Tag Archives: development

Key Ways to Train Your Team on Zero Budget

I have been adding some new material over at my Human Resources Today blog at Brandon Hall Group.  Here is a little taste.  Please click through for the entire piece.

How many of you have a good, healthy training budget for your team?  By that I mean one that allows for every team member to receive training as well as funds to cover travel or other costs? No? Well, you’re among many of the companies that still hold the purse strings tight when it comes to internal development.

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So what is a leader to do?  The best plan is to create creative approaches to training so that your team feels valued, is able to provide their own creative and innovative results, and grow their skills so they can progress to higher levels in your organization.

  • Conference session replays:  Most industries have numerous conferences, many of which are beginning to offer either live session streaming (usually for free) or recorded replays of conference sessions. One tactic I use is to ask each team member to watch a different session then report back to the rest of the team at an upcoming meeting with information on the session and the key learning points. If it seems valuable to the larger group, it can than easily be added to each person’s development plan.

- See more at: http://www.brandonhall.com/blogs/4-creative-ways-to-train-your-team-on-zero-budget/#sthash.Tau3hRUJ.dpuf

12 Minutes: Learn Social or Business During Your Drive Time

trafficI took my car to my dealership this week for a Xylon treatment.  It’s one of those things that is great to have done, but the hassle of having to drop my car off, on a weekday at 9:00 am, and pick up a rental car was something I didn’t look forward to.

The dealership had great service and the rental car was ready for me, but the idea of having to drive a car I’m not familiar with as the forecast called for snow and ice didn’t make me feel very confident.  At any rate, about twenty minutes after arriving, I was on my way in a 2011 Cadillac DTS. Sweet ride…..but felt larger than driving a bus.  This was not exactly my idea of fun.

So, away I go in my caddy and I’m trying to find something on the XM radio.  Only, it’s not activated.  I try to remember some local stations so that I can find something good to listen to on my way to work.  I settle in on a station that has a song I know, but it quickly ends.  Now it’s commercial time.  I sat through twelve minutes of commercials before the next song!

I don’t have time to sit through twelve minutes of commercials.

I felt like I was completely wasting my time.  I sat there cursing the local radio and hating the fact I couldn’t get any news or information of value.  That’s when I realized that there are many people who still don’t purchase their radio experience.  They listen to local radio.  These are some of the same people who argue that they don’t have time to learn social media, to read a blog, to learn a new tool or technology.  But like me that day, they get those same twelve minutes stolen from them all the time.

Making Good Use of Your Drive Time

 

  • Download podcasts that you can listen to on your iPod or other device.  Shows such as HR Happy Hour can be found on BlogTalk radio.  You can learn about the latest HR, recruiting and leadership information.
  • Listen to audio books that relate to self improvement or business acumen.
  • Use your smartphone to listen to “how to” videos on YouTube.


What are some other ways to spend your time in the car to make better use of it than listening to commercials?  Share your thoughts with me in the comments.

Can You Take A Compliment?

Do you know how to take a compliment?  I don’t know that I’m the best person to write about this in terms of giving advice because I tend to feel uncomfortable when I receive one directly.  Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE the fact that the person thinks I did something noteworthy and valuable, I just feel uncomfortable about my reaction.  For me, if that person told someone else and I heard it second-hand, that would be far better.  Somehow, telling a third party makes it easier for me to respond.  Then, I can say something like, “Wow, it was really nice of John to say that about me. ”

Lately, I’ve tried to just give a simple “thank you” when someone pays me a compliment.

How do you take compliments?  If you’re good at it or have any tips for me on how I can get better, let me know.  The worst thing we can do is get positive feedback and not know exactly what to do with it.  So….share your best tips in the comments.

4 Ways To Achieve Growth: Messy and Painful

“Growth is messy and painful.” ~ William Tincup

Every day I focus on trying to do things the right way, for the right reason.  The goal is to succeed each and every time on projects, in handling issues, or creating new and innovative ideas.  I get frustrated when I hear about people who want to celebrate losing; people who believe that mistakes are not only worth sharing but should be shouted from the rooftop.  Last week I learned that while I may never want to publicly celebrate mistakes, I certainly don’t give myself time, nor permission, to make them.  That is a shame because without failing big sometimes, people never learn and grow.

Achieving Growth

I spent some time with a friend last week and he said something that stuck with me.  He said that growing is messy and painful.  What does that mean?  Well, whenever things are going well, you’re not being stretched.  It feels great in the moment to be in control and have things fall into place.  In fact, it’s that state that most people strive for.  The problem is that no one ever learns from doing everything well.  We learn when we go through struggle, practice and yes, mistakes. 

  • Don’t play it safe all the time-  Next time you’re in a situation where you know you disagree with the way the status quo is heading, speak up.  Disagree.  Make it known that you have an opinion that is not the “norm”.
  • Step up to lead something you don’t know much about-  Some of my best learning came when I took a chance and led projects that I had never led before.  It feels scary and at times, like your hair is on fire, but what a great way to push yourself!
  • Attend meetings outside your area of expertise- This is a great way to get creative juices flowing.  When you hear how a department in another part of your company approaches situations and challenges, you’ll find ways to take that learning back to your own department.  It will be messy because it won’t fit precisely, but it will push you (and your team) to think differently.
  • Get honest-  Find a handful of people you can trust to be completely candid with you.  First, this will feel risky because  you are sharing parts of you with them that you usually keep private (your fears, your losses, etc.).  The growth comes from the candor with which they share how you can improve.  It may hurt.  It may seem harsh.  In the end, you’ll come out ahead.

What techniques do you use to grow and develop?  Share them in the comments.

Do You Measure Up? Competing With Someone Else’s Skills

I remember how it felt to be ten years old.  I was one of the kids in the class that most kids liked.  I wasn’t too bossy, too silly or too needy. I was generally happy and was probably most known for helping others.  I tried not to be mean to other kids and I think I was fairly successful, at least most of the time.  When I look back at report cards, I was always described as “talkative and creative”.  I guess some things never change.

I also had friends who were a couple years older than me, so no matter how smart I was or how well I did something, there was often an older friend who was just that much better than I was.  Age is a funny thing because to a ten year old, even two or three years can mean a lifetime of difference in someone’s experience level.  Back then, I could always find someone with skills I envied.

I suppose time hasn’t changed much.  I still see those individuals in my life who can do things better than I can.

Perspective Helps You Measure Up

The difference between ten year old Trish and the person I am today is my interpretation of people who are more skilled.  Now, intstead of pangs of jealousy, I can either choose to just admire the person for what they accomplish or I can choose to build those same skills myself.

Too often in the workplace, we find employees stuck in the jealousy phase.  What can we do to focus their attention on either admiration or personal skill building?  Here are a few we can suggest:

  • Find a mentor at work and ask questions about how they learned the expertise they have
  • Take specific classes to build the skills you need
  • At work, ask to be assigned projects that will challenge you in new ways
  • Look for sources online like the Learn New Skills Blog

How do you learn or improve skills you have?  How do you do the same for your team?

An Apology Letter To Your Staff

Crimson Studios 2007It’s a new year, 2013, and as you look in the rear-view mirror on last year, what does it reflect?  What kind of leader were you?  Were you one who appreciated your team?  Did you challenge each of them?  Inspire each of them?  Did you do your best to meet the needs of the organization while still being a patient teacher?

Maybe.

Maybe not.

IF you didn’t, it’s ok.  It’s not too late to set the right tone for the new year.  It will take a bit of an attitude adjustment and a conscious choice to think about the “work” you put in front of the team each day.  The good news is that you can turn this around and get the team on track to have even better performance than last year.  It can also help you with your retention efforts.

As with anyone you have not openly appreciated enough, the best way to clear the air and have a fresh start is with an apology.  Now, I know what you’re thinking…..”Trish, I’m a pretty good boss.  I try to be nice to people.  I just can’t give personalized attention to everyone on my team because I’m BUSY.”  I’m sure you are busy, but I call BS.  People don’t need you to hold their hands every day, they just need to know that you care and that the work that they produce for you, for your department, is valued.  So, I’ll give you a head start on an apology to your staff.  Feel free to use it; email it, post it in the department, or say it in your next meeting.

Dear Team, 

I want to thank you for your effort in 2012.  It was a good/bad year for the company, but a good one for us as a direct result of the ____________ you were able to achieve.  Your results from the _____________ project exceeded all expectations and I’m proud to be a part of this team.  

I also want to apologize to each of you.  As your team leader, there were times where you may have seen me distracted or appearing unappreciative of your work and effort.  I sincerely apologize.  My goal is to make this year one where I actively spend more time giving you feedback and using your ideas to make our department better.  I will also commit to ensure each of you further develops your skills because of the way we’ll approach learning.  I will teach and each of you will teach.  

2013 will be a year where our team faces some challenges too.  I am proud to be part of such a fine group of people and I know we’ll pull together and make this year our best yet!  Thank you for all you do.

Sincerely,

_______________

Now, go out there and start showing some appreciation-

I guarantee you’ll find that the positive results you see, hear and feel will come back to you ten-fold!

Glory Days: Relive Accomplishments

*From the dusty archives so I can enjoy vacation…

Disclaimer:  I am a proud football mom.  I know some people without kids will roll their eyes at that because ten years ago, I would have done the same to all the minivan-driving soccer moms.  That said, I think there are so many things that can be learned by watching little ones play sports.

I just received a DVD of my son’s last football game.  These 5- 6 year olds played with such heart!  When it got to the part of the video where my son broke free and made an 80 yard run….I was teary eyed.  Not because he made a good play.  Not even because it was so good that the ref actually high-fived him, although that was cool.  It was because someone took time to film this for us so we can relive the great moments with him.

In the workplace, whether you’re a leader in the organization or you’re in human resources, we try to encourage managers to complete performance evals on their staff. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried to tout the developmental opportunities we open up by using performance feedback, and that is still true.  However, watching the football video this morning, something hit me like a ton of bricks.

The most important part of the performance evaluation is giving that employee the ability to relive the glory of their accomplishments.

Let that sit there for a moment.

I am going to make a mental note to approach performance evaluations from this angle from now on.  Sure, I’ll still tell managers all the great reasons that by documenting it can help them improve performance, but the MAIN thing is to really celebrate achievements.

Agree?  Disagree?  Let me know in the comments.

How To Train Your Team On Zero Budget

One thing I am routinely told by leaders of various levels is that they do not have the budget in their organization to train their team members.  This statement comes from leaders who work at companies of various sizes and from several industries.  With the economic outlook unstable, many organizations are still not able to focus significant dollars on training.  What we do know is that if employees are not offered continuing development, they will not:

  • feel valued
  • be able to provide creative, innovative results
  • grow their skills so they can progress to the next level in the organization

In fact, companies who do not offer training opportunities often find that they have significant retention issues.

If you are a leader and have little to no training budget, there are ways to offer development to your team members by taking advantage of free,  online resources.  Here are some ideas of how to offer development with zero budget:

  • Leader as a trainer-  As the leader of the team, your plate is likely quite full.  However, if you can commit to routinely carve out time so that you personally train your team, they will respond positively to your commitment.  For me, this may mean training my team on coaching skills, communication, writing, presentation skills or even “how to” sessions on human resources and social media platforms.
  • Conference session replays-  Most industries have numerous conferences and today, these conferences are beginning to offer  either live session streaming (for free) or recorded replays of conference sessions.  One tactic I use is to ask each team member to watch a different session then report back to the rest of the team at an upcoming meeting with information on the session and the key learning points.  If it seems valuable to the larger group, it can than easily be added to each person’s development plan.
  • Podcasts-  With sites like BlogtalkRadio.com and other online podcast resources it is easy to find industry-related podcasts that take thirty minutes to an hour.  Since many employees listen to music at work, why not encourage them to listen to a podcast then come together as a team for a brief discussion on the topic?  It’s a great way for them to share ideas and opinions and learn from each other and you.
  • Articles-  Information abounds on the internet, so take advantage.   Find several articles and assign one to each employee.  Give them a week to read the article and come up with some talking points for the team to discuss.  Again, it opens up discussion and sharing of ideas.
  • Book Reviews-  Possibly the most “old school” approach to personal training, but still entirely effective if used properly.  Most leaders have a bookshelf full of leadership and business books.  Why not ask each team member to take one and summarize the key learning points of the book?  That team member can then become a discussion leader on that book topic at an upcoming team meeting.

Team learning is about opening people up to talking about issues and how to find new approaches.  By giving the nudge on different ways to find current information, you will encourage individual and team development and even with little or no budget,  you and the organization will reap the benefits of better retention and more energized, educated staff.

What tactics do you use with your team?