Category Archives: Other

Training Resource – Introducing Effective Delegation

Over the next couple of days, I will be posting a resource that can be used to deliver an introductory training course on effective delegation to new and first-time managers. The resource titled Introducing Effective Delegation will be posted in parts. The resource will have both virtual and face-to-face versions but I will post just the virtual version here.

After I post the whole training resource, files (facilitation guide, participants workbook, and presentation) will be made available for those who want it. The resource will cover these topics:

  • What is delegation?
  • Benefits of delegation
  • Why some managers don’t delegate
  • Structure for effective delegation
  • Demonstrating effective delegation through practice

I look forward to posting part 1 of the resource tomorrow.

My thoughts about creating a learning and development strategy in a book

StrategyYears ago when I was completing a professional HRD qualification, in one of the modules, we explored the importance of having a learning and development strategy that aligned the learning and development function to the priorities of the organisation.

I ended up reading various models and frameworks about creating a learning and development strategy. I also read a whole book on the subject, which if I’m being honest I did not fully understand. But I did come to the conclusion that having a strategy that aligns what the learning and development function does with the strategic priorities of the organisation is important and necessary.

I tried to think of a simple way of understanding and creating what a learning and development strategy is and I summarised my understanding of everything I know about the subject into six questions which I call the ‘Six Strategy Questions‘. These questions are listed below:

The Six Strategy Questions

I have now written a short kindle ebook to crystalize my thoughts around using the six strategy questions to create a learning and development strategy. I wrote the book in a story format to make it more reader-friendly. Creating a learning and development strategy is not the most interesting subject in the world.

Below is the introduction to the book:

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to the first book in the learning and development StoryLearn series. These are short books written as stories about learning and development topics. In this book we meet Larry, a new learning and development manager who has been told to deliver a 10-minute presentation to his organisation’s leadership team about his learning and development plans for the organisation, despite having only been in the job for one week.

Larry is worried because this is his first management job in learning and development and he has only been in the job for a week. He does not think one week is enough time to put a learning and development plan together.

To help him with the situation, Larry contact’s his friend, Brian, for help. Brian suggests that Larry tell the leadership team that he is going to create a learning and development strategy for the organisation. Unfortunately, Larry does not know what a learning and development strategy is, neither does he know how to create one. Brian offers to educate Larry about what a learning and development strategy is and how to create it and this is what the story in the book focuses on.

The aim of this book is to share one way of creating a learning and development strategy (there are other ways to do so) which is easy to understand and implement. I hope that by the end of the book you will have learnt something that will help you create a learning and development strategy.

 

If you are interested in the book, you can get it on Amazon here.

Start before they start

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When should we start training new managers? Good question. Google usually trains managers from 45 to 90 days after they have started in their new roles and there is a good rationale to this. By that time managers know more about what is expected of them in their roles and training at that point will feel more relevant. But I don’t believe you need to wait for 45 days before you start putting your managers through a development programme. In fact you can start training people before they become managers.

Recently, I’ve been working on a programme called Interested in Management at work. It is aimed at staff who are not yet managers and it introduces people to the basics of management covering topics such as:

  • What is management?
  • Who is a manager?
  • What do managers do?
  • Skills for effective managers
  • What is leadership
  • Leadership vs. Management
  • Leadership and management styles
  • Personal development for management

The programme is delivered through two 2.5 hours of virtual-instructor led sessions on Zoom.

Interestingly, a number of people on the course will soon start line managing at least one person so the course did feel useful to them.

What a programme like this can also do is help to identify people who are interested in management and those with management potential. It may also aid succession planning. It doesn’t have to be costly in terms of time or money but it can send out a message that the organisation is serious about leadership and management development.

This week’s focus is Developing New Managers

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This week’s focus is on Developing New Managers. A lot of first-line managers will have stories to tell about how they were dumped into the thick of managing a team without any preparation and the struggles and challenges they had to go through before finding their feet. The good thing is, great managers are made and not born. But it’s still not brilliant being thrown into a role you are not prepared for.

Julio Zhuo who wrote the focus book for this week titled, The Making of a Manager, writes this about her experience of being thrown into the deep end of management with no experience or preparation:

I remember the meeting when my manager asked me to become a manager. It was unexpected, like going for your daily run and tripping over a pirate chest. Oh, I thought, how intriguing. We were sitting in a ten-person conference room, kitty-corner from each other. “Our team is growing,” my manager explained. “We need another manager, and you get along with everyone. What do you think?”…… It was only later, walking out of the room, that I thought about the details of what she had said, “I got along with everyone. Surely there was more to management than that. How much more? I was about to find out.

I’m sure most people don’t get their first management role that way, but the experience you go through in that first new role may be similar. Until you start a management role you don’t know what it is really like to be a manager and you only start finding out when you are doing the job.

So, here is how we will explore ‘developing new managers’ this week:

  • Tuesday’s post will be a bite-sized virtual training activity that can be used to run a short session for new and first-line managers. It will focus on defining management and exploring three things managers think about all day. The title of this virtual activity is – THE WHAT AND WHY OF MANAGEMENT.
  • Wednesday’s post will be an introduction to a great book on management by Julio Zhuo, a former senior manager at Facebook. The book is – The Making of a Manager. I will also share a 1-page summary of one lesson from the book.
  • Thursday’s post will be a video titled – ’11 Habits of Highly Effective Managers’
  • I am currently going through an online virtual facilitation course, so on Friday, I will share with you some of the key insights I got from the course. 

I really hope you find this week’s posts valuable. Thank you and have a great day.

Virtual Tip – Use Apps Outside Your Main Virtual Delivery Platform

Last week I attended a brilliant training course on virtual facilitation. The facilitator who was brilliant by way, spent the time showing us how to use apps outside of the main virtual platform used for the session which was Zoom. The two apps we explored were Jamboard and Mentimeter.

Jamboard is an interactive whiteboard app which we used to collaboratively answer questions. Of course, there is a whiteboard in Zoom but this one had more features. The image below shows what the work we did on Jamboard looked like.

Jamboard

But I preferred Mentimeter. You can use this app to do a poll or ask open ended questions, collect the results and display it in different formats such as a wordcloud.

The image below shows an open ended quiz created with Mentimeter.

Mentimeter 1

And below is the results displayed after responses from participants were collected and displayed:

Mentimeter 2

So, what’s the lesson here? You don’t need to stay in your virtual delivery platform. You can use other cloud-based apps to add a lot more interaction to your courses. I am definitely going to be using Mentimeter in my next management course.

You should explore and try something new too.

Virtual Tip – Why virtual training is good for managers

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This is my first virtual tip post and I wanted to use it to emphasize why I believe virtual training is really suitable for managers. Prior to the pandemic which became very serious in the UK in 2020, I was planning to deliver some management training but all of it would have been face-to-face. The plan was to have all the participants come to a central location and they would have to attend for 1 or 2 days.

When the pandemic hit, all those plans were scuppered but then we decided to roll out some basic people management training that was needed covering topics such as:

  • Managing capability
  • Managing disciplinaries
  • Managing absence
  • Difficult conversations
  • Managing remote teams
  • Managing performance
  • Managing wellbeing

We did actually manage to roll out all these training courses and it was all because of the flexibility of virtual training. Using virtual training we could not deliver long sessions so we designed sessions to be between 1.5 to 2.5 hours and managers embraced it.

There were two factors I believe that helped, the shorter length of the courses and the fact that managers did not need to travel to a central location to attend the training. Most of them could simply do it at their desks. A third factor was also the fact that they found virtual training much more engaging that just eLearning. Yes we have a lot of management eLearning but managers are fans of those.

Am I saying that virtual training is better than face-to-face training? No. Does shorter lengths of courses and no travelling mean that the training will more effective? No. But it deals with one factor which can be a major barrier to managers attending training and it is this, managers are busy. Yes, managers are busy and virtual training allows us to give them more flexible opportunities to do training.

So, if you are wondering how you can train your first-line managers, I will suggest you introduce virtual training to them. It will save both of you time and real costs too. Also, it can help you do away with the excuse of, we don’t have time and money to train our first-line managers.

Start with what you have and where you are

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When lots of organisations think about manager development, they really think big. They may bring in a consultant who spends six months preparing for the programme to happen or have endless meetings to decide how to develop managers. The other end of that is when organisations just buy of-the-shelf courses because they believe their first-line manager need training. This is not bad as far as you are sure that the area of development is relevant to your managers and organisation’s needs.

What is important though is that you make development available as soon as you can. Done is always better than perfect. Don’t let your desire for a grand leadership development programme stop you from using what you have now to invest in your managers. While more senior managers such as senior leadership teams may need specialist development like executive coaching, that is not needed for first-line managers. If your organisation has a learning and development team then they should be supporting managers with development even if that is just training.

Most managers need support around the basics such as setting expectations, managing performance, having difficult conversations, delegation, managing meetings, having coaching conversations, basics of team motivation, effective communication and the like. If you make development in these basic topics readily and constantly available for all your first-line managers, it can help boost their confidence, motivate them and on the long run make them better managers.

So, please use what you’ve got now to invest in your first-line managers and don’t let your desire for a grand leadership development programme make you ignore the investing in your first-line managers as soon as you can.

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