Articles tagged "Develop Managers"
Laura Stack stopped by the blog today to share her “7 Tips for Training Small Business Employees without Blowing the Budget”.
7 Tips for Training Small Business Employees without Blowing the Budget
Employee training is an important aspect of business growth. However, with today’s major focus on cost cutting, training is often one of the first things to go when budgets are tight. However, because motivation or skill level can be impacted, which in turn affects engagement or productivity, the long-term costs of eliminating training can be much higher than the short-term cash gain.
Luckily, you can strike a balance between budget constraints and your organization’s training needs. Here are seven ways you can train your employees while staying within your budget:
Use online learning platforms
…such as udemy.com, coursera.org, and Lynda.com to provide free or low-cost training to employees through online resources and videos. Google the skills you need with “training” in the search term, and see what training opportunities you can find for low or no cost.
Conduct an internal analysis of your workforce to find trainers within your organization.
Look for people with good communication and interaction skills, who have ample experience with the desired training topic, and you just might have found an ideal trainer. Sign them up for classes or certifications to build their expertise on the topic before they start training.
Arrange brown-bag lunches in your organization every week or every month to allow your employees to communicate with each other in a casual environment.
Rotate departments, and have one group educate the others about what they do and how they contribute to the overall organization. You will be surprised at how little people in your company know about the nature of others’ work.
Purchase a low-cost license from a skills trainer or author you like to pre-recorded webinars, MP3s, and eBooks.
You can project their training videos on the screen in a conference room for much less than a live seminar with that person. If you find a particularly relevant book, you could host a book club and meet weekly to discuss each chapter and its applicability to your business.
Cross-train employees by shadowing others in different departments.
Not only will they learn about the different aspects of your business, they will have a better understand how all pieces of the organization are interconnected. This heightened awareness will allow them to see opportunities for better synergy and greater efficiency.
Assign new and high-potential employees a mentor from within the company, who can train them from start to end.
Once they are adept at one role, rotate or promote them to another department and change their mentor. This way, they will learn more and more about the company, and you’ll build your next generation of talent.
Invest in skills training your employees might need in the future.
Why would you invest money training people for something they don’t need and may never use? Because strong leaders look at the current skill sets of their team members and consider their future needs months or years down the road. They recognize when they don’t have the right people on board to meet upcoming strategic needs. But maybe they have the right people with the wrong skill sets, so they need to train them up now to be prepared when that time arrives.
By implementing these seven tactics, you’ll have a more knowledgeable, skilled workforce, and you won’t have to spend thousands of dollars doing it. Don’t miss out on your long-term growth opportunities because of short-sighted training cuts! Get creative and keep building your bench strength.
© 2014 Laura Stack. Laura Stack is America’s Premier Expert in Productivity™. For over 20 years, her talks and books have helped leaders, teams, and professionals improve output, execute efficiently, and save time at work. Her company, The Productivity Pro, Inc., provides workshops around the globe on productivity, potential, and performance. She’s the bestselling author of six books from major publishers, most recently, Execution IS the Strategy. To invite Laura to speak at your next event or subscribe to her weekly productivity bulletin, visit www.TheProductivityPro.com. Connect at www.linkedin.com/in/laurastack.
Are you frustrated with your managers, supervisors, or project managers?
- Do they blame others when budgets are blown and deadlines are missed?
- Do they point fingers when their teams are deadlocked over problems?
- Do they throw their hands up in frustration when their team’s internal conflicts get in the way of servicing the customers?
I had the opportunity to see one of my clients make the leap from being a manager to being a leader a few days ago.
I was preparing for our strategic planning session with his senior team, when my client – the company owner – walked into the conference room and said, “I finally understand what my job is. My job is to build a strong management team and to ensure this organization survives me.”
That’s it! He “gets it”! He finally understands – deep in his gut – what his job is. A manager ensures the products and services are being produced and provided properly to the customers and profitably for the company. A leader’s job isn’t simply to provide good-quality services or products and to make a profit – that’s expected. As a leader, and in this case, as the owner of the company, my client also has a responsibility to his employees and to his customers, to ensure the company is as financially and as functionally strong as it can possibly be. He must ensure the company will survive the current leadership and will be able to continue to provide a livelihood for its employees and products to its customers in the future. That’s what a leader needs to do.
However, an organization can only survive changes in management and leadership when the management team is strong and clear on their responsibilities in ensuring the organization moves forward. That clarity and strength comes from having systems and processes in place that allow the management team and employees to focus on their customers and their jobs. They can then focus their energies there instead of dealing with chaotic procedures, inefficiencies, duplication of efforts, miscommunication, and disarray.
A leader’s job is to identify the people, resources, and systems needed to ensure survival. A manager’s job is to implement and work the systems, use the resources, and train the people to provide the best products and services they can.
What’s your job?
Recently a colleague asked me for advice to help him with one of his clients. My colleague’s been working with this particular client for several years, but it’s getting to a point of frustration where my colleague’s ready to walk away. The manager — or as my colleague now calls him — The Teflon King, is incredibly skilled at deflecting responsibility and accountability. He’s also amazingly skilled at bamboozling the board of directors by not bringing issues to their attention that would show mismanagement on his part, pushing work and decisions to the board that he and his staff should be addressing, and protecting his inadequately-trained and rude staff. Instead, he seems more comfortable in some type of peacekeeper role — i.e., he prefers to help keep everyone and everything appear smooth and efficient, while all heck is breaking loose with the customers because of his mismanagement and his staff’s poor customer relations and work.
The board is comprised of volunteers — all interested and well-meaning — but not professionally skilled or trained in this respective industry either. The manager and the board were all given their respective positions by the organization’s owner — who, has limited day-to-day interest in the organization’s operations. He trusts the management team and the board.
My colleague has been working with the board and has developed a good working relationship with its members. However, he’s had limited success in getting them to fully comprehend the ineffectiveness of the manager and its subsequent negative impact on customer relations and the long-term negative impact on their entire organization. My colleague is stuck. What should he do to help the board guide this organization towards greater effectiveness?
My suggestion to him was: Instead of making it sound personal — i.e., you against the manager — why don’t you make your suggestions and recommendations to the board position-oriented?
Clarify with the board, what their role and responsibilities are and what the role and responsibilities of the manager and each of his key staff positions are.
For example, the board of directors’ role is to direct – through policy discussion and vote – what direction the organization should take in the future. The board’s task is to discuss and analyze the big-picture issues that will allow this organization to grow and thrive into the future — or which may threaten it. The board — which only meets once each month — does not have the time to debate issues affecting daily operations and rather basic customer issues. The board should be holding the management team accountable to ensure the daily operations are conducted smoothly, effectively, and efficiently — with care given to ensure the customers’ concerns and needs are addressed. The manager, on the other hand, is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the organization. Also, given the staff’s daily interaction with customers, their services, and other vendors, the manager is responsible for bringing to the board specific suggestions for policy discussions, analysis of the ramifications of each suggestion presented, and recommendations for action — based upon their experience with the daily operations and industry. Also, the manager is the point person to ensure his staff is properly trained, responsive, and effective in representing the organization to the customers and media. The manager and his team do the leg-work for the board; it shouldn’t be the other way around. The manager works for the board. The directors direct, but only after the manager does his job.
If the board is taught to start focusing their time and efforts to more effectively fulfill their responsibilities, by default more legwork, information, and accountability will be pushed to the manager and his team. It will take time, but doing the job they’ve been asked to fulfill, the board will start to better understand the importance of also holding the manager and his staff accountable to effectively fulfill the jobs they’ve been hired to do.
However, when directors direct and managers do, incredible things happen in organizations. It just requires work, focus, and a willingness to be responsible and accountable.
Copyright MMVI – Liz Weber, CMC, CSP – Weber Business Services, LLC – www.WBSLLC.com +1.717.597.8890
Liz supports clients with strategic and succession planning, as well as leadership training and executive coaching. Learn more about Liz on LinkedIn!
A senior manager recently asked what the difference was between a manager and a leader. I told her:
“A manager is responsible for taking care of the here and now. A manager ensures the resources are used efficiently, and plans for maximum utilization of staff, equipment, materials, and capital. A manager knows how to multi-task and deal with ever-shifting priorities.
A leader focuses on “What’s coming next and how to take advantage of it?”
Given that definition, she said, “I’m definitely not a leader. I don’t have time to think about what’s next. I’m overwhelmed trying to keep the here and now under control. How do I find the time to lead?”
For most people, you can’t lead until you’ve taught others how to manage. Until you free up time and your mental capacity to focus on “What’s next?” it’s terribly difficult to become an effective leader. Many people try to do both and end up being stressed out managers with limited effectiveness planning for the future. They weaken themselves in both arenas.
So, how can this senior manager become a leader?
She needs to start holding her managers accountable to do the tough things good managers do: have Necessary Conversations™ with staff who are not performing well, deal with the unhappy customers to resolve company-created problems, make difficult and risky decisions concerning resources, and track their departmental goals with their staffs to ensure the entire organization continues to move towards its vision. Until her managers are held accountable to do their jobs and manage effectively, this senior manager won’t be able to free herself up enough to lead effectively. Until she’s ready to be a solid manager herself (and have those difficult conversations with her own staff), she won’t be positioned to move to the next phase of professional growth and become a leader.
If you’re faced with the same dilemma as this senior manager and don’t have time to plan for the future, ask yourself, “What do I spend most of my time doing now?”
If you spend the bulk of your time doing the work your managers or supervisors should be doing, you may need to start holding yourself and others accountable.
Copyright MMVII – Liz Weber, CMC, CSP – Weber Business Services, LLC – www.WBSLLC.com +1.717.597.8890
Liz supports clients with strategic and succession planning, as well as leadership training and executive coaching.