Archive for the ‘Management Development’ Category

The great trust gap

October 8, 2013

2013 has been a terrible year for organisational trust.

The Jimmy Savile inquiry highlighted a worrying lack of accountability within the BBC and even the police. Edward Snowden’s data-privacy whistleblowing suggested the governments not only don’t trust us, but we shouldn’t trust them. And the new Governor designate of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, declared that trust “screeched out of the parking lot” in 2008 and banks need to undergo deep cultural change to restore public confidence.

Frankly, these scandals of mistrust come as no surprise to most of us, whether you’re the waitress in a bakery or the CEO of a bank. The CIPD’s quarterly report found that only 36% of employees trust senior leaders and 58% had adopted a ‘not bothered’ attitude for work. The symptoms of mistrust – hostile gossip, fruitless meetings and incompetent leaders – are daily realities for many in the workplace.

Yet high trust is a key characteristic of profitable and sustainable businesses. Trust not only provokes customers to buy, it encourages employees to stay loyal and turns process-clogged organisations into lean, mean collaborative machines.

It’s time we spoke up about the lack of trust in our organisations and took responsibility for change. Here are the three steps we take at Blue Sky when turning rhetoric into reality.

1.    Take the trust blinkers off

Start noticing the unquestioned low trust behaviours that happen within your business every day. Examples to look out for include leaders talking the talk but not demonstrating the competence or the character to live up to their senior role; widespread grumbling behind the backs of colleagues; a reluctance to make decisions; not owning up to mistakes and making self-serving decisions.

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2.    Break trust down into its elements

Steven M.R Covey brilliant book The Speed of Trust emphasises that trust is a behaviour rather than a trait. By breaking trust into 13 characteristics, including talking straight, righting wrongs, confronting reality, clarifying expectations and practicing accountability, he demonstrates that trust is under our control, and that it can be rebuilt, step by step – if we can find a way to commit to it.

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3.    Get buy-in from within

Finally, trust has to become a priority truly embraced and evangelised by people at all levels of an organisation to ensure cultural change. Naming the behaviours you identified in step one, and citing the evidence that show the impact of trust on the bottom line (for example, people are 87% less likely to leave an organisation with high trust) will help win over cynics. With senior leaders as your champions, you then need to ensure that trust coaching spreads through the ranks. As role models begin to emerge, the groundswell of trust will begin to grow.

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You can share your own stories on twitter #DoTrust or through our LinkedIn page and of course your own blogs and social presences.

Elke Edwards - Blue Sky Performance ImprovementElke Edwards

I am Director of Learning at Blue Sky, so am firmly placed to share with you our approach to performance improvement at every level from your contact centre staff to your CEO. I know that for businesses to achieve major success, their people need to work towards organisational objectives, not individual or departmental ones. I love the work I personally deliver for senior teams that are positioned to support this behaviour from the top down.

Getting honest about trust

September 17, 2013

I recently had lunch with one of our clients, the chairman of a large global bank. He told me a story about a call he recently took from a head hunter, who wanted some advice on his list of potential candidates for the CEO role at a competitor bank.

The client, being a generous man, spent an hour and a half on the phone giving his opinion on the 30 or so candidates. He didn’t personally know all of them, but, in a tight-knit industry, he immediately knew who was an instant write-off and who would be a better fit. What on earth, I asked, could he have conveyed about these top-level execs for this incredibly important role in just a couple of minutes?

 “Well,” he replied, “I basically said whether I trusted them to do the job or not.”

For me, that conversation was a powerful reminder of how many important events in our life occur because of stuff people say about us when we’re not in the room.

Imagine you’re applying for a job in a different part of your organisation. You send an email to your potential new boss. What’s the first thing your potential new boss does? Asks your current boss for their opinion. They’ll probably take more than a couple of minutes, but in that brief conversation they will say whether or not they think you’re right for that job. No matter what comes after, that one initial exchange will have been a key decider in your future career.

The single most important emotion in these conversations and decisions is trust.

The degree of trust people place in us – to get a job done, to support them in a crisis, to show up to lunch on time – influences our lives in ways that are often completely out of our control. Most trust judgements occur without us having any consciousness of them, but they have a profound impact on where we end up.

If you don’t trust your partner, however great your relationship may be on the surface, it will eventually fall apart. If you do trust your friend, you’ll let them get away with an awful lot, because you know they’ll come good in the end. This is just as important in business as it is among friends or family. If you trust your leader, you’ll give them your all, because you know the effort will be reciprocated. If you don’t, you’ll always be trying to protect yourself, afraid that your work will go to waste. And these attitudes directly impact on the performance of the organisation as a whole.

Over the past few years we’ve been inundated with scandals in the press featuring people in senior positions making untrustworthy decisions. This year’s Edelman Global Trust Survey interviewed 31,000 business people across 26 different markets and found that banks and financial services are the least trusted organisations of all. The same negative feedback has been found for leadership; only 38% of people trust what a CEO is saying about their own organisation.

Lack of trust is obviously a huge organisational issue; in fact, I think it is the most important challenge we currently face. So the big question becomes: what can we do about it?

In the meantime I’ll be sharing my own thoughts in three articles, kicking off with what I see as the first essential step, removing your trust blinkers.

Start noticing the unquestioned low trust behaviours that happen within our businesses every day. Immerse yourself, become a trust detective. Begin by spotting how common, and commonly accepted, low trust behaviours are. Here are my suggestions for some good places to look:

  • Corridor conversations – It’s amazing how often there’s silent consensus ‘in the room’, followed by long and angry dissections outside the room with zero accountability or action.
  • Gossiping – We all hate the thought of people whispering behind our back. But be honest: How many times have you heard or participated in a good gossip?
  • Self-serving decisions – People may claim that their decision is the best thing for the company, but their true motives are crystal clear.
  • Do as I say, not as I do – My personal bugbear! Leaders talking the talk but failing to walk the walk are all too common. This is a trait of many organisations that score ‘superficial’ on the trust barometer, where leadership is a title, not a behaviour.
  • Incompetent leaders – How many of today’s leaders lack either the technical competence or the people skills to do what is expected of them? If you have a culture of high trust with continual feedback and development, it’s not such a problem. But in low trust organisations people work around their incompetence in a miasma of fear
  • Meeting mania – Low trust manifests in general ineffectiveness. Too many people are involved in decisions for fear of ‘leaving someone out’. Decisions are constantly deferred in case they are wrong. Everyone fights their own corner. Inertia ensues.
  • Low accountability – Blaming others, not owning up to mistakes, not holding poor performance to account, silos, inter-department warring…you know the drill.

So, now you’re seeing the trust issues clearly, what can you do?

Look out for the second article in our trust series, coming next week. In the meantime, I look forward to hearing your own thoughts on how to spot the trust underbelly in your organisation…

You can share your own stories on twitter #DoTrust or through our LinkedIn group Blue Sky Performance Improvement and of course your own blogs and social presences.

Elke Edwards - Blue Sky Performance Improvement Elke@BlueSky

Follow The Leader…

June 26, 2013

I was asked a question by a client this week – “Why don’t my staff just do as they are told?” He had had a frustrating day, been away for a week and it had all gone wrong.  No member of his staff has taken responsibility for getting things done.  So why is it that his staff will not do as they are told?

This is a common question that many managers ask themselves and invariably the answers are similar; staff are lazy, they do not have the knowledge or skills, they are unmotivated, they just don’t care, they have a poor attitude.

Can you see the problem with these answers?  All of the answers indicate that the problem is with the other person (the ‘staff’ in this case).  It’s their fault, and you now have plenty of reasons why; however this does not resolve the problem and their behaviour will continue.  After all, you have abdicated responsibility back to them!

How would it be if instead, you asked yourself up to 3 different questions?

  • “Why should anyone be led by me?”

Notice the different answers – because they feel inspired, motivated, valued, trusted and respected.

  • “What have I done to ensure my staff feel inspired, motivated, valued, trusted and respected?”
  • “What else can I do to make my staff feel inspired, motivated, valued, trusted and respected?”

Notice the difference emphasis in the answers. Your focus is now on what you can do, not relying on others. You are taking responsibility for action. That’s what good leaders do. Do you get wrapped up in reasons and excuses, or do you focus on what you can do to make it happen?

Steve_Shave

www.blue-sky.co.uk

Steve@Bluesky

Sing while you work

October 8, 2012

Have you been watching ‘The Choir: Sing While You Work’ with Gareth Malone, the guy that worked with the army wives? He’s currently travelling around the country, gathering people from large and diverse organisations to audition for and be part of a choir that will represent their organisation in a televised singing competition. This is a fantastic example of bringing people together at all levels that would otherwise never have met, giving them a chance to interact as people and a common purpose.

Enjoy - Sing while you work - Blue Sky Performance Improvement

There are some great clips on Youtube, such as an employee from the Royal Mail talking about ‘management being people’ that demonstrate the power the choir is having in breaking down barriers – be they physical (e.g. landside versus airside at Manchester Airport) or hierarchical (e.g. a surgeon singing alongside a porter at Lewisham Hospital). True engagement is about having intent, process and heart and it doesn’t get much better than this!

Laura@Bluesky

Laura Crawford - Blue Sky Performance Improvement

www.blue-sky.co.uk

Blue Sky Performance Improvement

There is no ‘I’ in team, but there is a ‘me’

September 11, 2012

Success is a great thing. We all want it, because it’s the undisputed champion in measuring our selves. We know it’s hard to get, and that’s what makes it all the more satisfying. We cherish it, because we know what it’s like to fail (because we all do). So, when it happens, when you achieve success…. there’s the part of us that feels like the cat that got the cream.  I did it! How about that! God, I’m good. Why not celebrate your success? It feels good when you get all of that praise and recognition. The praise often flies in your direction and it’s so easy to slip into ‘I know, I did a great job…thank you’.

But there’s a catch to this if you are a leader on the road to greatness. Should we take all the credit?

Probably not, as most successes are achieved as part of a team. You may have “shown them the way” (the definition of a leader), and they got there. They deserve the credit.  Yes, you played a major role.  Yes, if you weren’t involved it might not have happened at all. But they still DID it.

Inspire - Teddy Roosevelt - Blue Sky Performance Improvement

It takes a lot of humility to step aside when the accolades come, and deflect them elsewhere. A selflessness that puts aside a certain fear – the one that thinks that unless you strut your stuff out there, it won’t be noticed by your bosses when bonus or promotion time comes.

I succumbed to that fear a few times earlier in my life. I remember a time that I really felt I was being under appreciated, deserved more recognition and probably a promotion…I was sitting in a project review meeting where we had just implemented a new IT system and found myself spouting phrases like…

 “I did that, I found that I achieved that, my system……, I solved this…… I, I, I, I, I, I …..”

I had neglected the fact that this was a huge team effort and in that moment, I wanted to bask in the glory and selfishly grab the limelight. I am sure you can imagine the impact this had on the project team. Luckily I learned, it has taken time, several great mentors, some personal reflection and painful feedback.

The other thing that convinced me once and for all that I shouldn’t take the credit was scientific fact. Jim Collins figured it all out in one of my favorite business books, Good to Great. The leaders of all the “Great” companies all had this humility – they gave the credit to someone else.  And it was researched, and documented, many times over. Because they didn’t DO it.  They just showed the way.  Collins calls them “Level 5 Leaders” – they’ve taken leadership up another very important notch.

As Teddy Roosevelt said in his famous speech at the Sorbonne in 1910:

The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause”

Greatness will await you, for your team will respond to your selflessness with an even greater desire to make you proud, and start the credit cycle all over again. What will you do differently? Listen to the number of times you use the word ‘I’ in conversations this week…….

Sean@Bluesky

Sean Spugin - Blue Sky Performance Improvement

www.blue-sky.co.uk

Blue Sky Performance Improvement

Could 50 Shades of Grey help your learning stick?

July 31, 2012

It was the conversation over a coffee with friends that made me brave my local bookshop and buy the hottest book of the moment – 50 Shades of Grey.

Even my husband when he saw it in the bedroom (I’d hidden it under a copy of Infinite Jest, another novel I’m trying to get through) cried out “not you as well?!” Yes, it seems that everyone on his commuter train and beyond are mesmerized.

So it made me think ‘wouldn’t it be great if we could design and launch a learning programme that would have the same impact as 50 Shades of Grey?’ A programme that employees would clamour to sign up to and evangelize with their colleagues about the content and learning.

Perform - Handcuffs - Blue Sky Performance Improvement

I am not advocating that learning interventions should involve porn, bondage or domination, just the sentiment that we need to keep designing creative and exciting content to capture employee’s imagination to make learning stick.

And so the Blue Sky 50 Shades of Learning was born by asking our staff to email their lighthearted take on the book and the world of learning. Here are our top 10 for you to enjoy and we want to find the 40 best others from out there in the learning community to make up the 50. If you’d like to send in your contribution, please email hello@blue-sky.co.uk and the top three winners will receive a bottle of Jo Malone perfume or cologne (no handcuffs or gimmicks are involved in this offer!)

The Blue Sky Top 10 Shades of Learning

“Make me cry like I’ve never cried before!” he screamed. “Alright” I said and made him read the entire works of Tom Peters.

“I am your master and you will perform everything I say” …it was then I knew it was time to leave the CIPD.

“I’m curious” he whispered. Never had she felt so deeply probed. She felt exposed from all angles; naked, yet strangely liberated and safe. “So” she said silently to herself, “this is how 360 degree feedback works.”

Wearing my seductive skimpy schoolgirl outfit, I gazed around the room. How was I to know that that was not what they meant by classroom learning?

Once I knew his seven habits…I was disgusted.

He felt his net promoter score rise as she whispered down the phone “thank you, that’s the best customer service I’ve ever experienced”.

My heartbeat raced as I heard him suggest his embedded learning methodology would be different to anything I’d ever experienced before…

He brought a new meaning to the phrase “yes, we can plug the leak in your sales pipeline…”

His PowerPoint presentation was the longest I had ever seen. Slide after slide after slide after slide of animated ecstasy. I died a thousand deaths before I fell into a deep untroubled sleep.

She lay back, disappointed. It was all over so quickly. “Oh” she said, “that’s what you meant by accelerated learning!”

Briege@Bluesky

Briege Kearney - Director - Client Development - Blue Sky Performance Improvement

www.blue-sky.co.uk

Blue Sky Performance Improvement

Why are toilets with a cleaning checklist on the wall always dirty?

July 20, 2012

Have you noticed that the more dirty public toilets are, the more likely you are to find a cleaning checklist detailing how often the toilets should be checked and cleaned, requiring the signature of the person to be publicly responsible for having done that?

Deliver - Toilet - Blue Sky Performance Improvement

Why does this phenomenon exist?

Management = designing an efficient process, i.e. a cleaning checklist, and putting it up on a wall and expecting to get results.  When you are not there the cleaning doesn’t take place and you feel frustrated because you have people that are not up to the job.

Leadership = caring about the individual and what they want and need, inspiring them to do it either because they like you so much they want to do things for you, or you make them believe in something greater than both of you.  Like for example, their work means that every person who comes to their toilet finds it in a beautiful condition, that it slightly lifts their day. This combined with many other slight lifts in the day means they are happier. This means they are kinder to other people. This means the world is more human. Toilets get cleaned without you being there.

James@Bluesky

James Hodgkinson - Blue Sky Performance Improvement

www.blue-sky.co.uk

Blue Sky Performance Improvement

Getting Your Hair Cut Is Like Being A Manager Of People

May 14, 2012

I’ve had a few less than perfect haircuts recently, nothing you as an observer would probably notice, but it affects my confidence.  I have come out of these situations feeling a bit angry with the person responsible for cutting my hair and disappointed in how they have performed.

So there I am, in the hair dressers chair again, and I am reflecting on how I could take responsibility for what had been going wrong, and get the kind of outcome I want; a great haircut.  Perhaps I have had some part to play in a poor outcome.  The first point of self-awareness comes when I realise that I am not always 100% straight and clear about what I want when I am describing how I want the hair cut.

This is because I realise that the truth is I am nervous that other men in the barbers shop will hear what I am saying and secretly laugh at me inside their heads, as surely no proper masculine man worth his salt would really care that much about the way that they look? And have the nerve to talk about it so openly in front of a bunch of men? I understand that actually I am not having the courage to describe clearly and in detail exactly what it is I am looking for in the hair cut, being precise about the exact outcome I am expecting and painting a vivid picture in detail, and then checking back that my understanding is the same as theirs.

I am not having the confidence to say what I want and be clear about it; I am worried about what people might think and what kind of person that makes me.  As I am sat there I am reminded of the conversations I have with managers and sometimes their own fear of being clear in what they want from their teams.  I think they are worried about setting out very clearly what they want and what they expect, and this is what I observe when I see them with their teams.

Confidence - Haircut - Blue Sky Performance Improvement

“I’d like it to really go out at the top of the head on the sides”, I say, “to make a sort of a triangle shape; I think it suits the shape of my face better” I say.   No one in the shop laughs at me.  Actually, I feel very pleased with myself. I feel sort of bigger and stronger.  In fact, I have become so concerned about getting this to be clear, I say it twice.  The girl is great at her job.  She repeats back what it is I am saying and I know she has understood what it is I want. I am delighted inside, I know she has heard and listened and this is the first step. This is all going rather well.

She starts to cut my hair and I am relaxed.  At least, I think I am relaxed until I notice that my hands are clasped incredibly tightly together and they become a little sore as I unclench them and the pressure in my knuckles is released.  I have been clasping them very tightly due to my nervousness of how my hair cut will turn out.   It turns out I haven’t been relaxed at all.  In fact I have been very anxious about how it will turn out and the prospect of more weeks of misery as I wait for my hair to grow back.

I realise that this isn’t helping the situation; I am not helping the situation.  I think at some level if I am tense and anxious she will pick up on this and it will affect her performance.   If I am tense she will be distracted about my reactions, and will not focus so clearly on the task.  So I decide to trust. To let go of the idea that I have much control now over the outcome.   I realise I don’t have much control now anyway in truth. What I can focus on now is deciding to trust her in the task in hand.  She is a professional after all.   I make sure that I don’t look at my hair in the mirror at any stage to give her the message that I am confident about what she is doing.  This is something productive that I can focus on rather than my worry.

“Are you out for lunch?” she says. I am wearing a suit. “Yes” I say happily. It’s a good exchange of pleasantries.  But suddenly things take a turn for the worse, I am aware she seems to be cutting my hair quite fast. This makes me nervous. Why is she doing that? I think. Oh no, this could be going wrong, I think.  Suddenly I understand the reason why.  “She wants to cut it quickly so I can get back to the office quickly” I realise.  I don’t mind about this I think loudly and urgently inside my head, I would rather you cut carefully and it was a good cut I think. But am I going to do? What can I do? I might be making an assumption and embarrass her and make myself look silly if I say anything. I am racking my brains.

I know I am making assumptions but I am worried about the performance I am getting.  Suddenly as she is looking closely at my hair as she cuts I hit up on the answer. “I love the way you are really paying attention to the detail in the cut” I say.  And I make sure I look her in the eye as I say it – so that she knows I mean it.  This seems to have hugely dramatic and positive effect.  I kid you not.  She then spends perhaps the next 30 minutes, an inordinate amount of time it seems, on the tiniest movements and motions. I can’t believe the amount of detail she is going into; I am delighted.  She uses at least seven different tools to do various little jobs around my head and I am thrilled.  It seems that positively affirming what I really like in her behaviour really does produce her to do more of the same.

It’s a great cut, and I am very pleased.  As I go I tell her that, with real feeling.  It’s been an emotional experience for me. And I think she is pleased too.

Of course, I might have been over estimating the impact that I think had on the cut. She might have just been brilliant at her job. But it did make me think about some of the challenges of managing people:

  • Having the courage to be clear about what you want can be hard.  It doesn’t make you a bad person. People like to do well and knowing what well is, is important
  • Letting go of control can be hard. But holding the reins tightly won’t make them perform better.  The more you trust, the more responsibility people tend to take.  Trust implies confidence. Confidence drives performance.
  • Acknowledge and affirm the behaviour you want to see more of. People like to be told they are doing something well.

James@Bluesky

James Hodgkinson - Blue Sky Performance Improvement

www.blue-sky.co.uk

Blue Sky Performance Improvement

Making Training Stick

April 2, 2012

Lots of organisations now spend thousands or even millions of pounds on training programmes every year. But how many of them actually stick, how many make lasting performance differences or behavioural change? Whilst you reflect on that question, let me share with you one reason why many training programmes are not as successful as they could be. That is they are not followed up immediately after the training, they are not consolidated.

If you have ever been on a training course or seminar before, I am certain you will know what I am talking about. You turn up at the venue and the course may even extend to 2 or 3 days. During that time you are mixing and mingling with either colleagues in the same large corporate company or a mixture of people from different companies and backgrounds. There is usually a buzz about the place as the course progresses and in some instances it can be quite entertaining.

What happens next? Still slightly high on the euphoria of all the new tools and techniques you have picked up, you go out with a renewed kind of vigour, desperate to try them out. Then after a few days, at best, maybe a few weeks the lift has almost gone completely and you find yourself slipping back into that fabulous recognisable comfort zone. Is this starting to sound familiar?

Sustain - Blah Blah Blah - Blue Sky Performance Improvement

So what is it that happens and why, in most cases, does the training not deliver the return on investment that you would expect? A huge part of this challenge is down to something called the Ebbinghaus Effect. Please allow me to explain.

Hermann Ebbinghaus carried out the first experimental investigations of memory in Germany from 1879 to 1895. He discovered that our ability to recall information shows a rapid decrease over a very short space of time. After just a few hours, more than 60% of information is lost. A frightening thought! The decline in recall then eases slightly but, even so, within a month, more than 80% can no longer be recalled. His now famous results are known as the Ebbinghaus Curve of Forgetting. So you see, it’s not necessarily the training itself, it’s just the natural human trait of forgetting.

A cause for concern maybe? Let’s look at the possible implications. On a course spanning 3 days, more than 50% of the information given on days 1 and 2 will be lost before the training has ended. A further 50% of day 3 could be lost on the drive or flight home. Now start adding those lost days and attach a monetary value to them.

Ebbinghaus Curve of Forgetting Diagram - Blue Sky Performance Improvement

Imagine in the world of sports, would a Premier league manager give a team talk about strategy in the boot room and then not practice that in a game situation? Would a tennis coach tell you how to improve your forehand in training and then wait until a competition to check whether you have understood it? Training is just the beginning, to truly master a skill in particular takes lots of practice, and some say 10000 hours to master any skill. Lots of training does involve role play and real play activities, which are great for practicing. But real plays are not the real world, it is a bit like swinging a tennis racket in training without the ball or court to practice your forehand, but until you practice that forehand in a real situation with another player and then practice it when it really counts in a competition you cannot test whether you have made improvement and changed your swing. It is the same with delegates, you can start the practice of skill or knowledge transfer in the training room, but you must follow it up with practice in the real world with the ball (customer) and the court (the work environment). We call this practice consolidation. So what do we mean by this?

This is about taking the opportunity to practice and receive further feedback and coaching. The purpose of consolidation is to practice what you have learnt and seek additional feedback and coaching, to refine your skills and address any issues that may prevent you from transferring what you have learnt. To make sure you have the time to practice, polish and improve your skills.

Let’s think about the steps to learning, how do you move people to conscious or unconscious competence? Is this achieved in training? I would argue at best you move people to conscious competence. To really master the skill or apply the new knowledge effectively will take hours of practice. Unless the quality of this practice is monitored and supported, lasting change will not happen, people will slip back into their comfort zones, back into old bad habits and back to unconscious incompetence in some cases. This is where consolidation comes into play.

Top tips

Here are just a few things you could do:

  • Get your line managers to attend the training, so they fully understand the skills or knowledge that needs to be embedded
  • Create a Training Sustainability / Stick ability Plan –  Build in time to work with all stakeholders to achieve this, focus on what will make the training stick and consider what road blocks might make it fail
  • Communicate to the rest of the business what training is taking place
  • Build consolidation, resource and time, into your training budget
  • Ramp up your coaching activity for 6 weeks post training
  • Introduce ‘coach the coach’ activity, there is no point ramping up coaching if the quality of the coaching is not there
  • Start to consolidate your training, this means trainers and leaders spending time immediately after training coaching delegates in the live environment to help support them to embed the learning
  • Align your quality process with what is being trained
  • Plan ahead, ensure that there is significant time set aside following training for line managers to consolidate training
  • Provide trainers with coaching skills necessary to embed the learning back in the real world
  • Train your trainers on how to feedback in the real work environment
  • Conduct post course de briefs at regular intervals, to see how delegates present back what they have learnt, how they have applied their learning, what the impact has been and what the next steps are
  • Review action plans, where delegates committed to learning actions in training
  • Conduct post course surveys, following Kirk Patrick’s learning evaluation model
  • Conduct a TNA two months after training to benchmark skill / knowledge transfer and application compared to pre training TNA
  • Measure the quality of your consolidation activities through surveys
  • Measure ROI, link success to training
  • Celebrate success, recognise people for performance improvement and most importantly, behavioural change
  • Catch people doing things right, fill people’s emotional bank accounts and build their confidence
  • Introduce behavioural coaching, to help people address limiting beliefs and breaking old habits
  • Nudge your team post training, provide them little nudges that support key messages in training
  • Conduct skills drills, use team meetings to focus on specific skill areas
  • Test retention of knowledge 4 weeks after training, not just at the end of training
  • Build in refresher training post course, make this modular and focused on areas where delegates are struggling or need advanced skills to take them to the next level

There are many more things you could do, contact me if you want further thoughts or ideas. The key thing is to remember that learning is a continuous cycle, unless businesses stop thinking of training as isolated interventions….. training will not stick. So next time you roll out a training programme ask your self:

“Will the investment I am making be worthwhile or will the Ebbinghaus Effect take its toll?”

Sean@Bluesky

Sean Spugin - Blue Sky Performance Improvement

www.blue-sky.co.uk

Blue Sky Performance Improvement

I wonder…

March 21, 2012

I was listening to Start the Week on Monday when the programme was exploring the issue of middle age.  That weekend, I had just watched the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and had laughed and cried my way through it and so I was just in the right space for thinking about how I was approaching my middle years (I’m 47, by the way)

On the programme, the poet Simon Armitage said that he thought it wasn’t wisdom that we should focus on cultivating in our middle years but rather the quality of wonder.  I really liked that and it got me thinking  about what it might be like to bring an attitude of wonder to our work…

When running a leadership development programme, I always encourage leaders to approach their learning with curiosity so that, rather than saying ‘damn, I didn’t get that right’ they’d be more likely to say ‘mmm, interesting, I wonder why I did that… ’.  And that leads me to think about how much more we might get from our daily experiences if we took that attitude in our daily life…we’d be more likely to  increase our levels of self awareness, for sure, and I reckon it would feel a lot kinder too.

Flower - Discover - Blue Sky Performance Improvement

There’s a Chinese proverb that says ‘a truly great person never puts away the simplicity of a child’ and I think the same can be said for the sense of delight and wonder they have about the world around them.  My mindfulness practice has taught me to, every so often, really savour a moment and soak up the experience. So it could be that, in between rushing from one meeting to the next, you take a minute (yes, even you can fit a 60 second pause before that next meeting…) to stop and look at a flower (no, not hug a tree…just look at a flower), whether it’s in a display or outside, and really be amazed at the intricacy and beauty of what nature produces; or to really taste the different flavours of the tea in your cup and think about where that tea came from, who might have picked it, what his or her life might be like or who stacked the box of tea on to the shelves in your local supermarket.  How often are we really IN each moment, allowing ourselves to notice what’s wonderful?

There’s also a sense of wonder that we connect to when we do something for the first time and have a new experience.  For many of us, we have chosen to stay in some well trodden paths in our lives (dare I suggest that they may have become ruts…?) and we can realise with a jolt that it’s been a while since we did anything new.  Does that resonate for you? So whether it’s taking that ballroom dancing lesson that your partner has been wanting to do,  taking a new route to work or popping into the art gallery down the road in your lunch hour, try and build in something to your day that is novel and may well create an opportunity for wonder…

So, thank you Simon Armitage for reminding me about what’s important.  And I’m also going to buy The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel on DVD to remind me how to embrace my middle years , and beyond, with wonder.

Helena@Bluesky

Helena Clayton - Blue Sky Performance Improvement

www.blue-sky.co.uk

Blue Sky Performance Improvement