…it WILL do the job, but it takes a lot more energy that is needed, and creates a lot of unnecessary waste. Use a nutcracker instead. We all know the analogy, but what does it mean for trainers and HR departments? To answer that I’d liked to share my own recent learning experiences. I’ve had a quiet couple of weeks: a project designing 8 (very bespoke) half-day workshops for managers in food manufacturing has just finished, and my next project (delivering a lot of train the trainer workshops) doesn’t kick in until after half-term. So I embraced the lull and decided to get some lessons to improve my ski-ing and skating. Now, I am basically competent in both of these skills, but it is clear from watching other people that I am a long way from great. That’s OK. I don’t actually WANT to be great…but I knew I wasn’t as good as I could be.
A recent report published in Forbes by McKinsey, found 4 startling facts about the gap between the education system and what businesses require of employees. OK, so the research was done in the US, so the figures may not the same in the UK, but I best the trends are no different. As someone who has ALWAYS worked in the private sector on non-funded, bespoke programmes, the results do not surprise me. Here is an overview of the findings and my thoughts about businesses can do about it.
People who follow me on Twitter, or know me personally, will be aware that my husband has a very demanding job, which includes him being on call one week out of every three. As we have no family around us, this means that one week out of three my movements are very restricted as our kids aren’t yet old enough to be left by themselves. Sometimes I hear myself moaning about all the things that we CAN’T do, because of the restrictions we have. It’s very easy to notice all the things that we are missing out on. However, even taking account ‘obligatory’ activities, this does mean that generally 3 out of 6 weekend days we CAN do things.
Last night, I attended my regular Zumba class. Nothing new there. Our instructor Ellen, leaps around on the stage with more energy than is natural for someone over 10, giving us encouragement and showing us the moves. She breaks new ones down, and shows them to us slowly before getting up to full speed. Then, when we’ve ‘got it’ she takes a moment to stop and look. How wonderful she must feel to see 50+ (that’s total number, not age!) women all moving in unison to a routine and knowing that you created and taught it. That would make me really proud. Sometimes, even in business, it is important that everyone does the same thing in the same way. It may not be a popular opinion (as we are all supposed to show initiative, and encourage creativity), but in many jobs it is necessary. I work with manufacturers of food, pharaceuticals and glass. Their products HAVE to pass all sorts of tests and be absolutely consistent in terms of content and quality. People producing those products must be able to follow a process to the letter and repeat that behaviour time and time again. Line managers have to be able…
A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of working with a company purely on a consultancy basis. Until recently I rarely got this type of opportunity, as most consulting that I do is preparation for designing a piece of learning. I was a little concerned at first that the client would feel they have spent a lot of money and got nothing for it. How wrong I was. Despite the lack of tangible outcomes, the HR and training team couldn’t have been happier with the outcome of the day. They had been grappling for some time with what seemed like a large but relatively straightforward project. The trouble is, it wasn’t progressing anywhere near as fast as it should have been. So, we got the whole team into a room and went back to first principles. We identified what they were trying to achieve, why, what that look like, timescales, resources, how they would know if they had been successful, and so on. Every question led to another question, and it became clear that the project was far more complex than any of them had realised.
Building on my last blog about making sure your induction is as good as it can be, I now want to focus on internal moves. It occurred to me that this is something that is not given very much by organisations or individuals for that matter, but still, the matters of induction and ‘settling in’ are important. Remember Tuckman’s model of Forming, Storming, Norming and Performing…any change to team members effectively results in a new team and brings a fresh set of challenges.
In business, little things can make a big difference, and we all want the best for our business. Whether we are selecting a supplier, buying products or using a service, we want to make sure that we get the best. But what is the best? If you ask 10 people, you will probably get 10 different answers.
Ahh, the summer’s here. Everyone tells us so. The supermarket magazines, the ‘seasonal’ TV programmes and of course, the high street. Clothes shops are full of shorts, vests, sandals, bikinis, strappy sundresses and t-shirts. Except, that’s not what we need right now is it?
At just aged six, my son is already learning to be independent. He washes and dresses himself he could run his own bath get his own drinks, breakfast and little things like that. At the weekend I took in him for his swimming lesson, and afterwards I told him to have a shower which he did, and then handed him his towel and told him to get dried and dressed, which he did with no assistance from me.