Beckwith Consulting Group in Uncategorized on September 29, 2012
- Why are some employees consistently recognized for their contributions while others fly under the radar?
- How do certain ideas incite action across an organization while equally powerful plans remain stagnant?
- Why don’t rewards and promotions always align with formal performance criteria?
These everyday inconsistencies often reflect underlying political dynamics at play within organizations. Workplace politics are frequently perceived as insidious behavior to be avoided if possible. However, high potential employees can increase their organizational impact and influence by being aware of the existence of organizational politics and the political styles of their colleagues.
Naivety about unspoken workplace dynamics can result in political blindspots that hinder an individual’s career advancement and limit his/her impact on the organization. Yes, there are risks to being over and under-political at work, but skills can be developed to enable you to more easily navigate through this complex terrain. Learning influence strategies that allow you to maintain your integrity will also enhance your credibility.
Developing organizational savvy takes various forms within individuals depending on their natural strengths and political styles. Organizational Savvy workshops develop strategies within high potential employees for maximizing organizational impact. The skills revolve around the themes of:
- Promoting Yourself in an Authentic Manner
- Enhancing your Power Image
- Ethical Lobbying
- Developing Savvy Communication
- Managing Perceptions
- Dealing with Hidden Agendas
Balanced self-promotion, for instance, is a strategy that savvy employees can utilize to ensure that they’re leaving a handprint on their work. While employees often struggle with self-promoting, a balanced approach secures recognition for individual and team accomplishments and increases opportunities for impact on future projects.
In today’s competitive and demanding organizational climate, honing ethical political strategies is essential to ensure that employees can effectively promote their ideas, get deserved credit and appropriately advance their careers.
About the Author
Moira Garvey, has worked in the field of Leadership and Organizational Develop for over 25 years. She is one of the founders and principal consultants of Jupiter Consulting Group, an International firm whose mission is adding life back into work. Moira believes individual and organizational success springs from building on strengths, efficiency and innovation. One of Jupiter Consulting Group course offerings is Organizational Savvy, Avoiding Political Blind spots. www.JupiterConsultingGroup.com
Beckwith Consulting Group in Uncategorized on July 29, 2012
As the pace of work changes in the current economy with employees asked to do more work with less resources, the environment is becoming more interconnected and complex; workers require more knowledge immediately and continuously. Our views on enhancing learning have to change as rapidly, too.
Also, with this backdrop, we have to factor in generations who grow up digital, access to workers in rapidly changing nations such as China and India, new kinds of institutional frameworks such as creative commons, open source, and Wikipedia, and new media forms. Each of these relates to a changing learning model. One important part of the new model is the transference of concepts, skills and behaviors through technology-supported programs.
Transfer of knowledge happens at various parts of the technology-supported program. It is estimated that pre-work contributes 26% to learning effectiveness while the event adds just 24%. It is follow-up that makes up a whopping 50% of learning effectiveness. As we learn more about the design elements that go into a highly effective virtual learning experience, the basics still apply:
- Strategic link
- Explicit goals
- Relevant content
- Behavior modeling
- Reflective questioning
- Opportunity to practice and use
- Accountability over time
Kathy Beckwith, Managing Director, Principal Consultant
Beckwith Consulting Group in Uncategorized on July 23, 2012
Many moving parts go into a successful leadership development effort such as: a talent assessment process to define core competencies; analysis of the organization’s leaders to identify high potential pool; a wide variety of integrated leadership development programs including, but not limited to, training.
However, without three often overlooked components listed below, leadership implementations get low commitment from managers or the people being developed.
Clearly articulate what leadership means within an organization. Make the vision for your leadership development initiative easy to understand so that everyone gets it. Creating a clear vision means getting to the heart of what you want to achieve. Is it building bench strength or is it improving the agility of the organization and reducing costs of lost productivity when a transition goes wrong?
Most communication about a leadership initiative is targeted at participants, but what about their executive, leader, and direct reports? Building a support system for the new learning and behaviors can go a long way to making your efforts pay off.
Communication channels work both ways. It is also important for leadership development professionals to hear from the people affected by the program and those who are sponsoring it. How is it really going at the front line? Unless there are effective communication methods to gather this feedback, the executives won’t really know how the leadership initiative is being perceived – and thus whether it is likely to stick.
Don’t underestimate the importance of leadership development that is in synch with the rest of the organization, aligning with business priorities and culture. Dimensions of the culture such as, role of innovation, emphasis on teamwork, and the amount of stress put on getting results; may strengthen or impede the execution of the leadership initiative. Does the program “speak our language,” and relate to our population’s proclivities?
When you have commitment to leadership, and when you have an organization that really emphasizes and enables the clear vision, communication, and cultural fit of a leadership initiative, you have three of the most important ingredients for great effectiveness and excellence.
Kathy Beckwith, Managing Director, Principal Consultant
Beckwith Consulting Group in Uncategorized on July 9, 2012
Sales 2.0 is upon us. Are you ready to develop a high-performance sales organization optimized for the challenges and potential rewards of this game-changer?
Sales teams are a lot like sports teams. There are no incremental wins in sales or sports. You get the win or you don’t. You get the sale or your competitor did. There are no compromises. Similarly, sales managers are a lot like coaches. The best coaches work to develop a team which leverages the strengths of all involved. They work to drive their performance to the next level – focusing not just on the best players, but on the whole team; building many players and their disparate personalities into a cohesive, competitive, and importantly – cooperative – whole.
In this blog, we’ll explain some of the current research in achievement and motivation in learning and sport, and as the “coach of your sales team” how you can apply those principles to emulate an environment which encourages developing mastery and also prizes performance.
Michael Hotchkiss is an Associate Consultant supporting learning delivery initiatives with Beckwith Consulting Group. Michael is an experienced human resources and talent management professional with a passion for connecting people with their ideal careers. He holds a Master’s Degree in Organization Development from Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green Ohio and a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from the University of Connecticut in Storrs Connecticut.
Presentation Link: Performance-Mastery Sales Goals
Beckwith Consulting Group in Uncategorized on May 15, 2012
Take a look at your nearest parking lot. My guess is that you’ll see a dozen or more different makes and models of cars. They all provide the same basic functionality, but appeal to different buyers’ wants, needs, and budgetary considerations.
Commuters need better mileage, families need more space, and some people just want to have the most horsepower. Some people might like to buy a sports car, but would be better suited with a pickup truck. Simply put, we all consider personal needs, wants, and tradeoffs when selecting a car to buy.
The same logic we use when making a car purchase also can be applied to selecting a learning environment for your team.
Today’s technology offers incredible opportunities for incorporating a technology-based learning approach in your organization. However, deciding when to use classroom, online, and virtual learning environments depends on some very vital choices and can ultimately affect the learning outcome for participants. It is critical you conduct the right analysis of your learning environment needs in order to ensure the eventual training intervention is effective.
The link below will take you to a 10 page presentation where I’ve assembled the facts on each type of learning environment to make it easier for you to know when a classroom, online, or virtual learning approach is appropriate.
Michael Hotchkiss is Associate Consultant supporting learning delivery initiatives with Beckwith Consulting Group. Michael is an experienced human resources and talent management professional with a passion for connecting people with their ideal careers. He holds a Master’s Degree in Organization Development from Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green Ohio and a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from the University of Connecticut in Storrs Connecticut.
Beckwith Consulting Group in Uncategorized on April 11, 2012
We all know that learning is radically different; it’s a global, web-based playing field with the sharing of knowledge and work in real time, without regard to geography, distance, or even language. But, do we know how to effectively support a true virtual classroom environment with synchronous communication tools, video conferencing, shared whiteboards, shared desktops, real-time chat, real-time collaboration, presenter control and VoIP?
Is it good use of limited teaching resources for an instructor to be proficient with the technology platform and distract from engaging students or could we increase the productivity of faculty and staff by adding a virtual moderator?
The link below takes you to a nine page presentation on the challenges of virtual classrooms, the role and tasks of virtual moderator, and an ROI case study on using a virtual moderator.
Beckwith Consulting Group in Uncategorized on April 2, 2012
Business challenges are multidimensional, so it takes an integrative approach to designing, developing and delivering management programs that stick – ones that are so effective they have managers coming back from a course wanting to implement right away. Courses that help managers internalize the ideas of faculty thought-leaders and unite theory with practice in order to make positive changes in their performance.
Answer “yes” or “no” to the following questions regarding your management courses – Scoring is below.
Is the topic aligned with the personal goals of the manager?
Does the manager have the interpersonal skills to effectively communicate and collaborate?
Is the manager’s baseline knowledge of the topic adequate?
Are the new processes, procedures and techniques necessary to do the manager’s job?
Can the problem-solving strategy used in class be readily applied in the back home environment?
Is the thought leader motivating?
Does the course use a variety of methodologies for all learning styles and generations?
Is there an incentive for the manager to use new ideas at work?
Does the manager’s supervisor reinforce the new ideas?
Is the work environment free from impossible deadlines, goals, or conflicting demands of equal priority?
If you answered “yes” to 8 or more questions, your organization is doing a good job of selecting candidates, designing courses and integrating follow-up. If you answered “no” to 3 or more you run a risk of minimizing the effectiveness of your management training. If your “no” answers are grouped look for ways to improve selection of candidates, the course itself, or the environment back at work.
Kathy Beckwith, Managing Director, Principal Consultant, Beckwith Consulting Group
Beckwith Consulting Group in Uncategorized on March 10, 2012
The case study method has a long history with its roots going back to Harvard Medical School in the nineteenth century. Today managers probe underlying issues, compare different alternatives, and finally, suggest courses of action by defending their assumptions–virtually– with 40+ of their peers. This is what they will do in the business world every day.
Why has this powerful learning method translated so well to the virtual world? Basically, the foundational tenets of participant-centered learning have not changed. They are simply delivered through twenty-first century technology. Business managers actively engage in stimulating problem-solving with peers from around the world – diverse in cultures, businesses and knowledge.
- Read and analyze each case individually, identifying problems, defining alternatives, making decisions on a course of action.
- Share their ideas with a virtual team and learn from each other about any areas of uncertainty.
- Discuss the case in a virtual classroom where the moderator uses Socratic Method to explore the input of everyone and bring out the critical learning.
- Reflect on how they can apply this at work.
Benefits include increased participation from managers who are less inhibited to address a virtual class and are actively engaged through the moderator’s “thought questions.” As with all virtual learning, the method allows for a folding of time and space, bringing together dispersed managers for a 24/7 experience. The case method focuses on real-life problems and dilemmas that managers transfer to the work environment for an immediate gain in performance.
Kathy Beckwith, Managing Director, Principal Consultant, Beckwith Consulting Group
Beckwith Consulting Group in Uncategorized on March 3, 2012
What does it take to develop talent these days? This is an interesting question given the press these days and talk of generational differences, talent wars, etc.
First and foremost, they want to be developed, AND they insist on being developed from the first day on the job. The challenge is that many younger workers do not understand what development is. The onus is on the organization to make sure that the young talent start to learn that development is not simply classroom training, but includes many action and in role experiences that add to the individual’s toolkit.
In fact, this may be the way to frame it. “What have you added to your toolkit today?” becomes a question we should ask each one at the end of each day. Perhaps add a half hour reflection time at the end of each day and have the individual log their learning for the day.
Even better, have your talent create their roadmap to success as part of the orientation process, and use this as the basis for their learning log, and make the maintenance of the learning log part of their performance expectations.
Learning needs to be an active and ongoing process that is evident to your talent of tomorrow to maximize engagement, optimization and development of our people.
Mary Marcus is the Principal Consultant at OrganizationDynamic Inc., a consultancy focused on helping organizations maximize their results through their people. OrganizationDynamic partners with Beckwith Consulting Group to deliver webinars and other virtual learning solutions in their development initiatives. You can find out more about OrganizationDynamic at www.organizationdynamic.com.
Beckwith Consulting Group in Uncategorized on February 22, 2012
More than one-third of learning and development spend per employee in U.S. organizations goes to vendor costs. The remainder is allocated to the internal learning function, such as staff salaries and internal program and system development costs (ASTD, 2011). With such a sizable portion of your training budget invested in external providers, consider HOW to take full advantage of the collaboration.
Establish strategic intent and value – You will be attempting to “fold the future into the present,” not a simple task. Before embarking on this endeavor, everyone should be fully aware of the purpose. WHY is the company doing this project? Why NOW? What in the business is not working the way it should? Is there some part of the strategy that is not getting traction? Is there a business metric somewhere that is not satisfactory? To what degree is this program important and useful to what the business wants to achieve? (DM)
Ask for a risk mitigation plan – Learning programs run smoothly when the root cause of risks has been anticipated. Sharing possible events that could derail the process lessens the likelihood that they will occur. Collaborate to plan: what could be done and what options would be available if the worst happens? What would be the tradeoffs in terms of all costs, benefits, and risks among the available options? What will be the impact of decisions on future options?
Leverage scalability of resources – Speed, access to expert talent, and broader geographic reach are positives of consultants. They also bring process advantage because learning is usually their core competency. In order to leverage these benefits, develop robust mechanisms for communication. Is the communication authentic and transparent? Are both sides approachable? What and how will information be exchanged on design, content, and execution?
Link formally between internal and external assets – Challenges exist for consultants, such as understanding the culture, learning the organization’s language and terminology, finding real-life examples and problems, and honing in on the exact skills and knowledge that are deficient. To get these correct, consultants need a formal structural tie to internal experts. Has a sponsor for the project been introduced? Are there key people or a representative team of the target audience available? Has the consultant received an immersion in the organization’s values, philosophy, expectations, and norms?