Archives For training

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.

 

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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.

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A decade ago, American organizations were largely unaware of the predicament they faced. The initial wave of Baby Boomers (many of whom occupied senior leadership roles) was set to begin a mass retirement. Many organizations were completely unprepared. Then something curious happened. The recession hit and many would-be retirees stuck around. In one somewhat morbid sense, the recession turned out to be a blessing in disguise. By now, succession planning routinely takes generational demographics into close consideration. Generational-oriented training is mainstream.

So how does your organization or team address generational dynamics from an awareness perspective? Are you at least having the conversation? Given how many employees find themselves at odds with colleagues of different generations, it’s worth thinking ahead. Here are some ways to make the conversation a productive one.

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I’m constantly surprised at what passes for “leadership training” these days. Then I remember that most leaders work in business operations and their involvement is often extracurricular. I’ve also noted how easily many business operators are impressed with the leadership development support that comes their way. It’s almost as if the simple fact that the organization is investing in them speaks louder than the concepts or structure.

Regardless, if you are going to invest in a leadership event, it’s an opportunity for excellence – whether you are an executive, manager or training expert. Don’t settle for mediocrity. Just having an event doesn’t guarantee success. Incorporate these best practices.

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When I joined the military in my early twenties, I wasn’t quite sure what “Special Operations Forces” (SOF) meant, but it didn’t take long for my new community to educate me. Some of our hardcore “green beret” colleagues operated as independent four man teams conducting unconventional warfare operations. My role in Civil Affairs had more to do with liaising with and advising local civilian leadership in foreign areas. I also didn’t get far into my initial training before I started hearing about the five “SOF Truths.” No matter what else we were training on, we always came back to them.

I immediately believed the five SOF Truths could hold up as a leadership doctrine for just about any organization, military or not. Below is my slightly amended version.

Special Forces Jumping from Plane

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Powerful Question #2

February 6, 2013

Question Mark 2Everyone has development experiences throughout their life and career outside of formal training programs (school, professional certifications, etc.) that impact the way they perform as a person, professional, and a leader.

What’s one of the richest leadership development experiences you’ve ever had and how has it helped shape your leadership ability?

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Dale Carnegie2I don’t have too many claims to fame, but occasionally I like to tell people that I grew up in the same town as Dale Carnegie: Belton, MO. Ironically, I had to travel to the opposite side of the globe before I invested the time to read what I have since considered the greatest leadership book of all-time: Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People. I’ve read through this book many times since then and even attended the Dale Carnegie capstone course which is over 100 years old. Therefore, I’d like to enthusiastically introduce you to one of my leadership heroes. I believe there is plenty we can all learn from the man who pioneered so much work in the area of personal leadership and influence.

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OnboardingDan Miller estimates that the average job lasts about 3.7 years.  If your career experience has been at all typical, this means you’ve probably gotten the chance to “onboard” as a new employee many times.  The new employee onboarding process can be an adventure, for sure.  On one end of the spectrum, it can be the first of many great experiences. On the other end, it can leave employees wondering right off the bat if they made a huge mistake.  The reality is that onboarding presents each organization a grand opportunity to make a positive and lasting first impression on new joiners as they embark on their employment journey.