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Coaching a Wide Range of Talent

Coaching a Wide Range of Talent

Coaching a Wide Range of Talent

Every organization has employees that outperform, and underperform. It’s no surprise that many managers struggle with how to have effective coaching conversations with team members who deliver performance at a wide range of commitment and accountability.
You don’t want to feel like you failed as their manager, and you don’t want them to feel like they failed you. Feelings aside, you need to have a plan for coaching both high and low performers. If you don’t, the risk includes staff issues, time management, and team/organizational success.
Imagine that the four individuals on your team are Julie, Brad, Scott and Tammy. Their goals are different, based on ability and past performance. As their manager, you must decide how you will spend your available coaching time. So what exactly will you risk if you don’t have a plan?

  1. You could lose your high performers. Many managers spend their time with Tammy or Scott because they appear to be struggling meeting their goals. But, Julie is your high performer and Brad is a rising star. They’ve earned your time; they meet and exceed your expectations. If you coach Tammy and Scott at the expense of Julie and Brad, you may be sending the wrong message. Spending time with high performers demonstrates your commitment to their success and the value they bring to your team.

 

  1. Your low performers continue to challenge your time. With time at a premium, you simply shouldn’t spend it on Tammy. But, it isn’t wasted time if you spend it doing the following:
  • Clarifying your expectations
  • Sharing your candid feedback (along with the data) about the current level of performance
  • Exploring why the employee isn’t meeting expectations
  • Gaining agreement that the employee will work towards meeting expectations

 

  1. The job continues to be a poor fit and your team continues to be impacted. It is the hardest thing you will ever do – to tell an employee that the job they currently have simply isn’t the right job for him/her. However, good managers and great leaders do this without hesitation. Your team should not be held back from the highest performance possible and your low-performing employee shouldn’t be stuck in a job that doesn’t fit with their strengths.

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

The Importance of Action Planning

The Importance of Action Planning

The Importance of Action Planning

The fourth quarter is a critical time for all organizations. You’re driving sales to finish the year strong, and you’ve set your sights on an even stronger 2020. You’re adapting products to meet demands your clients and prospects expect for innovation in the future. This is the most important time to engage in the process of action planning. Why don’t more organizations commit to action planning?

Here are three of the most common reasons:

  1. Leaders believe they need more information than they really do. According to a recent Harvard Business Review article, “people may overestimate the amount of evidence they evaluate before making up their minds, paying costs to acquire information that will go unused.” Gathering additional data often isn’t necessary and certainly isn’t cost-effective.
  2. Organizations are inherently adverse to failing. When it comes to the decision-making process, the fear factor kicks in. What if the decision is a bad one? What if we make a mistake? It’s much easier for organizations to not make a decision than to admit to fear of failure. But, being paralyzed by fear, means never knowing if it was a good or a bad decision. 
  3. Most teams are accustomed to evaluating, but not executing. During an interview on the radio show, Money Talk, “eighty-percent of organizations fail at the execution part of the strategy.” Execution lies in the hands of the people of the organization. In our experience, any strategy can work if the people responsible for it plan AND execute.

Center for Practical Management offers a disciplined process for Action Planning. Our highly interactive development workshops help organizations do four things:

  • Brainstorm opportunities for revenue growth, expense control, innovation or productivity gains
  • Identify up to 3 creative solutions using multi-voting to gain consensus and buy-in
  • Form teams to develop SMART Action Plans and agree to be accountable for execution
  • Track outcomes with facilitated monthly teleconferences that track progress, review successes and obstacles

Acquiring skills for successful execution of strategic planning can help organizations achieve their growth goals in new ways.

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

Gaming in Training

Gaming in Training

Gaming in Training

When training facilitators use games in the classroom, participants explore learning and engagement in fun, competitive ways. Games in a classroom also teach principles of strategic thinking. Check out these top reasons for using games in training:

Soft Skills Learning
Soft skills are taught based on practice and storytelling. In the classroom, we recommend teaching participants to script and role-play using real-life examples. The facilitator will act as the client and participants will role-play scenarios that they experience every day on the job. This experience allows for an immediate answer and the opportunity to ‘learn on the fly’. The game must be related to the participants’ work environment. In fact, the more realistic the scenario is, the more your participants will be engaged in the training.

Educational
The game activities should be taken serious with an educational goal in mind. This is an opportunity for participants to learn a new skill, and have fun doing it. The first step is identifying what skill you want them to improve. “Knowledge Drill Cards” is a use of games in the classroom. It is as simple as putting the skill you want developed on one side of a card, (ex: product, service, question) and putting the answer on the other side. Participants quickly go through the flash cards with effort to remember the answers. Speed and repetitiveness are essential in this game.

A Safe Environment
Most training professionals have experienced a classroom setting where not everyone feels safe participating. They are afraid to raise their hand for fear of giving an incorrect answer. They may feel that they are outside of their comfort zone. Games help create a safe environment in the classroom. Participants don’t feel as though they are put on the spot when making a mistake in a game, because after all it is “just a game”. Using games in training helps engage people that are usually more reserved in a classroom setting.

Increase Motivation
The more interest a participant has, the better they will be at it. Everybody likes to have fun and play. Participants become competitive with their colleague—and want to win, therefore, they want to learn. Games in training should offer an appropriate amount of challenge to maintain motivation. Adding rewards to your training enhances the motivation even more. We recommend offering a small gift for the team/person that wins.

Using games in training is an effective technique to get participants to become more engaged and have fun while learning a new skill. If your learning and development program has not yet adapted this approach to learning, it’s time to bring innovation to your classroom experience.

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

Letter to a Millennial

Letter to a Millennial

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Letter to a Millennial

Dear Millennial,

I know you think you are part of the “most hated generation.” I know you’re tired of your baby boomer bosses who have a negative view of you and the way you like to do your work. I get it! I’m a Millennial, too.

Since we are often supervised by baby boomers, the opportunities available to us often depend on working well with our baby boomer bosses. It’s in the interest of both of us to understand what they need from us and what we need from them—specifically, how to work with each other. Here are some tips from my professional experience in working with employee development leaders: 

  1. Be willing to stay with your employer if the work is interesting and the rewards are clear. Some aspects of your job may bore you, but your boss views them as crucial. Completing these kinds of tasks in the way they want, will make them happy and get the job done. But, that isn’t what makes our generation so different. Our boss should respect that we bring creativity to the workplace. Sometimes the work is interesting, but the rewards are not clear. Don’t be afraid to ask questions if you are curious about rewards for meeting goals.
  1. Communicate clearly the need for reinforcement and balanced feedback. How do we know if we are improving or meeting standards if our boss doesn’t reinforce and provide balanced feedback? We have to communicate that we need reinforcement. We want to know if we are doing the job right, and if not, how to improve.  
  1. Manage your boss’s expectations. Don’t be silent if you feel unsure about your priorities. Manage your boss’s expectations about what you’ll get done and when. Ask, “What do you need from me today?” By asking, you both will have a clear picture of what you are focused on. One of the best ways to create clear communication around expectations is by using an Action Plan. It is a simple plan managed by both boss and employee, focusing on SMART action steps for task or assignment.   

Using these tips should help you work more effectively and efficiently with your baby boomer boss. If it doesn’t work out, it is ok to start looking for a job that fits you. Don’t give up on your personal and professional success. You bring value and creativity to the workplace.

Sincerely,

A millennial, Sarah Oeltjenbruns

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

Professional Communication Tips for the Workplace

Professional Communication Tips for the Workplace

Professional Communication Tips for the Workplace

Professional communication skills are critically important for handling customer contact and may include answering the phone, taking a message, sending a follow-up email, or transferring the customer to someone else. The priority is building relationships and demonstrating professionalism.

We all know to be patient, to be empathetic, to choose words and tone that are customer-focused. Why, then, do many employees struggle with positive, productive communication when dealing with their colleagues? When it comes to our colleagues, it’s often harder to be as patient and calm.

Best practices for keeping C.A.L.M. with your colleagues:

Charitable. Being charitable means being kind to one another. If every interaction with a colleague began with kindness, imagine how much more productive our organizations might be.

Acknowledge. Acknowledging another’s problem with empathy and understanding demonstrates a willingness to help and can quickly break down the silos in our organization. It sounds like, “I understand how frustrating this is. I get why this is important to you”

Listen. Being a good listener doesn’t mean talking. It means asking clarifying questions that give you additional information to seek resolutions.

Meet. Sometimes, it’s just true. We build better relationships face to face. Rather than a phone call or email, get up and go to your colleague’s office. Remember, body language is more powerful than words and tone.
In every workplace interaction, it is important to demonstrate CALM. We need to treat our colleagues in the same way we treat our customers. It’s important to remain professional so we don’t affect our productivity on the job and create negativity in the workplace.

You are in control of your body language, tone, and words. If you are put into a tough situation, remember to take a deep breath and keep CALM.

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