Leadership Development

Practice Doesn’t Always Make Perfect

Why Training from Day One Just Makes Sense

We’ve all heard the expression “practice makes perfect.” When I was young, my dad would provide me with all kinds of objects of curiosity to keep me active, help me learn discipline and (most of the time) test my resolve. My first BB gun, a set of weights, baseball bats/gloves and footballs all were handed to me with instruction from dad to “get out there, use these things, and get good at them.”day1training

Now picture yourself at eight, nine or even 49… and someone simply hands you something to do and tells you to go out and get good at it. Don’t get me wrong, my dad was a great man and meant well, but it was near impossible to succeed without basic instruction and direction, encouragement when I succeeded and consequences when I didn’t.

Each of us has witnessed firsthand the results of self-directed instruction without skill or discipline. Schools and businesses are littered with self-proclaimed experts in skills untested. Employees are placed into jobs with some preparation, but not always tested or incentivized to perfect their trade, service or skill. We rock along looking for performance, and performance doesn’t come. When performance doesn’t come, the employee and employer become frustrated and perhaps disengaged. They try “emergency room” triage education and encouragement, then move to minor – and sometimes major – surgery (i.e., classes, seminars, coaches and mentors). More often than not, it’s too late.

Blueline Simulations offers a variety of blended learning solutions to give your employees the skills and strategies they need to succeed from the beginning… thereby avoiding frustration, disengagement and the need to backpedal in an effort to get things on the right track. For you, this means your strategic goals are being pursued. For your employees, it means added competence and confidence to meet those goals.

Our engaging curriculum includes immersive onboarding experiences that engage and prepare new hires for success from day one – a move that could save your organization millions of dollars. We also offer leadership development for new leaders and business transformation for organizations that want to set their employees up for success through change.

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.

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.

Owning It: Getting High Potentials to Think and Act Like the Business Is Theirs

Like most organizations, yours likely has a special group of employees whom you view as high potentials – individuals who stand out because they already demonstrate many of the characteristics necessary to be future organizational leaders.

They know their jobs, they know the organization, they know how to build relationships, manage employees and serve customers. But do they really understand the business? Do they understand the financial metrics that lead to success? financial-indicators

Making decisions based on financial indicators may not be part of your high potentials’ daily job responsibilities today, but such knowledge will likely add enormous value in the future.

That’s why Blueline Simulations is excited to offer Business Challenge™, a one-day simulation in which competing teams of first- and second-level leaders strive to grow their businesses effectively by making investment decisions, funding their strategies and evaluating their results based on real-world financial metrics.

This revolutionary program is delivered as either a classroom or virtual classroom experience. An optional online program called Fluent in Finance™ is recommended to help participants prepare for success in Business Challenge™.

Rather than try to explain in any more detail, I invite you to watch our Business Challenge™ webinar and see for yourself how this experience can add a vital missing piece to your high-potential grooming puzzle.

Looking for more? Discover our complete set of leadership development experiences first hand through a series of 50-minute webinars hosted by Blueline’s Managing Partner and its Director of Leadership Innovations.

I also invite you to contact us to learn more about 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.