When my youngest niece graduated from high school, the class valedictorian at the convocation ceremonies celebrated the group’s accomplishments and encouraged his classmates to further learn and challenge themselves. During his address, this quote by Paulo Coelho, celebrated Brazilian lyricist and author, caught my attention.
Straight roads do not make skillful drivers
– Paulo Coelho
True for both high-school students and adults in the workplace
From the perspective of the graduation ceremonies, it was obviously directed at the young people in the room who were about to embark on their adult journeys and adventures. But it occurred to me then that this piece of wisdom was just as applicable in the workplace, particularly in the context of continuous learning. Continue reading →
All year, I’ve been focusing on doing a series of video tips on employee development ideas – each one a specific, pragmatic, and actionable idea you can use to help your employees develop and grow into accomplished professionals and the future leaders in your organization. As 2019 draws to a close, today’s tip #25 is actually my final one in this series, and I hope you’ve found them practical and useful. I hope you’ve been thinking about how you can harness your people power to build your employees and create results. The final idea: look for deliberate ways to allow your employees opportunities to interact with your clients.
Give your employees opportunities to interact with your clients
At the end of the day, no matter what type of organization you are, your clients are your reasons for being. If you’re a for-profit company, they are the source of your revenues. If you are a not-for-profit, your clients are why you exist. All year, we’ve talked about different employee development ideas, so it makes perfect sense that we close out this series with a strategy that specifically focuses on helping your people grow and develop their client relationships. Continue reading →
Today’s post continues with our 2019 series of video tips on employee development – specific practical things you can do as a leader to help your employees learn and grow into the future leaders of your organization. Today’s strategy: promote and support mental and physical health initiatives for your people.
Promote and support mental and physical health
At first glance, you might think this is an unusual piece of advice. But it actually makes a great deal of sense. Let’s take a closer look. Employee development is about creating highly-engaged employees. But significant research has shown us that highly-engaged employees are not always healthy – physically and mentally – which means that their effectiveness is only short-term. Think about it – a high-potential, highly-engaged staff member who works long, demanding hours but doesn’t know how to cope or take care of his health is someone whose productivity will only last until he burns out. So if you want to your employee development efforts to be successful, you need to help and support your people in managing their daily stress loads. Continue reading →
We’ve been talking all year on the blog about specific ideas to develop your employees, and today’s tip now brings us up to Strategy #23. It is to deliberately and consciously seek out opportunities to praise and acknowledge your staff for good work.
Be deliberate about praising and acknowledging your staff for their good work
In order to grow and develop, people need to know how they’re doing. In fact, back in Strategy #10, I talked about both why and how to give constructive feedback. The goal was that employees should have enough information to change their behaviours and actions for the better. But don’t just tell your staff what to improve. Positive feedback, praise, acknowledgement for a job well done is just as powerful a tool to develop your employees.
Two powerful reasons to do this!
When we praise and acknowledge, it tells employees what they are doing well, and therefore, encourages them to continue. That alone, is a really good reason to do it! But even more than that, recognition for doing good work builds morale. When staff feel good about themselves, they are more invested in themselves and in the department or organization, which means that productivity and performance will go up too. So make it a point to deliberately and thoughtfully recognize your staff whenever you can. Even though more is possible, a simple thank you that is tied to a specific action or behavior will suffice. Praise and recognition can be given privately or publicly, think about what will be more appreciated by the person you are acknowledging. It doesn’t matter how or where, just do it. Try it, I think you’ll find that praise and acknowledgement can be a simple, yet powerfully effective tool to develop your employees.
So …. I’d love to hear from you. Are you being deliberate about acknowledging and praising good work done by your employees? If not, why not? I’d love to hear more.
I referred to Strategy #10 above. But if you’re looking for more, you can access the complete series in our Video Archives.
Today’s blog post is another instalment in our continuing video series on specific ideas for growing and developing your employees. Today’s strategy for developing your employees is to include them in the hiring process for new staff members.
Let your high-potential employees help you hire other staff
The benefits of this strategy are two-fold. First, the more obvious one is that it develops their skills. If you envision that your high-potential employees are going to be the future leaders in your organization, then the skills of recruiting, screening, interviewing and selecting the right employees are ones that they need to acquire and hone. What better way to accomplish this than to include them in the process so that they can observe and learn from you and other experts in your company. Not only will they develop these very important skills, but being actively involved in the process gives them a first-hand insight into what it takes to get the right people in the right jobs for the success of the organization.
Many people dream of taking the leap from employee to entrepreneur. Whether it’s the idea of following a passion to make a difference, the appeal of being in control of your own destiny, or the flexibility of working for yourself, the desire to “go out on your own” is one that I hear repeatedly.
When I started my leadership development consultancy in 2002, I took a giant leap of faith. I left the security of a thriving career as a financial manager in a multinational company to venture into the enormous abyss of building a company from the ground up. “I didn’t know what I did not know” is an apt synopsis for my early years. Today, almost eighteen years later, I have the benefit of hindsight. So in my regular column in today’s issue of The Globe and Mail, I share seven distinct lessons that I learned as an entrepreneur. True, everyone’s entrepreneurial journey will be different. But if you’re considering the leap from employee to entrepreneur, then I hope that my lessons learned will help you avoid a few speedbumps along the way.
Today’s blog post is Strategy #21 in our ongoing series on specific ideas to develop your staff as the current and future leaders in your organization. And it is: regularly discuss and explain your financial results.
Discuss and explain your financial results regularly
If you are going to develop your staff as the future of your organization, then they need to understand the numbers. Where are your revenues coming from? What are you spending on? How much do you pay in taxes? And what is left over for profit? Even if you are a not-for-profit entity, your people still need to know what your funding sources are, where the funds are being spent, and whether and how you are in a surplus or deficit position. If you are going to grow and develop your staff, then they need to be financially literate; they need to know about the dollars and cents. And one of the best ways to build this financial literacy in your people is to regularly discuss and explain your financial results.
Do three things to develop your staff in financial literacy
At minimum, to develop your staff in financial literacy, you should be doing three things. First, share your organization’s and department’s financial results monthly. Now don’t just mass-distribute the financial statements; most people find them overwhelming and they’ll likely get ignored. Instead give your staff simplified versions that report just on your company’s critical numbers. Continue reading →
It’s been a few weeks since I’ve posted a video in our ongoing series on ideas and tips to develop and grow your employees. Today’s strategy focuses on employee training – specifically to hold “Learn at Lunch” sessions for your staff.
Hold “Learn at Lunch” sessions
In my leadership practice, one of the most common concerns I hear raised when it comes to employee training is the lack of time available to take employees away from day-to-day responsibilities. In these situations, I often suggest a “Learn at Lunch” program. These can be a great way to develop and motivate staff, while creating a collaborative, communicative and learning workplace.
So what is a Learn at Lunch session? It’s usually a 30-45 minute informal presentation organized by your company for your staff over the lunch hour, led either by internal employees or external resources, as needed. While they can pretty much be held anywhere, they’re often, held in the cafeteria, auditorium, or a conference room. As an incentive to attend, most organizations provide lunch, but if that’s not feasible for you, you can invite your employees to bring their own lunch during the session.
What kind of informal employee training is appropriate?
Today’s instalment is #19 in our ongoing series on practical ideas to develop and grow your employees. And in this one, I look specifically at one powerful way to increase employee engagement. It is to make it a point to celebrate and share small wins with the team and others.
Celebrate and share small wins
The reality is that while big successes are often recognized and discussed, the small victories tend to fly under the radar. Which is a huge missed opportunity for you, the leader, to create employee engagement. So make it a point to surface these smaller accomplishments, and not only will you increase employee engagement, but development and motivation as well.
In a previous strategy in this series (#18), I talked about using your staff meetings to review and analyze one thing that didn’t go as well as expected as a way to systematize learning from failure. This approach for sharing small wins is similar, but it focuses on successes instead.
Systematize celebrating small wins in your staff meetings
For every staff meeting you hold, establish a permanent agenda item called “Wins” or “Successes”. Continue reading →
In today’s blog post, I’m back with another idea in our ongoing series of specific things that leaders can do to encourage and support employee learning. Today’s tip: systematize learning from failure.
Normalize failure and systematize how you learn from it
At some point or another, we all fail. Sometimes it’s a new process that doesn’t work out quite the way we’d hoped or intended. Other times it’s an idea we tried to sell to others but they weren’t buying. And on occasion, it’s a calculated risk we took that crashed and burned. Whatever it is, whenever it occurs, it happens to all of us, even the best of us.
So if we know that at some point or another, failure is inevitable, then it’s time to embrace it and learn from it. What I’m really saying is that failure is a great teacher – it shows us what our strengths and weaknesses are while motivating us to correct them. So it’s time to systematize learning from failure. Make it normal and make it consistent! Make it an acceptable and regular form of employee learning.