Archive for February, 2011

E-Learning offers improved options

February 24, 2011

E-learning is increasing in popularity, and for good reason. It is a great way to provide an ongoing training mechanism that is available at a time that suits the learner. Most importantly it produces great results by decreasing costs and improving performance.

Despite the increase of popularity many still don’t understand the full value of e-learning. Articulate.com have provided the following factors as to why e-learning is a great new way to learn.

  • Real-time access. Elearning eliminates allows courses to be accessed anytime, anywhere.  This can also happen without Internet access.
  • Freedom to fail.  Let’s face it, real learning requires some failure.  But no one likes to fail in a classroom full of other people.  Elearning lets you fail without fear.  This encourages exploration and testing of ideas.  With the right feedback you create a great learning environment.  Worst case, you can always start over.  Something you can’t always do in class.
  • Improved retention.  The combination of multimedia and instructional design can produce a very rich learning experience that is repeatable.  Throw in some good practice activities with feedback and you have a learning environment that’s going to help your learners retain the course content which will produce results.
  • Personalised learning. Let’s think about cars, they all do the same thing yet we all have personal opinions about what we want to drive.  The same goes for learning.  Learners want control.  Elearning allows you to offer control to the learners in a way that classroom learning doesn’t.

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Implementing organisational change – a difficult task made simpler

February 17, 2011

Implementing organisational change is a difficult and critical task. It is becoming even more important for managers to posses the skills to lead during times of change as there is an accelerated rate of change in most organisations today.

Whatever the reason behind the change, most people within organisations seem to resist change even if they agree it is needed. Often, employees may not be resistant to change, but rather, the process or transition that change requires. It is therefore important for managers to understand employee’s natural negative feelings about change and how to best manage these to ensure a smooth transition period for all.

Here are five steps to help you manage change and transitions in your organisation.

1. Assess and address employees concerns
Many organisations claim to put their employees first, however the reality is, most don’t. Take the time to live up to this claim when employees are concerned. Listen to their fears and communicate strategies that will be implemented to keep the impact to a minimum.

2. Demonstrate strong leadership
The reality is that without strong leadership, positive change is unlikely to happen. Leaders and managers throughout the organisation need to show their commitment to the change and work hard to make it happen. This commitment will inspire and motivate everyone to take a role in implementing change.

3. Build trust in the leadership
Having the trust of employees in times of change is crucial as employees feel especially vulnerable. Those implementing the change need to display absolute integrity, reliability, openness, and fairness – always behaving in ethically and socially responsible ways. They need to communicate that they care about both the people and the organisation.

4. Clearly articulate the vision to all
Many organisations struggle in implementing change because people fail to grasp the vision and understand its implications. The key to the successful implementation of change is to communicating the reason behind the change and why it is necessary. Employees need to understand the purpose of the change and the outcome that is expected. Without you telling them they will not know.

5. Celebrate success
Celebration recognises accomplishment, motivates everyone involved, and sends a positive message. Don’t wait until the mission is accomplished and change has occurred; celebrate milestones and short-term wins on the way to the goal.

The six keys of success

February 15, 2011

It is possible to build any skill or capacity in the same systematic way we do a muscle: push past your comfort zone and then rest, says Tony Schwartz in the Harvard Business Review. If you have your heart set on improving your skill set in a certain area you can, you just need to practice – a lot!

Tony Schwartz has offered an additional six pointers to help you achieve excellence:

  1. Pursue what you love. Passion is an incredible motivator. It fuels focus, resilience, and perseverance.
  2. Do the hardest work first. We all move instinctively toward pleasure and away from pain. Most great performers have found it best to take on difficult work in the mornings, before they do anything else. That’s when most of us have the most energy and the fewest distractions.
  3. Practice intensely, without interruption for short periods of no longer than 90 minutes and then take a break. The evidence is equally strong that great performers practice no more than 4 ½ hours a day.
  4. Seek expert feedback, in intermittent doses. The simpler and more precise the feedback, the more equipped you are to make adjustments. Too much feedback, too continuously can create cognitive overload, increase anxiety, and interfere with learning.
  5. Take regular renewal breaks. Relaxing after intense effort not only provides an opportunity to rejuvenate, but also to metabolise and embed learning. It’s also during rest that the right hemisphere becomes more dominant, which can lead to creative breakthroughs.
  6. Ritualise practice. Will and discipline are wildly overrated. The best way to insure you’ll take on difficult tasks is to build rituals — specific, inviolable times at which you do them, so that over time you do them without having to squander energy thinking about them.

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The collaborative organisation: how to make employee networks really work

February 10, 2011

Recent and topical research by the MIT Sloan Management Review found that the traditional methods for driving operational excellence in global organisations are not enough. The most effective organisations make smart use of employee networks to reduce costs, improve efficiency and spur innovation.

The research found that the key to delivering both operational excellence and innovation is having networks of informal collaboration. Innovative solutions often emerge unpredictably through informal and unplanned interactions between individuals who see problems from different perspectives.  These networks often help employees handle situations that don’t fit into pre-established processes and structures.

Business leaders and CIOs who learn to harness and balance both formal and informal structures are better equipped to create more efficient and innovative organisations. When working to capitalise on these networks, business leaders and CIOs need to let go of some traditional management methods and adopt collaborative management models.

The MIT Sloan Management Review offered the following advice for companies trying to build more collaborative and innovative organisations:

  • Executives should analyse employee contribution networks to discover how high-performing individuals and teams connect.
  • Networks should be designed to optimise the flow of good ideas across function, distance and technical specialty.
  • Network analysis can show where too much connectivity slows decision making.

Overcoming the 5 fears of change

February 8, 2011

To move forward you need to make some changes along the way, so fearing change won’t get you anywhere. Instead, choose to embrace change and positive progress will come your way.

CEO Online has included an article on their website that says “Change champions don’t QUIT and don’t SETTLE.” They have provided 5 tips to help you become a successful change champion.

1. Overcome the fear of the unknown

Tip: “Choose growth”

2. Eliminate the fear of failure

Tip: “Get a healthier understanding of how change works”

3. Fight the fear of commitment

Tip: “Focus on what needs to be changed and keep the rest”

4. Dismiss the fear of disapproval

Tip: “Take in the disapproval with a grain of salt and an ounce of discernment”

5.  Discard the fear of success

Tip: “Relish your success instead of settling for mediocrity”

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The key management issues

February 2, 2011

The business landscape is constantly evolving and changing and it is important to keep on top of these changes. Management Today has analysed the top 10 issues facing managers in 2011, and provided a quick tip to overcome each of these. Here are the first five:

1. Two-speed economy

Australia weathered the financial storm better than most, but there are still areas of risk and reward, known as the two-speed economy.

Tip: Concentrate on staff retention and diversification to reduce risk in an uncertain climate.

2. Global economic health

The biggest issue for Australian companies in terms of global economic health is business confidence.

Tip: For a full economic recovery a change in thought processes is required: from ‘glass is half empty’ to ‘glass is half full’.

3. Development and training

As managers look to increase levels of innovation and agility within their organisations, the need for staff development and training becomes greater.

Tip: Formalise the implementation of mentoring, coaching and training procedures in order to increase agility and improve staff retention.

4. Export opportunities

There are amazing opportunities on offer to Australian exporters in the near term.

Tip: Whether you’re currently exporting or looking to begin, look to the markets in our own region of the world for great growth opportunities.

5. Sustainability issues

Despite the shelving of the Emissions Trading Scheme organisations have plenty to be concerned about in terms of sustainability.

Tip: Make sustainability a serious issue in your business – as important as the bottom line – because it is to many stakeholders.

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