The Future of Training & Development!

I’ve written recently about several trends I’ve been seeing in the marketplace as a result of the organizational restructuring that is sweeping both the small and corporate business landscape. Another area that is being influenced is the process of Training and Development.

More and more companies have been outsourcing the process over the last few years, relying on subject-matter experts and training companies to provide training and facilitation, both in-house and otherwise. Even larger corporations like Wal-Mart, that have been conducting training and development in-house for some time, with field training being provided via the company’s web-based intranet, have been using external facilitators to meet the continuing demand for training from all of their Associates, suppliers, vendors, manufacturers, etc.

Companies are having a difficult time working half-day, full-day, or multiple day’s seminars into the work schedules of the employees and into the expense budgets of the organization. As a result, there will be a continuing demand for training specialists and facilitators to provide what I’ll call “Snapshot Seminars.” I’ve been providing just such a vehicle for the last few months with amazing results.

Take care and Safe Journeys!

A Prayer for Failure.

I attended a conference this past weekend with a group called the Influencers; a men’s marketplace ministry that I’ve been involved in for some time.

I’ve found it extremely rewarding to not only support men that are on a journey to more intimacy with Christ, but more significantly, men that are on the brink of just wearing out.

Never before have I seen so many of us so apprehensive of failure, whether it be professional or otherwise. There seems to be a mood of resignation that permeates the psyche and brings about a calmness and peace that most people usually associate with “everything being just fine.” As I listened to the prayers that were being offered up, it seemed that more and more of them were just asking God to “bring them to it so He could bring them through it.”

What I witnessed does speak to the effects that all of us have seen and felt as a result of the recent and continuing recession. But it also speaks to the fact that more and more men are searching for something deeper and more meaningful.

Truth Be Told, I don’t pretend to know what that portends for the future. What I do know is that more and more people (not just men) are completely redefining their lives because everything in general has just become to complex, bureaucratic, political and more unfair than it’s ever seemed before, especially with those in the marketplace.

A Prayer for Failure!

I attended a conference this past weekend with a group called the “Influencers”; a men’s marketplace ministry that I’ve been involved in for some time. I’ve found it extremely rewarding to not only support men that are on a journey to more intimacy with Christ, but more significantly, men that are on the brink of just wearing out.

Never before have I seen so many of us less apprehensive of failure, whether it be professional or otherwise. There seems to be a mood of resignation that permeates the psyche and brings about a calmness and peace that most people usually associate with “everything being just fine.” As I listened to the prayers that were being offered up, it seemed that more and more of them were just asking God to “bring them to it so He could bring them through it.”

What I witnessed does speak to the effects that all of us have seen and felt as a result of the recent and continuing recession. But it also speaks to the fact that more and more men are searching for something deeper and more meaningful. I don’t pretend to know what that portends for the future; what I do know is that more and more people (not just men) are completely redefining their lives because everything in general has just become to complex, bureaucratic, political and more unfair than it’s ever seemed before, especially with those in the marketplace.

Till the next post, Safe Journeys!

Strategic Planning: It’s not Quantum Physics!

When organizations or groups participate in Strategic Planning, especially for the first time, they often do so with little understanding of the characteristics or the order in which the process should occur. As a result, they often call in a third party that professes to be a consulting expert, who will typically take the organization through the process at great expense and involve a number of support staff that have no intimate knowledge of the organization or it’s culture and perform only basic administrative functions. This only ramps up the expense. Additionally, not near enough interviews, surveys, and other prework is conducted to ensure adequate preparation has been made to efficiently work through the planning process.

I do believe that third-party support is a necessity, if for no other reason than to ensure that the process is conducted with complete objectivity and an understanding of the true nature of Strategic Planning that organizations or groups typically do not have.

I also believe that the process should be conducted in such a way that the organization or group not only benefits annually from participating in the appropriate way; it also learns how to organize and conduct the process internally so that external support is necessary going forward only to facilitate the actual event.

Truth Be Told, only then does the Strategic Planning process become an integrated part of the culture of the organization or group.

>Strategic Planning: It’s not Quantum Physics!

>When organizations or groups participate in Strategic Planning, especially for the first time, they often do so with little understanding of the characteristics or the order in which the process should occur. As a result, they often call in a third party that professes to be a consulting expert, who will typically take the organization through the process at great expense and involve a number of support staff that have no intimate knowledge of the organization or it’s culture and perform only basic administrative functions. This only ramps up the expense. Additionally, not near enough interviews, surveys, and other prework is conducted to ensure adequate preparation has been made to efficiently work through the planning process.

I do believe that third-party support is a necessity, if for no other reason than to ensure that the process is conducted with complete objectivity and an understanding of the true nature of Strategic Planning that organizations or groups typically do not have. But I also believe that the process should be conducted in such a way that the organization or group not only benefits annually from participating in the appropriate way; it also learns how to organize and conduct the process internally so that external support is necessary going forward only to facilitate the actual event. Then Strategic Planning becomes an integrated part of the culture of the organization or group.

Till the next post, Safe Journeys!

Mentoring: Most Misunderstood.

Mentoring is a one of those terms that is tossed around on a regular basis to such a degree that the true definition is often overlooked. As a result, when the true definition of anything is not articulated enough, then the perception of it changes or is misunderstood. In the case of Mentoring, which is a developmental process, the substance of the term or process becomes whatever anyone wants it to be. In my view, when that happens, the result is that no one really has to committ and you might as well do something else that might add more value to the organization.

Mentoring, in its simplest form, refers to a developmental relationship in which a more experienced person helps a less experienced person. Most organizations have a difficult time getting their heads and resources around this concept because they don’t understand how to integrate the process into two areas that are crucial for sustainability; Training & Development and Succession Planning.

Truth Be Told, for an organization to fully realize the potential of its workforce and, more specifically, to identify and develop the potential of key individuals that have the ability to do more in the future, an understanding of the true substance of Mentoring is critical.

>Mentoring: Most Misunderstood

>Mentoring is a one of those terms that is tossed around on a regular basis to such a degree that the true definition is often overlooked. As a result, when the true definition of anything is not articulated enough, then the perception of it changes or is misunderstood. In the case of Mentoring, which is a developmental process, the substance of the term or process becomes whatever anyone wants it to be. In my view, when that happens, the result is that no one really has to committ and you might as well do something else that might add more value to the organization.

Mentoring, in its simplest form, refers to a developmental relationship in which a more experienced person helps a less experienced person. Most organizations have a difficult time getting their heads and resources around this concept because they don’t understand how to integrate the process into two areas that are crucial for sustainability; Training & Development and Succession Planning.

For an ogranization to fully realize the potential of its workforce and, more specifically, to identify and develop the potential of key individuals that have the ability to do more in the future, an understanding of the true substance of Mentoring is critical.

Until the next post,

Safe Journeys!

It’s time to re-frame the conversation.

One of the trends I noted in an earlier post is the concept of “managing up.”

The mass organizational restructuring happening in our country is bringing about significant changes in management supervision. Tenured individuals raised in a specific culture of an organization are being replaced with younger, better educated individuals, who have neither an understanding of the culture of a company, or the level of experiential knowledge necessary to manage subordinates effectively. This creates the need for subordinates to learn how to “manage up” if they are going to survive these organizational changes.

Very few managers and leaders at the higher levels in an organization handle challenges from subordinates very well. There are always issues of ego, insecurity, crisis, and lack of leadership ability that seem to get in the way. Unless there is a very strong organizational culture of change, risk, and an understanding of real servant-leadership in place, challenging the status quo can be very hazardous for subordinates. Hence, the need for an understanding by those subordinates of how to “manage up.”

Re-framing the conversation is being able to challenge supervision in a way that creates a collaborative environment rather than a confrontational one.

Truth Be Told, it’s a skill set that can be learned and it’s one that can be trained across the business model.

>It’s Time to Reframe the Conversation

>One of the trends I noted in an earlier post is the concept of “managing up.”

The mass organizational restructuring happening in our country is bringing about significant changes in management supervision. Tenured individuals raised in a specific culture of an organization are being replaced with younger, better educated individuals, who have neither an understanding of the culture of a company, or the level of experiential knowledge necessary to manage subordinates effectively. This creates the need for subordinates to learn how to “manage up” if they are going to survive these organizational changes.

Very few managers and leaders at the higher levels in an organization handle challenges from subordinates very well. There are always issues of ego, insecurity, crisis, and lack of leadership ability that seem to get in the way. Unless there is a very strong organizational culture of change, risk, and an understanding of real servant-leadership in place, challenging the status quo can be very hazardous for subordinates. Hence, the need for an understanding by those subordinates of how to “manage up.”

Reframing the conversation is being able to challenge supervision in a way that creates a collaborative environment rather than a confrontational one. It is a skill set that can be learned and it is one that can be trained across the business model.

Till next time,

Safe Journeys!

Skill Sets for Success in the New Economy.

I presented a series of lectures last week to students, faculty, and community leaders at Daemen College in Amherst, NY. I can’t remember when I’ve had such a great time with so many wonderful people, especially the students.

I presented on topics such as how growth and change influence organizational culture, how and why so many executive leaders have so many lapses of integrity, and why a balance of experiential and academic instruction is so important to today’s students, who are preparing to transition into tomorrow’s workplace.

Regarding the latter topic, I believe there are three important understandings that today’s students must embrace if they are to achieve realistic career goals.

First, they must understand what it means to add value! It’s no longer enough to just get a good job that supports a good living, perform at an average or above level, and expect to sustain that job for an indefinite period of time. There is more organizational restructuring going on than at any time in our history because the consumer has changed the supply equation. They are no longer just demanding product, they are demanding sustainable value and service with the product. They are no longer going to pay exhorbitant prices for average outcomes and organizations are responding by becoming more efficient. How? By doing more with less! What this means to potential employees is that they have to be able to be more flexible and transitionary between responsibilities and processes; something that employees in the past have not been required to do.

Second, students must understand the importance of being able to “critically think” on the job rather than just “do.” Sustainability is no longer just about maintaining a specific place in the business model; it’s now going to be about continual improvement of the entire business model. They have to understand all of that model rather than just a specific part.

Finally, students must understand the importance of being able to interact and articulate! Employees in the future are going to be managed more closely than in the past.

Truth be Told, those who can connect to the business more personally and proactively by creating clear and concise written communication and who can articulate clearly and concisely with confidence will have a competitive advantage in the acceleration of career objectives.