attend to—matters that seem to have much more of an immediate effect on the company’s bottom line than amorphous culture changes would.

Great leaders, however, know that the time for a culture transformation is as soon as you identify the need for one. As it would equip your colleagues with the new skills and behaviors they need to optimally approach their jobs, putting one off just makes achieving every other company goal harder. Plus, great leaders recognize you can concretely analyze culture transformations. They know that strategic changes drastically improve employees’ well-being and the company’s bottom line. For example, an organization can measure the success of an innovation culture transformation in part by how many more products the company brings to market or how many new system processes are developed or improved. Great leaders use hard data tied to concrete outcomes to light a fire throughout an organization and underscore the need for immediate culture change.

2. Great Leaders Take Responsibility for the Final Outcome

While leaders don’t necessarily need to be involved in the tactical, day-to-day implementation of culture transformations, their robust involvement is imperative to success. They need to be culture change advocates who are vocal about the need for a transformation and the expected outcome. When a company’s leaders take culture transformation seriously, so will its employees.

What’s more, a great leader never tries to pass the buck when it comes to the result—success or failure —of a culture transformation. While a great leader smartly relies on HR to help implement one, they take responsibility for the final outcome. When leaders and employees throughout an organization see how authentically executive leadership cares about a culture transformation, it sends the message that the latter is a top priority.

3. Great Leaders Walk the Walk

Great leaders not only talk the talk about the importance of culture transformations, they walk the walk. In other words, they change their behaviors right alongside their employees during a culture transformation. They don’t believe they’re “above” doing the hard work that culture change demands. That’s because great leaders understand the importance of modeling appropriate behaviors. Leaders have an outsized influence on establishing cultural norms in the workplace. Therefore, when a leader’s actions and words are out of alignment, that muddles the message for employees who then may wonder: If our CEO doesn’t do things the right way, why should we? Culture transformations start at the top with leaders who embrace change with their words and embody it in their actions.

That’s why it’s also so important for leaders to adopt new behaviors early. The sooner they transform their own behaviors, the sooner employees will follow suit, which cuts down on confusion and swiftly ushers in a new culture that fosters high performance. Great leaders take the “leading” part of their jobs seriously during a culture transformation in blazing the changed behavior trail for the rest of the organization.

Have you tried to implement a culture transformation at your organization before? How (or how didn’t) your organization’s leaders contribute to the change?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

john_profile_webSince 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.

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Corporate Event

Obvious news flash: Many decisions go into planning a corporate event, from finding the right location and determining menu selections to agenda constraints and giveaways or no giveaways. You even need to consider lighting. Before you can plan the details of your event, take time to brainstorm what will truly make it successful. These four tips will help you plan an event that’s memorable, informative, and dare I say, fun.

1. Determine the Goals of Your Corporate Event First

Educate, inform, drive behavior change, introduce, celebrate, or improve skills—these are all potential goals. Whatever you choose will drive the rest of your event planning, from your budget and venue choice to content and approach. Ensure the goal is strategically aligned with the company’s overall business goals, which will improve the chances that your executives are more eager to buy into your plans. Determining goals first also allows you and your team to clarify a plan of action for measuring event ROI, something else near and dear to the executives.

2. Incorporate a Fun, Relevant Theme

Pick a fun theme to excite and engage your participants throughout the event. You can even get them involved beforehand by asking them to  brainstorm ways they can come to the event fully immersed in the theme—outfits, bringing theme-related items, viewing related videos prior, or team-related pre-work. Themes don’t just present an opportunity to amp up excitement; they can also be used to make your corporate event feel more cohesive, especially if it spans multiple days. Weave elements of your theme throughout different activities to connect the dots for participants.

When you do decide to incorporate a theme into the event, make sure you pay close attention to the details. A half-hearted attempt at carrying out a theme may deflate participants more than it pumps them up, whereas a carefully considered and well-executed one sends the message that your company has invested time and energy into creating this event—and participants are expected to do the same.

3. Keep Participants Engaged with Immersive Activities

If one of the goals of your event is to teach participants new skills, explore training approaches that require active participation. Getting your participants out of their chairs and interacting with one another creates excitement throughout the event. Plus, participatory learning is often more effective in the long term for retention. When participants learn by doing, that knowledge stays with them much longer in comparison to passive learning strategies. We have all been there before and know it’s far easier for participants to “clock out” on a lecture or PowerPoint presentation than it is with an engaged a hands-on learning activity.

If you’re thinking about including immersive training activities at your event, be sure to consider experiential learning. In an experiential learning exercise, participants are tasked with working together to tackle a fun but challenging “project” and the skills needed to successfully complete the challenge are the same ones needed to succeed at work. One of the biggest benefits is that it teaches participants new skills and allows them to practice them during the same exercise. Allowing participants to practice in a conference setting, wherein they’re able to get immediate feedback from facilitators, gives them a chance to refine and perfect those skills before they use them on the job. Plus, experiential learning is a good fit for all types of learners, thereby making it ideal for events put on for a diverse workforce.

4. Invest in Retention Tools and Strategies

No corporate event should be a “one-and-done” affair. If it focuses on teaching participants new skills and information, make sure you have a plan in place to help participants remember the lessons learned. Some post-event retention tools may include:

  • Online videos or webinars that serve as refreshers on event training
  • Interactive online games that test participants’ knowledge and retention of key concepts
  • Group discussions that explore the challenges and solutions addressed during the event
  • Forums on which participants can post follow-up questions and discussions

Keeping retention in mind throughout the planning process also helps you design components that support long-lasting learning.

If you planned a particularly well-received corporate event before, let us know what elements you think contributed to its success.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

PaulAs 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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corporate event planning

From SXSW to TED Talks, there are a few national and international events that stand out among all event planners. Not only are these noteworthy events massively popular, but they are wildly successful. From engaging participants from diverse backgrounds to inspiring attendees to take a specific action, these special events capture interest and make an impact on attendees, for days, months, and even years after.

Experiential learning is a training method that engages participants through immersive, themed training events. By transporting participants to another world, themed scenarios such as a jungle expedition or a treasure hunt make learning more intuitive, memorable, and enjoyable. Creating an exciting environment masks work scenarios and real-world situations and creates a hands-on experience that encourages participants to take risks.

Studies show that when participants learn by doing, they retain 75 percent of the new information and skills learned. In this regard, it’s important to pay attention to the details and transform a dull meeting room into a verdant jungle or tropical island, complete with sensory, auditory, and visual props. If it is appropriately themed, then the participants are likelier to accept the challenge, activity, or mandate posed by the experience as “intriguing” and to engage fully.

Hands-on learning encourages participants to work through problems together by actively engaging, rather than the passive listening that’s required by traditional, presentation-based training.

Here are two inspiring themes for your next corporate event that easily incorporate experiential learning.

PRODUCE A BLOCKBUSTER MOVIE

Calling all movie buffs! Give your audience the chance to serve as producers during the Golden Age of Hollywood at your next corporate event. By emphasizing creative expression and group collaboration, this theme encourages team members to think outside of the box to create a final product.

Designate individuals to serve as producers and agents who are tasked with the overarching goal of making as much money as possible. Team members must work together to assemble the necessary resources to create the most effective, engaging movie idea possible within a specific category. They must negotiate contracts to secure the talent, the screenplay, the score, the location, and the special effects.

Finally, teams work to create movie posters designed to illustrate the talent they have acquired and to market their movie to the public. By tasking team members with the goal of creating a final product, this theme encourages team members to pull together resources and interact with nearly everyone in the room.

YOUR MISSION HAS BEEN ASSIGNED

Who doesn’t love a thrilling mission? Channel your inner James Bond and create a spy-themed corporate event. Because many people get their news from social media, you can bet that these platforms are an easy way to connect with your team members. Start dropping clues about your meeting before it happens. Whether you choose to designate a Twitter feed to send out cryptic messages or Facebook to send out visual clues, building excitement before the event can build engagement.

On the day of your event, in addition to serving martini-glass appetizers and delivering registration packets stamped “CONFIDENTIAL,” be sure to continue the social media efforts. Research shows that 70 percent of top companies and brands consider it “extremely important” or “very important” to extend and amplify event programs using social media. In the context of a spy theme, you can send your team members on a mission that involves cracking a cyber crime and requires attendees to tweet information on Twitter to crack the code.

”Missions” can help team members diagnose, learn, self-correct, and respond with improved outcomes. After the event, be sure to debrief participants—while still retaining the spy theme—to reveal the connections between the training exercises and their professional realities. By equipping teams with the tools to engage in proactive problem-solving, you can illustrate how these newly acquired skills are relevant to the real world.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ian_ProfileIan 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.

 

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Crafting the Perfect Playlist for Your Next Company Event or Conference

You never know how much a playlist matters until you attend an oddly silent conference. Something just feels off, as if the room was zapped of energy. Luckily, crafting the perfect playlist for your company event is an easy and low-cost way to amp up the energy in the room—and the right playlist can set the tone and support the core message of your whole event! Here are four things to keep in mind as you put your conference playlist together.

1. Include high-energy hits.

You know those songs that come on the radio that cause you to immediately turn up the dial? Those are songs you need to include in your conference playlist! Pepper your playlist with high-energy contemporary hits that have a broad appeal. These infectious hits are an easy way to keep your participants enthused during breaks and between sessions. Keep in mind, of course, that you don’t want to play anything too risque or suggestive—remember to purchase the clean version of each song!

Some high-energy hits that’ll pump up participants are:

  • “Uptown Funk,” Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars
  • “Happy,” Pharrell Williams
  • “Can’t Stop the Feeling!,” Justin Timberlake
  • “Shake It Off,” Taylor Swift
  • “Roar,” Katy Perry

2. Sprinkle in some oldies but goodies.

It’s a good idea to include some hits with timeless appeal, especially if your conference will be attended by a mix of ages. There’s nothing worse than attending a conference and not recognizing any of the music! Just like with your contemporary hits, however, you’ll want to make sure the classics you choose are upbeat and on message.

A few energetic hits that have stood the test of time are:

  • “Don’t Stop Believin’,” Journey
  • “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” Diana Ross
  • “ABC,” The Jackson Five
  • “Build Me Up Buttercup,” The Foundations
  • “Walking on Sunshine,” Katrina and the Waves

3. Tie songs into your theme.

Theming your company event or conference is a great way to boost enthusiasm and tie all your sessions and activities together with a common thread. Theming your conference, however, only works to build enthusiasm if you fully commit to bringing the theme to life for your participants. That means paying attention to the details—decor, dining, and beyond.

One way to add to the themed ambiance (without dipping much into your conference budget)? Find music that fits your theme. It may take a little more research and creativity, but the right music can help you set the right tone for your theme. For example, are you turning your conference space into an outpost in the Wild West? Then add Glen Campbell’s “Rhinestone Cowboy,” the Steve Miller Band’s “Space Cowboy,” and Will Smith’s “Wild Wild West” to your playlist pronto. Yes, these songs are a bit silly—but that’s exactly what will help your participants loosen up and immerse themselves!

4. Use a “welcome to the stage” jam for speakers.

Cue up the music to alert your participants that it’s time to pay attention to the stage again. Use one of two strategies to welcome speakers to the stage.

  • You can pick one song and use it for each speaker throughout your conference. This is a smart approach because as soon as participants hear the song start to play, they know what’s going to happen next and can find their seats accordingly. If you go this route, make sure you pick a song that supports the message or theme of your event, because it will be the song your participants hear most often.
  • Or let your speakers pick their own “welcome to the stage” songs—similar to how each player on a baseball team walks up to home plate to a song of their liking. This approach may take more logistical planning to pull off, but it adds a big dose of personality to your event and can make speakers feel more involved.

What other songs always make their way onto your conference playlists to ensure your event is engaging?

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.

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The Essential Corporate Event Planning To-Do ListPlanning a corporate event of any size can quickly make you go crazy. We get it—there are so many moving parts to keep track of! That’s why to-do lists and templates are an event planner’s best friend. Start with this high-level to-do list when you begin brainstorming your next conference or training. These are the big pieces to keep in mind as you develop your event plan. Check them off as you go along—or use this list to create subtasks under each to-do item that relates directly to your event.

  • Align your event with your organization’s overall goals. Want to make sure you get executive and employee buy-in for your event? Clearly outline how your event supports stated business goals. The C-suite will appreciate that you’ve tied the event to the company’s bottom line. Your employees, meanwhile, will appreciate that your event has a concrete purpose (beyond the typical, vague “professional development” reasons)—they won’t view your event’s training as just busywork!
  • Determine benchmarks for the success of your event. Before you start planning your event’s logistics, it’s important to define what success looks like. What will be your event’s key takeaways—and how will you measure success? What’s your expected ROI? Almost every component of your event should be designed with these benchmarks in mind.
  • Develop a fun, thorough theme. Theming your corporate event is an excellent way to amp up excitement for your participants. You can also strategically use your theme to tie all of the day’s sessions and activities together, weaving a common thread throughout. Theming your event is only worth it, however, if you put in the effort to ensure the theme is cohesive and creative. From themed dining options to getting company leaders to dress up according to the theme, success lies in the details. Your participants will pick up on a perfunctory effort, and then your excitement-inducing theme may do the opposite!
  • Find ways to engage employees. Even if your corporate event involves more keynote speakers than hands-on activities, it’s still crucial to keep your employees engaged and involved throughout the entire event. Social media can be a big help here—encourage your employees to post pictures and key insights on their own social media channels, using a designated event hashtag. To avoid the dreaded dead-eyed stare from the crowd, get your participants up and moving frequently.
  • Measure your event’s ROI. After you wrap up your event, it’s time to determine how you performed against your benchmarks. Collect feedback from participants through surveys or small group discussions to see how your event was received by employees. If your event focused on teaching participants new skills to change behaviors, you could use skills assessments and reports from their managers to determine how well they’ve retained information and if they’ve actually applied their new skills on the job.
  • Design a retention program. The learning doesn’t stop after your event ends! To ensure your participants put their new skills and knowledge to good use, develop a post-event retention program that reinforces what participants learned during your corporate event. Combine online tools—like web-based quizzes, review videos, and online forums—with in-person strategies like one-on-one check-ins with managers or group review sessions with colleagues.

The right tools, checklists, and a clear goal in mind can help make your next event a rousing success. If you’ve planned well-received corporate events in the past, how have you kept track of all the important planning components?

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.

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Corporate Event Ideas for Introverted TeamsEvents generally involve activities centered on networking, communication, and interpersonal conversation. They’re a time for strangers to meet and coworkers to connect. In other words, corporate events are the ideal environment for outgoing, extroverted individuals.

However, despite the notion that events cater toward extroverts, a considerable amount of event-goers are actually introverts. According to author Susan Cain, introverts make up anywhere from a third to one half of the American population. This might seem at odds with the truth, especially when you consider the concept of the “extrovert ideal”: the bold, brazen personality type that seems to thrive at these events.

Sure, overstimulating, high-energy company training events may be the corporate norm. However, it’s entirely possible to rethink events and tailor them to suit introverts—all while encouraging productive meetings and events across your entire organization.

Whether you’re hosting a staff retreat, conference, or social gathering, here are some ideas on creating a corporate event that caters to introverted team members.

Get People Talking

It’s a myth that introverts don’t like to talk. As blogger Carl King points out, once you get an introvert to talk about something they’re interested in, they could talk for days. What does this indicate? That sometimes it’s up to you to get your event participants talking.

Experiential learning sessions are immersive, hands-on training experiences that reflect real-world work scenarios. Crucially, however, these experiences don’t directly mirror real-world scenarios. Instead, they mask similarities between learning activities and a participant’s day-to-day reality by incorporating fun, engaging activities.

These learning activities help get people out of their comfort zone by creating a safe, supportive environment that naturally encourages participants to try new strategies to solve problems. By making people feel comfortable about trusting the experience, participants are drawn into the experience and, therefore, into relationships with their group.

Because they are part of an immersive experience, they are less likely to feel self-conscious. Ultimately, experiential learning activities draw people out of their comfort zone at a relaxed pace.

Break into Small Groups

Introverts often prefer friendly, one-on-one conversations. In this regard, big groups can be overwhelming—especially when strangers are thrown into the mix.

Events are an ideal time to divide large groups into smaller teams. Break your attendees into pairs or trios and instill passion, not just competition, in the form of group activities. Focus on internal competition, where individuals are invested in both the process and the outcome of the activity.

Another technique that inspires similar results in medium-sized groups is the implementation of round-table discussions. Gather eight to 10 people per group and challenge them to answer questions or work through certain situations. Appoint a group leader to ensure that everyone has a chance to voice their opinion.

Leverage Your Social Power

Many introverts like to think before they speak. As Cain claims in her book Quiet, introverts often feel like they express themselves better in writing than in conversation. To allow introverted attendees time to collect their thoughts—and write them down—consider implementing social media and social networking into your corporate event.

Send out a company-wide question or situation via Twitter or Facebook several weeks before the event and encourage event participants to comment. Let them know that you will be selecting several responses and reassure them that no further action—such as speaking in front of the group—is necessary.

Sending messages via social media allows team members to think on their own time. Plus, it also encourages audience participation days or weeks before the event even begins.

Provide Time to Recharge and Refuel

Another myth surrounding introverts is that they don’t like to go out in public, according to King. The truth is that introverts absorb data and experiences quickly and look forward to processing their experiences. In other words, introverts appreciate time to recharge.

It’s important to positively engage introverted individuals during your event. However, it’s equally important to offer them some sort of refuge. Designate dedicated quiet spots or an on-site café or conference room as a refuel station for coffee and tea. While it’s tempting to jam-pack your day with activities, make sure you provide time for team members to process what’s happening around them.

Ultimately, it’s important to add a little variety throughout your corporate event to keep all participants engaged. Schedule events outdoors, take breaks in different areas of the space, and keep your participants moving when possible. The more you make your introverted team members feel comfortable, the more willing they are to participate and engage with the training.

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.

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