Tag Archives: training

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momentum

The Incredible Power Of Momentum

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Jokes often center on New Year resolutions. We hear about the fitness program, the special diet, or the financial savings program. Correcting our bad habits, our vices, and even the worn out tradition will stand a better chance of success with momentum.

Incredible Power

One of the best metaphors for momentum is what I call the train story.

The story is a nickel placed on the track in front of the wheel of a train before it starts moving will make it very difficult to get started. However, a nickel placed on the rail long in advance of the on-coming train and the train will crush it as if it isn’t even there.

Momentum is powerful. Get things rolling and sometimes they are hard to stop.

Momentum does require some energy though, and often care. You have to care enough about the fitness program, the special diet, or financial savings.

On The Job

The same is true for the momentum of anything in our workplace. This is especially true for organizational development endeavors, things such as training programs, coaching, and other developmental activities.

Imagine if we exercised only once every two months, or imagine if we insisted that we were on a special diet but only followed it one day a week. What would our results look like? Simple right, the results would be less than desirable.

When people think about career development, it isn’t a one and done. Anyone progressive is always continuing to learn, practice, and grow. The same is true for employee development.

Momentum

Sure, we can send someone to the workshop or seminar where all the tips and techniques are carefully delivered by an expert. However, if the employee doesn’t practice, doesn’t follow up, or doesn’t commit to continuous improvement not much changes for the long-term.

So many people and organizations treat training and development as an information source. The idea is that we need the information, so tell us. This is often true, and results do occur. Often great results. The biggest struggle though is not the knowledge transfer, it is the continuation of the effort.

We should remember that the power of momentum is not so much about knowing, it is much more about doing.

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a five-time author and some of his work includes, #CustServ The Customer Service Culture, and Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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training recent generations

Onboarding and Training Recent Generations

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The workforce has quite a few frustrated supervisors. Often they are frustrated by onboarding and training recent generations. Do we sometimes have to give to get?

The frustration with those representing the youngest in our workforce is not uncommon. It’s why there is so much chatter about the generations. We hear many comments about the millennial and generation Z population and their presence in the workforce. Often they are comments connected with frustration.

Can we all get along? Is there a happy medium, a space where our values and believes can happily work side by side?

Training Recent Generations

Here are a few things to consider if you are frustrated by the most recent generations in your workforce:

  • Expect change. Everything changes and being too forceful about keeping your organizational culture exactly the same might leave you with an average employee age that continues to climb. Worse, it might not mean a future for the organization.
  • Culture is not process. You may have a way that you assemble the widget or pack it into the box. Certainly, that is always a consideration for efficiency. However, your cultural values, not the process might be the real problem. Understand what should be different.
  • Values and beliefs are drivers. The youngest generations might not want a big house payment or a high priced car. Their view of success might be maximizing their free time, traveling, and living small. That doesn’t make them wrong. It might mean you need to understand their personal purpose.

Hiring the right people from any generation can be challenging. Hiring people who don’t fit your culture might not end well. Expecting that you will hire and then change their values and beliefs is probably unrealistic.

The organizations that figure out how to shift will get the best results.

It means you’ll have to give in order to get.

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a four-time author and some of his work includes, Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce and Pivot and Accelerate, The Next Move Is Yours! Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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Leadership Development: How Do You Know If It Worked?

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People always have questions, but they often aren’t asked. When it comes to leadership development, how do we know if it worked?

Leadership development appreciative strategies

Leadership Development

Leadership development might be a catch all phrase for supervisory, managerial, or leadership training. There are many competences that may be involved in leadership development and it always depends on the target audience or participants.

Some slight variances might exist from industry to industry, and variances definitely exist with level of responsibility or organization size. While the basic leadership skills for front line supervisors might have similarities to the concepts of leadership in the C-Suite the total package of competencies likely has at least a few differences.

Organizations often invest in leadership development training. Many believe it is a very wise investment, but how do we measure the success? What is the ROI (return on investment)?

Metrics and Measurements

Here are seven possible metrics or measurement criteria:

  1. Employee Turnover. Turnover ratio for any business or organization might change for many reasons. Leadership has a direct impact on the culture of the organization and turnover could be a valuable metric.
  2. Satisfaction Survey. Satisfaction surveys can help point to the success of leadership. This can be an employee satisfaction survey or it could even be a customer satisfaction survey.
  3. 360 Assessments. The 360 assessment is a valuable tool for understanding leadership competencies from the perspective of others within (or sometimes outside) of an organization. It can also be administered to entire teams for group results.
  4. Sales Revenue or Profit. Depending on the areas of focus for the leader an increase in sales revenue or gross profit might provide evidence of success in training. It also can be an easy number to measure ROI.
  5. Relationship Portfolio. How big or what is the depth of relationships? How many contracts, entities, or service agreements are active under management?
  6. Business Growth. Is the business or organization growing or if it was in decline has it stabilized, right-sized, or otherwise improved? This might be measured in numerous ways.
  7. Unique Metrics. Last on this list but certainly not the least there are many other ways to determine ROI. You might consider something as simple as a pre-test followed by a post-test. You might have metrics for quality, productivity, waste, and many others.

Knowing It Worked

Perhaps one of the most important things to consider is that you should always determine the method of evaluation in advance and understand your baseline or starting point. Evaluation can, and likely should be, measured through both metrics connected to monetary values and those that are intangible.

Also important but sometimes forgotten is that training success is contingent upon changed habits or behaviors across time. It is easy for any individual or team to show short time signs of improvement only to default back to old ways when under duress or as measured across longer periods of time.

Can the success of leadership development programs be measured and improvements maintained?

I say yes, what are your thoughts?

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a four-time author and some of his work includes, Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce and Pivot and Accelerate, The Next Move Is Yours! Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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Great Technical Skills, Lousy Leader

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You hear about this often, someone who was a rock star technically was promoted to the manager position. Now things are falling apart. People with great technical skills are the best candidates for internal promotions, right?

Great technical skills

It seems like the easy answer is, yes. The caveat is that throwing the best technical people into more advanced positions often requires advanced training.

Great Technical Skills

A best-in-class engineer isn’t always prepared to be the Manager of Engineering. A mechanic who can fix nearly any car might not understand how to be successful as the Shop Manager, and of course, the best machine operator might not have the skills required to become the Manufacturing Supervisor.

None of this means that they can’t do the job. They are probably fantastic candidates, but they also might require some training to really be successful.

Most noteworthy might be the skill requirement differences between being a successful technical employee and being one who leads and manages other people.

Technical Employee Skill Requirements

  • Dependable
  • Knowledgeable
  • Accountable
  • Thorough
  • Accurate

Leadership Skill Requirements

  • Good communicator
  • Critical thinker
  • Delegator
  • Change agent
  • Conflict management

Perhaps everyone would benefit from some of both, but often the greatest technical people aren’t as skilled at being a leader.

It is a natural flow for any business or organization to advance their greatest front line people. Of course, it makes sense to promote those who have proven themselves with engagement, commitment, and the knowledge of what the business is, and does.

Most of all, it makes sense to give them the opportunity to advance their skillset through training and development. Since they are an investment, prepare them for the challenges that they’ll face when they move from a technical position to a more advanced role.

Otherwise, you might consider that failing to prepare, is preparing to fail.

Big Surprise

What is most surprising about all of this? Nearly everyone understands this simple concept, but it seems commonly overlooked in practice.

Have you ever encountered someone who was superb technically but then failed as a leader?

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a four-time author and some of his work includes, Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce and Pivot and Accelerate, The Next Move Is Yours! Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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Measuring Job Performance by the Numbers?

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In business we’re often taught to measure accomplishments or success with a number. The principle idea behind measurement is to trend towards a goal. Do you measure job performance or business success by the numbers?

job performance

Goals and the pressure associated with accomplishing them can stretch the boundaries of people’s ethics and integrity. Extreme pressure to achieve the numbers can also affect how people perceive and measure risk.

Performance Measurement

Years ago I worked in a mail order business. The company had reasonable success. They had a strong sales force and strict guidelines for performance.

If you were in sales, you occupied an expensive seat, a cubicle equipped with a telephone, a computer terminal (workstation or terminal as they were called in those days) and a calculator. There were only so many cubicles and they were required to be occupied with the highest performing sales representatives.

As a sales representative you were responsible to achieve monthly, quarterly, and annual goals. If you didn’t measure up you risked termination and the odds of long term success weren’t all that great.

I recall that one of the hiring strategies was to bring on fifteen new sales representatives with the hope that three to five might actually make it for at least three to six months.

Some did quite well, but the pressure to perform and acquire high volume repeat corporate customers was intense. As a commission sales representative your success was predominately measured by your dollars in sales, but did it really work?

Beating the System

Unfortunately several ethically challenged sales representatives found a way to make their numbers.

They discovered that they could send out product to random customers without their consent by using a shipping method known as C.O.D. (collect on delivery). Their sales were recorded (for measurement) in the computer system and their paycheck was calculated. If they achieved a high enough number a bonus was also applied.

The problem of course was that the customer never placed the order. The shipping company would attempt to deliver, the customer would refuse the shipment, and within about a week the product would end up back at the warehouse.

Not only was this entirely unethical but it cost the company time and money, the shipping company time and money, not to mention the terrible effect on the customer experience.

I think you get the idea. This was bad, really bad, but what caused this problem?

Challenges of Measurement

Certainly the persons who participated in this type of behavior had some ethical challenges, but then again did the company they worked for push things too far? Was the pressure to achieve the numbers and the witnessing of sales representatives getting hired and fired seemingly without care or concern for them as people a contributing factor?

Could it be that the culture adopted a feeling of, “I don’t care about the company because the company doesn’t care about me?”

Measuring success by the numbers is important but at what point does it cross the line? Do some exert too much pressure causing the employees to inappropriately assess risk and make very bad decisions for themselves and the company?

There are plenty of examples in business history. Companies such as Adelphia, Enron, and more recently Wells Fargo have all experienced ethical issues in part created by measuring by the numbers.

What to Measure

Using numbers as a measurement often brings with it the idea that more or higher numbers are better.

What if your automobile mechanic measured by the number and frequency of your visits, your dentist measured by cavities filled, or your doctor by knees replaced? Do they? They might.

Does the highest volume in ticket sales for the latest movie measure the best movie? Is a bestselling book the best book?

Are the highest sales numbers the most important or is the quality of the product, service, or customer experience a better measurement?

Measuring by the numbers probably works but the KPI’s (key performance indicators) need to be measuring the proper metric. What we measure and how, can have a significant impact on organizational health.

Companies who measure the right thing might be those with the best reputation. Those with the best reputation probably hire the best employees, they have the best training programs and they are most likely to have a low employee turnover ratio.

There is also a pretty good chance that they have the highest customer satisfaction ratings and will outlast their competition.

Are you measuring job performance by the numbers? Which ones?

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a four-time author and some of his work includes, Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce and Pivot and Accelerate, The Next Move Is Yours! Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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Do You Ask About Training Needs?

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Many times I’ve been asked to either conduct a formal training needs assessment or provide consultation to other workforce professionals who are charged with conducting such an assessment. At some level with nearly every client I engage with we are exploring some level of assessment based on needs, some are very informal and some are more formal.

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What is the correct approach?  There certainly might be more than one answer, and in-depth assessment practices can fill an entire book, but here are a few basics.

Do I Just Ask About Needs?

A properly managed needs assessment is not a process of asking several questions about what an organization needs, this is as simplistic as a medical doctor asking if you have a cold, you say either yes or no, and they then prescribe what to do next. It is not about just asking, “What are your needs?” Below are a few of my favorites (not to do) that I’ve witnessed being used to conduct a so-called needs assessment. I must stress this is what not to ask:

  • What skills are lacking with your current workforce?
  • What training would help your team become better?
  • Do you need technical skills or soft-skills?

Sure this will collect some answers from the person or team that is being asked, but this is not the best way to determine current or future needs. I’m amazed at the great number of people who approach a needs assessment in this manner. In fact, some of them are highly paid consultants.

The Right Approach

I’m a firm believer that there should be some balance required in the approach for any assessment process. By balance I am referring to cost and value. A full blown assessment that is going to reach in-depth to consider job tasks and duties, assess skill requirements, and perhaps even explore competency models is going to require considerable resources. Make no mistake about it, conducting an assessment of that caliber might be appropriate, but for many organizations especially small businesses this is probably too extensive. Most organizations need to find a balance between low end and high end arriving at a cost effective solution that provides the greatest value.

The right path for developing needs assessment questions must be approached without inappropriately leading or suggesting outcomes. It should be as unbiased as possible and should not make assumptions or predetermine possible outcomes. Here are a few examples that are much better for discovering training needs.

  • You have several star or exemplary employees on your team, what is different about them as compared to your average employee?
  • Please describe one specific circumstance where employee performance resulted in an unfavorable or costly outcome for the organization.
  • What are the most significant barriers preventing your (department, team, et al) organization from achieving or exceeding its goals?

It’s important to recognize that there are many aspects to conducting an appropriate needs assessment, including who to assess such as executives, supervisors, or front-line staff, and what to base the assessment on which may be things like efficiencies or productivity, customer service, sales, and even culture or leadership. A proper needs assessment must be representative of the best value and right-sized approach for each situation. The most effective training needs assessment is not conducted by simply asking, “What are your needs?” Effective assessments help organizations discover both the obvious and the not so obvious.

What approaches have you used?

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and coach that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is the author of the newly released book, Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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