As an organization, PMA Philadelphia has been closely tracking Coronavirus (COVID–19) and the impact it continues to have on businesses and communities.The most common feedback we’re hearing from customers is that they are considering whether to curtail or even eliminate travel, rethinking participation in company training and industry conferences, planning for remote worker support, and/or taking a firmer stance on employee illness and related attendance. Our team is here to help and we’re taking several steps to help our customers manage through this time of need and crisis response.
It happens all the time. Two people are using a word and believe they are aligned on its definition, but their different interpretations lead to big misses in execution. When this happens with a common word like coaching, the results fall short and leave people scratching their head. I was recently in New York teaching a Coaching for Peak Performance class with a group of front-line managers.
"How many of you actively coach your team members?" (80% of the hands went up)
"How many of you coach both proactively for development and reactively for "just-in-time" learning?" (60% of the hands went up)
It didn't make sense to me. I was missing something. How could they be coaching and still not getting the results?
Automate your repetitive processes.
Identifying all repetitive tasks in a process is a great way to quickly surface opportunities for automation.
Consider templates, checklists and rules in Outlook, Gmail, OneNote, Keep and other applications as a non-programmers option for automating. With increases in communications, an automated process for client contacts can save a team a bunch of time. Scheduling applications like Fullslate, AppointmentPlus, Acuity, TimeTap and Bookings (free in MS 365) can save everyone on the team countless hours playing phone tag and emailing people with new appointment options when you work with external clients or vendors whose schedules you can't see.
Raise your hand if this scenario sounds familiar: you’re 55 minutes into your one-hour team meeting to introduce a new change, you wanted your team to weigh in, and now you’re heading down a rabbit hole that you don’t think you can get out of. You know that one of two scenarios are inevitable: you risk running over and making people late for their next appointments, or someone is bound to leave feeling thoroughly unsatisfied. As managers, how do we get in front of this phenomenon while still giving people a voice?
One of our favorite ways to gauge buy-in is with an incredibly simple but effective tool: Fist to Five. If you’ve never heard of this, it’s based on a 0-5 scale, with the idea that you can take the temperature of the room simply by having people hold up one hand to display where they stand. Here is the scale that we recommend using:
Think back to the last time you suggested a new idea to someone else. It could have been as simple as a new recipe for dinner at home, or as involved as suggesting a new way to solve a complex problem at work. How was that information received? Did people go along with your suggestion, or were you met with resistance that surprised you?
In our Change Leadership and Change Readiness workshops, we often begin by polling the room and asking who thinks that they respond well to change. Here is what normally happens: a handful of hands go up immediately (maybe 1/3 of the room), some people admit that they’re not too fond of change, and most people will say that it depends. People are open to change when it directly benefits them, or better yet, when it was their suggestion. So what is a leader to do when a change coming from the organizational leadership is met with resistance?
Focus on Results, Not Tasks
In order to change results, you have to focus on the right things. Thinking about your day as a bunch of to-do's will get you nowhere fast. Instead, drive your day by the objectives. What are the results you are trying to accomplish and is there a direct correlation to the way you are spending your time? If your tasks don't roll up to a specific objective, seriously question their value. And if they do, prioritize and work the most important one first.
I keep this quote on my office wall.
"When learning about life and people, make no more assumptions than are absolutely necessary. Ask and observe." William of Ockham, 1324
Over the years it reminded me time and time again, that no matter how prepared I can be to teach a specific topic, the most important component of that training is unknown until the class begins: the audience.
It's too easy to forget this when trainers and facilitators have been teaching a topic for a long time or leaders have become expert in their presentation material. Once we forget this simple rule, the lecture begins. Or, we roll out the same tired questions, expecting the same answers and we are fully prepared to respond to them, even before the question is complete. It is the stuff of deteriorating results in the classroom, and it can be deadly for our most seasoned trainers (myself included).
So, here are three tactics for keeping it fresh and different every time, based on who's in the room.
I just read an article in HR Dive that reported on "The top learning trends for 2016 and beyond" written by Kathryn Moody. The last trend cited in the article was the focus on Millennials in the workplace. I don't disagree that it is a trend, but I do believe we've gone completely over the top with it.
We humans have a strong need to see patterns and to organize the world around us that seems so chaotic at times. That said, we have more data than ever about each individual and live in an age where we can use our new technologies (and good common sense) to customize learning to each person.
In last year's Forbes article, "How To Get Even More From Your Technology: Turn It Off", Kevin Ready makes the case that in order to overcome the evils of our technology, we should walk away or turn it off.
He's not wrong about the evils, and occasionally walking away or turning it off creates a much needed techno-break. However, I believe there's a far more valuable answer: Get control of your technology!
Don't let it overwhelm and distract you. With a few rules for wrestling it under control and modifying your behavior, your tools can be useful and productive, not your enemy.
At Priority Management Associates, we teach people to take the following approach: