Book Review: ‘The People Formula’ by Jane Sunley
28 Sep

Book Review: ‘The People Formula’ by Jane Sunley

Introduction

In The People Formula, Jane Sunley aims to ‘dramatically improve the performance and profitability of your business’ through the application of 12 steps which address many important business challenges. These steps address issues such as how to get buy-in from the top, driving employee engagement and delivering practical learning and development. The book is not written solely for HR professionals, but should be relevant no matter the size of your organisation, whether you are CEO, HR Director or someone in between.

 

What’s It Like?

What sets The People Formula apart from many of its counterparts is the no-nonsense and down to earth writing style, which at once makes the material more accessible and understandable in terms of how to pragmatically apply the advice in the real world. Each chapter is backed up with short and snappy real-life examples and advocates (“Don’t just take it from me”), with lots of space throughout for the reader to make personal notes and commitments.

 

The book addresses the important ‘why’ and ‘what if’ questions rather than just the ‘what’ and the ‘how’, with focused and relevant statistics (for example, to highlight the importance of digitising social media in HR). There is lots of great advice offered, particularly on highlighting the importance of the employer brand, targeting culture and values and getting internal communications right by keeping it simple and not assuming all messages have been received.

 

Some of the main positives to The People Formula also transfer to the main criticism, which is that it attempts to cover so much ground in the 12 steps. This gives each chapter between eight to fifteen pages of content, so often at the end of a chapter it feels like great tips and advice have been offered, however it doesn’t offer much more depth in knowing how to go forward. The light and easy layout, with ample space for notes and lots of white space between chapters may also give a nod to bulking out the sometimes limited content across more pages.

 

Summary

The People Formula encourages focus on something often forgotten in the business world: the people (in case you hadn’t guessed that from the title!). It avoids the intangible, which is regularly associated with the HR profession. It is recommended for an excellent overview of how to get a myriad of important challenges right, but may leave the reader wanting to refer elsewhere for the nitty gritty.

 

At Right Trax Training, we can help you to get a key element of your people formula right: learning and development! Get in touch to find out more.


Originally posted on trainingzone

The Art of Being (and Staying) Humble
13 Jul

The Art of Being (and Staying) Humble

Let’s just put it out there: none of us are perfect – no matter what you might think!

 

We all have our quirks, idiosyncrasies and downright obvious areas of improvement…and that’s okay because developing is as much about being aware of and working on these areas as it is about leveraging what you are already great at.

 

“The cost of not being humble is extremely expensive.”

– Dale Partridge

 

The problem is that so many people don’t admit to what they need to work on, often for fear of appearing inadequate or unfit for the task. This thinking is damaging; you run the risk of creating stress for yourself or those around you, taking on much more than you can reasonably handle or simply appearing to others as a know-it-all fool! We tend to respect those who are open and honest about what they see as their inadequacies, so get good at being humble.

 

How to be (and stay) humble:

 

  • Become adept at reflecting: Look back on your successes, achievements, challenges, mistakes and failures. What happened? What did you learn? Why did it work or go wrong? What will you do the same or differently next time?
  • Acknowledge your flaws: Whether it’s in how you communicate with others, your outlook and attitude or the way you approach things; give time to consider what could be done in a different and sometimes more effective way. An easy way of doing this can be to step into the shoes of those around you to consider how they see you. What works for them and what drives them up the wall?
  • Be open to feedback: It takes a lot for people to give you feedback, particularly if it’s relating to something that doesn’t work for them. Much of the time, they will have thought about it long and hard before even bringing it up with you. You may not always like how it is packaged or delivered, but you have to accept it as their way of seeing things.
  • Ask for help: One of the best ways to avoid being humble is to isolate yourself to the point of feeling unable to ask for help. No man is an island and no-one can do it all on their own. Asking for help demonstrates strength, not weakness.

 

Summary

  • No-one is perfect
  • We all have areas of improvement
  • We’re often scared of appearing inadequate
  • Become adept at reflecting
  • Acknowledge your flaws
  • Be open to feedback
  • Ask for help

 

At Right Trax Training, we can help you and your people to stay humble, leverage strengths and build on development areas. Get in touch to find out more.

The 70:20:10 Model of Learning: How Do You Measure Up?
11 May

The 70:20:10 Model of Learning: How Do You Measure Up?

702010 management training interpersonal skills workshops

On-the-job, from others or through formal learning; take time to reflect on 70:20:10 and where your development comes from.

 

The 70:20:10 model of learning embraces the idea that:

  • 70% of learning happens on the job,
  • 20% of learning happens from those around us and
  • 10% of learning is done through formal training and education programs.

 

We forget more than we remember!

In 1885 Hermann Ebbinghaus studied the memory and found that within 20 minutes people forget more than 40% of what they learned and within an hour people forget about 56% of what they have learned and from there the ability to recall gets worse. It isn’t that we don’t want to learn, it is simply that our brains just aren’t that great at retaining information that we don’t use or practice in the time immediately after learning it.

 

On-Demand Learning

This weakness in our brains means that one of the best ways to learn is on-demand, right when you can use it and practice it. This is why it is effective to use a model where 70% of the learning is in the moment and hands on. When companies get this right, they see a shift towards greater productivity and a lowering of the cost of and increased return on investment from development.

 

Learning from Others

The 20% of learning from those around us is invaluable (e.g. peers, co-workers, managers, coaching, feedback, mentoring, etc). This isn’t something that an organisation should force, but instead allow to happen naturally with a culture of collaboration and knowledge sharing. When we know that we can rely and fall back on the experience of others, we are more confident and willing to push our boundaries to learn more effectively.

 

The Importance of Formal Learning

Though formal learning accounts for the final 10% of the model, it is still vital and important…but of course it needs to be quality learning with clear objectives and content that achieves them. Key to the formal learning, and most forgotten, is how it links to the 70% and 20% in terms of applying learning on-the-job and working with others to apply, embed and reflect on learning. Whether through management training or initiatives such as interpersonal skills workshops, work out how learning will be embedded on-the-job and through others, as well as in the formal environment.

 

What do you do to develop yourself in these areas:

  • 70% – Learning from experience (trial and error, etc)
  • 20% – Learning from others (feedback, exchange of experiences, etc)
  • 10% – Learning from formal training and development

 

If you would like to hear more on 70:20:10 from Charles Jennings, founder of the 70:20:10 Forum, watch this great video from Fuse Universal.

 

 

At Right Trax Training, we work hard to combine the 70:20:10 model of learning to help your people and your business to grow. Find out more about the management training and interpersonal skills workshops that we offer or get in touch to talk about how we can help.

Top of the Blogs!
20 Apr

Top of the Blogs!

This week, we’re looking back at our top 10 most-viewed blogs…so grab a cuppa and look over some of your favourite articles in one handy little package.

 

It already feels like a while since we relaunched our website back in July last year – where does the time go!? Since then, we’ve been hard at work to keep bringing you a variety of content to whet your developmental-appetite. We hope you enjoy looking back over some of your favourite most-clicked articles!

 

  1. Conflict in the Workplace: don’t avoid it – manage it

Few organisations have a plan for how their people should manage conflict and disagreement, even though these are an almost inevitable part of working life.

 

  1. Are You Developing Your Soft Skills?

Exhibiting attributes such as excellent communication skills, a positive attitude, and the ability to work well as part of a team, are rapidly overtaking the usual suspects such as language skills or computer programming.

 

  1. Performance Management – a proactive partnership, or a positive pain?

It’s often seen as a laborious and unnecessary ‘tick box’ exercise – preceded by lots of last minute scurrying around for evidence – and little else…but if this is the case for you then you’re missing a trick!

 

  1. How to Find Your Mentor and Why You Need One

No matter who you are or how good you think you are, a mentor can be an invaluable asset to your personal and professional success.

 

  1. Why Should We Listen to You?

We often pride ourselves on our strong listening skills, yet we are guilty of demonstrating the complete opposite not only when listening to others, but when we want to be listened to!

 

  1. Teambuilding – make it work for you

Great teambuilding happens when we are able to better understand individual strengths to unlock how the team can be stronger together…but how can you make it happen for you?

 

  1. Flexible Working: The Way We Work is Changing!

With 1 in 3 of the UK workforce quoting flexible working as their top employer attribute, businesses must respond accordingly to attract the best talent.

 

  1. How Good Are Your Listening Skills?

Being a great listener is a valuable skill that we can all work at improving and developing…but how often do you stop to consider just how good your listening skills are?

 

  1. Stress Management – don’t ignore it

Most of us will experience some workplace stress at some point. This is normal; but a disproportionate amount of stress – or an over exaggerated reaction to it – can interfere with productivity, and have a truly detrimental effect on our welfare and the business.

 

  1. Welcome to the new look Right Trax Training!

If you’ve ever considered having a bit of a makeover, either personally, for your home or your business, you’ll understand just how difficult it can be; and it’s no easier when you want to do the same for your company brand and website!

 

Were any of your favourites not in the running? You can find the complete back-catalogue here!

 

Get in touch to find out how we can help put some of these ideas into practice for you and your business.

Have You Asked Yourself These 5 Questions About YOUR Development?
13 Apr

Have You Asked Yourself These 5 Questions About YOUR Development?

employee training and development

We get so swamped in the day-to-day that our own personal development is often the first thing to fall by the wayside. It’s time to ask yourself some tough questions!

 

We all have hopes, dreams and ideas for the future; what we would like to be doing, things we would like to have or places we’d like to be, but how often do we actively develop ourselves towards these goals? Or stop to reflect just how near, far or realistic they are?

 

Ask yourself these questions. They’re written in no particular order and we’d love to hear your thoughts on your favourite or other questions that you ask yourself!

 

  1. How much time do you spend developing yourself?

It sounds brilliantly simple in practice: put aside a set amount of time each week / month for your employee training and development…and it is! However, how many of us actually do this? Then, if we do it, how easy it is to keep nudging it back in our calendar when something else needs to take priority! If you have found yourself in this situation, look at other options for self-development, such as great books to dip into when you can, opportunities to develop on-the-job or simply by asking those around you for feedback. How often do you spend some time half-aimlessly meandering the Internet to seek out new ideas? Or take time-out to reflect on how your week has been?

 

  1. Where do you want to get to?

What are you trying to achieve? This is a big question that too few of us seem to contemplate. Once you know what this is, you can then build your goals and targets against this. You can begin to measure your progress against these goals to see a demonstrable shift in your development and your achievements. Understand that we are each in control of our own development; no-one else is going to do it for you. Be empowered to get yourself to where you want to be rather than over-relying on others.

 

  1. How do you best learn?

We see so many people shoe-horned into other people’s way of thinking or learning, rather than simply tuning in to how we each like to learn in different ways. For some, reading a textbook at bedtime will work wonders, sure, but it’s not for everyone. Similarly, many people are fired up by academic study whereas others will find this an extreme challenge. Try to integrate your preferred ways of learning into your approach: whether that’s getting stuck in, reflecting on your approach or searching for valid arguments and counter-arguments to back up your thinking.

 

  1. What’s really important to you?

Our personal values are the characteristics and qualities that form the rules we live by. When we consider our own development, we often forget about our values, leading to many people feeling the need to develop in a way that goes against the grain for them. It’s important to identify your values so that you can make good decisions, otherwise you will lack the drive and motivation to really develop at all.

 

  1. What can you do today that will scare you?

We loved these ‘12 Uncomfortable Things…’ that we recently shared on social media, and it’s true: how often do we truly push our comfort zone to the point of discomfort or fear? As long as we aren’t pushing ourselves to breaking point, this is where the great stuff (i.e. learning) happens!

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What will you do today to take back control of your development and your future?

Find out more about our employee training and development and get in touch to discuss how we can help to support (not own!) your development.

Are You Sick and Tired of Accidental Managers?
23 Mar

Are You Sick and Tired of Accidental Managers?

British workers rate the standard of their managers as “significantly below” leading countries…so why does the cult of the gifted amateur prevail?

 

We’ve made no secret of the dangers of bad management, or the risks of being promoted into a managerial role…and it seems a lot of us are becoming sick and tired of working for so-called ‘superiors’ who lack the proper skills to do the job.

 

A study by the London School of Economics recently validated this, by surveying 14,000 employees around the world. Their findings suggest that British workers score their managers lower than those in the US, Japan, Germany, Sweden and Canada.

 

So do we really take management as a vital skill that seriously in Britain? Consider the approach for developing new managers in your own organisation: when your managers make that leap, are they encouraged to develop themselves further and are they given the support to do so, or is it assumed that they were good at their job, therefore they need to sink or swim without further training? We fear it’s the latter for all too many.

 

It’s reassuring to see this issue in the spotlight, and it’s not all bad; many larger organisations lead the way with effective onboarding programmes and the introduction of government-subsidised degree apprenticeships in management is a positive change. This is only the tip of the iceberg however; more needs to be done by the majority of organisations and new initiatives such as apprenticeships require testing and will only apply to a small percentage of new managers.

 

If we believe the adage “people leave managers, not companies” then we must continue to drive the issue for increased productivity, effectiveness and engagement.  Managers, new and existing, must understand that it’s the skills they learn and develop from their own professional careers that are the most important; be it on-the-job, from coaching and mentoring or from traditional courses.

 

At Right Trax Training, we can help your ‘accidental managers’ to become confident and effective in their new role. Get in touch to find out more.

How to Find Your Mentor and Why You Need One
04 Nov

How to Find Your Mentor and Why You Need One

No matter who you are or how good you think you are, a mentor can be an invaluable asset to your personal and professional success.

 

What do Google’s Larry Page, Virgin’s Richard Branson and Apple’s Steve Jobs all have in common? They all received guidance from mentors. Yes – even the legendary Apple founder needed a little help, advice and support from time to time.

Belief is so important to mentoring. American author and businessman Zig Ziglar once said, ‘A lot of people have gone much further than they thought they could simply because someone else believed they could.’

Ask any truly successful business person and, if they are honest about it, they will almost certainly admit to having benefited from the advice of a mentor at some point in their career. It’s a big part of why there are so many prosperous family businesses – parents mentor their children to emulate (or even exceed), their own success!

Mentoring is often confused, mainly with coaching. One of the key differences between mentoring and coaching is simple: mentors give advice and suggest solutions.

From this simple fact, it is easy to see why finding the right mentor can often make or break the process. It really is important – so choose wisely.

 

Finding the right mentor

A good mentor is someone who agrees to speak truthfully, but constructively, about weaknesses and problems. A person who will not shy away from discussing emotionally charged issues. The mentor is a critical friend who, more often than not, is of a more senior level to the mentee. They should also be on-hand to listen, ready with considered advice, able to provide the mentee with support and willing to share the benefit of their experience.

One crucial aspect is selecting someone whose skills and experience complement the mentee’s own. It’s essential that the partnership is between two individuals who can also connect with each other on a personal level. So actually liking one another is a good place to start!

Both parties need to appreciate that they are committing for the long-term. Mentoring needs to be available on an ongoing basis, with meetings often arranged at the last minute if the need arises. It’s a very real obligation – so neither party should go in to the process if they aren’t prepared to give their all.

That said, there is an immense amount of mutual benefit to be had – and hopefully some fun times too!

 

We’ve provided some food for thought here, however mentoring is a big topic.

Get in touch with us to talk through it in more detail, or if you need a sounding board or some ideas on how to enter into a mentor / mentee relationship.

Managers Who Manage…How Rare Are They?!
11 Aug

Managers Who Manage…How Rare Are They?!

‘Managers’ – the clue is in the title – but how often do managers fail to carry out the most obvious of things, like giving a difficult message or coaching their people?

It’s a topic that’s close to our hearts; so much so that it’s a constant talking point with our clients. At the most basic level, effective management will be a problem if you haven’t got the right person in place. Therefore, it’s vital to appoint someone into a management role because they exhibit the desired skills and behaviours, not simply because they consistently hit their operational targets.

Managerial excellence comes in all shapes, sizes, and personalities. Whilst individual styles may vary, there are consistent attributes to look for.

Here are some things that the best and worst managers do – if you’d like to emulate or avoid them!

Do:

  • Aim to keep the big picture in mind and know your business well. This ensures that your team and department’s initiatives are aligned with the company strategy.
  • Be consistent in your behaviour – people need certainty. They also should know what to expect and be able to count on you in terms of your behaviour and expectations.
  • Treat employees’ time with the same importance as your own. The best managers earn respect by being every bit as prompt to meetings as they would be with their own superior or a prospective client.
  • Be brave enough to question your own management. Encourage feedback, independent and honest thinking.
  • Earn the trust of those you manage. Be credible and always true to your word. In short, be trustworthy.

Don’t:

  • Let the power go to your head! Power is easy to abuse and the best managers realise that their position is a privilege.
  • Feel threatened by the abilities of your employees. Be secure in your own abilities and work to build a team of talented people whom you can continue to develop.
  • Have favourites. It’s human nature to enjoy working with some people more than others, but it’s unfair and a quick way to lose the respect of your team.
  • Lose your temper. The best decisions are made rationally and logically. Hasty, angry decisions are rarely a good idea.
  • Fuel the conflict. It’s your job to address issues or adjudicate in conflict situations. Management is no place for the faint-hearted!

It’s important to remember that as a manager that you need support too – so make sure you are constantly developing your own skillset and that your team can see this.

Right Trax Training are a learning & development consultancy who are passionate about helping businesses to develop their people to be better at what they do. Get in touch today to find out how we can help your managers to manage!

Are You Developing Your Soft Skills?
15 Jul

Are You Developing Your Soft Skills?

Interpersonal soft skills

Exhibiting attributes such as excellent communication skills, a positive attitude, and the ability to work well as part of a team, are rapidly overtaking the usual suspects such as language skills or computer programming.

 

It seems that the most sought after qualities for today’s top employers are those loosely referred to as the ‘soft skills’, or ‘emotional intelligence’.

Recent reports indicate that many employers do not recruit candidates only for what they may have learned at university, but for qualities like strength of character, determination and resolve. The thought process being that ‘business-specific’ technical knowledge can be acquired if the soft skills and emotional intelligence already exist.

The right stuff…

Do you have what it takes to claim emotional intelligence? Here are some indicators:

  • Trustworthy, loyal, dependable. Businesses value employees they can trust to get the job done. Demonstrate your work ethic by being on time, and reliable. It’s imperative to meet deadlines, show you’re a team player, and prove that you can stay focused whilst at work.
  • Creative, inventive, resourceful. Irrespective of your position, many employers will – on occasion – expect you to make a presentation of some sort. Being able to engage your audience, convey information succinctly, and gain their understanding may be the deal-breaker.
  • Problem solving, critical thinking. Your ability to overcome a challenge in the workplace will serve you well. Demonstrate your capacity to solve problems, and face obstacles at work, in a resourceful fashion.
  • Coaching, leadership, mentoring. You will always be judged a strong candidate if you show willing to help your fellow team members and co-workers. Volunteering to take the lead on a project shows courage and ambition.
  • Cultural fit, compatibility, ethics. It’s important that you reflect the company’s culture.  Prospective employers will be searching for candidates who share their corporate outlook.
  • Flexible, adaptable, focused. Have a ‘can do’ attitude, and understand that targets and tasks may need to be changed at very short notice. If you are able to quickly adapt whilst still remaining focused on the objectives then you are indeed any company’s dream employee!
  • Have an opinion, accept feedback, be open to change. Team members who are confident in their ideas, but also happily give and receive feedback, are key influencers in many workplaces. Be sure that you not only share ideas but give considered answers to any questions, and challenge others’ thoughts respectfully.

 

At Right Trax Training, we specialise in developing your business through your key asset; your people. View our range of interpersonal skills workshops and get in touch to find out how we can help you and your people to develop these important attributes!

 

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Making the Leap from Teammate to Manager
28 Apr

Making the Leap from Teammate to Manager

Making the transition from one of the team to manager of the team can be fraught with pitfalls, but not if you go in with your eyes open.

There is a wealth of information and advice out there for new managers (some of it on our own site!), although it can be harder to find solid guidance for those making the transition into an internal management role.  Whilst there is much crossover, Google returns just 1% of the amount of search results for transitioning managers compared to a search for new managers.  Organisations that provide good support do so in the form of structured development, mentoring and progress reviews, but all too often managers making ‘the leap’ are left to fend for themselves.

First off, understand that the people who were previously your peers will see you differently and they will be waiting for you to make your first move, so consider it carefully.  Don’t make any rash decisions or changes and instead sit down with each of the team individually.  Talk openly about the change that has happened, ask them how the news sits with them and explain that you’re going to need their help to get the team to wherever they need to get to.  Discuss and agree expectations of each other; what do they need from you and vice versa.  Get to know their strengths and consider how these could be leveraged (if they’re not already).

It’s just as important for you to have a natural relationship with the team although you must keep it professional.  Whereas before it might have been fine to get up to all sorts of hijinks on a Friday night, now you need to consider the impact on a Monday morning!  Not having a clear professional divide with the team just muddies the waters when the time comes – and it will come – to making tough decisions or giving difficult feedback.  Have fun with the team and don’t underestimate the value of spending time together outside of work, but always keep in mind that you are their manager and leader.  It’s now down to you to be the role model, otherwise you can expect them to use your inappropriate behaviour as a defence when you come to address theirs.

Try and get a couple of quick wins under your belt to show that you are on the same side and fighting their corner.  As a previous teammate you have a unique insight into what the wants and needs of the team are; what winds them up, frustrates them, drives them crazy?  It might be something as simple as introducing ‘Hump-Day Doughnuts’ on a Wednesday or as complex as making a commitment to change a convoluted process or procedure that ties the team up in knots.

Make sure that as a team, you have a common goal and purpose.  What is your raison d’être; your reason for existing and spending more time together than you each probably do with friends and family?  Get the team involved in identifying this so that you create something you can all commit towards.  Once you know where you’re going as a team, take pit stops to review progress and provide enough development for you and the team to help your vision become a reality.

What are your tips for those transitioning into a management role?  Let us know in the comments below!

At Right Trax Training we can help your new and transitioning managers get to grips with their role. Get in touch to find out how.

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