During the discussions in the day in two different meetings, I spoke with few friends about how the training & the planning for the trainings could effectively support the leadership development in the organization and help in teams and talent for future growth.

 

The topic of discussion was more on how the objective of corporate trainings have diluted from being strategy oriented to ‘task’ oriented.

 

Few interesting things that came out of our discussion were as follows,

  • Most of the training requirements are ‘technology’ oriented
  • The training requirements eventually are gathered by the Team Leaders with little help from managers
  • No strategic direction is set by Sr. management (apart from budget provision) so eventually the training identification does little to help future growth or leadership building
  • Very important topics such as succession planning, lead for growth, coaching, personal development planning, business transformation are not given its due consideration
  • Training is not powerfully used as a retention tool
  • The budget utilization is mostly done for the SE, SSE level (team members) to make them competent on the job. Very less attention is given to create MDPs & SMDPs.

IMHO, following should be the broad level objectives of the Sr Management & managers while planning the trainings for their teams.

 

Creating technically competent teams

Technology trainings essentially will always remain the backbone of the ‘IT’ companies. However all the technology trainings should be planned while asking the following questions,

  • Is this training going to increase the productivity of the teams? If yes, by how much?
  • Is this training going to improve the current working efficiency of the teams? Can the targets be revised due to this?
  • What is the direct benefit of this training for the teams in terms of Quality, Cost, Time?

If the technology training recommendations are not giving right answers to above questions, they need to be re-thought.

 

Having training plans tie up with personal development plans

I wrote earlier in one of my blogs about how the appraisals and the personal development plans are created ‘generally’ in the companies. Most of the times, they do not have any link up with the long term organizational growth, talent development plans and the individual development plans.

 

When the trainings are planned for teams and individuals, at least for the High-Performance-High-Potential people, they need to tie up with their individual development plans, team growth structures and the organizational growth plans.

 

Identifying the measures of training effectiveness

All the trainings that are provided to people in the organizations should be measured for effectiveness on the ground when the people go back to their work. Before identifying the training needs for the team, the managers should be clear about how they are going to measure the effectiveness of the training and what exactly is expected from people after they have finished their training.

 

Some of the questions that could help in planning for measuring effectiveness are as follows,

  • What change the training is expect to bring in the individual – self-behavioral change, behavior towards the team (team handling), more productive at work etc.
  • What is the category of the change? – Emotional (motivation at work etc), Subjective (can be seen at work),  objective (can be clearly measured)
  • What is the ‘delta’ of the change? Can you measure it?

 

Distributing the training content across hierarchy across competencies

 

imageThe training typically should be categorized in the following competency buckets,

  • Behavioral training – That affects interpersonal skills, personal leadership, managing people etc.
  • Professional training – That assists the role being played such as Risk Management, quality management, change management, project management etc.
  • Technical training – that affects the on-the-job results for technical jobs
  • Domain & business training – that makes people take right decisions about the business and its impacts across the teams and units

The image is a typical recommendation on how the trainings at different levels should be distributed and planned for.

 

Behavioral and professional training are very much even at the entry level because they define your organization culture.  The higher you go the, the means of the technology and domain training just becomes a refresher and should be to help people get an understanding of their work.

 

The budget of the training as well as the content of the training should always be a mix of above competencies for all levels.  After all, development of people and competencies are needed at all levels.

 

Include important organizational development aspects as a part of your training

As I mentioned above, once of the most overlooked aspect of planning the training within the organizations is how it contributed to overall organization building and development.  Some of the topics I mentioned above which needs to be looked into while planning the training are as follows,

  • Succession planning at all leadership roles
  • Lead for growth (people and organizations)
  • Coaching
  • Personal development planning for stretch roles
  • Business transformations

Although most of the above tie up very well in the leadership management & development, the trainings provide a great support towards the above. 

How would you feel while sitting in a board room, listening to some rant by a very uninteresting person on a vary boring topic !  Believer me, the life @ hell is nothing different than that !

I know, I know, its really difficult to be a patient listener  … and a patient reader as well, hence this will be a quickie.

However, I thought following quick tips might help you in enjoying some of the most boring presentations in your life,

 

Listen

Listen with understanding and do not be judgmental while the presentation is going on.  If you make up your mind that the presenter is a person of ‘such and such type’, it really becomes difficult to get your interest back on track.

ClassParticipation 

Overlook

Not the presentation, but the faults of the presenter. Always see the intention, summary or the gist of the presentation rather than the actual dialog delivery and apparent things. Think on how you can make up your opinion based on the data / presentation content rather than who is presenting and how !

 

Voice

Voice your opinion on time, precisely and clearly.  It helps the presenter to come back on track if things are going out of sight !

 

Effort

Make an effort to keep the person motivated and ask questions that you feel he could answer. Typically boring topics are also boring for the presenter and they tend to rush or slow things unnecessarily. Hence a participation from your side can actually help close things faster.

 

So, in short, show a LOVE for the presentation and you would not get the biggest distress in your life next time you are invited for a boring talk !

Continuing from my earlier posts about Leadership Management, in this article, I would like to pen my thoughts about the effective presentation techniques.  This is something I learnt in the Mentoring & Coaching workshop that I attended. The learning really enlightened me on how to deliver effective presentation to the audience.  So, naturally, I would like to share with you all so you also get the 2 cents out of my knowledge :-)

Ok, let me set the context of this article first.

Here, I am going to write about few tips that you should by heart about delivering a keynote, delivering a speech or delivering a presentation to a wise, knowledgeable audience.

Consider your self in a situation where you have to deliver a speech on a ‘process change / innovation’ in your workplace and you would want your audience not only to understand the gist of your presentation, but also leave them motivated and enough encouraged to support you in your work that you want to do. 

Sounds familiar situation ?  Then read on !

Before any of your presentation, do you set out the expectations from your audience? In case you wonder what it is and what kind of expectations one should have from audience then following list should help you construct these,

  • Do you expect your audience to list down action points and work on them later on ?
  • Do you expect your audience to feel motivated and spread the word about your presentation / speech after its complete ?
  • Do you expect your audience to indulge in some thought processing (problem solving) and come back to you on a solution or suggestions offline after your presentation ?
  • Do you expect your audience to just listen to what you are saying ?
  • Do you expect your audience to provide you recommendations and suggestions during the discussion, a kind of real time feedback ?
  • Do you expect your audience to negotiate a deal based on your presentation ?

 presentation

I am sure by answering few of the questions above, you would exactly know what you are looking from your speech or presentation.  There could be more questions, but hopefully the above more or less should cover most of the situations.

Ok, considering you would exactly know your goal and audience expectations set, lets move on to a simple formula to decide how to navigate through your presentation in the most effective way.

 

SENSES

While presenting, you should keep all your senses alive.  Its not that you should use all your sense organs (lol!), while presentation, but you should be fully aware of the surroundings in which you are giving a speech and presentation. Its important that you feel comfortable in the position you are standing, the eye movements, body posturing etc., should be really comfortable and should support what you are actually trying to say.

 

MOTIVATION

This talks about both self-motivation as well as how much your talks are motivating the audience. Self motivation comes from how much conviction you shown in your idea / speech or presentation yourself. And to motivate the audience, you need to try and capture the pulse of the audience based on their own responses, engaging into thinking, discussions etc.

 

APPLICATION

No one is interested in only a concept or a theory. It is important to give an idea to the participants how things will work on a shop floor or in reality. Whatever points you are making, it is important that you give a vision (if not a demonstration) to the audience of how your idea will work in real life. Understanding of where this will work, how this will look like, is very important from the audience perspective.

 

REPEATATION

Ensure that you do enough repeating of the very important points throughout your speech or presentation. Of course, you would not want your audience to miss out on these.  One of the simplest way of doing it is to keep a separate note of your important points and remind your audience of previous points as you go along in your presentation.

 

TRANSFER

Think of real life examples, try and relate it to the what audience has experienced in their own careers, their own life and help them relate themselves to their own thinking. This helps the audience understand the point you are trying to make it, in much better way. One of the easiest way of doing it is to discuss the common pain points, or common gains and benefits that interests you as well as the audience.  This helps the connection :-)

 

PARTICIPATIONSteve Jobs - A great presenter!

Who wants the audience to go to sleep while your presentation is going on? Participation ensures the brain cells of the participants are active. Few simple tips of ensuring a good participation is to logically divide your audience into groups (in your mind of course, or sometimes actually) and make them think, make them answer simple questions, ask them to raise doubts, or simply nudge them for attention at frequent intervals. Other ways of ensuring participation are encouraging the participants (few of them) to encourage and share their experiences on the topic of discussion.  The change in the speaker (in turn the person under focus) can help re-concentrate on the discussion.

 

UTILIZATION

Would you rather want to hear someone standing in a corner with a folded hands and speaking in a monotonous language ? Or someone who is using the presentation space very well and ensuring he / she is able to make a personal connect with everyone. Its important that you make a full utilization of the accessories that you would have with you for the presentation, be it the presentation board, note papers etc., its important that your body language shows positive signs of trying your best to convince the audience.

 

EXPECTATIONS

As I mentioned earlier in my post, its important that you convey the expectations right at the start of your presentation. This helps in setting up the context and prepares the audience of the way they need to think and concentrate on the speech / presentations.  Believe me, no one is interested in any speech or presentation if you only like your audience to listen and do not act !

 

INTERESTS

Keeping audience interested in the presentation is one of the biggest challenges a presenter faces during his presentation. Especially if this is a long presentation that can go beyond a good hour. You need to keep in mind that every human being has a upper limit of time up to which he or she can concentrate with the best the abilities. You go beyond that and soon you would find audience going to sleep :-).  Few good ways of ensuring the audience stays interested is to take pauses in the presentation at appropriate times, and changing the topic to ease up audience concentration and give their thinking a break ! Speak up about football, cricket and they would jump in the discussion quickly !

 

LOGIC

Last, but probably the most important. You need to be logical in what you speak.  Remember a secret and important fact about presentation “Audience is more cleaver than what you can estimate !”.  It really takes few minutes for the audience to judge whether they are interested in continuing in the presentation at their best, or just drop back or sometimes, even leave it it.  So its important to be logically correct while making arguments, examples etc.

 

Now, in case you are wondering why I actually made one letter out of above points big and others kept smaller, think for a second !  I guess you already have got the answer.

If you put all these letters together, you get a key phrase to remember these tips, “SMART PUPIL”.

Is it now easy to remember this ?

 

Try above tips when you actually deliver your next presentation, and see if you could actually get your point across the audience in a more convincing way.

And as usual, please do let me know your feedback on this. It really helps !

Finally I am back to my blog after a big break.  Again, blame it to my poor time management skills !

Anyways, this time I am going to pen my thoughts on the Goal setting that all the leads need to do for their subordinates in the organization they work.  As you would appreciate the fact that the goals, if set correctly and on right time, can help build successful careers of the people and self.

So, here in my blog post today, I would attempt to put few things that would help you put the goals in right perspective when you need to do it next.

 

how to set up the goal !

 

goalMost of the leaders with whom I have interacted or worked with, often ask the question ‘How to set a right goal’ for someone that work for you. The lack of understanding on how to set up the goals, often ends up resulting into ‘assigning a task’ to the employee instead of setting up a real career goal. 

Now, how should we really think of a goal and how do we really put that into the perspective so that the employee understands what he or she wants to achieve, but is free to determine how he or she needs to get there.

Setting up any goal is essentially answering four basic questions about the goal that is being set up.  They are as follows,

 

  • WHAT ? – Determine what you want to do (for self goal) or what you want the other employee to do at the end of the evaluation period.  Typically this becomes the objective of your goal.
  • HOW ? – In case of self goal, determine how you want to do the things. This will help you answer what you need to do to achieve the goal.  This may not be required in case of setting up the employee goal.  You need to allow the employee to determine how it needs to be achieved by the employee.
  • WHY ? – Determine why doing this is important for you and essentially for the organization. Typically this will help you identify the benefits to yourself and the organization if the goal has been met.
  • WHEN ? – Most important part of goal setting is to time bound the activity and the goal achievement date. Typically for the performance appraisals, its the end of the year for which the goal is being set.

 

An example of the self goal that I set up during the workshop was as follows,

 

What – To develop a next in line leadership for myself in the team.

How – By doing the leadership training, taking continuous feedback and coaching to the immediate subordinates.

Why – To get the best out of the leaders reporting to me and free up myself for the next role.

When – Within next 6 months

 

SMART GOALS

 

It is essential that when the goal is set as per the formula mentioned above, the resultant goal should be SMART.  Yeah, SMART !

 

  • Specific – The goal should be very specific on what needs to be achieved and should not be confusing or too elaborative and hard to understand.
  • Measurable – It should be measurable periodically to find out the progress and also at the end of the cycle to ensure that the objective is met.
  • Achievable – The goal should be realistically achievable by the employee. There is no point on setting up a goal of scaling a mountain for someone who is not fit enough to walk !
  • Relevant – The goal should be relevant for the job that is being done in the organization and what is expected out of the role.
  • Time bound – Time is very important as it determines when it needs to be reviewed, tracked and closed, so the goal should always be time bound.

 

A really SMART goal helps in getting the team focussed and bound towards success. 

Further to this, when you are actually filling up the self appraisal and writing feedback on the goals that you set earlier, keep in mind the following keywords that would actually help you put some weight behind your comments.

 

  • Direct / indirect contribution to the business results
  • Operational excellence
  • Franchise building
  • People development (leadership development)

 

Try the above tips when you are setting up the goals next time and, as usual, let me know your feedback.

In my earlier blog post about various leadership styles, I mentioned that I would be writing more about the mindset that the leaders & teams would go through during various situation and sequences.  So, here, in this article I am taking the opportunity to write more about that.

Lets quickly remind ourselves, the sequences we played in the earlier article and situation we had.

Tom, played the character of the Leader.  Jerry, represents the team.

Now look at, and compare, how each one would have felt during the sequences we reviewed earlier.

 

Sequence 1 was about Tom pushing Jerry and and Jerry resists. Jerry needs to keep the balance but should not push back.

 

Sequence 1
Leader Team What do you get out of the situation ?
Gets satisfaction of driving the show.
Feels happy to push.
Does not think of ‘how’ part of work, but always demanding towards the result.
Initially starts resisting.
Silent resistance for sometime.
Give up hope and thinks the leader is always unfair.
Job gets done.
Employee dissatisfaction.
Not a long term solution.
Less growth opportunities, less comfort.
E.g., Useful in emergency or crisis situations.

 

Sequence 2 was about Tom & Jerry both push each other and both needs to keep balance.

 

Sequence 2
Leader Team What do you get out of the situation ?
Wonders why the team is pushing back.
Sometimes ego gets hurt.
Feels confusion or irritation with resistance from Team.
Gets uncomfortable.
Feels good to resist the leader.
Gets a feeling on being on equal footing.
Sense of happiness initially, but turns to discomfort later on.
New ideas !
Conflict situations / Deadlocks
Loss of efficiency
Not a long term solution
Both parties feel stress / discomfort
E.g., Useful in brainstorming situations.

 

Sequence 3 mentioned about Tom doing various hand movements, that Jerry was to follow up accurately.

 

Sequence 3
Leader Team What do you get out of the situation ?
Sense of freedom to start with, however soon losing direction
No commitment / disengaged leader
No boundaries / control over flow of work / scope
Ends up with ‘Why am I doing it?’
Sense of freedom to start with, looks easy to coordinate with leader
Soon starts to wonder, where are we going ?
Things look out of control
Gives up hope and thinks the leader is not in line with team.
Extremes and alternate solutions are likely to come out
Mostly directionless team
Cluelessness to Leader & Team both
No relationship built up with team & leader
E.g., Useful while exploring in unknowns or uncertain areas.

 

Sequence 4 was about Tom & Jerry doing random hand movements in coordination and taking turns to lead.

 

Sequence 4
Leader Team What do you get out of the situation ?
Makes the work simpler to understand
Feels part of team and grows the engagement
Work coordination happens in sync
Feels less work pressure and freedom
Feels more responsible
Enjoys following and experiencing leadership
Feels comfortable and less stressed
Experiences mutual understanding
Shared accountabilities
High quality job will be done
Grooming up of next level will happen
More engaged / trusted relationship
Requires some iterations to get in ‘sync’
Sense of ease and comfort feeling develops
Includes risk and requires time & investment from leaders
E.g., Useful in day to day work, factory model working, building teams etc.,

 

Interesting read ?

Various leadership styles are required in various situations. However, one must understand that there is no set guideline of how a leader should behave in every situation, and I am sure you would have known this by now after reading above.

I hope you would be able to relate it to how you respond in situations and your own working style as leaders. Or you can hopefully relate this to what you see in your manager does and you wonder why things are happening in this way !

And as usual,  a request to leave your comments or share what you think on the mindset of leaders and your experience with your team or your boss.