learning and development
The Conference Board is out with its annual assessment of the top ten challenges facing CEO’s, which it delayed slightly this year in order to gauge the impact of the financial crisis. The report, CEO Challenge 2008, shows a shift in CEO focus with talent management dropping from the top 10 list — edged out by an emphasis on execution, productivity and change management.
We commonly meet with executives who want a learning and performance improvement consultancy to help them improve business practices, enhance their leadership bench, or help their workforce adapt to, accept, and adopt change.
The question for these clients is, “How do I select the right firm?” Important considerations include the right values fit, strong credentials, results in the field, practicality, business savvy, a fair price, and a solid track record. I’d like to offer another, less obvious criterion for consideration: Is your consultant providing a “twofer?”
Talent - the natural ability to advance to an above-average skill level with minimal or no effort - is overrated. Yet many organizations hire for talent, and place "talent" at the top of the list of preferred employee attributes. The problem with emphasizing talent over other factors is this: talent merely determines where you begin at a certain point in time, not how you improve towards mastery of a skill over time.
Most inventories of desirable leadership characteristics will place "good listener" near the top. Good listening helps leaders to understand, empathize, and engage their team members and employees. Good listening builds rapport and trust; it invariably improves the relationship. Listening is not a warm-and-fuzzy competence: it’s an essential skill-set that yields significant results.
Listening as an Ally™ Case Study
Brandon Hall Research recently announced a research report that confirms this BFO (blinding flash of the obvious): Blended learning is more effective than either e-learning or face-to-face learning alone. Besides citing its own research conducted with 150 different organizations, Brandon Hall examines a variety of other studies, from Net-G’s 2002 research, to a Pew study, to research by the University of South Australia.
My son Adam is a Millennial. Born in 1990, raised with the internet, he is successful in school despite evenings chatting with friends while doing homework, watching the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air on TV, surfing Craig’s list for cars and listening to and downloading music on his i-POD….
ALL AT THE SAME TIME.
This makes me crazy.
Seven keys to measurement success
Our approach with our clients is to: a) identify the key measures of success, and b) structure simple, but thorough, systems to capture accurate data, draw conclusions, make adjustments as needed, and report results.
Our experience shows that there are seven keys to creating a successful measurement system.
At one time or another we've all coached a group of people who give us "the silent treatment", who sit in awkward silence after we ask a question. This lack of immediate response tends to make us consultants nervous. After all, we're paid for answers. We are hired to produce results, to find solutions. So we start talking, to fill in the uncomfortable space. We start talking and talking and sometimes we forget to be quiet.
A couple of weeks ago, we attended Pop!Tech, the annual conference on technology, business, culture, and emerging ideas. It's more than a conference — it's a community of 500 authors, techies, performers, business leaders, scientists, and thought leaders who come together in Camden, Maine for what Wired calls "a weekend-long huddle." Where else would New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, AskANinja.com's Kent Nichols, evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, and acoustic guitar sensations Rodrigo y Gabriela share the same bill?
Are you challenged by having to balance learning and getting work done? Consultants have begun to address that challenge by practicing "action learning", "applied learning", and "after-action review" — all ways of "learning by doing". Learning by doing provides a number of benefits, including decreased classroom learning time, focused transfer of learning to current business issues, and a way to evaluate the impact of new knowledge and skills on work as it occurs.