Archives For learning

The new three-part video series Jump-Start Your Employee Engagement has now launched. Join communication expert Josh Erickson and myself for three ideas in three days – all in four minutes or less. This video series will only be available for a limited time – click here to enroll.

How do people learn to be leaders?

That’s the question leadership consultant and thought leader Robert J. Thomas answered at a leadership academy event I recently helped organize. Speaking from his book Crucibles of Leadership, Thomas demonstrated that simply taking a course on leadership would do little to transform leadership abilities. In fact, knowledge plays only a small role in a leader’s effectiveness, despite the high price often invested in higher education.

Here is a sample of the elements that transform ordinary people into great leaders.

Continue Reading…

As a talent development professional, I’ve been privileged to lead, observe and participate in many types of learning and training events. I’m often invited by vendors to sit in on their training in the hopes I’ll make a purchase.

I can say firsthand there are some amazing learning events out there. Unfortunately, for every great one, there are several mediocre ones. If you’ve been tasked with building or sourcing training for your team, let me save you some grief by sharing nine factors that can kill your effectiveness.

 

Continue Reading…

Picture yourself attending two training sessions. In the first, you sit quietly in your row as the instructor lectures on the benefits, nuances and applications of the topic. In the second session, you sit at a table with a group of peers as a facilitator introduces the topic, elicits several responses about the group’s current challenges, has each individual complete a self-assessment, shares the key points, has everyone interact in small groups and then asks each person to record their personal goals relating the topic to their present work situation. Maybe there is also a resource (like a discussion guide) for participants to use with their teams once they return.

Which session did you learn more from?

Regardless of your function or industry, learning plays a key role in business effectiveness. No one was born knowing how to do any job – and even with all the preparatory training we’ve received over the years (e.g. college), the speed of change demands that we continually learn better ways. (I know I, for one, don’t want to receive the same surgery a “seasoned” surgeon was trained on three decades ago!) So whether you develop training as a profession or you request it as a professional, it’s worth understanding how adults learn best.

Business People Learning Continue Reading…

Just about all of us are Monday morning quarterbacks when it comes to leadership. Everyone has an opinion. But how grounded are those opinions, especially if we’ve never been there before?

Here’s the thing: if you wait until you receive a leadership role to get a leadership education, you may not last long. We all need a leadership development plan that includes work experiences, formal training, networking and self-study. But don’t overlook the easiest, cheapest and most accessible one of all: observation.

Here are eight observations to make of the leaders around you.

Pay Attention Sign Continue Reading…

Becoming Excellent

November 16, 2015

Excellence is a blessing and a curse. It’s always a noble pursuit. But it can be intimidating as well. With so much information and many high profile examples of what excellence looks like, how can we contribute in a significant way?

Regardless of what you aspire to do, excellence is a worthy goal. But it probably won’t be your starting point. So how do you get there? Try this.

Continue Reading…

Surviving Success

September 1, 2014
Today's guest post comes courtesy of Mark Miller, Vice President of
Organizational Effectiveness at Chick-fil-A and bestselling author. Receive his updates by visiting his website Great Leaders Serve or following him on Twitter.

Success is a lousy teacher. The best leaders know this and are always on guard against complacency. I recently received a question from a leader who has just completed a season of success. She is concerned her team won’t stay motivated.  How do you keep your team fully engaged in the wake of success?

This is a very thoughtful question. Most leaders are focused on “What’s next?” as we should be. However, the leader who posed this question has an intuitive sense that a let down could be around the corner. Without her leadership, she may be right.

Businessman Trophy

Continue Reading…

5 Ways Employees Learn

March 3, 2014

Where do you send your employees to learn something new? Where do you go yourself?

There a lots of options out there. The best strategy is to take a integrated approach to learning across five broad categories. Here they are.Employee Class Excited

Continue Reading…

Everybody wants competence. We want it for ourselves. We expect it from others in our organizations. We demand it from the people and organizations we purchase from. But how do we figure out if we’ve got it? How well do we develop it in others? Where do we even start?

Contemplative GorillaBack in the 1970s, Gordon Training International developed a learning model called “The Four Stages of Competence,” which has also been linked to Abraham Maslow’s work. There’s something helpful about breaking an idea or a challenge down into smaller parts, and competence is no different. If we can understand which stage both we and our followers are in, we’ll be much more useful. Here are the Four Stages of Competence:

Continue Reading…

All of a sudden you get put in charge of building a new training course for your organization. It could be leadership training, professional training or technical training. Doesn’t matter. So you do the hard work of analyzing the learning needs, developing objectives, designing content, coordinating the event and finally delivering the course. Mission accomplished! That is, until management asks for the evaluation results to find out what difference the course made. Now you’re just insulted. After all the hard work you put in, management thinks your course may have been a flop? The nerve!

This may be how you feel about evaluation… unless you have a built-in evaluation plan. In that case, you’ll be ready to hand over the results of your training before management even asks for it.

So how do you evaluate learning programs? In this post, I’d like to summarize the Kirkpatrick Four Levels of Learning Evaluation.

Measuring Tape Continue Reading…

When you were growing up, you probably spent hours sitting in a classroom listening to teachers deliver lecture after lecture in school. Now, as an adult employee, the thought of sitting through company training seems boring, unproductive, pointless and wasteful compared to actual work you could be doing. And if that’s what you think, your colleagues are likely thinking the same thing. The great news is that learning organizations are shifting their methods. But tactics aren’t the best place to start. They never are. First, your organization needs a new learning mindset. Here’s how you can get one.

Adult Learning ClassFollowing are six specific ways many organizations have traditionally thought about training – with a culture “shift” for each one.

Continue Reading…

“Good morning, this is Nathan,” I greeted the caller on my cubicle phone several years ago.

“Yes, this is Bill. I’m a Vice President at First Big Bank. I need to know where our $77 million is.”

piles-of-money1

“Uh, yes,” I gulped. “Well… do you have an account number?” I was working in the investor reporting department of a major financial institution at my first job out of college. A large commercial property had paid off that week and the payment was split between two separate beneficiaries. As I had entered the $77 million wire into the electronic payment system, I was already preparing my braggadocio about the large amounts of cash I routinely handled in my job (even though this was a special circumstance and was only “electronic” money). But now it looked as though my day was about to be ruined. As I checked the account, my fears were confirmed.

“Um, I think I’m going to have to call you back…” I mustered. Epic. Fail.

Continue Reading…

Mentoring 101

January 21, 2013
Mentor

Telemachus consults Mentor

It’s said that King Solomon was the wisest man who ever walked the earth.  From the stories it seems his leadership ability was pretty astonishing as well.  Imagine what it would have been like to spend an hour with him.  What questions would you ask?  What problems would you want him to help you solve?  What best practices would you want to know about?

I had the privilege of studying under Dr. Jeff Myers in college and he introduced me to the art of mentoring.  My life hasn’t been the same since.   Continue Reading…