The clickety-clack train journey that took me places!
There I was on one of my many clackety-clack train journeys to Nottingham dreaming of what I could do if I changed jobs, bearing in mind that I loved doing Management when I came across the SWOT model for personal use as I was browsing the internet. It’s brilliant for working out what your own strengths are, what your weaknesses are, what threats there are and what opportunities are there for your taking. As a result of using it I changed my career path and have no regrets at all. Last week, in fact I heard I had obtained my Level 7 Diploma in professional consulting which felt amazing and has certainly helped me understand what businesses need from a professional consultant, and all because of that train journey!
Having used it successfully myself I started sharing it with team members as a coaching tool to get them thinking about what strengths they had and what they needed to work on. It was amazing what hidden talents came out that could be developed for the business use from an artist to a football coach. It got people really thinking about what they wanted to do and where their future lay.
Other tools I’ve used with people is coaching. We all like to be given the answer but frequently we don’t remember the answer because we haven’t searched for it ourselves. So what I will do is coach people through finding the answers themselves. It really does mean they then remember the answer and along the way they often find out other useful information that they didn’t know existed. The times one of my old Managers used to make me research information and I thought it was time wasting but I now look back and realise he gave me a skill that enables me to find out information myself.
Another development aid for employees is bringing in short focused meetings. We can all recall the times when we wanted our boss to just give us the time of day and have a brief conversation with us (then again, maybe you just wanted to avoid those conversations!) Well these monthly 30 minute sessions work a treat. Employees record what they have worked on in month, what issues they want to discuss, what support and development they need and as a result then the actions are recorded to make sure not lost. It gives the person regular scheduled time to air any problems and have a catch up but keeps it snappy and focussed. The bonus is you can get the jobholder to set the meetings up, document prior to the meeting the current position and then afterwards capture the actions so they don’t get lost. It builds a record for performance and development and the person feels that they matter in the business. From these meetings there should be development opportunities as you want the employee to grow, in turn benefiting the business with the added knowledge or skills they gain.
Recently I asked the question what learning and development at work helped you the most, along with what was the best way to learn. One answer was being encouraged to try different solutions. That’s something employers are pretty bad at doing. I’ve often heard “well that’s the way we do it around here.” Well just because it is, doesn’t mean it’s the best way and in reality the way we do things is changing. Look at the advent of the digital changes and how this is affecting businesses. New skills are needed and different types of knowledge so businesses need to evolve their learning and development to keep up.
Hope this gave you food for thought and do share your perspective through comments or by emailing me.
If you would like any support for your business then do ring me for an informal chat or email me.