It’s Never Too Soon: Webinar Q&A

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“It’s Never Too Soon: Webinar Q&A”

By: Meredith Masse

In our more recent webinar “It’s Never Too Soon: Creating a Measurable Leadership Development Program for Emerging Leaders” participants asked great questions that we thought more could benefit from. Here are a few of the best questions they asked with our response. We’d love your comments below, too.

I work with leaders who still ask, “Why do we even need development? How do I build the case for the skeptics?”

Ever hear the phrase “What got you here won’t get you there?” This is especially true for new managers. What got them promoted was likely an ability to do their “technical” job well for which in some cases they went to school or earned certifications that took years. For example:

“You’re our top engineer, so  we’ve decided to promote you to Manager to teach everyone else on your team how to be a great engineer! Never mind that you went to school for 5-6 years to get your degree and studied for a year to receive your PE designation. *BLRRRIIING* As I wave my magic wand, we expect that overnight you’re just going to have the skills to be a great manager.”

Over simplification? Maybe. But you’re probably laughing right now because you’ve seen this happen so many times.

To be a successful first-time manager requires a major transition and a completely different skillset for which many people are not adequately prepared. Organizations, on average, don’t invest in their leaders until the age of 42, or at least 10 years after they have been promoted. That is 10 years of learning bad behaviors. With intentional leadership development, support new managers in creating effective habits that will actually add to, not detract from bottom-line results.

You might also mention:

Is it worth the investment to equip managers, especially first-time managers, to lead your best employees most effectively? The cost of losing them alone speaks for itself.

We are still doing full day classes as our go-to training model. What’s wrong with that? The evaluations at the end are almost always positive with participants saying they liked it.

Let me ask you this. How much do you remember from the last 8-hour training you attended? If you’re like most who have been forced to drink through the fire hose during all-day (or longer) trainings, within 24 hours you likely had forgotten 80% of what was covered unless it was reinforced over time. The feedback forms at the end are still viable for checking that a facilitator or program is impacting participants immediately. If, however, your goal is an actual return on the development investment in the form of leaders with better behaviors that drive positive business results, a one-and-done training will never get them there. Without reinforcement over time, the content from that 8-hour training will never stick permanently.

Our people don’t have time to be away from their desks for a day or two at a time. What do we do then?

This is the same song we hear from all our clients at ICC. We understand and have worked over the past 2-3 years understanding what our clients need: a careful development balancing act that doesn’t pull managers away from their day jobs for long periods at a time yet equips them with better leadership habits that drive company success. A tall order indeed.

Our answer: implementing the 4 Rs of Modern Learning.

  • Redesign: no more 8-hour or longer training days from which participants take little away much less implement. Sessions are much shorter, focusing on one important topic or skill and uses the best combination of what works from learning and development technology without losing the human element of working with a live expert facilitator.
  • Reinforce: over time, activities are delivered that reinforce the learning, encouraging learning participants to actually try and apply new skills on the job. This is where the rubber meets the road.
  • Realign: working with a live facilitator/coach, participants can debrief what they are trying, how it’s going, what’s working and what’s not working. An expert, live facilitator helps them course correct along the way so they practice and practice well the new skills they are developing. No more leaving participants to their own devices and potentially creating new bad habits along the way.
  • Reinforce: yes again, with the manager’s involvement. See the engagement question below for more.

We don’t do day-long training any more. We do all on-demand e-learning. Thoughts?

No one method by itself is the one and only answer. E-learning has its challenges. While it’s great for a very specific skill (how to plug in a widget when a technician is in the field, for example), effective people skills must be practiced and perfected over time. E-learning along will never create great managers and leaders. Even e-learning participants will forget 30% of what they’ve learned* if e-learning is the only method used for development.

We have trouble getting people’s full attention. How to we make them engage so they learn something that they can apply in their day job?

There’s a saying I’m going to butcher but it goes something like: What gets measured gets done. Want learning participants to fully engage? Hold them accountable to fully participating and implementing new skills on the job, then measure their progress as they make improvements. The key to doing exactly this in any learning and development program is their manager. When the manager holds learning participants accountable for practicing new skills and supports participants in measuring their progress in building those skills, you will see a higher level of engagement that, simply put, leads to better leadership habits that produce better business results.

To watch the full webinar for even more information to build the case for development in your organization, click here:

*Source: study by Bersin by Deloitte, 2016.

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