How we do professional facilitation

You will have a facilitator who has deep experience in senior organisational leadership and has worked with a wide and diverse range of clients. You are assured that the work will get done and clear outcomes and next actions are identified from your facilitated workshop.

We make it easy for you to conduct a great workshop. Our facilitators use visual information mapping tools that ensures participants are always engaged with the content and understand the connections between concepts, ideas and decisions.

We will meet prior to the workshop(s) to undertake careful planning and preparation. You will have the option to include individual and team behavioural profiling as part of the workshop. Our facilitator will do extensive research to understand your organization deeply. You will be confident that our facilitator will remain within the parameters you set for the workshop and we will honour the unique culture that exists in your organization. 

We understand the dynamics that exist when you bring people together for a facilitated workshop. Our expertise will ensure we get the best input from all participants and prevent the workshop being dominated by individuals or a lapse into ‘group-think.’

The most requested facilitated workshops include:

·        Strategic planning

·        Building an execution culture

·        Executive retreats

·        Sales strategy

·        Marketing strategy

·        Scenario planning

·        Team effectiveness

·        Culture change

·        Tactical response

·        Innovation, new product and services development

This is how we do professional facilitation. We suggest scheduling a call or personal meeting to discuss your vision for the ideal facilitated workshop. We will discuss your strategy, goals and concerns. Our facilitator will ask questions and offer some ideas you can use whether you choose to engage us or not.

Strategy without learning is flawed

Leaders of organisations around the world understand the strategic need to build capabilities in their organisations to remain competitive. There are many methods used to build capabilities and on-the-job training remains very common. Strategy that is designed without learning is seriously flawed.

Online learning is a key part of any strategy to build capability. In my experience, many organisations start out with a compliance focus for online learning. When moving to include other purposes for online learning, e.g. leadership development, it is critical that a framework is developed to support the learners and measurement of outcomes.

How do you create a learning strategy that will help drive performance and be fully aligned with your strategic objectives?

  • Build your learning plans based on customer feedback and adapting to changes in expectations that customers have in dealing with your organisation and your competitors.
  • Assess how much of your learning and development resources are allocated to frontline employees. Performance increases in your frontline employees are often easier to measure and possibly faster to achieve.
  • When you develop learning plans, align the curricula to strategic objectives. A capability gap analysis is going to provide more accuracy to aligning learning with strategic objectives. I like to see capability gap analyses performed as part of a strategic planning project.
  • Learning and development needs to be predictive. Your strategy is designed to keep your organisation competitive. I recommend you drill down from macro-environmental changes in your market all the way down to succession and recruitment needs within a time horizon that makes sense for your business.

To support your learning strategy and sustain performance improvements, I suggest the following:

  • Consider incentivising self-directed learning. There are so many effective ways to do this.
  • Standardise learning processes as much as you can to assist in measurement. You may choose different target populations for standardisation as opposed to standardising across the organisation.
  • Some of the most effective capability building strategies include directly linking learning to the performance management process.
  • I encourage my clients to build learning more deeply into the fabric of a culture by adding learning engagement to the key objectives for managers. I have seen excellent results when managers include learning in their weekly and/or monthly team and individual meetings or catch ups. The benefits achieved include higher levels of learning engagement and a feedback loop on learning experiences and future needs.
  • Encourage blended approaches to learning by identifying subject matter experts in your organisation. You might consider adding communities of practice or a coaching/mentoring program to leverage knowledge in support of learning activities.

If you would like to discuss these ideas or want to explore implementing a new learning strategy in your organisation, you are welcome to get in touch with me via the contact details on this site.

High Performance Culture and Alignment

According to an excellent whitepaper by Aon Hewitt, (Getting Real About Creating a High Performance Culture, 2016),” ….46% of organisations identified defining or aligning culture as a key priority.”

Culture is a key competitive advantage. Change is occurring too rapidly to forecast accurately. The workforce is facing challenges in their personal lives that may lead to increased fear and uncertainty about the future. The separation between personal and work life has always been a myth. Now that we have non-stop news and information overload assaulting us from every device we have, it is impossible to imagine the workplace as a quarantine. It is a tough time to define, build and sustain a high performance culture.

In some experiences I have had recently, organisations have had leadership adopt a ‘batten down the hatches’ philosophy. The indicators visible to an external consultant working with such an organisation include poor strategic communication, confusion about accepted behavioural norms and fear. The fear is not always easily identified. I always find it in companies that lack meeting rhythm between managers and employees. I see it where there is little ‘ground level’ innovation going on to improve effectiveness and productivity. There are other ways fear is identified.

How does a leader deal with culture in this geo-political economic era? I suggest it is a return to some very basics of interpersonal relationship skills. It would be great if it was not a ‘return’ as opposed to a refocusing. Most people involved in an interpersonal relationship and particularly an intimate one, would identify communication as the primary contributor to the health of the relationship.

It is no different in an organisational culture. However, many leaders of organisations have behavioural styles that deliver communication in short direct bursts as opposed to a story or interactive dialogue. Communication is often delegated and diluted. People see through this and it only leads to greater fear, uncertainty and disengagement.

I believe vision is critical. Vision is critical to individuals, couples, families, organisations, communities and all the way up to nation states. Without a vision it is impossible to build a compelling strategy and even more impossible to engage people to execute the work needed to achieve strategic objectives. 

Without a vision, your mission will be detached and unaligned to anything meaningful to your people. Lack of meaning equals lack of engagement. Lack of engagement kills a high performance culture.

These are only two big picture contributors to a sustainable high-performance culture. Communication and vision. There are others. I offer below two of the most impactful high- level initiatives that will contribute to changing a toxic or poor performance culture to a high performance culture.

·        Learning and development is part of the culture and not dependent upon people asking permission or waiting for approval. Senior leadership support learning and allocate resources to learning opportunities openly. Learning is linked to performance management processes. Learning is used to support innovation and collaborative, social knowledge sharing.

·        Senior leadership is visible and accessible. There are some huge companies I have worked with that have leaders who leverage technology to remain accessible. When senior leadership communicates, they do so openly and transparently. Senior leadership repeats vital messages to ensure there is retention. The senior leadership never cease to show the alignment of strategy to the work that people are doing throughout the organisation.

Reinvent Meetings for Creativity and Engagement

It is possible to transform the paradigm that all meetings are wasting valuable time and contribute little to the organisation and its people You can reinvent your meetings to boost creativity and engagement. It just takes a bit of innovation.

When people think of meeting they typically think of people around a table engaging in conversation around an agenda. According to a report by Atlassian, a person may spend up to 31 hours in unproductive meetings per month. Adding to this scenario, 91% of people daydreamed and 73% did other work during meetings.

Meetings can boost creativity.

There is plenty of other evidence available that points to meetings having negative impacts on productivity in the workplace. However, there are some ways you can innovate to make your meetings more engaging and constructive for those attending.

An article by Sara Coene on InnovationManagement.se, identifies some new meeting formats that will help boost creativity and engagement in meetings. I recommend you check out the article and I have summarised the ideas here.

Inspiration Tours are visits to inspiring companies, organisations or other venues. Sara points out examples in Silicon Valley, Antwerp and Brussels. There are plenty of great organisations that will welcome an opportunity to host a tour and presentation that showcases their talents.

Start-up Events are excellent to get people discussing ideas and capturing insights into new ways of innovating. There are start- up incubators in most cities and these events are usually publicised.

Pecha Kucha means ‘small talk’ in Japanese. These structured events allow participants to present 20 pictures in a slide deck in 6 minutes and 40 seconds; each picture shown for 20 seconds. The article points to a 80% success rate for these presentations with thorough presenter preparation the most probably success factor.

Notes Day engages people in small groups starting first with their own team and move to other departments. The focus is on the most relevant issues facing the organisation as put forward by the participants.

World Café is often used in workshops and training events. However, the World Café format is an effective way to achieve high levels of dialogue and collaboration. Participants discuss a topic around a table hosted by person who remains at the table while others circulate to other tables. This format is excellent for ensuring ideas are captured.

There are other meeting formats described in the article and I encourage you to have a look. You can innovate to make your meeting more effective, fun and engaging.

Managers Don’t Like Performance Reviews

According to a recent study published by SHRM, 9 out of 10 line managers report that they do not like preparing for and delivering the annual performance review. 9 out 10 HR Managers report that they cannot rely on the data in the annual performance reviews. And most employees will agree that they would rather go to the dentist than go through a performance review!

What’s the point? Many people complain they see no outcomes from performance reviews. If there are no next actions then why are they conducted in the first place?

Clearly the system is broken!             People at desk

It does not have to be this way. Give your managers the learning they need to deliver effective performance reviews that will build a performance culture and improve employee engagement. Performance Reviews can be a positive experience for both managers and their people.

Introducing the Performance Management and Development Toolkit for Managers. This set of e-learning courseware will solve some of the most common performance management, performance review and development headaches. Turn the one time per year discussions into on-going discussions. Create valuable annual reviews driving development resulting in more motivated employees.

Get in touch and we can let you have a look at this suite of e-learning modules.