Why you and college athletes should get paid more

I don’t normally write about these kinds of topics on my blog.  However, given the current events in my hometown of Louisville, Ky, I felt compelled to write about it.

I am on record stating that Rick Pitino should have been fired after the whole Karen Sypher story.  I don’t want to rehash that entire thing, but if you are reading this you know what I am talking about.  If you don’t, just google search Rick Pitino and Karen Sypher.

That incident and the fact he wasn’t fired after that charade, told me everything I needed to know about what was important and what isn’t important with Rick Pitino and Louisville Cardinals sports.

But I am not here to talk about the lack of integrity of Rick Pitino, the University of Louisville Sports, or any of the other people included in the string of issues that have occurred at the University of Louisville.

I want to talk about something that I am known to talk about, and constantly do so across all of my social media channels. And that is.

Getting paid for the value you bring to a company, the market, sports franchise, a college sports team, etc.  Everyone wants to get upset about what CEO’s, athletes, entertainment stars, and even certain people within your company are earning.

Lets set some ground rules before diving into this:  Would you agree that you would like to get paid the fair market value (and probably more) for the skills, talents, and abilities you bring to your current employer?  Let me answer for you.  Yes.

The second thing.  Would you agree that companies, businesses, a sports team, etc., have to pay the going rate for positions within any of those entities.  In your company, you have to pay your engineers a certain rate, fair market or more.  Or you won’t attract any engineers to your company.  If you’re a sales person.  A really good one.  Then a company has to pay you a very competitive salary and commission structure for them to attract and keep you at their company. And then lastly, your favorite NBA team, or NFL team, or MLB team has to pay the going rate to attract the best point guard, quarterback, or pitcher to be able to get that player to play for their team.

So we both agree.  We are looking for fair market value for our skills.  And secondly we agree that companies, sports teams, etc. must pay the going rate for positions, employees, and players.

Now that we both agree on this.  You will see my logic on the fact that college sports is a big joke. It is a market or marketplace that has become a very big business. Billions of dollars are generated in college sports on a yearly basis.

College sports is the only business that doesn’t pay its personnel a fair wage for the amount of money that they generate.  We all know that these major college sports programs would not be making the money that they do without good players that are competitive. If the school is not competitive, it is up to the school and the coaches to go out and get the best players so they can become competitive again, and get on television, etc.

College Sports teams are no different from any other business. They have to recruit and retain top talent. If they don’t, they won’t be in business very long.  However, in business you can pay a fair wage and a competitive salary with benefits. In college sports, they are not allowed to do this under the current rules and regulations.

I used to be one of the people who thought college athletes shouldn’t get paid either.  I believed, like others, that the scholarship, the opportunity to go to college, in many cases for free, and all of the other perks they get was fair pay for the work that they did.

Then one day I woke up and said, I am trying to earn as much money as possible for the skills and talents that I possess and continue to develop. Why should I feel any different about an eighteen year old that has unbelievable skills or genetics for that matter, and them wanting to get paid as much as possible for their skills and talents.

We all want to think that a university or a college is different, and we have treated them differently because of the corrupt NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association).  This so-called non-profit that oversees all of college sports.  College Sports is big business and continues to become even bigger business.

It is time to change the rules and allow collegiate athletes to get and earn whatever it is they deserve to earn.  Many of you think, I am just stating this because of the University of Louisville issues that have come out.  Obviously, this issue has forced all of us to take a look at how we feel and think about our positions and opinions on this topic of college athletes getting paid.

I believe everyone should get paid for the value they bring to whatever market they choose to do business in.  I don’t care if it is college sports, business, non-profits, you name it.  We all want to make the going rate of whatever profession we choose to take on.  It should be no different in college sports.

 

 

 

 

If it is that bad, just leave!

I am not sure what has brought us to this point in the current workforce and culture, but it seems to have permeated itself in both. And that is that people would rather stay and complain, instead of leave and be happier perhaps.

I can’t count the number of conversations I had with employees over the years, that complained about everything our current employer was doing that they disagreed with and even hated.  In my position, as a middle manager, it was my job to execute many of these initiatives that people disagreed with.  And many times, I may have even been the one creating the initiative.  Inevitably, the person that was upset about the situation, had their one-sided view-point and weren’t aware of the bigger issues at large that prompted many of the decisions.

The decisions or the reason for the decisions are not the point of this post though.  The point is that I have watched and continue to watch people think that they have to stay even when they vehemently disagree with the situation. And the solution to this problem is simple.  “Just leave”.

Now many of the snowflakes that are reading this post disagree with the simple statement of “Just Leave”.  Look, if you are constantly looking at everything through the eyes that the company is out to get you.  Or that people are wanting to hold you down, or hold you back.   Then no matter what decisions are made you are going to look at the decisions through these eyes.

If you always see the bad in people, then it is going to be hard for me to convince you to see the good. Instead you and I will constantly go in circles on decisions that have been made, and initiatives that are being pursued.

Look no company is perfect.  No leader is perfect.  A lot of my training includes equipping executive leaders and managers with the soft skills and leadership skills to create an engaged workforce.  Most managers and leaders, and most people for that matter, want to treat people well, and treat people fairly.

Nobody who is reading this post now, can argue the fact that in general people are good, in general people want to treat others like themselves, and treat them well.

We all have to remember that businesses have to make a profit.  And the person who has taken the risk and created a business should be one of the people who make the most profit.  They took the risk, they did the work, they showed up, they should be fairly compensated for it.  If you disagree with that, then again, I would tell you to “Just Leave” and go and do your own thing.

No system will be perfect.  No situation will ever be totally and evenly distributed. All of life is made up on compromises and imperfections. If you are only looking for a perfect situation in an imperfect world, then you will always be disappointed.

To your success and your future.

 

The training your company needs and who should actually provide it

After doing training and development for ten plus years, my experience tells me that most companies are not doing enough training in the areas where people need the training.  In many cases, they are spending more time on training people in the areas that don’t necessarily give that person or the organization its best return on investment.

I have created a list of the different kinds of training and development a company must provide and who should be providing it, in my opinion.  And at the end of this article I suggest the amount of time that a company should be training in each of the training areas I have described.

In this article, I use the terms inside trainers and outside or external trainers.  Whenever I use the terms outside or external trainers, I mean the same thing.  It means either bring a training company in from the outside of your organization or send your employees to a conference, or some kind of training being provided by an outside or external company.

Soft Skills (foundational skills):  These are commonly called the soft skills.  Communication, interpersonal relationships, managing stress, small talk, listening skills, etc.

These skills are the most important skills of all in my opinion.  I don’t care who you are and what you do.  The chances are, sometime between five years old and who you are today, you have lost knowledge of how to be nice to others.  It isn’t totally your fault, in the hyper crazy world you are just busy.  You have been conditioned to respond to someone before they are finished talking.  You have learned to cut people off in mid sentence. You have lost the ability to disagree agreeably, if you actually ever learned it in the first place.

The foundational/soft skills are the basics of human interaction.  And for whatever reason, today, because of technology, we just don’t communicate face to face enough that when we are asked to do so, we just aren’t very good at it.

Who should provide this training? In my opinion most training departments within a company aren’t equipped to handle this kind of training.  Hiring an outside company is the best way to deliver this training.  The reason I say this, is because the outside company is working with lots of other companies, their material is very specific to this area, but it is very applicable to all organizations.  Because the challenges that come up, in the area of soft skills, are universal to all people.  Someone within company can get certified in a specific training program that delivers these kinds of skills.  But even then, unless they have many years of delivering this kind of training, I would suggest a company still hire an outside company to deliver the training to get the most out of the dollars spent on it.

Skills Training: Includes proficiencies needed to actually perform the job.  This kind of training is very specific to an individual job description or category.  It could be sales, customer service, engineer, project management, leadership, etc.  Skills training is the kind of training that helps someone get better at their job.

Skills training is ongoing and never ends.  Unfortunately, we as humans can learn anything we want, but what we learn and what we actually retain are terribly opposite at times.  To ensure a person gets and keeps the information that they need to be successful on the job.  Repetition is critical.  How often do they need it?  Everyday is what I say. To really learn, retain, and actually apply the skills.  A person must constantly be practicing and learning. Period.

Who should be delivering this kind of training? Obviously some of this training is going to be very specific for certain jobs in the company. I would suggest maybe a person who is doing the job, but also has the ability and the time to train others.  Not everyone can train someone else to do what they do.  The chances are the manager isn’t proficient enough or fresh enough to teach these specific skills either.  By the way, that is okay.

Sometimes this training may land within a human resources department as well. Again, I caution this because unless the person has actually done the job, they may not have the credibility or the depth of knowledge necessary to train the skills required effectively.

Again, depending on the job, hiring an outside company might be best.  Especially once everyone on the team has gone through initial skills training that is provided.  Having an outside person come in that has a different voice, a different perspective, and delivery methods that reinforces what the company has already trained the employee on.  This only enhances the employees skills and helps them buy-in to the philosophies even more.

Leadership Training: I had to create a separate category for leadership training. You could easily put it under skills training or soft skills/foundational skills training.  However, because I believe, and it has been validated over and over.  Leaders drive the effectiveness, the engagement of employees, and the overall success of an organization.  This kind of training should not be taken lightly and should be a significant investment made by all companies and organizations.  Equipping leaders with the skills to problem solve, lead people, have empathy, coaching, delegation, project management, celebration, etc. should be one of the primary focuses of all companies and organizations. All companies rise or fall on the ability of the leaders within that organization.

Who should provide this training? From my experience working inside a company, I have always found that a good external training company is always best when it comes to delivering leadership training.  The reason I say this, is because the chances are you have already heard and learned the leadership practices within your organization.  To get new ideas and ways to approach things, the best way is to bring an outside company in who will have a different perspective and different insights.  This will allow your leadership team to grow and add more tools and skills in the area of leadership to their toolkit. Or you can send leaders to a training program.

Professional training and legal training: This is the kind of training that is very specific to a job classification or specific job task.  For example, it could be accounting.  They must keep up with all of the current tax laws. Lawyers need specific training as laws change.  Human Resources must be kept up to speed on the current employment laws. Leadership must be kept up on the current hiring and firing laws if they are the ones interviewing candidates.

Who should provide this training?  Well, some of this training can be purchased from outside companies that focus on this.  Training such as sexual harassment, discrimination laws, certain health and safety mandatory practices, safe driving, etc.  Since most of this kind of training is driven by laws, codes, mandates, requirements, etc. It is pretty straight forward.  The key is delivering it in a way that isn’t mind numbing to the people who have to attend.

A company may have someone in human resources deliver it.  Or there are many companies out there such as skillsoft and other learning management systems that provide    online courses to deliver this training.  Again, this is more of a check the box kind of training, however, it is important.  So delivering it in a way that makes it memorable is very important.

Team Training: Everybody is part of a team.  If you have more than one employee in your company, than you are working as a team.  The challenges with the teams is that it is comprised of people who have different agendas and sometimes even different priorities. The goal with team training is to get the team working together as a team.  It could be breaking down barriers, improving productivity within the team, or just getting the team to know each other better.

Team training is very important.  The more a team knows each individual and who they are, they are more willing to give people respect and encouragement when things aren’t going well.

Who should provide this training? It depends on how bad the team dynamics are.  If it is very bad, then my suggestion would be to have an outside firm come in and do the training.  The reason for this, is when someone internally does it, the team looks at it as being pushed on them, and unfortunately, no matter how objective the trainer is, the people involved will think that the trainer has a bias in how they interact with the group and the individuals.

If it is just normal team building stuff and the team just needs a boost or the manager just wants to continue to build upon the team engagement.  Then a manager could do it, or someone from human resources.  Again, it must be someone who is skilled in facilitating and getting a group involved. My suggestion is to always go outside of the four walls of the company as well.  There is something about getting outside the four walls that creates a better training environment for the team, especially in these kinds of trainings.

Safety training Is a type of training that occurs to ensure employees are protected from injuries caused by work-related accidents. Safety training is especially important for organizations that use chemicals or other types of hazardous materials in their production. Safety training can also include evacuation plans, fire drills, and workplace violence procedures. Safety training can also include the following:

  • Eye safety
  • First aid
  • Food service safety
  • Hearing protection
  • Asbestos
  • Construction safety
  • Hazmat safety

Who should provide this training: The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, is the main federal agency charged with enforcement of safety and health regulation in the United States. OSHA provides external training to companies on OSHA standards.  Also, someone in-house could deliver this training as well.  A safety director or someone from human resources. Again the key is to make it fun, and this requires a skilled facilitator to do so.

Technical or Technology training: All jobs have some kind of technical training involved.  It could be something like teaching a server how to input food into the system, to showing a sales person how to use a CRM (Customer Relationship Management system) to prospect for clients.  Most companies (I hesitate to say all) have some kind of computer system that helps them manage they work and their business.  It could be something very universal such as Microsoft products, to something very specific and tailored to their industry.  Whatever the technical training is, a company must invest in it to make sure people know how to manage the business.

Who should provide this training? Most companies are using something very specific that is being provided by another company.  For example: Salesforce which is a CRM for sales people, or WordPress which is a website developer.  Whatever the software is, the chances are the company providing it will have a team that delivers training.  I always suggest using that team as much as possible to deliver the training for your employees.

Now some companies may have little nuances that the company that they are buying from may not be familiar with.  In that case, you may have someone within the department deliver the training or human resources. But for the most part, the company that is providing the software or the system should have some training that you either get when you buy the product as well as ongoing training.

Quality Training:  Refers to equipping the employees with the means and expertise of preventing, detecting, and eliminating non-quality items, usually in an organization that produces a product.  Many companies use the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) to help develop what the quality standards are. But equipping the employees within the company to administer these standards is what is most important.

Who should provide this training: Just like technical or technology training this kind of training can be administered from an outside company like ISO.  But most companies usually have someone within their company that oversees quality.  In this case, this person must become skilled at training and delivering quality training to the people who need to know it.  Again, the people who are receiving this training must understand the quality standards and be able to actually point it out when the standards are not being met.  So teaching the people who are managing quality is a job that requires someone who is very technical, but also very creative in their training and delivery methods.

In addition, I want to point out that some companies hire someone from within to oversee the quality.  If that person has never been exposed to any outside training or outside quality metrics, then a goal of their development should be to expose them to outside best practices.  I have seen too many times where a person has been promoted up to oversee quality, and unfortunately with their very limited experience, fail to develop a world-class quality system.

My hope after reading this is that you have a better understanding of the different kinds of training that is important to deliver within your company.  As I stated before, many companies are simply not doing enough training in the areas where the employees need to be trained.  Or they are not getting the right kind of training that really helps an employee develop new skills or enhance their current skills to provide a better return to the company.

A company should be spending no less than 50% of an employees training time in enhancing that employees skills in the job they are required to do.  Another 20% of the allotted training time should be in soft skills development.  And the remaining 30% should include technical training as needed.  Professional training as needed. Safety and Quality as needed.

All of these percentages are based upon what a person job is.  It will vary significantly, depending on your role within the organization.  The key point though is ensuring that the employee is getting the training that will allow them to deliver better results in their position. When a person has the skills to deliver better results in their position, because of the training they are getting, this is how companies grow and so does the employee.

Again, I have learned through my experiences that everyone thinks they can train.  Just because you know something, it doesn’t mean you can train someone on it.  Highly skilled trainers and facilitators know how to engage an audience.  They know the right practices and methods to get participation and make the learning and training experience enjoyable.

When is the last time you had an external company come in and provide training for your organization?  If it has been a while, I would suggest trying it out and seeing what kind of result you get.

I hope you found this information to be useful.  If you did please share it with others.

To your success and your future.

The 6 most important fundamentals great leaders demonstrate

Many people talk about the characteristics that leaders must have to be considered great leaders.  Words such as vision, character, empathy, charisma, outgoing, sympathetic, fair, ability to communicate, persuasive, etc. are just some the words most people use. I agree that all of these are important.  But there are things that leaders must do that are even more important.

Most of the lists people have created describe what leaders must be.  Meaning they must possess these characteristics and skills to be a great leader.  What I am describing in this article is what leaders must do.  There is a big GAP in what people do and what they say they do.

This list provides leaders a great outline on how to lead in todays workforce and get people to buy in to their vision.  Vision, charisma, persuasive, and all of the other traits are important, but doing these six things are more important.

Time:  Time is the one of our most precious commodities.  No matter who you are and what you do, you don’t have any more than anyone else.  And in this hyper busy and noisy world, it seems like we all have less of it than ever before. So when a leader spends some of their time with the people they lead, it demonstrates and communicates to the person or persons, that they are important enough that the leader is willing to take some of their precious time and spend some of it with them.

I know spending time with the people seems like a simple thing to do.   However, as I work with leaders around the country, I find that most leaders are spending less time with their team. Instead they are going from meeting to meeting, running reports, and putting out fires and not actually spending enough time with the people they lead.

If you want to become a better leader and get engagement from your team, you have to make time for the people on your team.  This must be a priority.

Recognition: Being recognized is probably one of the most inherent qualities that we as humans have.  We love to stand out or be pointed out in a crowd as someone who is doing something different.  I have worked with thousands of individuals in my training sessions and I have yet to find a person that says they don’t like to be recognized.  Great leaders find ways to recognize employees in everyday interactions.

Appreciation: Being a trainer for many years now, one of my favorite sessions in my training classes is something we do called “strength centered comments”. A strength centered comment is where the people in the training recognize each other for the strengths they have observed while they have been in the training together. Most of the training I do is spending a day with a group, many days with a group, or many sessions with a group.  The group has the opportunity to spend a lot of time with the other participants in the training.  At the end of the training, they have to get in to group of three-five and write out strengths they have witnessed in the other participants in their group throughout the training.

The way it sounds is like this “Laura, one of the strengths I have observed and appreciate about you, is your willingness to ask very thought-provoking questions.  This tells me that you are really listening to the other person and really care about what they are saying.  I watched you do this throughout the training in all of the interactions you have been a part of.

Everyone loves this session in my training courses. Leaders have the opportunity to do this every single day.  They can show appreciation for their teams strengths daily, and good leaders do this consistently.

Forgiveness: You and I both have done things that we wanted forgiveness for. It is just a part of life.  If you aren’t doing things that require forgiveness from time to time, then the chances are you aren’t taking any risks, especially in the work environment. Forgiveness is something that we all want when we do something that we shouldn’t have done.  It may not have been maliciously done, but it was done nonetheless.  And we as humans want affirmation that the person impacted by whatever we did, has forgiven us and put it to the past.

In leadership, you want employees taking risks, you want employees pushing the boundaries to ensure success.  You don’t want them to do anything that is unethical, illegal, or unmoral, however, you do want them to be creative and look for new ways to solve problems that impact business.

If a person feels like a leader is resenting them or holding a grudge on a decision they made.  This creates animosity and lack of engagement on the part of the employee. A leader must communicate to this person that it wasn’t a big deal, that is was okay, and it is in the past.  Now I know this seems like an easy thing to do, and it may be a little overstated.  However, I have been the person that needed forgiveness and affirmation from a leader that what I did was in the past and it wasn’t impacting any thing going forward.  We all seek this in our personal lives, so leaders must also give this to people in the business environment.

Attention:  Spending time with someone is very important, but when you spend that time with someone giving them your full attention and being fully present is just as important. They way you show that you are fully attentive and present is by engaging with the individual to show that you are hearing what they want you to hear. Leaders today may be willing to give some time to their team, but they may not be fully attentive.  Great leaders clear off the desk and put their phones down and give their employees all of their attention and not part of it.

Credit:  I don’t care who you are and what you say, my experience tells me that all of us want credit for anything and everything that has a positive outcome.  Whether it is an opinion on a football game, a thought on a project, or we guess on the right directions on a road trip, all of us love to get credit for something.  My guess is some of the mostly used words together in the human language are “I told you”, “That is what I said”, or the passive aggressive way to say this is “Didn’t I say that?”.   All of these statements are examples of all of us wanting to get credit for are efforts and being right.

As a leader, especially a good leader, you should be listening more than talking. Which means most of the good ideas that solve problems in your organization are coming from the people on your team. Most of us have had leaders take credit for our ideas.  You know they did.  This is one of the most demoralizing and infuriating things you can do to someone on your team.  If you are a leader, you have to give public credit to people on your team for their contributions.  I would say that you have to go out of your way to ensure the people on your team know that in the board room and in other meetings, that their leader is giving the proper credit.

Here is your challenge:  Write these six words down on a piece of paper. Next to the words also write down the numbers 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10.  Now circle the number you feel like represents how well you do these six things. 10 being you do it really well. 1 meaning you don’t do it well at all. After you rank yourself in each of these areas. Write down a specific goal you would like to work on accomplishing in this area?

Is it giving more public credit? Is it recognizing people more?  Whatever it is, you have to commit to a goal and then implement ways to accomplish the goal.

To your success and your future.