5 ways to use recap notes to drastically improve training accountability

Recap Notes - THiNK Training

If you’re reading this blog, then you’re probably no stranger to training sessions.  You probably even facilitate your fair share of them too.

That means you know how frustrating it can be to check in with your participants only to find they can’t remember what they learned, aren’t able to apply the lessons they did remember, and haven’t actually made any changes in their behavior.

Results like this can make you doubt your skills, your materials, your methods and even yourself.

We get it.

We’ve spent countless hours facilitating team conversations towards creating cohesive and productive environments.

And after all this time, we’ve learned that, whether we’re focused on strategic planning, utilizing the Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team, improving team performance, or some other area of team and leadership development, there are fundamentals that apply to any type of training you might facilitate.

One key to rule them all

Key - Recap Notes - THiNK Training
Uncover the key to building accountability into your training sessions

We’ve also been challenged to help our participants achieve the best results.  And we’ve found that there is one key area that helps us bring out the best growth and progress after the training session is finished. It is one of our key tools to make sure our training sessions materials stick with each person.

At TH!NK we’ve engineered our meetings specifically for team members to have meaningful conversations and make commitments of action.  We don’t just focus on the training, but we pay equal attention to how that training is used and practiced.

We really see our job as three-fold:

  1. Facilitate the conversation
  2. Document the process and commitments
  3. Assist the team to remain accountable to their commitments

But how do we do this?  And specifically, how do we make sure everyone is able to follow through once the session is a thing of the past?

Recap notes for the win

Notebook and Pen - Recap Notes - THiNK Training
Notes worth taking notes over

One key tool is to develop recap notes that are meaningful and easy to take action on.

It has taken us a few years to find the best way to provide meaningful recap notes to our teams.  And today we’re sharing our secret recipe for actionable recap notes.

We’re going to give you five specific keys to create recap notes that will drastically improve your team’s ability to not only remember the information from your training session, but to apply it and integrate it into their behaviors and actions.

Plus, we’re going to share with you one super helpful technique you can use when you might be off your game and need to dig a bit deeper for information.

Ready to raise your recap note skills to the next level?

Let’s go!

Key #1: Use your agenda as your structure

Agenda Calendar - Recap Notes - THiNK Training
It’s time to plan for the plan beyond the plan

Unless you’re totally winging it, your team was probably following an agenda during your session.  (And if you are winging it, then we really need to talk.  Contact us to discuss how to improve your training skills right now!)

The agenda from your session is actually the best structure to use when creating your notes.  It helps in a couple key ways:

First, knowing that your agenda is the foundation of your notes is a great way to ensure that you’re creating an agenda with meaning and not just trying to fill time with activities.

Second, since the agenda is in the same order of your training, when it is used for making notes they will also follow the same sequence and make them easier to follow and remember.  Especially for the participants since it will reinforce the order of training when they review the notes.

Pro Tip: Always include attendee names on your meeting notes. It is important to be able to look back and know who was at the meeting.

Key #2: Capture the key points, not every word said in the meeting

Mile post on highway - Recap Notes - THiNK Training
What are the key milestones along the journey of your training?

Meeting notes are not like class notes that you took in school.

They key here is to capture the main points from the day that should be remembered and reflected on by the participants.  Rather than cover every step of the way it is more like you’re providing mile markers along the route so they can remember important parts of the training journey.

For an item to be included in our notes, it needs to fall into one of four categories:

  1. New idea: A new idea is simply a topic that someone put out to the group for discussion.
  2. Important conversation topic: This could be an agenda item or something that came up in the meeting that seemed to inspire passion for the group.
  3. Action item: Something that the group needs to move forward after the meeting.
  4. Commitment: Anything that a person or the group has committed to doing, saying or being as a result of the meeting.

Key #3: Use photos from the meeting

Photographs - Recap Notes - THiNK Training
Photos bring emotional context to the written word

It’s a given that your will transcribe your notes and make them nice, neat and presentable for the participants.  But it is also important to take pictures from the training.  Snap snots of all your flip-chart documents, people working, whiteboard notes, etc.  Then include these images next to the transcribed notes

Why do we do this?

Because it creates an emotional connection to the words on the page.  Words types on a page have a tendency to distance the reader from the material; they forget that this was their information.

But when you show them an image of the flip-chart they created, they better remember the information, because it connects them to the moment of creation and understanding.

Key #4: Be specific

Make sure you are specific in your notes. The rule of thumb is to document the 4 W’s:

  • Who
  • What
  • When
  • Why

When might you need to be specific? A great time to do this is when taking a vote.

Taking a vote - Recap Notes - THiNK Training
Raise your hand if you want to improve your training skills!

Here is an example of what this might look like:

  • 3 people voted yes (Jon, Sarah, Cindy)
  • 2 people voted maybe (Malcolm, Trey)
  • 7 people said no (Ted, Hudson, Cindy, Eileen, Cybil, Kekoa, Quincy)

As a result of this vote, the group decided not to move forward on this project because it did not align with the 2018 goals for the team. It was a good idea and one that should be revisited in 2019. This will be added to the strategic planning list of ideas for 2019.

As you can see, it captures the details of the vote and provides more context than just saying “The group decided to not to more forward”.  It brings people back to the moment of decision and the reason those decisions were made.

Key #5: Get a commitment from everyone at the end of the meeting

It is critical that you end each meeting by asking people to make personal commitments based on the topic of the meeting.

Remember to document this information with as much specificity as possible, just like we said in key #4.

Here is an example of a well-documented set of commitments made by one team:

MemberWhat I will do to build trust…
AlexMy personal action item to be more genuine with the team. I will acknowledge and appreciate the contributions that other team members may have done to help me/my department.  Currently, I may do this on-on-one but I think acknowledgement publicly is also often time warranted.
AshleyI will be more honest and direct in my interactions with team members. Currently, I am more guarded and often reserve my opinions out of concern with rocking the boat.
ConnorMy commitment is to get to know each member of the team on a deeper level, both personally and professionally.  For me, knowing someone is the key to trusting someone.  This is especially important for me as I am new to the team. I will do this by schedule scheduling a lunch meeting with each person before our next meeting.
CindyMy commitment is to get better at continuing the discussion even when I have a negative reaction to someone’s word choice or body language. Instead of retreating, I will be curious and ask more questions.
EmmitI commit to talking to team members in person rather than sending them emails. I tend to rely on emails because I think it is quicker, but now I see how important to build by having face-to-face meetings, too.

Pop quiz, hot shot.

Okay, so we’ve covered a lot.  So let’s make sure that this information is sticking with you too.

Based on what you learned so far, what do you see is wrong with the following list of post-training commitments that I facilitated for a training session?

Individual Commitments to Engage in Conflict

  • Be less quiet
  • Pick up the subtleties
  • Practice active listening
  • Continue to speak up
  • Have more confidence in team
  • Enjoy healthy conflicts more
  • Speak up more
  • Not to feel attacked when receiving comments but to question why
  • Practice opening up more instead of taking it in
  • Availability
  • Try to get the team to the best it can be
  • Give CS/SC more space
  • Work hard but keep balance

Clearly I wasn’t following my own advice here.  With a set of commitments like this we see two big problems:

  1. They are not specific
  2. I forgot to write down who said what

I was so engrossed in the conversation that I forgot to notate who said what, or ask for more details.  And looking back at the flip-charts I saw that it wasn’t written there either.  #embarassing

You might think “Oh well!  Guess you’re out of luck.”  But believe it or not, there is a way to recover and turn bad notes into good ones.

How to recover from incomplete notes

So, what can be done?

Option 1: I could have called each person to ask them for more information.  But that is a lot of trouble and often hard to re-focus someone on the phone to recall the specifics from the training.

Option 2: I could have sent out the notes as-is.  Of course, notes like this don’t help the participants stay engaged, remember the training, or follow through on their commitments.

Option 3: I could make these notes the centerpiece of an activity in the next meeting.  Which is exactly what I did!  This is a simple activity that created energy in the room and provided participants an opportunity to reflect on their commitments.

This was not just a way to solve my poor note taking problem, but to also remind everyone what was discussed and create an environment of accountability.  Win-win!

The Power of Positive Notes

As you’ve just seen, when each part of your training is coordinated through effective session notes, it provides a vehicle through which your participants can not only remember what they’ve learned, but they can apply it and be held accountable for that integration in their own development.

It just takes a few tweaks to your process to turn your notes from a “necessary burden” to something that truly brings the results of your facilitation to new heights.

But why stop there?  We have so much more to teach you!

Happy Group Training - Recap Notes - THiNK Training
It’s time to facilitate training that get results and create happy, productive teams

Still struggling as a facilitator?

Our tool kit for facilitators is literally bursting at the seams.  If you’d love to pick our brains, get in one some coaching, or attend one of our upcoming training sessions then we’d love to hear from you.

If you’re ready to be a more effective facilitator, then we’re ready to help you get there.  Click here and we’ll make sure you get the help you need.

 


Image Attributions

Photos by David Travis, Daryn Stumbaugh, Aaron Burden, Estée Janssens, Tommaso Urli, Avel Chuklanov, rawpixel.com and Igor Ovsyannykov on Unsplash

3 Effective Ways to Make Everything DiSC® Stick

3 Effective Ways to Make Everything DiSC® Stick - TH!NK Training - Featured Images

When a client goes through a training class featuring Everything DiSC®, there is one question we get more than any other.

Can you guess what it is?

No, it isn’t, “Why are you guys so amazing at teaching Everything DiSC®?” (but that was a good guess).

Believe it or not, the most common question we get is: “How do we make it stick?”

And if you think about it, that makes total sense.

When you start to undertand Everything DiSC®, you naturally want to utilize what you just learned and make good use of the experience.  There is nothing worse than having an amazing session and then going back to “business as usual” with communication in the office.

If you’ve gone through the Everything DiSC® training, then you already know that it creates a more open environment.  This is one of the things people love most about the experience; colleagues become more understanding of one another, embrace each other’s strengths, and laugh about what used to frustrate them.  It’s easy to see why you want to keep those good vibes going.

So when we get questions like, “How do we make sure people don’t go back to their old ways of communicating?” we get it. It is a cause for concern, because you want to maintain the momentum.

But how?

Well, today is your lucky day!  By the end of this article you’re going to learn the top 3 ways (in order of importance) to keep the Everthing DiSC® good juju flowing in your workplace.

And it all starts with finding a champion in your organization …

1. Certify someone in your organization with Everything DiSC®

3 Effective Ways to Make Everything DiSC® Stick - TH!NK Training - Learning DiSC
Get certified in how to use Everything DiSC®

While we love teaching Everything DiSC® to people like you from all types of organizations, we didn’t become experts overnight.

I wish I could promise that a four-hour class would magically create perfect communication, free your team from complaints, and make everyone completely value each other’s differences.  As you’ve probably noticed, people and organizations do not transform their behaviors after just one workshop.

And while they do begin the process of changing and adapting, by using the language of DISC and practicing a few techniques, the reality is, people transform over time.

As they hit new levels of mastery, they need new tools and techniques to take their communication skills to the next level. Can an outside training or consulting company help you roll out this type of training?  Sure.  But it is no replacement for having an in-house champion for Everything DiSC®.

We are the champions … of Everything DiSC®

A champion is someone who works with an Everything DiSC® consultant to build knowledge and make the application of Everything DiSC® more relevant.

There really is no substitute for having a person on staff that understands how to build the concepts into your culture.  They are able to be hands-on to trouble shoot and coach your team with quick mini training sessions.  Plus, it is a big money savings when you can respond to day-to-day challenges with solutions that positively impact teamwork and customer service.

So, how do you develop your own Everything DiSC® champion?

It’s a simple process and the smartest place to start is by helping your HR department, training department, and operations managers go through the Everything DiSC Workplace® Certification.

There are two ways to do it:

  1. Online certification with a virtual cohort.  This consists of four two-hour modules, over the course of four weeks.
  2. In-person training sessions in Hawaii over two consecutive eight-hour days.  (And did we mention it’s in Hawaii?)

We’re going to get into more details on exactly what you can expect with certification in a future article.  But in the meantime, be sure to check out our four-part series by Treanna on her experience going through the certification process as a member of Generation Y.  It is a great look behind the curtain at how certification works.

And what happens once you’re certified?  First, you’ll experience a significant boost in confidence and competence when delivering Everything DiSC® training.

But even more important is how effective having a certified champion is to maintain the benefits of Everything DiSC® in your organization’s culture. If you want to keep the concepts going strong, then this is step number one.

But what is step number two in helping make Everything DiSC® stick?  I’m so glad you asked … 🙂

2. Actively use MyEverythingDiSC.com

3 Effective Ways to Make Everything DiSC® Stick - TH!NK Training - Use myeverythingdisc.com
Utilize the online resources with Everything DiSC® at MyEverythingDiSC.com

One of the challenges for those who go through Everything DiSC® is not knowing how to take their knowledge to the next level.

What if you aren’t able to get certified, but still want to make sure you can continue your mastery of the Everything DiSC® principles?

Well, that is where MyEverythingDiSC.com comes in. When you complete an Everything DiSC® Profile, you receive access to this unique online learning tool that helps you continue your personal mastery of Everything DiSC®.

Not only does it help you learn more about understanding behavior styles, but it also helps you use it to solve everyday challenges you may have when working with people. You can get tips on getting buy-in from others, learning about other people’s working style, the history of Everything DiSC® and even more about the research itself!

And best of all, it’s completely FREE!

Setting up your MyEverythingDiSC.com account

If you’ve taken an Everything DiSC® Profile, but are not sure how to set-up an account, then just follow these instructions to get it going:

  1. Click on the link you received in the email when you received your Everything DiSC® Profile.3 Effective Ways to Make Everything DiSC® Stick - TH!NK Training - MED 01
  2. This link opens the website where you took your Everything DiSC® assessment. Click the “Go to My EverythingDiSC.com” button.3 Effective Ways to Make Everything DiSC® Stick - TH!NK Training - MED 02
  3. This opens the MyEverythingDiSC.com website. Click the “Create an account” link below the Sign In button.3 Effective Ways to Make Everything DiSC® Stick - TH!NK Training - MED 03
  4. Enter all required information, and then click the “Create an account” button.
  5. An activation email is sent to the email address you just entered. Open that email and click the “Activate your account on MyEverythingDiSC.com” link.
    3 Effective Ways to Make Everything DiSC® Stick - TH!NK Training - MED 04
  6. The MyEverythingDiSC.com site opens, logged in to your account, with a welcome pop-up displayed.3 Effective Ways to Make Everything DiSC® Stick - TH!NK Training - MED 06
  7. Your report is now located in MyEverythingDiSC.com, with custom content that is enabled by your Everything DiSC program administrator. Access to site features will depend on what has been allocated for your profile by your administrator.

A quick note: If your completed profile is not loaded in your account after completing the process mentioned above, go to the My Reports page and enter your Report access code (located in your email or on the cover of your report). Then press the Add button. (If you continue to experience difficulty creating an account and importing your profile, please contact your Everything DiSC Program Administrator.)

3 Effective Ways to Make Everything DiSC® Stick - TH!NK Training - MED 07

Your mission, should you choose to accept it …

Once you’ve set up your account, be sure to check out MED 17, a fun little resource that helps you make the most out of MyEverythingDiSC.com.

We challenge you to download MED 17, and tackle one challenge a day for the next 17 days.

We promise you will be more knowledgeable about Everything DiSC® and have many more strategies for using it as a daily part of your communication.  Keeping yourself up to date with Everything DiSC® is one of the best ways to make sure it sticks with your organization’s culture.

So, now we’ve covered two great ways to keep your momentum going with Everything DiSC®.  Our final method involves making sure that your new employees also get the benefits that Everything DiSC® has to offer.

3. Use Everything DiSC® Comparison Reports when on-boarding new employees

3 Effective Ways to Make Everything DiSC® Stick - TH!NK Training - Onboarding New Hires
Use Everything DiSC® to help on-board new employees

When new employees are on-boarded into an organization, it often involves a long period of downloading and uploading a wide variety of company rules and information.  And, unfortunately, this process is often glossed over, or even overlooked all together.

But this period of new beginnings is also the perfect time to show a new employee how much you value how they feel in their new work environment.  Lucky for you the Everything DiSC® Comparison Report does just that!

It helps a manager emphasize how important people and relationships are to the company. This makes the new employee immediately feel appreciated. The report kicks off the conversation about expectations when communicating and relating to each other.

A quick scenario

Imagine it is your first week on the job at your organization and your manager invites you to a one-on-one meeting.

He/She takes a look at you and says, “We are so excited that you have joined our team. I want you to know that across the company we take pride in knowing each other’s strengths.  We truly value proactive conversations about working comfortably and effectively with each other.”

After a slight pause while you absorb what that means, they continue.

We are people and we understand that things won’t be perfect around here.  But, if we start with being open and straightforward, we have a better chance of making this a positive and productive relationship for all of us.

As a new employee this sort of exchange not only makes you feel valued, but it helps you feel understood.

With the Everything DiSC® Comparison Report, the conversation to learn about each other’s communication styles, work philosophies and conflict management, becomes more relevant.

Steps to apply it in your on-boarding process

Here are a few specific steps you can take to apply the Everything DiSC® Comparison Report in you on-boarding process:

  1. Within the first week of a person being hired, ask your EPIC Administrator to invite the new hire to take an Everything DiSC Workplace® Profile.
  2. Prior to the new hire’s first day of work, their manager should already schedule a meeting time to debrief this report and have a conversation about the Everything DiSC® Comparison Report.
  3. Prepare for a the conversation with these key questions:
    • Based on your DISC results, what are the tops 3 items that I should know about you?
    • As we look at each behavior continua:
      • What roadblocks might we face?
      • How will we benefit from working together?
      • Are there any tips listed that you would appreciate me to do?

With this on-boarding process in place, your new hires are able to excel at their jobs and integrate into their teams.  Plus you will have established an understanding of how to bring out the best in their performance.

Keeping Everything DiSC® alive in your organization means new employees build a foundational understanding of how it can contribute to their work experience. It is a great way to make sure that DiSC sticks with your team.

What are the next steps?

If you are reading this article, you most likely already love Everything DiSC®.  But you probably want to make sure you take full advantage of your training.

Here’s a quick rundown of the steps we just covered to help you keep the momentum with Everything DiSC®:

  1. Have a certified Everything DiSC® trainer in your organization to maintain and implement Everything DiSC® with your teams.
  2. Take advantage of the FREE MyEverythingDiSC.com online tool to keep up with the latest in Everything DiSC®.
  3. Help new hires succeed by utilizing Everything DiSC® as a part of their on-boarding process.

While these aren’t the only ways to make Everything DiSC® stick, these are the most effective and easiest strategies to implement and apply.

The steady, incremental results will be noticeable, and if you stick with it and keep reinforcing DiSC in your organization, they can even be exponential!

We’d love to hear how implementing these strategies work for you.  What results are you getting?  What are you struggling with?  How can we help?

Leave a comment below with your experiences, or contact us to see how we can help you bring Everything DiSC® to the forefront of your organization’s culture and communication.


Photo Credit: Kelly Sikkema, Nik MacMillan, The Climate Reality Project, Glenn Carstens-Peters, and rawpixel.com on Unsplash

Up Your Game With Everything DiSC®

Upping Your Game with Everything DiSC® - TH!NK Training - Featured Image

So, you’ve completed an Everything DiSC® Workplace profile. You may have even joined a class to get you up to speed on the styles of Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, and Conscientiousness. As a leader, you understand how behaviors in the workplace impact productivity, innovation, and comfort.

So, now what?

As a manager, are you masterful in the key areas of communication, managing performance, leading people, coaching, resolving conflict, and building strong teams? How do you apply Everything DiSC to “up your game” in these 6 key areas of leadership?

Well, there is a lot that you can do to apply Everything DISC® to be more effective.  A good place to start is getting to know what companion DiSC tools are available to lean on.

Did you know that there is an entire family of Everything DiSC® profiles, each designed for a particular purpose? Using the right DiSC® assessment at the right time can help you and your team increase creativity, collaboration, and camaraderie.

Start navigating the top Everything DiSC® tools with these questions DiSC practitioners ask the most.

Question #1: What is the difference between Everything DiSC® Work of Leaders® and the Everything DiSC® Management Profile?

The Everything DiSC® Management Profile helps leaders strengthen their leadership effectiveness in one-to-one relationships.

The feedback report helps people understand how their DISC style influences their approach to essential functions of management: directing & delegating, motivating others, developing others, and communicating up to their manager.

When to use it: This is an excellent tool to be used in management classes, leadership classes, and coaching.

The Everything DiSC Work of Leaders® profile focuses on a leader’s ability to communicate effectively in one-to-many environments. Furthermore, Everything DiSC Work of Leaders® gives people feedback on how their DISC style influences the way they create a vision, align people to a vision, and execute a vision.

Everything DiSC Work of Leaders® - TH!NK Training
Everything DiSC Work of Leaders® gives people feedback on how their DISC style influences the way they create a vision, align people to a vision, and execute a vision

We used this assessment with a group of executives before their strategic planning session.

During the session,  the Everything DiSC® Work of Leaders Group Report revealed to the executives their strengths and weaknesses in creating, aligning and executing a vision. As a group, they scored high in the areas of Creating a Vision: Boldness and Exploration. They also scored high in the area of Execution: Momentum.

But their results also reflected their typical practice when, in the past, they would create a vision for a project.  They usually rolled it out quickly and employees resisted the new ideas and plans.

By seeing their data on paper, the executive team quickly realized ways to boost their effectiveness.  They needed to test their assumptions with their direct reports. Senior leaders needed to get more feedback about how to implement the plan. They needed to create more structure for implementation. More dialogue would create more buy-in. Therefore, vision implementation would be more successful.

When to use it: Use both assessments in management classes, leadership classes, strategic planning, and coaching.

Question #2: As a leader, which assessment should I use to analyze my leadership skills?

Everything DiSC 363® for Leaders is a multi-rater assessment. It is designed to give feedback on leadership performance.

Why 363?

The last 3 in 363 is symbolic of one of our favorite features of this assessment. The Everything DiSC 363® report provides the leader a list of their 3 top strengths and 3 priority challenge areas.

Everything DiSC 363® for Leaders provides leaders with 26 pages of feedback from 4 groups of raters: manager, peers, direct reports, and others.

What are others?

The “others” rater category can be used for other people in the organization, vendors, and customers. The rater feedback is summarized and compared to the leader’s self-rating. The report shows feedback by rater group.  Specific rater feedback helps the leader assess how he/she is doing with each rater group.

Everything DiSC 363 for Leaders
Everything DiSC 363 for Leaders, Breakdown of Raters

A common problems leaders face

Often leaders end up asking a common question after a 360-degree survey:  “What do I do with this information?

Great news! With 363, the leader receives valuable information about their top 3 strengths and their top 3 areas of development. Each area of development includes strategies that can help the leader improve in their challenge areas.

When to use it: We love to use this tool as a pre and post assessment in management courses, leadership courses, and executive coaching.

Question #3: How do I help two people see that much of their conflict is coming from not appreciating each other’s DiSC® styles?

The Everything DiSC® Comparison Report is one of the best tools to help people start building a more comfortable and productive working relationship. The Everything DiSC® Comparison Report allows any two Everything DiSC® participants to see their similarities and differences in a series of different continua.

What is a continua?

A continua is a model that shows a gradual transition from one behavior to another without any abrupt changes. Here is a snapshot that shows a continua for the behaviors of daring vs. careful:

Everything DiSC® Comparison Report: Behavior Continua
Everything DiSC® Comparison Report: Behavior Continua

 

Use the comparison report to generate the most meaningful conversations by talking about their biggest differences based on their style. It is especially relevant since the report guides participants to talk about their similarities and differences.

Overall, the purpose of this report is to improve communication and efficiency, while reducing tension and misunderstandings.

Question #4: Is there a way that I can see all of my team member’s styles at a glance?

Yes, many of our managers want to be able to see their team’s DiSC® styles at a glance. Two reports,  Everything DiSC® Group Culture Report and Everything DiSC® Facilitator Report, can help.

Everything DiSC® profiles at a glance - TH!NK Training
These reports can help you see their team’s DiSC® styles at a glance

 

As you can see, the main difference between the two reports is that the group culture report does not identify the participants by name in the report.

Question #5: How do you use the Everything DiSC® Facilitator Report or Group Culture Report?

Maximize the use of these two reports after the class and in future department meetings.   These reports are a healthy and constructive way for teams to talk about their strengths and challenges.  You can guide your team to a more meaningful conversation with the report’s questions-focused team culture.

Here is a quick reference guide to help you maximize your leadership effectiveness with Everything DiSC tools:

 

Applying Everything DiSC to 6 Key Areas of Leadership
Applying Everything DiSC to 6 Key Areas of Leadership

Generation Z: Shaping Our Next Workforce

Generation Z Shaping Our Workforce - TH!NK Training - Featured Image

Move over Generation Y, here comes Generation Z.

Some say that Gen Z is 21 years old, born after 1996. Others will argue that the oldest Gen Z is born in 2005.  Either way, Gen Z is our future workforce.  If you are a parent of the younger Gen Z, you can play a critical role in developing the behaviors of future employees.

According to Caelainn Barr, in her article, “Who are Generation Z? The latest data on today’s teens,” Generation Z is “connected yet isolated, savvy but anxious, indulged yet stressed.”    We are often asked in our generations class, From Boomers to Generation Z: Managing the Needs of a Diverse Workforce, “What can I do as a parent to influence the type of employee my child will be?”

Three strategies to prepare Generation Z for tomorrow’s workforce

The #1 factor in shaping a generation is how children are raised.  Therefore, parents have a significant impact on the type of employees children will grow up to be.

Here are three strategies people can intentionally reinforce today so that Generation Z will be prepared to contribute to tomorrow’s workforce.

Generation Z Strategy #1: Build Grit

Generation Z Shaping Our Workforce - TH!NK Training - Build Grit
Encourage perseverance and persistence with younger Gen Z

Generation Z has always had the technology available to them.  Gen Z learned to navigate a tablet or phone before they could even walk.  Toys quickly responded with blinking lights and sound.

Today, videos and online gaming raise adrenaline levels and keep minds engaged for hours.  As a result,  Gen Z senses are stimulated so much that they crave constant excitement.

Recently, a group of 12-year boys talked about quitting their boy scout troop. The meetings were boring.  Subsequently, they did not see how charades, kickball, and cooking would be helpful. When asked what they would rather be doing, they replied, “playing video games.”  Suddently, it dawned on me; if something was not exciting, it had little value.

Work Tip:

Work is not always interesting.  It can be tedious and requires perseverance to perform.  In a quest to understand why some people work harder and longer than others, Angela Lee Duckworth, of the University of Pennsylvania, discovered that “Grit” is the number one predictor of success.

In her TedTalk Grit:  The Power of Passion and Perseverance, Angela notes grit and self-control are the two attributes that are distinct from IQ and yet powerfully predict success and well-being.  It was the common thread of successful students, billionaires, entrepreneurs, CEOS, celebrities, leaders, etc.

How can grit be cultivated in our youngsters today so that we will see it show up when they enter the workforce as adults?  How do we challenge our youth to think beyond their initial reaction of discomfort or boredom?

In the boy scouts’ scenario, one boy said, “Charades is boring. How are charades useful for scouts?” The parent leader challenged the kids by asking “What are the benefits of playing charades?” After talking for a few minutes, the scout realized that playing charades was a way for the scouts to make friends and have fun together.   Furthermore, the parent leader went on to explain that as scouts, they would need strong relationships and teamwork to survive in the wilderness and get things done.

Generation Z Strategy #2: More Face-to-Face Interactions

Generation Z Shaping Our Workforce - TH!NK Training - Interactions
Develop Gen Z with more in-person interactions

Emily Cherry, head of participation at the NSPCC, reports that “what we’re seeing is a generation of children who are expressing much more clearly that they are just generally so unhappy with themselves and the situations around them.” Much of this is due to the online world and being connected to social media 24/7.

The challenge of social media

For example, when kids see their friends at parties that they haven’t been invited to or compare themselves to others from online photos in social media, it leads to low self-esteem and low self-worth.

Interestingly, it may seem like social media increases connections between people, but the opposite can easily be argued when social media leads to increased feelings of isolation.

Isn’t that ironic that Gen Z can be highly connected to the world but have fewer close relationships?  I may have 2000 Facebook friends, but how many of those people do I really know or trust?

Virtual connections do not replace the in-person experience of connecting. They don’t give people a chance to fully interact with the same interpersonal benefits.  Bonds build when people laugh, debate, talk, or even are just quiet together. Face-to-face interactions develop necessary skills that help people thrive in work teams with their peers, their customers, and in all parts of the organization.

Work Tip: 

Increase face-to-face interactions with people, no matter how old they are.  With children, pull out the family board games. With family, carve out an internet-free zone. Have dinner at the table with no devices and get ready for the fun conversations that emerge!

With your teens, watch a favorite YouTube video of the day and then build conversation around the video (after they put the phone away).  The key is to balance technology with experiences that are real; filled with real emotions, real conversations, and real people.

Generation Z Strategy #3: Get a Job at 16

Generation Z Shaping Our Workforce - TH!NK Training - Get a Job
Part-time jobs teach valuable skills that can’t be mastered in the classroom

We know that Generation Y got a late start working compared to the generations that preceded them. Gen Y spent much of their time in school earning degrees and honing skills conceptually.  They consider their time in school as valuable work experience.  Many Generation Zers will follow the same path as Generation Y but start work even later.

Work Tip:

Getting an earlier start in the workforce has its upsides.

Gen Z earn quicker respect from the older generations at work.  Baby Boomers and Gen X do not count time in school as work experience.  Part-time jobs or volunteer work can help Gen Z better understand the dynamics of a workplace.   Anything outside the home without mom or dad will build confidence, independence, self-initiative, and people-skills.

Start as early as possible in jobs that are fun and age appropriate. For example, fast-food counter help, junior referees, movie theater ushers, tutors, farm work, yard work, animal shelter volunteers, provide a great place to start.  When someone starts working at a young age, employers give more patience to develop basic work skills such as timeliness, attendance, teamwork, and interpersonal skills.  Companies are less likely to tolerate poor work habits from a 23-year old out of college who “should know better.”

Generation Z has arrived

Organizations have learned valuable lessons trying to understand and adapt to Gen Y.  With hindsight as a teacher, we can learn from the past.  We can start to develop the work ethics and work habits we want to see in our future Gen Z workforce.

You don’t have to be a parent of a Gen Z to have an impact. Everyone can be intentional to influence the behaviors we want to see.  What can I do today to impact our workforce for tomorrow?  Leave a comment below and let us know your ideas on how to cultivate the grit, interactions and work experience of Generation Z.

Three strategies to avoid hiring the wrong people

75% of employers say they have hired the wrong person and the average cost of one bad hire was near $17,000

~ 2016 Career Builder Survey

Are you a part of the 75% of businesses who hired the wrong person?  A 2016 survey from Career Builder reports that the employers who hired the wrong person could detect their costly mistake within 1 to 3 weeks of employment.  Within three weeks, some telling signs that they selected the wrong person for the job are:

  • Less productivity
  • Compromised quality of work
  • Negative impact on employee morale

We often ask employers why their hires don’t work out.  The most common response is a frustrated conclusion that their candidates must have lied in the interview.

Instead of investing valuable time re-designing your entire selection process, try tracking the cost of turnover.

Does it feel like people are leaving quickly?  Analyze your turnover with specific numbers, rather than relying on your gut feeling.  The RISCPA (Rhode Island Society of Certified Public Accountants) has an excellent template for calculating your cost of turnover on their website here.

Hiring people with the right job fit can help relieve the burden of the hidden costs of turnover.  Many companies struggle with selecting the right person for the job and integrating the person into their organization’s culture. It is frustrating and disappointing when an ideal candidate turns out to be a wrong fit.

How can you avoid the pitfall of hiring the wrong person?  The solution is a better interview, selection, and onboarding process.  

Today we’re going to analyze the symptoms that employers experience and indicate early signs of hiring the wrong person, offer diagnostic questions to help identify the problem, and finally, we will recommend strategies to prevent the mistake from happening again.

Symptom #1:

The employee doesn’t produce the quality of work or demonstrate the skills they claimed to have during the interview. 

Avoid hiring the wrong person - TH!NK Training - Quality of Work
Does your hire have the right quality of work?

Diagnostic Question: 

How do we objectively measure the candidate’s ability to do the requirements of the job and not just rely on the applicant’s word?

Recommendation:

Use an assessment tool that identifies and measures the thinking skills required for a job.  It should be able to objectively compare a candidate’s abilities to those requirements. 

One such tool, PXT Select™, allows employers to utilize Job Performance Models to identify how well a candidate fits a job.

These Job Performance Models are selected either from a list of established models, or by designing one customized for your position.  The custom Job Performance Model is created by answering a series of questions around numeric skills, numeric reasoning, verbal skills, verbal reasoning, behaviors and interests.

The Job Performance Model is then integrated into an online questionnaire for the candidate to fill out.  Afterwards the employer receives the PXT Select™ Comprehensive Report; a data-driven analysis of how well the applicant’s abilities match the requirements of the job.

Click here to see an example of the PXT Select™ Comprehensive Report.

Using an assessment tool adds objective data to a process that is often subjective and has a gut feeling component to it.  Of course, an assessment should not be the only piece used in your selection process.  But it is an ideal tool to add to your selection process after you’ve received the resume and before conducting the initial interview.

Symptom #2: 

The employee doesn’t work well with other employees. 

Avoid hiring the wrong person - TH!NK Training - Negative Attitude
Does your new hire get along well with their team?

Diagnostic Questions:

How will the candidate fit into the culture of a team?  Will the employee be comfortable and productive within the team?  How does the candidate align with the values of the organization? How will the candidate work with or respond to different behavioral styles that could be on the team?

Solution #2: 

Analyze how a candidate’s behaviors fit with the rest of the team before they are hired.  

“Working well” is typically a function of how well the people on the team accept each other’s behaviors.  The goal is to have diverse behavioral styles on the team.  This ensures your team has multiple perspectives to help the organization. 

For example, you may have five people on your team who tend to behave in a more open trusting manner, but the new hire may have a skeptical approach to trusting new people, products, and services. The new hire’s natural practice of skepticism could be an asset to the team, helping them diagnose problems early. 

Often when different approaches are not valued it can bring turmoil to the team.  How a team welcomes and integrates the new hire impacts their work and social behaviors. 

PXT Select™ provides a way to analyze how well a candidate’s behavior style will fit within an existing team.  The results are presented in the PXT Select™ Team Report, which can be used when onboarding a new hire.  It also helps the existing team to prepare for the new team member.

You can download an example of the PXT Select™ Team Report here.

When deciding to hire a candidate with different behaviors from the team, be prepared to answer the following questions: 

  • How will you ensure the new hire’s approach is valued instead of judged by the team?
  • What will you do to manage team culture and encourage various behaviors on your team?

Symptom #3: 

The employee has a negative attitude, and customers complain about the new employee. 

Avoid hiring the wrong person - TH!NK Training - Working well with others
Does your new hire have the right attitude?

Diagnostic Question: 

What training has the employee received about service expectations and standards?  How could a negative attitude in service situations be identified earlier in the selection process?  How has this employee handled difficult customer situations in the past?

Recommendation: 

When a customer complains about an employee it is often a result of how the employee’s behaviors make them feel.  It also stems from a lack of reliability by the employee. 

Is this a case where you selected well but did not train properly? 

It is best not to jump to the conclusion that it was a bad hire.  Retrain your employees on the values of your company and how they should treat your customers.  Define your service standards so that employees know the expected behaviors behind “how” to take care of people and not just what to do for them.  To ensure quality work focus on training them on the processes in their job. 

There are three keys to hiring the right candidate:

  1. Ask solid interview questions
  2. Know the behaviors you are looking for in a top performer
  3. Be clear on the interests a person needs to enjoy their work

So, what is a useful question?  Marie Kumabe, President of Kumabe HR (www.kumabehr.com), says behavior-based interview questions provide actual examples of a person’s competency and help you predict future behavior.

For example, instead of asking “Can you handle angry customers?“, You should ask, “Tell me about a situation where you had to deal with an angry customer.  How did you take care of it? What was the outcome? 

If you are not confident with identifying behavior-based interview questions, not to worry.  The PXT Select™ Comprehensive Selection Report not only analyzes job fit, but provides specific, behavior-based questions customized to the candidate and their relationship to the position’s Job Performance Model.  (Click here to download a copy of the report.)

In Summary

Follow these steps when you start preparing to hire for your next position:

  1. Calculate your cost of turnover.
  2. Get a clear picture of what it takes to be successful in a position.   Don’t just know the job tasks associated with the position.  Focus on identifying the cognitive thinking skills, behaviors, and interests of a top performer.
  3. Include an assessment tool in the process.  It should objectively measure a candidates’s skills, behaviors, and interests to determine their fit with the requirements of a position.  An assessment will add objective data-driven information to a typically subjective process.
  4. Evaluate potential in addition to the skillset with behavior-based interview questions.

Next Steps

Want to learn more about PXT Select?  Contact us today to learn more about how PXT Select™ can help you find and hire the best candidates for your business.  You can also learn more about PXT Select on our “Solutions for Teams” page where we break down what it is, what it offers and how it can work for your business.


PXT Select™ is a registered trademark of John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All rights reserved.

Photos by Tim Gouw, Giovanni Randisi, Jason Blackeye and Meghan Duthu (Unsplash)

5 Tips to Squash Procrastination from an Actual Procrastinator

Procrastination is a subject of extremes.  Many people will tell us that their work is suffering because of their procrastination.   Others say that putting work off to the last minute is a strategy for building adrenalin to do their best work.

I used to be a part of the second group, Team Crunch. I would tell you that I do my best work under extreme deadlines.  That is when my creative juices flow and great ideas pop up.  I still think that is partly true; I do get most energized during crunch time, but it is not when I do my highest quality work, and it is not fair to my team.

I have learned over the years that I need to deliver my work at a measured pace that allows time for me to double check my work and let others question my work. These are not innate skills for me; I have had to learn strategies for pacing my work.  Here are a five of my favorite strategies help me squash procrastination.

Tip #1:  Triage and Organize

Triage your tasks into the following three categories.

1. Do it now: Tackle your urgent tasks that need immediate attention right away. These tasks immediately go into your to-do list within a short period.  For example, complete this task within one hour.

2. Defer to a scheduled time/date: For tasks that require more time, schedule them on your calendar or they will be deferred forever (a.k.a. procrastination pit). One of our favorite work schedulers is Asana. Asana is a web based tool that allows our entire team to schedule work for one another, set due dates, and check off things when they are completed.  We can even have a conversation about the project in real time.

3. Someday/Maybe: Make a list of tasks that are not urgent or a high priority.  Set a date to review these items every 30 days and see if they make it to your schedule list.

Tip #2:  Break It Down and Measure Progress

How do you eat an elephant?  One bit at a time.  That is the same way you tackle a big project.  Break a big project down into monthly tasks, weekly tasks, and daily tasks. The progress will be motivating, and before you know it, you will have that big project completed.  Seeing progress is a major motivator to people.  In a Harvard Business Review article titled, The Power of Small Wins, authors Teresa Amabile and Steven J. Kramer write “Of all the things that can boost emotions, motivation, and perceptions during a workday, the single most important are making progress on meaningful work.”  The two key items here are progress and meaningful work.   You must find a personal connection to the importance of any project you are working on.   And, find ways to see incremental progress as you tackle each step in the journey.

Tip #3:  Stop Playing Kick the Can

When I was young, my friends and I used to walk down the street, and we would kick a can all the way home.  Why were we kicking the can?  We did not want to pick it up and throw it away, so, we would just keep kicking the can as if it would magically throw itself away.  And as you may guess, the can was always there when we got home, and we eventually had to pick it up to throw it away.   Most of the time I am quite motivated to accomplish things, but sometimes I need a boost.  So, I practice self-talk and say a mantra out loud to get myself going. My mantra is, “Now is always better than later, today is always better than tomorrow.”  If that does not work, I remind myself that if I don’t tackle this task now, it will only become a bigger, more urgent problem tomorrow.  And, I tell myself to stop kicking the can down the road.

Tip #4:  Cramming Does Not Create Quality Work

I know many of you say you do your best work at the last minute. Speaking from personal experience, that is not true.  You may be more energized because you have the pressure of time.  You may even be creative.  But, you cannot do your best work since you will eventually run out of time.  You will not have a chance to ask for other’s input or test your assumptions. Not to mention, you will eventually drive all the people who like to work in a measured, planned approach in your office crazy.

Tip #5:  Know How Your Behavioral Style Drives Your Interests

Take a DISC Survey to find out more about your natural tendencies. Certain tasks are aligned with your natural behavior style and will most likely be the items that you prioritize and are excited to tackle first. On the opposite spectrum, the tasks that fall outside of your natural behavior style could be the work that you procrastinate because it takes more energy from you.  We recommend taking an Everything DiSC® Workplace Profile to help you gain more insight on some of your natural tendencies.  The Everything DiSC® Workplace Profile will help provide you insight on stressors and motivators at work, which can be connected to why you procrastinate some things and others you cannot wait to get started.  If you want to get started with taking an Everything DiSC® profile, you can buy one from our TH!NK store.

This article has required me to use all of my procrastination strategies.  We have struggled with blogging consistently for our business.  In fact, it was my desire to do tip #3, kick the can,  on this article that made me write an article on procrastination.  I must admit that I am stoked to tell you that the goal was to publish this by August 16th and I am putting the final touches to it on August 13.  Whoot whooo!!!    I hope these tips help you, too!

If you have any questions about these tips, drop me an email at info@think-training.com.

How do I use the Everything DiSC® Needs Badges to reinforce DiSC®?

Think Training - Everything DiSC Needs Badges - Featured Images
Everything DiSC Needs Badges - TH!NK Training
Some fun Everything DiSC® Needs Badges

It’s hard to resist those fun-loving Everything DiSC® Needs Badges!

If you are unfamiliar with the needs badges, they are magnetic badges that communicate a psychological need in a fun way. For example, “My need is….” stability, enthusiasm, results, collaboration, accuracy. There is even one that declares a need for coffee and another for happy hour!

Here’s a few tips to use the needs badges to reinforce DiSC® & have fun!

1) Team Meeting Icebreaker

Sprinkle the Everything DiSC® Needs Badges in the center of the conference table. Have each person choose a badge that represents a need that they currently have in the meeting. In a round robin fashion, have each person share what their need is and why.

What people share will range from light to serious. Tune into what they share and ask questions if you are curious to learn more. Have fun!

2) Use as a Decoder Ring

Do you remember mood rings that would communicate your mood depending on the color that your ring turned? If I remember correctly, colors like bright green and blue were good and if my ring cast a dark gloomy color, it was a signal for others to stay away!

Needs badges can be used in a similar way to help people understand your need for the moment. My recommendation would be to stash a set of Everything DiSC® Needs Badges in your desk. Throughout the day, change your badge as your needs change.

You may start out the day with the “My need is…Coffee” badge. If you are heading to a meeting to plan a project, perhaps you may wear the badge “collaboration.” And if you can’t find a badge that completely describes your need, then grab the blank badge and write it in!

3) Reinforce a Culture of Diversity

Provide anyone who completes Everything DiSC® with their choice of a needs badge that helps communicate one of their style’s priorities. When people wear their badges, they will find that it is a conversation-starter to talk about what’s important to them using DiSC® language.

People will become curious and ask about the DiSC® style(s) that they relate to and inquire about the styles and behaviors that they don’t relate to. Hopefully, people will be able to laugh about their differences and embrace diversity.

4) Gifts

When DiSC® is embedded in your organization’s culture, the needs badges becomes a valuable gift and reward! Everybody wants one! Recognize accomplishments and progress with a box of Everything DiSC® needs badges.

5) Social Mixer Conversation Starters

In addition to name tags, have everyone at your event choose a needs badge at check-in.

Because the badges are magnetic, everyone can wear them and they won’t fall off. People don’t need to know DiSC® to have fun with the needs badges and they do not have to talk DiSC® to use the badges. People just need to get curious and ask each other why they chose that particular badge.

Remember, there are even blank name badges that you can create your own need. You will be surprised by the conversations that the badges will spark!

If you are interested in learning more about the Everything DiSC® Needs Badges or order a set, contact us at info@think-training.com or 808-224-6694.

A starter set is only $22.00 + shipping and it includes the following needs:

  • Accuracy
  • Action
  • Challenge
  • Coffee
  • Chocolate
  • Collaboration
  • Enthusiasm
  • Happy Hour
  • Results
  • Stability
  • Support
  • To be a Star.

A box of blank needs badges is only $20.00 + shipping for 10 badges.  Click here to pick yours up today.

And if you would like to know more about Everything DiSC® or any of our other solutions for building effective teams and leaders, please contact us today and we will work with you to come up with a custom plan to help your organization and business rise to the next level.

The Everything DiSC® Model (Video)

Think Training - Everything DiSC Model - Featured Images

What if people had their needs written all over them? Would it make it easier to work together?

The answer is yes. The Everything DiSC® Model provides the means to understand people’s needs and create a more cohesive working environment.  The following video shows details on how this model can help your organization thrive and grow.

Would you like to learn how you can bring the Everything DiSC® Model to your organization or business?  Contact TH!NK today and we’ll help you understand the various methods in our toolkit to make you a more effective leader and bring your team closer together.

Everything DiSC® is a registered trademark of John Wiley & Sons, Inc.  All rights reserved.

When You Listen to Win, Everybody Wins

Think Training - Tutorial - When You Listen to Win Everybody Wins - Featured Image

According to an infographic from Getting In Front Communications, subscribers of Harvard Business Review rated the ability to communicate “the most important fact in making an executive promotable.” They ranked it more important than ambition, education, and hard work. (Source: Piombino, Kristin.” Listening Facts You Never Knew.” Ragan’s PR Daily. Web. 29 Dec. 2013).

Learn to Listen

With today’s busy workplace, listening is a skill helping people be more comfortable and productive at work. Knowing your employees’ needs starts with listening. Learning what your clients want starts with listening. Building trust starts with listening. Breaking down barriers between departments begins with listening. Discovering new innovative ideas to grow your revenue or reduce your expenses begins by listening. So, apparently, no one can afford NOT to listen. It is essential to long-term success.

Listening is not merely the ability to stop talking. Active listening requires you to attach meaning to what you hear and take thoughtful, appropriate actions on that information. The Personal Listening Profile by Wiley Publishing breaks down listening into five different approaches. Each approach has a very particular role and set of behaviors that bring the listening approach to life.

Think Training - Listening Infographic

Approach #1: Appreciative Listening

When to use it: It is important to use this style when you are building relationships. It is the first level of listening we do when we are getting to know someone and networking. You might call this your small talk listening. Some people disregard this as a time waster when it is the gateway to building trust and relationships. People share vital information with you in these conversations that will help you connect at the moment and recall the next time you see them.

3 Behaviors to ignite your appreciative listening:

  1. Relax and enjoy the moment.
  2. Match the level of enthusiasm the person is demonstrating when they tell you a story.
  3. Focus on them, ask them questions and be curious about their story.

Approach #2: Empathic Listening

When to use it: Empathic listening is the approach to use when someone needs a supportive ear. It is the part of yourself that you use to understand the emotions behind a message. This listening approach is very efficient when listening to a person’s complaint, investigations, coaching and motivating your team.

3 Behaviors to ignite your Empathic listening:

  1. Ask open-ended questions like “how did that make you feel?”, “can you tell me more about?”.
  2. Let the sender of the message know you care by nodding and providing good eye contact.
  3. Remain relatively silent and let the sender of the message to do most of the talking.

Approach #3: Comprehensive Listening

When to use it: Comprehensive listening approach is perfect to use when you need to make sense of what you have heard such as in situations when you need to understand the big picture or intention behind the message.

3 Behaviors to ignite your Comprehensive listening:

  1. Take notes using by mind mapping so that you can show relationships to the content.
  2. Summarize frequently, “so, what I hear you saying is…”
  3. Try to explain the message in your words to the sender of the message.

Approach #4: Discerning Listening

When to use it: The Discerning listening approach is best to use when you want to get complete and accurate information. This style is all about capturing the details and making sure that you do not make mistakes. It is an ideal listening style when you need to learn a new procedure or technical skill.

3 Behaviors to ignite your Discerning listening:

  1. Take notes in a linear and step by step format.
  2. Eliminate distractions.
  3. Repeat back exactly what you heard them say. Do this frequently to make sure what you heard accurately reflects what your sender of the message intended you to hear.

Approach #5: Evaluative Listening

When to use it: The Evaluative listening approach is used when making a final decision at the end of a conversation. It is our most vocal listening approaches, and it is important to use. If someone sends you a message and they want help making a decision, this is the listening approach for you.

3 Behaviors to ignite your Evaluative listening approach:

  1. Ask questions.
  2. Be skeptical so that you are clear about the question and the details you are deciding on.
  3. Summarize the details you heard, the question that needs the answer, provide an answer and why you came to that conclusion.

We all have the ability to use all five listening approaches. Maximizing your communication moments requires that you match up the situation with the appropriate listening style.

Are you curious about which is your strongest and most natural listening approach? Equally important, are you curious about which listening style you could use more of to capture more effective communication moments? Call us at 808-224-6694 or email at info@think-training.com to inquire about taking Wiley Publishing’s online Personal Listening Profile.

Click here to get your FREE Personal Listening Sample Profile from TH!NK. (PDF)