Friday, August 21, 2009

An Interesting Answer to my Question: Why can't CEO's be involved in Training???

Anne Thornley-Brown, President, Executive Oasis International answered my Question in Linkedin (here details are at the end of this post)

Training and team building that isn't closely linked to the strategic direction of your organization and the real world issues and challenges of your business is a waste of time. It is really important for CEOs and other executives to be involved in training and team building to maintain this focus. Why?

It is really important for CEOs and other executives to support team building and training to ensure that:

- The company vision gets communicated clearly
- You leverage each and every opportunity to reinforce the corporate culture you are trying to shape
- Team building and training exercies get infused with real world issues, not theoretical cases
- You have a feedback mechanism to help you keep your finger on the pulse so that you get unfiltered access to what is going on in your management team and on the frontline with clients

Another important reason to get involved is that, without your involvement, training and team building can be perceived as irrelevant and the facilitators can be perceived as out of touch with organizational realities. This is particularly the case if there is already a disconnect between the corporate culture you are trying to foster and existing organizational practices.

There is another important aspect to this question. Senior management involvement in team building and training is really important to ensure that the company's resources are used wisely. Relegate decision making to HR or a committe of more junior employees and you can end up with a range of training programmes that are loaded with the fun factor but of questionable value in terms of content. You can also end up with a good chunk of your team building budget being blown for programmes that are, in fact, team recreation.

So how can a busy executive who is already stretched to the limit become involved in team building and training?

Executives can do this by making presentations at training and team building sessions and attending portions of sessions whenever possible. It doesn't have to take a lot to time and it doesn't require staying for the whole session but it does have impact. I have always made it a priority to invite executives to make presentations during key training and team building initiatives.

With the internet and DVDs, there are many ways that a busy executive can increase their presence in team building and training. Video briefings with executives, can be recorded and played at varioius training and development sessions, for example. The VP, Marketing can record footage for marketing courses. The CIO can record material for various computer courses. The VP, Sales can record material for sales training.

If a CEO can't find time to make a presentation once a month (or once a quarter) and send another executive in his or her place if something crops ups, something is wrong. All it takes is a little planning. Schedule the sessions in and schedule a different executive to back you up each month just in case on occasion you can't make it. If there is ever a month that you can't make orientation, the member of the executive team who is pinch hitting for you can play the DVD, make some comments and answer questions.

Executives who want to explore similar issues are invited to join the discussions at the:
International Business Team Building Alliance Group
http://www.linkedin.com/groups?gid=1989979&trk=hb_side_g

Other Resources:
http://corporateteambuilding.wordpress.com/2009/06/15/team-building-guide-for-executives

By Anne Thornley-Brown, President, Executive Oasis International, specialists in team building http://www.executiveoasis.com/executiveretreats.html and facilitated team building retreats. Read more articles by Anne at her team building blog http://corporateteambuilding.wordpress.com
Follow Anne on Twitter @executiveoasis.

Friday, August 14, 2009

How much of ‘entertaining‘ is advisable in Training?

How much of ‘entertaining’ is advisable in Training? What is the role of humor and fun in a learning environment? The question also how and how much?

(The above were questions asked in linkedin)

My thoughts:

Games, Activities, Humor etc. surely make learning "Fun". I'm unsure whether we can call this 'entertainment' because this can take the Trainer away from the objectives of the learning session.

I use instant humour more in the post-lunch space or if I feel that the energy levels of the participants has dipped.

I would also decide the "how much" part of it, by mapping my audience well. For e.g. if it's a young crowd (college-going) then the session would be laced with humour and fun, but if it's a senior profile that I am handling, then I would 'tone-down' the humour and fun bit.

In certain training programs such as Communication Skills, Presentation Skills, Negotiation Skills etc. the 'fun' element can be integrated as part of the module and thus flows seamlessly. Here the audience could belong to any age group or any levels and it would still do well. For e.g. running a quick round of on-the-spot speaking (the topic list could have some funny topics).

Another methodology to engage the audience is to use "story-telling". Funny anecdotes, incidents and even jokes can be customized to a story-form and narrated to the audience.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Why can't CEO's be involved in Training???

Last week I was in a meeting.

The HR Manager announced that we would be meeting the CEO of this company for a discussion on the training intervention.

I was surprised because normally this doesn't happen in the first meeting itself.

The CEO was young and dynamic. He was briefed about me well by the HR Manager and we immediately got into the training objectives, the program and the effectiveness (In most cases, whenever I meet senior Management, I have to first give an introduction of myself (either the HR hasn't briefed them about me or the senior hasn't read the brief that was sent).

The meeting was focused and ended well. The CEO also gave me required inputs about the targeted group too. I was highly impressed!

Meeting over, I had a thought:

Why can't more CEO's get involved in the training of the organisation?
Why is it difficult to have their perspective of the Training need?

Does it mean, I don't trust HR? Absolutely not!!!
But my experience is that many HR professionals don't align strategically to the business operations and therefore their understanding of the need is many-a-times the softer part (which is also necessary) but unless and until a Trainer doesn't understand the business need for the training, the effectiveness of the program cannot be seen.

Is this the reason why training many a times fails in implementation stage???

Quotation of the Day