Communication Vehicles

Communication Vehicles

When I talk about Communication Vehicles, I am talking about Blogs, Podcasts and Newsletter.

The world has truly changed. I was first on the Internet in 1973 with a business called I.P Sharp Associates. Ian Sharp tried to bring me on with his Company but I was having too much fun and learning too much at the Caterpillar dealership in Montreal called Hewitt Equipment. The internet was available via two different telecommunications networks Telenet and Tymnet. Their speed was a rip-roaring 30 bps. Can you imagine that? The “computer terminal was an IBM Typewriter type device and the Modem was an “Acoustic Coupler” that you put the telephone handset into. I thought it was absolutely the end of the world. Fantastic.

Today the Internet has speeds that boggle the mind and I am constantly complaining that it takes too long. At Learning Without Scars, we are using a Learning Management Software package called Litmos from SAP. We use a credit card payment tool called Stripe. We use Quick Books for all of our accounting. I have grown used to Microsoft Software so I used Outlook and Excel and Powerpoint and Word. We use Word Press to drive the Website. We use MailChimp and Buzz Sprout to drive our Podcasts and we use Zoom to create our Candid Conversation with our guests for our Podcasts. We have come a long way with software and hardware in my work life since 1968.

For nearly twenty years we have used the “Blog” as a communications device. First on our Consulting business website www.rjslee.com and now with our employee development business www.learningwithoutscars.com. More recently, at the beginning of March, we have started a Podcast. These Podcasts will explain with an audio track the content of our classes in a more complete manner than the landing page for each class or assessment. They will also be the platform for what we are calling “Candid Conversations” with Industry leaders and influencers. And coming soon, July 1, 2021, we will launch a Newsletter. We are going through the process now of networking with my address book and asking the recipient of the email if they want to subscribe to the Newsletter.

 

This is all about communication, isn’t it? The website has evolved itself. In the earlier form, it was like a brochure. It had the company history the vision or mission statements, key employees. It was a Yada Yada Yada form of communications. Then we moved to having our inventory on the website with pictures and in some cases even prices. It became what I called Brochureware. The internet and websites have come a long way since then. However, many of us are stuck with the old methods and thinking. As an example, I still have a landline telephone. I know, I know leave me alone. So, it brings to mind a question I used to ask relative to the rapid pace of change in technology. “What do you do with a dead horse?” The first answer is “Change Riders.” A close second is “Buy a Stronger Whip.” Followed by “Harness together many Dead Horses.” And finally, “Promote the Dead Horse.” Clearly, tongue in cheek but change has become almost too much for most of us to be able to handle.

We are trying to communicate with YOU on our website. We are using three main vehicles to do this. The blogs, the Podcasts, and now a Newsletter.

  • The Blog
    • We give you articles we contribute as well as thought leaders in Industry on a weekly basis. Specific subjects that we feel will be helpful to you, our customers. We post these blogs every Tuesday evening.
  • The Podcasts
    • We give you audio tracks describing our classes or assessments. These audio tracks run between five and ten minutes and provide more detail than the job function assessment or subject-specific landing page on the website.
    • We also provide a Candid Conversation with thought leaders from the Industry. We do these with a recorded Zoom meeting. These conversations are with people in North America, Australasia, Europe, South America, Russia, India, and the Middle East.
  • The Newsletter
    • We will publish this newsletter four times a year, typically at the beginning of each calendar quarter.
    • It will contain articles of interest from us and significant thought leaders worldwide.
    • We will keep you posted on changes within the education community on current thinking and research into learning tools and methods.
    • We will highlight any special news on our progress on becoming your primary employee development product.

Please remember we are always interested in and will be responsive to YOUR needs and wants as our valuable customers. We wouldn’t be here without all of the support and encouragement you have provided over the years. Next year we will celebrate our thirtieth year in teaching within this Industry through Companies specifically involved in training personnel in the Construction, Agricultural, Engine, Material Handling, On-Highway, Forestry, Mining Equipment Industries.

We sincerely thank you for your continuing support.

The time is now.

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Distance Learning Victories

Distance Learning Victories

In tonight’s post, Caroline shares the news of victories in the area of distance learning. As early adopters of the virtual classroom, we know a few things about that here at LWS.

As we all know, it’s been more than a year since the world as we knew it closed down, including our schools. I still remember very clearly the last face-to-face day I spent with my younger students in 2020. Distance learning wasn’t something new in the world of adult education, but suddenly K12 education was thrust into the same platform and style of learning. Now, face-to-face means someone turned their camera on during an online course.

Here at LWS, we began to shift into a virtual classroom several years ago. The software we reviewed and selected was on the newer side, most live meetings were conducted with GoToMeeting, and this “webinar-style” delivery was an exciting thing to help create. Fast forward to the pandemic, and the software options seem endless and Zoom is a household name!

I think it is safe to say that we have all heard the horror stories surrounding distance learning. Tonight, I would like to bring us back to focus on learning success stories.

One of the aspects of what we do here at LWS is student choice: we engage with adults who want to improve their marketable skills within their field. Since 2014, we have fine-tuned that process into what feels like a new “school” on this side of the screen. As each student progresses through a class, they now have the option of listening to the audio or just reading content or doing both together. When we first started our online classes, feedback from learner surveys indicated that Ron’s voice could run to the soothing side – so we made a shift. We have also started to switch narrators, as I myself have begun recording audio tracks as well. My voice is not as soothing as my Dad’s: my high school students swear it isn’t.

We have brought full, professional translations of assessment and classes into French and Spanish. For the student who prefers to skip a formal assessment, we offer the self-assessment: you choose your training path, and you select your skill level. We have even developed coursework based upon student requests.

Where we once offered only traditional, multiple-choice tests, we now offer short response, multiple-choice, and reflection responses. If a student doesn’t want to write that response, they can upload an audio file and simply give the response verbally.

Even though I tend to be the more silent of the two of us (don’t tell Dad I said that, he says I speak in “pages, not paragraphs”), I can tell you this: when students have choices about not only what they learn, but how they demonstrate that learning, success is the outcome. I invite you to join us and start building your success story today.

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Understanding How to View Success

Understanding How to View Success

When we work on setting goals, understanding how to view success is a key component in the process. Please read tonight’s blog from Ron to learn more about this critical process, and all of the viewpoints that go into it.

Most of you are by now aware of our goal of helping each employee identify their potential and then put them on a path to achieving it. The keyword there is “goal.” Each person needs to establish goals in their lives. It starts from a young age in how we are treated by our parents and grandparents. They teach us right from wrong and good from bad. In this manner, we start on a developmental path of understanding what we should do. It is our first experience with goals. Be a good person. As Colin Powell is known to say “don’t do anything that will embarrass your parents.” Then we have a transition from family life as a very young person to our school phase.

We go to school and we are taught to read and write and perform arithmetic calculations. That puts us on a path of learning that is aiming at helping us develop our intellect. That is the goal. We also start to experience socialization with a peer group, first our classmates and then our friends, another series of goals in getting along with others. In some cases, we get involved in music or sports and then learn how to get along with others in different backgrounds, again more goals. We have the family, the school, the peer groups, the sports teams and clubs, music and other groups all helping us grow into a complete person. All goals.

And then we have to make a choice at the end of High School or in some cases before, about what we are going to do next. This is, for many, the beginning of making our own decisions and establishing our own goals. This is the next transition from basic learning to specialized learning. To become able to provide ourselves with sufficient knowledge or expertise to be able to look after our own needs. Another transition. A more serious one.

We then go on to Junior College, or a Trade or Vocational School, or a University. We choose the classes we are going to take with a goal in mind. Sometimes that goal is a particular job. Sometimes it is simply getting more knowledge and then deciding what to do with that knowledge. But we are establishing our own goals.

Then comes the next step, another major transition. Getting a job. Finding a career. Becoming independent financially. This is a more difficult transition. Most people do not know what they want to do for a living. Some are very fortunate. They know they want to be a doctor or a teacher or a mechanic. But most people don’t have a clue.

How are we supposed to get the right answers if we don’t know what we are trying to do? We need to establish goals. We need to do a sort of audit on what we like and what we don’t like. What we are good at and what we struggle with. What kind of people we like to be around and which people cause us to want to be somewhere else?

I didn’t have a clue of what I wanted to do. Like most of us, I had been working in part-time jobs. I taught swimming and tennis at a country club. I sold things, encyclopedias. I did telemarketing, selling newspaper subscriptions. I played piano in a bar and organ in churches. I taught education at a University. I wanted to work in data processing but in those years, it was nearly impossible to find work in that field. So, I struggled. I am sure that I was not and am not alone in that fact. I think that most of us struggle to try to find our place in the world, in society.

Let me start by saying that I believe that we all want to be a success. But that is the challenge. What does that mean? Who teaches us or guides us on that path? Is success wealth? Or Status? Or Fame? I submit to you it is none of those things. I would like to say that it is simply being able to lead a healthy and productive and happy life. But what is that and who helps us to understand how to obtain it?

Education has changed today. The choices that a person has in classes are mind-boggling. Ed Gordon, a respected voice in education in America, in a recent newsletter stated “Many parents also believe that their local school is providing a good education to their children. Regretfully this is often not the case. Education levels have not kept pace with skill demands in workplaces.”

We, at Learning Without Scars, are strong advocates of the use of an annual performance review with each employee. This is an opportunity for each team leader to have a productive discussion with each employee and help them understand what they can do to become better as an employee. What they can focus on to be capable of another opportunity in the Company. How the team leader is there to help them. Goals can be established and then the path to success becomes clearer. Wouldn’t we all want that, for ourselves? Someone to help us establish the goals that would help us have a successful life. Don’t you think that would be helpful?

The Time is Now.

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We All Engage in Social Media

We All Engage in Social Media

In this week’s post, guest blogger Mets Kramer shares that we all engage in social media and this blog is just one example. Other platforms include Facebook, LinkedIn, and of course, the large number of websites we all visit for information.  

As the digital world grows, we understand it is necessary to have a social media presence for our dealerships. We want people to see us and whatever online presence we create, we want it to have a positive impact on our business.  In my last article, we looked at how to use metrics for your website, with a specific focus on using the information collected to understand your customers’ and visitors’ engagement with your digital dealership.  Our goal for investing time and money into our online presence is to increase the engagement we have with our audience.

I’d like to look more closely at social media strategies. Each platform has its strengths and can contribute to your website traffic and engagement.  There are 3 main things to consider when building your strategy: who is your Intended Audience, what kind of Content do you want to post, and lastly, a call to Action, or in other words, how do you want them to respond?

Your audience consists of both active and prospective customers, in addition to a large number of people who many have no need for your services.  When developing your strategy, it’s important to consider who will see your social media posts on each platform and understand the demographics of these audiences. For example, joining small contractor groups on Facebook may get you a large audience of owner/operators who love equipment and are busy each day on site.  LinkedIn has a more professional and corporate audience, with larger business decision-makers or influencers.  It’s important to understand who the audience is when determining what kind of content, you want to show them. We all can appreciate the effort in personalized messages, on a card or in an email greeting; this is no different for social media, be personal.

The second aspect to consider is content, which can include product images (equipment for sale), application content (showing the product at work), general information to educate your audience or pure branding content so the audience becomes familiar with your company’s “face”.  Remember social media is social. This means that all the content you post, needs to also focus on you or celebrating people in your business. When you can associate a person with your online content, it helps your audience build a social connection with your business. In your digital marketing strategy, the goal is to build a virtual experience between your dealership, you and your audience; both active and prospective customers. All this to say, if you’re only posting images of your inventory with no links to your website, you are not successfully building a social connection within your online presence.

This brings us to the final aspect of engaging in social media: the call to action. What is the action you want your audience member to take after seeing your content? This is where the strategizing comes in. It is imperative to create content that motivates potential clients to move away from “doomscrolling” and drive them to your website. Doomscrolling can be defined as mindlessly scrolling through news articles, social media posts, or other content on sharing platforms.

So, what is your call to action?

Decide if you want your viewer to click on the content and be redirected to your website so you can further engage with them, or do you want a direct response? An example of a direct response is posting an image of a machine you have for sale, with pricing details and contact information. Here, the call to action is “Call me to buy this machine”. This type of strategy has been shown to be very effective on platforms like Facebook where you have groups of contractors, but it’s generally frowned upon on LinkedIn. A more strategic approach on a platform like LinkedIn, would be to have the viewer click on your post, directing them to your website. Now, you have the opportunity to present your dealership fully, presenting all the aspects of your business and focusing the user to think about how your dealership can meet their needs.

In conclusion, the main objective for any strategy should be a call to action. We invest time and money in social media platforms to redirect our audience members to the right place: generally, your website. If you can construct each post with the knowledge of the kind of audience you are marketing and a clear expectation of what you want their response to be, it will help you determine the kind of content you should post.  If your audience is full of buyers, show them something to buy. If your audience is full of influencers, build a connection, build your brand and drive traffic to your website so they get the full picture.

One last note.  Find a social media management app to execute your strategy.  Check out Hootesuite, Social Pilot, Buffer, Sendible and others.

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Principia for Business

Principia for Business

In this week’s guest blog, Ryszard Chciuk shares his Principia for business.

In my post The Future is Now I presented you why and how my after-sales team worked out its long-term plans, which most of business teachers call a vision. Today I am writing about the way we were going to bring us closer to our goals.

I am repeating myself: without the long-term plans, you are like a sailor who missed all his maps. You can use your compass, but you do not know where you will finally land on. Maybe it will be a deserted island. If you are a very lucky man, maybe you will land in a paradise. I am daring to give you one piece of advice: please, do not fool yourself, most probably you will break up the boat on the rocks. You and your crew have a little chance to survive the crash, it will be just pure chance.

Worse things happen if your team members do not follow the binding rules. I prefer to name them the main principles. Coming back to the metaphor. Before you abandon a port, you must equip your boat with precise maps and a compass. In 1492 Christopher Columbus had an astrolabe, compass, quadrant, and, instead of maps, his assumptions which directions to go. Finally, he was convinced he landed in “the Indies”, but fortunately for him (not for the original inhabitants), the ships made landfall on one of the Bahamian islands.

In real-life our maps are always uncertain, so before you start the journey, you should agree with your co-sailors a small number of basic rules to be strictly followed. For example, the captain is always right, you will keep watch till you are replaced by another sailor on duty, everybody is authorized to ask questions and make mistakes, the person in charge is not always right, and so on. Otherwise, all of you will fight against each other, instead of collaboration in the face of a turbulent market.

Those basic rules I name the main principles. Certainly, you are accustomed to calling them values, so I will explain myself. Most of the dictionaries, including The Cambridge Dictionary, define the first meaning of the word “value” as the amount of money that can be received for something. The second meaning of that word is the beliefs people have, especially about what is right and wrong, but it is only for the plural form. The three laws of Motion Sir Isaac Newton presented in the masterpiece called Principia (in Latin) and it is translated into Principles (in English). That’s why I ask my friends to follow the main principles instead of the values. Values and vision belong to the most overused – and least understood – words in the language of business. I want to avoid any ambiguities while talking about things of so high importance.

The most important for every organization is that all level managers and all employees subscribe to the main principles. It means, you as a manager, should employ only candidates who learnt the company values and agreed to follow those principles during the whole journey with the company. Later on, you have to observe potential breakers of the values and eliminate them. Otherwise, some employees may sabotage the whole organization. However, it’s not easy to discover the true personal values of a candidate during an interview. My advice is not to rely only on the information gathered by the human resources department. Use also your own intuition.

The most severe troubles for every kind of organization can be caused by people occupying more important posts. The company owner should keep it in mind when hiring top management. Do you remember the famous Enron case? In its annual report to shareholders, Enron listed its core values as follows:

  1. Communication – We have an obligation to communicate.
  2. Respect – We treat others as we would like to be treated.
  3. Integrity – We work with customers and prospects openly, honestly, and sincerely.
  4. Excellence– We are satisfied with nothing less than the very best in everything we do.

The actions of Enron’s senior leaders stood opposed to these core values. They quickly established a culture with values of greed and desire to maximize personal gain. It also appeared that Enron managers were supported by the renowned auditing company Arthur Andersen LLP. What was the result? Thousands of people lost jobs, their money collected on retirement plans disappeared…

I am writing this article because I want all of my friends to be aware of a potential threat. I have read about many leaders driving organizations into bankruptcy due to breaking their values. In the last decades of my life, it concerns mainly political leaders all over the world. It is unfair that dishonest leaders never pay the highest cost. Perhaps Enron’s CEO Jeffrey Skilling was one of few exceptions. He was sentenced to 24 years in prison (finally was freed after 14 years). Have you heard about reimbursing the victims of the Enron scandal?

As I explained in the post The Future is Now, my plan to build the best after-sales organization could not be executed if we employed people having bad habits. In other words, we would fail if new employees were accustomed to the principles which were opposite to ours.

Next time I will explain, what it meant in our daily work.

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A Positive Sense of Community

A Positive Sense of Community

This week, Don Shilling shares the importance of building a positive sense of community.

I know all of us have watched reports in the media or thumbed through articles in periodicals about the wonderful employee benefits some of High-Tech companies provide their workforce. Perks that are used to attract talented people and keep them occupied while at work. The lavish gourmet cafeteria’s, coffee kiosks or fully equipped gyms within the walls of their facilities. Under our breath as read view these perks, we probably exclaim . . .. “How in the world do we compete with that?”

Your organization may be like our company; our environment is such that we just do not have the physical space to offer those kind of amenities as it seems all our facilities are limited to providing services for customers or work environments to efficiently produce and administer the delivery of our goods and services.

Our employees however are just as important to our success as the High-Tech companies’ employees are to their operation. So, the burning question is, what are we doing to attract and retain our employees given the limitations both physically and environmentally of our industry?

We must be employee focused! This focus can be done without adding square footage to our facilities.

Do each of your employees feel they are appreciated? Are they given opportunities for training, job recognition, offered consistent and timely delivery of benefits and real opportunities for advancement? Have you created a culture of shared knowledge of the business and demonstrated caring and compassion during times of personal crisis?

These are all valid questions that require your own personal reflection. Appreciation can start by simply sharing information with employees. Some companies use a Balanced Scorecard approach while others are deep in other management tools like EOS Traction where all personnel regularly hear the company focus, goals and implementation steps required. During the sharing of this information these are golden opportunities to recognize departments and individuals who have contributed to the success. These meetings should be positive events with plenty of sharing of knowledge and open discussion.

We must focus on the individuals. Ways of doing that may include sharing company logo’ d apparel so all can identify with the business, company newsletters distributed weekly used to recognize special things like weddings, anniversaries, birthdays and especially examples individual accomplishment of outstanding company values. (Not just the “big deal” you were awarded, but the small extra efforts made by individuals furthering the company’s efforts)

Our company has also found positive success if we get personally involved in employees after work activities such as helping to sponsor the employee in things ranging from sporting events or teams, charity events, hobbies or personal interest activity and other activities that may include the employee or other family members like their children or spouse. By sponsoring an employee, we ask for photos or shared results of those activities so that activity can be shared in the company newsletter for all to see.

Recognizing milestones of each employee, breaking bread in picnic’s, grill outs or appreciation dinners. Stopping all work for an Ice Cream Break or treating all employees to an entertainment venue can contribute to the relationship we have with one another and bring participants closer together.

Creating this sense of Community is the key element we as smaller business entities need to do to attract and maintain the family values. This becomes the glue that holds us all together. When your employees make a point of bragging about the company, they work for . . . it is generally the customer and a potential future employee that are listening!!

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The Difficulties in Achieving Scale

The Difficulties in Achieving Scale

In today’s guest blog post, Bruce Baker continues discussing the difficulties in achieving scale.

So why did this happen to someone like Julia?  There was no cause for alarm because she and her business had the best year ever and had built up an impressive cash cushion. If this was the case, surely this meant that she knew what she was doing?  Also, she had built up the business steadily over the last few years. The problem was the danger and risk associated with a “place of comfort” that Julia had created for herself.

Like many, this reduced her sense of urgency and importance (see my last blog – Chapter 2) regarding her initial need to scale her existing business and establish a solid foundation for ongoing growth.

Julia (like many of us) was caught unaware by an unconscious human bias called the Parkinson’s effect (i.e., usage expands as more availability/supply is provided/made available). In this case, having more cash available provided a long-awaited sense of comfort and release. This created a sense of confidence in utilizing a scarce resource without much thought as to the long-term implications. As soon as the supply (cash) is limited and someone is in crisis, only then (like in Julia’s case) makes an extreme sense of importance and urgency surface.

Human beings (business owners included) typically overestimate their chances of success at the end only to learn that what they fell in love with initially was not the end-result they were expecting. In many cases, we are dazzled by the thought of the end-success that very little if any thought is placed in the actions required to achieve a successful end-result. This sense of over-optimism tends to create blind spots in our ability to plan and execute effectively. Only after failure is imminent or has occurred, we then tend to look for external reasons for our failure(s) versus our tendency to be willfully blind at times.

Of course, Julia and I made up for lost time but to get Julia back on track. I want to share two techniques we used to ensure her success moving forward.

  1. To ensure Julia reduced the chances of being misdirected by the Parkinson’s effect, I introduced and helped Julia implement a Profit First system, which provides a solid way to allocate cash to the right parts of the business system. I said to Julia that if she adopted the system and continued to generate revenue like she had been doing, using this system would guarantee her profitability and eliminate her debt in the company. Julia’s response was priceless, more so because of the look on her face when I said this and her reluctant response saying no one can guarantee to eliminate debt and make a profit. To no surprise, Julia’s cash situation has improved tremendously in the business. She sees a profit, reduces her debt, and pays herself for the first time in six months.

 

  1. The last technique I introduced to Julia was planning every aspect of her business (including the investment in other business ventures) through worst-case scenario planning. Julia’s comment to me was that this did not make sense as she wanted to be positive in her approach to planning her business’s growth. I responded to her by saying that there was nothing wrong with thinking positively and leveraging hers and the company’s strengths in the planning process. The problem is that optimism and excitement tend to blind us by overestimating the positive/successful outcome. I added to this by reminding Julia that her strengths can become weaknesses or even irrelevant as the business grows. Planning for a worst-case scenario puts the business owner and the company’s existing operating template under a stress test. It ensures that any potential weaknesses or shortfalls in the business systems operating routine/template are identified and strengthened. Since using this approach with Julia, the systems, and structures we started working on initially are scrutinized and implemented successfully.

For more information on not just the tools Julia used but the process she went through to make the transition happen, please send an email to info@4workplaces.com, where I would be happy to send you a copy of the tool video tutorial on the process you can follow.

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The Power of Identifying Your Potential

The Power of Your Potential

I like to tell the story of a young person, at the age of sixteen, being told that they have a lot of potential. That person feels proud and is happy with themselves. Then talking to the same person when they are at the age of sixty-six and saying the same thing. What would be the reaction then? Perhaps it would be what have you done for the past fifty years.

Potential is an interesting element, isn’t it? We have used and heard about many tools used to measure or determine someone’s potential. SAT tests to qualify for University, ACT used for the same purpose. Briggs-Myers, and Caliper to name a few. In sports you have seen qualification events, you have seen auditions for the arts. All of these things leave out something I think which is very significant. The individual freedom to choose their own path.

Let’s start with a definition of potential that we can use as a foundation to this discussion. Potential is “the skill and the will to develop and perform at a higher level or better level in the future. Potential then sets some kind of benchmark against which the individual can measure progress toward their goal potential. Many of you know that I swam competitively when I was a teenager. I have often said it was through swimming that I became aware of potential. I was always chasing a clock, not another swimmer. I was constantly pushed to beat my best time. To stretch toward a higher level of performance. I have translated that thinking into my views on potential.

Today we have Intelligence tests (IQ) and Emotional tests (EQ) to determine cognitive skills. We have personality tests to determine behavioral attributes. Then we try to determine the principles and values of an individual. Then we pay attention to the motivation of the individual. We try and determine the decision-making skills of an individual. Then we apply situational case studies or put people into a mockup example. We test the heck out of people. Then we interview them for a particular job. Then we make a hire-no hire decision.

Flash forward with me now and we have hired an individual who passed through all of these tests and you want them to work with you on your team. They are hired. Can you imagine their excitement? They got a job. They got a job that they were looking to get. They wanted to work with you. They wanted to do that particular kind of work. I call that person “An Enthusiastic Beginner.” They are all pumped up.

What happens from that point forward is dependent on the leader. How do you handle onboarding a new employee? Once the onboarding is done how is the employee introduced to their work? How are they trained? How often does the leader communicate with the new employee? I often see examples where the leader has seriously impacted the employee. The employee can become disillusioned with the Company and their job. This can be caused by the leader not being attentive enough to the needs and goals of the new employee. Or the employee can become very cautious about how they do the job. The leader can use bullying tactics. All that the company wants is a self- reliant employee. All the employee wants is an opportunity to make a difference.

As people move from being at home as a youngster and transitioning to school, or from school to the workforce they are presented with obstacles. At some point we are told that everything is possible and you will do great things only to find out that it is not true. Not everything is possible and it is hard to see how you can do great things. At other times we become sensitive to other peoples’ needs and wants for us. We are afraid of hurting their feelings if we decide that this job is not what you want and you choose to leave. Or there is the BIG dog in the room, we are afraid that we will fail in the pursuit of our dreams. Some people are even afraid to succeed. This is tough duty. Finding your place in the world, finding your passion is tough enough. Finding your potential is even more difficult.

In our Learning Without Scars business, we want to help in this process. We have created job function skills assessments, with the sole purpose of providing an object measure of an individuals’ skills and competence in the job. This is not opinions anymore. It is not subjective. We suggest to our clients that they use these assessments in many ways:

 

  • The hiring processes
  • The performance reviews
  • The salary and wage administration
  • The development of career paths

In the education world the students are classified as developing, beginning, intermediate and advanced. We use the same structure and the score obtained in the assessments to allow the employee and the company to design an individualized learning program for each individual. This is the product of the thousands of students we have had in classes and webinars first with Quest, Learning Centers and now with Learning Without Scars. We know which subject specific classes apply to each level of skills for each job function. We provide guidance with eight classes being available to fill in the gaps of skills and knowledge. The employee chooses. They know better than anyone where they need the additional knowledge. This approach allows us to be engaged in the process with our clients of helping each individual identify and strive to achieve their potential.

The time is now.

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The Relational Ladder

The Relational Ladder

The Relational Ladder

Tonight’s post on the relational ladder is taken from conversations and readings with Ed Wallace.

The world is changing and the noise around us at times is overwhelming. Network News, Round the Clock Cable Stations and then all the social media pounding on us. Cell Phones dinging in the middle of the night. How can we continue to create and maintain the personal relationships that are so important to life in general and your feeling of worth and well-being?

Ed, in his book, provides us a detailed path to follow, or perhaps I should call it a ladder to climb. Most of us driven by quotas and business goals and we are so focused on our objectives that we typically don’t spend enough time on our strategies and approaches for all the people and relationships that we have to have in place. But we have relational capital that we can spend which allows us to succeed.

Let’s quickly review some of Ed’s key points:

 

  • The Principle of Worthy Intent – keeping the client’s wishes at your core
  • The essential qualities of credibility, integrity and authenticity
  • Understand that exhibiting these essential qualities we perform well
  • Paying Attention to our GPS – Goals, Passions and Struggles

 

Through all that we have learned in Building Relationships that Last, we have built a Relational Ladder. A Path that we can follow to ensure we stay on the right track.

At the floor we start with our acquaintances which allows us to establish common ground. This allows us to show our integrity and establish trust with those with whom we are building a relationship. Then from the previous blog we are purposeful with time. We are both helpful and seeking help from everyone with whom we have a relationship.

It is from this approach to relationships that we must consider two important personal characteristics; Humility and Gratitude. It is important to understand and accept that there are people who will know far more than we know and be able to do far more than we can do. This is a good thing as we have many examples of people from whom we can take guidance and create models of activity or behavior ourselves. Humility is a good attribute to have. This allows us to develop the knowledge, self-control and discipline to continue on the path aimed at reaching our potential.

Understanding and accepting your individual sense of purpose is a difficult task. Asking for help as in the Relational Ladder is critical in this process. Understanding our GPS – Goals, Passions and Obstacles is an important piece of the puzzle in building relationships. Then we can move effectively to the next step POP – Purpose, Outcomes and Process. The totality of Building Relationships that Last.

In what I call our Passion to Perform we all have similar traits. We strive for those things that Max was able to exhibit in how he conducted his business.

 

  • Increases in Customer Loyalty
  • Increases in Revenue per Transaction
  • Increased Recurring Business
  • More Competitor-proof
  • Becoming a Respected Advisor

 

Everyone wants to do a good job in anything that they do. Similarly, we can all do more than we think we can. The problem is that most people are fundamentally lazy. That latter point is not necessarily a bad thing it just means that they are trying to be effective, not efficient, in what they do. My purpose in life is as a teacher. It is helping people find and then understand their potential in life and then assisting them in the process of achieving it.

Life is a journey and there are many challenges and opportunities along the way. Learning to manage our professional and private relationships is an important part of our lives. Passionate People Perform. I have learned a lot from Ed and value our relationship. Reading his book and knowing the man has made me a better person.

I am sure that the same will be true for you. Thanks, Ed.

 

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A Pathway to Purpose Through Learning

A Pathway to Purpose Through Learning

We are all consumed with plans and budgets and objectives. We do them predictably and rigorously at least once a year. Most of us have mission statements and vision statements posted on boards throughout the company. Yet I wonder how many of us have a purpose. Not only that, how many of us know how to find our purpose? I submit that you can find a pathway to your purpose through learning.

Let me start by explaining what I mean by a “sense of purpose.” A sense of purpose is the motivation that drives you toward a satisfying future. It also helps you get the most from the things that you do and achieve in the here and now. Alright that is reasonably clear but how to I get a sense of purpose? That is a problem. Only around 25% of American adults cite having a clear sense of purpose about what makes their lives meaningful, according to one analysis of the subject in the New York Times while 40% claim neutrality on the subject or say they don’t. A study in 2010 by Applied Psychology found that individuals with high levels of eudemonic well-being – which involves having a sense of purpose along with a sense of control and feeling like what you do is worthwhile – tend to live longer. A 2016 study in the Journal of Research and Personality found that individuals who feel a sense of purpose make more money than individuals who feel that their work lacks meaning. These studies and findings tell us you don’t have to worry about making money or being happy, just find your own sense of purpose and pursue it.

What is your purpose in life is a different kind of question isn’t it? It isn’t what do you do or how do you do it or even why you do it. It is what is your purpose. Now that is a real poser. How many of you ask your team members what they believe their purpose is in life? I don’t imagine any of you do. That is much too much of an invasion of what we determine is our “private” space. How are we supposed to know if any of our team are fulfilled in their job or is it “just” a job?

That has been on my mind recently as we slowly come out of the funk that this pandemic has put us in. I have written in the past that we need to push forward. We need to show resilience and strength and continue to serve our customer needs. After all they all struggled to make a living and make ends meet themselves. We need to be strong and present for them.

Recently I read a document about learning from Kinsey Consulting that got my attention. Unilever was the subject of the article and it dealt with creating “an engine of success which is fueled by continual learning.” They are trying to create an atmosphere “where purpose and skill travel the same path.” The consumer goods giant believes that the engine of success is fueled by continual learning. Part of reimagining organizations is the ability to create an atmosphere where purpose and skill travel on the same path.

At Unilever, that’s being accomplished through the company’s Future Fit initiative launched earlier this year, says Leena Nair, Unilever CHRO (Chief Human Resources Officer). Every person in the company has this plan, which contains four elements, she says. Employees start by identifying their purpose. “We feel that people learn best in areas that they feel purposeful about,” Nair says.

From there, the plan addresses employees’ energy level and overall well-being, and how they can improve both; leadership training and areas of development; and, lastly, actual skills. Nair says Unilever has created a learning pathway for all positions within the company. “We think our approach is unique and well suited for the environment we’re in,” she says. “There’s too much noise right now about what to learn; there’s too much coming at employees.” Being actively involved in the process allows employees to take ownership of their career. “It’s not something being done to them,” she adds. “It’s them embracing the change they need, and the company needs, to move through and past this pandemic.”

This is the direct purpose of our job function skills assessments. Although there are many paths for business to follow there is no one path that is perfect for everyone. It seems to be quite clear, however, that there is a need for a clear purpose, a strategy that everyone is aware of and a strong emphasis on learning. That is what we are aiming to do at Learning Without Scars. Our purpose is to help employees think about and understand their individual potential. Then to provide each employee the learning tools, the assessments and classes, that will help them work towards achieving that potential. It is not an easy road to pursue. It is a path that requires a lot of self-discipline and hard work. It is a path that we are on with each and every one of our employee and business clients. Our purpose is clear. Who wants to join with us on this journey?

 

The time is now.

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