Why some training programs work and others don’t

Last week, I was kicking off the second, of at least four twelve week leadership training courses that I will be delivering for a client of mine.   This client has 3,100 or so employees and produces a very needed product.

One of the most senior leaders in the organization who oversees the manufacturing operations of the organization.  Is one of the reasons the training was brought in to the company to begin with.  I allow them to kick off the training for the twelve week training program.   The twenty or so leaders that are participating in the training all report up to this person somehow.  This leader may not have a direct contact with the participants, but they all fall under their responsibilities somewhere down the line.

The reason the training works within this company is because of the commitment of leadership to the training and the follow-up.  This leader tells the participants in the room that day, that they appreciate their commitment to their job and the company.  They then go on to speak for about three or four minutes on the importance of the training and why they are participating in it.  During this message, something they said that most leaders don’t say, or in many cases, are so far removed that they are not in position to say is this.

They said “Over the next twelve weeks of this training course, there will be times when you question whether to complete a job that you are working on, or follow-up with a customer, or need to put out a pending fire that needs your attention, or attend the training.  In all of these cases, I want to remind you that there is no need to think about what you should do.  The answer will always be make sure you are in this training session and are fully present during this training.”

As a trainer this is music to my ears.  And it should be to an employee as well.  The commitment that this company has to increasing the skills of its employees is truly amazing.  Many times as a trainer, I have conducted training where a person, or persons, who are participating in the training, come and go during a session.  I have asked a manager what is going on? Or if they think they should be in here?  And I have had managers tell me many times, that whatever it is the employee is working on can’t wait.

By making this statement, the training and development of this employee is put on hold, because the manager has communicated what is most important.  Which is getting work done, over getting training in.

One of the problems with this philosophy, that a lot of senior leaders and company owners have. Is that they think there will come a day when the work stops and they can focus on training and development.  This is a myth.  We both know the work never stops.  There is always another issue, another upset customer, another employee issue, that will take precedent over training with this kind of philosophy.

The company that I share the story about above is one that knows that there is never a good time for training.  There are always other priorities.  However, they also know that without ongoing development and training that the individual will never deliver the best value that they can for their skills and talents, which in turn doesn’t allow the company to thrive and grow.  If the employees aren’t growing, the chances are the company isn’t going to grow either.

This leader, and the leaders within this company, understand that growth, training, and development of the employees, especially the leadership working directly with the majority of the workforce responsible for manufacturing, producing, and shipping the product.  Is the most important investment that they can make.

To answer the question.  Why do some training programs work and some don’t?  Very simply the commitment from the top leaders of the company.  As I mentioned earlier, one of the leaders in this company gets in front of the group and tells them that nothing they do or are required to do is as important as them attending and participating in this training program for the next twelve weeks.

This kind of statement and commitment not only communicates what is most important, but it also takes the decision-making out of the equation for the employees involved in the training.  Leaders have to help employees make decisions some times.  It is part of leadership.  By telling them in advance what the priorities are and what is most import, it clearly communicates what should be done. When a decision that needs to be made comes up.  This is a gift that most leaders never give their employees.

Instead employees are left to make their own decisions.  And then when they do, they may find out that it was the wrong decision, and then a leader doubles down on it, by reprimanding the employee for making the wrong decision.

Senior leaders and owners of companies need to ask themselves these questions first before investing in training for the workforce:

  • How committed are you to the training?
  • How will you communicate the importance of this training to the people involved?
  • How will you demonstrate that the training is as important as you say it is?
  • What kind of follow-up will you do and require the employees to participate in to make sure the training sticks?
  • What kind of accountability will you conduct to those who don’t take it as seriously as they should?

I am sure there are other questions to ask as well, but these are a good start.

If you want training and development to work and stick, you have to create a learning culture that is clearly communicated from the top.  That is how you get training programs to work, and when you don’t clearly communicate it, the chances are the program wont work.

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.

The sh*t sandwich method leaders use and should stop, use this instead.

If you are like most leaders you are making your way in to work today and there is someone on your team that you need to give some hard feedback to at this very moment.  The chances are you have been delaying it for days at least, probably months, and some of you have been delaying it for years.

Why haven’t you done it yet?  There are a lot of reasons, maybe one of these are yours.

  • Because you are fearful of how they might respond.
  • You don’t want to hurt their feelings.
  • You just never do the hard things.
  • You are afraid that they will quit.
  • You keep telling yourself it really isn’t a big deal, but it keeps happening.
  • You say that they do so many other things well.
  • You are about to get promoted or quit so you are passing the buck.
  • You are waiting for it to resolve itself. (it won’t)
  • You don’t know how.

I am sure there are other reasons as well, but from my experience these are usually the reasons.

If you don’t know how, I am going to give you a process that you can apply today that will make this easy.  Now, unfortunately, courage doesn’t come with the process.  However, if you practice the process enough, overtime you will gain more courage because it will get easier and you will become more comfortable at doing it.

As the title states. A lot of leaders have been taught the shit sandwich approach.  I am not saying it is a horrible process, but it doesn’t always feel right.  This is where you give them some praise for something that they have done.  Then you tell them something that you want them to work on (feedback), and then you give them some more praise on something that they do. From my experience, this process can sometimes water down the feedback you are trying to provide.  I am not saying leaders should stop this altogether, I would just use caution when applying it especially with some of the bigger issues.

Now keep in mind, I don’t want you to only use the process below when you are giving what could be viewed as negative feedback only. You should also use this process, and do it quite frequently, to provide good feedback as well.

I have used this process and others for many years with great results. You can apply it to a subordinate, a peer, a child, etc.  This process has been credited to the Center for Creative Leadership, but everyone has their own spin on it.  You can see the framework below, but I would encourage you to modify it to make it work for you.

The process goes like this:  You want to tell the person about a situation that you recently witnessed that they did something.  I will give you an example here in a minute.  So you remind them of the recent situation.  You then tell them the behavior that you witnessed.  And then lastly, the impact that the behavior had on that situation.  Lastly, ask them their thought on the situation and then ask “what would we do differently the next time we are in that situation.

  • Situation
  • Behavior
  • Impact it has/had
  • What will you do differently next time.

Here is an example:

“Joe in our last meeting I noticed that when Joan was talking you cut her off several times, not allowing her to finish her thoughts on the project. (situation) By cutting her off (behavior) it doesn’t allow her to make her contribution to the project and we want everyones buy in on this project(impact). Did you realize you were doing that Joe?”  Joe responds. “In future meetings lets be sure we get everyones contribution to this project.

Maybe it is something a little more simple as showing up on time.

“Frank I have noticed that about every few days or so you have been coming in later and later to the office. Being late doesn’t allow you to plan accordingly for your day.  This impacts your productivity as well as the teams productivity. ”  I would then ask if something is going on that is causing this.  And then move to resolving the issue and discussing the consequences if this behavior continues.

Look, giving hard feedback is never easy, by using a process it will allow you to give it to them the way they need to hear it.

Apply this process today and let me know how it works for you.

To your success and your future.

 

The one tool most leaders are missing from their toolbox

Most leaders are lying to their employees everyday.  Some of the them are doing deliberately, while others don’t even realize it.  And it all comes down to the fact that some..

Well, based off my observations…Most leaders…

Aren’t willing to do the one thing that all leaders must be willing to do, and that is be very candid with their employees.

They lie by telling their employees they are doing a great job and the employee is really not.  Or, they are not telling them anything at all and just ignoring them. By ignoring them they are lying as well.  By saying nothing to the employee the leader is communicating through their actions that they are pleased with the performance.

In both cases the leader is hurting three parties by not telling the employees the truth.  They are hurting the organization, because the organization is paying for an employee that is not meeting expectations.  The leader is hurting themselves, because they are not getting the work that needs to be done, done. More than likely the leader that is unwilling to give the necessary feedback is doing more work and dealing with more headaches, all because they are unwilling to coach the employee the way they need to be coached. And lastly, they are hurting the employee.

In my leadership training and coaching business I ask business owners, managers, executives, leaders, etc., about the behaviors they are seeing or not seeing from employees. Many times, the reason I am meeting with the business owners or leader is because they have some kind of gap in the skills of the people they are looking to get training for.  Hey, I am thankful for this.

However, what I must remind them of is this. Most of the challenges that they are facing is because some leader in the organization, or they themselves are the ones that are unwilling to have the hard conversations to deal with the issues the employee is causing.

The phrase that I use most often with leaders and business owners is “Are you being candid with your employees” or “Are your managers being candid” with their employees.

Many leaders unfortunately tend to ignore bad behaviors altogether and hope that if they ignore an employee long enough they will quit. You also have leaders who are not straightforward enough or candid enough, with the shortcomings of where someone is not meeting expectations. When they speak to the employee about their shortcomings, they do so by watering down what it is that the employee needs to hear. Many times what needs to be said goes unsaid.  Some watered down version of the truth gets communicated and what needs to be heard is rarely said.

The tool that leaders must include in their toolbox is the willingness to be candid with their employees. From business owners to senior leadership, all the way down the line to front line supervisors.  Everyone must be willing to provide the hard feedback when employees or managers are not meeting the expectations.  Until the person understands clearly where they are not meeting expectations, they can never improve their work performance.

I tell business owners all of the time this.  “To be unclear is to be unkind.”  When we are not straightforward and speak with candor with our team members.  We are being unkind. Because they don’t know where they are falling short, which means they don’t know where to improve.  Which means they can’t improve.  You as a leader must be truthful, straightforward, and direct when communicating with employees.  You don’t have to be an ass about it.  That is another blog for another day.  However, we do have to be truthful and candid.

Are you being candid with your team?  Or are you ignoring the shortcomings and just staying frustrated with certain team members on your team or management staff?

The way you fix this is easy.  If you want to learn how to provide the candid feedback that is necessary, contact me at bwillett555@gmail.com and I will share with you the playbook that I use.

To your success and your future.

 

 

The only two ways we actually SEE change!

Have you ever been driving down the highway or a road that you travel pretty frequently, and one day you say to yourself, something looks different about this particular building, something is missing here, this part of the road looks more open, etc.?

After further review, it comes to you that a building was torn down.  A set of trees were cut down, a building was being built and now has a noticeable feature to it.  Or, it could have been a new coat of paint on a building or something of that nature.

It could be any number of things and although some kind of work had been going on for a period of time, you didn’t really notice it until something significant had changed and it caught your attention.

This is how almost everything works doesn’t it.

Lets go back.  What if you knew that a building was being built in a certain area you drive by everyday.  Or, what if you knew they were doing some clearing of some overgrown and even dangerous large trees in a certain area.  We all have known about a certain restaurant coming to our part of town and we know where it will be located. So we drive by it to watch its progress.  My guess is we all have been in these scenarios as well.

In each case, for us to notice, what had to happen?  In the first scenario something significantly different, or a major change had to occur for us to notice something was different.  A building be torn down.  A piece of road that was now cleared.

In the second scenario, we were aware of some change or something different happening.  So we looked for it.

For us to notice change one of two things has to happen.  We either have to be aware that the change is going to happen.  Or the change is so significant or so severe it grabs our attention.   And these two scenarios are no different in our everyday regular life driving down the highway, as well as our regular everyday life in business.

In my business, I coach executives, leaders, directors, managers, etc., on ways they can improve their leadership style to create a more engaged workforce. We all know that the number one reason employees leave a company is determined by the relationship with their immediate manager (Dale Carnegie and Associates, Employee Engagement study; 2012).

So lets look at this for a moment.  If I am an employee and my manager is not a great leader and I am thinking about leaving the company. However, my manager is either directed or decides to make some changes in their leadership style.  As the employee, for me to notice that they have changed. They either must be really different in how they are leading me.  Or, I must be aware that they are looking to change.

Yes.  This is what I am saying here.  This is the only way anybody can notice a change has occurred.

Think about it for a minute.  Have you ever known anyone who decided to lose some weight?  Yes.  We all have.  How do we notice that they decided to lose weight?  What has to happen for us to notice?

Well, just like in the examples above. One of two things has to happen.  They either had to tell us that they were looking to lose weight and we start noticing a change rather quickly.  Depending on how committed they are and what daily habits we notice that they have changed.

Or, after a period of time we can tell just by looking at them, that they look different.  We can see that they have lost weight.  Again, one or the other has to happen. They either let us know that they are on a diet or they lose a lot of weight and we notice it.

Think about people who you might not see everyday.  Lets say you have a friend who decides to go on a diet and they don’t tell you.  Three months go by and you see this friend.  They have been diligently dieting and exercising and they have lost a lot of weight. When you see them after the three months, the change will be pretty extreme and you will notice it. This has most likely happened to all of us at one time or another.

Back to the manager example. What are the chances the manager is going to significantly change?  At least, noticeable change that gets the employee to think that they have turned over a new leaf? Probably pretty slim.  So the only other option is for the manager to let the employee(s) know that they are going to be changing.  Then, to take it a step further and ask the employee(s) on recommendations on what they could change.

Now does this ever really happen in the real world?  Managers asking employees what they need to change?  Well, I have been in lots of organizations and coached lots of people, and I can answer this question with a resounding, No.  Most leaders would never be willing to put themselves out there and ask for help or let people know that they are looking to change.

What is the alternative?  The leader has to hope that they change so significantly that everyone notices it.  Which rarely happens.

What can you do to change this? First, managers must realize that they need to make a change.  This can be done by them. (Rare) Or by the next level of leadership above them.  By realizing a change must happen.  They can then start to set the stage for what has to happen next.

Next thing, get the training that is necessary to be a more effective leader in todays workforce.  You can consult with someone like me to provide a solution that makes sense for your organization and the culture you’re looking to develop.  Once the training is decided on, you have to let everyone in the organization know what you are doing and why you are doing it.  Again, a professional like myself can communicate on how this is done.

Once the training takes place and has been implemented.  The real work begins. Which is the follow-up with the managers and the employees on how it is working.  Getting feedback from the employees as well as following up with the managers who went through the training is critical.  As we stated earlier, everyone will notice the changes, because everyone is aware.  No matter how subtle the changes are, there are still changes happening, and people will notice because they are aware of the changes.

Remember typically the only way we can see change, is when we are aware that change is coming.  Like the restaurant being built or knowing what construction is going to take place.  The only other way is when the change is so extreme or significant that we have no choice to see it.

Let me ask you, does your organization need to see some change?  Do you have managers or leaders that aren’t aware of the changes they need to make, which is resulting in unnecessary turnover or other issues?  If so, reach out to me at brian.willett@dalecarnegie.com and lets see if we have a solution for you.

To your success and your future.

 

 

 

 

How do you motivate people? My response is always the same.

I meet with a lot of people in my business.  As a trainer and expert in the area of leadership, training, and motivating. I get asked quite often how do I get people motivated to want to work hard?  The people who ask me this are typically in a leadership position and have a team of people that they are responsible for.

Here is how I respond. You can’t motivate People.  It can’t be done.  It is impossible for anybody or any person to motivate another person.  The definition of motivation tells us why this is impossible.

The word motivation comes from the root word.  Motive.  And the simple definition for motive: is a need or want that causes a person to act.  The suffix ation means: indicating an action, process, state, condition, or result.  When you put the words motive and ation together, it simply means: the state or condition that causes a person to act. 

You can look the words up yourself and come to your own definition. As you can see though, motivation must come from internally.  Another person can’t get you motivated.  You have to motivate yourself.

So the real question people should be asking me is this.  How do I get people to motivate themselves?

Now this I can answer, but they typically look at me with uncertainty with my response.

Here is how I respond:  You show me someone who isn’t motivated, I will show you a person who doesn’t have any goals set for themselves.  And if they do have some set, (they usually don’t, at least not clear ones, and why) they are usually not big enough, or exciting enough, for the person to do what it takes (motivation) to accomplish them.

It is as simple as that.  When we have established clear goals on what it is that we want, we will find the motivation to do whatever it takes to get it done.  We will get up early, stay late, spend money, cut expenses, work harder, do things differently, etc.  We will do whatever it takes to accomplish our goal.

What I have found though is that most managers that ask me this question can’t answer the question themselves, because they don’t have very clear goals set.  At least not ones that are more personal.

Sure the company gives managers a goal to hit X targets, or X revenue goals, etc.  However, those are not their goals.  They are the goals the company has set and told them to hit.  To get motivated you have to know how hitting the companies goals are going to help you hit your own personal goals. They go hand in hand.

And most managers and leaders haven’t set their own personal goals on what it is they do and why they do it. Which makes them incapable of helping their employees excited and motivated about hitting their goals for the company.

A person can’t give that of which they don’t possess. So as a manager, if you don’t know clearly why you do what you do, and what motivates you to do what you do.  You will be unable to help others do what they need to do.  And when you do have to get others motivated, you don’t know how to do it.

I have tried to simplify the process as best as I can, but it can be complicated or clunky when explaining via words on a page alone.  If you are interested in learning more about what I am discussing, reach out to me at bwillett555@gmail.com

Simply put.  To get others motivated you have to create an environment for them to be motivated.  Which means the individuals must have set some clear goals for themselves personally and professionally, and when they see how the job or the company can help them achieve their personal and professional goals, they will be motivated to take whatever action is necessary.

To your success and your future.

 

Three resources you have to manage daily, if not hourly.

If you are in business you are well aware of all of things you have to manage. Things such as costs, cash flow, and revenue to name a few.  These go without saying.  These are just as important in your personal life as well, aren’t they?  Maybe you don’t call them that. Here is what you might call them. Your expenses, your account balances, and your income.  No matter what you call them we all know that these are important to a businesses success as well as an individual’s success.

It goes without saying that you are well aware of the importance of the above three resources.  But what about the three resources you might not be thinking about that are just as important. You might say they are even more important, because these three resources are what allow you to manage the three above even better.

Your time: Time is our most precious resource and should be our most valued.  We only have so much time in a day.  If we don’t manage our time, we will see it pop up in other areas of our business.  If we don’t make time to focus on revenue generation, then we will see that our revenue will go down, which makes our expenses become a bigger issue.

How and where you spend your time will determine your success or failure.  Whether you are a business owner, a sales rep, or work for a company.  Your time and how you spend your time towards profitable activities, is what determines your business success or your company’s success.

Your energy: You could make the argument that time and energy are similar.  Because where you spend your time, is where you are spending your energy.

Well, this isn’t always the case. You could zap your energy on a making a simple decision that you don’t necessarily need to be making.  There is something called decision fatigue. And we as human beings have to make thousands of decisions every single day.  The research shows that every single decision we have to make takes some of our energy.  Causing us to fatigue.  Why do you think most diets blow up in the evening.  Most affairs happen after a long work day.  I am not saying either of these always happen at these times.  However, research shows that the longer we are awake and depending on the nature of our jobs, that our energy gets drained from all of the decisions we have to make.

Your opportunity cost: The definition of opportunity cost: the loss of potential gain from other alternatives when one alternative is chosen.

Each day we all have to make decisions, hence why we have to manage the decision we make as stated above, because it can zap our energy.  Secondly, we have to manage our opportunity costs.  When you make a decision to invest your time and energy in one area of your business, you are deciding not to focus on another part of the business.

And there in lies the opportunity cost.  When we decide to invest our capital in to a new software system, in means we won’t have the capital to invest somewhere else in our business. We might not be able to hire another employee, or outsource a function to a vendor.  None of the decisions we make on a daily basis are made in a vacuum.  Every single decision we make, we are in essence making two decisions.

We are making the decision “to do” this and “not do” this.  So there is a cost associated with the “to do” and a cost associated with the “not do”.  Whatever the decision is that we are making, we believe that whatever it is we are going “to do” is more valuable and profitable than the “not do”.  However, we must realize that there is a cost associated with both of them.  We just have to believe that we are making the more profitable and smart decision.

Obviously, much of this blog was written from a business perspective.  However, these same rules apply to our personal lives as well. We have to mage our personal time. We have to manage our energy in our personal lives and we definitely have to manage our opportunity costs in our life.  All of these decisions impact each other. None of them are made a lone.

Are you managing your resources to your full advantage?

To your success and your future.

 

Just admit it, You are wrong

Dale Carnegie and Associates recently conducted a global survey of 3,300 full-time employees across the globe.  The research was centered around leadership and the impact leadership has on the employees motivation to work and to stay with the company.

One of the staggering statistics that came from the research was that 4 out of 10 employees surveyed are looking for a job now and would like to be in a different company and position in 2017.

One of the topics they asked the respondents was:  Comparative Importance and Performance of Supervisors of Effective Leadership Behaviors.  This means what is an important leadership behavior that you want your leader to have; and do they.

84% of the respondents said that having a supervisor who has the humility to admit when they are wrong or when they make mistakes is a very important leadership behavior they want in their leaders. And 51% of the respondents said that they have supervisors that admit it consistently.

I don’t think we have to discuss why 84% of the respondents believe it is important.  We all have been around someone who we knew was wrong before.  And that person, most likely even knew they were wrong, but they wouldn’t admit it. How did those situations sit with you?

The chances are you were furious.  You were annoyed.  You were perplexed that this person was wrong, and you knew it, they knew it, and everyone else knew it, but they were unwilling to admit it.

In our personal lives when this scenario plays out we are more likely to call the person out.  You might say something like “Come on man, you know you are wrong”.  “Are you serious, do you really not see that you are wrong on this”.  “Admit it you are wrong”.  Growing up with two brothers I know I have said this many of times, and they said it to me as well.

However, on the job people are not as casual about it, especially to their supervisor, and definitely not to senior leadership.  Most employees would not call out the leadership this way.

So instead what happens, the employee goes back to work.  And like I said in the scenario above.  They are frustrated, annoyed, furious, and perplexed that the supervisor or other leaders was wrong and everybody knows it, but they wouldn’t admit it.

I am not a psychologist, but I understand that we as humans have an innate desire to not be wrong. We like to believe that we don’t make mistakes.  That we do the right things. That we do what we say we are going to do. That we are always on top of things.  But if you are reading this, it means you are a human and as a human you know that this is just not the case.

We are not always on top of things and we are definitely not always right.  We are going to make mistakes.  If you are in leadership you are going to make them a lot, because you are making lots of decisions everyday.  That is really your job.  To make decisions.  And you aren’t always going to make the right decisions, because you won’t always have all of the information.  Which is okay.  It is impossible to have all of the information.  You take what you have at the time, decide, and move on.

Because the nature of leadership is making decisions.  If you are a leader you have to become better, I mean really good at admitting mistakes.  Just admit it.  Own up to it.  Once you do this it shows your team that you are genuine, that you are transparent, and this makes them trust you.  And this is what it all comes down to.  TRUST.

The statistic of 4 out of 10 employees surveyed are looking to find another job.  Why do you think that is?  Well, if they can’t trust their supervisor or the leadership, then why work at the company. Trust is a fundamental requirement to all relationships.  Without trust nothing can exist in my opinion. Trust is the foundation.

If you aren’t willing to admit when you wrong then you are technically a liar, or you are stupid, which is worse.  People don’t want to work for a liar, and they definitely don’t want to work for an idiot, which is another blog for another day.

To your success and your future.