Learners Inherit the Earth

“In times of change, learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.” Eric Hoffer This quote from the late Eric Hoffer inspires me to be a learner.  It certainly conveys the value of learning and change that organization leaders will do well to heed.  Organizations that don’t value learning and the change that springs from learning will struggle to stay relevant in this fast-paced marketplace. What can organizations do to foster a culture of learning and change?  Luckily learning doesn’t have to look like training in the 1980’s – having everyone go through flavor of the month training so people speak the same language.  It isn’t like 10 years ago when the model was to use a popular video (whether it fit with the organization culture or not) with a facilitator to help people see how the paradigm from the video should be applied for success. Trainers want to train people; facilitators and coaches help people learn. Learning today is and should be a mixture of experiences and methods. To gain new awareness or acquire new knowledge elearning is a great tool.  To apply and integrate knowledge, and develop skills, blended learning and real time training, apprenticeships and mentoring are terrific.  Tools like simulations, games and action learning are wonderful for mastering skills and enhancing thinking and problem-solving processes. Mobile learning is brilliant for quick study and job aids that can be used anywhere. Each of these methods of learning will influence change in the organization and, in turn, allow people to adapt to change.  Practical Leadership... read more

Attending the Career Bridge program will build your confidence for your job search

Career Bridge is a seven-week program, and includes six three-hour classes and one 60-minute coaching session. Participants will relieve distressing their  thoughts, gain self-confidence, affirm their gifts and skills, and visualize a successful future – be ready to create that future with a new job. Career Bridge dates are March 12, 19, April 2, 9, 16, 23, and 30 from 8:30-11:30.  Classes will be held at the Minnesota Center (7760 France Avenue South, Minneapolis MN 55435) on the 14th floor in the beautiful Surfacequest Solutions Showroom. Career Bridge Learning Objectives Reduce distress about your job loss and current unemployment status Learn how passion drives what you do and how you show up Begin using affirming language to talk about yourself and your capabilities Assess your past successes to build confidence about your future Build a language that represents who you are and what you intend to do Visualize your future and being successful in job interviews Learn to center your energy and maintain focus on your goals Be present and express who you are in networking and interview situations Register at EventBrite... read more

Engaged Employees Drive Success

Engaged employees add value to the organization – they are productive and customer-focused as well as more likely to collaborate, respect resources, and act safely.  Engaged employees drive successful outcomes and are likely to stay employed longer. According to Ken Scarlett, “Employee Engagement is a measurable degree of an employee’s positive or negative emotional attachment to their job, colleagues and organization which profoundly influences their willingness to learn & perform at work.”[i] In other words engagement is more than satisfaction or good morale – it is the intrinsic connection between individuals and the organization. There are many ways to engage employees.  Fundamentally leaders need to ensure that employees know the mission of the organization (why we exist), and the organization’s current goals (the strategic plan) and how each employee’s performance contributes to those goals. People naturally want to contribute. The Gallup organization identified 12 core elements that strongly link to essential business outcomes. It is no surprise their research showed the first point of engagement is, “I know what is expected of me at work.”[ii] Another terrific way to engage employees, especially those who show potential for larger assignments or more responsibility, is to offer a pathway for career growth.  Internal mentoring programs can fill this niche.  This type of program is what a savvy Minnesota non-profit organization is doing this year. We have framed a mentoring program will include: Managers as Mentors High potential employees as Mentees A year-long cohort of Mentors and Mentees meeting quarterly on key business topics Individual mentoring around a career development plan Mentees attending at least one profession development class during the year... read more

Practical Tips on Strategic Planning

The purpose of Practical Leadership is to build stronger organizations by aligning employees, teams and leaders around smart strategy for optimal results. What is important for both Practical Leadership and you is that we help clients develop strategic plans, improve or grow in whatever area(s) matter most and then prepare leaders and teams to sustain that improvement over time. Here are some tips to help you improve the strategic planning process within your organization. It is my observation that most organizations do include a vision statement, have financial data as well as some anecdotal information to reflect history of past performance, and use a format for setting high level goals. What is often missing in the planning process is participation by people closer to the frontline – those developing the product or service or those interacting with the customer. This means that some important customer information and perspectives are not included in the plans. Over time this matters a great deal to customers and the relevancy of the organization. Tip #1: Engage employees in the strategic planning process Many times clear measures for goals are missing or only reflect one perspective of goal achievement. For example, it may be good to gain market share. It is important to know the cost of a specific increase in market share to know how much gain is good. You can manage that which you measure. Tip #2: Define and communicate measures for strategic goals. Finally, the linkage between organization goals and team or individual performance is frequently missing. This linkage needs to be clearly aligned and communicated. Every employee should know how... read more

Welcome to Our New Blog: Practical Thoughts

Practical Leadership, like most organizations, is in persistent change because I want to thrive as a business owner and resource for you.  You will see a new brand identity and new meaningful services as you receive my newsletters and visit the website.  I have been investigating and listening to what clients, business owners, colleagues and pundits talk about as critical strategies for success. Human resources – people – are the most valuable and evolving resource for organizations of any type.  To make human resources more agile, organizations need to align people with strategy, take strategic actions and continually analyze results. Practical Leadership will strategically consult with you and design steps to align your vision with your organization’s need for growth. We accentuate the strengths of your employees and build new skills and unleash abilities to perform. This will set into motion a process for your whole organization to move confidently to peak effectiveness. Please visit the new website – and call me to talk about how we can help your organization thrive. Ann Anderson Practical Leadership,... read more