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Improve Employee Capabilities and Retention for No Cost

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Business
Improve Employee Capabilities and Retention for No Cost
  1. This week’s article is by Mark Herschberg, an author and instructor at MIT.  It is a companion to his interview on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future titled Essential Skills for Success No One Taught You that aired on Tuesday, October 19th, 2021.

There’s the old line:

Question: What if we train people and then they leave?

Answer: What if you don’t train them and they stay?

As we head into the new normal of a covid-norm world (post-covid doesn’t seem to be the right term because covid seems like it will be there to stay) what does it mean for our organization and the development of its members? Companies are already seeing higher than average turnover due to the great recession and expect to see it for another few quarters. Knowing a certain, higher than average percentage of your training dollars will walk out the door seems like a bad investment. Besides, HR and leadership are already stretched thin from re-opening offices, navigating the new normal, and dealing with a labor shortage; who has time to start a new program! But what if you could train for an insignificant amount of dollars and increase your retention at the same time?

Training traditionally is implemented with the “sage on the stage” model. Your employees are sent to listen to an expert. It means bringing the expert in or sending your team to some offsite training. Either way, it’s big dollars in direct costs, plus potentially additional travel time and costs. Today we can get that training virtually, but we know people tend to be less engaged watching a video for an hour.

Fortunately, there are existing models we can turn to. For decades, top business schools have used the case method. This is a form of active learning in which the class doesn’t simply listen but actively participates. It can involve case studies, discussion problem solving, reflection, or other techniques in which the members of the class don’t just listen but actively participate. It’s the technique we also use at MIT’s famed career success accelerator program.

A low-cost, easy to implement method is to implement learning pods at your organization. In business school students are broken into cohorts, groups of people with a mix of backgrounds. During a case study, each person contributes their thoughts based on their own knowledge and prior experience. The students learn in a stone soup manner, everyone contributes some insight to the discussion to create something much more valuable than anyone could have created on her own.

The cost of doing this is little to none. One method is to use a book. That’s basically the cost of a lunch per person, certainly not going to break your budget. You can also use free content, such as online articles, videos, blogs, or podcasts. What matters is that there is common content everyone reviews ahead of time. They can engage with content in 15-30 minutes and then have a discussion 45-60 minutes long. That’s a time cost of 60-90 minutes per cycle.

The groups can then meet, say twice a month to discuss the content. Much like with a business school cohort, it’s the class discussion itself that adds to real value. The content was just the nucleus around which the content is created.

There are several ways to structure this. The simplest is to create small groups, typically around 6-8 people, send them the content, and let them self-direct the conversations. So, with zero cost, and a couple of hours of planning overhead, you can create this training program at your organization.

If you want to go further, you can structure the groups in a number of ways based on seniority, department, or other factors. You can also be more proactive in guiding the discussion. For example, you can create discussion topics or questions for the groups to consider. You can ask groups to share their thoughts in an email thread, or on a company wiki so groups can share knowledge with each other. You can also do more advanced types of learning including bringing in speakers and workshops or running actual case studies. Organizations such as The Innovative Leadership Institute (ILI) have free resources that you can employ, such as the ILI’s six-year podcast library.  You can also organize people into larger groups, but that takes more active organization since you need to actively moderate discussions of more than a dozen people or so.  The Innovative Leadership Institute builds cohort groups based on the Position Success Indicator assessment to ensure learning partners are matched for optimal learning.

So far, we’ve created a no-cost development program. But it offers so much more. There are multiple, great secondary benefits from such a training program.

First, you increase employee engagement. Whether they’re on the brink of leaving or are currently happy in their roles, employees will feel more engaged with the company. It’s no longer just work for pay, but a company that cares about them and wants to train them up. This will only help with engagement and retention.

Second, it’s a chance for employees to build those important internal networks. If you create groups mixed across departments people will get to know co-workers, they might not otherwise come across. This helps to break down silos and increase cross-departmental communication.

Third, it creates a common language. If everyone has read Good to Great you can say “hedgehog”, and everyone knows what you’re referring to. Models, stories, analogies, and terminology now become part of the common language of the company, helping to improve how people communicate with each other.

This is not to say you shouldn’t do other types of training, but as HR resources are stretched actively recruiting, this is a low-cost, low-effort program to engage and improve your employees. You can create this on your own or use free online resources like The Career Toolkit Development Guide available at https://www.thecareertoolkitbook.com/resources.

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify, Amazon Music, Audible,  iHeartRADIO, and NPR One.  Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

About the Author

From tracking criminals and terrorists on the dark web to creating marketplaces and new authentication systems, Mark Herschberg has spent his career launching and developing new ventures at startups and Fortune 500s and in academia. He helped to start the Undergraduate Practice Opportunities Program, dubbed MIT’s “career success accelerator,” where he teaches annually. At MIT, he received a B.S. in physics, a B.S. in electrical engineering & computer science, and a M.Eng. in electrical engineering & computer science, focusing on cryptography. At Harvard Business School, Mark helped create a platform used to teach finance at prominent business schools. He also works with many nonprofits, including Techie Youth and Plant A Million Corals. He was one of the top-ranked ballroom dancers in the country and now lives in New York City, where he is known for his social gatherings, including his annual Halloween party, as well as his diverse cufflink collection.

Photo by Matthew Osborn on Unsplash

What Is Intrapreneurship? 3 Ways it Can Supercharge Your Career

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Business
What Is Intrapreneurship? 3 Ways it Can Supercharge Your Career

To start or to continue receiving the weekly blogs via email, please sign-up using this link: subscribe to Innovative Leadership Institute weekly blog.

This blog is part of the extra blog series we are doing as encouragement in these uncertain times.  This post is for those looking to solidify their value to their current employer and develop their own leadership skills without necessarily having a leadership role. And for those who are in leadership roles, are there potential leaders in your organization who have the characteristics of an intrapreneur? This blog is a companion to the Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future interview with Greg Moran that aired April 7th, 2020 titled Bridging Millennial and Traditional Leadership.

 

When you imagine a professional leader, many of us picture a manager, a business owner, or an entrepreneur. Leadership in many cases is synonymous with being in charge of a group of people. While it is true bosses and business owners are leaders, there are many different kinds of leadership that one can embody. You don’t have to be in charge of an organization or team in order to lead with your efforts and insights.

Whether you’re a manager or simply a member of a large team, intrapreneurship is a skill you can utilize to position yourself as a leader. Intrapreneurs are innovators within an organization who use their knowledge and skills to drive new ideas. In a similar way that entrepreneurs create a new product or service, intrapreneurs create new processes, develop new products, forge new pathways at their own company.

There are several key characteristics that allow intrapreneurs to achieve more than the average employee, which you may already be familiar with. They are eager to learn, always asking questions to understand why things are the way they are. They are flexible and collaborative, always willing to make adjustments and react to changing situations and requirements. Though they work well in a team, they also are motivated by a certain degree of competition.

Perhaps one of the factors that makes them most successful, is their creativity. Using their innate curiosity, they think outside of the box to come up with unique solutions to common problems. They also tolerate a certain degree of risk when advocating and testing their more unusual ideas.

These characteristics are often seen across every level of a successful team. No matter your position, you can focus on these traits to help find success. Here are just a few of the ways that intrapreneurship benefits your career:

  1. Positions You as a Leader

If all these characteristics sound familiar, it is because they also make great leaders. Being a team player, taking initiative, and coming up with innovative ideas can all help others see you as a leader in the workplace.

  1. Helps You Build Lifelong Skills

No matter what you’re doing in 5 or 10 years, the soft skills you build while working as an intrapreneur will always be valuable. Being able to innovate, take on risks, and learn from failures are some of the most important skills in any career. While you may not use the same software job to job, these skills will always be useful.

  1. Sets Your Career Up for Success

Being able to offer a unique perspective, smart ideas, and flexible teamwork abilities will undoubtedly benefit your career. When looking for someone to take on a new project, or spearhead a new team effort, your bosses and coworkers will be more likely to look to you if you have a track record of intrapreneurship.

To learn more about intrapreneurship, check out this infographic by Turbo:

 

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, Google Play, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify and iHeartRADIO. Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

About the Author

Brigid Ludwig is a digital content creator who helps Turbo create helpful and compelling stories worth sharing. With a background in digital marketing and creative writing, she has written on everything from tiny homes to financial planning. aspires to empower others to make smart financial decisions for a happier and healthier life.

Tips to Succeed at America’s Toughest Interviews

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Business
Tips to Succeed at America’s Toughest Interviews

To start or to continue receiving the weekly blogs via email, please sign-up using this link: subscribe to Innovative Leadership Institute weekly blog.

This blog is part of the extra blog series we are doing as encouragement in these uncertain times.  Unfortunately, many have seen jobs disappear or cutback. This post is guidance on potential job interview questions. It is a chance to hone your skills and be prepared when the right job opens up. A companion interview to listen to is Employee Confidence, the New Rule of Engagement with Karen J. Hewitt.

 

Spending time inside while quarantined gives you the opportunity to focus on professional development and self-improvement. It’s a chance to hone in on your long-term career goals and sharpen up your interview skills. If you ever must leave your current position and re-enter the competitive job market, you will want to be prepared.

Has it been years since you have practiced for an interview? By taking a look at the interview processes of America’s top tech companies, you can refresh your memory and learn key strategies. After all, it is not only the big tech companies that use these techniques during interviews. Nowadays, businesses across industries follow the same best practices for interviewing job candidates.

When you understand how to answer the types of questions asked by interviewers at Google, Facebook, and Twitter, you will feel ready for anything. Let’s outline some of these interview questions and tips on how to respond below. Plus, check out a helpful graphic from the experts at LiveCareer below, which nicely illustrates this interview advice.

Any company that dedicates itself to investing in quality talent will not have an easy interview process. There will never be a foolproof way to set yourself up for success in an interview.  Google probably would not have such a tough interview process if it was not a top company that receives millions of applications a year. Once you have already spent time and energy perfecting your resume and landing the interview, you want to maximize your chances of acing the interview. Let’s hope you can use these takeaways to aid in your job search.

 

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, Google Play, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify and iHeartRADIO. Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

About the Author

Gabrielle Gardiner is an NYC-based content creator who enjoys writing helpful articles about professional development for companies like LiveCareer. She’s passionate about sharing her insights to empower people to succeed in their careers.

A Proven 5 Step Approach to Solve Skill Gaps

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Business
A Proven 5 Step Approach to Solve Skill Gaps

This blog is provided by Mike Kritzman, as a companion to his interview on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future. This interview SkillNet: Personalized Learning Framework for Your Company aired on 7/23/19.

 We’re in a Skill Revolution where Skills are the new currency

SkillNet Pic 2.png

According to a McKinsey study, “Sixty percent of global executives expect that up to half of their organization’s workforce will need retraining or replacing within five years. 

More than a third said their organizations are unprepared to address the skill gaps…”

Feb 2019

 

This white paper presents a proven 5-step process to help your organization conduct a Skill inventory to identify and solve skill gaps. This approach is backed up with years of data from hundreds of organizations trying to pinpoint and cure their organizational skill gaps.

There are dozens of reasons to focus on skills because skills are the building blocks to improving staff performance, regardless of role. Any organization in search of higher performance can follow our approach and accomplish major progress in a few short weeks.

Step 1. Define your key organizational knowledge, skills and abilities, (KSAs)

While constructing the required KSAs for your organization, start with what’s expected from all positions. General KSAs like company culture and communication standards work well. Longer term, it’s useful to get into specific KSA’s for each role, but it’s not possible to do this quickly, particularly when trying to imagine future KSA requirements. It’s also useful to establish proficiency targets on each KSA to set a baseline expectation for different role levels.

Step 2. Inventory your staff with a KSA survey

An accurate database of KSA capabilities and insights are vital for organizational agility. For most firms, skills, knowledge and workforce capabilities are difficult to measure and even harder keep current. We recommend using a 5-point Likert scale and starting with self-assessments. Manager assessments are very important because they observe staff performance. People are complicated and constantly learning and adapting, so data needs to be refreshed more than once a year. Ideally data is refreshed at the time a new skill or capability is ready.

Skill data accuracy depends on who and how you ask, so take care defining questions and the rubric.

Step 3. Analyze data and study gaps between self-ratings and manager ratings

Determine how you want to view the data. Study gaps between self-perception and manager ratings which are key ingredients for alignment, feedback, and goal setting. Transparency is the only way to drive improvement. We suggest one-on-one meeting to review results within weeks.

Step 4. Expand your KSA Survey to include specifics for each job and re-inventory

By this point, you’ve built a definition for the common organizational skills. You’ve also populated the database with accurate data and have plans to keep it current.

The next step is to evolve the database to include KSAs for key roles which requires clarity on what’s expected from each role. It’s often useful to work in teams to define the KSA model for each role and structure topics carefully as this exercise will set role expectations for staff.

This can be a difficult step because there can be many different roles and each role may have different requirements or expectations. For example, a junior salesperson has a similar role as the senior salesperson, but the senior has higher proficiency expectations. Despite the challenge, it’s important to build a clear understanding of staff matches against their job requirements.

The results from detailed individual gap assessments are well worth the extra effort.

Step 5. Create personalized development plans, PDPs, to solve the gaps.

The final and most important step in the process is to construct personalized development plans for each person to solve their unique gaps. An effective PDP lists gaps, defines improvement steps, links to learning resources, sets target dates, and monitors progress.

KSA Examples

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities are an organization’s fundamental expertise in specific subject areas. KSAs define organizational capabilities and distinguish an organization from competitors.

KSAs can be grouped into categories such as:

  • Professional skills: The skills needed by all staff to be successful regardless of role.
  • Leadership skills: The skills needed by those in leadership and management positions.
  • Occupational skills: Job-specific skills like finance, customer service, engineering, manufacturing, sales and marketing.

Conclusions

Defining, measuring, and solving skill gaps is critical for organizational performance. We’d like to hear from you, discuss your situation, and demonstrate how our platform automates the 5-step process described in this post.

About the author

Mike Kritzman – Founder, CEO, and Board Chair at SkillNet Technologies, is a serial entrepreneur, sought-after expert in skill management, microlearning, and trends that transform organizations.

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out this and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, Google Play, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify and iHeartRADIO. Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

G.I.V.E. to Get

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Business
G.I.V.E. to Get

Emotional skills are more important than ever for 21st century business. Good leadership can be quickly undermined by lack of emotional regulation. Without the skill to manage your own emotion, leaders can act impulsively. Harsh works can burn long built bridges of connection in seconds, leaving damaged working relationships in ashes. And what is ultimately damaged is trust.

So, what can you do?

First, leaders need to be self-aware of the things that cause them to be dysregulated. The body is the first clue. By scanning for sensations that signal distress, you can start to reverse the process. Sensations like a tight throat, a pounding heart, judgmental thoughts, sweaty palms, and a knot in the stomach are signals that shouldn’t be ignored. Our body gives us clues to our state of mind constantly. Understanding how your body speaks to you is worth investigating with curiosity.

Once you know what is happening, giving yourself permission to step away, take a breath, and sooth yourself. Use your five senses: focus on something beautiful, listen to music, smell something calming, put an ice cube in your mouth. By focusing on these sensations, the brain has to shift. As we calm down, you can gain perspective and choice how to respond to a situation, rather than reacting impulsively that could negatively impact important relationships.

For your teams to feel respected and valued, they need to feel heard. Listening to those around you is an important skill many leaders struggle with; however, it is critical for everyone’s success. When teams feel heard, they will not only give you their best, they will give you their loyalty.

An easy way to remember this skill is G.I.V.E. (adapted from the work of Marsha Linehan, PhD)
• (be) GENTLE: approach the conversation in a non-threatening, open, receptive and available way.
• (be) INTERESTED: John Gottman says it is more important to be interested than interesting! This
means you are attentive, curious, and focused on listening, not to just respond, but to
understand what is being said. You are allowing the time to really pay attention while
setting aside your own preconceived ideas of what might be happening.
• VALIDATE: Validation is about understanding. It is not about fixing a situation, or finding a
teaching moment. It is saying “I get it” without looking for rebuttals. The primary goal is
to have the speaker feel heard. This step MUST ALWAYS precede problem solving.
• EASY MANNER: Being approachable and creating a safe space where people can come to you with
concerns is an important skill. It allows you to be professional without being intimidating.
Safety increases trust and communication.

Remember, learning new skills is a practice, but one that is well worth it! It is not enough to work from the top down. To be truly successful, we must work from the inside out!

If you would like to listen to the show Skills of Connection follow this link to hear the replay!

https://www.voiceamerica.com/episode/104077/skills-for-connection

What Not A Collaborative Global Initiative?

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Business
What Not A Collaborative Global Initiative?

Untitled

Our VocieAmerica program features global leaders and organizations.

We live in an increasingly complex and interconnected world. Humanity faces global environmental, economic and human-based challenges of all kinds. Lasting solutions to these challenges require effective communication and learning across perspectives, cultures and sectors.

At CGI, we believe humans are by nature collaborative.

When people work together, allowing space to capture collective wisdom, we achieve great things. Forward thinking people and communities recognize the need for widespread collaboration. They will need a unique toolkit to collaboratively navigate the future of increasing complexity and diversity.
CGI provides the tools that organizations require to excel and make creative change in a diverse and globalized world. We customize solutions for collaboration that transcend organizational departments, cultures and differing levels of education and socio-economic status. The system that results will maximize effective, fair and lasting relationships between sectors and stakeholders.
CGI’s collaborative approach is itself born out of collaboration. Our associated consultants are connected through a vibrant global community of practice. We are leading experts on mediation, facilitation, training, process design, multi-party dispute resolution, and collaborative problem solving. Our network brings a blend of community-based approaches with national and international experience. We understand conflict issues from multiple perspectives and support parties to access a range of good practices when seeking solutions. We can work with any scale and complexity of conflict.
CGI’s skills, interests and overall strategy, leads us to focus on multi-stakeholder public-policy questions. We have extensive experience working with resource extraction industries, indigenous communities, and complex multi-party environmental issues. We will support you and your organization as you face similar challenges. Our approach is particularly effective for large projects where trade-offs must be made to balance environmental, economic, social and cultural interests.
CGI works with organizations and communities to develop the capacity to turn challenges into opportunities; everyone involved becomes more effective and agile. Our clients take away the collaborative skills, tools and systems needed to transcend inefficiencies and succeed in a global economy. At CGI we believe the way of the future is paved with the ability to make collaboration a lived experience. We use visual, auditory and kinesthetic tools in our collaborative mediation, facilitation, and negotiation practice. CGI can also provide one on one coaching and training to help you, our clients, excel. We empower you to face complex problems, create mutually beneficial solutions and to enact change together through the use of simple interfaces and plain language.

Together, Duncan Autrey, Kathy Porter, Charalee Graydon, Sarah Daitch and David B. Savage are building the Collaborative Global Initiative (CGI).

We welcome your thoughts and challenges. How might you and CGI collaborate?

Leverage Your Personal Power

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Empowerment
Leverage Your Personal Power

JIll KonrathPenny Roasma

Do your suggestions get taken seriously? Are you able to sell others your ideas, projects and services? There are two main skills needed and today, our two guests will give you some insider tips on how to harness your personal power. Our first guest is Jill Konrath, who is a sales expert. Sales is not just for people selling products. We also need sales to sell our ideas to others, and sometimes to our bosses to be considered for that raise or promotion. Jill will be challenging our assumptions about sales and give us proven strategies that work.  Our second guest is Penny Rosema who is an expert in the art of negotiation. The ability to negotiate is the second main skill needed to leverage our personal power. Penny will share some of the mistakes women make, how to prepare for negotiation success,  a negotiation road map and how to get more of what we want.  Penny has over 20 years of in the trenches experience and will share her tested techniques. Tune in 6/11 @ 12pm PT to ‘Today’s Inspiring Women‘.

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