Category Archives: Learning

ReStart November 2017 Career Conference

The 2017 ReStart Career Conference is back again & I am looking forward to co-facilitating a class with my TTI Insights Mentor, Butch Howard! If you are seeking a better career, looking to advance in your current position, build connections through networking and grow personally and as a leader…..you will gain valuable tools and connections at this free conference!

Come dressed in your professional attire and recharge your career or personal development as you learn from some of the most successful business professionals in the Lowcountry!

Date: Saturday, November 11, 2017
Time: 8:00am to 3:00pm, Doors open at 7:30am
Where: Seacoast Church
Long Point Campus
750 Long Point Rd.
Mt. Pleasant, SC 29464

(Due to construction please use the parking off Egypt Road)

REGISTER NOW!! Click Here

Looking forward to seeing you there!

Giving Feedback

feedbackFeedback can be difficult to give to others. Receiving feedback can be even more difficult to accept. In both circumstances, negative feedback, or constructive criticism, is the most difficult to give or receive. Our natural instinct is to avoid or procrastinate providing negative feedback. My own rule of thumb for providing feedback, especially negative, is to do so only if it is first of all solicited, and secondly if the position that I have been given requires it.

If someone directly asks or solicits your feedback, clarify and confirm that your honest feedback is indeed what they are asking you to provide. By confirming their desire, you will know that they are truly ready to receive your feedback. Sometimes people may not actually want your feedback; they may just want to unload their own thoughts while you listen. Some may just want to talk through a problem solving the issue themselves. I have learned that in this situation, my best option is to keep silent and truly listen.

Now, if your position requires that you provide feedback, take a pro-active approach. Roles that require your feedback include manager, parent, business coach, teacher, consultant, customer, etc. These jobs require that you provide frequent feedback, and your intent should always be for the good of the recipient.

In order to take a pro-active approach, make sure those receiving your feedback clearly understand your expectations up front. Schedule routine evaluations to provide feedback. If you manage people, have a monthly one-on- one meeting and discuss three things: 1) What is going well, 2) what is not going very well, and 3) action items for the next 30 days. Create a comfortable atmosphere for sharing information with open communication. This type of pro- active approach will help in two ways: 1) Since any issues were addressed throughout the year, you will not have a surprised employee at the time of their yearly performance review; and 2) The employee will be happy to get regular positive feedback as well as appreciate the opportunity to know what they can improve to better impact the business and their performance throughout the year. This same pro-active approach also works with helping your child and their grades in school. Have check points in place throughout the semester or quarter. Don’t wait until the end of the semester to discover a problem when it is too late to fix it.

When you do provide feedback to others, be humble and place yourself in the other person’s shoes. Practice the Golden Rule of “doing unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Encourage and show love. You could be a positive influence to someone else’s professional growth and development. By just giving regular feedback you have the ability to help someone become better than either of you ever imagined.

Lessons Learned from the Boss – Part 1 “Work yourself out of a Job”

Succession planningYour work manager has profound influence over your professional development. A great manager can have a positive impact on your growth in skills, knowledge, and attitude. When a manager takes a genuine interest in the success of the employee, that manager will invest time and energy into developing employees in their current position while preparing them for advancement. On the other hand, a terrible manager will have a negative impact on the professional development of the employee, which also causes high turnover rates in a company. When I find high turnover rates within a company, a majority of the time it is the fault of a terrible manager. People truly do quit managers, not jobs.

During my 34 years of work experiences, I have been privileged to learn from some great bosses. However, I have also had the opportunity to learn valuable lessons from a terrible boss. Take time to further your professional development by learning from each person you report to at work. In the long run, these lessons will prepare you to lead others and become a great manager.

I recall one great lesson I learned from a great boss—prepare your successor by working yourself out of a job. Unfortunately my boss learned this lesson the hard way, but her experience made a profound impact on me. I began to think differently about my obligations to the professional development of my direct reports.

My boss was up for a VP promotion. She had prepared for the promotion by working hard, building a successful training and quality department across multiple locations. I will never forget the day she got the news that she did not get the promotion. She failed to train an internal successor to move into her current position. The department and company would have suffered negative consequences by not having the proper employees aligned to take over specific roles. That was an “Aha” moment for both of us and a hard, but valuable lesson learned. We immediately began to prepare the whole team for advancement. We were basically working ourselves out of a job and training each of our direct reports to do the same. A year later, she received the promotion. I was then promoted into her position and others within our department also advanced. I learned a great lesson from a great boss. Invest in people and prepare them for advancement.

What is your learning style?

Have you ever thought about the different ways people learn? Have you ever noticed that you can teach the same thing in the same way to different people and some understand and others seem confused?
Blended Learning
If you are conscious of the ways you learn and the way others learn, it will help enhance communication and increase the effectiveness of transferring skills and knowledge to others. Could you or your company benefit from more effective training of others? If so, read on.

Although it could be expanded on even further, there are three basic ways people learn.

  1. Visual (seeing)
  2. Auditory (hearing)
  3. Kinesthetic (doing)

A visual learner learns best by:

  • Taking notes and making lists to read later on
  • Reading information to be learned
  • Learning from books, videotapes, CD’s and printouts
  • Seeing a demonstration
  • Seeing all the study materials

The auditory learner learns best by:

  • Talking aloud
  • Listening to a lecture
  • Discussing in small or large groups
  • Hearing music without words as a background in the learning environment
  • Hearing all material clearly

A kinesthetic learner learns best by:

  • Doing, hands-on approach (manipulations, objects, simulations, live events)
  • Physical involvement in learning
  • Field trips to gain knowledge
  • Small group discussions (2-3 in a group)
  • Doing hands-on what is in the manual

There is no right or wrong way to learn and most of us have a primary and secondary preference to learning. The key factor is to understand the three different learning styles and make sure that you cater what you are teaching to the learning needs of the audience.

If teaching a group, it is best to incorporate all three learning styles to have the most effective training program. If you are teaching your staff how to use the new phone system, you will want to have an instruction manual and demonstration (visual learner), clear lecture & small group discussion (auditory learner), and hands-on use of the phone system (kinesthetic learner). Your training curriculum would include an instruction manual to review prior to the training, a clear lecture with demonstration in training and then the opportunity to have hands-on practice using the new phone system. This would be an effective training program to enhance the learning of all your participants.

We all have a tendency to teach in our own preferred style of learning. Next time you teach someone else, make sure you are meeting their learning style needs. By using the guidelines provided and making sure you incorporate the needs of each learning style, you will see the difference of how quickly others are able to learn when their needs are being met.

Employee Development – 3 Cost Effective Tips

Professional development of others is something I really enjoy.  As a leader, I always encourage and help my team to continually learn and grow in their education and experiences.  Some companies today may be challenged with lack of budgeted training dollars for professional development.  Even if challenged, there are ways you can invest in people.  Some ideas that may work for you:

  1. Lunch and Learn – Take an hour a week and meet in person with your team.  Have everyone to bring their lunch and have those remote to dial in to a conference line.  Use this time to discuss a chapter a week in a book that you are reading together.  Or have someone to teach others about something they have learned at a conference or through a recent training session.  When someone does have the privilege to attend outside training, make it an expectation that they do a teach-back to the group upon return.  It will help them apply what they have learned as well as provide new information to the team.
  2. Identify gaps in skills – Work with your team to identify skill gaps so you will have target development plans for the year.  Meet with each team member once a month in a one-on-one session.  Help keep them on track to accomplish their yearly goals for professional development.  If you need help in identify the gap in skills, consider trying a proven assessment offered through my company.
  3. Toastmasters International – A world leader in communication and leadership development.  For $36 every six months, members can improve their speaking and leadership skills.  Start by checking out a local meeting in your area as a guest.  You can also start your own club at your company.  Membership in Toastmasters is one of the greatest investments you can make in yourself.

Learning from Others

Being an avid learner, I must agree with the author on this great article.  Especially, the comment, “I’ve yet to meet someone who couldn’t teach me something”.  We learn so much from others when we are open minded and put forth the effort to listen and learn.

Also, point number 5 (Learning is good; Doing is better) hit home with me.  In my teaching experiences over the years, I have learned that hands-on experience or application of what is being taught is essential to the learning process.  I can tell you “how” to do something but the moment you actually “try it” or experience it yourself is when the true learning experience happens.  Doing should not take the place of learning but should be a vital part of the learning process.  It is in the hands-on experience time that so often you see those light bulb moments….the very thing that keeps us Trainers coming back for more!