I live in the middle of a desert along with three million or so other people (Phoenix, Arizona). Most of us moved here from really cold places like Minnesota, Michigan, or Ohio. No matter what our place of origin, many of us like to have a garden. A few vegetables, flowers, trees or shrubs. But most of us have learned that we need to get used to some very different kinds of flora and fauna. Cactus, Yucca, Agavé, Creosote, Palo Verde, and so forth have replaced Rhododendron, Azalea, and Maple. Everything is different. It is hotter, drier, the “soil” is like concrete, there’s lots of salt and dust, the “growing” season is twelve months long, and you can never work in the garden without bleeding from contact with something with lots of thorns. Nonetheless, even with so many differences, the basic principles of gardening still apply. The gardener needs to have an objective in mind, develop a plan, choose appropriate plants, prepare the soil, plant with care, fertilize, irrigate, weed, prune, harvest, etc. The gardener also needs to have plans for emergencies. What do you do about pests? Droughts? Floods? Hate mail from your HOA (home owners association)?
How do you know your money is being well spent on leadership training? How can you tell if it’s really impacting your company in a tangible and effective way? Gordon Training International offers a pre and post LET 360 assessment and Tim (L.E.T. Trainer, San Diego) explains how the 360 assessment is an unbiased way to look at what is and isn’t working within the dynamics of an organization.
Change: (def.) 1. Money in small denominations, 2. Action(s) usually initiated by management which may create anger, resentment, hostility, complaining, threats of resignation, shattered morale, a mutiny and/or other expressions of discontent.
Most people don’t like change – even the slightest can be difficult because it requires effort. Change disrupts people’s routines, taking them out of their comfort zones. Yet, change is inevitable, and leaders who possess high E.Q. (empathy quotient) understand what it takes to massage change throughout an organization.
Take an extreme case where a company implements a brand-new project management system where everyone is affected – a system that radically changes how management, employees, customers and vendors interact with each other. In the long run, the company (hopefully) will become more efficient and productive. In the short run, perhaps over the course of 6-12 months, transitioning will be time consuming and painful, requiring people to work longer hours as they learn the new system AND go through training.
There’s lots of talk of a “new normal” rate of unemployment. In other words, we just need to get used to 9% or so of us not having a job. Economic growth of 2% will become the norm. Hian Teck Hoon (Singapore Management University) and Edmund Phelps (Columbia University) believe that the unemployment rate will stabilize at about 7% for the foreseeable future . They argue that one of the primary reasons for this is the lack of innovation in business and industry. There was a time when concerns about Japanese efficiency were overshadowed by the Americans’ ability to innovate. No matter how diligent, hard working, and dedicated the Japanese workforce, nothing could overtake the relentless innovation coming from the U.S. Well, not so much any more! Hian and Phelps continue by suggesting that the U.S. labor force will shrink with the exodus of retiring baby boomers, and that technology innovation will continue to decline leading to a lowering of productivity growth. So, how do you combat this? What needs to happen to stimulate more innovation? Spend more money? Start new programs? What? No one, of course, really knows the complete answer to this. What we can do is look at our own organizations and assess whether they are encouraging innovation or not.
Effective leadership training means that leaders may need to change THEIR habits as opposed to changing the people they lead. Often, employee problems are caused by lack of encouragement in regards to input, creativity and problem solving within the organization. As Tim M. (San Diego L.E.T. Trainer) explains, sometimes a small adjustment that will allow team members to express themselves and pursue their full potential is all it takes to dramatically increase morale. The power of leadership training is that it gives you the skills to create a working environment where team members work WITH you, not FOR you.
If you want to see me instantly transmogrify into a seventy-foot-tall geyser of irrational, mouth-frothing annoyance, it’s really easy.
Lock me in a conference room full of motivational posters.
It’s a form of post-traumatic stress disorder, I’m sure, tied to the year I worked an administrative assistant job for a giant Boston-based management consultancy. The Chicago office was lousy with this “artwork,” which I’m sure you’ve seen (it’s deservedly and deliciously mocked at www.despair.com). As an aside, I’ve always felt kind of sorry for the photographers who took all those magnificent images photos of nature—trees, streams, rivers, animals, sunsets, mountains, stars—that were then licensed by one of Satan’s underlings and defaced with chirpy, empty happy-talk.
Think Big! Be Great! Take Risks! Succeed!
I don’t care how much you believe in the power of positive thinking, that gets a little tiresome after a while. Especially in a work environment that’s not in any other way motivational.
“Do it, or else!” It sounds simple and, in some ways, compelling for wannabe leaders. “Why do I need to be a “babysitter” and listen to all the whining and moaning? My people should just do what I tell them or suffer the consequences.” On the surface, this seems easy but as with many simple-minded ideas, the truth is much more complicated. We all know that punishment works. Under certain conditions, punishing unwanted behavior will reduce or eliminate it. Or, at least, make it invisible. What punishment teaches is how to avoid punishment. One way to avoid being punished for a certain behavior is to stop behaving that way. So, if you are punished for spending work time on facebook, you could stop spending time on facebook during working hours. There are, of course, other ways to avoid punishment. You could become more clever about your facebook usage – camouflage it in some way. Learn to minimize the screen when you hear footsteps, keep your office door closed, use the internet only in the common computer room (if computer use is monitored), etc. Or, you could lie about it. “I was using facebook for find experts on the new process. It was strictly work related.” You could plead ignorance. “You mean it’s not O.K. to be on facebook during working hours? I’m shocked.” You could beg forgiveness. “It was just this one time. It will never happen again. Please, don’t hurt me.” None of those responses, of course, are what the leader is hoping for.
You take a leadership training workshop and love it. You’re all excited about the new communication and conflict resolution skills you’ve just learned. And when you return to work, perhaps one thought in your head is, “Can I really make a difference here? After all, I’m just one person.” The answer is, “YES!” Tim (San Diego L.E.T. Trainer) shares some examples he witnessed first-hand in his recent Leader Effectiveness Training Workshop, where one person did make difference. This impactful leadership training isn’t just for upper level managers—it’s also great for team members.
Several days ago, I was tipping back a Starbucks with Steve, a very good friend of mine who I regard as one of the most successful salespeople I know. His approach is friendly, non-aggressive and authentic – the kind of guy who doesn’t hesitate telling a prospective customer a relationship with his company wouldn’t work if he doesn’t believe he can really help them. If he were to take an E.Q. test, he would likely ace it with ease.
Roughly thirty minutes into our friendly banter, the conversation suddenly took a hard left when I heard him say, “I hate my job.” I was stunned. “What do you mean?” I asked. In an instant, the floodgates opened, giving me a chance to practice my Active Listening skills that I learned in a leadership training program.
As I mentioned in my last post, I’m a sucker for good movies. And they’re very hard to find.
I understand, intellectually, that there is a large, hungry audience waiting to gobble up movies in which the protagonist undertakes a risky and foolish venture, thereby triggering a series of events that unleashes a devastating cascade of humiliations and injuries—a flood, if you will, of karmic failures and abuses. The genre has been labeled “cringe comedy,” and ever since the Farrelly brothers gave us “There’s Something About Mary,” millions have paid much to watch many bad things happen to helpless, hapless anti-heroes.
I understand that the target audience for cringe comedy finds said humiliations and injuries utterly hilarious, especially as it builds to the most embarrassing, painful conclusion imaginable.
As a female over 40, I am not a member of that target audience.
A lot of breakthroughs can happen in a Leader Effectiveness Training workshop, but what happens six months later? With any learning, we tend to forget details, concepts, and skills if they are not practiced on a daily basis. Tim (San Diego L.E.T. Trainer) suggests having a refresher workshop that will review the key concepts and skills that an individual learned in a previous L.E.T. Workshop. This dynamic one-day workshop really pays off for businesses that want their team to retain and practice their leadership training skills. The L.E.T. Refresher Workshop also allows participants to receive helpful feedback from the L.E.T. Trainer on what’s worked and what hasn’t.