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Carl Robinson, Ph.D. on Leadership Store February 15, 2011
 
We help maximize the effectiveness of individuals and organizations by helping them improve their ability to lead, work together, select and develop their people.  Some of our related business services include: executive coaching, executive team coaching and executive assessments for development and selection.


Carl Robinson, Ph.D., Managing Principal
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Seattle, Washington
206-545-1990
carl@leadershipconsulting.com

In This Issue:

3 Ways to Manage Corporate Training Like a Business

Will the Real Conflict Please Stand Up?

Business Plans in the New Era


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3 Ways to Manage Corporate Training Like a Business

Does your organiation run its training department like a business? Although we have seen increase in awareness of ROI on training in recent years, author David Vance puts it succinctly, when he states:
 
 "Corporate learning is a $200 billion per year business, and it should be run like one.  Unfortunately this is often not the case, which means there is significant opportunity for improvement."
 
Whether you are considering your own organization's training department or you are part of an external training company, this framework should be considered in the same way.  
 
1. Establish a clear mission that is able to be communicated simply.
Make clear the training department mission (or contractor's mission, in some cases) by defining its purpose, including what the training mission is not.  What is the training and development function within the organization?  Do other groups in the company also take responsibility for some training initiatives?  How do they overlap?
 
2. Develop the business case for learning.
What makes the learning initiatives worthwhile, strictly from a business perspective?  What is the business cost (for design, delivery and reinforcement) as well as the opportunity cost (the value of the participant's time, and expected impact)?
 
3. Carry out all training activities with specific, measurable goals.
What is the expected outcome of each effort?  For example, "increase customer service skills" doesn't take us to the necessary level of clarity. Try something more like, "Increase customer satisfaction by 30% over six months". 
 
Follow the Action Steps to get started making the business case for your training department or your training services. 

Will the Real Conflict Please Stand Up?

 "Conflict is inevitable, but combat is optional."
 
Difficult conversations are a normal part of life. No matter what personal or professional gains you make, there will always be difficult conversations that have to take place. 
   
According to the Family Institute of Cambridge and Harvard Law School’s negotiation workshop, within each difficult conversation, there are actually three conversations happening. That is, there are three undercurrents driving the energy behind each conversation.
 
1. The “What Happened” Conversation
This is the disparity between each parties’ interpretation of what has happened. Who is right?  Who is to blame? No matter how we phrase it, in this conversation, we are usually telling the other side that they are to blame. Shift the focus away from establishing blame and toward an acknowledgment that we can never truly know other peoples’ intentions.
  
2. The Feelings Conversation
Whose feelings are valid? Should they be acknowledged, or peeled off of the conversation? How can that happen? How should you address feelings without walking into a landmine?
 
Regardless of how much you try to check your emotions at the door, there are emotional undercurrents to most difficult conversations. Even more, difficult situations don’t just involve feelings, they are based on feelings.
 
Sometimes a situation is so sensitive that feelings can’t even be broached. You will benefit from knowing how to acknowledge and talk about the feelings associated with the situation.
 
3. The Identity Conversation
What does this situation mean to each of us? What judgments are we likely making about each other? How is this affecting self-esteem?
 
This conversation asks “What does this say about me?” Even when you are the one who is delivering the bad news, identity still comes into play. How will people see you after this conversation?
    
The bottom line is that conflict resolution and starts by being able to effectively listen to the perspectives of the other person in the conflict situation and depersonalize the conflict.

Business Plans in the New Era

We had a chance to talk with Jim Horan, author of The One Page Business Plan, the best selling business planning book on Amazon.com and all of the related “One Page” titles, including the One Page Business Plan for Women in Business, for Non-Profits, for Creative Entrepreneurs, and more.  
 
Jim, one of your current initiatives is to help educate businesspeople.  Can you tell us about that? 
Sure.  By “educate” I really mean that the need for clarity and accuracy in “business speak” has become increasingly obvious in recent years.  We come across many smart, astute executives and business owners who seem to lack a solid understanding of basic business terms.  As a matter of fact, recently on CNBC I heard an executive use incorrect terms when talking about his own company’s profit and loss statement!  
 
There is casualness in the industry that is actually quite sloppy.  The fact is that the words we choose make a difference, and I would like to encourage executives and business leaders to use standard definitions.  This one step would greatly improve accuracy in conveying information, which is fundamental to any business.
 
Are different issues influencing business plans now than when you first started?
One of the words we hear on national television that we have not heard in a long time is “outsourcing.” With the globalization of business, managing by walking around is no longer an option.  So the question is, “How do we manage people we don’t see?” 
 
We believe the solution is that managers, executives and teams all be provided with clear, concise blueprints for their departments, plans, programs and business units.  One Page Business Plans can be used in all of these cases.  These documents become contracts –think of them as frameworks for what they are building or doing.  With that tool in place, the one-page plans become the agenda for every single call or meeting.
 
How does this outsourced business model change the way we work with our employees? 
There is no doubt that it requires adult behavior from everyone involved.  No longer can we babysit employees.  In many cases, being involved in all of our employees’ struggles and challenges amounted to babysitting.  This paradigm is shifting, and the business plan is a great way to facilitate discipline on a new level.
 
Thanks so much for your time. When Jim isn’t helping organizations create successful business plans or writing a new book, he can be found mountain biking in the hills of Berkeley, California or boating in the San Francisco Bay area.


Advanced Leadership Consulting • 14416 3rd Ave. NW, Suite 300 • Seattle, WA 98177
http://www.leadershipconsulting.com/
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