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Carl Robinson, Ph.D. on Leadership Store August 2, 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
Seattle, Washington

In This Issue:

Address Workplace Challenges with Action Learning

Remember the Core Training Concepts

Words of Wisdom

"The greatest change in corporate culture - and the way business is being conducted - may be the accelerated growth of relationships based on partnership."
Peter F. Drucker

Book Report
The Drama-Free Office

In The Drama-Free Office: A Guide to Healthy Collaboration with Your Team, Co-Workers and Boss (Green Leaf Book Group Press, 2011), authors, Jim Warner and Kaley Klemp give readers realistic examples of typical cases of "drama-disease" and how it can be managed and cured. 

The authors' research draws on years of experience working with more than 2,500 CEOs and their executive teams. They define the four major drama roles--the Complainer, the Cynic, the Controller, and the Caretaker. 
Diagrams, clear plans and solutions dominate this playbook. Readers will find that it is immediately useful and practical!
>Buy on



Address Workplace Challenges with Action Learning

Many real workplace problems don't seem to have a home. They may be big and complex, but they don't sit squarely in anyone's corner. So how can you solve them?
By utilizing action learning, that's how. Action learning enlists people with varied levels of skills and experience to analyze an actual work problem and develop an action plan. The group continues to meet as actions are implemented, learning from the implementation and making mid-course corrections.
Action Learning is a form of learning by doing. It is used to address problems and issues that are complex and not easily resolved; find solutions to underlying root causes of problems; and to determine a new strategic direction or to maximize new opportunities.
Organizations such as General Electric, IBM and the Federal Aviation Administration have used action learning for successful resolution of complex, real workplace problems. It involves working through real, relevant problems; reviewing both the results achieved and then analyzing the process by which the results were accomplished. When GE has implemented action learning, it typically enlists two groups of five to seven people of varying backgrounds and levels in the organization. The process works best when dealing with real, substantial issue that will have visible consequences if failure occurs.
The problem to be addressed by the team should be real and in need of being solved in a timely manner. The solution to the problem should be acted upon. Incidentally, one bonus as a result of this process is that critically reflective learning will also take place. The action learning team typically does not have a leader, but rather is a self-directed work team with shared responsibilities.
When working with an action learning team, shift emphasis away from what people already know, pushing them to ask fresh questions about how to create a solution. The last part of the action learning process is actually solving the problem. It is not a list of recommendations or a report. It ends in a follow-through to a solution.
Give action learning a try. It has worked for many organizations, and introduces a new way of looking at and taking charge of real workplace problems!

Remember the Core Training Concepts

Whether you are a trainer yourself or you are responsible for hiring and preparing the training staff, here is a reminder of the core concepts that will help you create a robust training staff or simply become a more effective trainer yourself.
According to Robert Jolles, author of How to Run Seminars and Workshops, about 15% of a company’s problems relate to products and 85% related to process. This is no different for training. As a manager or department head, you may take great pains to find and hire competent, outgoing employees. However, it is still necessary to tell them how to convey the information, even if they have done training before.
Quality is the hub of every great training department. The spokes  include content, trainers, curriculum, evaluation and assessment, and environment, amongst other things.
Intersection of Trainers and Writers
To foster that quality, ensure that the trainers have some impact on or at least work alongside the curriculum developers to some extent. There are various ways in which trainers can be engaged in curriculum development.
The trainer and curriculum developer working together can often result in a faster start-up for the presenter to master the curriculum and delivery. It also helps the trainers develop pride in the information they will be conveying.
Trainer Consistency
Consistency most obviously means multiple trainers using the same curriculum; it also means multiple trainers using the same positive, successful training methods. Of course, each presenter has his or her own style, which is a good thing. In order to ensure the quality of the training sessions, establish a benchmark, right from the beginning.
One way to do this is by using your most experienced trainer. Have him (or her) give a sample session to the rest of the trainers, pausing along the way to give an explanation of tactics or common practices. At the same time, point out the less successful alternatives, too.
Have the group discuss the “whys and hows” of the tactics and process. Use these to create a “best practices” document for your trainer group. This working document will have been developed by the group, and will be a valuable resource. In the end, the mark of a quality training team is its cohesion to the best practices of consistent training.

Featured Product

Manager's Pocket Guide to Corporate Culture Change

The Manager's Pocket Guide to Corporate Culture Change provides the essential methods for mobilizing people behind these shared values. It teaches the skills to empower people within defined parameters, the type of support they require for success, and the best ways to recognize individual and team contributions.
It also reviews the basic tenets for developing people, creating a learning organization, and provides practical methods for aligning the culture behind the business strategy in order to manage the change.

Advanced Leadership Consulting • 2815 Eastlake Ave., E, Suite 300 • Seattle, WA 98102
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