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Personal Improvement : How Grown-Ups Learn

Posted by kevinb on 5/9/19 (100 reads)

There are 7 key principles in adult learning and we want to help you understand them and their importance...not only regarding the learning itself, but also to the long-term retention of information.

There are 7 key principles regarding adult learning theory that are important to recognize, especially as it relates to eLearning. Over the past several years, eLearning has come to be recognized as a powerful way to impart continuous learning and development to business professionals.

According to eLearning Industry, Malcolm Shephard Knowles put forth a theory that distinguished adult learning from childhood learning. He used five main assumptions and extrapolated four principles to make adult learning more effective. Here are 7 aspects regarding adult learning that you should consider before investing in learning and development for the professionals in your organization:

1. Adult Learners Have a Well-Established Sense of Self
In childhood, we model ourselves off of our parents and siblings. As teenagers, we pull away from family to mimic our friends and peer groups. It isn't until adulthood that we pick and choose from these two states.

Leadership : Integrity is Everything

Posted by kevinb on 4/15/19 (217 reads)

"Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power." ~ Abraham Lincoln

Recently, we looked at credibility, which is critical for developing relationships, especially relationships that matter. In the book Crucial Conversations, authors Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan and Al Switzler, state that when it matters most, we often do our worst. They go on to stress that if a relationship matters, then we should approach it in a different way; a way that enables us to achieve positive results without permanently damaging the relationship.

Integrity is repeatedly listed as a part of credibility. Integrity is defined having strong moral principles such as honesty, good character, ethics, morality, decency, fairness, truthfulness, trustworthiness, etc.

In working with companies and non-profit organizations on strategic planning, I can't recall a time when they discussed their desired core values and didn't mention integrity. Whether it is a core value of our organization or not, it is almost as if we are afraid not to list integrity, for fear of others thinking that we don't have it.

Leadership : The Importance of Establishing Credibility

Posted by kevinb on 3/26/19 (336 reads)

A challenge with this topic is to put credibility into something understandable or, better yet, something tangible. Also, how to properly capture the importance of credibility and the results that can be achieved when it's developed?

The dictionary definition of credibility is the power to inspire belief. It's an absolutely critical personal and professional trait. Why? Because credibility defines who you are as a person and in business. It defines who you are as an employee, supervisor, manager, and more importantly as a leader.

As a leader, credibility lets your employees see you as a dependable source of reliable information (whether on a day-to-day basis or on those occasions when it's most critical) and for fair, effective decision-making. Individuals who have credibility develop and cultivate earned mutual trust and respect. Leaders who have credibility develop an organizational culture with enhanced morale, elevated staff performance, and effective relationships.

How do you Build Credibility as a Leader?

Personal Improvement : The Value of Emotional Intelligence

Posted by kevinb on 3/5/19 (366 reads)

"According to the World Economic Forum's Future of Jobs Report emotional intelligence will be one of the top 10 sought after job skills in 2020."

Emotional Intelligence is a valuable job skill; it doesn't matter what job, and in many cases even surpassing the value of technical ability. Beginning as early as 2010, hiring managers and human resource professionals began to recognize and value emotional intelligence. They were more likely to promote an employee who was emotionally intelligent over an employee with skills but didn't demonstrate emotional intelligence. So, what is the value of emotional intelligence?

The value of emotional intelligence is:

Leadership : The High Cost of Bad Managers

Posted by kevinb on 2/18/19 (434 reads)

According to several polls, over 50% of employees who quit their jobs cite the manager as the reason. People join an organization for several reasons, such as company culture, career opportunities, compensation, the mission of the organization and its reputation. Organizations spend significant time, energy, effort and money in identifying and evaluating candidates and, ultimately, hiring an employee. This process also, then, includes post-hire onboarding and training and development. When an employee leaves, the organization does not get a full return on its investment. This is particularly true if the employee is especially talented and capable of helping the organization attain its strategic goals.

To help reduce the risk of losing good employees, organizations must pay particular attention to the quality of their managers. Understanding the relationships that managers have with their employees and how they direct and develop them are particulary importat. The cost of a bad manager is high, and can manifest itself in direct financial terms, in the inability to attract talent people and retain high-performing employees, as well as a myriad other areas.

Here are some signs of ineffective management practices:

Motivation / Inspiration : Book Summary: "The Alchemist" by Paulo Coelho

Posted by kevinb on 1/7/19 (1723 reads)

When Kathleen O'Grady, Founder and CEO of Raleigh Coaching, suggested that I read this book, I could tell that she was excited for me to do so...and for good reason. Coelho's book was written 25 years ago and is just as relevant today.

The Alchemist is a story about a Spanish boy, Santiago, who loves his life as a shepherd and the time that it gives him to read books and to dream. From a young age, Santiago has wanted to travel, and shepherding takes him across the country and from village to village, selling his wool. However, he yearns for more; wanting to travel farther, to experience new things, and to "know the world."

In his pursuit, Santiago encounters many people who have a profound impact on him. For example, one day, he visits a Gypsy whom he hopes can interpret a reoccurring dream in which a child says to Santiago that he will find a hidden treasure if he travels to the Egyptian pyramids. The Gypsy has difficulty understanding his dream's meaning but says that Santiago must travel to the Egyptian pyramids because there he will "find a treasure that will make (him) a rich man."

Organizational Excellence : The Power of Purpose

Posted by kevinb on 11/26/18 (554 reads)

Building a Strong Business Foundation

One of the most memorable experiences I had during my corporate years was doing consulting work with a non-profit organization as part of a management development program. My cohort was asked to bring our experience and skills to help a group of nonprofits more effectively achieve their mission.

What impressed me the most was the level of passion the volunteers demonstrated for the work they were doing. It was truly a labor of love. Although my colleagues and I had the resources that come with for-profit companies, we were envious of the level of enthusiasm and commitment that powered the efforts of the nonprofits. It was eye-opening.

And it made me reflect on whether a for-profit business could ever inspire the same level of passion and dedication. For a long time, I didn't think it was possible; but lately I've changed my mind. I think it is possible - through the power of purpose.

Understanding Purpose

The Oxford Dictionary defines "purpose" as "The reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists". Purpose is related to, but distinct from, the other foundational elements of organization strategy like vision, mission and values.

You may be thinking, "Isn't the purpose of a business to make as much money as possible"? The answer is a resounding "NO". Profit is necessary to STAY in business, but it's NOT the reason a business exists.  

Organizational Excellence : Put Your (Six) Thinking Caps On

Posted by kevinb on 10/15/18 (2778 reads)

There are many methodologies to choose from to help us think differently, but one of my favorites is Six Thinking Hats. Developed by Edward de Bono, a pioneer in brain training and lateral thinking, Six Thinking Hats is a deceivingly simple and highly practical tool for enabling creativity, problem-solving and teamwork.

The basis of Six Thinking Hats is "parallel thinking", a term coined by de Bono. Unlike traditional adversarial thinking, which tends to be confrontational and seeks to prove or disprove a statement or hypothesis, "parallel thinking" describes a disciplined approach that follows several tracks in order to uncover all sides of a subject.

Although an individual can certainly use this technique on their own, it is most effective with groups. By deconstructing the thinking process and "wearing one hat at a time", all participants examine an issue from a series of perspectives. It is a highly cooperative method that opens up opportunities for thinking differently - the very definition of creativity!

Using the Six Thinking Hats

Like any effective problem-solving process, it is critical to begin with a clear statement of the issue at hand. And like any group process, it is important to identify the right participants, including the optimal number of people and which areas of expertise need to be represented.

Organizational Excellence : Creativity and Innovation in the Workplace

Posted by kevinb on 8/23/18 (814 reads)

A common discourse in the workplace these days is how to improve creativity and innovation, which can be central to an organization's performance and sustainability. As the knowledge-based, interconnected global marketplace continues to move ahead at warp speed, it will become increasingly critical to be competitive. This will require different approaches and strategies to address and solve problems. Creativity and innovation will provide the underpinning for action. Creativity is defined as the mental and social process (conscious or unconscious) of generating ideas and concepts, while innovation is the successful exploration of new ideas or the outcome of the creative process.

Common types of innovations relate to product, service, and organizational (procedural or process) and are typically market-led or market-push innovations. The others are technology-led, for which markets must be developed.

Here are some leadership practices that warrant consideration to foster creative and innovative core behaviors for your employees:

Leadership : Boosting Employee Commitment (Getting Beyond the 9-to-5)

Posted by kevinb on 8/7/18 (684 reads)

Let's get real. You want your people to be resourceful, show initiative, think for themselves, own their jobs, come up with solutions, and then implement them with little guidance from you once they've been trained.

You think you hired the right person with every hire. But once they've been with you for a few weeks, they turn into a 9 to 5'er. They put in their 8 hours, and then are looking to go home. They're friendly, do their responsibilities, but offer no creativity, and don't feel engaged enough to finish a project before leaving for the day.

What's the common element in all these instances? The staff are different. The tasks are different. What's common is you and the culture you've created.

You are the problem. This is where you need to do some serious soul searching, ask your staff some delicate questions, get some advice and guidance from an executive coach, and see what you can change.

Seven Questions to ask yourself and then your staff:

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