The Trouble with Training
For six years I was responsible for non-clinical training and development at Spectrum Health. About once a week, my phone would ring: “Dev, my team is broken. They need training. Can you come and fix them?”
Early on my ego took the bait. “Sure, we can do that.” I’d deliver relevant training; the team would have fun, learn some new skills, go back to their jobs and do…nothing different.
Ninety percent of performance issues cannot be solved with training. Training works when there is lack of knowledge or skill. Usually, the team has a good measure of each of these.
More often, the performance issue resulted from poor communication of expectations or inadequate feedback. Sometimes the staff member didn’t have the proper resources (time, tools, authority) to do the job.
Guess who’s responsible for setting expectations, giving feedback, and providing resources? The leader.
While most leaders don’t like to hear this, for mature leadership this is actually good news. 
Good news because the leader has the ability to fix the problem. It’s relatively easy and inexpensive to provide expectations, feedback, and resources. The leader controls these.
It is the leader’s job to help employees understand the mission and how their work fits within that mission. Good leaders work with staff to develop short and medium range SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, results-oriented, and time-bound) goals that are aligned with the organization’s direction. 
Good leaders host regular and frequent feedback sessions for their team. They also meet individually with the people reporting to them. They celebrate what’s working and—without blame—investigate what is not. Good leaders allow the physical, mental, and emotional space for their teams to work.
Next time your team is off track skip the training and instead examine how you can use your role as leader to address the problem.
DEV / ALIGNMENT / FEEDBACK / Jun 20, 2011, 3:05pm / Comments (0)
Lessons from a Clownfish
Late in the 2003 Pixar blockbuster Finding Nemo, the protagonist Nemo—an adolescent clownfish on an epic adventure—becomes trapped in a commercial fisherman’s net. With him are hundreds of other not-terribly-bright fish.  
As the net is pulled to the surface, the panicked fish swim in every direction possible, each terrified and trying to save himself. Their energies are at odds with each other; their motion cancelling that of their neighbor’s. 
In a moment of epiphany, Nemo instructs the fish to swim together—aligning their efforts—towards the ocean floor. The endeavor is successful: the boom breaks, the net spills open, and the fish are saved.  
How do we align effort in our organizations? How do we identify goals and design effective strategies? How do we foster employee engagement around our goals and strategies and execute efficiently and sustainably?
What are the nets that bind you?
DEV / ALIGNMENT / May 5, 2011, 2:50pm / Comments (0)
Ideas worth sharing.


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