Blog list ...

The power of your voice

Some voices seem to command instant attention. Actors and singers spend a lot of time learning how to do this, often we forget that the voice is based on muscles, and muscles can be trained. So all of us can learn, should we choose, to have voices which command attention.

 The tone of our voice is important of course, and muscle structure helps with this. But pace and volume matter as well, and these can be adjusted perhaps more easily. We dress for the occasion, perhaps we should think of adapting our voice for the occasion!

Here are some thoughts on how we could do that. 

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Time to think ... reflection time for personal effectiveness

We always assume that personal performance improvement involves significant shifts in the way that people behave.  Some delegates on my programmes are concerned about having to ‘alter their personality’ in order to be successful.  From my experience, and from my studies into taking time out in the week to reflect, I have noted that small incremental shifts can reap huge benefits in peoples’ effectiveness. 

Taking time out to reflect regularly is not confined to leaders and managers, but can improve personal impact for anyone.  In fact, the roots of reflective practice can be found in professions such as the medical and social services.  Reviews of social and medical cases often create learning opportunities, avoid significant mistakes in the future and improve standards.

So how can anyone use reflection in their day to support their personal impact at work?  There are a number of scenarios which provide opportunities to develop personal effectiveness....

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Make the training budget work

There is a lot of pressure on us to use L&D spending wisely. In this blog, I will take a look at how, instead of taking it all on ourselves, we can involve staff and suppliers in that process.

We all know that companies feel under pressure to deliver effective training and development interventions. It can sometimes be challenging to do this when there are so many internal and external factors that can influence the process. I promise, this isn't a blog moaning about the economy and the impact it has had on companies, however as the training and learning budget is always one of the things that gets cut first it is still wise for companies to know how to make this budget work for everyone. This got me thinking about how we can create our own best practice approaches to L&D spend to help utilise L&D resources efficiently!

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Getting payback from training

“Training is an overhead isn’t it?”

I think it is fair to say that the view of training as a cost prevails through many sectors of our economy. There are some clear areas of activity where training definitely pays back. The WW1 battle of Vimy Ridge in April 1917 was won by the Canadians after months of intensive training. Professional athletes spend a substantial number of their waking hours in training. Pilots are trained and re-trained consistently, as are other roles such as divers and heavy plant machinery operators. In these kind of ‘life critical’ areas the payback for training is often seen intuitively by budget holders and rarely questioned.

In our day-to-day management roles, however, the issue is somewhat blurred. Organisations seem to generally think that training is a ‘good thing’, and often do start to invest in training significantly if there is increasing staff turnover or a loss of competitive advantage. Sometimes, however, we seem to be short sighted. The Guardian reports on why the German economy is so robust, and it is significantly so due to the German attitude to training as an investment. So why in the UK do we often struggle to get senior staff to throw their weight behind training initiatives?

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Failure to face failure?

The military has quite a decent record in facing possible failure and adjusting accordingly. In fact, 360-degree appraisals were the first known use of a multiple-source feedback method was during World War II, by the German military. Although it lacked the current name, the concept was the same. Soldiers were evaluated by peers, supervisors and subordinates to provide insight and recommendations on how to improve performance.

The great idea of course behind 360's is that the individual receives more data about him/her self. That should enable a few warning signals to become visible so that the individual can avoid possible failure points.

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