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Category Organizational Development

Development of Leaders through Experiences

In this newsletter, we talked about leadership and the importance of communication, digital savvy, and agility to their roles and to the success of any organization.  Many leaders have been organically grown and therefore these traits may or may not have been as inherent in previous roles as contributors.  Gallup recently shared an article on experiential development for leaders and the importance of learning while doing.  It notes that today’s leaders must operate in a remarkably agile and ever-changing business landscape, different from any that came before it. And the demands of leadership in that environment will only grow more intense.  To learn more about experiential learning and its role in leadership development, see the Gallup article on Experience Reigns in Leadership Development.

ACTION: E-Leaders are Facilitators

This is the second in a four-part series on e-leadership and its critical influence in today’s virtual teams.

In our last E-Leadership blogpost, we considered rethinking how virtual teams can maximize time dedicated to training or work projects and suggested incorporating self-directed activities that are completed online. This approach not only continues the momentum of initiatives, it can also improve engagement and efficiency in future training or project meetings. In this post, we’ll look at types of online self-paced and real-time work and learning initiatives and how e-leaders can better move the needle to improved performance in facilitating them asynchronously.

Online team activities fall into three main categories:

Review of digital content, Collaborating on shared documents, and Topical discussions.

You are no doubt familiar with sharing digital content like presentations, links, reports, and other information via email or online.… Read more →

Candor in Continuous Improvement

As leaders we have all experienced that awkward moment when you’ve had to deliver feedback to your team, an associate or partner that their work needs improvement. Or what about those moments when you have to explain to project stakeholders that work might go over-budget or be delayed and why this has occurred.

As Talent Developers at Maher & Maher, we’ve experienced these scenarios internally and at times with our clients.  Any firm that says otherwise, well… just isn’t being honest.  We are talking about that critical point where delicate feedback must be either delivered or received in a way that doesn’t compromise the overall success of a project or worse yet damage the people involved.

These uncomfortable moments should be viewed as opportunities.  They call for us to have frank conversations that… Read more →

Fostering Agility through Servant Leadership

When we think of our organizational leaders, it’s likely that we think of the individuals in executive and senior leadership roles, the directors of our business sectors, and the managers of our teams. More simply, many of us think of the people we perceive as being "in charge" – the decision makers, task delegators, and performance appraisers who operate with superior importance. But, as Simon Sinek, TED Speaker and author of "Start With Why" and "Leaders Eat Last” stated in the above quote, that perception of leadership must be reframed.

The truth is that organizational leadership is at its most effective when it is a servant and focuses less on taking charge of our teams and more on taking care of them. In other words, leaders who prioritize their team’s development, success, and fulfillment above their own will see greater improvements to… Read more →

Maher Attends LTEN Conference in Nashville

On Monday, June 5th, I started day one of the 46th Annual LTEN Conference in Nashville, Tennessee at the Gaylord Opryland.  LTEN is the Life Sciences Trainers and Educators Network, previously known as the Society of Pharmaceutical and Biotech Trainers (SPBT) and prior to that, for us older alumni, the National Society of Pharmaceutical Sales Trainers (NSPST). 

I’ve attended this conference almost every year for nearly 20 years.  After all, my foray into Learning and Development after graduate school was in this market, working on product training for market leading brands like Pfizer’s Lipitor® (atorvastatin calcium).  

The LTEN conference offers a unique inside view of the Life Sciences industry and how the Learning and Development functions within these organizations are challenged to drive efficiencies, compliance, and performance improvements to ultimately result in better business outcomes, whether that… Read more →

Maher Workforce Solutions Practices Sharpen the Saw!

Last week a group of senior staff from Maher’s Workforce Solutions practices gathered in the historic Willard Office Building in downtown D.C. for training. For two days about 20 of our professional team worked together to drive new efficiency in our development activities and benchmark best practices with the leaders in the government sector.

“We have been talking about this for the last year … looking at ways to make what we do more effective and efficient,” said Richard D. (“Rick”) Maher, the Firm’s President and CEO. “Our people are incredibly talented and work really hard to make our clients successful. We want to do a better job telling the world about what we do, and making that effort “world-class” – just like the consulting efforts we perform.”

The group gathered near the… Read more →

Change Management Effort Underway at the Illinois Office of Employment and Training

Last week, my colleague Lynn Bajorek and I were in Springfield, Illinois, to facilitate a strategic planning session with the leadership team of the Office of Employment and Training (OET) at the Illinois Department of Commerce.

Over the last several months we’ve been working with OET on an internal change management effort which looks both internally to better understand its assets, challenges and opportunities and externally to understand how OET can leverage and partner better within its entire workforce development system. The end result will be a "Blueprint" that fully aligns OET’s assets and resources with a clearly articulated vision, mission, and set of goals.

 

Last week, our day-long session focused on the results of our surveys, interviews, and research and the development of a SWOT analysis to understand the current "as is" state of… Read more →

Social Learning in a Corporate Environment

At a recent team meeting it was exciting to hear how social learning was at play.  From peer-to-peer sharing in support of a client’s Lean implementation, to sales representatives partaking in strategic planning best practices in a virtual classroom session, to a project team collaborating on process improvements in the development of a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course), the value of social learning was front and center.

Social learning is not a new concept in the business community – we work in teams, seek out peers for guidance and information, engage in collaborative problem-solving, and learn together in classes. Leveraging the knowledge capital of employees by sharing information and expertise in the workplace is a proven business practice with a long history.  Whether through informal mentoring or a simple water-cooler chat, social learning is a powerful process that connects employees with subject matter… Read more →

Labor Day Inspiration … Atlanta style.

I had the privilege to attend a really great event with our client – Invest Atlanta – a week ago last Friday. It reminded me anew, why I do what I do. From time to time, I think we all need such a reminder – amidst the distractions and challenges we all face in life and at work day to day.

The event brought Labor Secretary Tom Perez to Atlanta as part of his “Labor Day” cross-country tour, but also served as the platform for Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed to publicly announce his endorsement of a set of recommendations our team (working with a broad group of Atlanta’s community and business leaders) developed to re-invent the city’s workforce development system. That System has been criticized in an internal audit as ineffective, ridiculed in the press and is the subject of an… Read more →

Re-inventing Education – One Community College at a Time

I recently was able to work with the leadership of another community college in a retreat to craft the focus of the College’s next strategic plan.

For the second time this month, we used our Community-Centered Strategic Planning Process℠ – a process carefully designed to involve a broad array of internal and community leaders to align community needs with educational priorities – to drive our work. Rooted in AACC’s “Re-Claiming the American Dream” report, the process positions the college as an economic engine of regional growth and stability, not just an education or training provider.

During the session, leaders exchanged thoughts about the skills gaps in key sectors within the region, the need for a more agile and nimble curriculum (that shifts with the dynamic needs of the market), and more rudimentary things – like the need to dramatically… Read more →

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