Posts Tagged ‘training’

Jim Collins@ASTD

May 8, 2012

Jim Collins opened the second day at the ASTD to a theatre packed audience talking about his new book – Great by Choice, Uncertainty, Chaos and Luck – Why Some Thrive Despite them All.

He spoke about the ten years of research conducted on companies for the book and how he and co-author, Morten T. Hansen dubbed organisations that thrived despite uncertainty and chaos, 10xers; and why when matched with identical companies with identical challenges, the 10Xers came out on top.

Jim CollinsCollins’ study showed that trying to lead in a fast world with fast decisions and fast actions is a good way to end up in disaster.   What the 10xers would do, would be to keep a very close eye on the storm and begin preparing for it. Rather than react instantly the 10exers would instead watch the web of events unfold before making very deliberate, rigorous decisions.

As with Good to Great, he advocates that the single most important leadership skill is the ability to pick the right people, with the right skill for the right job at the right time.

Collins also examined the role of luck, the part (if any) that it played and also how great leaders were able to get an ROI from bad luck.

Moving to Leadership Skills he stated that the X Factor for a great leader when aligned with the hierarchy of capabilities, was humility.

To increase success in business, Collins ended the session with Ten To-Do’s:

  1. Commit to building a pocket of greatness.
  2. Get the right people on the key seats.
  3. Double your questions to statement ratio.
  4. Confront the brutal facts – not opinions.
  5. Find your personal Hedgehog and focus on it; (Hedgehog = passion and drive).
  6. Be disciplined with your Hedgehog principle.
  7. Get a high return on your next luck event and decide who is your best luck.
  8. Have a Stop Doing List as well as a To Do List
  9. Creative pockets of quietude in order to ‘think’.
  10. Set personal visions aligned to lifetime core values that you can pass on to others.

ASTD 2012 International Conference, Denver, Colorado

May 8, 2012

Excited to be at the ASTD 2012 International Conference and Expo in Denver wearing my hat as ASTDI Board Member for International Relations and representing BluePrint’s goal to always be aware of new industry blueprints.

The conference opened in Denver on Sunday, 6 and despite what we hear about job ASTD 2012 International Conference and Expo in Denver unemployment in the States there’s a buzz and optimism in the corridors here. The conference alone has an increase of 22% attendance with visitor numbers expected to be between 8000-10000, Quite a difference from our last attendance in 2010 when numbers were only around 3500.

This year there are 290 educational sessions highlighted listed under one of the eight content tracks of;

  • Career Development
  • Designing and Facilitating Learning
  • Global Human Resource Development
  • Human Capital
  • Leadership Development
  • Learning Technologies
  • Measurement, Evaluation, ROI
  • Trends

ASTD 2012 International ConferenceSessions I attended on the first day included ‘Building E-Learning that People Will Want to Use’ which focused on how to separate good programs from junk.

Learned how the World Bank used Virtual Learning for effective global collaboration, and how Brazil’s market leader in environmental solutions, Essencis, used social learning to engage and empower their younger generations of employees.

Last but not least was a session on ‘New Blended Learning Model in Action’. All very stimulating.

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 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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BluePrint tip: Tough decisions made simpler

January 27, 2011

All of us have to make decisions every day. Some of these are relatively straight forward and simple, whereas others are more difficult requiring a logical and systematic decision making process to help us address the critical elements that result in a good decision.

To make an effective decision you need to: create a constructive environment, generate good alternatives, explore these alternatives, choose the best alternative, check your decisions, communicate this and take action.

How to keep your employees happy in 2011

January 25, 2011

A recent survey of more than 3,000 leaders conducted by Leadership Management Australia and reported on by the HR Daily found that the number-one characteristic today’s employees value in a manager is trustworthiness.

Trustworthiness has moved from seventh position in 2009 to number one replacing clear communication of direction. This shows that employee expectations have changed significantly in the past year calling for all managers to review their leadership style.

The survey found the top ten characteristics of a good manager to be:

  1. Being trustworthy and open in approach
  2. Clearly communicating where the company is going
  3. Giving employees the “space” to do their work, but supporting them
  4. Listening to and respecting employees’ input into decisions
  5. Giving employees regular and honest feedback on how they are going
  6. Being fair and even-handed/making reasonable demands
  7. Providing the resources employees need to do their job
  8. Recognising employees for extra efforts/results;
  9. Coaching and developing employees
  10. Trusting employees with challenging work.

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BluePrint tip: Foster a team spirit in the workplace

January 13, 2011

A basic human need is to feel like they belong to something bigger than themselves, and for many people that need is met by being part of a supportive team environment.

As a manager it is important to create unity among employees, to make people feel valued and that they belong.

By creating this team environment employees will see themselves as a group of people all working for a common goal rather than a bunch of individuals competing against each other.

BluePrint tip: Make feedback regular

December 16, 2010

Feedback is an important part of every workplace and if not done effectively is one of the main causes of employee dissatisfaction.

Feedback needs to be given on a daily basis, if this becomes more of a yearly occurrence people tend to be surprised rather than aligned with the feedback they are given.

If you have suggestions that will help an employer do their job better, it is more productive to communicate that sooner rather than later.