Posts Tagged training

Ready for answers to your business success?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles

Your business does what it does, you have built it up to be all it can be.

You realise there are only a few things you need to make happen to get positive results.

More sales, more customers and effective systems to deliver the results, right? But other ‘things’ seem to get in the way of this simple approach and you are left wondering what happened.

The simple answer is, there is more to your three pronged approach than meets the eye.

Here’s how it works…

  • Energy – Your team has a certain amount of energy to give to the job they do, things happen to boost or sap that energy, harrassment, poor pay, poor training, poor leadership can sap energy… Get the point, and get good at these things
  • Flow – When things are going great your people seem to get a lot done readily, it all seems to come together like a well thought out plan but more automatically and with greater ease, people will be happier, relaxed and able to get on with things
  • Systems – The policies, procedures, checklists, coaching and mentoring. If these are done well, people know they are working for an organisation that wants positive results. They feel supported and can get on with what they do best
  • Positive values – Things like respect, cooperation, service and quality all come into it. Check your organisations mission and vision, are there values clearly spelt out as part of that? There should be, to ensure all your team are focused on the right approach to each other and the customers.
  • Useful communication – Lot’s of communication takes place, but is it useful? Arguing with customers… not useful (well, rarely anyway). The same with the staff, how well do your team communicate with each other? Excellent leadership often starts with positive and useful communication – Talk, listen and make great notes to implement solid results. Coach and mentor your leadership team to coach and mentor their team members in fantastic ways to make the organisation work effectively

Now you are about to ask “What happens if I don’t have those things or they are out of alignment?” Simple, things slide… Sales, Customer numbers, energy is sapped and the results of all this can cause your business to fold in on itself.

What to do to solve the challenge? Call me to tailor a suitable approach for your organisation 🙂 Ok if that’s not possible take each pointer in this list and work on the details of it with all your people.

  • Learn to train your people to pursue all these points to build organisational excellence
  • Brainstorm with your team to find out how they can assist with these points
  • Listen to the feedback your team provides, then figure out how to implement the positive changes they point out along the way
  • Communicate the positive changes as you introduce them
  • Live with the notion of organsiational change, it happens, so make it happen in a useful way to get positive results NOT the opposite

It’s now up to  you to put this information into action, it may not be easy, it may take a while to achieve, it all starts with you.



Steve Gray

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Learning The Hard Way


Image courtesy of Kromkrathog

If you learned well from a mistake you made, you will find a better way to do that task for the ‘next time’ when the same sort of challenge arises.

If you have been given information on a task by a person in charge, chances are you will learn but it might take a bit longer. You will probably follow the commands given, go and try out what was mentioned and learn some more by actually doing it.

If you read instructions or do a course on how to do a task you will probably pick up a few things, but it not the same way as the other two methods.

There is something about the way that doing a task involves the senses and get’s your brain immersed in the process. This is why a good trainer will suggest ‘you try it this time’ and get you involved. A good boss or supervisor will recognise you may only be ‘half’ listening when they give you a task to do, knowing you will pick up the finer details when you do it and if you have any questions about it you will come back and ask.

A good leader knows their team can benefit from all three methods, and will work to provide their team with an open approach to learning so they can get results to happen faster, because at least one of the ways or at perhaps a slight combination of them will fit to that person’s learning style.

Understanding a little of how people learn is vital to understanding how to get better results in your business. How will you use this information to make a positive difference with your team? Let’s hope you learn to know the difference and can implement the learning well with your people, perhaps you will share this with them and have a team based discussion about the differences, similarities and how you can use these to advantage. After all you want your people and the outcomes they create for your organisation to be excellent don’t you?

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Did You ‘Value’ Your Business?

In the past set of nine articles I have outlined some ways to look at the values your business operates with. Now it’s up to you to take each and develop some guidelines around each for how you want your team to operate. May I suggest you hand the list to your top people, give them a head start, tell them to develop some ideas and options and email them to you (compile the details in a  group meeting). Then develop an organisation wide set of values, possible scenarios and situations around them.

Compile the guidelines into your master operating procedural documents, begin to live it, refer to it and explore all it has to offer.

Any future steps the organisation takes should be done in light of these core values, then over time these can be ‘tweaked’ to suit.

Now you are fired up to tackle this as a project (even you small business operator…) then here is a link you can email to your team to work with.










And another article on values to tie it all together


Now look at how you bring the various aspects of this together to create great results for your business by taking positive action.

Oh and while you are at it, get your team to explore any other values they think would be useful for your business, drop me a line to let me know via the comments for this post and I will take a look and consider adding them in.

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Helping staff to get what they want

When it comes to dealing with staffing issues it seems as though there are always going to be those who want to help themselves and then there’s the rest.

What to do when you are staring down the barrel of staffing challenges and this is just one of your starting points?

In a previous article I looked at What Staff Want. It gives some interesting insights, but how do you figure out how to deliver the things they want or need and get to that point effectively.

Let’s go for the easy option, Brainstorm…

If you already know what they want and or need to do their job effectively, then facilitating a session with them will assist them to at least understand you want to assist them, and give  you an idea of if they want to be assisted.

The real aim is to use the “Collective Intelligence” to get information happening and ideas explored.

You could start out with the list of what people want, then jot down some ideas in advance  of things you believe might match to the job, tasks, attitudes and beliefs. Then you have a chance of connecting with them when the discussion starts and they are scrambling to find ideas. You would probably use your information to enhance their thinking processes if they get stuck, you might add in a pointer relating to an obvious task to spur them on.

Brainstorming can be easy – Set some guidelines and go from there.

  • All ideas are good ideas – We can focus on the good ideas later
  • Feel free to share – Let people freely add in and occasionally encourage the stragglers to also put in. Invite them to help make things better
  • Our aim – To explore ideas on improving this business unit – “We have challenges what will improve things?”
  • Work to a time frame so they don’t just lounge about for ages, aim to get ideas on to paper fast.
  • Pose some questions to be answered – Perhaps this is the initial brainstorming, getting the issues out as THEY see them, then getting them to provide ideas to answer them
  • Write fast, and prod for more ideas – Actively explore concepts as they arise
  • Consider a mind map – Do an internet search on the basics of this, it can be a very visual way of getting the thought processes working.
  • Collate the main ideas and share them once they are typed up – This can then lead to a plan of action or an attitude shift to some degree.

A brainstorming session should be positive and free flowing. The team should not feel like they are working under duress to come up with ideas. Hopefully after doing this session you will be able to find some excellent starting points to work from. Chances are the team had all the ideas and answers and you were able to positively, openly and honestly listen to them work through the challenges.

Now notice how all of this leads to you being the coach… working with people to get the best from them, without having to hit them over the head and force them to do things. Trust me it’s better that way. Want to be a better workplace coach, try this


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How team training can fail

As much as I love training people, I have to say most team based training seems to be an out and out fail. Here’s why…

  • Team exercises – Most people hate the ‘team building’ exercises, then they get into it and like it and then realise there was low ongoing value, but they had a break from work, they just tell the boss it was ok.
  • We are a team already – if there are challenges, forcing us to do something about it might just annoy us further. Perhaps HR should have hired decent new team members in the first place! It’s their fault. – Sometimes the way to change things is easier than having people out on a team building exercise, perhaps a series of chats from their ‘coach’ or team leader (same thing) is enough to find an elegant solution or raise awareness of issues.
  • Take me away – Taking me away for the weekend to a conference, seminar might seem nice and a big commitment from the company to show it cares, but if it’s my family time, forget it, I will probably just resent it for the first part of the event if not all of the event – Doing it in work time may look like I am getting out of work, but Most will figure that the work does not go away and it might just create more stress.
  • Spend the training $$ – I put down we need to do some team building exercises, because usually they are fun, and hey you’re the one allocating the training $$ and if we don’t spend it we lose it. If they are going to do training they want to have a good time and hey, if push comes to shove they might be able to justify it.
  • What team issues? – What else in the organisation might be causing the supposed ‘team issue’? Could it be a lack of Leadership, direction, adherence to Co guidelines etc… – There is an old saying that says “Resistance builds first, followed by resentment and finally retaliation” when things start to go astray start asking what’s causing people to become resistant to things in the first place? Then work on that, well before resentment leads to retaliation!
  • As a team leader, someone from ‘above’ says we need to do this, why wasn’t I consulted… – see resistance, resentment, and retaliation!
  • Does it pay? – A program scheduled over a number of sessions takes people out of a productive work environment and the $$ invested better come back in increased productivity fast. Chances are the $$ return will take a while no matter what the program time frame, even then there are no guarantees, so any benefit may fade over time, just in time for the next team building exercise!
  • Programs that create tight knit teams seem to adversely effect the productivity, what gives with that! – Simply put if people get on really well together they start to care on a deep level, before long they are a closely connected group, they worry together, laugh together, share lots of things together, how on earth do they find time to work!


Please understand I see training as a vital part of successful business operations, just that it needs to be relevant, useful and valued in general. If it annoys people and they can’t appreciate the value readily, you might do better to direct the training $$ into other areas.

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Step in early or wait for the problem to arise.

It’s a dilemma many Supervisors, Managers and Leaders face. You have a team who waiver from the path occasionally, do you let it go until it becomes a problem, or do you step in early and keep things on track.

I figure if you take a Leaders view you provide the guidelines so the team can follow the lead, therefore you don’t wait for a challenge to arise, you provide a great set of guidelines to ensure things stay on track. If things stray from the path, you then get to put on your ‘coaching hat’ and provide support to ensure the team are aware of the guidelines and assist them to explore how they might have ‘strayed from the path’.

This is one of the reasons I often suggest a great set of Values – Mission and Vision be in place as a foundation to always work from. It allows the Leader to have back up, to allow the team to explore if they are holding true to the values of the organisation.

I guess it becomes a case of ‘see something, do something’ before things become an issue. In a decent situation it can be more of a chat which takes place asking questions about how things are going, and what sorts of examples the team may have about how things are going and if they match to the values etc.

This can be a more powerful position to work from as it works more on the teams internal motivation and thought processes rather than having things imposed or pushed on them when challenges arise. It’s as if they have come up with the solution or drive to solve the challenge, rather than being told the answer.

The real trick to all of this is getting things to fit to the way people communicate – If people are not used to being asked questions relating to ‘values and beliefs’ then they might find it hard to respond, let alone act on the information. However the Leader who is a more flexible communicator will find ways to weave these into normal conversation and start the ball rolling, perhaps using examples of how things might fit in certain situations.

Be flexible in your approach, get in early and lead the team then tweak the details to suit, I’m sure you will find leadership can become a whole lot easier if you try this out.

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Business culture – Some more points

Your team fits to the culture of the organisation, some because they have to (mortgages and other commitments), some because they want to (they love the job no matter what their commitments are).

Your aim as a business person should be to make the workplace culture brilliant so the team WANT to be there and readily go the extra mile because it’s the right thing to do, not because things are a have to…

It’s a lot about creating an environment where people get things to feel right, where they get a ‘sense’ that things are good. Let’s start with that.

Your team has a sense of…

  • Belonging – In the work you do and the team you are part of, if you belong you will feel a greater sense of esteem, people like to be with people they like and if they readily fit because they were chosen not just for their skills and abilities but also for their team fit then all the better.
  • Connectedness – To the people they work with, to the culture of the organisation, to the customers and the overall service and product the organisation provides. It can also take in the broader community with support for groups who do broader works in the community to assist others (Good corporate citizenship).
  • Achievement – A sense of achievement can be a great boost to all. In your organisation what gets measured and how do the staff know ‘where they are at’ in the scheme of things, are they meeting quotas? Are they being valued for input? Do they feel like they are part of a team who wants to achieve more… All of these are vital and it’s up to you to see that the team can have a sense of achievement. Stuck for ways to measure this? Just ask the team you will soon get a bunch of ideas for things to measure.
  • Contribution and value adding – Do you or your organisation value the contributions of your team? Do the team readily put ideas forward for your consideration? What do you have in place to get the ideas going in your workplace… a suggestion box might seem like a great start but really you might have to ‘kick start’ a few idea development sessions to brainstorm options… but don’t let it stop there!
  • Purpose – What is the purpose of your organisation? Those mission and vision statements along with value statements and the like can be a great bonus to people fitting to the purpose of your organisation – It’s probably a great interview question to ask “What do you know about our organisational purpose?”
  • Being valued by others – Do others value the people in the team, their contribution, their personality fit, their communication style?  If not why not and what can be done to alter that?
  • Organisational integrity – The structural integrity of the organisation is a big factor to people feeling secure and stable in the business. If the business is stable then the team will feel it too and before you know it they will ‘go deeper’ and look at other internal organisational issues (often subconsciously) from the processes to cause things to flow in the organisation to the robustness of systems and hierarchies and connections. It’s a big area to explore… Just like you should not build a business on a poor physical foundation so to the psychological and philosophical foundations they have to work with.
  • Leadership – No lead, no direction, from the people to the plans and strategies they have in place to achieve more and create even greater security for all in the team.
  • Safety – Last but certainly not least. If the above points add to a sense of safety that’s great, but the physical side of safety is VITAL and will assist the above points to come together, esp these days with a greater focus on softer issues, such as workplace bullying and its prevention.
  • Security – The organisation provides a profitable income for itself and the team are aware they are part of a sustainable and solid organisation which is able to ‘improvise, adapt and overcome’ various challenges it may face along the way. Physical security is clearly an issue as well so the team can feel comfortable in the knowledge harm is either eliminated or minimised.

Did you think that business culture was not important? Hope fully now you realise how it’s EVERYTHING in your organisation, without it you may as well throw money out the window, it’s quicker than watching a business fail a long slow death simply because your team had a sense of things not going quite how they should…

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