Classroom training is pants…. (well not always but sometimes)

lucy-hayward copyIt is such a pleasure to have Lucy Hayward, one of our associates as a guest blogger again. She is an expert in a number of areas, but has been doing some work in Performance Management recently so I thought it would be cool if she gave us her take on the subject. Of course she had to mention pants!!

 

Classroom Training is PANTS!!! (Well not always, but sometimes.)Pictures - 61

 Hang on a minute, before I talk myself out of a job – please let me explain…..

Recently I’ve been facilitating some workshops on Performance Management. The workshops look at the whole process from recruitment through to conducting formal reviews and uses drama based learning to bring it to life. Lots of fun to facilitate and very informative for the managers involved!

Once we’ve worked through setting clear and measurable objectives and get to the section about “Supporting Performance and Development”. The thing that continues to surprise me, is that no matter how experienced or forward thinking the managers are. They are still relying on scheduled classroom training as the go-to for all learning and development requests from their staff.

But what happens when this “one size fits all” approach of prescribing training doesn’t work or what if there’s just no budget for classroom training?

From listening to the manager’s responses, this usually means their teams don’t receive the development they require. Staff engagement and morale take a bit of a dive, their individual performance dives with it and the overall department ends up at risk of not hitting target!

Granted, a lot of this is due to the heavy workloads and tight time constraints that today’s managers are working to and sometimes it’s just down to a lack of knowledge as to what alternative solutions are on offer!

The GOOD NEWS is there are loads of GREAT ALTERNATIVE LEARNING SOLUTIONS!

In today’s world of Learning & Development we have so many options that can open-up the exciting world of learning to so many people.

One of the exercises we do as part of this workshop is to write down as many ways of learning you can think of in just 2 minutes…you would be amazed at how many there are!

Go on, have a go at doing it yourself…. How many did you get? 10? 20? 50?

Here’s a few to start you off (you’re very welcome). In the workshop, we get up to 90!!

  • Coaching/Mentoring
  • Lunch and Learns
  • Buddying/Peer learning groups/job shadowing/secondments
  • Writing Blogs/articles
  • On-line learning/join a forum
  • Reading/Self-study/Book clubs
  • Ted Talks/Pod casts
  • YouTube videos
  • Delegating tasks & projects
  • Action Learning Sets
  • Seminars/conferences/networking

How many of these do managers know about and how many do they make available to their staff on a regular basis?

So, the question I want to ask you all is…

When it comes to Performance Management and getting the best out of your teams is the traditional classroom offering always the answer to development requests?

Sometimes Yes, absolutely it is… I’m a facilitator who passionately believes in the benefits of trainer led workshops. I use accelerated learning techniques to ensure they’re linked directly to the organisational needs, they’re results focused and enjoyable for the individual learners. I love my job and the feedback I receive from individuals and organisations lets me know I’m doing it well!

But as managers, you can take control and explore the other (sometimes more cost effective) options. Try creating a learning culture within your teams and encouraging your staff to book an hour out of their day to study! Allowing your teams to access learning materials online so they can take ownership and responsibility for their own learning and development. Empowerment is the key!

Who knows it could take off and spread across the whole organisation…

 

The Thomas-Kilmann conflict model

image1What a lovely surprise it is to me to know that people enjoy either:

So today I had a lovely phone call from Samuel Passow, from the University of Kent and also MD of the Negotiation Lab, who wanted to cite one of my free resources around learning the Thomas-Kilmann conflict model. So in the spirit of sharing and collaboration I thought I would make it available to all – so click here to download.

Please feel free to use this activity and share it with others and if it has been useful, I would love to hear your story!

 

Six Thinking Hats – will you play the game?

6hatsI have been using the six thinking hats in an action learning set with a client and have challenged the team leaders to consider using this tool with their teams. A question that was posed was “Could we use this without actually mentioning the six thinking hats, or using the props?”

What a great question and it got me thinking…as great questions often do…

I imagined a scenario in a team where the team leader prompted the team members to “get creative’ and come up with some ideas. Whilst doing so, it reminded me of some of the blank faces I have seen when asking people to do just that. It also reminded me of how easily we can slip into judging without even realising we are doing it…….”that will never work here” or some equally idea crushing eye rolling…..

If this happens, the team leader could invite them to put their scepticism away and get back to “being creative”. After a few minutes they get back into the swing, the ideas start trickling in and then there is a snigger… the biggest creativity killer. “Come on lets give Jim a chance, that was a great idea” the team leader says, only half convincing himself. And so it goes on. Switching to critical (or black hat) thinking, the ideas are torn apart and the safe option is chosen. When the team leader asks for them to look at all the positives and benefits of a solution, they switch back to critical thinking all too easily.

So how would using the 6 hats explicitly make this better? I believe that we all like rules but that we find it hard to take on board new ones immediately, like “Lets get creative”, unless we are very practiced! In familiarising ourselves with what the 6 hats mean, we overlay in a situation, the rules we are going to use to act out the scene that follows.

Games are something that we grew up with and we knew that that not following the rules would be met with disapproval from the other players. Having explained the purpose behind de Bono’s parallel thinking concept, the rules are simple – you only use the mode of thinking that the leader has instructed you to use, otherwise the process breaks down. If we use the process a few times, then people start to believe it will work and then the rules become even more important, but less explicit. It becomes far easier to wave the prop (a correctly coloured hat) about and say “Come on guys this is meant to be white hat thinking, we have not moved onto red hat thinking yet”, because we know that white hat thinking is good for a while, but we will get a chance to move onto red hat thinking later.

I suppose my point is that the “game” of using the 6 hats, allows us in a fun way to enforce the rules and stick to the parallel thinking principles. This process then becomes quicker, the more practiced we become at switching hats, until we get to a point where the “rules” need never be spoken in a team where the process gets results.

Just as a last thought…. I asked the action learning set “In what order should we use the hats?” That was a very interesting answer and ………….another blog for another time………

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