Talent Development 43 Marketing Strategy

June 21, 2021

Section 3.4 in the CPTD Certification program for ATD is Talent Strategy & Management. Section E states, “Skill in establishing and executing a marketing strategy to promote talent development.”

You can have the most effective and complete training curriculum, but if most people in the organization are not aware of it or how to obtain the training, it will lead to disappointing results.

It takes energy and skill to pull together a professional marketing strategy for promoting the program. This short article will discuss the process.

Business Case

First of all, there must be a business case. The training will improve the skills of the people attending, but what is the total payoff for the organization?

For example, if training in “Lean Production Concepts” is projected to boost productivity by 15% and reduce waste by 10%, then managers can verify that those numbers more than offset the training cost.

Often, the training program is for the ultimate development of the people involved, and the payback will be in the form of lower turnover and recruiting costs.

Sometimes a training program will be for purposes of pursuing a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion plan. If so, include that fact in the promotional material.

Whatever the impact on the return for the organization, estimate it so that managers can test the validity of the assumptions.

Promotion of the Training

Once we understand the business case, we can promote the training program by including it in daily briefing meetings.

When managers appoint people for the training, the rationale will provide the basis for discussion.

Include the training program in an overall training strategy and present it to the shareholders as well as the general public.

Add the training effort to the Learning Management System for the organization as part of the overall plan.

Bob Whipple, MBA, CPTD, is a consultant, trainer, speaker, and author in the areas of leadership and trust. He is the author of: The Trust Factor: Advanced Leadership for Professionals, Understanding E-Body Language: Building Trust Online, Leading with Trust is Like Sailing Downwind, and Trust in Transition: Navigating Organizational Change. Bob has many years as a senior executive with a Fortune 500 Company and with non-profit organizations.


Building Higher Trust 26 Trust and Respect

June 18, 2021

In my work with leadership teams, I like to ask if trust and respect are independent variables or if they are always linked in some way. Typically I will ask the group two questions:

  1. Can you respect someone you don’t trust? And.
  2. Can you trust someone you don’t respect?

 

Wrestling with these two questions really helps because in order to answer them you have to dive deep into your understanding of what the words respect and trust mean to you.

Respect

My favorite definition of respect is this. If I respect you, I hold you in high esteem and value your opinions greatly. Your stature in my estimation is very high due to some set of circumstances such as credibility, office, longevity, credentials, finances, or other factors that allow me to hold you in high esteem.

Trust

If I trust you, I believe that you will do what you think is in my best interest at all times, even if I don’t like it. Trust also means that I see you as being consistent (doing what you say), credible (that you are capable of doing your job well), and of high character (that you operate in a way that is consistent with your values).

There are numerous other definitions we could generate for these two words, but if the above two are close to your thinking, it could lead to a better understanding of whether trust and respect are always present together or if there is a pecking order.

Most of us would agree that trust and respect are typically strongly linked. If we respect someone it easy to trust him or her, and if we really trust someone it means that we respect him or her as well.

Deeper Analysis

Thinking more acutely, we may be able to pick up a subtle difference that will allow some deeper analysis. I think there is a hierarchy and that trust is a higher level than respect. As evidence of this, I can respect individuals due to their office or their financial situation or some other factor and still not fully trust them to do what is in my best interest. Therefore, I can respect someone that I don’t yet fully trust.

 

However, I cannot come up with an example where I can trust someone who I do not respect. Respect is a precursor to trust; therefore, I believe there is a hierarchy where trust is a higher level than respect.

In most situations at work and in other areas of our life, trust and respect are linked together. But in reality, I believe respect comes first, and trust is earned with deeds, not words, that occur after there is already some level of respect present.

This discussion is a very interesting one to hold with leadership groups because it enables people to delve deeply into their understanding of these words and come up with scenarios that allow greater insight than was previously present.

Both trust and respect are also a function of how we treat other people. To maintain both, we need to be consistent, and kind.  When we treat people the right way, it is easier to build and maintain trust and respect.

 Bonus video

Here is a brief video of the relationship between Trust and Respect.

 

Bob Whipple, MBA, CPTD, is a consultant, trainer, speaker, and author in the areas of leadership and trust.  He is the author of four books: 1.The Trust Factor: Advanced Leadership for Professionals (2003), 2. Understanding E-Body Language: Building Trust Online (2006), 3. Leading with Trust is Like Sailing Downwind (2009), and 4. Trust in Transition: Navigating Organizational Change (2014). In addition, he has authored over 1000 articles and videos on various topics in leadership and trust. Bob has many years as a senior executive with a Fortune 500 Company and with non-profit organizations.

 


Leadership Barometer 97 Blind Spots

June 16, 2021

In my classes and consulting work on leadership, I often discuss the concept of a blind spot where the worst leaders are often blissfully unaware of their problems.

My own observation in numerous organizations is that this is abundantly true. HR Managers and subordinates often are frustrated at not being able to communicate how leaders undermine the very cause they wish to pursue due to this blindness.

Daniel Goleman, who invented Emotional Intelligence, observed that leaders who are most deficient in EI are the ones who have the biggest blind spots.

They simply cannot see themselves as others do, so they are deceived into thinking incorrect thoughts about how they are coming across.

How can you remove the blind spot of a leader who has low Emotional Intelligence?

My own ideas on this topic are contained in this article.

You Need a Mirror

For many years, I have been intrigued that it is nearly impossible to see one’s self as others do. I focus on this conundrum from the standpoint of a leader, since leadership training is the center of my business.

Many leaders are unaware that they are deceiving themselves with ideas about how others are reacting to them. They need a better mirror.

I pondered the validity of Goleman’s observation for several years. Typically, when I asked leaders or students of leadership, whether Goldman’s observation is consistent with what they see in their environment, they enthusiastically agree, once they understand what Goleman was actually saying.

The idea is that leaders cannot know how others see them. Therefore, leaders with low Emotional Intelligence usually are unaware that they have this problem.

They believe people at work are enthusiastically behind them and have complete respect in them as their leader. Of course, when you talk to the people being led, the exact opposite observation is closer to the truth. They typically observe that the leader is simply clueless.

The Role of Humility

Why is it that leaders often are blind to their own incompetence? Is it hubris? Is it ego? Is it overdrive? Is it stupidity? I believe the truth is that all of these things are in play. For many leaders, the lack of humility is one of the most significant impediments to see themselves accurately.

In my work, I teach that the ability to build trust between people in an organization allows a leader to see him or herself more accurately than ever before. The reason is, when trust is high people are not afraid to tell the leader when he or she is acting like a jerk.

In fact, people understand the leader will reward them for pointing out foibles when they occur. That means leaders who are able to accomplish an environment of high trust have a major advantage. Trust is like the surface of the mirror that allows leaders to be able to see themselves accurately.

If you want to understand how you are coming across as a leader, your best bet is to work on building an environment of higher trust.

Reinforce Candor

In my book, I describe reinforcing candor as a key method for building trust. I believe if people feel it is safe to bring up scary stuff, they will be more inclined to share their truth on a daily basis. When leaders reinforce people for speaking out, it allows trust to grow and gives them the opportunity to be able to view themselves as they never have in the past.

The preceding information was adapted from the book Leading with Trust is like Sailing Downwind, by Robert Whipple. It is available on http://www.leadergrow.com.

Robert Whipple is also the author of The TRUST Factor: Advanced Leadership for Professionals and, Understanding E-Body Language: Building Trust Online. Bob consults and speaks on these and other leadership topics. He is CEO of Leadergrow Inc. a company dedicated to growing leaders.



Talent Development 42 Identify Constraints

June 14, 2021

Section 3.4 in the CPTD Certification program for ATD is Talent Strategy & Management. Section D states, “Skill in identifying anticipated constraints or problems affecting talent development initiatives, for example resource deficiencies or lack of support.”

These two items are common problems with training initiatives, and I will discuss each of these in this article. Equally important are unanticipated constraints that can become stumbling blocks. I will give some examples of these.


Resource Deficiencies
Every training effort must be staffed properly to be effective. The number of people to be trained needs to be clear as well as the cohort size and pattern of classes. In addition, the resources of available rooms and supplies, like projectors and chart paper, must match the anticipated load.


If the training is going to be virtual or partially virtual, all participants must have the proper hardware, software, and bandwidth to support the load. The participants must also be trained on how to use the equipment that is provided.

In addition to the resources just mentioned, administration resources need to be considered so that people can register for the course and attend the sessions. For simple programs, the administration load should be light, but for highly complex programs the administration load can be very significant.

The most important resources will be the facilitators of the training. These people need to be in sufficient quantity to get the job done, and they must be located where the work will be done. They also must have excellent facilitation skills.

Lack of Support

One category of constraints is the lack of full support by the organization. Often the training program is approved at the top without knowing the details of how the program might disrupt business as usual. When push comes to shove, managers will cancel training classes in an effort to keep production rolling.

Sometimes managers give lip service to the required financial support. When the operation gets behind on targeted earnings, often leaders will pull the plug on talent development efforts. The training is frequently considered a discretionary program.

If one plant is behind on performance goals, the training may get delayed until that group can catch up on production.

Unanticipated Problems

The things mentioned thus far in this article are typical constraints that come up frequently. The existence of surprise problems can be just as deadly, and they hit hard because there was no way to plan how to mitigate the disruption. There could be hundreds of different situations. I will mention just a few possibilities here, for the sake of brevity.

Unexpected Travel

A person who is scheduled for vital training may find him or herself on the road with a client issue. Also, a person may choose to take vacation to handle a family emergency and have to miss class.

Sometimes there is a way to have the absent person join a different cohort to make up the training, but that is not always possible.

Instructor Missing

The scheduled instructor may have an unavoidable conflict for any number of reasons. In this case, the training is usually postponed, but sometimes it just gets cancelled.

If the operation is well staffed, then there may be a way to flex other instructors to bridge the void. Usually such a luxury is not available.

Major Weather-Related Incident

There could be a flood or snow-related emergency that makes it impossible for people to attend the training. There may or may not be a provision to make up the lost training time.

There could be an electrical outage due to a heavy storm. A hurricane or tornado would likely disrupt the training as well as operations in general.

As we learned in 2020, there may be some kind of pandemic or other health issue that creates the need to flex to a different model for training.

The best advice is to anticipate that there will be some problems and have various ways to flex in order to accomplish the training.


Bob Whipple, MBA, CPTD, is a consultant, trainer, speaker, and author in the areas of leadership and trust. He is the author of: The Trust Factor: Advanced Leadership for Professionals, Understanding E-Body Language: Building Trust Online, Leading with Trust is Like Sailing Downwind, and Trust in Transition: Navigating Organizational Change. Bob has many years as a senior executive with a Fortune 500 Company and with non-profit organizations.


Building Higher Trust 25 Trust and Fear

June 11, 2021

I have been studying Trust for over 30 years. The topic is so engaging to me because trust turns out to be THE MOST IMPORTANT ingredient for good leadership. I have written four books and hundreds of articles on the topic of trust.

One thing occurred to me decades ago is that trust and fear are incompatible. When there is fear between people or in an organization, you generally find low trust. If you can find a way to reduce the fear, then trust almost grows spontaneously. I like to say that the trust will bloom naturally, just like the lilacs in the spring.


Another favorite quotation of mine is, “The absence of fear is the incubator of trust.”

When teaching leaders how to improve their performance, I focus a lot of energy on ways to reduce the fear. There are many ways to accomplish this critical factor. For example, being honest and trustworthy will reduce fear and grow trust.

Another way to reduce fear is to be transparent and share things openly rather than hide them. If people know they are getting the full story, then they don’t have to worry about things as much.

Always walking your talk will reduce fear, because people can count on you to keep your word. Your word is your bond.

By far the most impactful way to lower fear in any organization is to create psychological safety. If people believe they are free to express their concerns without fear of retribution, then trust will blossom

The leadership behavior that creates psychological safety is to “reinforce candor.” If a leader praises people when they voice an opinion that is contrary to what the leader espouses, then fear will subside and trust will grow in its place.

Difficult to do

Most leaders find it difficult or even impossible to praise people when they express a contrary opinion because the leader simply believes he or she has the correct perspective. So, the employee who voices a differing view must be wrong in the leader’s opinion.

Learning how to make an employee feel glad he or she brought up a contrary view is a critical leadership skill that I teach in all my courses. This habit has more power to increase trust than anything else.

Bonus video

Here is a brief video on the relationship between trust and fear.

Bob Whipple, MBA, CPTD, is a consultant, trainer, speaker, and author in the areas of leadership and trust. He is the author of four books: 1.The Trust Factor: Advanced Leadership for Professionals (2003), 2. Understanding E-Body Language: Building Trust Online (2006), 3. Leading with Trust is Like Sailing Downwind (2009), and 4. Trust in Transition: Navigating Organizational Change (2014). In addition, he has authored over 1000 articles and videos on various topics in leadership and trust. Bob has many years as a senior executive with a Fortune 500 Company and with non-profit organizations.


Leadership Barometer 96 Leader Transitions

June 9, 2021

Maybe this leadership tip is in a book somewhere, but I have not run into it yet. There is a mistake that I have seen most leaders make multiple times and not realize the damage they are doing to their credibility.

It has to do with the delicate time when a leader is assigned a new position and moves into a new area interfacing with different people. The first few days are critical and set the stage for how smoothly (or not) the transition goes.

All signals sent during the first days and weeks are important as both the leader and the new constituents learn how to work together.

Example

For illustration, let’s say our leader has just been promoted from the Printing Department into the Assembly Department. The new job is in a new physical area and has a different set of people involved.

The old leader has retired and left the scene, and our new leader has just brought in the first few boxes of possessions to set up his office. He is cordial to everyone and believes he is off to a great start.

This is an important job for the new leader, and he wants to carry on the fine team enthusiasm he was able to accomplish in the Printing Department.

During the first couple days, he attends the normal production meetings. He frequently mentions how delighted he is to now be working in the Assembly Department.

When a manager is discussing a safety issue, the new leader offers something like this, “We had the same problem over in the Printing Department, and what we did was set up a sub-team to come up with some excellent recommendations. That idea saved a lot of time because it could be done off line by a small group rather than have a bunch of meetings with everyone present.”

People in the meeting listened intently and nodded appreciatively that there was a fresh idea.

The next day, the leader was discussing the financial closing information and seemed a little uncomfortable. He said, “In the Printing Department we always just showed the data in chart form so everyone could grasp the information easily.”

Two hours later he was saying “In the Printing area we had special monitors to ensure the place was cleaned up well before we went home.” You get the idea.

All of the ideas and policies our new leader brought up during the first two weeks were logical and helpful. Nobody in the organization would dare question why they should do these things that the leader brought from the Printing Department.

However, by the end of two weeks, this new leader was so far behind the eight ball emotionally with people that it would take nearly a year to get people to really respect and trust him. Why? He was just too forthright with his innocent suggestions for improvements based on his experience in the prior job.

There is an antidote to this common problem. When I would promote or move a manager, I would ask him or her to refer to the prior job only one time in public. Once that chit was played, I suggested the new leader refrain from other references for at least 2 months.

This restraint gave the new leader the opportunity to appreciate the good things that were being done in the new area before giving a lot of suggestions for them to be more like his old area. The people never knew the difference; they just seemed to like the new leader quite a lot.


Robert Whipple is also the author of The TRUST Factor: Advanced Leadership for Professionals and, Understanding E-Body Language: Building Trust Online. Bob consults and speaks on these and other leadership topics. He is CEO of Leadergrow Inc. a company dedicated to growing leaders.


Talent Development 41 Communicate Benefits

June 7, 2021

Section 3.4 in the CPTD Certification program for ATD is Talent Strategy & Management. Section G reads “Skill in communicating how talent development strategies and solutions support the achievement of targeted business/organizational results.”

In this article, I will describe the importance of tying developmental strategies to the goals of the organization.

At the start of any course, it is a good idea to state the specific skills that will be taught. Lay out the objectives clearly so that all participants know what they are about to learn. Share the actual course outline so that people understand the topics to be covered and the order.

Any developmental activity will benefit both the employees involved and the organization as a whole. In framing up the benefits, make sure to identify the specific new skills that the employees will have as a result of the training.

It is imperative that the skills be demonstrated during the training and not be just good intentions on the part of the trainer. Most talent development activities have skill tests to verify that the training has translated into the desired behaviors.

In many courses, role play exercises are used to allow employees to demonstrate newly-acquired skills. These activities are popular with participants because they break up the content acquisition process and are often enjoyable.

If the course is a long one, it is a good idea to summarize the information in groups so that the people being trained know the sequence and can measure their own progress.

Every course should have a feedback survey at the end so that the trainer knows what parts of the course went well and what areas need improvement for the future.

I like to hold a debrief meeting with management after a major training series. This gives me the opportunity to review the objectives of the training and show that the objectives were met. I can also stress at this time how the training contributed to achievement of the organization’s goals.

It is also a good idea to have a follow-on activity a few weeks after a major training event so that people have a refresher of the key concepts covered. I use a series of brief videos to help participants remember key concepts from the training.


Bob Whipple, MBA, CPTD, is a consultant, trainer, speaker, and author in the areas of leadership and trust. He is the author of: The Trust Factor: Advanced Leadership for Professionals, Understanding E-Body Language: Building Trust Online, Leading with Trust is Like Sailing Downwind, and Trust in Transition: Navigating Organizational Change. Bob has many years as a senior executive with a Fortune 500 Company and with non-profit organizations.


Building Higher Trust 24 Trust and Micromanagement

June 4, 2021

One of the more debilitating practices of leaders and managers is to micromanage their people. Nobody enjoys being micromanaged regardless of the level, so it is an interesting conundrum why so many leaders fall into the habit.

In this article, I will explore the justifications most leaders use to micromanage people and describe some ways to prevent the practice in your organization.

Leaders who overdo the interventions believe they are doing the smart thing for the organization and even the employee being micromanaged. The rationale is that the leader’s intention is to ensure the job is being done “right” and that the employee has a successful outcome. This is thought to be a “good outcome” for the organization and the employee.

The blind spot here is that the leader is showing a lack of trust and faith in the employee, and so that leader feels a need to hover and make sure every step is being handled the “right” way.

I recall one brave technician who had a supervisor who was over the top in terms of micromanagement. The technician was doing some complex testing on a piece of critical equipment. The supervisor kept poking his head in the lab to be sure all steps were being followed correctly.

In reality, the supervisor was interrupting the technician while he was performing the tasks, which actually created problems. At one point the technician had enough of the abuse and brought in a pair of handcuffs. When the supervisor came into the lab next time, the technician held up his chained wrists and said, “You know, I could do this job a whole lot better and easier if you would stop interrupting me about every hour.”

A far better approach is to give the person a task and ask if there are any questions on how to do it. The supervisor needs to give the employee specifications upfront for the outcome. The employee must be aware of what is important to the supervisor.

Then back off and tell the person that you are always available to answer questions or even help with the job, if necessary. That approach shows trust, and the employee will feel empowered to do his best work.

It is very easy to fall into the habit of micromanaging. Most leaders are not even aware they are doing it. If a culture of high trust has been established, then employees will be forthright about the situation before it gets out of hand.

Watch the body language of employees when you are giving them instructions. If there is a look of fatigue or pain, check out what the employee is thinking.

One way to detect if you are guilty of too much coaching is to simply ask the employee if you are being too prescriptive. That phrase opens up a dialog that can allow the employee to tip you off so you can correct the problem.

Micromanagement is a disease that can be cured, but only if the leader is smart enough to detect that the practice is happening. The trust needs to go both ways. The supervisor needs to trust the employee to do the job correctly and the employee needs to trust the supervisor to lead appropriately.

Bonus video

Here is a brief video on the topic of Trust and Micromanagement. It includes an example of how I was able to prevent a known micromanager from getting to me.

Bob Whipple, MBA, CPTD, is a consultant, trainer, speaker, and author in the areas of leadership and trust. He is the author of four books: 1.The Trust Factor: Advanced Leadership for Professionals (2003), 2. Understanding E-Body Language: Building Trust Online (2006), 3. Leading with Trust is Like Sailing Downwind (2009), and 4. Trust in Transition: Navigating Organizational Change (2014). In addition, he has authored over 1000 articles and videos on various topics in leadership and trust. Bob has many years as a senior executive with a Fortune 500 Company and with non-profit organizations.


Leadership Barometer 95 Clarify Values

June 2, 2021

A fundamental function of leaders is to clarify the values of the organization.

The starting point is to understand your own bedrock beliefs and have your actions flow from them. Congruity is a central issue to good leadership. People will quickly notice every hypocritical action or statement.

For example, if you claim “people are our most important asset” as a value, be prepared to defend all actions in light of that strong statement. Most leaders cannot pass this test. When sales go soft, they lay off people.

Mahatma Gandhi was a perfect example of congruity. His strength was derived from understanding his values and giving up all the trappings of conventional power. His objective was not to fix everyone else; it was simply to live a life consistent with his beliefs and stubbornly refuse to back away from that commitment, whatever the cost.

Gandhi ended up one of the most powerful leaders in history, having incredible influence on his nation and the world. He taught, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” Transform yourself before attempting to influence others.

Start by creating a list of your deeply held values. These must be real beliefs and not just nice things to say, as they will be tested thousands of times. This first step is so critical, it is worth taking the time to do right.

Get away from distractions while attempting to extract your core beliefs. The key is to examine yourself very carefully. You may want to work with a facilitator or group of friends on this, but start the process alone. Bring in others once you have a first draft to share.

Brainstorming is a helpful tool for this. Sit alone in a comfortable chair with eyes closed and some non-intrusive background music playing, and let your mind wander on the subject of your core beliefs. Write down anything that comes to mind, exactly as you think it, without trying to make it politically correct. Just capture the thoughts. This may be difficult to do honestly. This exercise can take from two to eight hours, and more than one try might be necessary. Once you are comfortable with the process, ideas will flow rapidly.

When it feels complete, put the list away and do not analyze it until later. Resist the temptation to charge ahead to the next step. Allow your subconscious mind time to work on the list. Additional items will flow naturally over the next week or so, when you are in a meeting, in the shower, driving, or even sleeping. This extremely valuable information must be captured. Keep a pad handy to jot down thoughts as they arise.

After a couple weeks, you should have captured 40-50 items, and the list will feel more complete. Start the winnowing process by doing an analysis of similar items. Write each item on a card, and arrange them into piles with common themes. Consolidate the piles down to a handful of key values.

Four to six piles would be optimal, although you could have more. One pile might focus on your beliefs about what drives people, like: “I believe all people are basically good and want to do well” or “I believe people do their best work when they feel trusted.” Whatever your cards say will dictate the piles. Next, give each pile a name. In our previous example, the name would be “what motivates people.” Another pile might be “how to make our business prosper” or “what I want out of life.” Let the data speak for itself.

Distill the input in each pile down to its essence and express it in a single phrase or sentence. This may be challenging or frustrating but it is an essential part of the process. Keep working the cards until you get to a handful of key concepts central to your beliefs as a leader. If there are private beliefs not helpful to share in a work setting, you can cull these out before sharing, but understand these are also keys to what drives you.

It is insightful to compare your values to those of the parent organization. They may not be exactly the same, but they must be compatible. If you have been dissatisfied or uncomfortable in your job, this exercise may help you understand why. You may be better off leaving to find a more compatible environment if the organization’s values are not congruent with your own.

Now that you have clarified your values, let others reflect on them and do a similar process. Working with your team, repeat the same steps to construct a set of values for your group. Having done your personal homework ahead of time will make the process faster and easier.

The process of “wordsmithing” these lists can be frustrating. It is possible to have groups spend hours arguing over exact words for a values statement or a vision and get stuck on it every time it comes up. A professional facilitator can help streamline the process and avoid lengthy debate sessions.

If you are unanimous in spirit but hung up on words, get it roughly right and move forward. Use the 80/20 rule for this. (The 80/20 rule is derived from the “Pareto Principle,” which states that in any grouping of items, 80% of the value will be contained in 20% of the items.) Focus energy on the 20% of items that contain 80% of the value and table the others. It is not the words that are important, but the spirit and understanding.

The final result should be a set of values fully supported by your key leaders that grew out of discussions of everyone’s personal values. Putting this information on charts for the wall is helpful, but it is much more important to have it implanted in the minds and hearts of everyone. Only when internalized will it do any good.

If you are not in a formal leadership position, documenting your personal values is still important. Use them to chart your personal course. Sharing them with others in your group or with your boss shows maturity and facilitates communication.

One caution: this should be done with care and only when a proper rapport between people has developed. Sharing your personal values in the wrong way at the wrong time can backfire. It is better to weave the ideas into natural conversation than to force them on people. For example, you might say, “Let’s allow Sally to provide her own wording for the proposal. I believe people become more engaged in the work if they have the personal freedom to choose how it is done. In fact that is one of my core values.”


The preceding information was adapted from the book The TRUST Factor: Advanced Leadership for Professionals, by Robert Whipple. It is available on http://www.leadergrow.com.

Robert Whipple is also the author of Leading with Trust is like Sailing Downwind and, Understanding E-Body Language: Building Trust Online. Bob consults and speaks on these and other leadership topics. He is CEO of Leadergrow Inc. a company dedicated to growing leaders.
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Talent Development 40 Monitor Progress

May 30, 2021

Section 1.5 in the CPTD Certification program for ATD is Project Management. Section B reads “Skill in establishing, monitoring, and communicating progress toward the achievement of goals, objectives, and milestones.”

In this article, I will describe some simple and effective methods of keeping track and communicating progress.

The first rule of thumb is to use the familiar “SMART” Goals, as described by George T. Doran in Management Review. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Assignable, Realistic, and Time Bound. Having project goals that meet these criteria allows a simple tracking system to show progress toward the goals.

Another common technique is to break up the project into several steps with each one having a milestone achievement that leads to the next phase of the project.

Having finite steps of a large project allows the team to celebrate the accomplishment of each step, which leads to higher engagement and encouragement as you embark on the next step.

It is a good idea to have visible ways to show project against the goals. A simple “thermometer” chart is an effective way to demonstrate status against the goal.

The charts should be visible to the entire team, so that people all have the needed information. It is important to keep the published charts current, and when updating the chart, make sure all posted copies are suitably updated.

It is also a good idea to review progress against stated goals at periodic management review meetings. This practice gives leaders a chance to reinforce the good work going on and also gives the project managers some air time to highlight any specific points of pride or precautions that would be important to know.

One practice that often is omitted is to have a closure ceremony at the completion of a major project. People appreciate the formality of a closure meeting and celebration. The practice also makes sure everyone in the organization is aware that the milestones were met and the project is now closed.

Monitoring the progress of a talent development project is not rocket science at all. However, if the steps outlined above are done poorly or skipped, the effectiveness of the project will be significantly impacted.


Bob Whipple, MBA, CPTD, is a consultant, trainer, speaker, and author in the areas of leadership and trust. He is the author of: The Trust Factor: Advanced Leadership for Professionals, Understanding E-Body Language: Building Trust Online, Leading with Trust is Like Sailing Downwind, and Trust in Transition: Navigating Organizational Change. Bob has many years as a senior executive with a Fortune 500 Company and with non-profit organizations.