When I worked as an internal training consultant, we used to cancel classes due to low enrollment. Unless the training was mandatory or there was top management support, many staff members simply did not take the time to attend. I often wondered what would happen if staff members had to pay for their training. When companies started paying the HR division for their staff member’s training out of their own departmental budgets – class attendance grew and more people took advantage of their professional development, especially if each employee was required to take a certain number of development hours for their evaluation process.
How about you? Are you taking advantage of your company’s professional development? Compare the cost of your training classes with a local public seminar. If you are a local business owner, I encourage you to take advantage of the low-cost and yet high-quality training that is offered in your local area. Check out www.bandlc.com for a listing of local workshops that I offer with a business partner. Also check out your local chambers of commerce. Many of them hold free lunch and learn sessions for their members. I will be conducting a lunch and learn session at the Puyallup library for the Puyallup Sumner Chamber of Commerce on November 16th on Strategic Partnerships. Check it out!
In this new workplace, every person on your team needs to know the ways in which conflict can be resolved. Let’s focus our attention on conflict by highlighting three issues:
- What is your own definition of conflict? Some of us think of fight, battle, and tension and certainly some conflict involves these negative influences. But a much more “neutral” working definition is to consider that conflict is a situation when your wishes differ from those of another person.
- Create norms around conflict. What are some guidelines that you can agree to as a team that can help every team member effectively deal with conflict. For example, some norms include that each team member is encouraged to go to the person he/she is having a challenge with directly, rather than engage in negative gossip about the person. Another norm is that if you should hear negative reports about any other team member, that you ask the person if they have talked with the person first.
- Incorporate a conflict resolution process. There are a number of conflict process management steps out there – here’s one that I’ve found helpful with other teams:
Step 1: Clearly identify the area of conflict
Step 2: List areas of agreement
Step 3: List areas of disagreement
Step 4: Determine the source of conflict
Step 5: Problem solve
In the article by Peggy Noonan in the August 28-29, 2010 edition of the Wall Street Journal entitled, “We Just Don’t Understand,” Ms Noonan talks about President Obama and the fact that many Americans don’t really “know” President Obama. In her words, he is “still a mystery to a lot of people,” and this can lead people to question and criticize his leadership. You may agree or disagree with Ms. Noonan’s perspective but her premise sure has relevance to this new organizational structure where there is more collaboration and communication in the workplace- communication with manager to employee; employee to team, and team to team. Certainly, the era where people can “hide” behind an office door or their title is nearing an end. Employees are asked to work with each other – and many teams now include a team evaluation where they can get evaluated by their peers. With little or sketchy information or knowledge about someone, many of us can find ourselves defaulting to assumptions (read my previous BLOG entry dated 10/8/2010 ) – that may or not be based on reality. Indeed, a critical component of building trust is this important facet of making yourself known.
How do we know one another in the workplace? Here are some ways:
- Have every team member take a communication style assessment (read my 9/30/2010 entry)
- Incorporate a “getting to know you” 10 minute teambuilding activity in your staff meeting
- As a manager – share some personal facts (within reason) so that your staff gets to know you better
One of the fun activities I incorporate in my Diversity class is “Diversity Bingo.” Each participant must get a BINGO based on squares about interesting tidbits of facts, such as how long a person has worked for the company or if they are more detail oriented or people-focused. Invariably, within 10 minutes of this activity, the class of “strangers” is suddenly transformed to individuals with unique talents, gifts, and experiences.
So my thought provoking question to you is – do people know you enough to trust you?
A few weeks ago, I read a fascinating article entitled, “The End of Management” by Alan Murray in the August 21-22, 2010 edition of The Wall Street Journal, where the author shares an interesting trend in today’s corporations – the era of institutional management and corporate bureaucracy is becoming a thing of the past. In today’s fast-moving world, where information is at our finger tips and new technologies have forever transformed business, it is the svelte and nimble enterprises that can draw upon the strengths and talents of a global marketplace. And it is these same organizations that can create new products and innovations based on the latest consumer and market information. Indeed, Mr. Murray refers to Futurists Don Tapscott and Anthony Williams who wrote the book “Wikinomics” who predicted that instead of the traditional corporate structure, we will be in the era of “mass collaboration” – as individuals collaborate with each other to get things done.
This trend has certainly played itself out with the organizations that I have worked with – as more and more I’m being asked to provide services with the stated goal of “we just need to be able to work better together.”
In my next 10 BLOG entries, I will share the implications of this trend and how you can better prepare yourself, and your staff members to take advantage of a collaborative workplace.
We have heard that statement applied to so many things in our lives, but just last week a professional speaker colleague of mine, Francine Ward, JD, who I know from the National Speakers Association, made that statement, as she shared how some people are refusing to let the tough economy wear them down. “Those who succeed,” she said, “are willing to do what others aren’t willing to do.” “It’s a time to rethink, reassess, and revamp your business. Discard what no longer works, and make room for the new. There can be no life unless there is death—death of old ideas, old beliefs, old ways of doing things.” She said, “it’s a time to really practice stepping outside the box, and not just give it lip service.” Francine is a successful speaker, author, and intellectual property lawyer, who has spent this last year creating new avenues in her business so that she can leap ahead in 2010. (For more information about Francine, please visit her website at www.fwardattorney.com; www.francinewardspeaker.com ).
I was thinking about the many boxes of training materials that I have developed through the years. What am I holding on to these for? Why am I thinking that what made me successful in the past will help me move forward in the future? What can I get rid of so that I can make room for new opportunities?
These questions may be resonating with you as well. I encourage you to take some time – purge, throw out – so that you are ready to pour in new skills, ideas, and business strategies that you didn’t have “room” before. Perhaps this is the time to take that class on social media. Or get some more training on managing your database. And rather than trying to integrate new ideas and opportunities with “old ways of thinking,” I encourage you to create a new mindset as well. Sometimes what needs throwing away is not on paper or in the computer, but in our mindsets. There is no need to hold on to past baggage, negative thinking, or past failures. It is time for a new start. A fresh start!
Many of my colleagues have mentioned that the current state of the economy is presenting unique challenges. These challenges cut across a wide range of issues that affect the survival of their businesses:
- Travel considerations
- Severely reduced budgets
We should view these challenges as opportunities to restructure the fundamental ways we do business! The almost instantaneous access to information and communication demands that business owners, entrepreneurs and corporate leaders take full advantage of the benefits that technology now offers. One of the things I will be doing in the next few months that I’m very excited about is a new series of teleseminars that I will be launching later this summer.
Other options include:
- Real Time Forums
- Corporate Blogs
For information about my upcoming teleseminars, forum and blog please take a moment to register for my ezine: REGISTER