Is There A Difference Between Leadership Development & Training?

Is There A Difference Between Leadership Development & Training? I’m no expert in English grammar but I do recognize synonyms when I see them. What are synonyms? Synonyms are words that share the same meanings with other words. We can usually identify these when we come across them. But a lot of times we don’t. Within business circles for example we equivocate between Training & Development. But there are some fundamental differences between them that leadership programs don’t always focus on. And I want to make the case that Leadership Development is better. Here is my argument:

Training by nature is finite in its scope because it looks forward only a limited span of time. Development on the other hand looks far ahead into the future sometimes going beyond he career of the person. It is infinite in nature. Another aspect of leadership skill is to operate even under conditions that are not optimal. In that context, Training gives you just enough to put one in a comfort zone to do a job. But development is designed to intentionally get a person out of their comfort zone and be equipped for extenuating circumstances.

Training people may equip them with a set of standard guidelines to help them operate in controlled environments. In other words it helps them within a ‘box’. Development on the other hand equips them for greater things by liberating them from accepted norms or standards that might stifle creativity or innovativeness. And lastly regardless of the leadership style required, Training tends to focus on the role that the candidate plays while development focuses on the person himself or herself. It aims to hone their intrinsic skills and abilities for the greater good of becoming better at who they are instead of better at what they do.

Leadership Training programs are designed to equip employees with the right tools and resources necessary to not only do their jobs but also thrive in challenging working conditions. For more info on how companies do this, please refer to the following like:

http://www.businessweek.com/stories/2010-02-16/how-companies-develop-great-leadersbusinessweek-business-news-stock-market-and-financial-advice

The Failed Yogi – Leadership Lessons from Baba Ramdev’s failed Crusade

Why did Baba Ramdev fail, when Anna Hazare was super successful, in his crusade against black money though both opted to follow the path of fasting so strongly advocated by the Mahatma?

The Failed Yogi – Leadership Lessons from Baba Ramdev’s failed CrusadeWhat went wrong – This is a case study on Leadership. Ramdev’s craving for popularity is not new – he has his own TV channel Aastha that broadcasts his yoga initiatives 24/7. Anna’s fast gave him hopes of achieving super stardom in social activism. He miscalculated the effect of riding on the back of the Anna Aura – and how!! He gave up his fast once the realization that his call had lost its fizz and that it was not too great to die a loser hit him. Here’s where he went badly off the mark:

1. He did not have facts on the table – Just a good intention to get black money back into the country won’t work in this dark complex world – how much? Where? Whose? He had only vague answers when quizzed by the media. Beyond a generic estimate he could not prove even one of his allegations.

2. Over Ambitious – A classic case of biting off more than one can chew- did he not know that he was taking on a one billion nation that topped most of the world rankings on corruption and black money laundering?? And he was hoping to fix centuries of misappropriation in one week of fasting?? Uh??

3. Super Simplistic – This is what happens when you simplify an issue – Black money is a tricky and complex issue – too tricky to put your fingers into – If it is complex arm yourself accordingly. Can’t after all catch a crocodile with a rat trap can you?

4. Misusing Core Competence – Face it Ramdev – you are good at Yoga and very good at teaching to others – but people do not go to a yoga teacher when they have a tooth ache! He was trying a tooth extraction with a degree (?) in ayurveda. Perhaps he should consider enrolling for a course in politics now.

5. Lack of Flexibility & Adaptability – The government bent backwards to accommodate him – The Ramlila grounds, water, tents, electricity, security – they were willing to co-operate even further. What was the point in fasting then??

6. Undemocratic – Call to arms?? Are we the Taliban? No self respecting democracy would have allowed him to go any further. He shot himself in the leg with this one.

7. Poor Emotional Intelligence – First he cries and then he talks of creating an army complete with arms and ammunition. Public display of poor emotional intelligence definitely contributed to the dent in his image and drop in public support. Nobody expects a Leader to be whacky!!

8. Misuse of the tool of protest – Anna used this tool and it worked – he’s a Gandhian – in thought and in action. His simplicity worked for the people but for this island owning yogi it failed miserably. People rejected the lack of congruence in thought, action and reality.

9. Skeleton in his Backyard – Was he hoping to take on the industry moguls, the policy makers, the law enforcement agencies, the politicians and the regular aam aadmi when his own backyard was full of junk?? Make sure you have no skeletons buried before you attempt to dig out others’.

Leadership training can help you understand your core competencies by doing a self-analysis. It can help you focus on the areas that you are equipped to handle. All of us have certain core competencies and strengths. A good leader is somebody who capitalizes on his strengths and works in that direction to make a success of things.

The Importance of Training the Trainer

Shortly after I joined my new job as a Quality Control supervisor, I found myself in the unflattering and precarious position of having to train the person (lets call him C) who had been the trainer for the last 3 years. Until then C ruled the department with absolute totalitarianism and he always had the last word. It so happened that my boss who hired me thought I had a better eye for detail and placed me in charge of making decisions that once was C’s to make. The interesting chain of command in the department also created a situation where C, who was in charge of production, was now subject to my discretionary judgment as the head of quality control! Moreover I had to train the trainer on how to run production to meet my standards. Needless to say this did not go well with him! The Importance of Training the Trainer

Sometimes as a trainer one can come to the conclusion, and rightly so, that his or her skills are good enough that it qualifies them to pass on their accumulated wisdom to the next in line being trained. But the key component here is not so much the actuality of the fact but the attitude of the heart. Can one become such an expert that they are beyond learning? Are they so good at what they do that they should not be teachable enough to be taught anything new? Is their accumulated skill so superior that they cannot humble themselves to accumulate some more? Being a trainer requires first the attitude of a perpetual student – always seeking to know more, learn more, improve and excel. It entails at the outset, the need to constantly keep refining, honing or sharpening one’s skills, constantly looking to adapt and minimize flaws in methodology along the way.

Companies around the world have used Train the Trainer  programs for some time now. Their main goal is to continue to invest in the improving or enhancing of their trainers to better equip them for a diverse range of training scenarios. For more information on how companies do this refer to this article:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/joshbersin/2014/02/04/the-recovery-arrives-corporate-training-spend-skyrockets/

 

4 Effective Ways To Manage Your Time

We’ve all done it plenty of times in our lives. The complaints usually all sound the same – “If only there was more than 24 hours in a day”, “Where did all the time go?”, “Why does time fly when you’re trying to get something done” and the endless list continues. What is it about time that is so elusive? Why does it always seem like it moves slowly just when we want it to fly and flies when we want it to move slowly? It almost seems like it has a mind of its own! But we’re the ones with the minds.

Time Management Training  programs are especially crucial for companies where every man-hour made or lost is directly proportional to money made or lost. The more efficiently a company manages it’s time through resources, systemizing or personnel, the more cost effectively the company operates by saving on time wasted.

Time Management, it turns out, is not really one of the unsolved mysteries of the Earth or rocket science that is beyond our comprehension. It takes some organizing and some discipline, the two key ‘ingredients’ to successfully manage your time. Lets look at how those aspects interplay with each other:

Goal Setting

This is the first step to begin with. To-Do lists are generally not very efficient because they only keep getting longer and after a while can get overwhelming. It is also important to set not only the ‘type’ of goals to achieve but the ‘number’ of goals that need to be done as well. Setting a goal of 5 things to do in an hour maybe more efficient than 20 things to do in the same hour. The more realistic the goals, the more achievable they are.How does one manage time more effectively is a great article that gives you many simple, yet effective, techniques.

Prioritizing

This goes hand in hand with goal setting. Some people attempt to just get ‘chunks’ of work done without prioritizing them according to importance. Consequently sometimes these are the very same people who just never seem to have time to do the things that actually matter. Prioritizing the goals that need to be achieved is the best way to maximize the efficiency of the limited time available.

Scheduling

Next it is important to actually put these priorities down on a schedule or calendar. Especially within a business context, there are often numerous tasks that may sometimes require our attention at the same time and having our priorities scheduled will help in allocating them into available slots through the workday.

Discipline

This is the rivet that holds every other piece of the time management structure together. If this isn’t managed, everything else mentioned above falls flat on its face. Once the system of goal setting, prioritizing and scheduling is setup, it takes a lot of hard work through diligence and discipline to keep the system running smoothly. This is often the area where most people falter. If discipline is maintained within our time management skills, we will discover rather quickly that time need not be our foe but can actually be our friend.

Here are some of our recent blogs on Managing Time:

  1. 3 Tips To Preparing For A Good Presentation
  2. The Cost of Clarity in Communication
  3. How NOT To Deal With Stress

Three Simple Tips to Better Business Writing

The internet changed the world in more ways than we can imagine. With the power of the web, we can not only access information with the simple click of a button but we can also transmit information, whether it is upload a photo or share a document, just as easily. But the biggest impact the internet had is in the area of communication. With the advent of email, letter writing has virtually become obsolete and long gone are the days when a person had to wait for weeks to get a letter from their family across the ocean. Writing has continued to be the staple form of communication though. And in the business world, there is a clear set of unwritten rules that actually even dictate how writing ought to take place. Hence business writing skills training is an important corporate training program. In this blog we will look at 3 simple areas where some basic business writing skills are needed:

Clarity

Being clear is one of the most important aspects of business writing. Often business documents or articles tend to use sophisticated jargon or terminology for the sake of sounding professional or eloquent. But if that takes away from comprehending the article well, it has not served it’s purpose in communicating its message. Longer sentences must be avoided when shorter sentences will work just as well.

Simplicity

Especially when writing emails, it is better to get straight to the point. If the opening paragraph doesn’t get to the heart of the matter concisely, it is better to start over. Business correspondence must be direct so that the intended message drives home instantly. It helps to ask yourself, before you compose the email, what exactly you want the person reading this to do and if that comes across in a simple manner.

Etiquette

There is such a thing as professional etiquette of communication even if it is over the internet via email or other mediums. Short-hand must be avoided as must other slang like smiley faces. It is also considered polite to not over use capitalization or exclamation marks to make a point.
Business Writing Training programs are employed regularly by companies to help equip their employees to adhere to current corporate standards of business communication.

For more information on  Email Etiquette Training and Business Writing Training programs, please refer to these articles/blogs:

Essentials for Effective Communication

Why Communication Skills are the Epitome of Human Progress

 

3 Tips To Improve Creative Thinking

We’ve all seen those commercials that simply blow us away with their innovative perspective and creative ideas. Surely people must have sat around for weeks or months just thinking through stuff until something magically came together and then, “Eureka!” a brilliantly creative idea is born! While this is mostly how creative thinking skills are developed, there are actual steps that most people can take to improve or bolster their creativity. Sometimes we tend to think that some people are creative and others are not but the truth is that everyone has a certain level or degree of creativity that they are born with. These just manifest differently. This is what we leverage upon in our creativity training program.

In this blog we will look at 3 things that anyone can do to help get their creative juices flowing…or creating!

Self-Made Restrictions

History has it that Dr.Seuss wrote ‘Green Eggs & Ham’ after betting that he could not produce a story in less that 50 words! There is some insight to this that we can pick up on. Most people when trying to do something new choose to take the path of least resistance by simply building on pre-existing ideas or concepts. But this stifles creativity and doesn’t encourage it. Sometimes placing restrictions on oneself to achieve something forces us to be creative in getting around the challenges.

Staying Positive

Studies in brain patterns and activity has shown that creativity is at its highest when the person is feeling positive or good in general. Negativity is a damper on creativity. Getting yourself to a positive frame of mind is relatively easier to do and various things like reminiscing on good times, laughing and doing energizing things all help to get there.

Thinking Of Others

Research has shown that when ‘outward thinking’ is crucial to the process of creativity. In other words people are the most creative when they think their work is going to help or have a positive impact on other people and will be cause for greater gain or benefit. Trying to be creative when you are the sole beneficiary of your creativity has been shown to not be conducive to the very process of being creative. Being creative entails having a positive impact for the greater good!

Creativity Training is an important leadership training program that equips employees to not be conformed to the rigid patterns of past systems but encourage them to think out of the box and come up with novel trailblazing ideas for the common good.

For more information on our various training programs dealing with creative thinking, visit the following links:

Creative Thinking through Outbound Training

Essentials of any Leadership Training Program

What it Takes to Develop the Leader in You.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3 Invaluable Soft Skills For The Workplace

Soft skills or people skills are the driving force behind any company. Gone are the days when a resume was the ‘end –all’ for the job and a person’s academic and professional qualifications were all that mattered. In today’s business world, where markets are more global and the world has become a smaller place due to media and technology, credentials and qualifications don’t cut it any more. Today a company needs ‘people skills’, ‘relationship skills’ or more popularly called, ‘soft skills’. Hence soft skills training is highly sought after by corporates.

In this blog we will look at the 3 fundamental types of soft skills necessary for the workplace:

Efficient Communication

This is probably the most valuable of the soft skill topics that companies are looking for. The ability to efficiently and effectively propagate ideas across the spectrum sets an employee apart. Good articulation in speech along with being an excellent listener goes a long ways. Appropriate use of body language also counts toward this.

Self-Confidence

While nobody likes an obnoxious know-it-all, a person who has a good degree of self-confidence and self-esteem is certainly seen as an asset. The ability to believe in oneself regardless of the situation or people around us is a strong trait that companies find particularly appealing. This will also determine the confidence with which one troubleshoots or resolves conflicts that may arise unexpectedly. Of course mere self-confidence devoid of any actual skills or knowledge is definitely counter productive.

Team Player

And that of course brings us to a very important soft skill – the ability to get along with others. Soft skills after all have to do with people and if one cannot get along with coworkers, the concept of people skills becomes a moot point. Not to mention, having the ability to work closely and efficiently with people develops a sense of camaraderie and unity that is healthy for any organization. This is often the crux of professional development training that companies invest in for their employees.

Soft Skills Training is an important aspect of corporate training which helps to develop invaluable skills sets within an employee such as those listed above that will help to enhance and improve their abilities and efficiency at work.

For further information on Soft Skills, please visit:

The Cost of Clarity in Communication

How Business Etiquette Really Matters

 

The Art of Giving Knock-Out Sales Presentations

All the hard work has finally paid off – You did your market research, analyzed the economy, zeroed in on the target audience and did your homework on the customer. They took the bait and now you’re sitting in their conference room, ready to give your pitch. If there is ever a time to pull out your best sales strategies, it is now! There is just one problem – your customer has probably heard at least ten other sales pitches that day, so why should you think he would remember yours?

Turns out that there are simple tricks that can be employed to make your pitch stand out. Lets look at just three that will do the trick:

Develop Rapport

This is the most potent requirement of sales training and customer service training. Remember that part about ‘doing your homework on the customer’? Well this is the time to showcase what you’ve learnt about them. Asking questions about the company, their portfolio of products and services will show the customer that you’re interested enough in them to have actually looked them up and done some research. Comments and conversations on similar and related topics that are relative to their company and business also creates plenty of common ground upon which to develop equity or rapport.’Five Strategies for a Winning Sales Presentation’  is an article to help you effectively clinch the deal.

Asking Leading Questions

This line of questioning is quite different from the earlier questions about the company itself. While those were posed to establish common ground, this line of questioning is more to ‘fish’ for information – on your customer’s interests, needs, likes and dislikes. While this gives you insight into the customer’s head, it is also setting up a foundation for you to build your sales pitch on and possibly answer or provide for everything your customer expressed a desire or need.

Eliminate Objections

While it may be normal to feel that the customer is not interested in yet another sales pitch, the reality of the matter is that he actually has some reservations or ‘practical hurdles’ in his head that he thinks you probably are not going to be able to address. Getting to the root of this is crucial to pushing them over the edge from a merely introspective mood to a generally interested mood. Listening carefully to the concerns can pave the way for cutting right to the issue and asking questions like, “Is it the shipping costs that you’re concerned about?” or “Are you anxious about the profit margins for the service?”. Doing this helps to put your finger directly on the pulse of the customer’s needs and better equipping you to be able to help them. This tactic is fundamental to sales coaching.

For more information on Sales Training Programs, please refer to the following articles/blogs:

Tips to Enhance Retail Selling Skills 

Selling Skills – Achieving Excellence through Training

Giving Your Presentations The X Factor

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3 Common Time Management Mistakes

Time Management Training  is an important component of corporate training where companies strive to maximize output from man-hours while cutting down on time related factors that cause the company to bleed financially.

As human beings we are finite creatures living in time and space. We are reminded of our limited time every day, week, month and year. And as our biological clocks continue to tick, we understand the value of needing to manage our time wisely. Unfortunately this is easier said than done. Most of us tend to allow certain ‘habits’ to distract us from doing certain tasks or accomplishing certain objectives. While there are numerous resources that speak on how to manage your time effectively, it helps to also keep in mind certain ‘time-killers’ that can be detrimental to your time management skills. In this blog we will look at three key areas where this can happen easily:

Failing to keep ‘to-do’ lists

It almost invariably happens on a Monday. Just as we get ready for a workweek, we realize we had forgotten to do something that we had planned to do during the weekend. And that’s when it hits us – we didn’t put it on the to-do list! This is a common error that often lands us in trouble even in the workplace. With ever increasing workloads and the necessity to multitask, keeping a list of things that need to get done is a crucial aspect of time-management skills.

Failing to prioritize

With the advent of digital devices and technology that remind us of things that need to be done, sometimes it is easy to think that our priorities are in our head and that is sufficient to figure it out. But often in a high stress work environment it is easy to let high priority tasks to slip through the cracks for the sake of the urgent tasks at hand. ‘How to manage time with 10 tips that work’  is an interesting article to make work more fun and motivating.

Failing to manage distractions

In the age of the Internet, modern smartphones today can do more than simply make phone calls. They also offer us limitless amounts of access to media. These can be incredibly distracting in deviating our attention from the immediate needs that require our attention. It is important to discipline ourselves to not be distracted by the digital world so one can focus on the immediate needs at hand.

For more information on Time Management Training refer to the following articles/blogs:

Building Your ‘Time Machine’ Through ‘Time Efficiency  

4 Effective ways to manage your time 

 The Art of Pacing Your Presentation – Good Time Management

Building Your Time Machine Through Time Management

The Cost of Clarity in Communication

Communication is probably the most important of skill that humans are endowed with and need to improve upon in order to relate with his fellow beings. Communication can be of various forms – oral, written and non-verbal (physical), but all of which serve one purpose – the transmission of ideas and thoughts. Business communications also operate with the same fundamental principle except with the added facet of protocols and socially acceptable dynamics that need to be in place for a more professional form of communication.

Communication Skills Training  is a fundamental part of equipping employees to become great communicators and leaders within their respective organizations.

Within businesses even, communication spans over various forms – emails, faxes, memos, notes, meetings, presentations are all conducted and handed with the express purpose of communication. Whatever the medium may be, there are some key elements to communication that are fundamental to the proper transmission of ideas. In this article we will focus on just one of these aspects – Clarity. This is probably the most important aspect for effective communication in business. ‘8 Ways to Improve your Communication Right Now’  tells you how stepwise which  is easy to comprehend.

Whether one is writing an email or giving a presentation, the ultimate objective is to convey a message that is persuasive to the person on the receiving end of the message. This is the most effective of communication techniques. But this will not happen if the message is not clear in the first place. The onus is on the presenter or sender of the message to be clear in his or her transmission of the agenda. Ideas must be defined and extrapolated for clarity and presented in a simple and easy to understand manner. Vague or ambiguous words that may skew or distract from the core of the message must be avoided for the communication to be effective. When beginning an email or a lecture, begin with a clear and well-defined purpose. If you as the presenter do not know where you’re going with the correspondence, there is no way that the receiver is going to know where you’re going either. This is the key to improving communication.

Minimizing the body of the communication to its most core ideas or purpose keeps the correspondence lean and avoids any unnecessary language or ‘fluff’ that distracts from the main idea or objective of the message. This is the key to good communication skill.

For more information on Communication Skills Training, please refer to the following articles:

The Art of Tactful Business Communication 

Communication – A Leader’s Trump Card 

 10 Tips for Effective Workplace Communication