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Category Archives: Training Tools

One of the best ways to develop your staff? Let them train others!

Last week, in our series on specific actions you can take to grow and develop your staff, I said that you should thoughtfully communicate your long-term goals and plans to them.  Today’s idea: Let them teach others.

Let them teach others

This one is so brilliant that I am always astonished when people seem surprised to hear this!  For thousands of years, people have known that the best way to understand a concept is to explain it to someone else. In fact, the Roman philosopher Seneca is credited with saying “While we teach, we learn,” in the 1st century AD.  And this notion is absolutely applicable in the workplace, to great advantage.

If you want to grow and develop your staff, get them to train others.  Sure, the obvious benefit is that it will help them develop greater depth in whatever their area of expertise is, but the advantages go far beyond that.  Continue reading

Enhance leadership development by thoughtfully communicating long-term plans

In my last instalment in this video series on employee leadership development, I explained how showing your people that you’re vulnerable will create an atmosphere in which continuous learning is encouraged and supported.  Today’s strategy is to regularly share information with your employees on your organization’s long-term goals and plans.

Let your employees know about long-term goals and plans

There is an old saying – “If you don’t know where you’re going, don’t be surprised if you don’t get there.”  And it certainly applies here.  If your employees don’t know what your goals and intentions are for the long-term, then they will not be in any position to help you get there.  In fact, they may inadvertently work at cross-purposes to your plans, simply because they don’t know any better.

But … if you share this information with them frequently and regularly, then the opposite will happen.  Continue reading

Employee growth and development tip #3

It’s been almost two weeks since I posted our last tip in our new video series for 2019 on creating an environment that fosters employee growth and development.  Tip #2 was to support your employees’ career aspirations.  But I’m back today with Tip #3: set an example by being a positive role model for continuous learning.

Set the example as a continuous learner

Don’t just tell your people that you believe in employee growth and development, show them.  If you expect them to continue to develop and grow as employees, then be prepared to also walk the talk.

Demonstrate that you are a continuous learner by attending training programs – both shorter lunch-and-learn sessions, and longer full-day or extended programs.  Display that you’re open to new learning by listening to what the subject matter experts on your team have to say.  And ask intelligent questions about the information they are sharing to show that you value their expertise.  If you’re not completely up to speed on the nuances of social media, ask your tech-savvy staff to reveal some of their favourite tips and tricks.  Even better, have one of them do a short presentation at your next team meeting.

My point is that if you want your staff to buy into employee growth and development, then you need to set an example by doing the same.  So be a positive role model.

I’ll be back next week (I promise) with the next strategy in this series.  But in the meantime, I’d like to know what you think.  What gets in the way of you investing in continuous learning?  I’ll tell you what I hear most often – lack of time for supervisors and managers.  Is that true for you as well?  How do you get past it?  Please share your experiences by commenting below.

Looking for ways to develop employees? The simplest is to invest in training

Earlier this month, I promised that this year I would give you a series of frequent quick video blogs focusing specifically on ways to develop employees – explicit, pragmatic and actionable ideas to develop and grow your people not only into accomplished professionals, but also the future leaders in your organization.  Today, I am excited to kick off this brand-new series with one specific suggestion that I hope you’ll find quick and easy to implement.  And expect more of the same in the weeks and months to come.

Invest in training

So here is the first instalment in ways to develop employees: invest in training.  Not much of a surprise, is it?  The key word here is “invest”.  An investment creates an expectation of a positive return on that investment, and thoughtful, good-quality training rarely disappoints.  When you invest time and money into training and professional development for your people, it tells them that you value them, and it is this very aspect of the training investment that causes people to pay attention, absorb and put their learnings into action, all for the benefit of your organization.

Two common objections

Now I’ve heard many of the common objections to this strategy.  Continue reading

Garbage in, garbage out: poor inputs result in poor outputs

garbage in, garbage outGarbage in, garbage out is a phrase I learned in one of my first-year Computer Science classes, back in my university days.  It was used to express the important concept that incorrect or poor quality input will always produce faulty output.  I learned this phrase in the context of computers, but it’s a phrase that is just as easily applicable to the world of work.  Except, in recent times, I think we might have forgotten it.

Whether it’s hiring employees, sourcing out raw materials, or investing in training, I see repeated examples of short-sighted managers focusing only on solving the immediate problem.  Staff shortage? Let’s hire the first warm body that seems to have the required modicum of skills.  Need to cut costs?  Let’s find the cheapest material inputs.  New software or processes?  Let’s give our people the bare minimum of training and get them back to doing “real work” as soon as possible.

The problem with “Garbage in, garbage out”

The problem of course with all these approaches is what I said earlier – garbage in, garbage out.  When you are desperate enough to hire the first applicant simply because he meets the required minimums, you’ll never get off the turnover treadmill.   When your entire focus is on trying to find cheaper average inputs, your final product will always be of poor quality.  When you shortchange your people on the training they need, you’ll find yourself having to waste time and money doing it again later. Continue reading

All our audio CDs are over 80% off – just $13 each!!

Over the holiday season, I mentioned to a young person in my life how our educational audio CDs on our site don’t sell as well as our digital downloadable products.  “CDs are so 1998!” she scoffed.  I had to laugh at her candour.  There’s a lot of truth in what she said, but I still listen to CDs and I’m willing to bet that some of you do as well.  Yeah, I know, I just dated myself, but I’m okay with that.  Nevertheless, I pride myself in at least trying to stay hip and happenin’!  So in the spirit of staying current in the 21st century, we decided here in my office to clear out our inventory of educational audio CDs.

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Over 80% off the regular price

From now until February 15 (or until inventory runs out), we’re putting all the audio CDs on my site on sale!  For an unheard of price of $13 each!  These are normally priced at $67, so if you are still a CD listener, these are an incredible bargain.  There are 22 different titles to choose from – giving effective feedback, having difficult conversations, juggling your workload, to name just three – and each one covers step-by-step, how-to specifics on just about every common workplace leadership dilemma you might face.  Each CD comes with a downloadable note-taking outline that you can use to capture your key takeaways.

You can’t beat $13!

At this price, this is a very cost-effective way to build your leadership toolkit.  The sale price applies to CDs only, not our digital download products, but if you live in Canada or the continental United States, shipping is still free.  And if you live elsewhere, we’ll advise you of the very nominal shipping charge and get your approval before we ship.

Use code ITIS2018 at checkout

This never-before price is in effect only as long as inventories last or until February 15, whichever comes first.  SO DON’T DELAY!  Visit our Leadership Store and use code ITIS2018 at checkout.

What school teachers already know about employee training

classroomAs a leader, you recognize the value of investing in training for your employees.  A skilled workforce leads to improved performance and productivity, which means that your staff can do their jobs more effectively on a day-to-day basis.  When people understand their roles, they know how to achieve positive outcomes, and operate more productively.  When you equip your employees with the skills they need to embrace new techniques and procedures, you also maintain your competitiveness.  And when you invest in employee training, you positively impact employee morale and commitment, and eventually performance levels.  All of which means that you want your investment in employee training to not only be useful in the short-term but also last in the long-term!

What makes employee training effective?

So what does it take to make employee training effective?  What is it that ensures that your people are able to understand what is being taught AND influences them to take action?  The answer, not surprisingly, can be found in the education profession.  School teachers are well aware of the value of formative assessment tools to help students learn more effectively.  Essentially, formative assessment strategies are a range of procedures used by school teachers to progressively modify teaching and learning activities when working with students.  And these same tools can be just as powerful when it comes to employee training.  Here are four strategies that teachers use with school children that can be just as effective for leaders to use in the workplace with employees. Continue reading

When the policy manual is a good thing …

Last year, one of my regular columns in The Globe & Mail was titled Three reasons to ignore your company’s policy manual and in it, I made the case for being flexible in the application of company rules and policies.  Which might lead one to think that I’m against policy and procedure manuals.  But regular readers of the blog will know that I’m not; in fact, I happen to think that procedure manuals are definitely worth the effort, particularly when it comes to training employees, or dealing with crisis situations.  CombinationLockThe best way for me to explain this apparent contradiction is to use the metaphor of an old-fashioned combination lock.  If you know the correct numbers and the right sequence for a specific combination lock, then you can be guaranteed that the lock will open.  Sure, you may get a little confused, or your hands may shake while you’re spinning the dial, but if the numbers and sequence are accurate, and despite the fact that you may need several tries, the ultimate outcome is that the lock will open.

Think about your procedure manual as the established record of the required numbers and sequence in a combination lock.  When needed, employees can gain access to this information, and even if they are inexperienced or unnerved, they can still deal with the situation; they can still open the lock to get the outcome they desire. Continue reading

“Learning by doing” outshines “teaching”

As a leader, you know that employee training is important. And for most people, training translates to “teaching” – a structured or unstructured process to convey information from an expert who knows to those who don’t. But as someone who has worked for years to help people develop and hone their leadership skills, I can tell you that the best training is not “teaching”, it’s “learning”; in fact, it’s “learning by watching” and “learning by doing”. I know this sounds like I’m splitting hairs, so let me explain. Actually, instead of trying to tell you, why don’t I show you? … Rather, why don’t I let this very illustrative video do it for me …

Watching, and learning by doing, means that people learn how to think. They understand the logic; they comprehend not only the how and the what of their actions, but also the why. And when employees grasp the why, they are better able to deal with things that are outside the norm; if you understand the reasoning, you then GET the implications of taking atypical actions. Continue reading

Training employees – GPS or paper map?

GirlMapGPSDo you remember when Global Positioning System (GPS) devices were not as ubiquitous as they are today?  I do.  I remember having no choice but to use paper maps; studying one before I went somewhere important, turning it sideways and upside down while standing at a street corner in order to orient myself in the right direction, and looking for other landmarks around me to pinpoint my location (once I realized that I was hopelessly lost).

Yes, I admit it, I love GPS devices!  After all, what could be easier?  A pleasant voice telling me to turn left, drive for 6 miles, turn right, make a U-turn and then arrive at my destination.  And if I happen to miss a turn, the just-as-pleasant reprimand — “recalculating”.  Continue reading