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Archive for June, 2014


What Training Does Your Team Need?

“What’s worse than training your workers and losing them? Not training them and keeping them!” Zig Ziglar

Providing training opportunities for your staff is a key tool for doing more than keeping your team positively productive. According to human resource experts, training improves retention because it increases employee satisfaction and motivation.  Your top performers value the opportunity to develop their skills and view training as a valued part of career development.Learning

Despite the value of training, many managers are reluctant to send employees off to training programs because they have experienced mixed results. Here are some tips to ensure the training you offer gives you the results you need and is valued by your employees.

  • Make sure employees have the training they need to do their jobs. Review the job requirements for each position and put together a training plan that enhances the ability of the incumbent to do the job. In addition to technical training, include skills development in leadership, communication, time and task management, and other so-called “soft skills.”
  • Survey staff about what kind of training they want. It might surprise you to discover what they are interested in learning.
  • Offer a variety of delivery options, including traditional classroom training with a live facilitator, webinars, e-learning programs, on-the-job training, lunch-and-learns, and so on.
  • Measure training effectiveness by asking participants to complete an anonymous evaluation and re-evaluate later to assess how the training has or hasn’t delivered skills improvement on the job.

Make training an integral part of your management plan to make sure your staff stays motivated and positively productive.

Not sure what training you need? I offer in-person, classroom training and an e-learning program. Contact me for information on how we can work together:!



Focus to be More Positively Productive

If you follow my blog posts or get my monthly newsletter, I’m not a fan of multi-tasking. In fact, I have written a lot about how multi-tasking is counter-productive in many ways. In my workshops, I teach participants the value of focus to be positively productive.shutterstock_109109063

Have you ever been so focused that time disappears. Before you know it, an hour or two or three have passed, but you didn’t notice because you were so involved in what you were doing. When you are this focused, your brain stops noticing things that are irrelevant to the task you are working on. Your ability to ignore distractions—and not even notice them—is enhanced. This is called being in the “zone” or “flow.”

Anything that breaks you out of the zone or flow is a distraction. Once distracted, it can take up to 20 minutes to return your focus to where it was before the distraction. One of the most common distractions in the office is sound. To improve your ability to focus:

  • Turn off alerts announcing that you have new email, a Facebook update, or text message.
  • Turn off the alerts and ringers on your landline and mobile phone.
  • Wear earplugs or ear buds to block out ambient noise in the work environment.

It doesn’t take much to distract us, and it doesn’t take much to eliminate one source of distractions! Welcome quiet and the focus that comes with it.

For more information, see my blog post How to Eliminate Distractions.


Stand Out at Work

If you’re like most managers, part of your job is to develop your team and help them succeed. You also need to help yourself succeed by standing out from the crowd and establishing your reputation as a leader.shutterstock_114051007

  • When you arrive at work in the morning, do something important. Don’t start by answering e-mail or hunkering down with a cup of coffee. Check in with your team and spread around some praise and encouragement. Drop into your manager’s office and share an accomplishment from the day before.
  • Establish a reputation for excellence in one critical area of your business. Don’t become known as the go-to person when the copier jams or the computers freeze. Be known as a champion facilitator, negotiator, peacemaker, conflict resolver, sales person, and so on.
  • Take on projects and activities that showcase your strengths.
  • Offer to mentor new team members to help them get up to speed or teach a lunch-and-learn to share your expertise.
  • Show initiative and come up with ways of streamlining processes and procedures to make them more efficient.
  • Volunteer to serve on teams and committees that let you connect with others in the organization outside your department. Become known in a larger playing field.
  • Speak up at meetings to demonstrate your interest and expertise. Leaders know how to make a point and stand out.

Actively look for ways to improve how things are done and how the organization can be more profitable and positively productive. Show up as someone who sees the big picture and wants to help the company succeed.

See my blog post How to Talk About Accomplishments Without Bragging.



Control Presentation Jitters

Many people fear public speaking more than they fear death! I’m not sure that’s true, but I do know many people feel presentation jitters before having to speak to a group. Whether you are presenting to a dozen people around a conference table or several hundred in a meeting room, you can control the jitters with these tips.fear-e1333466826228

  • Be prepared. Know more than you will ever say in the presentation. That depth of knowledge will give you confidence that you can handle questions. Decide on the specific points you want to make and the order in which you want to make them, but don’t memorize them.
  • Control your breathing. Generally, when you are nervous, your breathing will become shallow and rapid. Take slower and deeper breaths and follow your breathing for a few minutes. This is a tried-and-true method to lower stress.
  • Smile! Smiling actually changes your body chemistry by increasing endorphins and serotonin levels. It lifts your mood, helps you feel more confident, and makes you seem more trustworthy.
  • Make good eye contact. Really look at people, pause, make a connection, and then move on. When presenting in a large room, break the room into four quadrants, move your gaze around, pause at each quadrant for a while, and look at people in that quadrant.
  • Get out from behind the lectern. You will be tempted to hang onto it like a life preserver. Instead, move around. This boosts your energy and communicates your energy to the audience.  Don’t wander as if you are lost; move with determination, then stop and deliver part of your presentation before moving again.

Use the jitters to energize your presentation. A bit of nerves is good for you since the tension and adrenalin in your body can boost your performance!

“There are only two types of speakers in the world. 1. The nervous and 2. Liars.” 

Mark Twain


Be Accountable Even If You Aren’t Responsible!

As a manager or leader, your staff or coworkers may make promises, take actions, or make mistakes that cause problems—problems that you need to handle. While you are not responsible for the action that caused the problem, you are accountable as the manager to resolve it and make the customer happy.Learning

  1. Start by assessing the situation. What is causing the problem? Was a mistake made? What promise was made?
  2. Let the customer know that you will respond to the problem within a reasonable period of time.
  3. Identify what you reasonably can do to resolve the problem for the customer.
  4. Whom do you need to speak with in order to handle the issue?
  5. Do you need to involve your manager? If so, be prepared to propose a solution. Never go to your manager with a problem; go with a solution to a problem!
  6. Evaluate your options and decide the best course of action to take.
  7. Let the customer know your decision and explain how it was arrived at. Offer some kind of compensation to the customer, if appropriate.

After the issue is resolved, meet with the employee to determine how the problem occurred and coach the employee to ensure it doesn’t happen again. Establish clear goals, expectations, and ownership for every staff member and make sure employees know what they are accountable for achieving.  Determine if your team members have enough autonomy to make decisions without your intervention and give them the tools they need to do so.

See my blog post How Accountable Is Your Team?