Leadership

Going for Gold: Strengthening Your Teams Through Business Acumen

Although the 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil are just a memory now, most of us saw some (or in my wife’s case, “all”) of the games. From the opening to the closing two weeks later, there was plenty of excitement and pride for both the athletes and the fans.employees-excited2

Interestingly enough, while all 11,000 participants were athletes, they all have very different skill sets, abilities and talents. Golfers play their own game, but some are much better than others – or are further advanced in their skills. Soccer players have different positions, requiring them to have slightly different skills, yet they’re all on the same team and complement each other with their abilities.

Business is much the same way. Each department, function, region or work segment is a vital part of the whole. All employees receive fundamental education or training before participating in specialized education/training that provides the competence and confidence to do their jobs and contribute to the good of the entire company.

So how important is it for your employees to understand your entire business? How deep should you go in your organization to get them to understand “your business” or business in general?

Believe it or not, if you want to get your employees excited about your business, provide them with knowledge about how it works – and link that to how valuable they are in each role.

You might say, “This all sounds good, but I can’t afford to put all of my employees through a course on business acumen.” Fair enough, but how about those who lead your employees? If your leaders were equipped with business acumen at a level they could appreciate, then they could answer the hard questions and provide guidance to help employees understand how the business works.

Blueline Simulations’ suite of business acumen courses includes:

ALL EMPLOYEES

Apples and Oranges – Business finance and strategy for employees at all levels Performance – Marketplace strategy for all employees

FIRST- AND SECOND-LEVEL LEADERS & INDIVIDUAL CONTRIBUTORS

Decision Base®

Business finance and strategy for managers of your manufacturing or distribution organization

Tango™

Business finance and strategy for managers of your service-driven organization

Business Challenge™

Online business finance and strategy for managers and individual contributors

HIGH POTENTIALS AND SENIOR LEADERS

Executive Challenge™

Business finance and strategy for executives and high potentials

Enterprise™

Market analysis and positioning for managers and executives

I invite you to contact us to learn more about any of our business acumen options, custom classroom simulations, Blueline Blueprint™ learning visuals or other innovative delivery methods that have been generating notable business results in leading organizations worldwide for more than 13 years.

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Reflections on Coaching: Why a Mirror Might Be Your Most Valuable Development Tool

Organizations worldwide have spent hundreds of millions of dollars over the years on peer assessments and live skill practice, all in an effort to hold a mirror up to their leaders.

The goal? To get leaders to see themselves as their employees and others see them – namely in coaching situations – and build on their strengths while improving on their weaknesses.

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This approach reminds me of a time when I coached my sons’ youth sports teams. I was that guy on the sidelines, screaming at a group of 8- to 9-year-olds to do this, stop doing that, run over here and block over there – all in the name of winning.

Of course, at the time I didn’t see myself that way. After all, coaching pre-teens in an athletic environment is easy, right? Kids trust quickly, expect to make mistakes, love to learn, and the culture on the playing field is one of constant coaching. Besides, I cared about the kids and enjoyed the incredible environment in which they trusted me and craved my coaching.

But then came the video

I asked my wife to shoot video of some games so I could watch them afterward and look for ways to help the children improve. What I discovered came as a shock: It was me who needed to improve. The videos were key to learning about and improving my own coaching weaknesses.

Through the videos, my coaching style evolved, and I became supremely confident in my skills with the children. I discovered how to challenge them, pick them up when they were down and even occasionally inspire them to greatness. To this day, many of my sons’ friends still refer to me as “coach.”

Your associates, of course, aren’t children in a sports environment; however, I believe there are still some important lessons to be learned from my experience. To enjoy success as a leader, you need to:

  • Build a culture of trust and constant coaching. Encourage your people to take risks and make mistakes.
  • Honestly assess your skills as a coach. You likely model a compilation of everyone who has coached you over the years, which may or may not be a good thing.
  • Find a “mirror” so that you can watch your skills evolve over time. What you see is likely to be truly eye-opening and possibly career-changing.

If accessibility and cost make finding a “mirror” difficult, I’ve got great news: Blueline’s simulation technology offers an exceptionally affordable mirror that enables anyone who needs it to develop and hone their coaching skills in a safe environment. Imagine rehearsing delivering difficult feedback in a range of real-life performance improvement scenarios to a broad range of employee personalities. Imagine using these newfound skills to build a culture of trust and constant coaching. Imagine the positive impact your high-performing team will have on your organization. Demo the simulation now to experience the possibilities.

Contact the coaching specialists at Blueline today to learn more about our leadership-related offerings or any of our custom classroom simulations, Blueline Blueprint™ learning visuals or other innovative delivery methods that have been generating notable business results in leading organizations worldwide for more than 13 years.

Managing to Develop Talent… the Challenge Is on!

Today’s managers face a long and varied list of demands and challenges – not the least of which is coaching and developing their employees. After all, if their employees don’t succeed, they don’t succeed.Management Challenge

It’s no secret what needs to be done – to mentor, develop and grow employees to their highest level of competence. For most managers, however, the trick lies in how to do it… how to capture the hearts and minds of employees in a way that makes them open to development and want to contribute their best.

Enter Abilitie’s Management Challenge™, a dynamic team-based simulation designed to help new and experienced managers build their talent-management skills – identifying, motivating, coaching and developing employees – in response to everyday challenges.

Managers quickly learn to elevate their teams to deliver high performance and grow their capabilities as they practice crucial skills such as:

  • Onboarding new employees
  • Coaching high performers
  • Navigating the aftermath of a termination
  • Coaching behavioral disruptions
  • Motivating disengaged employees
  • Addressing distracting rumors

Management Challenge™ kicks safe experiences with predictable outcomes to the curb as it isolates key competencies and provides an environment where managers are free to explore, practice and gain experience in real-world management situations – without real-world consequences.

I’m sold on Management Challenge™, and I think you will be too. Feel free to watch our recorded webinar to learn more and see first-hand how this revolutionary program will change the way you develop talent managers!

I also invite you to contact us today to learn more about Management Challenge™ or any of our custom classroom simulations, Blueline Blueprint™ learning visuals or other innovative delivery methods that have been generating notable business results in leading organizations worldwide for more than 13 years.

Getting Personal: Emotional Intelligence Skills Make a Real Difference

Last week’s blog looked at the recent history of emotional intelligence (EQ) and how it has taken root in today’s business landscape – producing notable results in some of the world’s most influential organizations.

This week, I’d like to share a project in which Blueline worked with a Fortune 120 pharmaceutical firm to assess the EQ skills of its leaders, including coaching to the assessment results and customized training to further develop the skills.

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Our challenge was to develop a solution for 80 key leaders who support the clinical trial pipeline. Our client was committed to the idea that EQ behaviors are integral to the success of this important team, and that increasing skills would increase productivity and results.

The objective was threefold: to build greater awareness of the importance of EQ skills; to provide an understanding of each person’s strengths and gaps related to their skills; and to provide opportunities for people to grow existing skills and acquire new ones in managing their emotions and relationships with others.

The project consisted of four phases:

  1. A “Foundations of EQ” class that explained fundamental concepts and explored the core behaviors that lead to EQ success.
  2. An EQ 360 assessment in which leaders assessed their own skills as well as the skills of their managers, colleagues and direct reports.
  3. Individual coaching based on each participant’s assessment results.
  4. Customized training in response to the strengths and skill gaps discovered in the aggregated assessment results.

Within a month of completion of the six-month project, each participant was asked to evaluate its impact. Preliminary results revealed that participants were convinced the program would make a real difference in both their business and personal lives:

  • 85% said it was the best combination of training and development they had ever received.
  • 87% agreed that they gained knowledge and skills they can use on their job.
  • 85% agreed that they would use the knowledge and skills in their personal lives.
  • 87% were satisfied or very satisfied with the investment of time and effort in the training.

I have come to believe that any business result can be greatly improved simply by focusing on the quality of personal transactions that deliver that result. EQ is an idea whose time has come – and today is delivering enormous gains in speed, efficiency and quality of human interactions.

I can say with complete confidence that your organization – like so many others – has enormous opportunities to leverage the power of emotional intelligence to deliver quantitatively better business results.

Contact Blueline Simulations to find out how. The next success story could be yours.

Harnessing the Power of Emotional Intelligence

It’s been nearly 20 years since Daniel Goleman introduced the concept of Emotional Intelligence (EQ) to the business world, when his article on the subject first appeared in Harvard Business Review.

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What was groundbreaking (and often dismissed as “touchy-feely”) then is fully embraced today – as organizations worldwide are seeing notable results from leaders who score high on their ability to manage their emotions as well as their relationships with others.

Knowledge is EQ power

The field of neuroscience has enhanced our knowledge of how and why the brain does what it does. We now have rich knowledge of the important role EQ skills play in producing business results and predicting individual success. We also have scientifically validated behavior assessments that help us understand our strengths and gaps in managing our emotions and our relationships.

It’s clear that EQ has found its legitimacy as a key business and leadership capability, with the power to deliver stunning business results. Consider these examples:

  • The Coca-Cola Company saw division leaders who developed their EQ skills outperform their targets by 15%.
  • The U.S. Air Force reduced recruiter turnover from 35% to 5% annually by selecting candidates high in emotional intelligence.
  • Fortune Brands had 100% of their leaders who went through EQ development exceed performance targets, compared with just 28% of leaders who failed to develop their EQ skills.
  • Salespeople at an insurance firm who scored high on an emotional intelligence test sold 37% more in their first two years than those who scored lower.

Yes, the results are convincing, and the power of EQ is clear. If your organization hasn’t yet tapped into that power, then now is a great time to do so. Blueline Simulations offers EQ-related learning opportunities that you can put to work right away.

In next week’s blog, we’ll share a project in which Blueline Simulations worked with a Fortune 120 pharmaceutical firm to assess the EQ skills of 80 of its leaders, including coaching around the assessment results and customized training to further develop EQ skills.