Team Leadership

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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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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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Which Groups of Employees Will Benefit Most from Experiential Learning

Very few organizations are made up of a homogenous group of employees. More often than not, a company’s diverse workforce is composed of everybody from Millennials to Baby Boomers—this includes the experienced and those just learning the ropes. You need training that will resonate with all employees, no matter their differences. Can experiential learning rise to the occasion?

In our experience, yes; experiential learning works well for all types of employees, regardless of age, tenure, or background. That’s because the “learn by doing” approach is effective—and exciting—for all participants. Instead of passively consuming training lessons, participants “live” the lesson during a hands-on, discovery-based activity that mirrors the challenges that participants face on the job. Experiential learning puts the trainee in the middle of the training, making it even more visceral and immediate—and therefore easier for trainees to learn and digest.

In fact, experience-based learning has retention rates of up to 90 percent. Compare that to the retention rates of more traditional types of learning (like lectures, for example), which are as low as five percent.

Experiential learning also works well for all types of employees because learners get immediate feedback while they learn. As they work through an experience, they discover what behaviors lead to breakthroughs and what behaviors lead to dead ends, and so they’re able to change their behaviors during the exercise to achieve certain results. Seasoned facilitators are also on hand to guide learners through the exercise and provide feedback on winning strategies during the session’s debrief.

This is important because cognitive researchers have actually identified actionable feedback as one of four crucial aspects that make learning effective. Feedback that simply grades learners—like earning a “pass” or “fail” on a training quiz, for example—isn’t really helpful. To be effective, feedback must allow learners to revise their thinking and their understanding of material—which is exactly what experiential learning provides.

Framing Experiential Learning to Meet a Group’s Perceived Needs

Experiential learning is a good match for all kinds of employees. Different groups of employees may think they need a certain kind of training to match their backgrounds and skill levels. You can frame experiential learning in ways that address their concerns.

For example, here’s how you can frame experiential learning for four specific employee groups.

1. YOUNGER EMPLOYEES

Experiential learning is a perfect match for the Millennial generation, with its engaging approach to learning. Plus, the focus on learning through personal experience appeals to younger employees, who strongly value opportunities for personal growth.

2. MID-CAREER EMPLOYEES

Employees who’ve been with your company for a few years are looking for ways to gain new skills so that they can move their careers forward. These employees are looking to take more ownership of their projects and work responsibilities. Experiential learning builds personal conviction and stresses the importance of taking ownership of outcomes, which means it will appeal to mid-career employees ready to take on more responsibility.

3. VETERAN EMPLOYESS

Veteran employees have been through countless trainings and have probably seen their fair share of standard training lectures and PowerPoint presentations. You can reinvigorate and re-engage these employees with experiential learning, a new approach to training that features fun, immersive learning activities.

4. EXECUTIVES

Your company’s leadership wants to hear what its highly skilled peers have to say during training, bouncing ideas off one another during fascinating discussions. The collaborative nature of experiential learning will appeal to the C-suite—and these skilled employees will appreciate the chance to dig into a real challenge during training!

When you’ve used traditional training approaches in the past, how have different groups of employees responded to the material? Did some groups succeed? Did some struggle more than others?

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

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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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Outside the Box Corporate Event Ideas

Incorporating creative ideas into your next event can help turn an unremarkable afternoon into a memorable one. You may even make a lasting impression on a handful of members on the team. Over the past several years, creating memorable experiences has become a primary focus for a younger generation of working professionals.

Labeled as the “experience economy,” this mentality represents how the Millennial generation defines happiness. According to recent research, the Millennial generation is less interested in possessions or career status than they are in living a life defined by creating, sharing, and capturing memories through experiences. In fact, 77 percent of Millennials say some of their best memories are from an event or live experience they attended, whereas 69 percent believe that live events and experiences connect them to other people, the community, and the world.

As Millennials account for more than one-fourth of the total U.S. population, this emphasis on experiences can manifest itself across corporate events as well. While we aren’t suggesting that you must host a high-energy festival to pique the interest of your Millennial employees, it’s still entirely possible to incorporate creative concepts into your current event strategy. The following are some ways to do that.

Pecha Kucha

Japanese for “chitchat” or “chatter,” Pecha Kucha is an alternative presentation format where hosts show 20 images for 20 seconds each. Devised by Astrid Klein and Mark Dytham of Klein Dytham architecture in 2003, the format was intended to serve as an alternative, simple way to engage audience members.

Rather than rely on PowerPoint presentations and long-winded speeches, Pecha Kucha forces speakers to present only their strongest points and refine their speeches to focus on material that is immediately relevant to their audience. Speakers are able to supplement their presentations with pictures and images, with the only rule being that they must not pass the six-minute mark.

Granted, not all presentations should be confined to six minutes. However, if it fits your subject matter, it’s worth a try.

World Café

The World Café—sometimes referred to as Knowledge Café—is a structured conversational process designed to spark discussion across small groups that are then linked to larger groups. First organized in 1995, these events emphasize not only speaking and listening, but also alternative forms of learning such as visual.

Generally, the event kicks off with a keynote address in which a facilitator provides a series of open-ended questions based on a predetermined topic. Next, groups gather around small, round tables, where participants discuss and digest the problems at hand. Finally, the smaller groups come together as one large group and, through collective intelligence, discuss options and solutions.

Above all, the World Café method emphasizes the importance of creating a comfortable environment for participants. The goal of this style of corporate events is to create an inviting environment that mimics friendly conversations with friends. Much like experiential learning, this corporate-event technique requires participants to actively engage in an immersive challenge that mirrors problems they face in the real world.

Unconferencing

Championed by the technology industry, an unconference—also known as an Open Space conference—is a participant-driven corporate event style that’s based on the idea that team members have as much collective knowledge as the group of presenters. The format creates space that fosters peer-to-peer learning and collaboration by encouraging audience participation.

Sessions will run the gamut from informal to formal topics. Generally, all of your conference participants will gather to be guided through creating an agenda together. It is not necessary to prepare sessions; nor is there a prescribed “right way” to lead a session. Instead, unconferencing is designed to provide an open format that encourages organic interaction and discussion. If you need help getting things off the ground, below are a few ideas for sessions:

  • Longer presentations: Generally reserved for big ideas.
  • Short presentations: Five to 15 minutes of prepared material and comments, followed by interactive discussions.
  • Group discussions: Have team members introduce a topic they are interested in, while others join the conversation.
  • Big (or little) questions: Encourage team members to openly ask questions and then discuss potential answers.
  • Show and tell: Have team members provide quick presentations on projects, demos, or anything else they’re involved with.

Again, it is not necessary for those attending to understand the exact process in advance; the format will become clear as the conference unfolds. What’s more important is that those gathered have the opportunity to put their own ideas and sessions on the agenda.

Experiential Learning

Experiential learning sessions are truly creative ways to inspire interactions among your participants while naturally building a wide range of skills and abilities. These events mask critical training as immersive challenges and can be centered on a theme. What’s more, experiential learning programs can be designed to address specific business topics such as improving communication, collaboration, accountability, and decision-making.

By appealing to their senses, experiential learning fully engages individuals and inspires them to reflect on their decisions. This ensures that event content is relevant to your team members’ responsibilities and goals.

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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4 Essential Keys to Understanding Your Company's Culture

You’ve heard about the importance of company culture and how it can both attract new employees while keeping current ones engaged. However, you might still be wondering what exactly makes up company culture, why is it important, and does my own company even have a defined culture? Company culture may seem like a vague and elusive concept, yet there are several ways to define it. Here are four keys to understanding your organization’s culture and the necessary criteria to determine whether yours may need to evolve.

Key 1: Recognize That You Do Have Company Culture

Every organization has company culture, whether intentionally cultivated or not. In short, it refers to the combination of values, goals, ethics, and expectations that govern and influence employee behaviors. If negative behaviors have been left to develop unchecked, with no guidance or direction, then yes, a company culture that supports bad habits may have taken root. Simply put: There’s no blank slate when it comes to company culture. If you’re envisioning a specific kind—for instance, a customer-centric one—it’s not enough to simply announce that vision. You must first figure out what (and how) current behaviors need to shift in order to develop a roadmap to achieve those changes. That’s why it’s so important to define your current company culture before you try to steer it in a new direction.

Key 2: Analyze Your Company’s Priorities

If you want to better understand your culture, look at your company’s priorities. These goals and initiatives reveal what your organization values and what it does not (both explicitly and implicitly). Questions to ask yourself about company priorities may include:

  • Do your employees hear more about increasing the bottom line or increasing customer satisfaction?
  • Does your company give employees the freedom to experiment and innovate when it comes to solving problems, or is following protocol more important?
  • Is taking calculated risks seen as a distraction or opportunity?
  • How much (or how little) does your company invest in ongoing training efforts, both in terms of money and time?
  • When your company considers adopting certain efforts or changes, are the thoughts and feelings of both leadership and employees considered?

Exploring questions like this can give you clues as to what kind of culture your company has cultivated. Is it one with a workforce that’s empowered, engaged, and encouraged to innovate and improve? Or a culture where the bottom line is often prioritized? If your company’s priorities give you pause, it may be time to explore a culture transformation.

Key 3: Inquire About Company Culture

Your company culture is made up of behaviors, those that are encouraged, permitted, and hindered. To understand what kind makes up your organization, it’s best to go directly to the source: your employees. Consider ways to get feedback on which behaviors currently serve the company well and which need to be discouraged or changed to elevate your organization. Gather feedback from all levels of employees, from executives to front-line managers. Surveys, company-wide assessments, and focus groups can all help create a clearer picture of the behaviors that define your current company culture. Again, the key is to engage every employee as you ask for feedback because the sum total of all employee contributions and behaviors are what make up your culture.

Key 4: Look to Your Leaders

While every employee contributes to company culture, leaders have more impact and influence. Examine the messages your leadership team puts forth, and whether action follows those words. Leadership may espouse values and a mission that excites employees, but if leadership itself doesn’t “walk the walk,” their behavior can contribute to a culture of distrust and disengagement. Culture starts from the top down, and your leadership sets the tone for what’s permissible and encouraged in your company and what’s not. After examining your culture using the four keys listed, where do you think your company culture needs a tune-up—or is a complete culture transformation in order?

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

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eLearning vs. Experiential Learning A Complete Comparison

eLearning has been gaining momentum for years in the corporate training realm—it can no longer be called a “trend.” As technology continues to evolve, so will the impressive tools and training methods coming out of the eLearning space. However, how does the relative “new kid on the block” compare to experiential learning? Let’s explore the merits of these two popular approaches and if there’s space for both in your corporate training initiatives:

eLearning in the Workplace

eLearning, or electronic learning, encompasses a wide range of training tools and methods, which has helped make it a $100 billion-plus industry. Here, though, are several common ways that eLearning takes shape in corporate training today:

  • Video instruction
  • Interactive tutorials with quiz components
  • Gamified learning, where users learn new concepts by working through online games
  • Podcasts and other prerecorded materials

The specific benefits of eLearning vary according to its implementation, but this training type as a whole has several advantages. For one, eLearning is easily scalable. eLearning can easily grow with your company, because the only things you need for implementation are computer access and the training program itself. Relatedly, eLearning may be a good fit for companies whose offices are scattered across the country or for companies that employ a lot of remote workers.

Another big benefit? More recent gains in the eLearning industry have ushered in on-the-go, on-demand corporate learning. Today, eLearning platforms are being built so that they can be easily accessed on mobile phones—many eLearning training programs even come with their own downloadable apps. This gives users more choice and flexibility in their learning, so they can fit training into busy schedules.

One big drawback of eLearning, however, is that the industry is constantly changing. Unfortunately, that means that electronic training software can become obsolete in a matter of years, as more effective eLearning platforms come along. That leaves companies with a tough choice: upgrade their entire training platforms every few years or keep using the same eLearning platforms with the knowledge that other companies—including competitors—are investing in newer, more effective eLearning approaches.

The Experiential Learning Competitive Edge

On the other end of the training spectrum, you have experiential learning. Experiential learning takes a completely different approach from that of eLearning: Trainees learn how to change their behavior through participation in hands-on, discovery-based learning sessions. During these immersive training exercises, participants work together to solve a themed challenge, like traversing a dangerous desert to mine gold. During the experience, it may feel like a fun game for participants, but it’s actually a metaphor for the issues that trainees struggle with on the job. After the participatory training exercise, a facilitator leads a debrief session. During the debrief, the facilitator reveals the metaphor and explains how the strategies that trainees used to win the game are the same strategies they can use to “win” at work.

Experiential training differs from eLearning in a couple of big ways, most obviously with its live, participatory nature. This puts experiential learning at a huge advantage in terms of retention. Learners retain up to 90 percent of experience-based learning, while passive learning (which encompasses many eLearning approaches, like online videos) has retention rates as low as five percent. At first blush, eLearning may seem like the more cost-effective training method, thanks to its scalability—but experiential training actually provides a much higher ROI. It doesn’t matter how affordable a training method may seem; paying any amount for information that likely goes in one ear and out the other is just too much.

Some eLearning approaches, however, involve more than just passive reception, like interactive quizzes and gamification. Still, experiential training has a leg up even on these eLearning approaches, thanks to one crucial aspect often overlooked in training: conviction. By participating in live and real challenges as themselves (instead of as a character in an online game, for example), trainees are able to build personal conviction. The structure of the themed challenge allows trainees to immediately see the consequences of their own actions, which means they cannot skirt personal responsibility for their behaviors. Participating in such a visceral experience with immediate consequences also illustrates the power of behavior—behaviors, and not just circumstances, can determine success or failure. Participants leave the training session with the conviction that changing their behaviors at work can have an equally powerful effect on their job outcomes.

Experiential training’s edge in retention and building conviction means it’s one method of learning that’s here to stay for the long haul. For the most effective learning outcomes for your colleagues, however, combining eLearning and experiential learning may be the best approach. eLearning can be used to support the new skills and behavior changes taught during experiential training as part of a retention program. Using online lectures to recap material and quizzes to test retention, for example, helps colleagues keep their training top of mind long after the experiential training session ends. eLearning exercises can also be used to help measure retention rates, giving managers a better idea of how impactful their training was—and what tweaks may need to be made in the future.

Do you use a combination of eLearning and another training method for your current training initiatives? What have your results been?

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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