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Carl Robinson, Ph.D. on Leadership Training Tools January 19, 2012
 
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:

Raise the Issue or Let It Go? Here's How to Decide

'Just Say No' to Lethargic Employees!


Clever: Leading Your Smartest, Most Creative People

They aren’t necessarily the employees with the highest IQs.  They have no desire to lead, and they most certainly don’t want to be led.  They can be difficult, burdensome, frustrating… and they can create an incredibly disproportionate amount of positive value for your organization.  Ladies and Gentlemen, we give you the “Clevers”.
 
Authors Rob Goffee and Gareth Jones have penned a book that uncovers a class of employee that had yet to be properly identified. We have leaders, managers, entry level employees and others that neatly tuck into the corporate hierarchy. However, this book seeks to identify a hidden layer woven into the organizational tapestry.
 
Clever (Harvard Business Press, 2009) is the product of years of field research that digs in to the generative sources of cleverness in some of the most productive companies in the world. What the authors found is that these clever people exist not just at the top of organizations, but they throughout the ranks. These are the employees who crave the biggest most important problems, and can consistently be counted on for solutions.
 
An entertaining read of Clevers isn’t sociological fluff. It is a nuts-and-bolts guide of what to do, and not do, to ensure maximum results from your best people. Sections include how to identify the Clevers in your own organization, boost those results to new heights by creating clever teams – and shifting your culture toward developing clever organizations, complete with real world examples that highlight highly respectable companies.
>Buy at Amazon.com

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Raise the Issue or Let It Go? Here's How to Decide

Situations are complex, especially at work. There are countless circumstances to deal with every week.  Which ones should you take on? Which ones should be let go?  The truth is that there is no right answer, because there is no way of ensuring how the conversation will turn out, even if you give it your best shot.
 
Regardless, when you do make the decision to take on a situation and communicate your angle, ask yourself; is the real conflict inside of you?  Sometimes what’s difficult about a situation is much more related to what is going on inside of you, versus what is going on between you and someone else.  In this case, focusing on the conversation isn’t going to pay off.  You may as well complete the conflict within yourself. 
 
Once you decide to address a situation, ask yourself if there is a better way to address it than actually talking about it.  Take time to sort out your contribution to the situation.  Once you make more sense of your role, you may be able to come up with some solutions that include you changing your role and contribution. 
 
Now that you have considered your role in the situation, ask yourself if your purpose makes sense.  Sometimes we try having conversations when our purposes are simply off-base.  When that happens, the outcome is not likely to be positive, regardless of how carefully you choose your words.
 
Don’t focus on short term relief at long-term cost.  It is easy to be defensive in a variety of conversations.  Step into the space between your perception of the situation and what your ideal reaction is.  You may feel relieved for a while after “finally letting them know what you think,” but that satisfaction may be short-lived.  Instead, approach difficult situations from a stance of curiosity.  Ask why they feel the way they do, and what you can do to provide more information about your stance.
 
Don’t hit and run.  If you are going to talk, talk.  Really talk.  Don’t throw out an off-hand comment at a frustrated moment.  Just like location is everything in the restaurant world, timing is everything in the communication world. 
 
In summary, investigate and acknowledge the basis for your own feelings, consider whether alternative solutions may be better than a face off, consider your own purpose and whether it is on task or if it is loaded with conflict that is unrelated to the situation at hand. Finally, focus on long-term solutions (not just the satisfaction of telling your side), and choose an appropriate time and situation, versus the off-hand attack that leaves all sides defensive.

'Just Say No' to Lethargic Employees!

During times of organizational flux, it can become increasingly difficult to engage employees in learning.  Across the country and in a cross-section of industries, training budgets have become tighter than ever. In the midst of these challenges, training employees has become more critical, both to keep the company moving forward and to retain high potential employees. 
 
So, with a chiseled-down budget and waning morale, what do you do to engage the team in the training that they need? Here are some broadly practical takeaways that you can use in your training programs (or even presentations and conferences!) today:
 
1. Continuously emphasize the most critical concepts. Re-introduce concepts using multiple media and engaging as many senses as possible.
 
2. Create visual keys for abstract concepts. Many of today’s learners are visual learners.  A simple diagram can be more valuable than a thousand words.
 
3. Utilize in-class activities to reinforce newly presented material. After a new concept or subject has been presented via text reading, lecture, or class discussion, allow participants to put the concept into action by completing an in-class assignment.  And, as a bonus - Attendance tends to improve in courses that have in-class assignments!
 
4. Create links between concepts and information. These overlaps build on information that has already been learned and helps learners acquire the new knowledge at the same time.
 
Each of these takeaways can help motivate even the most lethargic employee. Set the scene with an expectation of high performance and mutual respect, along with the takeaways above, to keep your employees performing at a higher level and growing their career, even in the face of challenging constraints. 


Featured Tools

Learning from Conflict

Learning From Conflict offers ready-to-use, fully reproducible activities for training in recognizing and resolving the major causes of conflict.
 
 
The structure of the book is derived from Dr. Hart's Learning From Conflict Model, a simple, clear model that gives basic guidelines for applying its techniques to the specific needs of the participants. Instructors will learn how to help others accurately name their patterns of conflict, understand their reactions, identify the causes, prevent conflicts from developing and escalating, and apply conflict resolution techniques.
 
Learning From Conflict is written for trainers, facilitators, team leaders, and educators. The numerous, fully reproducible sample training designs, case studies, and activities can be applied in a variety of training situations, including communication, supervision, and interpersonal relationships.
 
Contents
  • Learning From Conflict
  • Planning Your Workshop
  • Teaching About Conflict
  • Getting Started
  • Naming Conflicts
  • Reacting to Conflicts
  • Searching for Causes of Conflict
  • Preventing Conflicts
  • Resolving Conflicts
  • Planning for Conflicts
 



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