September 2015 LeadershipTraction Newsletter

The LeadershipTraction Newsletter

Barry Zweibel, here, welcoming you to the September 2015 edition of my LeadershipTraction newsletter. Sometimes the only thing that separates us from our most outstanding work is one new idea or one turn of the phrase that puts everything in place. My hope is that this provides you with exactly that. 

To you at your best,

- bz


Develop A Personal Learning Strategy

Sep 15, 2015

Chief Learning Officer magazine hosted a “Bring Your Own Learning” webinar, today. In it, Todd Tauber, Vice President of Product Marketing of Degreed, started by sharing some interesting statistics regarding BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) technology programs:

  • 95% of the workforce use at least one personal device at work (e.g. smartphone, tablet, laptop)
  • 50% of employers will require employees to supply their own device for work purposes by 2017
  • BYOD has shown to:
    • increase productivity
    • increase employee morale
    • make employers more attractive to recruits

He used these statistics to tee-up another burgeoning BYO trend: BYOL – Bring Your Own Learning. (I think it should be called GYOL – GET Your Own Learning – but more on that, later.)

What’s at Issue

The showcase statistic from the recently-completed research conducted by Tauber’s firm is this: Up  to 65% of employees are now bypassing Human Resources, Organizational Development, and Learning and Development when getting their learning needs met.

But that’s not all.

When those surveyed were asked, “When you need to learn something to be successful at your job, which of the following are you most likely to do?” only 12% said, “Go to HR and ask for resources.” Only 6% said, “Go to HR and ask for a course.” The vast majority, go elsewhere.


People Want More Leaning Than Their Employers Provide

Furthermore, there’s a huge mismatch between the amount of learning that employees know they need, and the amount of learning their employers provide:


David Grebow, Founder, IBM Institute for Advanced Learning, explained it this way: “We get only about 25 percent or less of what we use in our jobs through formal learning. Yet… most of today’s investments in corporate education are on the formal side. The net result is that we spend the most money on the smallest part of the learning equation.”

And HR, OD, and L&D departments wonder why their credibility is so low?!

People Want Different Leaning Than Their Employers Provide

Also interesting is that when given a choice, non-executives don’t even want their HR, OD, or L&D departments to assist them.

Indeed, when asked which they would rather, almost 9 out of every 10 employees said they’d rather be given credit for their own learning than learn at HR’s direction.

Why? Because their self-directed learning was more 77.7% more effective in helping them be successful in their profession than learning directed by their employer.

GYOL – Get Your Own Learning

The implications of these startling (and not all that surprising) findings are threefold:

  1. Employees want MORE learning than they’re getting from their employer
  2. Employees want DIFFERENT learning than they’re getting from their employer
  3. Employees are taking their learning into their own hands

Face it, if you want to learn, you’re going to have to develop your own Personal Learning Strategy. You’re going to have to GYOL – Get Your Own Learning.

Whether it’s through books, or videos, or certificate programs, or through Google searches, or hiring someone like me to coach you, the cold, hard truth is this: Unless you’re at the highest levels of the organization, it’s very unlikely that you’ll be provided with the type of learning that you truly want or need – especially with respect to your leadership development.

If you’re relying on your company to provide you with the training and development you need,
you’re doing yourself a grave disservice.

So if you want to excel, you really do need to take the initiative. You really do need to develop your own Personal Learning Strategy. And you really do need to GYOL.


The All Important 9th Frame

Sept 11, 2015


When I was a kid, I used to bowl on Saturday mornings. The cool of the air conditioning. The heat of the competition. The arc of the the ball. The crash of the pins. Loved it! And, because it was in the era of manual score keeping, if I got to the lanes early enough, I could score for the league and earn free games for myself!

As a kid who loved to bowl, free bowling was living the high life!

The AINF – The All Important Ninth Frame

Not to get too wonky about it, of the 10 ‘frames’ of a game, I always felt that the 9th frame was the most important. (In college, the beer frames became more important, but I don’t want to digress.)

‘Marking’ in the 9th (getting a spare or a strike) set the stage for a strong finish in the 10th and could do some awesome things to my score. Let me explain:

Say I got 8 pins in the 9th. My score would then increase by 8. But, if I got a strike in the 9th, and then followed it up with two more strikes in the 10th, my score in the 9th would increase by 30, plus I’d get a bonus roll to finish out the 10th, as well! So finishing the game with 4 strikes would increase my score by 60 points!

Too wonky?! Sorry.

Suffice it to say that the ability to add 60 points to one’s score was huge. That’s why I always referred to the 9th frame as the AINF – the All Important Ninth Frame. I’d even change the frame number on the score sheet so I wouldn’t forget:


Your Leadership AINF

So why am I telling you this? Why is the AINF relevant to a leadership development blog? (Why thank you for asking!)

It’s relevant because you’re in your work-year AINF right now! This is the time of year where you ‘set up’ so many things to follow:

    • It’s the time of year when you start (or certainly should start if you haven’t already) working on your year-end deliverables, in earnest
    • It’s the time of you when you start  (or certainly should start if you haven’t already) working on formulating your plans for next year
    • It’s the time of year when you start (or certainly should start if you haven’t already) working on your next year’s budget
    • It’s the time of year when you start (or certainly should start if you haven’t already) working on your year-end employee reviews
    • It’s the time of year when you start (or certainly should start if you haven’t already) increasing your internal and external networking (Why? Because you’ve let this lapse, again, haven’t you?!)
    • It’s the time of year when you start (or certainly should start if you haven’t already) working on your own year-end review (in preparation for your conversation with your boss)
    • It’s the time of year (or certainly should start if you haven’t already) working on how you want to grow your impact and influence beyond what they already are (Why? See the networking comment, above.)

Take a moment and consider what other TASK MANAGEMENT, PEOPLE MANAGEMENT, AND SELF-MANAGEMENT activities are (or should be) in your AINF. I’m sure you’ve got some.

Getting a Leg Up on Things

As a leader, you are, in very real terms, a professional problem-solver. And if you’re doing your job right, most of the problems you face are complex ones that no one else in your organization can solve. This is a variation of that. Unlike so many of the problems you typically face, though, these issues come with advance notice. By treating this time of year as something more than just any other time of year – by treating it as your AINF – you set the stage for a strong finish to your year.

But as we used to say on the lane, “You’ve got to STRIKE quickly. There’s not a moment to SPARE!”


How Well Does Your Staff Handle Conflict?

Does it distract them? Does it keep them from doing their best work? (You'd be surprised how expensive even the smallest of conflicts can be!) If conflict, clashes, interpersonal struggles, minor disputes, friction, strife, discord, hassles, scrapes, run-ins, power struggles, or whatever you call them – or the avoidance thereof – is undermining employee productivity and morale, I have a solution.

It's called the Conflict Dynamics Profile (CDP) assessment. Coupled with one or two personalized debriefings with me, the CDP is proven to help employees become more confident, capable, and proactive in addressing the (big and little) scrapes they sometimes have with others.

If you think the CDP might be helpful for those in your shop, I’d be happy to walk you through the particulars.

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