Posts Tagged ‘Leadership Development’

Take Time to Appreciate

Author: Diane Hamilton, Date: 3/28/2013

Snowstorms…spring thaw…freezing rain. Huge fluctuations in weather are quite common in the Midwest. If you’ve lived or traveled in this area you are well accustomed to it.

What struck me during a recent cold spell is how easy it is for some people to focus on the negative instead of appreciating what’s in front of them. The robins are back—scratching for food through what remains of the winter snow. The crocuses and daffodils are poking their way out of the still frozen ground. Yet, what I’ve heard from a lot of people is the negative reaction to our slow turning spring (i.e., “I’m SO sick of winter”). While this is understandable as temperatures remain chilly, it prevents people from appreciating what is around them and recognizing the beauty that is at hand.

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On-the-Job Skill Development

Author: Paul Dillenburg, Date: 3/20/2013

In a recent client interaction I received a question regarding how to provide direct reports with on-the-job skill development. This reminded me of a previous blog I had written on the subject, so I thought I would re-post:

A couple of months ago, I was involved in a group discussion focusing on building capabilities in young managers. One of the points of emphasis within the group was that new managers (and some senior leaders) thought of development as a formal program designed and delivered by the organization (e.g., mentor programs, training). Given the budget cuts many organizations are facing, group participants wanted to know what they could do to develop young talent.

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Development Planning? Focus on Strengths…Close Development Gaps

Author: Diane Hamilton, Date: 3/14/2013

“People can do great things. However, there are some things they just CAN’T do. I, for instance, have not been able to transform myself into a Popsicle, despite years of effort.” — Brandon Sanderson, American fantasy author

Much has been written over the past several years about focusing on one’s strengths. Thousands of individuals at all levels in organizations have taken the StrengthsFinder® survey. For those unfamiliar, the StrengthsFinder® is an assessment that reveals dominant “themes” that help people focus on their strengths and abilities and focus their work and lives around them. The premise is that it makes more sense to leverage our strengths and talents versus trying to overcome shortcomings.

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The Struggle to Define Work

Author: Paul Dillenburg, Date: 1/17/2013

How do you define work?  If you are like many individuals, your responsibilities have expanded since you first joined the workforce.  As you have progressed through your career, you most likely have gone from an individual, task-based definition of work (i.e., completing x number of tasks, producing x number of widgets) to a more team-based approach to work, meaning, transitioning from producing results as an individual contributor to producing results through others. For many of us, the transfer from task-oriented to team-oriented work occurs suddenly with a promotion to supervisor or manager.

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5 Tips for Selecting an Executive Coach

Author: Paul Dillenburg, Date: 1/9/2013

Whereas coaching was once viewed as a remedy for an organization’s “problem employees,” today organizations are using coaching to hold onto and improve their very best leaders.  But if you are looking for a coach, how do you go about finding the right one?  Below are 5 tips to help you select the coach that is right for you:

1.    Look for good fit. One of the key ingredients to a successful coaching relationship is the chemistry/fit between the coach and client – ask for a “complimentary session” to help determine the coaches style.

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Lack of Communication?

Author: Paul Dillenburg, Date: 10/11/2012

Over the last 16 years, we’ve conducted a myriad of assessments for our clients. Whether 360 degree feedback, culture studies, team assessments, or employee opinion surveys, we often hear about a “lack of communication” within the organizations we work with. My guess is within the organization you work you hear that there is a lack of communication as well. But what does this actually mean? Does anyone in your organization know?

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From Awareness to Competence

Author: Diane Hamilton, Date: 9/27/2012

I dusted the cobwebs off of an old training maxim this week. I was coaching a leader who talked about the discomfort she was feeling while trying to implement some of the changes in her development plan. She shared that while she has increased her awareness, she doesn’t feel like she has been successful in changing her behavior. The following learning path came to mind. I remember using it years ago when I first started working in the area of OD and Learning and Development. It will be very familiar to many of you—hopefully, it is a good reminder. My guess is that for many individuals you work with it will create an ‘aha’ moment. It did for my client.

Learning Path

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Courses and Employee Development

Author: Paul Dillenburg, Date: 9/19/2012

For the last couple of weeks I have been doing some training for one of our clients on goal setting and employee development. The training has primarily focused on helping employees write SMART goals and develop action plans and helping managers enhance their coaching skills. One of the handouts I like to use as part of the training is the 70/20/10 rule of development planning. Studies on how adults learn suggest that a good development plan should have 70% related to on-the-job tasks and assignments; 20% people interaction (coaching, mentoring, others to work with); and 10% courses, workshops and readings (see graphic). For those of us that have reviewed action plans, you know that most employees build development plans around courses and formal training and few concentrate on opportunities for on-the-job learning. My message to the managers in the audience was, “courses are a tool for employees to collect knowledge, but they need to use that knowledge back on the job.”
As several managers nodded in agreement, a manager spoke up with some reservations. He was concerned that “using the knowledge back on the job,” was creating nothing but busy work for his employees. Apparently, within his department, when an employee completes an external course that others in the department may need to learn about, it is the responsibility of the course-taker to create a presentation for the department. I have heard similar stories from other clients that they too encourage course-takers to create presentation for their departments and teams. The manager’s challenge was that the hours spent on a presentation to an audience that may or may not have an interest was indeed busy work and did not help the organization overall.

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Leadership Past and Present

Author: Diane Hamilton, Date: 9/12/2012

I like to look for leadership everywhere. I talked about that in a previous post, Observe Leadership in Action. It might be evident on a sports team, in the board room, or at a neighborhood gathering. Leaders and leadership traits emerge all the time; and, we can learn from those around us on a daily basis.

This past weekend I learned about leadership past and present. I had the privilege of accompanying the Badger Honor Flight to Washington D.C. Eighty-seven veterans flew from Madison, Wisconsin to/from Washington DC to visit the war memorials.

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Rewarding Others: Personal Currencies

Author: Paul Dillenburg, Date: 8/1/2012

One of the challenges many managers face is determining how to engage, motivate and reward their workforce. While financial incentives do have a part to play, they often are not enough to keep employees “happy” with their work.

Not long ago I was discussing this topic with colleagues and the phrase “personal currency” came up. The theory behind personal currency is that each of us place a high value on different things in our work lives. Those things we value most are our currency. For example, some individuals find the most value from monetary rewards or advancement opportunities. Others covet flexibility of schedule or autonomy in their work. Still others place a high value on skill development or involvement in a variety of projects. The list of personal currencies can go on and on.

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