By Cyndi Maxey and Barry Lyerly
Maybe it looks like a jungle out there, but nature is sustained through an orderly, delicate balance of many interacting elements: new trees spring from seeds sprouting on rotting logs, predators feed on creatures lower in the food chain, some plants thrive in sunshine and others in the shade of the forest, plant photosynthesis gives off oxygen, which, in turn, supports animal respiration. This natural balance ensures that each species occupies a special niche where resources are available for its survival.
Today’s business world resembles a jungle in many respects. As corporations downsize and the workforce shrinks, more is being asked of employees than ever before. Employees are on their own more than ever, because managers have less time for coaching and handholding. Face-to-face meetings are giving way to email, teleconferencing, and voicemail messaging. Organizational changes are occurring rapidly, and employees must be quick to adapt. Trainers are pressured to do more with fewer resources and to demonstrate results in less time. The heart of the workplace—its meaning and significance—gets lost in the chaos. Continue Reading →
I grew up in Peoria. Most of my major values were established while growing up in Peoria. That’s where I was when I was ten, when values begin to set. Reflecting back on the city, I relearn what it taught. To the readers of the Chicken Soup books and to others searching for simple life philosophies, I offer up these “large lessons from a small city.”
A smile and a friendly “Hello” go a long way.
One of the culture shocks that I experienced shortly after my move to Chicago twenty-two years ago was that people didn’t smile and say “Hi” at the grocery store, on the street, or at the cleaners. In fact, people seemed to go of their way to avoid each other. Peoria taught a different etiquette. If only Chicagoans and other urbanites could imagine going through a day when everyone you meet smiles and says “Hello.” That could amount to perhaps thirty people per day looking at you instead of avoiding you. That would have to affect your outlook. Continue Reading →
Copyright June 1999, Training & Development, American Society for Training & Development. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.
Self management is essential in today’s work environment. Faced with constant change and volatility, employees must be able to work and act independently. Management scholar Peter Drucker, in a recent Training & Development interview, declared, “I no longer teach the management of people at work, which was one of my most important courses… I am teaching, above all, how to manage oneself.” (September 1998, p.24) Author Robert Kelley (How to Be a Star at Work, Times Business Books, 1998), found that self management was one of many star employee strategies. In studies at Bell Labs and 3M, he discovered that stars constantly ask themselves how they can be more valuable; they worry about what should get on their to-do lists. Self-managed people realize that it’s their responsibility, not the company’s; they readily take the initiative.
As trainers and developers, shouldn’t we also be encouraging employee responsibility and initiative? Why not emphasize self management in the learning environment itself? Recently, I conducted presentations training for one of the most dynamic, committed groups of young women I have ever encountered—a New York based marketing team of an international cosmetics company. In the two days we worked together, I was struck by their commitment to learning—to trying everything, thriving on creative thinking, and constantly applying the concepts to their jobs. These learners were not looking to be spoon-fed, nor did they agree with everything put before them. They made their own “to-do lists.” They were truly self managed.
Continue Reading →
Published in Training & Development Magazine, May 1998
I remember Miss Bernadette Sperling, my high school English teacher, warning, “Do not write in the margin. Keep your work neat and clean and easy to read.” (This was, of course, in the days when we still wrote reports in longhand.) “Neat, clean, and easy to read” rarely happens in the training classroom. Recently, one of my clients gave me an updated version of the trainer guide for a course I had been facilitating for the past year. I smiled outwardly as I accepted it, but inwardly I was panicked—”A new clean guide! Oh no! What about all my notes … everything I’d learned?”
Most trainers will admit to writing in the margins. Because our effectiveness is directly tied to our ability to listen to the group, we are constantly making mental and written margin notes—to keep learning, energized and effective. Let’s take a look at what experienced trainers know—about energizing a group, adapting to groups, and impromptu editing. Continue Reading →
By Cyndi Maxey and Debbie Ahlers
Like many independent consultants in the training and development field, we each own businesses, yet often have opportunities to collaborate. Shortly after we met five years ago, we drew up a contract with each other to set expectations for the co-authorship and co-facilitation of a series of employee development courses for a mutual client. In the process of wording our agreement, we became amused by the situation; neither of us had a legal, fair, ethical model to use as a foundation, so we “made one up.” Today, our professional relationship builds on the trust earned from that initial “made-up” agreement.
As we continue to collaborate, we often need to discuss ethical issues. From our conversations with colleagues and clients, we know that they are also concerned about the ethics of the consultant–client relationship and the shades of gray therein. To begin to take a local look at consultant–client ethics, we interviewed four experienced Chicago area consultants and five experienced clients—buyers of training services—all local CCASTD members. To determine an interview scope, our initial research revealed two excellent resources on ethics in our field: “Models for HRD Practice,” and “Ethics in Training and Development.” Continue Reading →
Special to CONTRACTOR
If you have ever been asked to speak to a group and declined because you felt fearful or unprepared, you are like the majority of today’s professionals. Yet, groups and meeting planners continuously look for qualified speakers, often without much advance notice. This is what happened to a longtime Texas cattle rancher, Mary Sue Koontz Nelson.
A local community leader asked her to tell her stories to a group of friends she was having over for lunch. Nelson accepted the challenge and wrote a speech about her life on the HK Ranch. The group of friends turned out to be 1,800 people at a large hotel. As it turns out, Nelson and her stories about being a ranch owner and bull breeder became highly sought after.
Most people don’t lead exciting, celebrity-filled lives on a ranch with cowboys, rodeos and Argentine millionaire bull buyers. However, most people do accumulate memorable life and work experiences. Continue Reading →
Reprinted from SemiNews and Views, a newsletter published by National Speakers Association, April 1997.
Imagine you’ve just attended a wedding. You’ve come alone. Now you find yourself at the cocktail reception before dinner, chatting with the stranger standing next to you. You both agree that it was a lovely wedding. The bride was beautiful. The groom was appropriately nervous. You spend the next 45 minutes being as interesting and as charming as it is humanly possible for you to be. You have pulled out your business card and all the stops. Finally, there is nothing left for you to say.
Suddenly, the doors to the dining room open, and you both reach into your pockets for your table assignment cards. Surprise! You are both at TABLE 19. Summoning your energy, you realize that the conversational evening has just begun.
Imagine you’ve been to a wedding ceremony. You’ve come alone. Now you find yourself at the cocktail hour of the wedding reception. You’re chatting with the person you’re standing next to. You both agree it was a lovely wedding. The bride was beautiful. The groom was appropriately nervous. The music was an intriguing blend of traditional and new wave. You spend the next 45 minutes being as interesting and as charming as it is humanly possible for you to be. You have pulled out not only your business card but all the stops. There is nothing left for you to say. The doors to the dining room are opened and you both reach into your pockets to pull out your table assignment cards. Surprise! You are both at TABLE 19. Summoning your charm and energy, you realize that for you and your new friend, the evening has just begun.
The first minutes of a full-day seminar are similar in many ways. You need to be personable and charming and set the stage and the climate, yet also build a solid platform for the day—a platform of credibility for the topic and for yourself. You’re in the race, not just for the sprint, but for the long-distance run. In developing and presenting a new seminar, I still spend the most time on the first 90 minutes. I find myself thinking “If I can just make it to the first break…,” the rest of the day will come together. Continue Reading →
I remember Miss Bernadette Sperling, my high school English teacher, warning, “Do not write in the margin. Keep your work neat and clean and easy to read.” (This was, of course, in the days when we still wrote reports in long-hand.) “Neat, clean, and easy to read” rarely happens in the training classroom. Recently, one of my clients gave me an updated version of the trainer guide for a course I had been facilitating for the past year. I smiled outwardly as I accepted it, but inwardly I was panicked …. “A new clean guide! Oh no! What about all my notes—everything I’d learned?”
Most trainers will admit to writing in the margins. Because our effectiveness is directly tied to our ability to listen to the group, we are constantly making mental and written margin notes—to keep learning energized and effective. Let’s take a look at what experienced trainers know—about energizing a group, adapting to groups, and impromptu editing. Continue Reading →
Business & Professional Communication
DePaul University, Chicago, IL
College of Communication