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How do you know if training produces results?

W. Edwards Deming was once quoted as saying “Don’t ask me the ROI on training, you either believe that education has the greatest form of leverage or you do not.” His point is this: when you are in a knowledge economy the most learned win.

But that’s only one part of the equation…isn’t it? It’s also about taking action on that knowledge. The implementation and production of results matters too. As I like to say …from abstraction to action!

Here are questions to consider when trying to answer the results question.

  • Do you give employees a way to rank or rate the value of the training?
  • Do you follow up with them a month later to find out their execution on the knowledge gained?
  • Is the training offered in alignment with the strategic objectives of the company? The closer you are to the core strategic outcome desired the more effective your training will be.
  • Has it helped people to become more productive? What did they stop and what did they start? How do you measure that?
  • Does it fill a skills gap?

What other ancillary benefits can the training provide?

  • It emphasizes a dedication to continuous improvement.
  • An increase in creativity, innovation and suggestions.
  • Becoming a more attractive employer (…so long as you market your great training programs in the hiring process).
  • Lower turnover rates.
  • Decrease in complaints and lawsuits.
  • An improvement in communication and employee relations.
  • Often, we can grow our organizations through internal talent by using training rather than bringing in lateral hires and having to engage in cultural unlearning with them.

Whether you are trying to implement a new project management software program or reduce bias claims you want your training to be effective…meaning it helps to produce results. You also want it to be something that employees look forward to because it is insightful and engaging.

And talk about great training…have you signed up for the Great HR program yet? If not, what are you waiting for? It’s awesome! And, if you are not in HR have your HR person register. You will be glad they did! www.greathr.com

Are You a “Negative Hero”

I know sometimes I am. I know there are times when my intentions are good…but my outcomes are not. That’s what a “negative hero” is.

Think about your parents for a minute. When you were a kid their intentions were good (they did love you after all) but many times they were too critical, judgmental and punishing. It seemed all they could focus on is where we didn’t do something 100% right…according to their rules.

As we got older and more independent the result wasn’t submission anymore… but a fight or flight response.

And they lost part of us in the process.

I decided I didn’t want to to lose my kids…or my best employees and clients either.

When I do workshops I talk about the 80% leader, with their strong emotional energy. Control, in the name of good, is their game.

I just heard a great quote that applies to being an 80%’r. “You can’t arrest your way out of a problem.” By William Joseph “Bill” Bratton, 38th Police Commissioner, NYC.

Why do we as leaders and bosses and parents think we must will our way through a problem? Don’t we make our ongoing micro-arrests when we so? How’s that feel to other people. You may be 100% right…and it still feels wrong.

When we play with an 80% energy we become villainized. People feel our energy. They don’t feel our intent. Like the antelope tracked by the cheetah, it feels the vibe and …poof!

Unless you want to end up alone, or surrounded by submissives, the 80% approach is not the answer.

The answer is managing your emotional energy. Much of our 80% comes from the fear of what may happen. That fear overwhelms us in the present moment causing our energy to well up so we can control the situation and protect ourselves.

Here’s the answer: Stay present. Feel what is going on, right now. Is your emotional energy “up” because you are fearful? Are you in survival mode? How is that helping right now?

When we are present with a situation our emotional energy is balanced. Both of us take up enough space to leave room for the co-creation and dance. I call that playing 40/40.

When we are 40%’rs we allow other people to become their own heroes. Our kids, employees and customers/clients.

Real heroes inspire others to become their own heroes. You can only do that when your emotional energy is present and not hijacked by fear.

By the way, I find this is an ongoing process. We must fight our natural instincts to be fearful of the future…every day…day after day.

 

PS Lesson 9 in the Great HR Program is all about managing our emotional energy. That lesson alone is worth the price of admission to the entire program. www.greathr.com

Managing the Good Performer Gone Bad

Employees are wonderful… until they are not. Often, employees become derailed because of personal challenges or changes in their work environment or roles. When looking at poor performance check your head by asking these questions.

  1. Is it the fault of the system? – As Deming said, “the system is the problem!”. Is this person mismatched? Round peg in a square whole? Has their job “moved past them”? Are they getting the support they used to get or need?
  2. Is there a skills gap that can be cured by training?
  3. Are they being managed any differently? Perhaps a new boss, or new team members are involved?
  4. What would a third party like me say looking at the situation? That third party might be HR or another manager in a different department. Or me :)
  5. Is the employee aware of their poor performance? Have they been getting regular feedback? Has that feedback been documented? Have you considered putting them on a 30 day performance improvement plan?
  6. Have they somehow been “demotivated” and become disengaged? For example, did they try to push forward a project only to have it squashed and now they’ve lost their mojo?
  7. Do they have a mental disability? It could be depression or drug addiction or alcoholism. While you don’t have to ask them if there is such a problem you can remind them of the resources available, like an EAP program should they have any limitations on the ability to do their work.
  8. If it’s not the system and the issue lies with the employee then have them own it. Ask me for a copy of the Employee Correction Form I designed. This allows poor performance to “own” their performance and what happens to them when they do not pick their game up.
  9. What does your gut tell you about this person? Fact is, most poor performers don’t turn around and improve their performance. Things only tend to get worse over time. If this is the track you’re on then do yourself and them a favor and let them go so you can quit torturing each other. If they are a good person, and they did not engage in any outrageous conduct, then do what you can to help them get a job where they can fit in.
  10. Remember this- you can unconditionally care about a person but that does not mean you have to have an unconditional employment relationship with them. Don’t confuse the two.

A final note. I find I tend to torture myself…and others… when people don’t match my expectations of who they “ought to be”. True at work and at home. I also realize I am far more effective when I deal with people “as they are”. It is what it is. There is no benefit to gain by adding the emotional override of “shoulding” on the situation.

Take a deep breath, follow these recommendations and you’ll do just fine!

List of Things That I am Grateful For

Sometimes life hands us challenges, and we can become focused on the negatives. One of my practices to counteract that pressure is to constantly remind myself of how lucky I am… and the things I am grateful for.

I put these 25 things I am grateful for on colorful index cards and run through them on a daily basis. What would you put on your cards? What if this was a practice of your work team and family too? Expressing what we are grateful for might be a good way to start a meeting or family dinner.

  1. I am grateful for this day!
  2. I am grateful for doing my work.
  3. I am grateful for the great outdoors, hiking, and camping.
  4. I am grateful for sandy beaches and waves.
  5. I am grateful for the perfect margarita and a frosty cold beer.
  6. I am grateful for smart, caring, people who want to do well.
  7. I am grateful for big smiles, laughs, high fives and hugs.
  8. I am grateful for the 5,000 generations before me.
  9. I am grateful for Jesus, Buddha, Solomon, Tolle, Ram Dass, Gurdjieff, Loy and my other spiritual teachers.
  10. I am grateful for baseball, football, basketball, volleyball, surfing, the Olympics and kids’ sports.
  11. I am grateful for a sound mind and a sound body.
  12. I am grateful for my love from my friends and family.
  13. I am grateful for my clients.
  14. I am grateful for planes, cars, boats and bikes.
  15. I am grateful for being able to have great clothing for work and play.
  16. I am for great music, art and poetry.
  17. I am grateful for great stories, movies, plays and books.
  18. I am grateful for my freedom.
  19. I am grateful for living in Coronado, CA, USA, this planet.
  20. I am grateful for the sun, the moon and stars.
  21. I am grateful for the military and police that help protect me.
  22. I am grateful for living in a democracy.
  23. I am grateful for all my school teachers.
  24. I am grateful for the Yankees.
  25. I am grateful just to be here!

Building Your Conversational Capacity

I went to an excellent Vistage Chair Group meeting and was treated to the presentation Conversational Capacity by Craig Weber. Craig comes from an organizational design and psychology background and has presented to Vistage groups more than a thousand times. He works with large teams trying to improve their performance under pressure.

Craig asked the question “do really smart people in your company get to use their smarts?” The problem is often they don’t. That reality crystalizes when a group is under pressure.

Craig uses the term “the sweet spot” where one’s position is clearly identified, supported by facts and analysis, and is put to the test by asking for feedback in an open manner. Likewise when considering a divergent idea, seek to understand the basis for their position, facts, and analysis.

Engaging in such a dialogue makes common sense but… emotionally we tend to be driven towards either a “weak” position or a “win” position. Craig suggests that to move from a position of weakness we have to do a better job of identifying our position and providing our supporting facts and analysis. Conversely, if we are win-oriented we can suppress our smart people unless we engage in invitation and inquiry.

Craig brings a unique languaging to the concept of leadership based on his experience. All authors do this, yours truly included. David Bohm, the late quantum physicist, in his treatise On Dialogue said his experience in understanding quantum physics helps him to define dialogue as a safe place for communicating. He said the truth does not emerge from an opinion but only through dialogue. In Good to Great Jim Collins language a similar concept as the humble level 5 leader.

Craig suggests that we keep a “trigger” journal that helps us to gain awareness of when our energy can become too strong.

One thing I love about Vistage meetings is they are built on this belief in Conversational Capacity. We not only get to interact with presenter experts but then have the afternoon devoted to encouraging each other and holding each other accountable…throughout a dialogue.

How can you build the Conversational Capacity at your company?