The Strategic Significance of Building Good Management Skills

Undoubtedly, effective management is a secret key which unlocks the doors to success. It is the responsibility of a business leader to provide strategic vision to the employees at all levels, who could later translate their vision into a reality. Building great teams require great leadership, which is why resilient and brave leaders are those who are not afraid to take daring or valiant decisions, while also establishing and ensuring certain performance standards. Moreover, business leaders can only leverage a high-level impact if they know the strengths of their people and know how to capitalize on their potentials and use their workforce optimally for reaping intended results or outcomes.

The Role of Strategic Leadership

Strategic leadership provides a scope, direction and most importantly, a reason to inspire, motivate and help drive success for the organization. The role of leadership is to help improve working conditions for employees within the organization and to fight against all odds in the ever-evolving corporate dynamics. The inspiration and motivation, which business managers acquire from leadership programs or activities, help them change the entire fate of the organization by building trust and loyalty within the teams or groups and good management skills in the role. In simplest terms, management is all about managing business affairs and to keep things afloat, especially if the business is new.

Dealing with Uncertainties

Gone are the days when business managers used to streamline their business activities on a set formula or strategy. Now, they have to think outside of the box to resolve certain business affairs, which require instant judgments, decisions or rulings. Dealing with uncertainties and the changing environment is never easy for business managers, as it requires extraordinary skills and abilities to maintain an order in the house. This can only be possible if business managers possess good management skills and know how to deal with crises situations, right at the very beginning.

Empowering Employees and Fostering a Culture of Learning and Development

Successful managers know how to inspire, motivate, and encourage employees to carry out difficult tasks to stay productive and contribute to the working environment throughout the course of the business journey. However, creating a harmonious workplace culture and building a positive relationship with the workforce may take intense efforts of the managers—those who do it successfully reap rewards and those who remain unsuccessful fail miserably. Managerial success can only be guaranteed if you position your company on the right strategic path and incorporate or integrate effective management strategies aligned with the company’s strategic values and mission.

The managers have to pay heed to many facets of management, leadership and learning within the corporate house, they need to constantly upgrade their management skills for performing better at work and ensure a smooth flow of operations with the organizations. So, good management skills would definitely breed positive responses from the employees, which would ultimately yield greater outputs. The most common, yet successful, managerial traits include good communication, leadership, adaptability, inter/personal skills, building relationship, and connection. To survive in a competitive business environment and stay alive in uncertain conditions, you have to be smart, flexible, responsible and possess good management skills for covering or closing gaps. In short, you have to be a multidimensional person, who would have the ability to take things head-on and provide instant solutions to certain conditions of the corporate world.

Effective Management Skills

Building good management skills may sound intimidating. However, once you understand what your company and its success mean to you, it wouldn’t be a problem to build an effective management team and skills for increasing the overall productivity and performance of the company. Effective communications foster a culture of learning and adaptability, which means employees feel inspired, motivated and encouraged. Those managers who enforce strict measures and implement stern business decisions in their organizations would eventually let their employees feel discouraged or disheartened, which may lead them to quit the company.

The reason why managers with good management skills will always succeed, is that they foster a culture of learning and help people grow and remain a source of inspiration, especially for the younger lot making their way into the corporate sector.  Moreover, they lead from the front and set new standards and benchmarks to the already existing culture, with a flair for creativity and innovation. It is the responsibility of a business manager to create an environment, which is energy-driven and powered by motivation and devotion aligned with company values and strategic mission. Moreover, strong networking within the company allows employees to build healthy relationship and connections with each other.

Are There Any Training Agencies Who Offer Pro-Services?

Yes—all salutations to the internet and superior online training services who offer unique, yet affordable, solutions for enhancing management skills of top-executives or the workforce. People can acquire good management skills from the gems of the industry who know the art of inflicting a high-level impact on the working class. All that businesses need to do is search for competitive management side training houses for increasing growth potentials or overall productivity of the employees.

Summary

Good management skills--is at the heart of the competency related to the internal operations of the business. Without this major contributor to the business, things can get messy and out of hand. Without the proper management mechanism in place, it is easier for businesses to get derailed and a considerable amount of effort is needed to get the business back on track to positively grow and flourish while benefiting the business owners with its blessings.

What makes the best E-Learning Programs?

' What makes the best E-Learning Programs? '

That's a very good question because probably like you I have seen some pretty awful e-learning programs!

After On the Job Training, Instructor Led Training, and Coaching the use of E-Learning usually comes fourth as a training preference for most organisations. So it is a high priority for learning and development professionals these days. But how to get it right that's the question!

To answer the question, I am going to look at three key contributors to the success of an e-learning program:

1.THE CONTENT

2.THE TECHNOLOGY

3.THE USE

So let's start with the content.

CONTENT

Today's learners want content that is:

ENGAGING. The content look and feel needs to make a really positive and powerful first and lasting impression.

The best e-learning programs have a real ' Wow ' factor when it comes to their appearance. There is a recognisable and consistent ' house style ' that runs throughout the program using graphics and colours which are attractive to the eye and depict that the program is state of the art.

The designer has used a variety of visuals to capture and keep the learner's attention including:

- diagrams, charts, graphs, photos, cartoons, pictures and other illustrations.

The designer has also used a variety of media including:

- PowerPoint slides, PDF documents, audio and video clips, online exercises, tests, polls, surveys, other diagnostics, online or hard copy workbooks, and links to other learning resources.

- The program has a voiceover of all the content to enhance the learner's engagement This can be turned off if required.

- The content of each session is logically structured beginning and ending with an overview of the session contents.

- Each session takes no more than 30 to 40 minutes to complete. It is broken down into smaller parts of between 7 and 12 minutes to provide short, concise inputs and to enable learners to absorb the contents flexibly in small bite size 'chunks'.

- The words used are familiar to the learner and the content avoids the use of jargon, abbreviation and slang.

The Best E-Learning Programs therefore are highly learner-centric focusing on the need to engage the learner 100% of the time through the use of high quality and quantity of content.

INTERACTIVE

The Best E-Learning Programs are highly interactive. They require the learner to be an active versus passive learner. This means that the learner will:

- Be highly involved in the use of the different media during the sessions.

- Be involved in Social Media Sharing during the sessions.

- Be required to respond to different Calls to Action during the sessions.

- Be required to complete a Personal Workbook during and after each session to transfer their learning into their day to day work.

- Be required to complete a test before the session at the end of each session to ensure their knowledge improvement.

- Be able to navigate the session content quickly and easily either in a linear or non-linear way.

So much for the importance of really engaging content so now what about the technology? What makes the best e-learning programs is undoubtedly the use of the best technology hardware and software.

The Best E-Learning Programs therefore are extremely interactive requiring frequent and practical involvement from learners. Each 'screen' should require a response from the trainee.

TECHNOLOGY

Here are the key points to bear in mind when it comes to the use of technology to create the Best E-Learning Programs.

- You should use a platform which can cater for an unlimited number of courses and unlimited numbers of users.

- The platform contains self-authoring systems to create all the multimedia options you want to use plus others (e.g. Gamification) that you may not want to use immediately.

- The platform needs to be compatible with your other internal systems (e.g. Learning or Content Management Systems, HR Capability Systems, and other enterprise systems such as Client Relationship Management Systems, E-Commerce Systems, Web Conferencing etc.). The ability to integrate the platform with other systems is absolutely key.

- The system should be easy to administer.

- The system should provide easy access to those who are authorized users providing multi portal options.

 - The system should be secure.

- And finally of course it needs to be compatible for use with PCs, Tablets and Mobile Phones and other Mobile Devices.

So that completes my look at technology. I have not tried to cover each and every aspect of technology merely the main issues surrounding it. Advances in technology are so fast these days that my only advice in choosing one is to Google the best ten e-learning platforms and go from there!

The Best E-Learning Programs use the best technology available to ensure that their delivery is fast, reliable and powerful.

USE

Strangely enough I have left the best use of E-Learning until last. But that's because I want to give it the most emphasis.

In my view the Best E-Learning Programs are used for the following purposes:

- Be a part of the employee onboarding process.

- Be a part of On the Job Training and Coaching as well as the ongoing Personal Growth and Development of Employees

- Be an important part of Compliance and Regulatory Training, e.g. Health and Safety Training, which must show an audit trail.

- Be a cost effective way of delivering training to dispersed groups of trainees.

- Help organisations to achieve a measurable and transparent view of its employees' knowledge.

- Assist in new product launches and other new marketing/sales initiatives.

- Form part of any significant change management program in which key messages need to be communicated in a consistent way to a large population of people.

- Underpin training in process and systems changes, and continuous improvement projects.

- Impart areas of knowledge which maybe frequently changing e.g. internal organisation structure changes

- Make just in time learning an achievable objective.

- Encourage the use of Mobile Learning

- Encourage the use of Micro Learning

I am sure that my list is not totally comprehensive but I hope that it has opened your eyes to the capabilities of the Best E-Learning Programs.

 SUMMARY

In summary the Best E-learning Programs:

- Capture and hold the trainee's interest throughout. The content is REALLY ENGAGING.

- Involve the trainee in frequent interactions with the content. The learning experience is REALLY INTERACTIVE.

- Provide fast and easy links to other online resources and social media sites. They open up a REALLY POWERFUL real time learning experience.

- Promote the use of anywhere, anytime, any device mobile learning and development. The technology used is REALLY STATE OF THE ART.

- Satisfy a huge variety of training needs. Because of their flexibility they can deliver REALLY COST EFFECTIVE TRAINING SOLUTIONS.

In closing I would like to suggest that before embarking on e-learning for the first time, or enhancing existing e-learning programs, that you look at examples of the Best E-Learning Programs using the criteria above. You will be amazed at the difference between the best and the rest.

What is the most effective Communication Skills Training?

What is the most effective communication skills training? This is probably a question on the mind of any serious training professional. It's a big question with many facets to it but let me try and answer it.

I will look at:

 Identifying the need for Communication Skills Training

2.Delivering Communication Skills Training Courses and Programs 

3.Creating Communication Skills Training Resources and Materials

4.Measuring the effectiveness of Communication Skills Training

5.Communication Skills Training and Culture Fit

I will take each point in turn.

1.Identifying the need for Communications Skills Training

As with all identifications of training needs communications skills training needs should be identified using:

 - Outputs of Performance Appraisals

- Contents of Personal Development Plans

- Self-Assessments (online or hard copy)

- 360 or 180 Degree Assessments

- Assessment or Development Centre results

- Coaching, Counselling, and Disciplinary session recommendations

- Specific Knowledge, Skills and Aptitude Tests

- Focus Group Interviews

- Internal or External Consultant Evaluations and Recommendations

- Learning Management Systems Data

- Customer Satisfaction Survey Results

- Major Corporate Changes E.g. Culture and Values Changes, Branding Changes etc.

Communication Skills Training is normally aimed at specific target populations of employee e.g. those with the same job titles, those at the same level. 

It is unusual for a generic Communication Skills Training Program to be aimed at the whole population of an organisation unless it is part of a wider program of employee engagement or development, built around a new corporate initiative. In other words Communication Skills Training needs to be customised given the context in which the skills are to be used e.g in a sales or customer service situation, or in a team leadership or team working situation.

Presentation Skills Training might be an exception where a general course could be used for many levels and types of employee.

2.Delivering Communication Skills Courses or Programs

By their very nature these are best delivered through the use of Instructor Led Training (ILT) courses in which the individual learns, practises and gets feedback on the communication skills being focused on.

 As a result, the individual gains both competence and confidence in knowledge and skills growth.

However in today's world of using Blended Solutions many organisations now use a combination of the following resources, in addition to ILT, to deliver Communication Skills Training:

- Highly interactive e-learning 
- Online pre and post training tests to check the level of knowledge improvement.
- Online group learning activities using highly interactive and practical Virtual Classrooms or other Virtual Learning Environments 
- Coaching support from the trainer 
- Handover from coach to mentor for ongoing longer term support.
- Access to a library of additional learning and development resources by the trainee including online self-assessment tools, videos, ebooks, articles, blogs, vlogs, webinars and online communities.

 One thing is for sure and that is Communication Skills Training needs to be action-learning based with a high degree of interaction and practical participation. The trainer's expertise is crucial to success.

  1. Creating Communication Skills Training Resources and Materials.

Resources and Materials need to be media rich and very experiential and should include:

 - Videos to demonstrate best practices

- Audios to demonstrate best practices

- Role Plays to practise knowledge and skills

- Individual and Group Exercises/Interactions

- Self- Awareness Tests/Diagnostics

- Presentations

- Demonstrations

- Playback of recorded videos and/or audios

- Use of simulation equipment e.g. telephone training equipment

- Breakout sessions

- Real time use of digital technologies e.g mobiles, tablets

- Completion of individual workbooks

 Real thought needs to be given to the use of Resources and Materials to create powerful, relevant and memorable learning experiences.

4.Measuring the Effectiveness of Communication Skills Training

 Measures of success should include:

 - Changes in observed behaviors of trainees

- Observable improvement of use of knowledge and skills of trainees

- Third party feedback e.g. from customers, coaches, line managers, peers and staff on their new perceptions of an individual

- Results achieved by trainees e.g increased sales, improved customer satisfaction. achievement of individual performance against competencies or other standards

- Rating of trainer and course or program

- Value for money/return on investment based on the above

- Contribution to team results

- Contribution to corporate results-.

 5.Communication Skills Training and Culture Fit

 All communication skills training needs to be aligned to the culture and values of the organisation. I suppose this is obvious but it is worth reinforcing!

 Here's a tip. In all Communication Skills Course Evaluations completed by trainees list down the corporate values one by one. Put alongside each one a rating scale 1= None, 5= Huge

Ask trainees to rate the contribution of the training to supporting corporate culture and values. Use responses to improve the alignment of the training to corporate values.

 If your Performance Appraisal Documentation does not already do so include a rating of the individual against living out corporate values. You can then relate improvements in communication skills on the appraisal form to improvements in behaviors which live out the corporate values.

 Summary.

 It is interesting that every organisation I have ever worked with seemingly has a communication problem of some sort!

 Maybe if they used their Communication Skills Training more effectively their communications problems might diminish. Maybe!

 

Why Sales Management Training Alone Does Not Create Successful Sales Managers

I have titled this blog 'Why Sales Management Training alone does not create successful sales managers.' Why? And why do I think this is an important topic?

The fact is that the vast majority of sales managers are appointed to the role from a background of being a sales person, a successful sales person. The assumption seems to be that if you are a successful sales person you will make a successful sales manager. Wrong! I have seen more people stuggle in this role than succeed in it, and they may well have been super sales person AND received Sales Management Training.

What might be the problem? In fact, there might be many different problems! Let's take a look at the major ones.

  1. JOB DIFFERENCE

   There is a massive difference between the two jobs. Sales people work alone, within a specific territory, to meet individual sales targets and account management objectives. They are solo operators who are entirely focused on the attainment of their sales bonus and gaining the reputation of being the best sales person in the organisation. Or at least they should be focused on these!

They plan their own time, make sales calls alone, and liaise with sales support people to deliver the products and services they have sold.

Sales managers on the other hand do not work on their own for individual results. They manage and lead a team of people and are rewarded on the success of the whole team. They need to have leadership and management Training, performance management, coaching, appraisal, communication and motivation skills. All these will be new to them when first appointed as will be the way they plan and manage their time. They will need to contribute to strategic and tactical discussions and problem solving with Marketing Staff, Product Managers, Operations Managers, Legal and Compliance Specialists to name but a few. Oh, and they will probably be responsible for managing a few key accounts themselves. They need to be personally productive in a completely new way! 

 Sales Management Training is of course designed to bridge the skills gap between the two jobs. But is it enough?

 2.MOTIVATION DIFFERENCE

To be honest most managers are appointed to their jobs as managers from a technical job where like sales people they have been largely self- managing. Often they are not given any training to prepare them and the different type of motivation they need is rarely discussed with them. No wonder that so many newly appointed managers struggle.

You see the motivation requirements are completely different.

Good managers are motivated by being able to use the type of skills listed above. They need to be able to understand people as individuals, support them, spend time with them, coach and develop them, and if necessary discipline them. They really do need to have a desire to get the best out of people. Lastly, I would venture to suggest that THEY EVEN LIKE PEOPLE! How often have I heard from team members that their manager not only does not like managing they don't even like people! No wonder they struggle in their management role.

So to appoint the right people as sales managers you need to check out what really motivates them. Sales Management Training can help to provide a certain amount of new motivation but only if the right candidates are selected for it. The natural gifting and talents to do the job must already exist in them.

3.MINDSET DIFFERENCE

If I am a sales person my mindset is simple. I am short term focused, I like quick results, I think tactically, I am action oriented, and I get a buzz from getting sales. My people interactions are fairly short and varied. I can plan my own time and be flexible as to how I use it. To put it crudely I am really quite a SELFISH person working IN the business for my largely own ends.

If I am a sales manager, I still need the results driven mindset of a sales person but more than that I need to be motivated by working closely with my individual sales people and my sales team as a whole. In a sense I am working ON the business by helping others to be more effective working IN the business. I need to be excited by strategic thinking and planning, creating and sharing my vision, managing and measuring the results of my team members and the team as a whole, training, coaching and mentoring, and team building, my mindset is OTHERS oriented and not SELF oriented.

SUMMARY

In my view these are the main differences between the job of a sales person and that of a sales manager.

As I said earlier, Sales Management Training is vitally important to bridge the skills gaps but possibly more important is choosing the right person in the first place. This needs a careful analysis of the person using some or all of the following:

 - Psychometric tests

- Values clarification exercise

- Talents and strengths survey

- Job fit survey

- 'Flow' analysis

- Use of an assessment/development centre

- Job shadowing

- Behavioural event interviews

- Analysis of previous performance appraisals

- Review of personal development plans

- Trial period in the new job

- Peer group input on trial period experiences

In summary before appointing new people to the job of a sales manager look beyond Sales Management Training to ensure their success. Make absolutely sure the person is a fit from the JOB, MOTIVATION and MINDSET angles.

Be certain to choose the best candidate because the best get better at what they are gifted to do, and for this job you need the very best people you can find!

Management Development Training - The Keys To Success

Let's start with a fairly well accepted definition of Management Development. ' Management Development is the process by which managers learn and improve their management skills.'

So it is a process for learning and improvement and Management Development Training is a summary term given to that process. No surprises so far!

The surprise is that so many organisations are not very good at this development process. Why is this, and what are the key issues to be addressed in the successful implementation of Management Development Training Programs? Well this is what this blog is about.

There are five key issues to consider. They are:

1 Alignment to Organisation Development

2 Stakeholder Commitment

3 Resource Investment

4 Culture Fit

5 Measurement of Economic Benefit

I will take each in turn.

1. Alignment to Organisation Development

There are eight main reasons why organisations develop successfully. They are:

- They have a clear vision of future success

- They have clear and measurable growth objectives

- They have chosen the right strategy to deliver longer term success

- They have the right quantity and quality of resources to deliver the strategy

- They operate with efficient and effective internal structures

- They constantly upgrade their IT systems, working processes and practices

- They give their employees the knowledge and skills to contribute to the organisation's success

- They operate in line with a carefully chosen culture and values

- They develop their managers at all levels to deliver success in each of the above areas.

So the first key issue to address is, ' Has the organisation attended to, or is attending to, the seven major contributors to its ongoing successful development BEFORE it considers the key issue of Management Development Training?' 

If it hasn't then no amount of Management Training is going to make any difference to its corporate success. Mangement Development Training HAS to be aligned to Organisation Development. That is why it is the eigth contributor in the list above. Management Development is a key determinant of an organisation's success. If this is to be the case it must be aligned to the organisation's stage of development.

Management training for management training's sake is simply a waste of time and money.

2. Stakeholder Commitment

As with anything that matters to an organisation, and therefore becomes a reality, Management  Development Training must have the commitment of key stakeholders. These include:

- The owners of the business, the shareholders.

- The CEO and Board of Directors

- Senior Management

- Middle Managers and below

- HR Managers/Business Partners and Training/Learning and Development Specialists

So how do these key stakeholders demonstrate their commitment to Management Development Training? Here are some thoughts:

- The owners of the business, the shareholders, need to communicate that those responsible for preparing the Annual Report and Accounts, and other investor communications, include an overview of management skills training carried out over the last financial period. They need to ensure that the outside world see the importance the organisation attaches to management development and how it has effected corporate results.

- The CEO and Board of Directors need to ensure that the topic of management development is included at each board meeting and progress in this area is reported on and noted along with its contribution to financial results.

- Senior management need to work closely, as the business leaders in the organisation, with the organisation's HR Business Partners and its Learning and Development specialists to provide an input into management development needs and priorities to ensure complete alignment of programs with the vision, objectives and strategy of the business. They need to create and/or sign off the budget which should grow as the business grows.

- Middle managers and below need to buy into management development of themselves and their direct reports. They need to deliver on their own personal develoment plans and ensure that those they manage do as well. They should have performance objectives for management development training and coaching which they must meet.

- HR Managers/Business Partners and Learning and Development Specialists need to ensure that they are up to date with management development best practices and that they introduce them into the organisation. They must be able to link these to achieving competitive advantage and commercial success for the business.

A passing comment - I know of very few organisations that do all of the above well!

3. Resource Investment.

Organisations which deliver the sought-after results of management development training understand how best to blend the use of internal and external contributors.

Internal contributors these days usually include courses and programs of courses, workshops, job rotation, secondments, coaching/mentoring from internal managers, assessment and development centres, and online/distance learning.

External contributors usually include part time/full time MBAs, other business school programs, other programs (full and part time) linked or not linked to qualifications, coaching/mentoring from external specialists, and use of virtual learning environments.

The blend of these different management development training opportunities is largely dependent on the size, shape and geographical locations of the business. The optimum blend is the one which best supports career development and succesion planning in the organisation.

And so to the next key issue.

 4. Culture Fit

     An organisation's culture can play a big part in the approach an organisation takes to management development.

    Large, hierarchical organisations operating in pyramid shaped structures tend to have a very formalised approach to management development. There tends to be a structured training program for each level of manager based on the competency requirements of each management level. The system used is designed to ensure the promotion of the best internal candidates.

    Those organisations which work in a more collegiate fashion (e.g. in the education sector) tend to be flexible around the use of management development practices which are more aligned to individuals than the organisation as a whole. Hence they may well use external resources more than internal ones.

    Organisations which work in matrix, complex and often international/global environments, with a lot of culture differences, tend to use programs cutomised to their needs and delivered by the faculty of external institutions either in-house or on site at the institution itself.

    Small and medium sized businesses, very often family-owned, per force tend to use external providers of training and coaching as well as online learning resources. Cost plays a big part in those they choose to use.

    These, of course, are generalisations and I am only pointing to trends I have seen which stem largely from the belief system (culture and values) they live by.

    There are many different types of organisation in addition to those I have mentioned above and my only point is that culture will play a part in their approach to management development training.

    5. Measurement of Economic Benefit.  

    Contrary to the belief of some it is possible to put economic measures to the effects of management development training in an organisation.

    There are three broad measures you can use:

    - Improved outcomes

    - Impact of behavioural change

    - Altered perceptions of key influencers

    I will briefly consider each in turn.

    Improved Outcomes

     As a result of the training you can certainly use numeric measures to assess improvement in tangible results achieved by the individual, his/her team/department and the organisation as a whole 

    .Measures typically include increase in sales and customers, reduced costs, improved margins/profitability, increased efficiency/productivity, improved returns on investment, speed of growth, increase in market share, improved supplier performance and many others which may be very specific to the organisation and its business. Indeed, these targeted outcomes should form a substantial part of the training objectives!

    Impact of behavioural change

    Another way of assessing the economic benefit of management development is that of observed behavioural change for the better. Hence the reasons why organisations are so keen to use competency frameworks to measure behavioral change and knowledge/skill development. 

     However, behaviour change needs to be attached to an improved outcome not just stated as an observation. If someone is exhibiting a better leadership style as a result of training, then measure the effect of that change on the bottom line e.g. X now demonstrates a really collaborative leadership style which has resulted in her team exceeding their target by 50% and resulting in a saving of £100,000 to the company in this financial year.

    Management development programs not only need to be seen to bring about behavioural change but to link that change to commercial outcomes which can be used to prove the return on investment.

    Altered perceptions of key influencers

    If a management development training program is really making a contribution to the commercial success of a business it can be measured by the perceptions of others.

     Who are these others? They are key influencers such as journalists, opinion leaders, the media, investors and other external subject matter experts who can either destroy the value of a business or greatly enhance it.

     How can you put value to the altered perceptions of these important influencer? Quite simply by linking their subjective and objective perceptions (truths to them) to the outcomes they generate such as increase in stock value, increased product/service pricing, effects of improved social responsibility contribution, the go ahead to expansion plans from regulators and many others. So instead of a management development objective for the company as a whole being expressed as' improved reputation and standing in our market-place ' it should read on to say ' such that each quarterly review of results by the press reults in more institutional investment.'  

    Again the message is that if you are going to include an imrovement in the largely subjective views of key influencers you must measure the economic value of thes cahanged views.

    Summary

    Address the five key issues above and you will ensure that management development training is always aligned to your organisation's organasition development which quite simply is its primary purpose.

    CAN ANYBODY SELL...?

    I don’t know about you but it’s not often I meet an effective sales person.

    It isn't the buyer's fault. Buyers, guess what, generally want to buy. And they can even buy without being tiresome or difficult if they are helped to buy rather than sold to.

    What's the difference?

    The difference is empathy with the buyer and an understanding of the buying process. Grasp these two essentials and selling becomes a problem solving skill that anyone can employ.

    When, as a buyer, I meet sales people I simply want them to follow a few simple rules.

    Let me outline them.

     

    MAKE ME FEEL SPECIAL

    Demonstrate that you have done some research and know something of my market sector, my business, my organisation and, perhaps, even me! Given my job and the reality of current trading, show an understanding of my likely challenges and goals. Speak to me strategically, demonstrate an understanding of underlying commercial, business and financial issues. Don't bluff, don't show off but do show me that you have taken the trouble to bring more than just you and your product to the meeting.


    DISCOVER MY NEEDS

    As a buyer I wouldn't be meeting with you if I didn't have needs. Needs that neither I, nor others within my organisation, can meet. So please ask me about what I'm trying to achieve, how I am trying to achieve it, my priorities, my opinions, previous experiences of other suppliers and products, what's worked, what hasn't and why. Identify any major financial constraints. Ask how would I measure the success of a product, service and supplier and how that success would impact upon my business.

    Ask me about time frames, others involved in the decision and how the buying process works. Identify who else you might need to talk to. Don't sell. Question and listen so that you can build up the picture. I need your help to tell me the true reality of my situation, to verbalise what the solution might look like and to understand how that solution can be best brought to bear to achieve my goals.


    CONSULT WITH ME

    Take each issue in turn and help me come to a conclusion with which I am comfortable. Where necessary educate me (but don't be patronising). Simplify issues and problems. If appropriate, sketch diagrams, use illustrations, explain what is (or is not) happening right now and why. Give me advice; use other customers as case studies so that I don't feel alone. Reassure me and give me time to understand
    what you are saying. Some of it might be a surprise and I'll need to take it in.


    CONFIRM WITH ME WHAT NEEDS TO HAPPEN NEXT

    The issues may be so straightforward that you can prepare a proposal immediately.

    Or it may be you have to meet with others in my organisation for a more in depth study of my needs. Fine, give me good reasons and I'll help you involve others.

    Perhaps you need to think about it and consult with your own colleagues first. That shows you haven't got all the answers and that you want to get it right. Maybe you want to return with someone else, a specialist, to carry out further fact finding. If it makes the solution better, then again, fine. Do it.
    Whichever route you suggest, do so revealing the experience and judgement that draws you to this conclusion. Show, too, that you know that I need to make the right decision the first time. And show, through every conscious and unconscious signal, that you would like to do business with me tomorrow as well as today. Understanding, openness and commitment can only increase my confidence in you.


    INVOLVE ME IN THE PRESENTATION OF YOUR PROPOSAL

    When you present your solutions to me don't make it a slick one-way sales pitch. Take me through your proposal a stage at a time, discuss points with me, let me put you on the spot, test you out, ask the difficult questions and pose objections. In the final analysis, this is the only way that I can assess the quality of your proposal and discover if I can trust you.

    When you've presented your proposal then please leave me alone. If you will, ask when it would be convenient to call and enquire if we need any more information or advice. But don't pester me; let me get back to you. I have to own the initiative in order to be truly committed to the decision.


    The key to me buying from you is that I respect you, I trust you and you have taught me to believe in the product or service you offer. I shall buy from you because during the buying process I've glimpsed how you and your organisation perform and whether you truly value me as a customer.


    Talk at me, be overly smooth, drown me in product talk and feign sincerity and you'll get the response you deserve-`Very interesting, I'll get back to you'. And of course, the chances are I won’t!


    Can anyone sell? In my view, all too few are capable of doing it well. Can anyone sell? The answer is "of course", because, let's face it, it's only common sense and empathy with the buyer. And all of us are buyers.

    Get Management Training Resources to maximise your managerial potential

    Training resources are by far the most important contributor when it comes to corporate soft skill development.

    Management training resources are an excellent option to sharpen managers’ managerial acumen and develop their team leading skills. These training resources include a thorough provision of training content on managerial skills, concepts, practices, decision-making and problem solving. Through these resources, a manager is able to fine tune his/her skills at managing teams, projects, and clients.

    Through the use of a combination of online resources like eBooks and courses, and offline training like seminars, workshops and training documents, management of an organisation, of employees or of an individual can be completed very effectively. These are lifelong skills that a manager can easily learn. In addition, these skills can also be learnt by fresh graduates and job aspirants, as well.

    There are various training resources, which comprise of a complete management experience. There are different guidelines, questionnaires and notes to help the learner gain an in-depth understanding of essential managerial skills. These help them in organizing everyday workplace activities smoothly. There are also explanatory articles, surveys, management checklists and models. These are extremely valuable in learning about the right workplace attitudes, communication styles, influencing skills and management of change. Online short courses are often conducted by personal trainers.

    These resources enable participating managers to gain an all round knowledge of managerial skills, manage difficult employees, learn leadership and to be proficient in the process of management, peer management, and many other management practices. When a manager gains an insider’s knowledge of the entire management process and its constituent parts, it ultimately benefits the organisation. A more informed and efficient manager is an asset to any business and can affect its prospects very positively.

    To find the most reliable Management Training Resources, you need to browse through online training websites. There are many reputable training websites on the internet that offer the latest resources, courses and workshops. Each of these is divided into modules, exercises and themes.  You can choose from a variety of training materials for developing your own and others’ skills in leadership, management, change, sales, communications, organizational behaviour and other areas of personal effectiveness. Choose a resource or a course today and realign yourself into the managerial system.

    99 Ways to kick start your organisation in a recession

    So we are in a recession, perhaps even a double dip recession. It’s like being becalmed on a boat at sea. No wind, no current, no movement of any sort. What do you do? Well what you don’t do is look back, questioning over and over again how it could be that you are in this situation.

    Evaluation of past successes and failures is one thing but a morbid revisiting of the past is quite another. It’s negative, it’s draining and worst of all it's pointless.

    So what do you do to kick start your organisation and get some forward momentum. Here are 99 tips. I hope some are new to you and above all I hope that some work for you!



    Vision

    1. Revisit your vision. Is it still valid given changes in your market-place? Does it still excite you? Do people still believe in it? Perhaps it’s time for a new vision.

    2. Are people energised by your vision? Do they see it, feel it, touch it or is it just a collection of words? Re-communicate your vision in a fresh and motivational way. Raise people’s spirits.

    3. Is your vision overly ambitious given the current circumstances? Reduce the size, renew the focus, and concentrate on some short term wins to get the beliefs back!



    Objectives

    4. Review your objectives and timescales. Are they SMART given your current situation? i.e.

    Specific - focusing on ‘battles’ you must win,
    Measureable – tangible, concrete, outcomes which are milestones towards future success,
    Achievable – capable of being delivered,
    Relevant – externally focussed aimed at defeating the competition.
    Timebound – capable of being achieved in a given timeframe which should be stretching

     

    5. Is everyone top to bottom of the organisation, clear on the objectives – corporate, functional, team and individual? Perhaps it’s time to start team briefing sessions.

    6. Do individuals own and are they committed to their personal objectives? Are they really taking them seriously? Do they see that they matter and can really make a difference to the organisation?



    Contracts

    7. Is it time to re-negotiate contracts with your key suppliers? Are you bearing all the pain? Can they share some of it? Turn to them for help, if only temporary.

    8. Can any customer contracts be re-negotiated to take some pressure off you? You can but ask!

    9. Can any internal employee, manager, trade union agreements be re-negotiated, again if only for the short term?



    Strategy

    10. Revisit your strategy in the light of your vision and objectives. Is it still valid?

    11. Consider all options – organic growth, mergers, selling off parts of the business, joint ventures, franchising, licensing etc.

    12. Does your strategy focus on your competitors’ weaknesses? You need both a defence strategy and an attack strategy. Have you both?



    Markets

    13. Is it time to look at new markets e.g. beyond your home market to specific overseas markets?

    14. Can you create new products/services on the back of your existing products/services to sell into new markets?

    15. Can you adopt different propositions for different markets to fully leverage your core business?



    Products

    16. Can you break these down into smaller, less expensive and more adaptable offerings?

    17. Can you standardise your product lines more and cut down on over-engineering or over customisation?

    18. Can you make your products more easily customisable and reproducible to meet different customer needs?



    Services

    19. Can you break down your service offering into different levels of service offering and pricing e.g. bronze, silver, and gold?

    20. Are your services ‘fit for purpose’ versus overly elaborate?

    21. Revisit the key differentiators in your service – what really makes you different? Is it time to
    re-think your differentiators?



    Routes to Market

    22. Do you have an e-commerce business from which customers can self-serve? Easy for them and profitable for you?

    23. Are your key agents, distributors, and resellers up to the job? Perhaps it’s time to change or upgrade them!

    24. What other routes to market are open to you? Perhaps it's worth exploring shared resources with other organisations to get to new customers faster and more efficiently!



    Research and Development

    25. Maybe it’s time to drop that new product idea you have been trying to get to work for ages!
    26. Think more about innovation i.e. what you have already got that could be made better.
    27. Do you have to do the A to Z of research and development? Give it to the very bright and able talent in India and other countries in the Far East or Eastern Europe. Save cost and speed up the process.



    None-Core Business

    28. Perhaps now is the time to outsource and/or offshore your non-core business. Go for it! There are people out there who are better at it than you!

    29. Perhaps you need to drop your involvement in business ventures that are not your core business. Swallow your pride! Refocus on what you are really good at.

    30. Better still, why not sell off non-core parts of the business!



    Partnerships

    31. Look for organisations which can add value to your own. Perhaps you can enter into a strategic alliance/partnership with these and share the costs and risks, but also the upside!

    32. Change adversarial relationships with suppliers and customers into collaborative ones. Look for opportunities for each to add value to the other.

    33. Revisit internal frictions between departments and teams. Turn conflict into collaborative working with win/win outcomes.



    Non-Performing Managers

    34. Spell out your requirements, afresh. Hold them accountable to deliver improvements.

    35. Manage them tightly. Get on their case. Don’t be put off by excuses for poor performance!

    36. Perhaps it’s time for these to go! Can you afford to keep them any longer?



    Employees

    37. This is a time to fully engage with all employees. Up your communication. Tell them the brutal facts. Reinforce their value and importance to you and your belief in them.

    38. Get managers at all levels to spend more one-to-one time with employees getting to understand them better and to involve them more.

    39. Conduct an employee survey. Find out what people really think about the organisation and what needs to be put right.



    Shareholders

    40. Maybe this is a time for shareholders to put in more money. Maybe they have had good returns in the past and perhaps now they should give more support.

    41. Involve shareholders more in the business. They have a duty to be active participants if they want the rewards.

    42. Increase your share capital. Bring in some fresh blood at investor level.



    Premises

    43. Do you still need all that space? That expensive address? Maybe now is the time to relocate and save overheads.

    44. Do you need to configure the space you have? What about ‘hot desking’ and use of more shared resources?

    45. What about working from home? Stop thinking that people only work when in your offices. Trust them to work from home.



    Terms and Conditions

    46. Review your commercial terms and conditions. Make it easier for people to do business with you.

    47. Renew your staff terms and conditions. Are they too stringent? Are you putting off potential employees?

    48. What are your competitors doing? Copy best practices.



    Training

    49. Isn’t it about time you took staff training seriously? Carry out a proper training needs analysis and get started on training again. It need not be expensive.

    50. What about the CEO and his/her board of directors -when were they last trained, particularly in the area of soft skills and emotional intelligence?

    51. If your people are not growing your business is not growing! Think about the value you put on training and do something about up skilling everyone.



    Creativity and Innovation

    52. Maybe it’s time to make some step changes in the business. These come from engaging everyone in creative and innovative thinking.

    53. Take some risks with new ideas. Reward openly entrepreneurial thinking.

    54. Incremental process improvement needs to continue but breakthroughs come with creative thinking.



    Culture and Values

    55. Perhaps it’s time for these to change! Do something about it.

    56. Reinforce the importance of the organisation’s culture and values. Reward those that ‘walk the talk’ and penalise those who don’t!

    57. If the culture is wrong it’s probably because it starts at the top. Do you need to change your CEO?



    Change

    58. Is there a reluctance to embrace change? Maybe it’s time for some young blood.

    59. Get onto the front foot of leading and managing change. Create a future of your own choosing don’t become a victim of a future of someone else’s choosing!

    60. Listen to your employees. They will tell you what needs to change and probable how!



    Systems

    61. Systems have a life time. Maybe your internal IT systems are beyond their ‘sell by’ date.
    62. Is this a time to automate further? Bite the bullet and do it!

    63. Does your Performance Management System really motivate people to give a high performance? Does it reward high performance? If it doesn’t, change it.



    Satisfaction Management

    64. How satisfied are your employees in their job? What is their level of psychological contract? Survey them and find out.

    65. How valued do your staff feel? Introduce half-yearly personal development planning sessions for everyone!

    66. How long have employees to go on complaining about working conditions? Do something about complaints, now!



    Coaching and Mentoring

    67. Reinforce the importance of your managers’ coaching role. They should all be involved in coaching their people to improve their performance.

    68. Introduce a ‘buddy’ coaching system to share the coaching load.

    69. Introduce a mentoring system particularly for managers.



    Management Capabilities

    70. Are your managers working as super-technicians IN the business or are they truly working ON the business, and working on its future success?

    71. Are your managers autocratic, too hands on, and de-motivating your employees? Up skill them or change them!

    72. Are your managers ducking key issues and failing to confront problem situations? If so that needs to change!



    Complacency

    73. The enemy of change is complacency. Get people’s attention – if necessary create a crisis!

    74. Spell out the brutal facts about the challenges facing your organisation to all employees. Get their attention!

    75. Create a sense of urgency about the need to change and fast!



    Counselling

    76. Perhaps you have some difficult employees with real problems. Now is the time to get to grips with these with counselling.

    77. Long term sickness issues need to be addressed. You cannot afford to pay people forever who are not present in their jobs. Look for a solution and act on it.

    78. Confront the corporate cynics, those who spread their negative attitude around and infect others.



    Rewards

    79. Perhaps it’s time to change your rewards system to properly recognise high achievers.

    80. Recognise the efforts of valued employees in any way that you can. Make sure you keep hold of them. They are your future.

    81. Celebrate successes, no matter how small. Show that people’s contributions really matter.



    Social Events

    82. Increase the number of social events in which employees can relax in an informal setting. Recharge their batteries!

    83. Use social gatherings to build positive internal relationships.

    84. Encourage managers to have informal, as well as formal, team gatherings. Use these gatherings as part of a healthy two way communication process.



    Communications

    85. Increase the quantity and quality of communications – face to face is best, top down, bottom up and across the organisation.

    86. Have departments share what they do with other departments so everyone knows more about the organisation.

    87. Arrange away days to focus on improving communications around specific issues e.g. customer service improvements.



    Competition

    88. Use healthy internal competition to recognise employees of the month, teams of the month etc.

    89. Offer rewards for teams that come up with the most innovative product/service improvements.

    90. Have people/teams work in friendly competition to find cost savings, process improvements and business improvement solutions etc.



    Best Practice Sharing

    91. Invite key suppliers/customers to share best practices they are using.

    92. Invite well known external subject matter experts to talk to your managers on current trends/future developments.

    93. Encourage best practice sharing between internal departments.



    Reverse Bureaucracy

    94. Are there too many petty policies and rules clogging up the works? Get rid of them.

    95. Are there too many people involved in making decisions? Simplify the process.

    96. Has the organisation become too inward looking and ‘political’? Change the focus to one that is external and fast!



    Structure

    97. Are internal structures too complex? Simply them.

    98. Are internal structures now inappropriate? Change them.

    99. Is there a lack of proper structure and infrastructure? Create what is necessary.



    Summary

    See the recession as an opportunity versus a threat. Take this as an opportunity to re-think the basics, plan new strategies and re-invent the business.

    When the wind blows again make sure you capture every inch of it in your powerful new sails and translate the power into a sleeker, faster hull!

    Why Does Your Company Need Management Training Resources?

    With the immense amount of growth in professionalism, owing to cut-throat competition, the need for management training has only really grown in the past decade or so. Large companies and organisations have a dedicated Training and Development Department for undertaking this activity, while smaller organisations still depend on their Human Resources Department or line managers for the same. There are a lot of areas which require specialised and focussed attention when it comes to management training, such as leadership and management skills, change management skills, performance management, talent development skills, personal effectiveness, sales and account management skills etc. to name a few.

    Whether it is a large corporate or a small organisation, it isn't necessarily the case that the managers and employees of the company, or any of its training dedicated department staff, are capable enough to design complete training programmes along with the requisite materials. Moreover, designing a specific programme only for the company's staff and workforce may take up an immense amount of time, and might also prove to be rather expensive. Hence, increasingly what a company needs is not specifically designed bespoke training resources, but those which are generic in nature and which can be easily modified to fit the company's needs.

    This has given way to the sourcing of such training material from a proficient resource centre. Today, one can easily find such material available online, on the website of any such centre, that can be purchased in not more than a few clicks. An efficient website even goes to the extent of providing material that can be downloaded as soon as the payment is made. Once downloaded such material can be reproduced any number of times, hence opening up opportunities for editing it to suit the specific requirements of the company, and to help the training department to achieve the goals set for it. The most imperative feature about buying this type of material is that one can use it any number of times, in any number of ways, without any restriction from the resource provider. Usually a comprehensive offering from an efficient resource firm includes Diagnostic Tools, Models and Interpretive Notes, Guidelines, Process Guides and Checklists, Soft Skills Training Course Material and E-books to support the personal growth and development of the company's employees.

    So what are you waiting for? Whether you are delivering management training or you are on the lookout for resources to optimise the personal growth and development of your company's staff, all you need to do is to go online, and identify the most efficient management training resource provider, and acquire the resources.

    Soft Skills Training, the Need of the Hour...

    More often than not soft skills are an aspect of employee performance that is left ignored in most business concerns. However, businesses which fail to understand the importance of this part of personal development inadvertedly put themselves at risk. Here's a quick read that'll help you in understanding the inherent benefits of soft-skills training.

    First and foremost, appropriate training in this field will enhance the ability of an employee to communicate effectively in the horizontal as well as the vertical lines of the organisational structure. This training will also help the individual in improving on certain important facets such as time management, organisational skills, goal setting, etc. Moreover, s/he will be able to develop leadership skills and will contribute more efficiently towards teamwork, creativity, and the overall productivity of the organisation. Not only this, but high quality soft skills training also enhances managers' and employees' presentation skills, which further helps in sales conversion, internal communication and client relationship development as a whole.

    Now that you are aware that such training can not only boost your managers' and employees' self confidence but also contribute towards the prosperity of your business you should probably think about including this important area of skill as an integral part of training and development programme. All you need to do now is to acquire highly proficient and trustworthy soft skills training material, from a reputed online resource centre.