Wednesday 31 December 2014

From Managing Talent To Transforming Talent

On Measuring Training Effectiveness

Take a bird’s view or worm’s view of any company that is a few years old, stable and gradually growing. The fact is well recognized that Human Capital is just as important as Financial Capital for sustenance and to meet changing business needs.

Human Resource Heads and Management also realize that attracting talent, retaining high potential and managing talent is not enough to acquire a commercial advantage – nurturing talent based on need is of paramount importance for future success

If this has to be achieved, needless to say – the nine box matrix or the performance versus potential evaluation should enable you to identify talent within the organizations, however to make them ready for more challenging roles, new projects introduce SMART – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Readiness Training. At the very outset set expectations and measurable parameters.

While you can use multiple criteria to identify potential people based on 360-degree evaluation, reporting manager’s recommendation, an individual’s interest to take up new initiatives, past performances, it is still necessary to gauge his capability readiness as well as expertise, so that we do not risk project results.

While you transform available talent through training and unlock the potential of those who can take the organization or project to the next level, applicable to both entry-level resources and leaders alike, identify appropriate course and direction – coach till results are achieved, provide ongoing assistance till solution creates the right impact and the resource is thoroughly engaged.

Organizations need to develop an integrated approach to talent management – evolve from sourcing talent within the organization based on exact match with required skills versus potential to deliver, exact fitment to sharing opportunity to retain and engage the resource – And the support system behind all kind of capability building, the only mechanism that works is Training that is measurable, training that is designed for outcomes.

Human Resource leaders and project leads should conduct talent review exercise at regular intervals, not necessarily with the intention to just manage or retain talent to avoid the lengthy hiring cycle, but with the goal to transform existing talent through training, coaching, mentoring and motivating models to assume more challenging responsibilities.

Contact for outcome based learning models.

Saturday 27 December 2014

When You Drive Outcomes, The Key Factor is "Time" Taken for Results.

When you define outcomes to be achieved set criteria to measure - it is not activity but productivity that counts.

When you drive outcomes through training, marketing or any other campaign, there has to be flexibility in how the resources are guided towards outcomes. Learning is through multiple channels and not just power point slides or a heavy doze of online mentoring and a list of "Dos" and "Donts". Training is ongoing even outside the training environment. All measures that lead to the outcome is learning for both the participant and facilitator.

A road map is created for each respondent (Individual or Organization) who qualifies in BECKON questionnaire and training support is ongoing for the entire nesting period till business outcome (Revenue) or personal outcome (Rewards) is achieved.

What if results are not achieved within the agreed time frame - 100% Training fee will be refunded after the nesting period - no questions asked.

In the 4D Model (Demand-Design-Deliver-Deliverable), we commit results within two quarters in most cases post training delivery, This however depends upon the insights we draw during Training Need Analysis or when we validate training needs recommended by different business units and the outcomes they are looking for.

Tuesday 23 December 2014

Part 3: For Leaders, Communication Is Not Just Communication

The credibility you have built as a leader goes a long way in supporting your communication agenda. A prolonged silence could be taken just as seriously as a simple instruction or a long lecture.

Conflict: Ask yourself if questions from audience or key members confuse and baffle you? How you conduct yourself when you are caught off guard by a question or when you are not prepared with a ready response actually gives insight of your overall personality and nature. Whether the occasion is one to one or one to few or addressing a large group, leaders ideally ought to use every opportunity to communicate with greater goals in mind than to defend personal ego or individual interests. When the intention is beyond safe guarding petty ego or personal agenda, the communication is not just exchange of ideas but also transfer of conviction.

Choice of Words/ methods/ Pace: What went well when you were a college graduate cannot probably suit things now. A joke that appeals to a young crowd might not necessarily create the same ripple with business unit heads. Even with best of intentions, your communication as a leader can be a disaster if you do not work on your language and study your audience. If you are being fed or self-taught reflects in what words you use, methods you adopt and pace you maintain during the communication. If you are fed by external source regarding what to talk, you are likely to fumble; the presentation method will make it evident if communication is knowledge based or situational dressing up. Most pseudo intellectuals and self proclaimed leaders miserably fail in this arena.

Content: You do not necessarily have to create material as the research part is often done by support functions. In a presentation with over – say twenty slides including audio, video, reports and reviews; you can remember the storyboard and the sequence if you were involved in its creation. It always helps a great deal if you create material instead of just checking and approving slides done by others. Share you pointers as the listeners not only get a glimpse of your strategic thinking and competitive intelligence, you speak with more conviction as the ideas are original, yours and you know exactly what you are talking.

In a few months I can come up with another ten C’s however that is not the whole point. The takeaway here is, each of these factors is internal – cannot be changed externally. “You” are the reason and “You” again are the solution.

For leaders, communication is definitely not just communication – it is the overall executive presence. Assess yourself by answering the BECKON Qualifying Questionnaire. You can command attention and carry yourself well when you leaders consider communication as a powerful tool to sharpen your image and impact business

Monday 15 December 2014

Part 2: For Leaders, Communication Is Not Just Communication

In my last post, I pointed if you have language concern - that is a major hindrance not just for leaders but anyone. The remedial measures are not just a quick action plan on lessons and practice but a pretty lengthy learning process. If there is anything that requires more time than language learning, it is building competence internally and dealing with chronic issues. The simpler aspects that seem apparent – stage fright, memory lapse etc. are just derivatives of the underlying chronic concerns.

Confidence: A senior HR professional I know, whose last role was that of Vice President tells me training large teams is not really her forte. She is good with presentations to Management Team or clients. There are many leaders who use defense mechanism not to try something new, as they fear they might not be quite as good like they usually are in their primary roles or deliverables. In a few years from now, as a board member in some company or a CEO in a startup, would it be better to falter in a town hall rather than seize opportunities now and improve? Build confidence now by using available scope to speak in large forums - including training. To begin with, shift focus from “You” to “Them” and take genuine interest in your audience and watch your confidence grow.

Connect: On that note, “Interest in your audience” I want to re iterate, you can never relate, connect or influence your audience or create an impact on their thought process, if you do not know them. I have seen leaders who almost always get into lecture mode the minute they see an audience. They set expectations at the outset that they want all kind of questions – intelligent or silly and hope for a session that is interactive. However, they are so pre occupied talking that there is no room for participation. Communication is two ways and if you were unable to connect, it is as good as not having communicated at all. Structure your content and communication style to suit your intention to connect first. As leaders, this responsibility is huge.

Conviction: I regard the recent Nescafe advertisement more than just an advertisement. Nothing can keep you down or stop you if your conviction is intact. Not everyone has the gift of speaking, and seriously, that is not required either to articulate or communicate effectively. It is your conviction that matters more than a physical handicap. What possibly could be pointed as ineffective communication are those without conviction. Can’t you spot a leader miles away and catch the difference when he mentions future business growth from a slide or from a deeper belief system?

Next in the series on Communication for Leaders: Conflict, Content and Competition

Thursday 11 December 2014

Part 1: For Leaders, Communication Is Not Just Communication

You have been with the organization for over a decade. Your growth in the firm has been phenomenal. Your success quotient with people, process and project is way above average. Your potential and performance even got you to the advisory board. As a senior leader, you are the Go-To person for anything pertaining to your domain and strategic moves. Your work inspires many and yet, in spite of all your achievements you have never been invited to be a key speaker in seminars, leadership trainings or address large audience in Town halls. Did you ever wonder why?

As you grow up in the corporate ladder, did you ever realize that you had to work on your communication style, body language, regardless of whether your audience remained same or has changed? What you speak reflects how you think and your thinking has definitely changed over the years. How you say determine what impact you are likely to create. Positive impact is the desired outcome and if there is even the slightest of chance to damage that leadership image or impact on audience, why should you be invited to address an audience in large forums?

Here is a quick checklist of C’s for you to run through so that you can identify what is stopping you from getting those opportunities to speak in important platforms. You may work on remedies accordingly. (A list of remedies will be published soon)

Command on language: Is it your heavy accent? Do you fall short of right words due to limited vocabulary? Would you be more comfortable talking in your own mother tongue? Is it really about language in the first place? Do you abhor the spontaneity required in speaking and you think you are better off writing your thoughts? Fight this war out first before you do anything else to improve communication, as if it is language concerns, you have a huge task in hand. We all know fluency in language cannot be acquired overnight.

Crowd Conscious: Though you are well prepared for the speech, well rehearsed with multiple dry runs for the presentation, the sight of an enthusiastic crowd diffuses your spirit for the fear of letting them down or not living up to their expectations. Does the sight of a dais actually bring butterflies to your stomach? Who should we treat here then? Not the butterflies for sure. You are human and so are they. Get the intentions right – your key messages will not just penetrate the crowd but their minds too.

Circle of Influence: You have always been a great presenter. You address queries from the team effectively. Your storyboards are very well accepted, however you have a comfort zone with specific team members, clients, and small group of stakeholders. You sail through because you are able to influence them, get their buy in, relate to them. You believe, you might not be able to have similar control with a bunch of strangers or larger group.

Next in the series is on developing Competence

Friday 5 December 2014

What Stops You From Measuring Training Effectiveness?

Image Credit: Shutterstock

It is the question of ownership. As long as there is ambiguity amongst stakeholders – Learning and Development team, Business, Participant, leaders – regarding who is responsible to measure effectiveness of training provided, the level of learning maturity is highly questionable.

Once the following fundamental questions are answered, the battle is half won and to rationalize the responses and allocate responsibility consider the needs listed below.

Who owns measurement of training effectiveness?
Who owns assessment of training needs in alignment with business needs?
Who owns validating any training request that is raised by business?
Who owns outcomes to be delivered?
Who owns applying learning in real time situation?
Who owns measuring the resource that got trained?
Who owns course correction to be done if training program is not appropriate for a particular resource or project?
Who owns signing off training content?
Who owns signing off learning outcomes?
Who owns signing off business outcomes?

Individual Needs: If an individual was not courteous in writing a mail does not mean he requires training in communication or email etiquettes. It is his state of mind that has to be taken into account to develop a training plan – Is the resource at breaking point due to performance pressure and is venting out in more ways than just one mail, how fair is it push him for communication training while he always believed his communication was above average? Consider the damage being done to his confidence due to his reporting manager’s short sightedness about the situation. A proper assessment means validating training recommendation in various ways including a session with the resource and then proposing a training program to ensure not just his well being but also his productivity. To do that, with whom do we have to sign off the outcomes?

Business Needs: In an outsourcing environment if client requires certified resources from vendor to run a particular process, then training is aimed at certification only. How hard it is to guess who should be responsible for the completion of this entire exercise? The project lead or L and D team? In case a project needs a different skill set and a resource is trained to meet that demand, whose responsibility it is to deliver by the end of the training?

Organization Needs: Based on organization agenda, to achieve a certain amount of preparedness from human capital for the next level of progress, if the leaders mention a few programs based on their experience, market trends and business needs – and L and D rolls osut flagship programs and random training modules without testing the need of the recommendation, who should we measure for effectiveness – The leader, L and D team or the participant?

Depending upon the need, answer the key questions listed above and measuring training effectiveness can become a structured offering for any training institute/ team.

For consulting on learning solutions and measurement, contact

Wednesday 3 December 2014

Are You Spiritually Aware?

Source: Google Images

In BECKON learning model designed for individuals, the Qualifying Questionnaire is to test if a resource is open to learn (Eligibility), has potential to learn (Ability) and the will to apply learning (Stability).

One of the questions is about spiritual awareness, which seems so irrelevant in a professional qualifying questionnaire. So far the responses I received was always “Yes” and the interpretation of the question was one of the following or perhaps a combination of these.

It is about believing in God or Supreme power, about faith, about being spiritual beings on a human journey or being humans on a spiritual journey, about Self Awareness, about being aware of your higher self, about igniting your dormant inner energy, the radiance of minds that is above matter, about prayers, about higher energy, about idols, about God men, about Messiahs, about belief system, about meditation, about soul consciousness above body consciousness, about divinity, about Dharma and Karma or about natural and universal laws. The list continues.

The only reason behind including this in the questionnaire is to gather insight about your intent to learn. You can successfully learn even if your physical intelligence (Body), emotional intelligence (Heart), mental intelligence (Head) fails you however if you are spiritually (Soul) stunted – there can be no learning or change in demeanor. And spiritual awareness is just to ask yourself those fundamental questions: Who you are? Where you want to go? Why you want to do what you want to do? What next?

You need external training or mentoring only because your belief system, your thoughts, your words and your actions are not in alignment. Being spiritually aware is just to find your center of pursuit.

Will you try to sail a boat when it is windy and the ocean is turbulent? Can you? To ensure smooth and seamless transition of learning, if your system requires purging, so be it. If you ask me why you failed in business, why you missed that promotion, why you lost a dream opportunity – just let me know in detail what exactly were you thinking prior to that? List those thoughts down and mail me and receive an insight, you never knew existed.

For more details contact