ASTD Conference 2012 – Tuesday

May 8, 2012 Simon Leadership Development

Following her impactful performance on yesterday’s panel session, I decided to switch my planned first session today and attend Beverly Kaye’s May I See Your Whine List? How managers can support development.

Key messages from Bev’s intro were:

– Organizations should begin to reward people for just growing in their careers.
– What sounds like a whine is actually an opportunity to understand an employee’s specific requests for change.
– Can employees see their own future within the company’s future?
– We need to start moving away from the word ‘promotion’ when we talk of career development and replace it with the word ‘growth’.

Beverly then went on to explain 5 of the most common ‘whines’ and provided a summary of the actions managers can take in relation to each:

Whine #1 – A Whine for the Future
“Things are changing so fast, I don’t know what to expect around the next turn” 

What a manager can do:

– Prepare employees to be ahead of the curve

– Share shifting requirements

– Define organizational ‘hot water’ (i.e. what are the things that might get you into trouble from a political/cultural perspective)

– Hold ‘future forums’ (i.e. constructive, disruption discussions)

Whine #2 – A Whine of Value
I’m not using my abilities. I’m not doing the things I’m passionate about

What a manager can do:

– Discover hidden or under used skills/abilities

– Learn about the interests and values of employees

– Check assumptions about individual capabilities

– Match talent to business needs

Whine #3 – A Brand of Whine
I don’t feel people recognize how much I have to offer or give me enough respect

What a manager can do:

– Encourage gathering feedback from a variety of sources

– Offer frequent, timely feedback

– Remind people to be aware of their virtual reputation

Whine #4 – A Choice of Whine
I’m not being challenged or stretched and/or I don’t see any promotion opportunities

What a manager can do:

– Growth in place is ALWAYS a possibility

– Up is not the only way

– Maybe it’s not about climbing a ladder but climbing a wall *

Bev went on to elaborate on her climbing wall metaphor as an alternative approach to traditional career paths and movements:

– The top doesn’t have to be the goal

– There are multiple ways to get from A to B

– Sometimes, getting to your ultimate destination means going down a bit (i.e. to learn something completely new)

– You can choose safer of riskier moves

She also introduced the LEVERR acronym of career development options:

Lateral
Enrichment
Vertical
Exploratory
Re-alignment
Relocation

Whine #5 – Selecting a Whine
I have a few ideas of what I need to do but I don’t know where to start and there’s no time anyway

What a manager can do:

– Identify concrete steps

– Offer connections to their own network

– Acknowledge barriers that might derail plans along with steps/actions to counter these barriers

My second session of the day was with Michelle Teel of Vantage Point Performance around Training Sales Managers: How to Effectively Develop this Critical Role. While this was an excellent session, most of my takeaways were specific to projects that we are working on within my organization and therefore, it is not appropriate to go into detail here. In overview, the main thrust of Michelle’s message was:

There are 3 core metrics by which we tend to manage the sales function:

– Business Results
– Sales Objectives
– Sales Activities

All three of these must be aligned.

Sales leaders can and should actively manage sales activities, influence sales objectives and therefore, business results will be delivered. Whereas in reality, many sales leaders try often ‘bang the drum’ to try and manage business results.

The work of Vantage Point focuses on training sales managers to become effective coaches, specifically in relation to the systems deployed by the organization; strategy, process, skills, tools and metrics. For every 1 sales manager who can be developed into an effective coach, all of their team members will subsequently receive more effective development.

My final session of the day was delivered by Mike Hawkins of Alpine Link Corporation, Coaching Leaders to Lead Like Coaches. In truth, I was not the target audience for Mike’s session and I learned little that I didn’t already know, other than some alternative messaging around concepts that I evangelize in my daily work.

Mike began by exploring the difference between managing and coaching and then went on to present a leadership continuum (Six Approaches to Leadership):

– Phantom/Laissez-Faire
– Taskmaster
– Contributor
– Organizer
– Coach
– Transformer

The point being that the last two on this continuum are leading whereas the earlier four are managing. There then followed some research on why one should coach rather than manage and some headline best practices around how to coach effectively. For new managers and new L&D professionals, I think this would have been useful content and is consistent with many of the principles and practices covered on this site.

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