Beiträge

The secret L&D manager: What makes training effective?

This month’s secret training manager is Italian and has worked in a variety of fields including public research organizations and service companies. Here she talks with Scott Levey about the basic elements that make training and trainers effective.

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What makes training effective?

To me an effective training is a training that uses most of the senses. Meaning: seeing, hearing, touching. The learners need to experience things and be actively engaged. Of course, the training needs to cover the thinking side, but adult learners need to learn by doing things. A good training event also has to be designed to have different activities and moments. For example, it needs moments to listen and get input and ideas, moments to pause and ponder on the theory that was just presented to you, moments to experiment, and moments to recap. I want the trainer to also plan in multiple moments where they cover again the main and salient points of the training.  For me this is essential.  I would also say that effective training sessions need to have a certain pace and this pace changes depending on the moment.  After lunch the trainer will increase the pace to get people moving again. Alternatively, the pace may slow down if the trainer sees that the participants aren’t following what the trainer is trying to do or trying to say.  So that’s what I think makes an effective training.

What makes the trainer effective? I mean you yourself have worked with many trainers and you have also trained yourself, haven’t you?

Well the most obvious answer would be that the trainer is the subject matter expert. She is an expert in her field and has real experience … but that isn’t enough. I’m going to give you a trivial example but I think everyone can relate to it. It’s about my daughter. She’s in high school right now and her math teacher is brilliant. He has a very brilliant mind … but he is not a pedagogue, so he is a teacher by definition but he is not a teacher through experience, and he is not patient with them. He knows his stuff, and is really smart, but he doesn’t know how to convey the salient points to my daughter or his class.  When I think back to the many companies I have worked in, I have also seen similar experiences with internal training sessions ran in various topics. It could be IT related, quality management, HR or technical skills.  Being a subject matter expert is the start but not the end.

Being an expert is not enough; you also need to be an expert in pedagogy, you need to be patient and you need to be attentive to the participants and allow them to ask questions. You need also to be able to shut down any conversation that strays from the topic because it can become difficult and you can waste time and not reach your training goals. This is not good because as we know training has an agenda and you need to stay on track.

Somehow a trainer also needs to be very confident and have some leadership behaviors, because she’s the leader of the group for the time of the training. Finally, I think an effective trainer has to have those storytelling skills where you put theory and experience into a nice little story that illustrates the point. And is easy to understand and remember

So, what I’m saying is an effective trainer is somebody who

  1. Is a subject matter expert
  2. Is a good communicator
  3. Is people-oriented
  4. Can lead a group
  5. Has the skills needed to design training so there are the right moments at the right times
  6. Has the skills to deliver the training in an engaging way and manage the pace
  7. Is focused and reaches the objective set for the training

Train-the-trainer courses can really help for both new and confident trainers … but it is my opinion that nothing really beats experience. So that’s what I think makes a trainer a good trainer.


Who is the secret L&D manager?

The “secret L&D manager” is actually a group of L&D managers. They are real people who would prefer not to mention their name or company – but do want to write anonymously so they can openly and directly share their ideas and experience with their peers.

You can meet more of our secret L&D managers here …

 

Die vier Reiter: Kritik und Schuldzuweisung, sowie Abwehverhalten am Arbeitsplatz

Gesunde Arbeitsbeziehungen sind ein Muss, wenn Sie einen effektiven, effizienten und angenehmen Arbeitsplatz wünschen. In unserem letzten Blogbeitrag stellte ich John Gottmanns Arbeit an den 4 Reitern der Apokalypse vor; Kritik & Schuldzuweisung, Verteidigung, Verachtung und Einmauern. Wir haben untersucht, warum die Bekämpfung dieser 4 toxischen Verhaltensweisen unerlässlich ist, wenn Sie die Leistung steigern und Ergebnisse erzielen wollen. Dieser Blogbeitrag wird tiefer in die ersten 2 toxischen Verhaltensweisen eintauchen. Wir werden uns mit Kritik und Schuldzuweisungen UND der damit verbundenen Abwehrbereitschaft befassen. Wir werden dann untersuchen, warum sie geschehen, welche Auswirkungen sie haben und wie beide Parteien die Dinge zum Besseren wenden können. Schließlich werden wir uns ansehen, was Sie als Manager tun können, wenn Sie auf dieses Verhalten zwischen den Teammitgliedern stoßen..

 

eBook: The definitive checklist for qualifying training providers

Wie man Kritik und Schuldzuweisungen am Arbeitsplatz verwerten kann.

Wie jeder Manager weiß, wenn etwas ernsthaft schief geht, ist es wichtig sich zu fragen was passiert ist und zu diskutieren: “Wie kann man das beim nächsten Mal anders machen? Dies auf transparente, offene und konstruktive Weise zu tun, ist enorm wichtig.  Jim Collins untersucht in seinem exzellenten Bestseller Good to Great genau das: die “Autopsie ohne Schuldzuweisungen”. Damit “Autopsie ohne Schuldzuweisung” funktioniert, brauchen Sie Menschen, die sich sicher fühlen – Sie müssen Kritik und Vorwürfe am Arbeitsplatz verwerten.

Zunächst einmal ist es wichtig, den Unterschied zwischen Beschwerde und Kritik zu verstehen. Eine Beschwerde bezieht sich auf eine bestimmte fehlgeschlagene Aktion. Eine Kritik beinhaltet ein negatives Urteil über die Persönlichkeit oder den Charakter des anderen. Schuldzuweisungen sind, wenn man auf die Verantwortung verzichtet und alle Fehler und Konsequenzen in die Schuhe einer anderen Person schiebt. Zum Beispiel…..

  • Beschwerde – “Thierry, wir liegen jetzt hinter dem Zeitplan mit der FAT zurück.  Ich bin in einer wirklich schwierigen Position mit dem Kunden.””
  • Kritik – “Wir sind mit der FAT in Verzug, weil Sie vergessen haben, Max wieder zu upzudaten. Du bist so desorganisiert.  Jetzt bin ich in einer wirklich schwierigen Position mit dem Kunden, Thierry.”
  • Schuldzuweisungen – “Das ist alles deine Schuld…. und jetzt liegen wir wieder hinter dem Zeitplan mit der FAT zurück. Du hast Max nicht so upgedated, wie du es hättest tun sollen, und jetzt muss ich die Dinge lösen und mich um den Kunden kümmern…. was hältst du davon? Das ist alles deine Schuld, Thierry.

Offensichtlich sind Kritik und Schuldzuweisung keine hilfreichen oder produktiven Verhaltensweisen – aber wenn wir ehrlich zu uns selbst sind, haben wir sie alle irgendwann einmal gezeigt.

Warum beschuldigen und/oder kritisieren wir andere?

Wir haben uns darüber Gedanken gemacht, was passiert ist und wollen entweder jemanden zur Verantwortung ziehen oder das Verhalten eines anderen ändern. Wir sagen uns, dass wir nur “Feedback geben”, “andere zur Verantwortung ziehen” oder “sagen, wie es ist”.

Was passiert, wenn wir das tun?

Der typische (und oft unbeabsichtigte) Effekt ist, dass der Empfänger defensiv wird (der zweite der 4 Reiter) und die konstruktive Kommunikation stoppt. Der Empfänger wird wahrscheinlich weniger offen darüber sein, was tatsächlich passiert ist, da er sich nicht sicher fühlt – und möglicherweise sogar unehrlich wird, Informationen zurückhält oder Dinge neu erfindet. Alternativ fühlt sich der Empfänger bedroht und wehrt sich mit Kritik oder Schuldzuweisungen. Nichts davon ist sehr produktiv oder vorteilhaft für eine gesunde Geschäftsbeziehung.

Was also kann der “Schuldzuweiser” anders machen?

Um das oben Gesagte am besten zu vermeiden, müssen Sie als potentieller “Schuldzuweiser”…

  • Verantwortung für die eigenen Gefühle übernehmen – und sie nicht auf den “Empfänger” legen.
  • Offen und neugierig darüber sein, was passiert ist. Genau hinschauen, um zu verstehen.
  • Verwandeln Sie Ihre “Beschwerde” in eine Anfrage. Konzentrieren Sie sich darauf, Lösungen für das Problem zu finden und wie Sie es in Zukunft vermeiden können, anstatt sich auf die Vergangenheit zu konzentrieren, z.B. anstatt zu sagen: “Sie haben mir nichts von dem Review-Meeting erzählt”, sagen Sie: “Ich möchte wirklich kein weiteres dieser Review-Meetings verpassen, könnten Sie mir die Termine für den Rest des Jahres schicken?”
  • verwenden Sie die Sprache “Ich” und nicht “Sie”, z.B. “Ich habe den Eindruck, dass… / Für mich kommt das wie…”.
  • prüfen Sie, wie Sie aktiv zu einer Lösung beitragen können – es ist unwahrscheinlich, dass Sie völlig machtlos sind, und Sie werden sich besser fühlen, wenn Sie wissen, was Sie ändern und kontrollieren können, unabhängig davon, was der andere tut.
  • zukunftsorientiert sein. Auch hier gilt: genau hinschauen, um zu verstehen, damit die Dinge in Zukunft besser werden können. Auf einem Stück Papier darzustellen, was passiert ist und welche Faktoren dazu beigetragen haben, kann ein effektives Werkzeug sein.
  • Entschuldigen Sie sich, wenn es angebracht ist – Wollten Sie “angreifen”? Es könnte sein, dass Sie sich nicht kritisch gefühlt haben oder eine andere Absicht hatten, aber es kommt darauf an, wie der andere es erlebt hat.
  • und um jeden Preis vermeiden Sie es, den anderen mit weitreichenden persönlichen Angriffen wie “Was ist los mit dir?” oder “Was genau ist dein Problem” zu verletzen?

Was können die “Schuldigen” tun, um die toxischen Auswirkungen zu begrenzen?

Wenn Sie kritisiert oder beschuldigt werden, versuchen Sie…

  • anzunehmen, dass die Absichten gut sind. Man versucht nicht absichtlich Sie zu verletzen, noch will man, dass Sie sich “nutzlos fühlen”. Sie machen einfach keine sehr gute Arbeit bei der Kommunikation.
  • zuzuhören und eine angemessene Aufforderung zu finden, die in der “Beschwerde” enthalten ist.
  • sich auf ihre Beziehung zu konzentrieren. Wenn andere Ihnen “Schuld” zuweisen, was sind dann ihre Bedürfnisse
  • dem Drang zu widerstehen, sich zu wehren – bleiben Sie nicht in einer “Wer macht was mit wem” Spirale stecken
  • ruhig, durchsetzungsfähig und empathisch zu sein.
  • Diskussion wieder auf die Zukunft auszurichten. Wie oben, hilft es, das Geschehene darzustellen und Fakten zu veranschaulichen
  • der anderen Person zu helfen, sich wieder auf eine bessere Beziehung zu konzentrieren.

Wie man “Abwehr”-Verhalten am Arbeitsplatz entkräftet

The toxic behaviour of “defensiveness” often follows feeling criticized or blamed. It is a natural fight/flight response and, just like criticism & blaming, defending is very much about the past rather than the future.  Defending can look like excuses, denying responsibility, or even blaming the other (“I’m not the problem here – you’re the problem!”). Defensiveness rarely helps move things forward.

Das toxische Verhalten der “Abwehrhaltung” folgt oft dem Gefühl, kritisiert oder beschuldigt zu werden. Es ist eine natürliche Kampf-/Fluchtantwort, und genau wie Kritik und Schuldzuweisungen geht es bei der Abwehrhaltung sehr stark um die Vergangenheit und nicht um die Zukunft.  Sich zu verteidigen kann wie eine Ausrede aussehen, oder es wirkt wie die Verantwortung zu leugnen oder sogar dem anderen die Schuld zu geben (“Ich bin hier nicht das Problem – du bist das Problem!”). Verteidigung hilft selten, die Dinge voranzutreiben.

Warum verteidigen wir uns?

Wir verteidigen uns, um unser eigenes Selbstwertgefühl zu bewahren.  Wir wollen unsere Selbstidentität, unser Integritätsgefühl bewahren.  Wir schützen unser Ego vor Kritik und können uns schnell wie das “Opfer” verhalten.

Was passiert wenn wir das tun?

Die unbeabsichtigte Auswirkung ist, dass Konflikte entweder aufkommen oder eskalieren.  So oder so, die Beziehung leidet. Die Defensive verhindert auch die Analyse und das Verständnis des Problems, was wiederum die Suche nach nachhaltigen und realistischen Lösungen verhindert.

Also, was kann der “Verteidigende” anders machen?

  • Wirklich zuhören…. wirklich, wirklich zuhören. Schließen Sie nicht hilfreiche Selbstgespräche aus und nutzen Sie aktive Hörfähigkeiten.
  • In Verbindung mit dem oben genannten, hören Sie hin, um herauszufinden, was Sie denken, dass Sie hören.
  • Jetzt suchen Sie nach den “10%” der Wahrheit. Es ist unglaublich unwahrscheinlich, dass die andere Person alles erfindet. Ignorieren Sie die Kritik und konzentrieren Sie sich auf das angesprochene Thema. Selbst wenn Sie mit dem, was sie sagen und wie sie es sagen, nicht einverstanden sind, gibt es wahrscheinlich irgendwo etwas Wahrheit, die sich mit Ihnen und ihrem Teil in der Situation verbindet.
  • Und wenn Sie Ihren Beitrag zu dem Problem bedacht haben, akzeptieren Sie Ihre persönliche Verantwortung für das Problem. Jeder hat manchmal Unrecht.
  • Erkennen Sie die Wirkung an, zu der Sie beigetragen haben. Entschuldigen Sie sich, wenn es angebracht ist. Und um ein überzogenes Klischee zu zitieren, gestehen Sie Fehler ein. Sie werden überrascht sein, wie kraftvoll und effektiv es ist zu sagen: “Ich habe mir angehört, was du gesagt hast, und nachdem ich darüber nachgedacht habe…. hast du Recht. Das ist mein Fehler.” Manchmal kann die Auseinandersetzung mit einer Situation auch schnell die Dynamik verändern, z.B. “Ich habe mir angehört, was du sagst (Kritiker richtet sich auf Leugnung ein und bereitet sich auf einen weiteren Angriff vor), und ich stimme dir völlig zu.  Ich habe das nicht richtig oder gut gemacht [Kritiker überrascht und still]. Lass uns reden und sehen, was wir beide beim nächsten Mal anders machen könnten [Kritiker in eine zukunftsorientierte Diskussion einbezogen].”

Und was kann der “Angreifer” tun, um die toxischen Auswirkungen der Verteidigung zu begrenzen?

  • Verdeutlichen Sie ausdrücklich und authentisch Ihre Absicht. Arbeiten Sie daran, zu helfen zu verstehen, dass Ihre Absicht darin besteht, andere nicht zu verletzen. Sie wollen nur ein ernstes Gespräch führen, weil Ihnen das wichtig ist.
  • Noch einmal, wirklich zuhören… weniger reden und mehr zuhören.
  • Klären Sie, was von der anderen Person gehört wird.
  • Verwenden Sie “Ich” und nicht “du”.
  • Zeigen Sie Respekt.
  • Und versichern Sie anderen, dass ihr Image oder ihr Ruf nicht auf dem Spiel steht. Sie konzentrieren sich auf diese Situation und nicht auf die Vergangenheit, Gegenwart und Zukunft.
  • Gewinne Sie das Vertrauen wieder.

Was kann ein Manager tun, wenn er Kritik, Schuld und Abwehrhaltung in seinem Team sieht?

Kritik und Schuldzuweisung ist menschlich. Wir alle haben es schon getan. Wir alle waren unhilfreich defensiv. Unterscheiden Sie zwischen einem Teammitglied, das dieses Verhalten hin und wieder zeigt (das ist menschlich) und einem, das ein Muster auf einer fortlaufenden Basis zeigt.

  1. Schaffen Sie eine sichere Umgebung und bauen Sie Vertrauen auf, indem Sie persönliche Erfahrungen austauschen, und an beiden Enden sitzen – konzentrieren Sie sich auf die unmittelbaren und längerfristigen Auswirkungen des Verhaltens auf Einzelpersonen, Teams und Ergebnisse. Achten Sie darauf, keine Vorträge zu halten und teilen Sie stattdessen Ihre Wahrnehmungen und Erfahrungen.
  2. Konzentrieren Sie das Team auf das, was beim nächsten Mal passiert (und verstärken Sie diese Zukunftsorientierung, wenn jemand anfängt, Vergangenheitsformen zu verwenden).
  3. Wenn Sie auf ein Muster stoßen, in dem eine Person regelmäßig andere kritisiert und beschuldigt, scheuen Sie sich nicht, Ihre Macht als Manager geltend zu machen und Feedback über das destruktive Verhalten zu geben, das Sie sehen.

Im dritten und letzten Teil dieser Serie werden wir untersuchen, wie Sie die verbleibenden 2 “Reiter” – Einmauern und Verachtung – angehen und überwinden können.

Implementing the 70-20-10 model- insights from a secret L&D manager

This month’s Secret L&D manager is German, based in Germany and works for a global automotive supply company. She has worked in training and development for over 7 years.

Why are you using 70-20-10?

We introduced the 70-20-10 model in 2016, mainly because too many people were thinking that “development” is just about training, and that if our company wasn’t providing “training” the company wasn’t developing people. The 70-20-10 model helped us show that learning and development is more than just training. Training is one tool, but you can develop yourself all the time. The 70-20-10 model is rolled out globally to our whole organisation. There are also individual initiatives that I have developed which are only rolled out in a specific business area in Europe and for specific development programs like our talent development program.

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How did people react?

I would say the majority of the people in our company did not really understand at first. Only those people who joined the sessions where we explained and showed what 70-20-10 is really about – they understood the sense behind it. Learning and development is not such a big topic in our company and is not the highest priority, so many people read about it and ignored it.

So how have you brought 70-20-10 to life in the organization?

I created an individual development plan, built around 70-20-10, specifically for participants in our training programmes.

Which kind of programmes?

A development programme for our most talented young professionals. First of all, I introduced the 70-20-10 model a little bit to them, and I explained what 70-20-10 is about – and what it is not about too. Mainly that 70% of everything they learn is learning by doing, 20% is learning from others and only 10% is learning by “training”. I must say people were quite surprised about this when I started talking to them about it, but they quickly related to it.  They saw it reflected how they had learned their technical skills, and also their softer skills.

I then introduced a new individual development plan, which I have here in front of me.  I structured it in different levels. First of all, people were asked to define an overall individual development goal. Strictly speaking they weren’t all SMART goals – some were closer to a vision for where do I want to be and by when. As most of the goals were very general, I asked them to explain a little bit about what they meant with this goal. Where they are now, where they want to be and what they think would change when they achieve this goal. These were the key questions we asked them to think about.

Then they had to define three key development areas that they need to work on in order to achieve that very goal. These areas had to be really, really specific. They have to be SMART.

Once they had defined key development areas, they had to define development actions. On the tool I gave them, these actions are actually structured using 70-20-10.  They need to define mostly “learning by doing” actions, then partly “learning through others” actions and the smallest part is the “learning in training” actions.

And then, last but not least, for the individual development areas they were asked to define key performance indicators where they can measure the success of their development. Using KPIs is very characteristic for our automotive supply company because everything is measured in KPIs here. This is a step they understand easily, and I didn’t have to explain to them what a KPI is. Everything they do is measured.

How do you get a KPI from a soft skill?

Well, that’s tricky. Let’s take the simple example of improving presentation skills. So development actions can be “I will present my project four times in front of my boss or my team, and one of these will need to be delivered virtually”. The KPI could be the number of presentations you have done.

So you are just tracking that it’s happening?

Yes. Another example for management training is if you give or receive positive feedback – yes or no – it can be measured. It just helps a little bit, like you said, to track it, to know that they have to document their status. It really helps them to be motivated or to stay motivated.

Have you integrated the 70-20-10 into your senior management programs?

We have.  I think the 70 is really covered by the business simulations we use. In these simulations people lead their own company, competing against each other and most of it is really learning by doing. They have to work with the numbers, they have to work with the reports, they have to make their own decisions. They have the chance to contact their trainers for example, or their colleagues, and ask them for advice, so that’s learning by others maybe, but mostly it’s the learning by doing.

How do senior managers respond to being asked to build KPIs for their own development?

I must say I only really push the KPIs with the young professionals. They need the orientation to have this measured and their development areas are way simpler than the ones from the very experienced senior leaders that we’re training. I don’t push measuring of the senior managers and leaders. I think at their level they should be capable of measuring themselves and knowing how far they have come with their development.

What advice would you give to another training manager who wants to try and introduce this 70-20-10 approach to their organisation?

Firstly, I would say it’s a very rational approach to learning and development. You have to look a little bit at your target training audience and at your people. I mean in our automotive world there are a lot of engineers, and a lot of very structured thinking. They need tools that fit into their rational world and I think 70-20-10 does this for them. Learning is quite abstract and 70-20-10 gives them a framework to put it into numbers. So if you would like to apply this in your company you should really look at what is your target group.

And I see that structure is reflected in the way you have built your tools. I mean you’ve got boxes that need filling in which fits with your target audience, tick boxes, % etc.

Exactly, I’ve got KPIs. As I mentioned, everything is measured here and that’s their way of working. It is what people are used to and comfortable with. I think if you are trying to implement this in a more “creative” or “service”  company you might see much more pushback to the way my tools are designed and the use of KPIs

Thanks for your time and for sharing!

You’re welcome!


Who is the Secret L&D manager?

The Secret L&D manager is actually many L&D managers.  They are real people who would prefer not to mention their name or company – but do want to write anonymously so they can openly and directly share their ideas and experience with peers.

Business English training: on-the-job training (for the job)

On-the-job (OTJ) training has been a cornerstone in our approach to in-house Business English training since our first InCorporate Trainers started their jobs (one of them was Scott Levey). When we explain the concept of on-the-job training to potential clients, they “understand” what we’re saying … BUT …they don’t really “get” how effective and beneficial on-the-job training is until they have seen it in action. This post aims to explain what it is, how it works, and how participants benefit, using some non-specific examples of on-the-job training.

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The benefits of on-the-job training

OTJ training is highly effective because the training takes place alongside and as part of your daily work. The trainer uses your work situations (your emails, your virtual meetings, your plant tours) as the basis for your learning. On-the-job training takes place at work, while you are working. This brings two huge benefits.

  1. You maximize your time because you are benefiting from training while you are working.
  2. You can directly transfer what you learn to your job. Your training is completely based on a real and concrete task. Everything you learn is relevant.

If you are familiar with the 70-20-10 model, you’ll know that 70% of learning comes through “doing” and from “experience”. Learning while you work is highly effective and this is the heart of on-the-job training.

“I helped Hans to de-escalate a situation in Supply Chain Management. Hans felt that the American party was wound-up and overly difficult. Hans brainstormed phrases with my help and he wrote a draft email. I helped him improve the structure and tone of the email and suggested he rewrote some of his sentences in plain English. A few hours later, the American party positively replied and the whole thing was solved by the time Hans went home.”

What exactly is on-the-job training and how does it work?

With on-the-job training, the trainer is there when you need assistance in preparing emails, specifications, manuals, reports, slides and other documentation. The trainer can support you in the planning, writing and reviewing stage. The trainer is also available to you for preparing meetings, phone calls, web meetings, teleconferences, presentations and negotiations.  They can then shadow you in action and provide personalized and situationally-based feedback.

On-the-job training focuses on your priorities at work and on you improving your business English in those areas. It can be

  • reactive where you ask the trainer for help “Can you help me improve these slides?”
  • proactive where the trainer encourages you to share work you have done/are doing in English “I heard you are involved in writing the R-Spec for the new project. How can I support you?”

“One of my participants, a product manager, had to deliver two presentations in English. It was basically the same presentation, but for two different audiences.  Observing her in our first practice session, I made a note of language points to work on. We worked on these, and a few other things (key messages, adapting messages to different audiences, Q&A session) over the next week. She delivered the presentations to me again, already with much more confidence and fluency – and then she practised with a few colleagues in a weekly group session and benefitted from both their positive feedback and the confidence boost.  Finally, I watched her deliver from the back and she did great.  After the presentations we debriefed and I shared my feedback (what went really well, what would she like to focus more on next time etc) . She was too critical of her performance and I helped her to be realistic about what she needs to focus on.”

What on-the-job training isn’t

What the trainer does not do is write the email/document for you (where’s the learning in that?). One common misconception is that on-the-job trainers are translators or proof readers. They’re not, in the same way that translators and proof readers aren’t trainers. Collaborative proof reading and translation can be an option, but the ownership needs to stay with the learner.

Another misconception is that on-the-job training is traditional “classroom training” during work time. The trainer will certainly use the “insider” view and what they have seen on-the-job to tailor traditional “off the job” training. This means your group training, coaching, 1-1 training, and seminars are closer to your workplace and that the transfer of learning is smoother.  But “on the job” training is learning while actually doing. There’s a good example of how this looks in action in an R&D department here.

“Three of my participants had written a 300-page instruction manual and they came to me with the request to help them improve it. Nobody in their department understood it enough to successfully use the system that it was meant to explain. I told them I would read it. Oh boy. We worked on writing with the reader in mind, structuring documents to make them scannable and writing in plain English. Visuals replaced paragraphs and we even created a few video tutorials too.  Four weeks later, they produced a second manual. Over one hundred pages lighter, it was clear, comprehensive, mistake free, and written in a style that everyone could understand, even me. As a result, the system that was supposed to make everyone’s job easier made everyone’s job easier.”

Bringing on-the-job training to life

We sign confidentiality agreements with our clients. Even when we don’t, we wouldn’t use their actual documentation online, so these examples are non-specific and Hans is not really called Hans … she’s called XXXX.

If you would like to know more about the benefits of this approach, don’t hesitate to contact us.

Der geheime Manager für Lernen & Entwicklung: Wonach suchen L&E-Manager in einem Trainingsangebot?

Der geheime Manager für Lernen & Entwicklung dieses Monats ist Australier mit Sitz in Deutschland und arbeitet für ein amerikanisches Unternehmen, das Bildverarbeitungssysteme und Software produziert.  Seit über 18 Jahren ist er in der Aus- und Weiterbildung tätig: als L&E-Manager, Inhouse-Trainer und als externer Trainingsanbieter.

eBook: The definitive checklist for qualifying training providersWas erwarten Sie von einem Trainingsangebot?

In erster Linie möchte ich sehen, ob der Anbieter mir tatsächlich zugehört hat. Ich möchte Nachweise dafür sehen, dass sie aufgenommen haben, was ich gesagt habe, und dass sie meine Erwartungen klar verstanden haben. Was ich damit meine, ist, dass das Angebot meine Bedürfnisse und die Informationen widerspiegeln muss, die ich ihnen zu Beginn gegeben habe. Als nächstes möchte ich auch einen Mehrwert sehen. Ja, ich möchte sicher sein, dass sie mir zugehört haben, aber ich möchte auch, dass sie etwas mehr an den Tisch bringen. Ich schätze, ich erwarte von ihnen, dass sie mir zeigen, dass sie etwas von ihrem Fachwissen und ihrer Erfahrung teilen, indem sie mir eine neue Idee oder eine Lösung für ein Problem anbieten, an das ich nicht gedacht habe.

Um ehrlich zu sein, will oder brauche ich nicht wirklich ein super detailliertes Angebotsdokument. In der Tat, je mehr ich darüber nachdenke, desto unwahrscheinlicher ist es, dass ich von einem 50-seitigen ausführlichen Bericht beeindruckt bin. Seien wir ehrlich, wir sind alle sehr beschäftigt, also möchte ich ein Dokument sehen, in dem sie es in Teile zerlegen, so dass ich einen klaren Blick darauf werfen kann, was passieren wird und wie sie es erreichen werden. Oh und nicht zu vergessen, das erwartete Ergebnis am Ende des Trainings. Also das, was Menschen nach dem Training besser können sollten als vorher. Deshalb schicken wir sie schließlich auf eine Schulung.

Natürlich möchte ich ein klares Verständnis dafür, wie viel mich die Trainingslösung kosten wird. Ja, ich weiß, dass es nicht immer möglich ist, alle möglichen Kosten zu identifizieren, aber was ich nicht will, sind böse Überraschungen später im Prozess. So als ob man plötzlich herausfindet, dass man für ein Business Class Ticket bezahlt. Das wäre ein Problem.

Wenn es das erste Angebot eines neuen Anbieters ist, welche Extras benötigen Sie dann?

Die Dinge sind ein wenig anders, wenn es jemand ist, den man noch nicht kennt. Wenn es das erste Mal ist, möchte ich wirklich ein Beispiel dafür sehen, wie das Trainingsmaterial aussieht. Dieses Aussehen und Gefühl ist mir sehr wichtig. Ich möchte sichergehen, dass das Material professionell aussieht und nicht z.B. voller Cartoons oder handgezeichneter Bilder ist. Am ersten Tag, wenn unsere Mitarbeiter in die Trainingseinheit gehen und das Material zum ersten Mal abholen, möchte ich, dass sie beeindruckt sind. Der erste Eindruck ist wichtig.

Ebenso möchte ich wissen, was sie am Ende des Trainings bekommen werden. Werden sie ein ganzes Folienpaket, PDF-Dokumente mit Notizen und Fotos von Flipcharts erhalten? Sie wissen, was ich meine. Was auch immer es ist, ich möchte das im Voraus wissen. Muster sind also immer eine gute Idee.

Benötigen Sie Informationen über die Anbieter im Angebot?

Generell nicht, ich mache gerne meine Hausaufgaben, bevor jemand mit mir zur Angebotsphase kommt. Ich möchte mich einigermaßen sicher fühlen, dass der Anbieter dem Job gewachsen ist, egal um welchen Job es sich handelt. Bevor ich also um ein Angebot bitte, habe ich selbst ein wenig recherchiert und das schließt Referenzen von den vorhergehenden Kunden und solche Dinge mit ein. So etwas sollte vor einem Angebot gehandhabt werden, nicht während oder nach dem Prozess.

Wie viele Angebote sehen Sie sich für eine Sitzung an?

Im Allgemeinen will ich 2 oder 3. Mehr, und ich verschwende meine Zeit damit, herumzustochern und mache dann eigentlich keine gute Arbeit dabei, die guten Angebote überhaupt herauszufiltern. Es gibt Zeiten, in denen ich genau weiß, wonach ich suche, und dann reicht wahrscheinlich ein Anbieter schon aus. Sicher, für mich als internen Trainingsanbieter ist es wichtig, mehrere Anbieter zu haben. Aber wenn es Kurse gibt, bei denen wir nur einen bestimmten Anbieter verwenden, habe ich damit kein Problem.

Welche Angebote frustrieren Sie?

Ich denke, die Sache, die mich mehr als alles andere frustriert, ist, wenn man das Gefühl hat, dass man gerade das Gleiche bekommt, was sie an alle schicken. Es macht mich verrückt! Warum habe ich 2 Stunden damit verbracht, meine Situation zu erklären und bekomme trotzdem ein allgemeines Angebot zugeschickt? Das gibt mir das Gefühl, dass ich meine Zeit verschwendet habe. Ich habe nie die Absicht und werde wahrscheinlich nie (oder sehr selten) ein Produkt von der Stange kaufen.

Und da ist noch eine Sache. Angebote, die keinerlei Erwähnung über das beabsichtigte Ergebnis erhalten und das, was wir eigentlich erreichen wollen. Ich würde sagen, das sind die beiden frustrierendsten Dinge.

 


 

Wer ist der geheime Manager für Lernen & Entwicklung?

Der geheime L&E Manager ist in Wirklichkeit eine Vielzahl von L&E Managern.  Es sind echte Menschen, die es vorziehen würden, ihren Namen oder ihr Unternehmen nicht zu erwähnen – aber anonym schreiben wollen, damit sie ihre Ideen und Erfahrungen offen und direkt mit Kollegen teilen können.

Neun Wege mehr zu lernen… effektiv, angenehm und einfach!

Möchten Sie etwas effektiver, angenehmer und einfacher lernen? Dann merken Sie sich jeden einzelnen Buchstaben des Satzes im Dreieck und verinnerlichen die folgenden 9 Wege, genau das zu tun:

1. I Can – glaube es oder glaube es nicht!

Wie Henry Ford einmal sagte: “Ob Sie glauben, dass Sie etwas tun können oder ob Sie glauben, dass Sie es nicht können, Sie haben Recht!” Entscheiden Sie sich dafür, an sich selbst zu glauben – Ihr Potenzial ist unendlich und Ihr Bestes steht noch vor Ihnen!

2. Creativity – sie ist unendlich groß – lassen Sie ihr freien Lauf!

Wir sind kreativ geboren! Auch wenn wir unsere Kreativität noch lange nicht genutzt haben, so wartet sie doch darauf, entfesselt zu werden! Wie der Blechmann im Zauberer von Oz, braucht sie vielleicht einen Tropfen Öl! Machen Sie heute etwas ganz Neues oder etwas Altes auf eine ganz neue Art und Weise. Ihre kreative Fähigkeit ist unendlich. Beobachten Sie spielende Kinder und Sie werden unendliche Kreativität in vollem Gange sehen! Lassen Sie sich von ihnen inspirieren!

3. Attention/Mindfulness – Lernen Sie zu fokussieren und zu entspannen.

Lernen Sie, Ihre Aufmerksamkeit dort hin zu lenken, wo sie am meisten gebraucht wird und auf das, was im gegenwärtigen Moment wirklich wichtig ist. Während unsere Gesellschaft immer schneller und schneller wird, besteht die Tendenz darin, einen Geist zu entwickeln, der immer “rast” und anfällig für Ablenkung ist. Wir müssen lernen, unseren Geist zu entspannen. Lernen Sie Meditation, Entspannung, Yoga, Achtsamkeit, Tai Chi oder ähnliche Formen der Bewegung, die Ihren Geist beruhigen und Ihre Aufmerksamkeit verbessern.

4. Newness – Ihr Gehirn liebt Neues!

Als Sie zum ersten Mal diesen Planeten erblickten, war alles neu und in den ersten Jahren haben Sie gelernt zu gehen, zu reden, zu erkennen, zu essen und vieles mehr! In Zeiten großer Veränderungen lernen wir viel! Denken Sie also daran, wenn wir uns dem Wandel widersetzen, widersetzen wir uns auch dem Lernen! Also reisen Sie in eine ganz andere Kultur, lernen Sie etwas, von dem Sie dachten, dass Sie es nicht lernen könnten und probiere Sie ständig neue Wege aus, um alte Dinge zu tun. Wenn es nicht funktioniert, was soll’s, lernen Sie daraus und versuchen Sie stattdessen etwas anderes!

5. Learning Growth – Streben Sie kontinuierlich danach, die Art und Weise, wie Sie lernen, zu verbessern.

Vor dem Lernen sollten Sie sich ein Ziel setzen – das Wer, Was, Wann, Wo, Warum, Wie von dem, was Sie lernen möchten. Fragen Sie sich selbst – woher weiß ich, dass ich es gelernt habe – wie wollen  Sie sich selbst testen? Verschaffen Sie sich einen Überblick darüber, was gelernt werden muss. Benutzen Sie die linke und rechte Hälfte Ihres Gehirns – die logische und die kreative. Verwenden Sie zum Beispiel Farbe, Wörter, Bilder, Struktur, Bewegung, Rhythmus, Aufregung, Humor. Machen Sie es vor allem zu einem angenehmen Erlebnis! Nachdem Sie Ihr Lernziel erreicht haben, fragen Sie sich – was hat funktioniert und was könnte beim nächsten Mal besser gemacht werden?

6. Exercise – Den Körper trainieren

Recent research in Japan showed that people who exercise three times a week for half an hour have mental abilities 30% greater than those who don’t. It really stands to reason – do you think you learn more effectively if you physically exercise regularly? Test it and see – take time to exercise. The exercise can be gentle like walking, swimming, cycling or whatever type of exercise you like.

Neuere Untersuchungen in Japan haben gezeigt, dass Menschen, die dreimal pro Woche eine halbe Stunde lang Sport machen, sind geistig 30% leistungsfähiger als diejenigen, die dies nicht tun. Denken Sie, dass Sie effektiver lernen, wenn Sie regelmäßig körperlich trainieren? Testen Sie es und sehen Sie selbst – nehmen Sie sich Zeit für den Sport. Das Training kann so einfach sein, wie z.B. Gehen, Schwimmen, Radfahren oder jede andere Art von Übung, die Sie mögen.

7. Age – Den Geist trainieren

Egal wie viel Sie von Ihrem Gehirnpotenzial bisher genutzt haben, es gibt immer mehr zu nutzen – Sie habenn mindestens 100 Milliarden Gehirnzellen. Der Grund, warum wir glauben, dass sich ‘geistige Fähigkeiten mit dem Alter verschlechtern’, liegt darin, dass die meisten Menschen es glauben! Es gab auch eine Zeit, in der wir alle dachten, die Welt sei flach! Wir lagen alle falsch! Beginnen Sie daran zu glauben, dass Ihre mentalen Fähigkeiten mit dem Alter steigen können…. trainiere sie. Use it or lose it.

8. Reinforce – Beobachten Sie was funktioniert: Das Gesetz der Verstärkung

Jedes Verhalten, das bekräftigt wird, wird sich in der Regel wiederholen – also beobachten Sie weiter, was funktioniert und feiern Sie es! Stärken Sie weiterhin die Dinge im Leben von denen Sie mehr haben möchten. Denken Sie an alles, was funktioniert, und fragen Sie dich dann – wie kann ich den Rest verbessern?

9. Never give up learning to learn – Lernen Sie das Lernen: Hören Sie nicht damit auf.

Lernen ist Wachstum. Wachstum ist Lernen. Hören Sie nie auf zu lernen, zu erforschen. Ihre Leinwand wartet auf Ihr kreatives Meisterwerk. Geben Sie Das Lernen nie auf! Geben Sie das Erlernen des Lernens nie auf!

Nun, wenn Sie so weit gelesen haben, Gratulation. Wie Einstein einmal sagte: “Die wahre Kraft des Wissens liegt in seiner Anwendung”. Entscheide Sie sich, mindestens eine Handlung zu ergreifen, nachdem Sie diesen Artikel gelesen haben, und lernen Sie mehr…. effektiv, angenehm und einfach! Lasst uns wissen, wie es voran geht!

Über den Autor

Sean ist ein führender Experte dafür, wie Sie mehr von Ihrem unendlichen, geistigen Potenzial nutzen können. Er trainiert und coacht Organisationen und Einzelpersonen weltweit, um dieses unerschlossene unendliche geistige Potenzial zu erschließen. Mit über 25 Jahren Erfahrung in der Trainingsbranche hat Sean Schulungen für viele Unternehmen und Organisationen weltweit durchgeführt. Sie erfahren mehr über ihn unter: www.MindTraining.biz

5 Fragen, die Sie unbedingt stellen müssen, wenn Sie ein virtuelles Trainingsprogramm einrichten

Immer mehr unserer Kunden setzen auf die virtuelle Durchführung von Schulungen. Viele streben nach einer globalen Trainingslösung, bei der jeder Zugang zu der gleichen hohen Qualität der Ausbildung hat, unabhängig davon, wo sie sich befinden. Andere müssen die Reisekosten senken. Einige bewegen sich in Richtung mundgerechtes Lernen und bieten Training in kleineren Einheiten an. Dieses wachsende Interesse hat dazu geführt, dass wir bei Target Training häufig eine beratende Funktion bei Kunden übernehmen, die wenig oder gar keine Erfahrung im virtuellen Training haben. Nachfolgend finden Sie einige der Schlüsselfragen, die wir unseren Kunden nahegelegt haben, sich selbst zu stellen.

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F1. Wie viel Erfahrung haben Ihre Teilnehmer im Umgang mit virtuellen Plattformen?

Es ist wichtig, die virtuelle Plattform, die Sie für die Durchführung von Schulungen verwenden, mit den Erlebnis- und Komfortzonen Ihrer Mitarbeiter abzustimmen. Wie vertraut sind die Teilnehmer des virtuellen Trainings mit der virtuellen Kommunikation im Allgemeinen?  Was können sie bereits tun? Und welche Systeme nutzen sie regelmäßig für z.B. virtuelle Meetings? Einige Teilnehmer nutzen täglich Videokonferenz-Tools für ihre regelmäßigen Check-Ins mit ihren virtuellen Kollegen. In einer solchen Umgebung sollten Sie ihre Fähigkeiten nutzen und Schulungen auf einer umfangreichen virtuellen Plattform mit vielfältigen und nützlichen Funktionalitäten durchführen. Webex Training Center und Adobe Connect sind gute Beispiele.

Wenn Ihre Mitarbeiter jedoch völlig neu in dieser Art von Arbeit und neu auf diesen Plattformen sind, dann machen Sie sich keine Sorgen. Geben Sie nicht viel Geld für eine hochwertige virtuelle Trainingsplattform aus, wenn die Benutzer die Tools nicht nutzen können.  Es gibt eine Menge einfacher, aber effektiver Plattformen, die für Ihre Mitarbeiter funktionieren könnten, und ihre Einfachheit bedeutet, dass es leichter ist damit zu arbeiten und es daher öfter genutzt wird. Erwägen Sie daher Skype für Unternehmen, Polycom oder BlueJeans.

Target Tipp – Wählen Sie eine virtuelle Trainingsplattform aus, die der Erlebnis- und Komfortzone Ihrer Mitarbeiter entspricht.

Q2. Was ist der kleinste gemeinsame Nenner, wenn es um Ihre technische Infrastruktur geht?

Viele unserer Kunden sind auf der Suche nach globalen Trainingslösungen für ihre Mitarbeiter auf der ganzen Welt – jeder sollte von dem gleichen Training profitieren können.  Wenn jedoch in bestimmten Teilen der Welt die verfügbare Bandbreite sehr langsam ist, Kameras deaktiviert sind, Soundkarten nicht Standard sind usw., wird dies unweigerlich Probleme verursachen und das Training negativ beeinflussen. Entweder wird diese Person echte Schwierigkeiten haben, voll am Training teilzunehmen, und/oder es wird zu Verzögerungen für alle anderen kommen.

Sie haben 2 Möglichkeiten – entweder arbeiten Sie mit dem kleinsten gemeinsamen Nenner, wenn es um Ihre technische Infrastruktur geht, und passen Sie dann die Ausbildung an dieses Niveau an ODER entscheiden Sie sich dafür, die Trainingsgruppe nach technischen Fähigkeiten aufzuteilen.

Target Tipp – Respektieren und passen Sie sich dem kleinsten gemeinsamen Nenner an, wenn es um Ihre technische Infrastruktur geht.

F3. Wie viel Erfahrung haben Ihre Mitarbeiter mit virtuellem Training?

Wenn Sie einen virtuellen Trainingsansatz für Menschen einrichten wollen, die bisher wenig oder gar keine Erfahrung mit dem Erhalt von virtuellem Training hatten, müssen Sie rechtzeitig planen, um ihnen beizubringen, wie sie das Beste aus der virtuellen Trainingsumgebung machen können.  Ihr Trainingsanbieter sollte dies für Sie tun können. Ein Teil dieser Zeit wird damit verbracht, die Teilnehmer in der Anwendung der Technologie zu schulen UND Sie müssen Ihren Teilnehmern auch helfen, mehr darüber zu erfahren, wie virtuelles Training anders aussehen und sich anders anfühlen kann. Der Vergleich mit einem klassischen Präsenzseminar wird nicht helfen.

Wenn Sie sich das virtuelle Training für Ihre virtuellen Teams ansehen, dann können Sie hier 2 Fliegen mit einer Klappe schlagen – as Team wird seine virtuellen Kommunikationsfähigkeiten entwickeln und gleichzeitig ihr Team stärken!

Target tip – Investieren Sie ein wenig Zeit in das Training der Personen. Damit diese sich in einer virtuellen Trainingsumgebung zurechtfinden und sich weiterentwickeln. Dies kann Teil der ersten Sitzung oder eine separate Veranstaltung sein.

F4. Wie viele Personen planen Sie zu den einzelnen virtuellen Trainingseinheit einzuladen?

Wenn es um klassische Präsenzseminare geht, sind sich die meisten Menschen bewusst, dass, wenn Sie das Training interaktiv und relevant für jeden Einzelnen halten wollen, Sie die Gruppengröße begrenzen müssen.  Gruppen von 10- 14 Personen sind üblich.

Beim virtuellen Training gehen viele Kunden davon aus, dass viel größere Gruppen möglich sind.  Meistens ist dies auf die Verwechslung von E-Learning und Webinaren mit virtuellem Training zurückzuführen.  Die maximale Anzahl von Personen, die wir zu einer virtuellen Trainingseinheit einladen möchten, wird von zwei Faktoren beeinflusst:

  1. Die Anzahl der Personen ist in einigen Fällen durch die Bandbreite begrenzt, die Ihnen und den Teilnehmern zur Verfügung steht. (siehe F2)
  2. Zweitens hängt es davon ab, wie einfach Sie die Gruppe leiten und das Training interaktiv und relevant für die einzelnen Teilnehmer halten können. Wir empfehlen dringend kleinere Gruppen – sechs ist die magische Zahl.  Größere Gruppen von bis zu 16 Personen können funktionieren, wenn Sie einen “Produzenten” zur Unterstützung des Trainers einsetzen. Der Produzent hilft dem Trainer, die Funktionalitäten und Werkzeuge innerhalb der Plattform zu managen und die Interaktion und Fragen im Auge zu behalten.  Sie werden auch dann eingreifen, wenn die Technologie Probleme verursacht.

Target Tipp  – Halten Sie die Trainingsgruppen kleiner, als Sie es normalerweise bei einem Präsenztraining tun würden.  Investieren Sie in einen Produzenten, wenn Sie größere Gruppen wünschen, da es so günstiger ist, als Sitzungen zweimal durchzuführen.

F5. Was tun wir vor oder nach dem virtuellen Training, um das Lernen zu fördern und den Transfer zu unserem Arbeitsplatz voranzutreiben?

Think about how you can make this a more enriched learning environment, and how you can help your staff apply what they learn to their workplace.  An example of pre- and/or post-training could be using your in-house learning management system. Maybe a “flipped classroom” work where a lot of the learning is inputted before the virtual training itself (meaning the virtual training session focuses on application)?  How about individual accountability calls with the trainer after the training? Or on-the-job coaching delivered virtually as in our Presenting in a virtual environment training?

Denken Sie darüber nach, wie Sie das Training zu einer bereicherten Lernerfahrung machen können und wie Sie Ihren Mitarbeitern helfen können, das Gelernte auf ihren Arbeitsplatz anzuwenden.  Ein Beispiel für Pre- und/oder Post-Training könnte die Verwendung Ihres internen Learning Management Systems sein. Vielleicht ein “umgedrehter Unterricht” (flipped classroom), in dem ein Großteil des Lernens vor dem virtuellen Training selbst behandelt wird (d.h. die virtuelle Trainingseinheit konzentriert sich nur auf die Anwendung)?  Wie sieht es mit individuellen Verantwortlichkeitsgesprächen mit dem Trainer nach dem Training aus? Oder on-the-job Coaching, dass virtuell durchgeführt wird, wie in unserem Training Präsentieren in einem virtuellen Umfeld?

Target Tipp – Positionieren Sie das virtuelle Training als Teil einer Lernreise. Unterstützen Sie Führungskräfte und Mitarbeiter dabei, die Rolle zu verstehen, die sie bei der Maximierung der Rendite der Trainingsinvestitionen spielen. Dieses eBook kann Ihnen helfen.

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Wenn Sie mehr über virtuelles Training erfahren möchten, kontaktieren Sie uns einfach. Wir helfen Ihnen gerne weiter.

Konflikte lösen – die 3 Fragen in die Praxis umsetzen

Konflikt ist ein unvermeidlicher Teil jeder Beziehung. In einem kürzlich veröffentlichten Beitrag habe ich 3 Fragen geteilt, die man sich in einer Konfliktsituation stellen sollte. Ich weiß, dass das Leben nicht so linear ist wie ein Blogbeitrag und “3 Fragen” allzu einfach erscheinen können.  Also, möchte ich Ihnen anhand eines persönlichen Beispiels in diesem Beitrag mitteilen, wie die Fragen in der realen Welt aussehen.

The big (free) eBook of negotiations language

Der Hintergrund & die Situation

Ich arbeite als Konfliktmediator für eine große EU-Institution und wurde kürzlich gebeten, in ein afrikanisches Land zu reisen. Ich wurde gebeten, zwischen einer Regierungsstelle auf der einen Seite und einer großen Gruppe von Einzelpersonen aus einer sehr armen Gemeinschaft auf der anderen Seite zu vermitteln. Ich war den ganzen Weg aus Luxemburg gereist und als ich ankam, habe ich ein Treffen mit allen Einzelpersonen dieser lokalen Gemeinschaft vereinbart. Ich wollte herausfinden, was vor sich ging, worum es bei dem Konflikt ging und viel mehr über die Geschichte hinter diesem Konflikt, die Interessen der Menschen usw. erfahren. Mit anderen Worten, ich wollte das F1 herausfinden. Was war eigentlich genau in diesem Moment los?

Es war Dienstagmorgen, ich war weit gereist und ziemlich müde.  Ich war es nicht gerade gewohnt, in einem solchen Gebiet zu leben oder gar zu sein – Slums wäre das Wort, das viele Menschen aus dem Westen benutzen würden – Polizei- und Armeekontrollpunkte mit Maschinengewehren, die in meine Richtung zeigen, in einem heißen Taxi sitzen und Bestechungsgelder aushändigen. Zusammen machten mich all diese Dinge nervös. Ich war definitiv auf unbekanntem Terrain und etwas angespannt…. und es war NIEMAND beim Meeting. Nun gut, es waren zwei Leute da, aber ich hatte hundert plus erwartet! Meine Gedanken waren: “Kommt schon, Ihr wart diejenigen, die diesen GROSSEN Konflikt von mir und meiner Organisation gelöst haben wolltet. Ihr sagtet, Ihr wünscht Euch eine Lösung, also sind wir gekommen, und jetzt seid Ihr nicht einmal hier! Wenn diese Lethargie typisch für diese Gemeinschaft ist, konnte ich ja kaum überrascht sein von dem destruktiven Verhalten der lokalen Behörden!

Ich fing an, mich zu ärgern, wütend zu werden, und ich konnte spüren, wie der Frust wuchs. Also atmete ich bewusst tief durch, versuchte, meinen Kopf frei zu bekommen und stellte mir zwei Fragen – F1 Was war los? und F2 Wie fühlte ich mich?

Sich selbst zu verstehen ist die Grundlage für die Lösung von Konflikten

Das erste, was mir in den Sinn kam, war: “Wenn ich nach Europa zurückkehre und wir überhaupt keine Fortschritte gemacht haben, um zu versuchen, diesen Konflikt zu lösen, wird mein Ruf und möglicherweise meine Karriere in Gefahr sein.”  Mit anderen Worten, ich erlebte Angst. Die zweite Sache, die mir durch den Kopf ging, ist: “Ich bin ziemlich wütend. Ich habe Zeit damit verbracht, hierher zu kommen, und Ihr seid nicht einmal hier! Was für ein Respekt oder Mangel an Respekt ist das?

Ich dachte, dass ich die erste und zweite Frage beantwortet hatte, wusste aber, dass etwas fehlte. Was habe ich wirklich davon gehalten? Nun, in diesem Moment hatte ich Angst um meine persönliche Karriere UND ich dachte, ich wäre wütend, weil ich das Gefühl hatte, dass die Einheimischen mich und meine Bemühungen nicht respektierten. Ich stellte mir die Frage noch einmal und versuchte,  genauer in mich hinein zuhören. Wütend war, wie ich mich verhielt, aber als ich die Dinge mehr durchdachte, wurde mir klar, dass die eigentliche Emotion für mich in dieser Situation eher wie eine Enttäuschung war. Ich wollte helfen und hatte mehr erwartet.

ABER, haben mir die obigen Überlegungen und Emotionen wirklich ein Bild davon vermittelt, worum es in diesem kleinen “Meeting-Konflikt” ging? Nein, hat es nicht!

Die Bedeutung von Kultur in Konflikten

Ich schaute mir noch einmal an, was vor sich ging…. Eine Sitzung wurde einberufen. Die Leute kamen zu spät, aber andererseits ist es Afrika! Sie liefen nach “afrikanischer Zeit” und ich nach “europäischer Zeit”.  Es war also weder persönlich noch ein Zeichen oder eine Ablehnung der Mediation. Wir kamen nur aus zwei verschiedenen Kulturen, mit unterschiedlichen Erwartungen an Zeit und Pünktlichkeit. Was das Risiko meiner Karriere betrifft: Nun, das ist ein systemisches Risiko. Es ist immer da, aber hat nichts mit dem vorliegenden Pünktlichkeitskonflikt zu tun. Ich hatte 2 von 100 Leuten für ein Meeting da. Das war ein Konflikt, denn zwei von 100 waren nicht in der Lage, mir ein brauchbares und vollständiges Bild des Konflikts zu vermitteln, noch konnten sie als Vertreter der lokalen Gemeinschaft angesehen werden, die für die Wirksamkeit der Mediation erforderlich war. Dieser Konflikt war jedoch keineswegs mit einem systemischen Risiko zu Hause verbunden. Was das mögliche Verhalten der lokalen Behörden betrifft, so stand das auch nicht im Zusammenhang mit dem Konflikt, der gerade jetzt stattfindet. Das war die Norm.

Mein Gehirn begann wieder zu funktionieren …

Managen Sie Ihre 3 Gehirne, damit sie zusammenarbeiten

Einfach ausgedrückt, ist unser Gehirn in drei Teile geteilt, den Neokortex (der reflektierende und analytische Teil und auch der neueste Teil), das Limbische System (der emotionale Teil, der durch unsere Emotionen erfahren wird) und den Hirnstamm (manchmal auch der Reptilienteil genannt, der den Kampf- oder Fluchtinstinkt steuert). Indem ich mich zwinge, mir die beiden Fragen zu stellen und sie mir erneut zu stellen (Was geht eigentlich vor sich, genau in diesem Moment?, und wie fühlst du dich in diesem Moment?), hatte ich mich selbst “de-eskaliert”. Ich hatte meinem sich abmühenden Gehirn geholfen, als Ganzes zu arbeiten und nicht in den unteren Gehirnteilen stecken zu bleiben. Ich konnte mich beruhigen, damit ich mich effektiv in das Meeting einbringen konnte… als es endlich begann.

Übrigens sind die Leute tatsächlich aufgetaucht. Nach eineinhalb Stunden!

Nun stellte sich noch die letzte Frage… Wie sollte ich den Konflikt lösen?

Für weitere Informationen

Target Training bietet seit 15 Jahren eine Reihe von konfliktbezogenen Trainingslösungen an. Dazu gehören “Umgang mit kritischen Konfliktsituationen” und “Konfliktmanagement in virtuellen Teams“. Wir bieten auch Einzel- und Teamcoaching-Lösungen an.


Über den Autor

Preben ist ein professioneller Mediator und Konfliktmanager. Sein Schwerpunkt liegt auf menschlichen Interaktionen, wie Management und Führung, interkulturelle Beziehungen und zwischenmenschliche Kommunikation. Bis vor kurzem war er ein willkommener Teil von Target Training und arbeitet heute für eine große europäische Institution. In seinem Privatleben liebt er Karate, Wandern und Klettern.

The Secret L&D manager: 4 questions for screening potential training providers

This month’s Secret L&D manager is German, and works for a global telecommunications organization. He’s been working in training and development for over 20 years for a variety of organizations including automotive, financial services and higher education. He’s lived in multiple countries and is interested in balancing classic approaches with virtual learning and MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses). We asked him, What questions do you ask potential training providers when they first approach you?

This eBook is also available in German – follow the link below.

eBook: The definitive checklist for qualifying training providers

I get contacted by training providers on a regular basis, and to be honest how much time I give them depends a lot on what else is going on.  However I’m always interested in new ideas which I think can add value to our associates here and do try to make time to ask questions and learn.  I tend to get straight into things and want to take control of the conversation. I’ll ask questions like …

Tell me the two or three topics that you as a training provider are specialized in?

I’m not interested in working with training providers who say they can do everything. So what are the 2 or 3 things that you are good at? I want details. I want to see experience and innovative ideas. I want them to be able to talk me through activities and the “why” behind the activity.

If I feel they know about training and are not trying to promise the earth, my second question needs to be about their trainers. Knowing more about who their trainers are is hugely important to me and I need to know they’ll fit my training population. I ask something like ….

Who are your trainers? How do you find them? How do you select them? What is their background?

I was a trainer myself, and still do some internal training.  I know the impact and potential of the training is realized (or limited by) by the person in the room – by the trainer.  I want specifics and real examples from a potential training provider. I’m not interested in general broad-brush descriptions. I want to know who they would use to deliver a specific solution and to know why that person, what’s their experience, style etc.

I’d then ask …

Why do you think you’re different from all the other trainers and training providers that offer similar things?

Seriously, explain to me why what’s special or different about what you’re proposing? Otherwise, why should I change?  If they stop and think about the answer, that’s fine. If they babble, then I’m not interested. For me a training provider needs to know themselves why they are different or special.

My last question would be something like …

Before we spend any more time on this can you explain your pricing model?

I want to know what they charge for a one-day, off-the-shelf training program. The kind of thing that’s really a commodity product.  I want to know pricing for a customization and preparation, and I want to know if travel and expenses are included or not.

I want to find an example. I’ll pick something simple, so I know if their rates are competitive and if this actually makes sense to me and our situation. If you deliver a standard 2-day presentation skills training for me, what will the cost be for 10 people? And if it’s much more expensive than what I already have, or if I have no real reason to believe that they will be genuinely considerably better than my current solution, then that’s time saved for both sides. I also want a clear answer here.

I think these are my top four questions. These are pretty much what I need as a basis.  If I’m interested, then I’d like to meet them in person and see where we go from there.

Who is the Secret L&D manager?

The Secret L&D manager is actually many L&D managers.  They are real people who would prefer not to mention their name or company – but do want to write anonymously so they can openly and directly share their ideas and experience with peers. Also from the Secret L&D manager:

 

 

Making sure managers understand the importance of their role in developing our staff

This month’s Secret L&D manager is Australian, based in Germany and works for an American corporation which produces machine vision systems and software.  He has worked in training and development for over 18 years – as an L&D manager, an in-house trainer and as an external training provider.

New Call-to-actionWhat are your challenges as an L&D manager?

One of the things that’s burning at the moment is helping the managers I work with see the role they play in developing people.  This is not a question of lack of willingness on their side – just a lack of awareness of the role they can and should play. For example, most of the time if they know that Dieter needs to improve his presentation skills, they send him on one of the 2-day presentation courses we run. When Dieter gets back, they expect that they can tick a box and say, “Well, Dieter can present now.” This is a start, but it isn’t good enough. It is not enough for them to assume that the training department or the training provider is going to solve everything alone. I need to help them see their role in developing their staff’s skills.

How do you see the manager’s role in developing their staff?

If we look at the 70-20-10 model, just 10% of the change will come from the training itself. 20% is when Dieter is learning from his colleagues, sharing ideas and giving each other tips and feedback. BUT, the other 70% will come from just getting up there and doing it (best of course, if supplemented with feedback and guidance where required). If the manager wants somebody to get better at a skill, they need to make sure there is plenty of opportunity for that person to actually use that skill, give them support and guidance and let them use what they are learning. This is clearly in the manager’s hands.  I want our managers to be realistic in their expectations and see the role that they play in the developmental process. We work together.

How do you see your role in this?

I have a number of roles. I work to identify current and future training needs. I then organize practical training with training providers who are going to deliver what we need and challenge the participants to really improve.  I also need to help our managers understand their role in developing our staff and encourage them to see training as a collaborative effort between them, the employee, us in L&D, and the training providers.  And of course, the person getting the training needs to take some responsibility and ownership for their own development – and I can offer advice and support here too, both before and after the “formal” training. Our experts need to be present in the training and they need to actively look to use what they have learned and practiced after the training too. And again, this is where their manager plays an important role.

Who is the secret L&D manager?

The “secret L&D manager” is actually a group of L&D managers. They are real people who would prefer not to mention their name or company – but do want to write anonymously so they can openly and directly share their ideas and experience with peers.

You can meet more of our secret L&D managers here …

And if you’d like to share your thoughts and experiences without sharing your name or company then please get in touch.

Are language tests really the best way to assess your employees business English skills?

When a department manager asks us to “test their employee’s business English” there are typically 2 reasons – they want to know if somebody is suitable for a specific job, or they are looking for evidence that somebody has improved their business English. In both cases we fully understand the need for the information – and we often find ourselves challenging the idea of a “test”. HR & L&D, line managers, business English providers, teachers and participants are all familiar with the idea of tests – we’ve all been doing them since we started school – but as a business tool they have clear limits. 

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Are language tests really the best fit for purpose when it comes to corporate English training?

At the heart of these limits is the question “does the test really reflect the purpose?”.  These limits were highlighted in a recent newspaper article “Difficulty of NHS language test ‘worsens nurse crisis’”. The article focuses on the shortage of nurses applying for work in the UK, and behind this shortage are 2 factors: firstly the inevitable (and avoidable) uncertainty created by Brexit, and secondly that qualified and university-educated nurses who are native English speakers from countries such as Australia and New Zealand are failing to pass the English language test the NHS uses. One of the nurses said:“After being schooled here in Australia my whole life, passing high school with very good scores, including English, then passing university and graduate studies with no issues in English writing – now to ‘fail’ IELTS [the English language test] is baffling.”

To be clear there is nothing wrong with the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) per se. It is one of the most robust English language tests available, and is a multi-purpose tool used for work, study and migration. The test has four elements: speaking, listening, reading and writing.  My question is “Is this really the best way to assess whether a nurse can do her job effectively in English?”

Design assessment approaches to be as close to your business reality as possible

We all want nurses who can speak, listen, read and write in the language of the country they are working in – but is a general off-the-shelf solution really the best way?  What does a nurse need to write?  Reports, notes, requests – yes …essays – no.  Yet that is what was being “tested”. One nurse with 11 years experience in mental health, intensive care, paediatrics, surgical procedures and orthopaedics commented: “The essay test was to discuss whether TV was good or bad for children. They’re looking for how you structure the essay … I wrote essays all the time when I was doing my bachelor of nursing. I didn’t think I’d have to do another one. I don’t even know why I failed.”

Jumping from nursing to our corporate clients, our InCorporate Trainers work in-house, training business English skills with managers in such diverse fields as software development, automotive manufacturing, oil and gas, logistics, purchasing etc etc . All these managers need to speak, read, write and listen and they need to do these within specific business-critical contexts such as meetings, negotiations, presentations, emails, reports etc. So how do we assess their skills? The key is in designing assessment approaches which are as close to their business reality as possible.

Using business specific can-do statements to assess what people can do in their jobs

The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) is a scale indicating language competency. It offers an excellent start for all business English programs. BUT the CEFR does have 2 major drawbacks when it comes to business English:

  • The CEFR is not specifically focussed on business-related communication
  • The CEFR levels are broad, impacting their suitability for assessing the progress of professionals with limited training availability

In 2010, and in response to our client’s demand for a business-related focus, we developed a robust set of can-do statements. These statements focus on  specific business skills such as meetings, networking and socializing, presenting, working on the phone and in tele- and web-conferences. Rather than assessing a software developers writing skills by asking them to write an essay on whether TV is good or bad for kids we ask them to share actual samples – emails, functional specifications, bug reports etc.  They don’t lose time from the workplace and it allows us to look at what they can already do within a work context. The Business Can-do statements then provide a basis for assessing their overall skills.

This “work sample” approach can also be used when looking to measure the impact of training. Before and after examples of emails help a manager see what they are getting for their training investment and, in cooperation with works councils, many of our InCorporate Trainers use a portfolio approach where clients keep samples of what they are learning AND how this has transferred to their workplace.  This practical and easily understandable approach is highly appreciated by busy department heads.

To wrap up, I understand that the NHS relying on a reputable off-the-shelf solution like IELTS has clear attractions. However, if you are looking at assessing at a department level then consider other options.  And if you’d like support with that then contact us.

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How great training clients maximize the impact of their training budget

A common question I am asked in client meetings is ‘What makes a “great” training provider?’ and then of course I’m asked to show that we are one. There are a lot of factors involved in being a great training provider, from having the right trainers, to providing relevant training (that is easily transferred to the workplace), and from having the right processes right down to the flexibility and adaptability of the program, based on the changing business needs of the participants. In part, our greatness is achieved because of great clients and we are very lucky to have many of those across Europe ranging in size and spanning numerous industries. Like great training providers share common characteristics, so do great training clients. Below are are three of them.

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1. Great training clients really get the importance of buy-in on multiple levels

Training, whether it be Business English, soft skill or leadership programs, is most successful when there is buy-in across the board. HR and L&D are important, but it is the buy-in from operational and line managers that makes a real difference. Managers at all levels and team leaders all have a role to play. The managers of our “great clients” share the “why?” behind the training. They look to link it to strategy and decisions, and show that they are personally expecting commitment and engagement. This buy-in keeps the participants focused and aware of why they are training on certain topics.  This management buy-in also supports the work of HR and L&D, energizing their efforts and challenging them to challenge us when it comes to questions such as training design, transfer to the workplace, and continual improvements. So, if you have multiple levels of management, HR and participant buy-in, you will definitely see results tied to your company goals and get a lot more out of your training investment.

2. Great training clients give feedback when things are great and when things could be better

When we put our heart and soul into delivering training, we love hearing that we are doing a great job. Even when the training doesn’t fully meet the client’s expectations, we want to hear about it. Our best clients understand that we value what they have to say and tell us openly, on a regular basis. The more consistent clients are with feedback, the easier it is to address any issues that may arise. Being clear about communication needs, proactively collaborating on training goals, content and methods, and sharing the background to decisions work to build robust relationships creates a lot of trust and understanding that leads to productive, long-term and fun partnerships. Win-Win is remarkably easy when both sides genuinely care about the other.

3. Great training clients are open to new ideas and approaches

It is great when a client knows what they want. It can make our job as a training provider that much easier – after all you know your staff, your corporate culture and what works well.  AND, we also value the chance to apply our years and years of experience when the situation presents itself. Our best clients know that they can trust our expertise and, after exploring the whys and hows, are willing to give it a chance.  We understand we have to earn that trust, but need a chance to do so.  So, know what you want as a customer, challenge what your suppliers may suggest at times but also be open to new ideas as you may be pleasantly surprised what your supplier can do.

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How we built the Business English can-do statements: An interview with Chris Slattery

How good is your business English? B1? C2? These terms didn’t mean much to most of us ten years ago or so, but today the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) is an international standard for describing language ability. It is used around the world to describe learners’ language skills. The 20 years of research the Council of Europe put into designing and rolling out the CEFR  was undoubtedly worthwhile: we now have a robust basis for a common understanding of what language levels mean. However, the CEFR is not business English specific – it was was designed for general education purposes. It doesn’t directly connect to day-to-day business communication scenarios. It doesn’t directly meet the language training needs facing businesses and corporations today, nor does it directly address common business communication scenarios.

In 2010, Target Training worked with the worlds largest courier company, Deutsche Post DHL, and another language training provider (Marcus Evans Linguarama) to close this gap. The outcome was a detailed set of can-do statements usable by employees, their managers and training providers alike. Chris Slattery lead the project at Target Training, and I asked him a few questions about this project.

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What made you want to get involved in this project?

Chris: We had been working closely with the Corporate Language School at DP DHL for over 5 years, and they were keen to begin measuring their training investment. A major part of this was being able to measure learning progress. They had tried to use an off-the-shelf solution but it wasn’t working, and the CEFR was too abstract to use in a business environment. We’d been working closely together trying to make things work – and when it was clear that the tools just weren’t strong enough they asked us if we could build a business specific tool which was founded in the CEFR levels. We asked that if we were going to be the “developer” another provider be involved as a “tester” to ensure the end product was robust and practical. This is how Lingurama became involved, and this 3-way collaboration strengthened the project.

The CEFR isn’t designed to recognize gaps in performance at work. Our Business English can-do statements mean that managers can identify where they would like to see an improvement in performance, and we then know how to get them there.

Chris Slattery

How did you decide what a successful solution would look like?

Chris: Quite simply, success was a tool that managers and participants could easily use when analyzing needs, setting goals and evaluating progress. We needed something that reflected the specific business skills managers are looking to improve. This meant we had to adapt what was in the CEFR and re-couch it in terms that were relevant for the business world. For example to move from academic and linguistic terms to practical business communication needs.

Can you give an example of a scenario?

Chris: Sure. Take someone who has had English at school and then worked in the States as an au pair for two years. They speak good English with a Boston accent. When they joined DP DHL they had the opportunity to join our InCorporate Trainer program. Whenever somebody new joins the training Target Training needs to assess their English skills.  This lady got placed at CEFR B2, which shows a good degree of competency … but she had never worked in a company before joining DP DHL -and now she needed to go and deliver a presentation in English. How well was she going to be able to do that?

Her general CEFR level is B2, but in her ability to give effective status presentations in English, she might be as low as A2. This discrepancy is huge. The CEFR isn’t designed to recognize gaps in performance at work. The Business English can-do statements mean that these managers can identify where they would like to see an improvement in performance, and we then know how to get them there.

We needed something that reflected the specific business skills managers are looking to improve. This meant we had to adapt what was in the CEFR and re-couch it in terms that were relevant for the business world. For example to move from academic and linguistic terms to practical business communication needs.

Chris Slattery

The full CEFR document is 273 pages long. Where did you start?

Chris: We started by studying the CEFR document in real depth, and understanding how it was built and why certain can-do statements are phrased in specific ways.  At the same time we also agreed with the client which business fields made the most impact on their day-today communication – skills like “presentations”, “networking”, “negotiating” etc . We then reread the CEFR handbook and identified which can-do statements could be directly transferable to business communication scenarios. Then we broke these business fields down into language skills, and used the can-dos in the CEFR document which best fitted these language skills. Our golden rule was that the can-dos had to be within the context of specific business skills AND easily understood by a department manager with no knowledge of language training.

Can you give me an example?

Chris:  Sure. These two statements contributed to one of the can-dos related to participating in meetings at a B1 level:

  1. Sociolinguistic appropriateness at CEFR B: Is aware of the salient politeness conventions and acts appropriately.
  2. Grammar at CEFR B1: Uses reasonably accurately a repertoire of frequently used “routines” and patterns (usually associated with more predictable situations).

Our Business English can-do statement for B1 Meetings: I can directly ask a participant to clarify what they have just said and obtain more detailed information in an appropriate manner.

How long did the whole process take?

Chris:  It took five months to write, test, rewrite, test and rewrite again. We then needed to repeat the process with a German language version too. At the end we blind-tested it with the client, and were delighted with their feedback.  The roll-out took a few months. Today, internally, it’s still an ongoing project. As new trainers join the company, they need to learn how to use the tool to its full potential.

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The Business English Can-Do Statements toolbox also has a short FAQ and 4 ideas on how you can use them. If you’d like to know more, please contact us, or read more about the CEFR framework on our website.

The importance of staff training

We’re a training company. We meet with corporate clients and we ask them questions to find out their situation. They ask us questions too. If they like us, we send in an offer with a training concept. The answers to the questions (from both sides) are often similar. Our clients need training because it will help them succeed. Which makes the company succeed. Here are some of those questions, this time answered by two of Target’s key people, Chris Slattery (Managing Director) and Scott Levey (Operations Manager). 

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How important is training when it comes to staff?

SL: Training is as important to us as it is to every company. (Ironically though, trainers in the industry just don’t get enough training themselves, and there tends to be very little done on an incidental basis.) By nature, trainers in this industry often work independently and at best get development opportunities by accident. Our policy is to attract and hire the best trainers and, through training, help them to stay sharp. When we hire, we look specifically for evidence of continual improvement so we know we are working with people who are open to development and learning.

CS: The phrase ‘never buy hair restorer from a bald salesman’ springs to mind. We are obliged to take training seriously for any number of reasons but, most importantly, when training makes our staff stronger, we move up a notch as a company. Our challenge is to make sure that we promote internal training to ensure that the company as a whole benefits from external measures taken by individuals.

What makes training effective?

SL: Skill or job based, the training has to be relevant. The training from which we have had the most positive feedback has been our in-house “Boot Camp”.  This is where we explore the skills an InCorporate Trainer needs in order to be successful when delivering in-house training. New trainers generally have low expectations coming onto the course (‘training for training’s sake’ being a classic attitude) but the feedback has been consistently strong and participants report that they have been pushed, been developed and gained confidence during the week.  Not only that, their line managers have reported a clear difference, as have the end client.

CS: And be ready to be actively involved in supporting whatever training you go for.  Your support, or lack of, makes so much difference.

Is intercultural training still relevant?

CS: Intercultural training introduces the concept of dilemmas which every society is confronted with.

For example:

  1. Do we/they see events as individual and isolated or do we approach them within the context of a larger picture?
  2. How do we/they balance the rights of the individual against the interests of a wider society?

How a society deals with these dilemmas is the essence of that society’s culture. I would suggest that the intercultural aspect is everything… and nothing. “Nothing” in the sense that the theoretical study of regional differences (e.g. be sure to wear white socks on a first date in Ballybunnion), while possibly of some passing interest, is not necessarily conducive to effective communication. “Everything” in the sense that communication – which is our business – is founded on shared understanding. Beyond a rudimentary level of language proficiency, working out what is meant becomes more important than the words that are used and what is actually said.

Why is language training still so important in the business world today?

SL: Communication is extremely important in all areas, and people just don’t think about it often enough on an day to day level. We don’t always listen well; we are not always understood in the way we want to be understood and in a way that gets results. And this is in our native language. International business communication in a language you don’t really know is difficult – you know what you need but you don’t know how to say it exactly. Successful communication revolves around people setting aside time to reflect on how they communicate and how they can make it more effective. Language training is a tool that supports this. So people can do a great job in English.

How do you organize your training budget effectively?

SL: We talk to staff about their current skills and their needs for the future. This is an ongoing conversation. It’s also vital that our managers carve out time to think about their own needs; skills; and the future situation of the client and the team they manage. And we know that it is not always feasible to solve a current problem by throwing training at it: training often takes too long to solve an immediate concern.

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What our clients learned the easy way

Long gone are the days when Business English training consisted of weekly lessons with a native English speaker, discussing what you did over the weekend. (Hooray!) In 2017 A.D, companies are paying more and more attention to the effectiveness of their Business English training programs. HR departments look for a training solution that delivers business results, based on the needs of the employees. A solution that ties in with the organization’s strategic goals. We are proud to have almost 25 years experience in this field. From concept to implementation to measuring results, we’ve learned a thousand lessons along the way, and so have our clients. In an effort to help you find the right solution for your department or company, we asked our clients what they realized three months after investing in results-oriented training that they hadn’t realized before. With some added links and examples from me, here are the three things we heard most often:



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Set concrete training goals

The most successful training happens when the participants have specific goals. A good needs analysis as well as input from managers help set these. Look for tangible business results, this will help you set your short- and long term goals. And, the more specific the goal, the better. For example: ‘Improving emails in English’ is a good start but ‘Handling billing requests from Indian colleagues via email’ is better.

The effectiveness of on-the-job training

People learn 70% by doing, and only 10% through structured training. Allowing the training to be job-focused, and on an “as and when needed” basis produces learning that sticks. A training solution that integrates on-the-job support is highly effective. And, on-the-job training is extremely flexible. For example: It can be used for email coaching, telephone conference/meeting shadowing and feedback, presentation practice and feedback, etc. It allows the trainer to learn first-hand how participants use English at work.

The importance of OTJ – a brief interjection: On-the-job support makes the training useful because it directly targets the training needs of the participant. Our on-the-job training and shadowing solutions are at the heart of the Target Training cycle and a core element of our InCorporate Trainer programs.

Forget about language levels and test scores

These results can’t be translated into how someone has transferred their knowledge to the workplace. If performance in English has improved, the training is successful. Measuring knowledge and language (CEF) levels can be useful as an indicator but it isn’t very practical, nor is it always realistic in a corporate training program. For example: It can take 700 hours of training or more for an A1 (beginner) to reach a B1 (intermediate) level. This type of time investment isn’t possible for most working professionals, nor is it (always) in alignment with the organizational goals.

Final interjection: A chain of evidence is created with Kirkpatrick evaluation model, showing how much training contributes directly towards business goals..

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You can always ask us your questions how to implement a successful business English training program. We’re quite good at it, ask anyone… Or start here:

 

Is Blended Learning the right solution for you?

Considering the implementation of a Blended Learning (BL) program brings with it a set of questions and decisions that need to be made. Blended Learning has a huge number of benefits. We know through experience that it personalizes learning, it reduces training costs, it offers flexibility- to name a few. But where there are advantages, there are usually some disadvantages too. When technology is involved, people need to know how to use it effectively, and there are set up and maintenance costs involved – to name a few. When we help our clients set up a BL program, or when we train trainers on this topic, we advise them to plan and evaluate the outcome of the BL solution. The below questions will help you get started.




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Visualize the big picture

If you think that Blended Learning is the right solution for you, great.

  • What successes are you looking for by implementing a BL program?
  • What are the benefits and challenges of implementing a BL program?

Find the perfect blend

There are face to face (seminars, 1-1 training, classes) and online elements (webinars, virtual classrooms, community learning) to consider. Chances are you won’t be using all of them. There’s no need. But you’re looking for the perfect blend, so you need to know which elements there are to choose from and how each of them are of benefit to you. If you don’t have access to an expert to ask, Wikipedia is always a good place to start.

  • Which components of available BL solutions are in your toolbox?
  • What are the benefits and challenges of these components?
  • How easily can these components be implemented?
  • How are you going to link content between the components?

Engage participants

Not everyone will jump at the chance of exploring a new online system, not even if the learning benefits are obvious. It’s possible that not everyone needs to engage with all the BL components that are available, or to different extents. If you’ve dealt with change in the workplace, you know it already, buy-in is necessary if you want your BL program to hit the ground runnning.

  • What does participant engagement look like?
  • How can you maximize participant engagement?
  • Which participants should use which components?

Train the trainer

The trainer is key to any successful training solution. You need their buy-in too. Their engagement with the training shouldn’t end when you move to the online component. And if your trainer is expected to deliver some of the online components, your success depends on their ability to utilize the tools available to them. Most trainers are keen to try out new things and will happily engage. Nevertheless, there is often a learning curve for the trainer.

  • What is the trainer’s level of engagement with each of the components?
  • Which skills does the trainer need to make the program successful?
  • How can we close gaps in knowledge?
  • How will we get trainer buy-in?

Measure success

  • What behaviours have changed at work as a result of the BL program?
  • How do training objectives relate to business objectives?
  • How do we measure success?
  • What do participants need to be successful?

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Practical advice on implementing the 70-20-10 model

The 70-20-10 model has been around for a few years already. It reflects the increasing awareness that people learn not just through “traditional” training. Research shows that we actually acquire most of the knowledge, skills and behaviours we need to perform our jobs through actual experience and working alongside others. The 70-20-10 model has its origins in the work of McCall, Eichinger and Lombardo from the Centre for Creative Leadership.

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Their book, “The Career Architect” (1996), is based on empirical research and concluded that successful managers learned in 3 different ways:

  • 70 percent of learning comes from real life on-the-job experiences, performing tasks and problem solving
  • 20 percent of learning comes from feedback, working with and observing role models
  • 10 percent from “traditional” training

Initially focussing on management and leadership development, this conclusion has since been extended to other types of professional learning and development. Today the 70-20-10 model is being used by Learning & Development departments in a wide-range of multinationals operating across a broad range of businesses. (e.g. PriceWaterhouseCoopers, Nike, Dell, Goldman Sachs, Maersk, L’Oréal, and Caterpillar)

Why implement the 70-20-10 model

Whether you are a learning & development specialist, a line manager, a trainer or training provider, or an employee, you should take time to reconsider and refocus your efforts. By doing this you can:

  • shift the focus and expectations towards more efficient and effective types of learning and development
  • ensure that time and money invested in learning and development makes a greater impact
  • support your business by keeping people in the workplace while they are learning

The model has an attractive simplicity, although the exact ratios are contended. As a trainer and manager of a training company I think it’s important to see the model as a philosophy and not a rigid recipe.  The key is understanding and accepting that the majority of learning actually happens outside of the classroom, and that any learning and development program should take this into account and proactively support this.  It doesn’t mean that traditional training is no longer relevant in the 21st century, but rather that this traditional training is just a part of learning and development strategies.

“Almost without exception, in my experience, organisations that have adopted 70-20-10 have achieved greater impact on performance at organisational and individual level at lower cost than was being achieved beforehand.”

Charles Jennings

How to implement the 70-20-10 model

The 70-20-10 model has proven to positively impact organisations in enhancing learning and development programs. Based on what we’ve seen our clients do, and what we’ve tried ourselves, here are some concrete and practical ways to begin implementing the 70-20-10 model in your organization.

Raise awareness and build commitment through conversation 

Everyone involved needs to be brought on board with the idea that learning and development is not just about going on a course.  My own experience as a manager is that it is relatively easy to get people to see 70-20-10 as “common sense”. These conversations are essential as the 70-20-10 model depends on L&D working closely with line managers, and on line managers communicating with their staff. Managers need to be aware of the pivotal hands-on role they play in developing their staff, and employees need to appreciate the context for new decisions.

Implementing the 70-20-10 model is not a cost-cutting exercise – replacing “training” by a loose learning-by-doing approach. It’s actually a quality driven initiative, aiming to make sure that the company is developing to meet future challenges.

Scott Levey

If, like Target Training, you’re a medium sized company, these conversations are reasonably manageable. If, like many of our clients, you’re part of a larger organization then start small. Find a business unit where managers are comfortable and confident wearing the “developing people” hat. Speaking with our clients, many of whom are multinationals, the general consensus has been that introducing the 70-20-10 model step by step has proved to be the most effective approach. By connecting with managers who have a genuine interest in developing their teams and the employees within them, the model organically spreads to other areas.

Enable experiential learning

This is key when we consider that 70% of learning comes from “doing”. Giving employees the opportunity to learn through challenging yet achievable experiences is one the most powerful and practical tools in a manager’s toolbox. Experiential learning can come through new roles and equally occur within existing roles. Three approaches we’ve seen clients benefit from are:

  • extending the scope of responsibility and control
  • enabling and increasing decision-making power
  • expecting staff to build new relationships (e.g. other business units, senior managers, virtual teams , suppliers, partners, clients…)

 

Be prepared to accept a compromise between optimal efficiency and developmental opportunities

You can expect to see specific requests upwards, where an employee is keen to get involved in a challenging project specifically to build their skills. Naturally they won’t be as effective or efficient as somebody who can already perform this role – so look at it as a learning and development initiative rather than just a question of resources.

Engage with internal and external trainers and training providers early on

Discuss how to connect the dots between on-the-job, social and formal learning. The goal is to identify critical skills and behaviours and then look at building and reinforcing these using all options.

Coaching and mentoring

These are great ways of integrating social learning into a traditional program. Although the two terms are often used interchangeably, and both draw on a similar skill set I’d argue there are differences. For me mentoring is deliberately connecting an experienced person (the mentor) with a less experienced one (the mentee). The mentor could be a colleague, a manager, or the line manager. The mentor then tutors, shares experiences, models, counsels and offers feedback.  Coaching does not necessarily imply directly related experience, tends to be less directive, and is aimed at improving performance in specific areas.  Regardless of how you define them, both approaches have a lot to offer.

When it comes to traditional training the key is early and explicit management involvement

The single most powerful step a manager can take is to clearly explain to their staff  why the training is relevant to the business and that there are clear expectations. This simple step drives motivation, participation and transfer. This transfer is crucial and I’d suggest that any traditional formal training has to integrate a transfer plan. In this simple document the employees are challenged to consider how they will actually transfer the learning into their workplace, when they’ll do this, who else needs to be involved and how will they know when they have achieved this.

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What makes a great trainer?

We recently had the opportunity to ask a selection of managers what they think are the qualities of a great trainer. At the end of the session, they were pretty much in agreement. Their collated answers are summarized below.

Variety and flexibility

Have a wide range of activities to use flexibly in different training situations. These activities should accommodate different learning styles. The trainer also needs to vary the training approaches and the interaction patterns in the training room. They need to know how to make sure participants get the most from the training.
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Creative and innovative

The more personalized and interactive the activities are, the more immediately transferable the results will be. A great trainer will feel the reward of delivering something that really adds value for the participants. Great trainers are passionate about what they do. They will want to experiment with new ideas and activities, each time reflecting on its success and development.

Know the audience

It’s not always possible to know every participant in advance. But a great trainer will have done the research. They’ll know about, for example, what the client does, what their challenges are, and how they expect the training will help them reach their goals.

Embrace change

With new training trends, new technologies, and the ongoing cycle of change in business, the trainer’s ability to adapt will make him/her/the training more effective. Great trainers drive change. They introduce new techniques and elements to the training – a blended learning or virtual learning element for example.

Focus on results

Great trainers work with the end in mind. Every activity should consider the goals of the participants and learning progress is measured. The trainer looks for immediate results (reaction to the session) and long-term results (behaviour on the job).

Approachable

Having a genuine, active interest in people is just one of the qualities of a great trainer. The trainer’s ability in building relationships is a major part in ensuring an effective outcome for all stakeholders.

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We offer a number of train the trainer programs in English and German. Not all the information is currently on our website. Here’s a good place to start.

TED talks on motivation and leadership

This week’s post was meant to be about customer service skills. Once I had my initial ideas on virtual paper, I started searching online resources. Very quickly and inevitably I ended up on TED.com and almost an hour later, I was still watching videos, no longer anything to do with customer service. My post was about what customer service professionals can do to stay motivated, with an array of some not so nice customers contacting them. It was inspired by one of my not so very motivated participants. He said: I don’t care if they’re nice or not. I don’t care if they think I’m nice or not. I still get paid for taking the call. Being motivated to do a good job has very little to do with having ‘nice’ customers – ultimately. That was one of the points of my post. Perhaps I will finish the post, it was an interesting training session. This post is instead about everyday leadership, feeling good and staying motivated.
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What makes us feel good about our work

Behavioral economist Dan Ariely starts his TED talk ‘What makes us feel good about our work‘ with a mountain climbing example. “…If you read books of people who climb mountains, difficult mountains, do you think that those books are full of moments of joy and happiness? No, they are full of misery. In fact, it’s all about frostbite and having difficulty walking, and difficulty breathing — cold, challenging circumstances. And if people were just trying to be happy, the moment they would get to the top, they would say, “This was a terrible mistake. I’ll never do it again.”

Everyday leadership

This very personal TED talk from Drew Dudley is easily transferable to a business context. ‘Everyday leadership‘ starts with a clear message. “…I’ve come to realize that we have made leadership into something bigger than us; something beyond us. We’ve made it about changing the world. We’ve taken this title of “leader” and treat it as something that one day we’re going to deserve. But to give it to ourselves right now means a level of arrogance or cockiness that we’re not comfortable with. And I worry sometimes that we spend so much time celebrating amazing things that hardly anybody can do, that we’ve convinced ourselves those are the only things worth celebrating. We start to devalue the things we can do every day. We take moments where we truly are a leader and we don’t let ourselves take credit for it, or feel good about it.”

The happy secret to better work

Shawn Achor’s very funny talk ‘The happy secret to better work‘ is definitely worth watching. “… One of the first things we teach people in economics, statistics, business and psychology courses is how, in a statistically valid way, do we eliminate the weirdos. How do we eliminate the outliers so we can find the line of best fit? Which is fantastic if I’m trying to find out how many Advil the average person should be taking — two. But if I’m interested in your potential, or for happiness or productivity or energy or creativity, we’re creating the cult of the average with science. If I asked a question like, “How fast can a child learn how to read in a classroom?” scientists change the answer to “How fast does the average child learn how to read in that classroom?” and we tailor the class towards the average. If you fall below the average, then psychologists get thrilled, because that means you’re depressed or have a disorder, or hopefully both.”

 

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Not bored of videos yet? This playlist contains 7 talks on loving what you do. Also recommended, here are a few customer service posts from our blog. Our new and very much improved Boost your Business English blog is online.

8 questions about experiential training answered

Have you ever tried teaching a child a new skill? Take learning to swim as an example. You could give a detailed description of the process and then expect them to remember and follow your instructions, or you could let them get on with it, learn in their own way. Learning in their own way will certainly result in some frustrations, but through this experience of trial and error they are more likely to remember for themselves the best way to get to the result.

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We think that experiencing real situations and learning from what you experience is key to all learning. And so, clearly, do a lot of big thinkers before us. Benjamin Franklin said “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn”. Long before him, Aristotle said “For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them”.

James Culver

What is experiential training?

Experiential learning is the process of learning through experience – and more specifically the process of “learning through reflecting on what you’re doing / just did”. It’s been around for a very long time.

Why is experiential training so powerful in management and soft skills solutions?

The gentlemen I mentioned above were onto something. These observations still ring true today, especially when we want people to learn behaviors to apply in the workplace. Learning by doing is great for children, but as adults in the workplace we can really add the additional aspect of reflecting on how our behaviors affect outcomes. This is the experiential advantage.

How can experiential training help you retain information and embed behaviors?

Dr. Igor Kokcharov’s did some research into this and came up with this pretty useful pyramid. If you take a look at it, you can see how learning by doing with coach led reflection and practice gives participants the best chance to retain necessary information.

 pyramidexplearning

 

Who’s using the experiential training approach?

A lot of adult learning approaches in a broad range of fields from corporate to military, and from emergency services to care work, make use of this experiential advantage. Business schools use the approach with simulation exercises, and critical incident gaming can be found in government agencies and board rooms alike. At Target Training, our experience is that experiential training can do much more. It can increase awareness of behaviors, particularly those with negative consequences. It else has the power to challenge current approaches in a developmental, non-judgmental way.  If experiential training is established, we can focus on the individual’s needs and deliver tangible change. This fits perfectly when developing soft and management skills.

What does experiential training look like in the training environment?

Put very, very simply, experiential training = do + debrief + do it again.  You might be thinking that sounds pretty boring – why go to training to do the same thing a couple of times over? Think about the result you’re looking for though. You’re going to training not to learn a bunch of theory, but to be able to go back to your workplace and do something differently. Experiential training is all about working in the real world.  Whether in a well-designed activity or on-the job, you behave the way you do. After observing you in action, the trainer/coach leads you through a consequence-based conversation, talking you through the behaviors he or she observed. They also link what they have seen with alternatives to help improve the outcome. You develop new skills and can then apply them to a new experience. You learn to recognize “triggering events” in your work environment and can choose to use the new behavior in training – and beyond.

How does it work?

Here are some of the elements which are key to successful experiential training:

Training environment

By creating a positive, encouraging environment in the training room. This help you to act as you normally do and feel comfortable with trying out new skills. The more you can share the behavior-consequence based feedback the trainer gives you, the easier it will be to identify and close any behavior gaps.

Debriefing

The debriefing stage is key. New information necessary to support new behaviors is introduced here.

Varied interaction and activities

Challenging, timed group and pair work problem solving activities to raise the stress level so participants communicate as themselves.

What can I expect from my trainer?

The trainer’s role is not to present you with lots of information. They act more as a coach and are responsible for creating a developmental, experiment-friendly environment in the training room.

What do I need to do to make experiential training a success?

Be open. To be effective, experiential soft skills training requires you to fully participate in experiences, as well as being willing to reflect and identify behavior gaps with others. None of us would feel comfortable about learning to swim through guided discussion or a PowerPoint presentation. Experiential soft skills training puts you in the deep water of communication situations. This allows you to see a need for new behaviors that will lead to better consequences on the job. You practice these behaviors through experiences in a safe, leaner-centered environment. And will then feel ready to dive back into your working environment to try out these new behaviors.

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We work with the 70-20-10 model. My colleagues and I are available to tell you more about how we can implement the right training for your needs. To help you find a training provider, please download our eBook THE DEFINITIVE CHECKLIST FOR QUALIFYING TRAINING PROVIDERS.