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Training Is Not the Answer!

Training Is Not the Answer!

Good Intentions will never take you anywhere you want to go!  Most people would rather “think about it” than “do it”

– John Maxwell

I heard this quote from John Maxwell during his “30 Day Journey” I recently completed via Right Now Media.  It seems to have been something intended for me, as I’ve been faced with this concept in many different conversations recently.  Maybe because this whole Covid-19 and working from home has given me the opportunity to take part in more training that I typically would.  This podcast from “Manager Tools” covers this subject head on.  The overarching quote I took away was this:

Training is not the answer…it’s only a means to an end, it is not the end in and of itself…as a manager, what you actually want is behavior change. – The Manager Tools Guys

The basic foundation of this podcast is that way too many people and organizations attend training to be trained…and they feel that attending and completing the course is the goal.  BEHAVIOR CHANGE is the goal.  As John Maxwell said, there are way too many people who would rather “think” than “do”.  I put myself in that camp as well!  I listen to podcasts, read books, watch YouTube, but do I really incorporate what I’m learning?  If not, why am I wasting my time on these “training opportunities?”

Here are some of the key concepts I took away from this podcast that I feel will benefit you as well:

  1. The purpose of training is to impart skills that you need to do your job at a high level…to be good at your job
  2. Most training programs don’t bridge the gap between “knowing” and “doing” and when it doesn’t achieve this goal, the training program is a waste of $$ and time because it doesn’t serve to improve skill
  3. A new skill that isn’t put into action isn’t a skill at all, it’s just knowledge – A “skill” is what you do, not what you know
  4. 80% of your skill building comes from “on the job” activity and learning…only 10% come from separate and stand alone “Training”…that’s why appropriate delegation is such as an important skill to leverage as a manager
  5. Knowledge by itself isn’t valuable…when it changes behavior that affects our ability to meet our goals it becomes valuable to an organization: You aren’t contributing to the performance of your organization by obtaining knowledge…it only becomes valuable if it makes you “better” at your role
  6. “Applied” knowledge is more valuable than knowledge: some people feel they are more valuable because of knowledge they’ve gained over time…your value comes from your ability to “apply” the knowledge on useful pursuits to the organization 
  7. If you want to change something, you need to MEASURE and REPORT OUT on it…that will cause behavior change!
  8. Training isn’t about the “going”, it is about the “changing” when you get back
  9. “Having”, “Knowing”, “Feeling”, and “Believing” are NOT Behaviors 
  10. We don’t get paid to do what we like, we get paid to be effective & productive: If you aren’t constantly pushing yourself to become more effective, you are dragging down the company’s overall performance and earnings! 

As my current director says often…”Activity is good, results are better!

Manager-Tools is one of my all time favorite podcasts, but I truly engaged with this one as I listened to it this week.  This one is worth the 40 minutes of your time…if for no other reason at about the 21:30 mark when he begins talking about how strong the job market is…it was at that time, little did we know that COVID-19 would destroy it only about 3 weeks later!!  Please listen to this one, but after you listen, APPLY what you’ve learned!!  

Book Review – Five Dysfunctions of a Team

Book Review – Five Dysfunctions of a Team

This is a book I read a few years ago, recommended by some co-workers. The author, Patrick Lencioni, is a writer of books on business management and is famous for this book, The Five Dysfunctions of a team. He is also the founder and president of the Table Group, a management consulting firm focused on organizational health.

This book is an easy read, and since it is a fable (fiction) story, you can really place yourself in the scenario and learn from the personalities described. You learn things that you can apply to the groups you have joined during your professional and personal career. Each of these layers has its own issues to work through, but the payoff is a team that is all rowing in the same direction.

Awesome video with an overview of the book – The Five Dysfunctions of a Team

The author, Pat Lencioni, doing a 30 minute talk with more real world examples affiliated with his book, the Five Dysfunctions of a Team

The above pyramid, the model described in the book, explains how one dysfunction leads to another and in the end, results in a negative morale of the team.
#1 Absence of Trust
Bottom of the pyramid is the absence of trust, when team members are unable to show their weakness, resulting in being reluctant to be vulnerable and being open with one another. The result is that Team members will be afraid of admitting their mistakes and won’t ask for help.
#2 Fear of Conflict
Resulting from a lack of trust is a fear of conflict, which in turn results in team members incapable of engaging in debates or openly voicing their opinions. A team that avoids conflicts produce inferior results.
#3 Lack of Commitment
Fear of conflict results in lack of commitment. When team members aren’t bought into the decisions, they aren’t committed, which results in an environment where ambiguity wins the day.
#4 Avoidance of Accountability
Lack of commitment results in team members not holding each other accountable.
#5 Inattention to Results
If the team members aren’t accountable, they put their own needs [ego, recognition, career development etc.] ahead of the team goals. This total loss of focus causes the company / division / team to suffer.

Addressing Dysfunctions
As the first step for addressing these dysfunctions, every team needs to understand that these dysfunctions exist. The leadership in the company needs to lead by example and set the tone for the whole team to overcome these dysfunctions. This means the leadership being the first one to be vulnerable, encouraging debate and conflict, making responsibilities and deadlines clear, setting the team’s standards, and being clear on the team’s outcome. It is important to understand that reaching consensus is not the goal, but making sure that everyone is being heard.

Ask these simple questions to understand the level of dysfunction you are facing:

  1. Do team members openly and readily disclose their opinions?
  2. Are team meetings compelling and productive?
  3. Does the team come to decisions quickly and avoid getting bogged down by consensus?
  4. Do team members confront one another about their shortcomings?
  5. Do team members sacrifice their own interests for the good of the team?

No team is perfect, but constantly work to ensure that the answers to the above questions are “yes”.

In that type of environment you can create a culture that will produce the results you desire!.

Managing E-Mail…Get to ZERO!!

Managing E-Mail…Get to ZERO!!

During this Covid “work from home” and Zoom immersion, we are all exposed to more than we typically see on a day to day basis!  The picture at the top of this post was from a Zoom I was recently on, and I saw this “inbox” # of e-mails.  It shocked me, but after I posted it, I got several more texts, pics of others inboxes with many more “unread” e-mails!  Maybe it’s because I try to follow the Manager-Tools guidance around handling e-mails, but I have a goal of having ZERO in my inbox or at least have it to a point where I see only 1 screen of e-mails.

Take the time to listen to these 4 podcasts that I’ve embedded below…it’s really worth the time investment!  An empty inbox really lessens that stress level!  And do you REALLY need all those advertisement e-mails?? 

Here are my Top 5 Key Take Aways from listening to these podcasts and how I now handle my e-mail “inbox”:

  1. Check your e-mail 3 times per day (AM, Mid-Day, PM) and clear it out!
  2. Process your inbox, don’t use it as a to do list
  3. We don’t “do e-mail”, we Communicate, and e-mail is a tool we use to communicate
  4. Expectations should be to read every e-mail within 24 hours, respond within 48 hours
  5. E-mail isn’t a replacement for actual conversations, and it’s not the best tool for URGENT communications

Visit the manager tools website for thousands of podasts!  They are one of my favorites to listen to while I drive around the Carolinas!

Book Review – Extreme Ownership

Book Review – Extreme Ownership

This is a good 12 minute review of 10 Key Take Aways from the Book

Jocko’s intense TED Talk about the concepts of Extreme Ownersip

A cool illustrative video of the Top Lessons in Extreme Ownership

It seems as if Extreme Ownership has been intended for me since the Fall of 2019!  We were given the book, which my son Nicholas already had and started reading over the summer, to read over Christmas Holidays.  We then discussed some of it at a 2020 Kick-Off meeting in early January.  At our national Managers Meeting in March, I was delighted to learn that Leif Babin, one of the co-authors, was actually going to speak live to us!  I just happened to be in the area at the right time and got a cool pic with him!  One of my co-workers and I also got one after he spoke to us live!

Now that we are in the midst of COVID-19 and staying home, Zoom meetings are all the rage…so our company set it up where we had 3 folk from Echelon Front speak to us on Zoom.  Jocko was on and spoke to us…and boy is that an intense man! 

Anyway, about the book…I would watch the three YouTube linked videos at the top, as it give you some insight about the book.  I would also HIGHLY RECOMMEND listening to the Audiobook on Audible, as having Jocko and Leif read it in THEIR VOICE is so much more powerful than me hearing it in my head voice!  

I won’t reiterate the key points, because you can find those in millions of places, as well as in the videos above.  What I will say is that I really found value in how the chapters were set up.  Each chapter had a Lesson which was illustrated by a story from their time in combat.  That was followed by a Principle that we should take away, and finally each chapter was concluded by an Application to Business.  They drove it home to how that Lesson could and should apply to ME in MY Business world.  That was important for me.

Obviously, I’m a fan of this book and took away some key concepts.  The key ones I found myself aligning to were:

  • Cover and Move
  • Check your Ego at the Door
  • Keep it Simple
  • Plan

Get the book and read it (or listen to it preferably)…you won’t regret it!

Why Do You Want To Be A Leader?

Why Do You Want To Be A Leader?

Why are you—or why do you want to be—a leader, really? This is the question bestselling author and leadership expert Patrick Lencioni helps answer in his newest book, The Motive. In this episode, Pat explains how your response to five common leadership responsibilities can reveal whether you’re in it for the right reasons (or not!)—and what to do about it.

This was one of my favorite podcasts that I listened to this week!  I actually listened to parts of it 3 times so I could make sure my notes were accurate!  It’s clearly, in my opinion, worth your listen!  Patrick Lencioni is the guest on this podcast, and he shares some great and timeless leadership lessons.  The overarching quote I took away was this:

IF I DON’T DO THE DIFFICULT THINGS, NOBODY ELSE IS GOING TO DO IT!

The conversation broke down into 5 key areas for leaders to focus on with our teams.  This conversation focused on leaders at the “CEO” level, but we can all benefit as leaders by incorporating these 5 principles.

  1. INVEST TIME TO DEVELOP AND LEAD YOUR TEAM: You can’t farm this out or give it lip service.  Be vulnerable, take risks, disagree on purpose, challenge each other!
  2. MANAGE YOUR REPORTS AS INDIVIDUALS: You HAVE to know your people (reminds me of Manager Tools 1:1 strategy) and provide Guidance, Coaching, and Accountability!  Management (GOOD Management) is a gift to everyone through a rhythm of 1:1 meetings.  We must manage our teams as INDIVIDUALS to an IMMOVABLE STANDARD…the standard doesn’t change!
  3. HAVING DIFFICULT CONVERSATIONS IS CRITICAL: Be a purveyor of joyful accountability!  You can BE NICE, but we have to set a standard and hold our people to that standard (I’ve heard this called the “Velvet Hammer” approach).  Being NICE without accountability (Grandfather approach) isn’t helpful, being HONEST is!
  4. RUN GREAT MEETINGS: As a leader, YOU are responsible for your meetings and running GREAT FOCUSED meetings!  During a meeting, SILENCE by attendees doesn’t equal AGREEMENT, it typically equals DISSENT.  You have to create an environment where challenges and conflict is welcomed, but it needs to be based on TRUST.  Reward and recognize appropriate conflict when it occurs.
  5. CONSTANTLY REPEAT KEY MESSAGES: This one was critical to me, as I’m in the process of doing that exact thing with our key 2020 strategies. As leaders, we need to OVER COMMUNICATE with our teams.

“Because I care about you so much, I’m going to be ruthlessly direct with you”

“A great leader is typically a little geeky because they are so extremely sold out to their mission”

“Fight for the mission”

Why Do We Lead?  Typically falls into 1 of 2 answers:

  1. It’s a reward for my talent and hard work
  2. It’s a Huge Responsibility…I owe it to the ones that I serve

Obviously the call to serve leads to the strongest leadership characteristics.

I loved this podcast, as it aligns with many of my key leadership approaches.  ENTRE-LEADERSHIP typically has strong podcasts, but I truly engaged with this one as I listened to it this week.  This one is worth an HOUR of your time!

You Own Your Future…

You Own Your Future…

As someone who is in the “hiring” game, I’m often contacted by people who want to “get in the pharma industry.”  I advise people, especially those who have no pharma experience, to get with someone who is in the industry and pick their brains.  The first step, I tell them, is to discover whether or not they will even like the position, and talking to someone in the industry is a great first step.  When talking to someone with NO sales experience, I tell them to get experience selling SOMETHING!  You need to get around people doing what you want to do to so you’ll know if it’s a good fit for you. 

In driving around for my job, I began listening to Ken Coleman’s show on XM Radio.  I’ve heard Ken talking about the Proximity Principle, which is his new book calling out steps to find your dream job.  The concept is perfectly aligned with my thoughts:  “To do what I want to do I have to be around the people that are doing it and the places it is happening.”  His advice is on target, so you should really take a moment to listen to it’s concepts!!

Excerpt Taken from DaveRamsey.com Book Site:

Calling all job hunters, career changers and college grads! Feel like the career you want is just too far out of reach? You’ve got the tools—you just need the manual that will get you closer.

You’re not alone. 70% of Americans are unhappy with their jobs. You want more than a nine-to-five J-O-B. You want to know why it’s so hard to find work you actually enjoy. Author and career expert Ken Coleman hears these same questions from callers on The Ken Coleman Show:

  • Is it too late to start over?
  • Even if it’s not too late, what if I try and fail?
  • What will my family and friends think if I try something new?
  • Is my dream career even possible for me?

The mind-set and skill set Ken acquired early in his career—and shares daily with his radio listeners—is now a proven strategy that can work for you too. Ken Coleman will guide you toward the people and places you need to be closer to in order to succeed in getting a job you love.

The Proximity Principle demystifies the questions about who you need to know and where you need to be in order to find new opportunities.

When it comes to People, you’ll learn:

  • How to build relationships with qualified experts (and where to find them)
  • How to connect with professionals and learn from them as a resource
  • How to pursue a constructive and meaningful mentorship
  • What types of peers you need to surround yourself with (and who to avoid)
  • How to find companies and organizations that will help you continue to grow

When it comes to Places, you’ll discover:

  • The exact distance between where you are right now and where your dream job is
  • Where to go in order to get the skill set and education you need to succeed
  • The best location for you to soak up as much experience as possible
  • The places where you can start applying the skills you’ve learned
  • Most importantly, the exact place where you can grow and do work that matters

Break free from boring and land your dream job with The Proximity Principle.