Before you say you need training…


Marketing email in my inbox:

email marketing

Oh my, I’m probably the wrong person for them to send this to; I don’t believe in quick training solutions for the problems the ad is describing. What can training really do?

The team is failing…are they missing skills? That can generally be taught. But why all of a sudden? This manager has an urgent issue, so why now? It is more likely that there is something else going on with the failing team and I would wager that the problem is due to a system issue, rather than a skills issue.

What do I mean by systems issue?  I’m talking about the processes and practices, the available resources, and the effectiveness of the leadership that is creating some problem that has now become an emergency. (more…)

My Plan Would Have Worked, if only….

arrow_strategy_400_clr_9440 2What a joy spending time with a young military officer over the holiday. An instructor who teaches the principles of warfighting to young, green lieutenants, he has some interesting stories about developing young leaders. Listening to his insight into “education and learning” it struck me that leadership development concepts are really no different for military or civilian leaders.

Basic officer training is the place that new officers try, fail and learn. Young kids right out of college don’t really like the “fail” part; it’s not a word that has been allowed in their vocabulary. They have spent 16 years of their lives striving to ace exams and earn good grades. Marines are selective, and they wouldn’t be military officers if they hadn’t learned how to be successful in school.

Mock battles are, in essence, simulated learning. The instructors create a realistic scenario, and provide roles, situations, and play the bad guys. The students use concepts learned in class to develop their operational plan, and the student leaders carry out the work of executing the plan. (more…)

Can We Save the World?

cathelpIn the early 80s, I was promoted into an HR executive role. Part of my new responsibility was the Employee Assistance Program (EAP). Our organization was ahead of its time; EAPs were relatively new back then. Ours consisted of a manager and EAP counselors, all employees of the organization. The overhead cost of the function was rolled into HR – my department.

The EAP counselors helped employees when performance indicated there might be a problem; alcohol and drugs seemed to be a common culprit. They made heroic efforts to distance  themselves from the organization, so that confidentiality would not be questioned. The offices were intentionally remote, and those in HR (including myself) knew nothing of the work being done, to ensure confidentiality.

I found myself conflicted. As a business person, I should be able to justify and explain any expense under my responsibility. But whenever I asked questions about the cost of the EAP program as compared to the value it provided, I got a very defensive “if we don’t help these employees they could lose their jobs, or worse” response.  How do you counter that without sounding like a total sleaze? (more…)