We all know that our workforces are changing. But we do have the ability to reach out to all generations with our training and development. The Baby Boomers are not accepting retirement, Generation X is in full swing, and Generation Y is just entering the workforce. Before we talk about how to effectively train each group, let’s determine who’s who. Baby Boomers were generally born between 1946 and 1965 – in many organizations they are the executives. But many Boomers may have taken early retirement and want to reenter the workforce. Generation X comprises the group that was born between 1966 and 1982 – they are now creeping into the senior and executive levels in some organizations, but as we’ll discuss, Gen Xers are not the ones who stay in one place for life. Finally, Generation Y’s members were born from 1983 and going forward. What are their learning styles, and more importantly, how can you reach these three major groups?
The Baby Boomers have been shackled to their desks for many years – the common worry among them is that the company may drop of the face of the earth if they are not around. This group has had to learn and unlearn many things over the years, but they never stop learning. Boomers are networkers and transformers who are adept at taking in new technology and using it effectively. In the classroom, Boomers will be attracted to group activities where they can practice networking. But don’t stray away from using technology in the classroom because of the presence of the Boomers – with a little direction, they will be able to apply technology just as their children (and grandchildren) do.
By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On November 22, 2011 NO COMMENTS
Many organizational managers assume that by adding leadership training or a leadership development program that they are able to create a culture that accepts leadership. The move from non-existent leadership to a leadership culture takes time – and a few steps in between. Let’s look at how you can create a culture of leadership.
First, you, as the organizational leader, must acknowledge the existence of leadership potential. It sounds simple, but many leaders do not want to admit that they are replaceable – that someone or more than one person would be capable of taking the reins once they’re gone. Don’t be that leader – seek out and recognize that the organization has talent. Acknowledge that the talent will one day be capable of taking over your vision and moving the organization forward. By making this acknowledgment, you’re telling your mid- and senior-level leaders that a path exists. And you’re telling new hires that the sky is the limit in your organization.
By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On November 15, 2011 NO COMMENTS
Creating a leadership bench takes the skill of a coach and the precision of an engineer. But there are five distinct steps you can take to build your leadership bench – and keep it moving.
First, and most obvious, you must create and maintain a leadership development program. This isn’t simply an order to the training department to create leadership courses. You must obtain buy-in from your management team by showing the benefits: the leadership bench, succession planning, talent management, and career pathing. Your program should begin with classroom training -at all levels, if possible. Everyone in your organization should know what your definition of a leader is – and how to get there. But as you move up the ranks, leadership development should be ongoing, challenging, and not necessarily a sure thing. The program should include real-time projects, seminars, assessment, and evaluation. Program participants who slip should be coached back up – or out. Once someone is in the leadership program, he or she should continue to improve in all aspects.
By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On November 8, 2011 NO COMMENTS
The sixth foundation of leadership is Persuasion and Influence. Let’s find out what each of these critical actions is – and then talk about why they are so important. Persuasion is a combination of actions that can help people agree to or at least see a new viewpoint. First, persuasion is about communicating ideas clearly. As a leader, you’ve probably got a big vision in mind for the organization, and most likely some smaller “milestone” visions, as well. It’s a hard leap from your mind to an articulated thought – and some leaders fail to make the leap. You’ve got to know your vision inside and out, but you’ve also got to express it in terms that are understood by the entire organization.
When it comes to communicating your ideas, you’ll soon learn when it’s time to talk – and when it’s time to listen. That doesn’t necessarily refer to one conversation or interaction – it could amount to months of listening and months of talking – or longer. The key is to use just the right amount of persistence to keep the idea going, to keep people thinking, and to keep the idea’s momentum going. David Ben-Gurion, the first prime minister of Israel, was known for discussing opposing points of view repeatedly until the people involved saw the other side of the story. He used just the right amount of persistence to get this done. When you’re communicating, talk benefits – not how you can help or what you can do. Paint a picture of what the other person, team, or organization will look like once they’ve accepted a new point of view. Don’t forget to base your benefits on fact.
By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On November 4, 2011 NO COMMENTS
I am not the originator of this list, but found it instructive as to the success and failure of companies and success.
1. A lost customer means lost feedback and the opportunity to improve.
2. A lost customer means lost sales and revenue that is lost forever!
3. A lost customer causes asking, “Why didn’t we recognize the problem before losing them?”
4. A lost customer means having lost a testimonial to use in selling to others.
5. A lost customer opens us up to potentially negative word-of-mouth that might affect our reputation with prospects, customers, suppliers and staff.
6. A lost customer means having lost all their possible future referrals.
7. A lost customer has a negative impact on the confidence of our entire staff.
8. A lost customer increases the urgency to prospect for new customers (and often at the worst time).
9. A lost customer and the resulting reduced revenue can slow or even halt plans to grow.
10. A lost customer means less money available for payroll, commissions and benefits for the work force.
11. A lost customer can demoralize the sales and marketing staff.
12. A lost customer may become an unexpected opportunity for the competition.
13. A lost customer means a distraction from other important issues.
14. A reputation for losing customers can hang a black cloud over the ability to find and hire the right personnel.
15. A lost customer can be the beginning of a reputation for losing customers that hangs like a black cloud over the ability to find and hire the right personnel.
16. A lost customer can degrade an image and reputation in the marketplace.
17. A lost customer forces undertaking tasks and changes that weren’t wanted or planned.
18. A lost customer can have a damaging impact on our sales projections, cash flow, receivables, and payables.
19. A lost customer can cut volume and prohibit meeting buying commitments with suppliers and vendors.
20. A lost customer can trigger the need to spend un-budgeted funds on marketing, research, new customer acquisition, etc.
21. A lost customer can disrupt inventory levels, inventory investments, ordering procedures and reorder frequency.
22. A lost customer may cause the need to refocus priorities and go in a totally different direction.
23. A lost customer can cause the need to focus attention on poor performance rather than growth opportunities.
24. A lost customer can cause doubt about the validity of service fulfillment and pricing strategies.
25. A lost customer causes hard work in an attempt to regain the business.
26. A lost customer can cause overreacting and even panic when confronted with similar situations with existing customers in the future.
27. A lost customer can discourage a prospective salesperson from ever trying the job.
28. A lost customer can lead to an accounting, collection or legal nightmare.
29. A lost customer can devalue the worth and saleability of a business.
I did not create this list, I don’t know its origin, but I find the value in the message, and I hope you do to.
By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On November 2, 2011 NO COMMENTS
Even ordinary efforts, given enough time, can produce extraordinary outcomes.
By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On November 1, 2011 NO COMMENTS
There are many ways to determine if learners have been engaged in training programs and the accompanying materials. But among the most important ways to measure engagement is through efficient evaluation at all levels. In this discussion, evaluation refers to both evaluating participants and stakeholders for knowledge retention as well perception of training programs.
First, the testing component of evaluation can be part of your measurement for engagement. If you build tests or exams into training programs, quite simply they should match the engagement you’ve attempted to create in the program. For example, experiential learning interventions should be tested experientially. If you’ve provided case studies in class, the test of knowledge should be via case studies. On the other hand, if learning occurs through group work, testing should occur through group work. It’s sometimes easier to create a written test that is easily graded, but this way you may not know if learners were actually engaged. You may be able to see knowledge retention, but the engagement component may be a mystery. The key here is to make the testing as applicable to the learning as possible, even mirroring the methods that were used in class.