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Free Webinar Series: A Guide to Understanding Human Resource Management Solutions & Employee Assessments

Free Webinar Series: A Guide to Understanding Human Resource Management Solutions & Employee Assessments

Spring Clean Your Leadership Skills

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Spring has sprung! Spring is a time for renewal and rebirth of life and energy—plants and flowers begin to sprout and bloom, the annual “spring cleaning” spree ensues to remove unnecessary materials collected during the winter hibernation months, cleansing of the mind and body are encouraged. As such, spring is an essential time for leaders in organizations to review, rethink, and rejuvenate their overall culture by reevaluating their own skills.

Those holding leadership positions should ask themselves, “What can I do to make my organization better?” This “spring cleaning” may include tactics, ideas, strengths and weaknesses.

  • Tactics: As a leader, making strategies and planning (whether long-term or short-term) are typical functions. Tactics on how to perform these strategies must be considered—what’s working now? What worked in the past? What have I done that seems to be working?  Sure, every situation is different and plans need to be adjusted, but you, as a leader, must decide and eliminate strategies that may not be working (e.g. plans that are outdated and cannot reach the same caliber as current trends). In cases when sudden incidences rise without any warning, leaders must be quick and think on their feet without breaking a sweat.
  • Ideas: Has your organization hit a plateau where innovation is nonexistent? Think outside of the box! Be inspired by creativity and if your ideas fail, at least you were brave enough to throw out suggestions that may seem out of the norm to others. After all, every accomplishment starts with the decision to try. With leaders making innovative and creative decisions, they can set a precedent for their employees to do the same; ignite the spark for creative thinking and see the results in action!  
  • Strengths and weaknesses: To be the best leader you can be, strengths and weaknesses must be acknowledged and carried out. Self reflect on what you need to work on and try tackling them a little bit everyday. If you want a more in-depth tool for seeking out your weaknesses (and strengths), consider conducting, or ask HR to conduct, a 360-degree feedback to see what your peers think of you and your effectiveness as a leader. 

Keep a fresh open mind and see what you can accomplish for your organization. Now that spring has sprung, how are you planning to “renew” your leadership skills? 

*e-VentExe is a full service human resource consulting firm specializing in leadership training and development. If you’re interested in conducting a 360-degree feedback, we can assist you in the process. Follow us on Facebook and/or LinkedIn to learn more about our company and see what interests us!

The High and Profitable Cost of Employee Training

ImageAccording to the American Society of Training and Development, organizations spent $156.2 billion on learning and development in 2011. This statistic clearly indicates that employee training can drastically impact a company’s success among other factors. In this day and age when technology is on the rise and workplace dynamics are changing, training is a high necessity, as are finding the funds to cover it.

Training is crucial because it not only benefits organizations, but also enhances overall employee performance. According to Ferdinand Fournies, an internationally known consultant, author, and former professor at Columbia University’s School of Business, employee performance issues occur because employees:  1) are unaware of  what they’re supposed to do 2) are unsure how to do it 3) are unsure why they should do it.

Other benefits of training include:

  • Saving money and labor: Skilled employees may contribute to a decrease in maintenance expenditures, minimal supervision, lower turnover rates, and valuable time that may be used elsewhere (e.g. spending time on correcting others’ mistakes).
  • Guaranteeing an organization’s competitive edge in the market: Employees must be updated on skills in regards to the ever-changing workforce and market. Employees are important assets to organizations and if training efforts are not invested to enhance their skills, companies may see a spiraling downturn in profits.
  • Employee retention and/or satisfaction: The more effort management puts forth in their employees, the more opportunities their workforce has in career advancements and overall personal growth.
  • Increased customer satisfaction: With increased skills comes better quality of work, which in turn means higher quality of services and/or products—these factors decrease customer complaint rates.

From an article in Workforce Management in 2006 detailing the training costs and efforts of the popular restaurant chain, The Cheesecake Factory, the organization spends approximately $2,000 on training per hourly employee each year. The chain takes their training seriously and involves all their employees: servers are enrolled in two weeks of on-the-job training; those seeking managerial positions receive 12-week development courses; dishwashers are also included in training programs. The Cheesecake Factory finds training to be beneficial as their turnover rate is approximately 15 percent below the industry average of 106 percent.

An important question to consider is: how does one pay for all the training expenditures? The Employment Training Panel (ETP) is a California State job funding agency created to assist organizations (only in CA) in finding the means to train their workforce. This fiscal year, ETP has up to 80 million dollars solely for training purposes with priority industries in technology, manufacturing, biotechnology, and agriculture to name a few. Not in California? No worries; grants and scholarships can be found in various state programs as well.

Training is essential for organizations, large and small. How much will your company invest in training efforts this year?

*e-VentExe is a full service human resource consulting firm located in Northern California. Our expert consultants can assist you with any training needs and assist you with finding funds for training. Give us a call at 916.458.5820 to learn more about how we can help you get on board with your training!

Getting Past the Peter Principle

Our guest blogger is Tina R. Shaw. Tina is a Coach and Consultant specializing in leadership development, supporting change, and facilitating learning. Contact Tina at tina.r.shaw@gmail.com.

Most of us have heard of the Peter Principle, but in case you haven’t, it is commonly phrased as “Employees tend to rise to their level of incompetence.”  Why does this happen? Consider the super-star sales person, Mary. She’s consistently a top producer, does everything expected of her, and is seen as a rising star. So of course she earns a promotion to Sales Manager! A few months later the shine on Mary’s star is tarnishing. What went wrong?

Like many people who are promoted, the skills and behaviors that made Mary successful in her former role are not the same skills and behaviors necessary for success in her new role. Not only is it important to develop new competencies to succeed in the new role, it is equally important to understand which competencies should be de-emphasized. For example, as a super-star salesperson personal expertise and efforts are a significant factor in success. As a sales manager, success comes from getting results through the efforts and expertise of others.  In Mary’s new role leadership becomes more important than individual contribution. Because Mary’s success came from her personal efforts it may be difficult for her to let go of doing things herself to focus instead on supporting her team to produce results.

In the book, “The Leadership Pipeline” by Ram Charan, Steve Drotter and Jim Noel, the authors outline the skill requirements, time applications and work values necessary for different levels of leadership.   Moving from individual contributor to manager of people takes more than learning some new skills, it also requires adjusting values and where you focus your time. Each level of leadership requires different adjustments in these three areas. Leaders in transition can get into trouble when they fail to make the necessary adjustments in what they value, what they do, and where they focus their time.

Knowing you need to make some changes, and even learning what changes you need to make is the easy part – you can get training, read a book, get advice from a mentor or search the Internet. Actually making changes is much, much harder because most of us tend to default to what has been successful for us in the past. It takes repeated practice to make new skills and behaviors part of our default mode.

How many of us have taken a class or read a book on leadership and committed to implementing something we learned, but never practiced enough to make it stick? Probably most of us, including me. It’s not about ability, capacity or hitting the limits of our potential. All of these things expand as we gain experience, learn and grow as individuals. More likely it is because no one is checking in on us to see how we are applying what we learned. We get so absorbed in the day-to-day of our work and lives that we don’t remember to practice what we learned, and eventually we forget altogether. What we need is an accountability partner. Someone who will challenge us, support us, provide feedback, and ask us the right questions to ensure we are doing what we said we would do.

Working with a coach is a wonderful way to get the support and accountability you need. How can a coach help? A coach is trained to listen, ask powerful questions, and reflect back to create awareness to help the client take action to get where they want to go. Working with a coach provides a regular check-in that allows you to measure your progress, get past obstacles, and celebrate successes!

When I started my business I naturally choose to focus on what I love. My passion is leadership development and transferring learning into business results. I partner with clients to develop leaders, accelerate learning, and support change.  If you would like to learn more about developing leaders, I invite you to contact me: tina.r.shaw@gmail.com or  http://www.linkedin.com/in/tinarshaw