Know, understand and speak the language of business

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Q. Tips for a budding L&D/HR professional?

I remember way back in 1991, when I first started my career in sales, there was an adrenaline rush to “do well & be successful”. But what that really meant, was yet to be found or still better – REALIZED! Fast forward to 1995, I was associated with a multi marketing organization in Direct sales, I was perpetually reminded about “Attitude” and how it is THE most important thing to function. Have a Negative attitude, life will move in that direction – or, learn to possess a strong Positive attitude and overcome challenges with LUCK – Labour Under Correct Knowledge! That learning has imbibed within me till date, be it my personal or professional life.

My “DRUG” is during the most challenging of times.

This simply means you cannot expect Growth automatically, there has to be an Intentional Growth Plan, the Key – DAILY! Investing in yourself – learning, implementing and sharing! It’s when we share, we learn better. Hence, as young HR leaders, acting like a sponge…absorb and share, is when we learn to discover the heart of who we are – our character, personality, ethics, and the ability to relate to others. In other words Learn, Earn, Return!

Q. Your personal achievement as an HR professional?

HR – Human Resource, was a default position offered to me, after almost 2 decades of handling Sales & Business Management portfolios in multiple organizations. The No. 1 thing that remained constant – People centricity – understanding the Human within you and others. The more we know about ourselves – the more we can get into our own minds – the better we are able to assist the diverse workforce we serve. With this thought in mind, a two way communication programme was designed & developed for all levels of employees to – CONNECT, INTERACT & LEARN– on a single platform.

The primary objective – Add value to oneself, others & lead. A twelve-month programme “inspire” commenced in January 2018, with the 1st session – “All’s well, that BEGINS well!” Employees were encouraged to step forward and moderate sessions, by sharing their experiences & learnings – inspiring others to “make a difference”, to instil motivation and courage to do better things, demonstrated by working as a team.

Q. How can an HR/L&D contribute strategically to the organisation?

HR has evolved as a very strategic role in any organization. Psychologists say it is comparable to peeling an onion, discovering new complex behaviors as each layer is revealed. We, as HR professionals, focus on other people in the organization without first establishing the basic foundation of understanding – knowledge of self. Acquiring a keen sense of self, is dependent on becoming proficient at reading the minds of our CEOs – knowing, understanding and speaking the language of the business – in other words – Thinking Like a CEO!

Q. One HR/L&D practice that has always worked for you as an HR.

Adding Value to myself first, then to others and lead by relating to their values. Unless I do not have coins in my pocket, I cannot give. So acquire skills, knowledge and practice from your heart – to relate to others. Only when you have, can you give! 

Strive, not to become the person of importance, but to become the person of VALUE. 

Q. Do you think experiential learning is more impactful? Give an example

Experiential Learning with built in activities, transpiring fun, high energy – helps break silos & creates interactive & engaging sessions. The standard training approach – primary vehicle remains knowledge transfer, where information is transmitted to the participants in some way via a trainer, or presentations, mixed with videos, or some form of digital delivery. This usual form of learning is valuable to some degree, but limited. Hence, Experiential Learning becomes impactful, mixed with other forms of training like role plays, case study work, digital tools, exercises & activities etc. it optimizes the potential impact of that training. It can be the difference between actually changing behaviour and only providing more information with limited real behavior change – It can be serious fun. The very fact that learning to improve fun – provides additional motivation, to work at getting better. A game played digitally with mixed team members to decode & find an object, can be very meaningful for employees to know each other better, work in teams, building camaraderie in the workplace for better organizational results. 

Q. How do you create a buy-in for training at workplace?

We remember what we do far more, than what we hear. Hence to create a buy in – the objective of any training is ultimately to change behavior. For that to happen, structuring a programme on the “4 H” elements would help leaps & bounds:

HEART – build conviction

An individual must want to change from within. How? There must be some conviction on the part of the learner, that changing would be beneficial, or required, or worth pursuing. Without this desire to change on the part of the learner, any teaching or training provided will be in vain…there’s no motivation to remember or apply it, so it will essentially be lost. Conviction not only changes individual behaviour, but is also contagious!

HEAD – provide knowledge

People generally remember only about 10% of what they hear and understand. If we can learn by doing, through activities, trial and error, being personally and actively involved, studies reveal we learn better, more quickly, and more permanently than we do by passive listening. A highly talented individual was once asked -what led to his success. His answer was: “Good decisions.” When asked how he developed that ability, he responded: “Experience.” When he was further asked how he gained this experience, he replied: “Bad decisions.”This is a great illustration of the power of learning by doing, rather than by just listening.

HANDS – teach skills

Practicing what is shared, is the key out here. When it comes to practice and helping participants apply the information presented, there must be a “do” component. As listed above, 40% of time can be spent on conviction & knowledge transfer. However; it is imperative to spend 40% of the rest on practicing that knowledge to have a lasting impact on the programme. The remaining 20% – on the post-course application of the learning to generate the expected impact from changed behavior. The point here is that –  far more time needs to be spent on the “Hands” portion – the practice.

HARVEST – see results 

This remains the post-class activity that follows any training, and it is vital to seeing long-lasting, sustained behavior change. However, a key component is involving the participants’ leaders in this process – also called “Buddy” – who can encourage, coach, and commend the expected new behaviors as they begin to be demonstrated on the job. Their purpose is engaging the participant on their journey, to be able to talk with their colleagues about the successes and challenges they’re having with the application of the new content.We teach what we know, but we reproduce who we are! I was once taught that when & if I fall, might as well pick up something while I am on the floor. Hence as many leaders have said – FALL FORWARD!

You cannot WIN, before you BEGIN!  

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