Tag Archives: management education

How to Make Cross-Cultural Training Effective

Guest Author:
Nathalie-Michèle Sylvain - Transitaré

[Editor's Note:  It is with pleasure we welcome Nathalie-Michèle Sylvain as a Guest Author. Nathalie-Michèle is based in Montreal, Canada, where she specializes in candidate and family assessment, expatriate support and intercultural management training. She regularly participates in global conferences and has been an invited speaker for cross-cultural topics at some of these conferences as well as at Canadian universities.]

A lot is said about cross-cultural training for international assignments. Some argue that it is very important and should be done prior to departure, others claim in should be done at the host country and others still doubt the value of cross-cultural training all together. But we tend to forget that the effectiveness of a cross-cultural training depends more on its content than on its timing. So what makes a good and effective cross-cultural training program?

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From Training Departments to a Company Academy Part 2

Authors:
Han van der Pool – Van der Pool Consultancy
Lex Lindeman – HRBoosters

We are happy to share the second part in our two-part series about Company Academies.  In Part 1, we discussed how Company Academies have evolved and their stages of development.  In this post, we’ll discuss trends and new developments in Company Academies, and the roles the various stakeholders should play.

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From Training Departments to a Company Academy Part 1

Authors:
Han van der Pool – Van der Pool Consultancy
Lex Lindeman – HRBoosters

Nobody questions the importance of learning and developing.  However, in these uncertain times, training and development activities are often put on hold or investments in T&D are drastically reduced. One of the reasons T&D activities are cut or reduced is the difficulty of proving that HR Development is a valuable and effective component of successful management. The concept of Company Academies (also known as Corporate Academies or Corporate Universities), however, offers a good starting point for a clear positioning of Human Resource Development.

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The Way to Identify your Future Leaders – Part 2

Authors:
Han van der Pool – Van der Pool Consultancy
Lex Lindeman – HRBoosters

Leadership has an effect on the bottom line – not directly, but by shaping the culture within which an organization operates, its climate and through its influence on employee engagement.  Identifying and developing leadership is a business critical process. Leadership depends on the type of personality, personal preferences, skills and relevant experiences.

Burning questions for Talent Development are:

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Creating High Performance Teams

Authors:
Lex Lindeman – HR Boosters
Dr. Paul Rono – Kenyatta University (Nairobi, Kenya)

Lex Lindeman

Paul Rono

What is a Team?
A team is a group of people who work together to accomplish something beyond their individual self interests.  Not all groups are teams.  What distinguishes teams from other similar sounding groups is that a team is not a collection of people simply following orders.

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E-Learning in Africa? – Part 1


Authors:
Han van der Pool – TNT N.V.
Lex Lindeman – HRBoosters

A growing number of African Countries are now connected to high-speed internet connections, and with increasing competition in the global economy, organizations are forced to look for more efficient and effective ways to create, spread and to apply functional and managerial knowledge.

E-learning and knowledge management have become key words in organizational learning processes in the Africa as well.  Many organizations invest in managing the knowledge within the organization and e-Learning, as a supporting tool, is used more and more.

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How Top Companies Manage Talent Development

 


Authors:

Han van der Pool – TNT N.V.
Lex Lindeman – HRBoosters

Globalization, demographic developments, the credit crisis and global warming have all created the need for a shift in strategic management. Organizations are now faced with the need for continuous adaptation to changes in the markets and the world in general.  Leadership is the most important condition for success in organizations.  Organizations which treat development of executives and managers as an integrated part of company strategy have a distinct advantage over those that do not manage leadership development actively.

Together with Dave Ulrich of the RBL Group, Hewitt Associates examined how successful companies structure their management development practices and identify and develop their current and potential future managers and leaders. This research is carried out once every two years, and the outcome and the rankings were published in Fortune Magazine in November, 2009.

A closer look at the research shows a nice overview of the practice of leadership development and the importance which global companies attach to it. The inventory of the programs and instruments used by an array of companies operating globally was compared with the financial results of those companies, and gives some insight into the most effective approaches. The “Top Companies for Leaders” are the most advanced in talent management and leadership development, and have a real leadership culture, according to the researchers.

Over five hundred companies have taken part in this research. Every company completed an exhaustive questionnaire, which was analyzed and compared to other companies by the researchers. Afterwards, a selected group of companies was more closely studied through interviews with HR professionals and top managers.  To see profiles of the Top Ten, click here.

Main Conclusions
The research shows clearly that successful companies continue to invest in leadership development despite the economic situation and the enormous strategic issues which companies face. Here is an overview of the most important elements which make a difference at “Top Companies for Leaders.”

  • Strategy - There is a clear link between the strategy of the company and the strategy of leadership development. Successful organizations closely examine which talent programs are needed and which interventions are necessary to realize their company strategy.
  • Involvement - The responsibility of talent development lies at the top of the organization, and top management is also actively involved in the development of future management. The top managers themselves are frequently active as mentors, coaches or trainers, and frequently share their experiences and insights. Often the CEO plays a prominent, active role in training or action learning, i.e., using high potentials coupled with experienced leaders on essential questions. Also, CEO’s are involved in the programs by means of internal communication.
  • Talent Pipeline – Talent development is considered as a “mission-critical” company process. The best performing companies see the filling of the talent pipeline organization-wide as a necessity. They use sharp definitions of talent (high potentials), measurable criteria and a rigorous process for to determine who belongs in the talent pool and who does not. The outcomes of this are measured with KPIs.
  • Ongoing Processes – The Top Companies for Leaders have incorporated management development in their business cycles. The companies think about ongoing, recurring development processes instead of one-time initiatives. Talent management has a high priority in these organizations. Much attention is given to identifying high potentials, determination of specific career paths for these high potentials, coaching and their active contribution to training and development programs. High potentials are assisted in their development by means of training, e-learning, coaching and job rotation, as well as action learning. Thanks to this approach, leadership and company development evolve continuously together.
  • Behavior – In these Top Companies, leaders are significantly more aware of which behavior is expected of them. This also becomes apparent in all aspects of the organization: performance management (leaders are rewarded for the degree desired behaviors are demonstrated), promotion decisions (people are only promoted when the desired behaviors are shown), recruitment and selection (leadership behavior is an essential selection criterion) and communication from the top of the organization.
  • Critical Objective - High potential talent is considered as a strategic advantage and the development of this talent is and the development of a robust talent pipeline is considered a critical objective for the organization’s top management.
  • Leadership Programs – Only leadership programs with high added value for talent development are organized.  Programs whose content is linked with organizational needs are chosen.  The leadership programs are fully integrated with other human resources processes, such as performance management, promotion policy, training and development, reward, succession and career planning,and are coordinated from one central point in HR.
  • Implementation – Leadership is a mindset.  It is included in the day-to-day of the business.  The Top Companies distinguish themselves by making talent management a regular part of operational management. All the leaders of the company are responsible for managing talent within the organization. Also, they are responsible for continuing the implementation of talent management in the organization. This infrastructure is embedded in the daily leadership culture and managers develop the necessary competencies to be able execute talent management effectively.

Author’s Observations
Based on the findings of the Hewitt/RBL Study, we at Human Resources Boosters have developed a model to achieve excellence in integrated talent management. This model comes in three phases:

  1. Structure - Companies should introduce functional profiles, competency models, describe paths for growth, implement a yearly performance management cycle with clear achievable targets and incentive structures, career- and succession planning and the maintenance of this system (talent management infrastructure).
  2. Process - Companies should embed talent management in the organization. The total infrastructure should be part of the day-to-day leadership culture. Managers should develop coaching and training skills and experience to be able to execute talent management effectively.
  3. Selective Development - Successful organizations closely examine which talent programs they need and which interventions are necessary to realize the company strategy. Examples of selective development are tailor made leadership programs, management development initiatives like inter-company exchange of talent, market and product oriented development, etc.

Conclusion
Hewitt showed with this research that companies, even in time of great uncertainty, are able to counter market and economical challenges by maintaining or even increasing efforts in talent management. Most of the companies even invested anti-cyclic, i.e.,  when markets were relatively calm companies invested more time and resources in people development. This also anticipates better times.

When talent development is really embedded in the organization and seen as an ongoing rhythm, the total processes in an organization will not only run more smoothly, but also more effectively, generating shareholder and stakeholder value. To become a top listed company may be a bridge too far for some organizations.  However, with relatively simple actions, some investments, and strong convictions that people development should be part of your routine activities, your company will develop in a sustainable way.

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The Gift of Time

Imported Photos 00033Author:
Yendor Felgate – Emergence Consulting

I am continually reminded in my coaching that folk remain under pressure as we enter the new year. Rather than refreshing over the holiday period, many of us have brought our work, life and family challenges straight into the new year.

We probably don’t sufficiently acknowledge in difficult times that it requires huge amounts of additional energy and effort to produce the same results. This means that if we do not change the way we work and live, time will vanish even faster and we will not achieve as much.

In an effort to work smarter and enjoy the journey more in our never ending search for better results, I offer two approaches that have benefited me personally.  The first refers to the gift of time and the other is about living in the moment.

“Stop, Start, Go” Test

I often ask people what they can stop doing.  This tends to be an uncomfortable question.  Few of us seemingly want to stop being ridiculously busy.  It is almost as if being busy is the same as being valuable.  Being busy in this sense is both addictive and a habit.  As with all addictions, it is seductive and comes at a price.

The test is an easy one.

  • List all your activities for the last week.
  • Identify those activities that directly relate to your purpose or objectives.
  • The rest you can stop.

The difficulty is implementing this. The world will simply not understand at first what you are doing. However, keep going, they will catch on.

This is a tremendous team building opportunity.  Not surprisingly, people respond better to this than the traditional approach of being told to do more, or being harangued about needing to improve.  It does, though, require a willingness to simplify.

Simplicity is about having clarity on what is really important, rather than dumbing down.

Stop

The next hurdle is being told that there is nothing that can be stopped.  Let’s test this.  We ran the stop, start, go test on executive meetings at a banking client.  By simply doing away with unnecessary meetings and reducing meeting times, we gave back 20% of executives’ time.  How valuable would this be to you and your organisation?

Some other thoughts on stopping:

  • Stop emailing instead of doing real work
  • Stop doing things in triplicate
  • Stop being accessible 24/7
  • Stop asking your team leader to sign or see everything
  • Stop rework
  • Stop second guessing others
  • Stop worrying about things you have no control over

Start

Start saying “NO” to things that are not important.  The discomfort arises when we ask people when last they said ‘no’ to anything.

The conversation often starts with I cannot stop anything (you already know the answer to this) and ends with I cannot remember when last I said ‘no’.  Start saying “YES” to important things, but just be clear on what this is.

There is of course an art to saying “NO” and includes things like:

  • Not taking other people’s monkeys
  • You cannot live other people’s lives for them
  • Empowering others to make their own decisions
  • Sharing knowledge and information for others to implement

If people understand that you are trying to help them to help themselves, saying “NO” is easy.  Just remember, ‘no’ means ‘no’.

Go

The point is not to fill the time you have freed up with more work.  The “GO” aspect is about getting and keeping your balance.  You get the balance that you deserve.  In other words, if you allow work to intrude, you end up working.  The “GO” adage is go live your life.

This is almost impossible unless you live in the moment.

Living in the Moment

Living in the moment is a coaching term that refers to acknowledging and being present – the here and now.  When I ask this question, I am often told that “of course I am here and focused”, “just let me check my email”.

I think being able to parallel process is a wonderful gift, but the larger skill is ensuring people receive your full attention.  If you are not sure what this means, then watch children at play.

By being in the moment, you make better decisions, people respond better and you are more alive to possibility, than by keeping half your mind on the next meeting, and the next…….

I look forward to hearing your stop, start, go stories, so please share them with us.  Here is to the possibility of living in the moment this year!

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International HR Forum Year in Review 2009 – Best of Leadership Development and Cross-Cultural

This is the final installment of our three-part “Best of …” series, where we will feature links to our best posts on selected topics. This part is focused on Leadership Development and Cross-Cultural topics.   If you missed the first post about Compensation and Benefits, you can take a look at it here.  The second in the series covered Expatriates and International Assignments.

The posts below are some of the most popular ones featured on the International HR Forum.

We hope you find these summary posts to be a helpful way to explore some of the best content on our blog.

Best of Leadership Development and Cross-Cultural topics from the 2009 Archives of the International HR Forum:

Trends in Leadership Development – Part 2

lexierwandaqwAuthor:
Lex Lindeman and Han van der Pool - HR Boosters

In my previous post, I wrote about the various ways to approach Leadership Development in Public or Private Organizations.  In this blog, I will go somewhat deeper into recent developments and strategies within Leadership Development.

The traditional executive development programs which concentrate on management theories and exhaustive cases studies have in recent years become less and less popular.  The poor usability of these modalities for current complex global business challenges, coupled with low ROI (Return on Investment) is the reason.  But there are interesting alternatives.

New Approaches
There are many new ways to expose current and future leaders to development activities.  Some of the most interesting ones include:

  • Customized programs developed specifically for the company by consultants and universities in which current questions and strategies are carefully observed.
  • Action learning projects in which participants treat real questions and where the implementation of the solutions in a follow-up session can be discussed.  The so-called Journey programs, in which managers are exposed to problems which can only be solved through good teamwork and perseverance, are examples of this.
  • Company simulations in which the participants are faced with the impact of their decisions.  These can include presentations of experienced managers from the company, in which examples and experiences are analyzed and discussed.
  • Personal development plans coupled with feedback coaching and execution of specific tasks.
  • Master classes to promote acquisition of technical skills and general knowledge sharing, including follow-up instruments to indicate the degree of success directly to the participant.

Developing A Program
A successful leadership development program is achieved by following these basic steps:

  • A Leadership Framework – Define the skills and characteristics of effective leadership within the company.
  • Curriculum – Link to specific leadership programs with several target groups within the company.
  • Measurement of the success of the programs and evaluation of their impact on both short- and long-term results of the company.
  • Continuous Adaptation to changing or new leadership profiles.

Authoritative Strategies
Here are some of the best strategies for creating your leadership development program and implementing it in your organization:

Use of Technology
Computer technology can be used to support development and learning.  The electronic support can focus on:

  • The learning process itself, both individually and in groups;
  • Developing and mastering education material and learning processes;
  • Organizing learning activities.

Some corporate universities have, for example, their own virtual learning environment. Participants from all over the world can work on specific learning programs. The virtual learning environment supports them with the learning process.  The websites offer the participants the possibility to get access in a simple way to specific and often personalized e-learning sources.

These sources are categorized in the website, so the visitor can simply click on internal and/or external Internet sites with specific content coupled to the learning curricula. These so-called learning platforms have been organized around one or a number of specific subjects.

The websites provide the user with the possibility of gathering information but also providing a contribution himself.  This is enabled through several functionalities (supported technologies) such as chat-functions and groupware.  E-learning applications replace a part of the “physical learning routes”, and as a result, the `classroom’ components become shorter.

“Just-in-Time” Learning
On-the-job experiences are a valuable component of development and learning.  We talk about interventions instead of courses because the element of coaching, training on-the-job, action learning and exchange of knowledge and skills through networks play an important role in the development of employees.

The chosen intervention must be related as close as possible to the needs of the employee.

The direct superior is the most suitable person to confirm the need related to the work processes, and the right time to pursue it.  A modular program off-the-shelf and managerial training can support the development if necessary.

Corporate Universities
Many organizations have decentralized their training departments or fully outsourced them.  Many have created corporate universities exclusively for their own employees.  These training departments serve a broad target group and organize a large variety of training and workshops including ‘open registration’.

The difference between a corporate university and a traditional training department is the strategic position it has in the organization, and the role it plays in leadership development, creativity and the problem solving capacity within the organization.

Corporate universities contribute to translating the vision of the company to work processes of the employees.  They focus on those skills which are essential for the functioning of the company.  In increasing complex and competitive business environments, traditional universities are not always fast enough to be able to anticipate to the specific needs of a company. Many organizations also prefer to keep the specific knowledge exclusively within the company.

In Summary
In this post, I’ve highlighted the latest thinking in the area of leadership development and the deployment of training programs in a corporate setting.  In my next blog, I will go deeper into more specific approaches to leadership development for public and private organizations in sub-Saharan Africa.

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