How DO you get managers to take learning plans seriously?

Aneesha E  asked how to get managers to implement Learning and Development plans on time. Very few people offered up an opinion on this question!

The real issue Aneesha faces is not the fulfilment of the learning and development plan, but the achievement of the business result to which the plan contributes. When the learning plan itself becomes the focus, managers get to feel that they are being asked to fulfill a plan in order to have a plan fulfilled. This happens in many subtle ways; for example, by tying a learning and development plan to an arbitrary annual review cycle, rather than to the natural business cycle, or the demands of a particular business initiative.

My experience is that if you’re dealing with a manager who doesn’t see the need to deliver a learning and development plan within a particular timeframe, the problem is either
a) the timeframe makes no sense, or most likely
b) s/he doesn’t see the business benefit in delivering the plan at all.

So I advised Aneesha not to concentrate on pushing the learning plans, but find out what the REAL problem is and address that. 

Here’s the original conversation.

What do YOU do think? How do you ensure that learning and development plans are valued for their contribution to your business results?

Please join the discussion by leaving a comment below. Thanks.

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What are the foundations of “belonging”?

Brenda Neckvatal asked what steps people are taking to help offsite employees feel like they are part of the team. An astonishing number of people responded – I guess this is a common challenge. There were lots of creative ideas amongst the responses that are well worth reading.

Regular phone calls and rah-rah sessions are fine, but in my experience people often feel “remote” from the team with whom they share an office. The foundations of real commitment are a deep understanding of the goals and contribution of the team, and the value of membership of the team in terms meaningful to each person. Creating that sense of belonging is the first, and often most challenging, step.  

Here’s the original conversation.

What do YOU think? Can you feel a sense of commitment to a team whose goals you don’t buy into?  Does commitment to a team develop from anything more than enlightened self-interest?

Please join the discussion by leaving a comment below. Thanks.

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What’s in a name?

Sometimes Leadership is about letting the team have its way. 

DK Sabharwal  asked for comments on the issue of what to name a new business. His employees wanted to name the business “1905AD” in honor of their hero, Albert Einstein.

Most repondents gave thoughtful suggestions for alternative names, because they felt that DK’s target market wouldn’t understand the 1905AD reference – to Einstein’s “Miracle Year”. (Truth in publishing; thank goodness for Google!)

However, of the 14 businesses represented in previous responses, only ONE name gave any clue as to the nature of the business’s products or services. I understood NY Transit, but the rest …? Even our name,  “ArnzenGroup”, only credentials us with people who know Breck.

I advised DK to go with the team’s energy, and use the name the team found exciting. The added bonus is of course that the first thing anyone will ask is … what does that name mean? 

Here’s the original conversation.

In a week in which the sports pages have been dominated by talk of coaches overcoming team insurrections at the World Cup, what situations have YOU been in lately where going with the team’s energy seemed to be the right thing to do?

Please join the discussion by leaving a comment below. Thanks.

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How would you start a Quality initiative?

Eammon Coyle  asked about the impact of culture on the implementation of Total Quality Management.

I think the success of any programmatic approach to quality – TQM, Six Sigma, Lean – is first and foremost determined by quality BEHAVIORS rather than tools or processes. And the biggest influence on the behavioral culture of an organization is what happens at the top, so that’s where you start.

I advised Eammon to

– show his C-suite the bottom-line potential of TQM,

– help them build the appropriate behaviors into their daily interactions,

… so that in about 6 months, when he can show them the impact, they’ll be ready to think about something more programmatic.

Here’s the original conversation .

How would YOU approach issues of quality in your organization?

Please join the discussion by leaving a comment below. Thanks.

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What’s REALLY important in a Performance Management system?

Daniel Egger in Brazil asked how to design a new performance management process for a large bank.

In my experience there are only 3 aspects of a performance management process that ever impact individual behaviour, and therefore business results;

– the degree to which the manager understands the company’s strategy and goals.

– the quality of the on-going conversation between the manager and employee.

– the support from the manager which follows from this conversation.

So my advice was to;

– Put line managers in charge of the design process, and charge them with improving the quality of the conversations happening around the business.

– Ensure any of the (limited!) structures, forms, processes and systems  put in place support the conversation.

– Keep away from elements designed to produce “data”.

Here’s the original conversation .

What would YOU change about your performance management system?

Please join the discussion by leaving a comment below. Thanks.

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