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Staying Connected While Staying at Home

Staying Connected While Staying at Home

Staying Connected While Staying at Home

Many of us are well into our second month of social distancing, which may include working remotely. While expected to complete job duties in new ways and continue to manage our teams effectively, we may now have other responsibilities on our plate. We may also be responsible for  homeschooling, meal prepping and entertainment for our family, children and pets. While working from home can be successful, it takes a skilled leader to stay connected to their team members and keep them engaged and motivated.

Understanding the benefits and pitfalls of working from home is important when communicating with our teams and supporting them remotely. Effective managers recognize everyone’s situation is different. Here are some questions to ask when gauging how productive individuals on your team may be while working from home:

  • Does the employee have the technology to work remotely? (equipment and access)
  • What distractions might hinder the employee’s ability to complete his/her job duties? 
  • What does the workspace look like?
  • How will the employee stay emotionally connected to the team?

Center for Practical Management offers the following tips for managers to engage employees and connect with them:

  1. Visual is Vital
    • If members of your team are expected to video conference with clients or peers, it’s important that their background be minimal and professional, their audio and video capabilities sufficient, and that you practice with them before they are deliver a meeting to a client or prospect.
  2. Virtual Socialization is Imperative 
    • Many of your us  have close friends at work. Encourage your team to virtually connect to these people and do this with your team also. This could be a virtual coffee break or happy hour, or lunchtime “meetup.”
  3. Preparation is Critical  
    • A virtual meeting requires better preparation and more skilled facilitation. Send out an agenda and any pre-work in advance of the call. Print your materials. Create a list of participants so that you can take a “roll call” at the beginning of the call.

Social distancing doesn’t have to lead to emotional distancing. We can keep our teams connected, engaged and productive even when we aren’t all working in the same location. We’d love to hear what you’re doing with your teams to ensure they feel supported and connected while working remotely?

Center for Practical Management helps companies achieve organizational goals and behavioral change initiatives through tailored consulting services, leadership coaching, employee skills training and marketing services. Learn more at www.cf-pm.com

Choosing Goals That Stick

Choosing Goals That Stick

Choosing Goals That Stick

It’s the New Year, which means millions of Americans are kicking off their 2020 New Year with resolutions. Whether it’s to quit smoking, lose weight, take up a new hobby or spend more time with family and friends, 80% of us will fail by February. (U.S. News & World Report)

So how can we make sure our resolutions stick? The American Psychological Association offers these tips to make sure your resolution doesn’t fail:

  1. Start small: Make resolutions that you think you can keep and are realistic.
  2. Talk about it: Sharing your goals with family and friends can keep it fresh in your mind and provide you with additional support.
  3. Don’t beat yourself up: We’re human, and sometimes we slip up. Recover from your mistakes and get back on track.
  4. Ask for support: Find support from someone else wanting to achieve a similar goal, or a mentor who can offer advice and guidance.

While many of us create resolutions for our personal lives, the same can be done in the workplace for you and your teams. Center for Practical Management curriculums provide skill development for making sure your professional goals are SMART goals!

Specific: Goals should include specific results you want to achieve, activities you commit to doing and knowledge and skill you plan to acquire. Be sure to answer Who, What Where, When and Why.

Measurable: Make sure you can measure your progress and the goals. If that means tracking your success on a spreadsheet or recording how many prospect calls you make each day, being able to measure your progress is imperative in successful goal setting.

Attainable: Is your goal realistic? Workplace goals should be higher and comparable to past performance but not so far out of reach that you won’t hit the mark.

Relevant: Ask yourself, is this relevant to my job functions or my teams’ performance? If the answer is no, reevaluate your goals so that they align within your team or department’s duties.

Timely: Goals should have deadlines. By having a deadline, you are committing to progress and will take the goal serious. Without a deadline, you may procrastinate and put your goals on the back burner when a more pressing project arises.

We recommend 30-day action plans, so that progress is easier to achieve. If your professional goal is one that will propel your career in 2020, your SMART action plan may be much longer (i.e., 9 months). It may also include more individuals to teach and support your development.

Whether you have personal goals or professional goals, following the SMART strategy will set you and your team up for success in 2020. Happy New Year, and Happy Goal Setting!

Center for Practical Management helps companies achieve organizational goals and behavioral change initiatives through tailored consulting services, leadership coaching, employee skills training and marketing services. Learn more at www.cf-pm.com

Becoming a Highly Effective Facilitator

Becoming a Highly Effective Facilitator

Becoming a Highly Effective Facilitator

Andragogy (AN-DRUH-GAH-GEE): Try saying that three times fast. It’s harder to pronounce than it is to understand. All it means is that adults learn differently than children. When we’re young, we learn mostly through lecture, memorization and repetition. As adults, we learn by doing. Being actively involved in the learning process, adult learners process and remember more information.

So how can you become the kind of facilitator that impacts adult learning and “wows” your participants? With practice, and understanding the levels of learning (Awareness, Acquisition, Application, and Transfer), you’re bound to lead a more effective and memorable discussion.

Here are critical skills that a facilitator needs to possess to be effective:

  • Questioning: A variety of questioning techniques elicits group or individual responses and create active participation. Types of questions to include: Direct, Redirected, Reverse, and Group.
  • Listening: Good facilitators actively listen to their participants. This encourages a clear line of communication between the workshop leader and his/her attendees.
  • Mixed Media: Flip charts and PowerPoint help give structure, momentum and focus to a workshop. Keep in mind that handwriting, color, font and layout can add or disrupt to your workshop.
  • Body Language: A strong facilitator controls participants in a variety of ways. If you are leading a discussion to highlight important information, stand in the front of the room. Alternatively, when you want to increase participation or relinquish control of the room, sit with the group or stand/float around the room.
  • Transitioning: Transitioning from one talking point to another links content for the participants. Include benefit statements in your transitions, this encourages buy-in and motivates individuals to learn.
  • Feedback: Providing balanced feedback allows the facilitator to keep participants informed as to if they are on track with the workshop goals. Feedback should always be accurate and objective.
  • Time Management: Pace your presentation and allot time for breaks. Be specific about when you want participants to finish an activity or return from lunch. This eliminates the guesswork of when you can expect everyone to return.

You’ll need expert skills in Questioning and Transitioning for the problem participant. Participants who dominate the discussion or become argumentative can affect the entire group’s learning.

If you have a Dominant or Argumentative individual, try these tricks:

  • Reseat the entire group
  • Avoid eye contact and focus your attention toward others
  • Address their concerns during a break
  • Agree that people can “agree to disagree”

 Understanding how participants learn, and using the skills above, you’ll create an engaging and memorable training experience.

Center for Practical Management helps companies achieve organizational goals and behavioral change initiatives through tailored consulting services, leadership coaching, employee skills training and marketing services. Learn more at www.cf-pm.com. Center for Practical Management is a strategic business partner with Raddon, a Fiserv Company

Being Mindful About Training

Being Mindful About Training

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Being Mindful About Training

Learning and development is a mind game. After more than a century of Psychology research, the facts haven’t changed. Most people retain a mere 50% of instruction after day one, 25% after day two, and less than 10% after day three. Nothing is more frustrating to organizational development leaders than these stats.

 
What can be done to increase learning retention? How can organizations ensure their training investments make a difference?

We believe one of the best training practices for increasing engagement and influencing retention is to deploy the principles of adult learning that help to break down traditional patterns and behaviors. Successful training programs need to deliver:
 
Clear Expectations. What are the training objectives? What is expected of training participants during the session? After the session? Whether you’re a corporate trainer, a manager training a new hire, or a product owner launching a new solution, always set clear expectations for the training.
 
Step-by-Step Instructions: Easier said than done, right? In grade school, you might have participated in a game led by your teacher where the class followed instructions to draw a stick figure. But what if the teacher’s instructions didn’t include locating a pencil and paper, and skipped right to drawing a circle? We often make assumptions about an activity or process. For a new employee or someone learning a new skill, the steps are important.  
 
Visual Support: This doesn’t mean creating a PowerPoint presentation with clip art and fun fonts, but rather using a variety of visual elements to create a hands-on training experience. The use of flip charts for small group activities, along with worksheets and handouts will help participants retain information.
 
Interactive Engagement: Learning retention increases with interactive participation. Create an open dialogue where participants can share ideas freely. Include partner or group activities to further enhance the learning. Break up your talking points with an activity that gets people out of their chairs and keeps them engaged!
 
Balanced Feedback: Unlike constructive criticism, balanced feedback focuses on constructive improvement. When participants share a project or deliver to the group, they should self-assess first by identifying their perspective of strengths and opportunities. This is followed by others in the classroom sharing perspectives that create a safe training environment where people always feel their ideas and thoughts matter.
 
Immediate and Repetitive Use: If what was learned in training is immediately used on the job, retention increases significantly; especially if the participant sees a positive and speedy impact as a result of trying something new. Participants’ managers must have clarity about the content that’s been trained and the expectation to reinforce the training with the participant.

Center for Practical Management helps companies achieve organizational goals and behavior change initiatives through tailored consulting services, leadership coaching, employee skills training and marketing services. Learn more at www.cf-pm.com

Center for Practical Management is a strategic business partner with Raddon, a Fiserv Company. Learn more at www.raddon.com

Own It: Reflecting on 2018 Growth

Own It: Reflecting on 2018 Growth

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Own It: Reflecting on 2018 Growth

With the end of the year coming, it’s a good time for reflection. While many of us only focus on how much progress our institution made this year, it’s also important to take time to reflect on personal progress. What did you accomplish? Did your accomplishments move your career forward? With the stress of busy lives sometimes our own goals and aspirations fall to the wayside. It’s important to take charge of your own professional development and leadership skills. In turn, your organization will also experience growth and progress.

For those who manage a team, many of you may have individual action plans in place for team members and group goals for your department. But do you have one for yourself? The new year is the perfect time to create an individual action plan and take ownership for your own professional development for the next year.

Here are the best practices for creating a S.M.A.R.T. individual action plan:

  1. Specific: Make sure your goals are specific, don’t generalize and be sure to include details.
  2. Measurable: This could be in the form of improved financial success for your department or organization, more positive survey results, or a specific number of prospects you want to see each quarter.
  3. Achievable: Are your goals realistic? Can you reasonably attain them within the quarter or year? Don’t set yourself up for failure.
  4. Relevant: Whether it’s learning a new skill in your organization, or vying for that promotion, make sure the goals are relevant to your current career plan.
  5. Target Date: Give yourself a deadline. Deadlines are all about accountability and who should be accountable for your results but you?!

With the holiday season in full swing, it’s important to take time to think about ourselves. Starting the new year with a S.M.A.R.T. action plan will set you up for success and help you own your professional development, and ultimately your career.

Center for Practical Management helps companies achieve organizational goals and behavior change initiatives through tailored consulting services, leadership coaching, employee skills training and marketing services. Learn more at www.cf-pm.com

Center for Practical Management is a strategic business partner with Raddon, a Fiserv Company. Learn more at www.raddon.com