team development

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Far too often, millennial employees are mistakenly labeled as entitled, unsatisfied job-hoppers. According to a Gallup study, however, it’s not that they’re necessarily entitled. Instead, it’s that many of them feel indifferent and detached. According to the study, only 29 percent of millennials are engaged and feel an emotional and behavioral connection to their job and company. What’s more, another 16 percent are actively disengaged, meaning they are susceptible to burning out or negatively impacting a company.

That’s a whopping 55 percent of millennial workers who do not feel engaged with their work. So what does this mean? Are all millennial employees a risk to your company? Are they all actively seeking new opportunities?

While situations certainly vary from company to company, overall, this couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, a 2015 IBM study indicates that 47 percent of Gen X’ers would leave their job for one that offers more money, compared to 42 percent of millennials. Additionally, 70 percent of baby boomers think their organization ineffectively addresses the customer experience, compared to 60 percent of millennials.

As this illustrates, many millennials’ thoughts and beliefs aren’t all that different than their older peers. They don’t all need a trophy for every single accomplishment, and not every millennial is willing to jump ship if a job doesn’t fulfill their agenda. Read on to find out what type of corporate culture supports the success of millennials and in turn, the organization.

What Do Millennials Value?

For starters, it’s worth noting that the millennial workforce is more racially and ethnically diverse than those before them. According to the Brookings Institute, this racial diversity is the generation’s most defining and impactful characteristic. This diversity has led to a more accepting and charitable collective worldview, as illustrated in a recent Deloitte survey, which showed that 77 percent of millennials are involved in charity or a “good cause.”

Since 2013, Deloitte has measured millennial world and professional views. As this year’s survey illustrates, many feel accountable, to a fair degree, for many issues in both the workplace and the world at large, but that they are unable to make a meaningful influence. It’s in the workforce, however, that they feel a greater sense of control. It’s here where they feel most impactful. They are excited by the influence they can have on their peers, customers, and suppliers, even if the impact is on a smaller scale.

Despite the fact that many struggle with debt, millennial workers are generally not motivated by money. Instead, as the Deloitte survey already illustrates, they are driven by making the world more compassionate, sustainable, and innovative. To drive this point home, according to a Net Impact survey, 40 percent of millennials deem getting a job that can make a difference as “very important.”

Aligning Culture with These Values

As a whole, millennials are driven by making a difference. The truth is that many companies use words such as “impact” and “purpose-driven” without truly understanding what they mean to their organization. To help attract and retain millennial team members, it’s up to your organization to implement the type of corporate culture that not only discusses altruistic views, but also embodies them.

While it’s true that not every company can save the world, they can certainly strive to be transparent about how they’re using technology and resources. They can also strive to create shared value and enact social and environmental changes. Remember, it’s not necessarily the scope of the impact that millennial workers care about—it’s the efforts in the first place.

Part of this rests in your organization’s ability to align its cultures with the values of your millennial employees. In the same Deloitte study, 86 percent of respondents believe the success of a business should be measured in terms of more than just its financial performance, with the top issue ranking as “education, skills, and training.” In this regard, it’s important to create opportunities for development, coaching, and mentorship.

As the Gallup study illustrates, the relationship between a manager and its millennial employees is a vital link in performance management. In fact, 44 percent of millennials are likely to be engaged with managers who hold regular meetings. Consistent feedback not only impacts engagement, but it also produces positive performance. Employees who regularly meet with management perform better for their team and company.

Providing feedback and implementing a leadership development program not only aligns your organization with values shared by a majority of millennial employees, but it can also result in growth for both your employees and your company. These programs enable you to cultivate leaders from within your organization. By offering leadership training to your entire organization, you’re able to ensure that frontline professionals with no direct reports can develop their individual potential and leadership strengths.
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.


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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 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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In recent years, there seems to have been a widening gap in the corporate training world between expectations and reality. According to a Deloitte survey published in 2015, managers claimed that the area of learning and development was more important than ever and yet, at the same time, they admit that they’ve become even less prepared to meet learning and development needs.
Let’s make 2017 the year to turn things around. Here are four promising trends surrounding the measurement and assessment of corporate training programs that can help get your company on the right track:

1. Focus on Real Needs, First

Forget the bells and whistles of fancy corporate training programs for a moment, because it’s time to get back to basics which means deciding what your training needs really are. This seems like a crucial step in training development, but it’s one that’s often overlooked. Companies may chase after vendor-supplied corporate training programs that will claim to solve all of their problems (without understanding what those problems are), or they rely on the outdated in-house training they’ve always used—even if needs have shifted.

2017 will see a renewed effort to match up corporate training programs with real, demonstrated needs, rather than just going through the motions. This means taking stock of the company’s current realities by meeting with key leadership one on one and identifying what’s enabling your current level of success and what’s blocking you from going even higher.

2. Defining a Baseline for Measurement

In the same vein as the above, corporate training programs need to shift focus from what goes on during training to what happens before it begins. When it comes to measurement, that means clearly defining what you will measure as a result of the training. And, obviously, to measure improvement, you must first measure where you are.

In 2017, it’s time to get granular. Once you’ve established an understanding of your company’s “big picture” current reality, use measurement tools—like organizational surveys—to develop tangible numbers and specifics that speak to that reality. Developing a clear, specific baseline results in well-designed, responsive corporate training programs that make measuring ROI a whole lot easier.

3. Develop On-Demand Learning—and Measurement

The use of cutting-edge technology in corporate training programs has been on the rise for years. While nothing can replace immersive, experiential learning, there is most definitely a place for technology in training, especially as a learning retention tool.

Today’s workers—which is now composed of more than 53 million Millennials—crave on-demand learning at their fingertips. To meet this craving, companies should look into developing retention programs that take the form of apps, which can work on computers and mobile phones and are fun, short, and effective. With up to 70 percent of training being lost to learning decay within just one week, easy-to-use and addictively engaging retention activities should help stop up the learning leak.

Plus, it’s easier and faster to track learning gains through technology. While employees are engaging in learning and retention games on their phones, companies are able to collect real-time data on learning improvements to measure progress. This allows them to make quicker decisions about changes to their corporate training programs or retention strategies. Watch for more of a focus not just on tech and learning but also on tech and measurement in 2017.

4. Bringing Training and Business Strategy Together

Perhaps the biggest trend in 2017 will be a continuation of the recent push to marry HR direction and business strategy—and measurement will play a huge role. As competition for highly skilled employees remains high, training and retaining top talent become just as much a strategic initiative as an HR one. Thus, determining ROI becomes more important than ever, as it’s an indication of whether your training is working or not, yes, but it’s also an indication of whether or not a company is retaining its competitive edge.

2017 can also be the year that companies dig deeper with assessments. In addition to more traditional assessment and measurement tactics like surveys and tests, companies should also explore how assessments can help prime the leadership pipeline—which should be a major strategic initiative for any forward-thinking organization. Companies can use post-training assessments to discover those employees who have made the largest learning gains, which is an impressive feat which higher-ups should take notice of. Plus, assessments of high performers before training can be used to identify the common competencies that a company’s highest performers share. Then, training can be designed to deliver those competencies, thus ensuring a pipeline of top talent ready to step into leadership roles when they are needed.

A clear strategy for measuring results is crucial to any successful corporate training program. What trends in measurement do you think we’ll see—or need to see—in 2017?


MichaelAbout the author

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

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When it comes to your company’s sales training programs, are you just doing the same old, same old–with the same old results to show for it? Then it’s time to take a cue from successful sales training program, the kind that trainees rate as highly engaging and ROI stats prove are worth the money and effort to implement. We’ve worked with scores of companies with successful programs, and we’ve taken note of the characteristics they have in common. Here are three ways that sales training programs have adapted to today’s consumer to set themselves apart

3 Characteristics of Sales Training Programs That Are Actually Successful1. The emphasis is on meeting needs–not persuading.

Gone are the days when stereotypically slimy salespeople could manipulate their way into a sale–today’s consumers are just too smart for that. Most consumers have seen every sales trick under the sun, so they’re immune to most of the “persuasive” sales tactics that many sales training programs still teach. Consumers have not only become increasingly skeptical of traditional sales tactics, but they’ve become increasingly sophisticated as well—and they demand sophisticated sales solutions to match. In a world where you can customize everything down to the automated voice of your phone’s GPS system, clients crave custom solutions that fit their needs.

To thrive in today’s sales landscape, sales training programs must teach trainees to adopt a customer centric mindset. That means that selling is no longer about persuading—it’s not even about the product. It’s about meeting the customer’s idiosyncratic needs. The beauty of this approach, of course, is that salespeople don’t need to persuade or manipulate, because they’re approaching the sale from a place of giving—and listening. Successful sales training programs today should focus just as much on effective listening and communication skills, as they do on more traditional, persuasive sales skills. In order for a customer’s needs to be met, they must first be heard.

Transform Your Selling With The Sales M.B.A Model

2. Encourage Salespeople to Think and Act like Experts

Part of what’s fueling the increasing sophistication of today’s consumers is the ease with which they can research products and solutions for themselves. When a salesperson walks into a meeting with a potential client, he or she must assume the prospect has already Googled his or her company—and the company’s competitors.

In order to keep sales teams one step ahead of consumers, sales training programs today must transform their trainees into experts—not just salespeople. That means being an expert in the product or service they’re selling, the client’s company, and the client’s industry as a whole. Effective sales training programs will equip trainees with the skills and techniques needed to research and develop in-depth customer profiles so that they can walk into a meeting prepared to dazzle a client with their executive presence and a deep well of knowledge. Think of today’s successful salesperson as a consultant who provides value to a prospect even before a solution is delivered by pointing out potential problem areas that a client has yet to perceive. A salesperson can only step into that consultative role if he or she embraces the need for expertise.

3. Instill Long-Term Behavior Change

Successful sales training programs are responsible for not just teaching new sales skills and strategies, but making that teaching stick. Your sales-team trainees need to not only know what to do (approach sales with a consultative, customer centric attitude, for instance), but know how and when to do it. That combination of what, how, and when is what leads to real and lasting behavior change.

So, how do sales training programs deliver real behavior change? They take a two-pronged approach: immersive experiences during training and a follow-up strategy that reinforces what was taught. Instead of passive content delivery (i.e. PowerPoint presentations and the like), successful sales training programs combine learning and practice in one fell swoop through experiential learning activities. Experiential learning is essentially learning by doing, where participants learn and practice new skills through immersive, hands-on activities that mimic on-the-job scenarios. By building practice into the learning itself, experiential learning sales training programs remain a big step ahead of traditional training programs that assume participants will practice their new skills after the program ends.

But building practice into training isn’t enough—permanent behavior change only occurs when it’s reinforced effectively. Smart sales training programs design retention strategies that keep new skills top of mind for trainees, long after they’ve left the training event. From retention “games” that make learning fun to testing that measures program success and room for improvement, retention is the final piece that ensures a well-rounded, ROI-focused sales training program that delivers lasting behavior change.

Have you had success with your own sales training programs? If so, what other characteristics contributed to your success? If not, what characteristics do you think were missing?

About the Author

JohnSince 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.

Reblogged from Eagle’s Flight.

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From encouraging creative problem-solving to eliminating company blind spots, cross-functional teams have been heralded as the workplace’s secret weapon.

The only problem? If you think managing typical teams is hard, creating a high-performing cross-functional team will challenge you even more. But when companies get cross-functional teams right, they’re rewarded in infinte ways. To ensure you’re getting the most bang for your team-building buck, use these three strategies to kickstart collaboration in your cross-functional teams.

1. Designate a Leader

Every team needs a leader, someone who is willing to take ownershipfor the team’s results, keep everything on track, and provide a final say on decisions. Cross-functional teams especially need strong leadership, because they’re generally more cumbersome (in size and/or scope) than regular teams.

how-to-kickstart-collaboration-in-cross-functional-teamsAppoint a leader who is able to inspire the team and pull out each member’s brilliance—but who also isn’t afraid to do what it takes to keep team members accountable. Especially important for cross-functional team leaders is the ability to listen and consider new ideas; because the leader will be heading up a diverse group with different perspectives and knowledge bases, the leader needs to be comfortable admitting that they don’t have all the answers. Again, because leading cross-functional teams can present more of a challenge than most teams, consider putting your team’s leaders through leadership training that instills these qualities through practical, hands-on exercises.

2. Encourage “Idle” Chitchat

Cross-functional teams can be harder to manage than interdepartmental teams, simply because members of cross-functional teams aren’t used to working with one another. They don’t know each other’s “tics” yet or how to best communicate.
The solution to this problem may seem too obvious—or even counterproductive—to some. Provide opportunities for your cross-functional team to engage in some good, old-fashioned chitchat. It may seem like a classic meeting time-waster, but sharing a few laughs and stories with one another during meetings builds a sense of camaraderie and helps team members get to know one another as people. As a result, they become more comfortable sharing ideas in a group, both work-related and not.

In fact, Carnegie Mellon researchers found that many teams that seemed to engage in time-wasting behavior—like talking over one another, interrupting during meetings, and going off on tangents—were actually top performers. What they were really exhibiting was a level of comfort and familiarity with one another, which bred an atmosphere where nobody was afraid to share ideas and everyone had a chance to speak. A few minutes of straying from the agenda each meeting can pay off big-time when it comes to fostering strong communication, creativity, and cohesion in cross-functional teams.

3. Incorporate Team-Building Activities That Actually Work

Creating a high-performing cross-functional team is a bit like cooking up a killer recipe. You can’t just throw all the ingredients together and expect it to taste good. You have to coax out the flavor, or in the case of teams, the brilliance that you know can result from bringing colleagues with different backgrounds and skill sets together. For cross-functional teams, that’s done through strategic team-building exercises that have a proven record of increasing team cohesion, decision-making, and communication.

From major off-site team development events that incorporate experiential learning to daily exercises that encourage collaboration and cooperation, focusing on effective team-building activities is crucial to the health of cross-functional teams, especially those that are going to be working together for a while. And don’t waste valuable time by only implementing team-building activities after your team starts to exhibit troubling behavior or results. Make team-building a priority from the get-go to get the most out of your cross-functional teams.

And finally, it’s important to remind your cross-functional team members that even though it feels like their loyalties lie with different departments, they’re all really working toward the same mission; improving the company as a whole. Working with members from other parts of the company is an incredible opportunity to see how you fit into the whole and how your seemingly small part makes the company tick. Reminding all members that they play for the same team is a major camaraderie-builder.

Have you successfully implemented cross-functional teams? If so, what strategies did you use to ensure all members worked well together?

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.

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The scenario is all too familiar; your company’s executive leadership team understands the importance of team building training, and you spend plenty of time and money every year executing training initiatives, but you’re just not seeing the results you had anticipated.

While recognizing the importance of team building already puts you ahead of the pack, it sounds like the training you’re investing in right now is missing something. Consider these four elements that most team building training programs overlook to fill in the gap in your own training:

Training That’s Practical

It’s not enough to get a team in a room together and hope they bond over team building training activities you’ve you’ve pieced together from various sources. Training must be strategic and practical.

  • Is your training immediately applicable to the participants’ day-to-day job?
  • Are you providing solutions to real-world problems?
  • Do you have a way to measure the results of your team building training?

If you’ve answered “no” to these questions, then you will not be getting the most from your training budget.

Choosing an experiential learning method for your next team building initiative will help ensure your training is both strategic and practical. Experiential learning is discovery-based learning comprised of, immersive elements that mimic real-world scenarios in which participants find themselves daily. These activities involve learning by doing, which means your team will be practicing the new skills they’re learning during the training itself, rather than passively learning about them and having to practice on the job later.

A Theme That Excites and Aids Learning

Sometimes the problem with team building training isn’t that it’s not practical, it’s just plain boring. Using themes during training will add energy to your initiative! Theming will transport your participants to another “world,” where they can loosen up and have fun learning, instead of thinking about how they’re supposed to be acting. Which sounds like more fun, acting out a simulation of a team meeting or putting on your “engineer” hat to build a bridge to span an ecosystem?

Incorporating a theme into your team building training is about more than amping up the fun. When you theme your events, you’re taking participants out of their day-to-day realities, which means they’ll be more likely to take risks during the training. They may even “fail”, which is a great learning tool! When training looks too much like a real job scenario, participants are hesitant to stretch themselves, out of fear of failure.

Leadership Training for Teams

It’s true that there’s no “I” in team, but the most successful teams do have designated leaders. While many team building programs focus on improving communication skills and problem-solving together, leadership training is often reserved for colleagues at the management level. When training is designed this way, teams miss out. That’s because team leaders are often designated based on their expertise in a field—not their experience with leading—so team leaders may feel lost and unsupported in their new leadership roles. Investing in leadership training for team leaders will give these new leaders the skills needed to garner top results with their teams.

Team Building Training for Remote Employees

While more and more companies are allowing employees a level of freedom to work from home, when it comes to team building, these remote workers are often forgotten, and that’s a detriment to the company. These remote employees still work in teams! Consider ways to include these employees in training, like through live, web-based workshops. Sometimes, though, there’s just no substitute for an in-person t training event. If many of your employees are remote, it could pay off big-time to host an off-site training that brings employees together for some valuable face-to-face time. Let’s face it: It’s hard to connect over email, so an in-person event can strengthen relationships between colleagues while providing opportunities for practical, experiential learning-based team training.

What other key elements do you think your team building training initiative is missing?

About the Author


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

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

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

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

1. Poor Listening Skills

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

The signs of poor listening skills:

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

2. Lack of Feedback

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

The signs of lack of feedback:

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

3. Lack of Accountability

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

The signs of lack of accountability:

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

Unleash the Power of Teamwork: Learn More in This Guide

4. Bad Behavior Modeling

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

Signs of bad behavior modeling:

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

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


Dave_rootAbout the author

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

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

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

Understanding What Customer Centricity Means

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

Defining the Desired Customer Experience

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

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

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

Learning How to Claim Ownership

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

Learning How to Take Action

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

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

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

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


johnAbout the author

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

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

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

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

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

1. Status Updates

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

Status updates should include:

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

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

2. Reinforcement Exercises

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

3. Introduce the Next Initiative

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

4. Recognize Successes

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

5. Action Items

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

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


sueAbout the author

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

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

1. They Break Down Silos

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

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

2. They Eliminate Blind Spots

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

3. They Cultivate Creative Problem-Solving

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

4. They Illustrate a Company’s Larger Mission

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

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

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


About the author

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

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