Friday, August 31, 2012

You Can Manage Up

Throughout the past few months, many of our leaders have read the Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter. We even did a 30-Day Challenge using the resources from the book web site to motivate and encourage leaders to not just read the book, but to take action on some of the things they learned. At the end of the 30-Day Challenge, several managers got together to discuss what they tried and how it turned out

Label Your Opinions

There is a concept in the book that leaders should label their opinions as hard or soft. For example, when a leader contributes to a meeting with an opinion, she should say, "That is a soft opinion," to indicate to the group, that it is OK to ignore the bosses opinion and come up with other ideas. On the other hand, if a leader feels strongly, she should say so. "That is a hard opinion." By labeling opinions, people will know where they stand with a leader.

One of the managers in our 30-Day Challenge started using this technique with his boss. In discussions with his boss this manager would say, "Is that a hard opinion or a soft opinion?"


Now guess what his boss does? That's right. She now labels her opinions. The manager knows much better where he stands with his boss. That is multiplying genius.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Admit it: You Care (Only) About What You Measure

This HBR Blog Network post about measuring performance reminded me of countless conversations I have had with managers about the stated importance of quality and the actual importance of productivity. It is a classic organizational screw up to say, “Quality is our number 1 priority,” but then scream bloody murder the very second productivity falls below expectations. In an instant, there goes the focus on quality, right out the window. Once you do this, none of your people will ever again (almost ever) believe in your focus on quality. You have just destroyed any future attempt to focus on quality. People will no longer listen to you because now they know that productivity is all that matters.

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Monday, August 27, 2012

Note-taking and E-learning: Lessons for Learners and LX Designers

With all the talk of creating short, consumable, e-learning, most are long, boring, and difficult to retain. Think about it: When was the last time you took a self-paced e-learning course that was so long, you wanted to give up out of shear frustration? As you took the course, the impending final assessment loomed, and all you could think about was that there was no way you were going to pass the final quiz because you just knew that you could not possibly retain everything in one sitting. The last thing you wanted to do was go back through the module and retake the assessment, which would almost certainly have a new set of questions.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

What Learning Designers Can Learn from Agile Software Designers

I have always been fascinated with software design, even as a young kid learning BASIC on a Radio Shack TRS-80, I wanted to make that computer do stuff. The problem was that when the sun came up, I wanted to go fishing or skateboarding or play baseball with my friends. Although part of me always enjoyed it, I began to see software design like golf or windsurfing, which is to say, one has to spend a lot of time to get good enough for it to be enjoyable.

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Monday, August 13, 2012

How to Use Enterprise Social Networks to On-Board New Employees

On-boarding new employees is not just about new hire training. In fact, the job training may be the least important part of on-boarding new people. As more evidence piles up linking employee engagement to performance, organizations need to take the entire on-boarding process much more seriously.
One important way organizations can do this is to help new people “adjust” or “socialize” into the new organization. Organizational socialization goes back a long way, and includes fundamentals like helping new employees with role clarity, confidence in their ability to perform the work, social acceptance, and knowledge of how to navigate the organization. Traditional new hire training programs do not address these issues of organizational socialization.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Does Your Training ROI Actually Destroy Shareholder Value?

There is no doubt that the return on investment (ROI) of training is a controversial issue. There is no shortage of books, articles, blog posts, and Twitter chats filled with reasons why determining training ROI is essential and why it is a complete waste of time. For those who do not believe in training ROI, the argument goes something like this: “No one tried to determine the ROI of buying pencils or of email. We bought them because we know they are necessary. There is not ROI on that.” For those who believe in training ROI, the argument goes something like this: “While it is true we do not calculate the ROI of pencils, if an organization is going to spend $500,000 on leadership develop this year, we better have a positive expectation on that investment.”
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