Monday, December 24, 2012

The best vow for 2013

Yesterday evening I was watching the Spike Lee documentary on Michael Jackson. I'm not the biggest Michael fan, but started exploring music in the eighties, so I was definitely influenced with his music.

When I was listening to "The man in the Mirror" yesterday evening I realized the important message in it. Of all the vows we'll make on New Years evening, there is only one important condition :

I'm starting with the man in the mirror
I'm asking him to change his ways
And no message could have been any clearer
If you wanna make the world a better place
Take a look at yourself and then make the change

We all have a huge potential inside us. We just have to go for it, pick up responsibility and push through, even when things are not going our way. Believe in yourself, release your own potential and make all your vows come through. 

And for the Michael Jackson fans, I just included the videoclip :

Merry Christmas and a Fantastic 2013 !

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Getting connected - a story about authenticity

If you want to be successful you need to get connected to people around you. 
  • The sales person needs to get connected to sell his product
  • The CEO needs to get connected to his staff to inspire them with his vision, strategy and drive his business
  • The teacher needs to get connected with his students
  • The mother and father need to be connected with their kids
The era of the lonely cowboy who didn't need anybody else to be successful is over. 

But how comes some people get connected and others don't ?  

I believe the answer is AUTHENTICITY ! 
  • Authentic people are people who are honest. Honest to themselves and honest to their surrounding. 
  • Authentic people dare to speak up and give an opinion. 
  • Authentic people are assertive. This means they have respect for themselves and for others. 
  • Authentic people tell about their believes
  • Authentic people choose the people they want to connect with. They don't need to be connected to everybody. They get connected to people with similar believes and values. 
  • Authentic people are genuinely interested in other people. 
  • Authentic people speak about their successes and failures and they learn from these events. 
What can we learn from this ? 
If you want to be successful, make up your mind. Be honest to yourself and find people you want to connect with. Don't spoil your energy and time on people you don't like or don't feel connected with. Being connected feeds your energy and business and leads to success. 
One more thing. Getting connected and being authentic is NOT a thing you do sometimes. You do it all the time. Every day of the year. If you don't do it all the time, you are not genuinely honest and you will fail. Live it and get connected !

Friday, December 14, 2012

Return on Expectations for Learning & Development

December is for many companies the month of making new ideas for the next year, budgeting and trying to convince stakeholders to get the necessary money to roll out these plans. Learning & Development is no different from any other department in the organization and needs to define (ever smaller) budgets.
While defending those budgets we often get the question "What will be the Return on Investment" of all these plans ? Calculating the Return on Investment of Training is a very difficult exercise and perhaps even impossible. Especially if you are talking about leaderships development, communication skills, ... what will be the ROI of those kind of trainings ? Do we only take into account the direct impact of the training or also the indirect (retention, motivation,

An example
e.g. your organization rolls out a leadership training. You develop the competences of you managers during a one year time span with a mix of classroom trainings, coachings, workshops, ... Perhaps you've even sent them to a development center before and after the training activity. And now is the time to calculate the ROI of the program. You can measure if any of the managers left the company, (at that moment you need to know why he left the company), does his team deliver better results due (to what extent is this a result of the training ? ), ... you see, it'll be very hard to calculate the result of the training.
The same goes for safety trainings. People well know and understand the procedure. They know how to react in case of fire, but I hope they won't need this knowledge. When will you be able to calculate the ROI of this training ?

The 2 option strategy :
Organizations have two options : they invest in their staff through 
learning & development or they don't

If they invest in learning & development (and they should, since this is an important motivator), they'd better prepare the training very well and be in line with the EXPECTATIONS of the business.

Defining Return on Expectations
A few months ago I wrote an article on the New World Kirkpatrick Model.
I do believe learning & development should sometimes invest more time on the preparation of a training. Asking stakeholders (CEO, managers, employees, ...) the following questions :
  • What should be the result of the training?  
  • What is going wrong today and how do they want it in the future ? 
  • What is the behavior today and how should it be ? 

This requires from learning & development to get connected with the business and align learning plans with business needs. Based on this input, they can define the solution (wheather it is a classroom training, seminar, workshop, reading a book, peer coaching, e-learning, ...)
Not only before the training, but perhaps even more important, after the training they should re-check if they meet up to the expectations of the business and continue supporting business untill expecations are met. You can easily apply the Plan-Do-Check-Act approach by Deming untill business has the right output to further develop the organization. 

Leave your nice and warm office. Get connected with the business. Ask them what their EXPECTATIONS, what they need to achieve their goals and define your trainings, based on these needs. If you do, you will automatically deliver qualitative learning plans and results that support the business. 

Friday, December 7, 2012

Getting Santa angry – how to be bad at giving feedback

A while ago I found this great youtube movie about a group of people who want to record Santa’s worldfamous “HOHOHO”. Look at the movie before you continue this blogpost.

When we look at this movie we see Santa’s mood change from enthousisatic to confused to angry. While he was motivated in the beginning, he is completely upset in the end.

Why ?
Because the other people gave him the worst feedback in the world :
·      Everybody had an opinion (not always the same)
·      They gave him fuzzy feedback
·      No matter what Santa tried, they always gave him negative feedback
·      Nobody actually showed him how he should do it

How we do it in business life
When we are coaching, many people fail at giving good feedback. Feedback that helps the associate grow to better performance. We are facing difficulties to make our point, be clear, stay positive and explain by example.

What can we learn from this ?
Next time you coach, use this step by step approach :
  • Make sure you have a clear picture of the result you want to achieve with the coaching.  (Goal)
  • Involve the associate in the improvement process (does he have any suggestions? what are his feelings with the current performance ? …)
  • Stay positive and motivate him to further improve
  • Never ever confuse him by letting all of your colleagues give feedback at the same time :-)
Good luck and I already wish you a merry X-Mas.


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

When the light turns yellow

When we are riding our car and suddenly the light turns from green to yellow, many people who are in a rush consider the risk in the blink of an eye and speed up the car to get through before the light turns red. Why, because we want to advance, we don't want to be stopped.

When business is going well (green light), we are cruising and continuing our journey. But when business is getting in rougher times (yellow light) and there is a chance we go down (red light), suddenly we become anxious and start hesitating. We hesitate to take a decision, we hesitate to invest, we are paralyzed by risk ... we do everything but speeding up, although we all know that should be the answer to rougher times. Take action. Go for you goals. Live your dreams.

So next time your business faces difficulties, don't paralyze, but keep on taking action before your business is stopped.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Nu guts, no glory - decide now !

Since 2009, more than ever, the financial crisis has been used too often as an excuse for not taking any decision. There is too much uncertainty, perhaps next year, ... or even worse, managers who hire very expensive consultants to formulate an advise and afterwards they blame the consultant if things turn out wrong. STOP this unheroic behavior ! This behavior will not make the world rock.

Indecisive managers
Employees want managers who take tough decisions, who dare to make a choice. They hate indecisive  managers. Late Stephen Covey described the 7 habits for effective leadership. The 3 first habits are :

  1. be pro-active
  2. Begin with the end in mind
  3. Put first things first

I honestly believe you should have the end in mind and set priorities and as long as you do, you can easily take decisions. Does the issue fit in the master plan or not ?
When an employee asks you to take a decision, you look at the facts, discuss how you should tackle the situation and decide. Even if the decision turns out to be not that successful in the end, your employee will appreciate you had the guts to decide.

Especially in rough times, like in times of crisis, people want strong personalities who dare to take decisions. This creates a feeling of higher certainty. There is a clear correlation between motivation and decisive managers.

Entrepreneurial associates
On the other hand, managers want entrepreneurial employees, who take initiative and who contribute to the organization. If you are an employee and you have a great idea, speak up ! Don't expect your manager to have all the great innovative ideas.

The right setting
All of the above sounds correct, don't you think ? Here are some ideas to create the right setting :

  1. don't shoot people who dare to come up with new ideas (although they might sound a little strange in the beginning)
  2. allow people to make a mistake. Forgive them if a decision turns out to be a mistake, as long as they learn from it.
  3. don't overanalyze to postpone your decisions - calculate the risk, start doing and follow-up.
  4. Dare to...
To end 
Awhile ago a saw an interview on youtube between Richard Branson and Seth Godin. In the interview Richard Branson explains his vision about entrepreneurial mind who dares to take decisions, who might fail, but who learn form it. As said by Richard Branson : "Try everything you can and you'll sleep ok. If you give up, you'll forever kick yourself."