Phil on October 24, 2010
A key duty of any leader is to develop the team below them; this can be done in two ways through work experience or through learning. Learning is so important to an organisation today, particularly one that is keen to maintain progress rather than wither on the vine. Yet it is all too often neglected particularly when time becomes available to undertake it as business slows. Prepare during a recession for the good times ahead, for if you don’t those good times will never come. As organisations cut costs one of the easiest things to cut is training and yet in the good times, when people are busy, there is no time to train; that is why effective training or learning rarely happens.
Return on learning to an organisation is all too often ignored and hence the case for training pales into insignificance when compared to the far more tangible return on technical investment. So what does learning give an organisation and its employees?
When people learn they develop and self development is a key component of satisfaction and self fulfilment. Both of which are constructs of personal happiness. Happy people work better and, as attitude is infectious, they help others work better.Happy people don’t seek opportunities elsewhere. They are loyal to their contemporaries and to an organisation even with promises of greater financial remuneration elsewhere. Happy people exploit opportunities and optimise their initiative and potential for the good of an organisation.
Organisations with a learning culture are organisations that believe in their people and they invest in the development of their people to invest in their business. It takes about a years worth of salary to replace an individual in terms of recruitment, knowledge development and organisational understanding according to Price Waterhouse Coopers. Keeping staff happy and loyal is obviously a sound investment. In addition individual learning contributes to an organisation’s continuous improvement and that is essential to fend off competitors. Furthermore strategically individual learning underpins longevity as succession strategies are planned and trained for throughout an organisation’s structure.
UK companies that want to maintain or enhance their business position need to take learning far more seriously. They need to consider it as part of their overall return on investment; because people and knowledge have become an organisation’s principal assets, as technology now gives a shorter lived and more expensive return on investment. The time is right to start taking training seriously if businesses are to empower their people to exploit the post recession opportunities!
Posted in: Leadership, Learning, Motivation
Dave on October 18, 2010
So you have the plan, you have the people and the resources. You decide to implement the plan and it all starts wonderfully well then you hit your first problem. People begin to lose their optimism, some vote with their feet. The problem is overcome and you are on the road to success again. Quickly you become aware that a competitor is a little more advanced and on the same track. Just another problem you need to overcome by increasing speed and in increasing speed you increase pressure on yourself and your team. You overtake and boom. you hit a technological problem that requires a redesign. Some of your staff can’t take the increased pressure and leave.
This scenario is a common one and it often causes undue problems and sometimes project failure because people are stuck in the present. There are two ways to help overcome the lack of drive. The first is maintaining and strengthening the vision as you progress. the next which is as important and often forgotten is to regularly review how far you have come.
The drive to succeed has lieutenants known as the past and the future and the clever leader will optimise both.
Posted in: Motivation
Dave on October 12, 2010
I wonder how much of the lack of business confidence in our economic prospects at present can be put down to the government’s public persona and (for this matter only) its sergeant at arms the media. The Government is feeding us the worst possible case in order to sugar coat the real news on cuts when they come; the media are all for a bit of bad news as good news rarely sells papers. Unfortunately the two combined have a pretty powerful influence over our complete society.
Hope has to come from somewhere lest we drown in our own self pity and depression. When you are swimming at the bottom of a well there is one thing you can do to improve your prospects of survival and that is start climbing and keep on climbing until you get out! It is only true self belief and optimism that will enable you to survive and that is what this country needs now more than ever. Begone you doom and gossip mongers!
Posted in: Leadership, Learning, Motivation
Phil on October 5, 2010
How many times have you feel totally powerless and ineffective as a result of the scale of the problem and the lack of understanding what it is that is required of you. Empowerment can only be effective if boundaries, expectations and a common understanding of the current position are shared between the empowering individual and the person being empowered.
Surprisingly one of the best examples of true empowerment is evident in the UK’s Armed Forces with their mission command, doctrine and shared ethos. Mission command is all about telling someone what you want them to do rather than how to do it. Explaining the outcome required and attributing the correct resources to achieve the expected outcome. It is also about constraints and boundaries. To put it simply it is ‘empowerment within a box’. Such empowerment affords total freedom of manoeuvre within the set area whilst allowing adventure outside the box if the opportunity presents itself, that is providing that the empowerer knows as soon as possible.
Ethos and doctrine in the Armed Forces are developed through training and operations and these are things which are often neglected within Britain’s major businesses. For it is doctrine that gives the common understanding and it is ethos that generates the mutual trust that enables an organisation to meet and exceed the speed of modern life and business. Ethos requires development and if companies are to truly empower their workers and to really engage their people they need to invest far more in it. Selection and training save money and create ethos and facilitate a common doctrine. Ethos enables trust but it is doctrine that gives the commonality to processes that underpins that ethos and enables a company to continually improve.
Posted in: Empowerment