upstart thoughts on talent and leadership

Posts Tagged ‘Development Plans’

Learning & Development: Current, Free & Fast at Your Fingertips

In ! Jen, Development, Employee Tips, General Work, Learn on Thursday, March 18, 2010 at 12:12 am

Training budgets everywhere are being cut. So make proverbial lemonade out of free resources found online. When you’re having a performance review or development planning discussion, highlight what you’re learning and how you’re planning to apply it. You’ll show you’re resourceful, keen on personal development, and savvy to know that the bulk of professional learning doesn’t happen in a formal classroom. (Well, to be fair, the bulk doesn’t happen with your nose in a book or looking at a computer either, but work with me here.)

This is a great site for knowledge junkies.

My favorites for business learning:

  1. MIT Open Courseware. Their goal? Every course, all course materials, online, for everyone. Amazing. This includes the Sloan School.
  2. TED. Short for Technology, Entertainment, Design. If this isn’t bookmarked on your computer, you should do it yesterday. Great lectures on a diversity of subjects, including plain simple inspiration for you to get started.
  3. Wall Street Journal. Tied with Wired and the Economist. If I had to choose only one paper periodical to subscribe to, it’d be the Economist.
  4. Seth Godin’s blog.
  5. Executive Board. Follow relevant tweets.
  6. Businessballs is a mishmash soup of links. You can easily get lost there, but the clickage is fun and frequently fruitful.

If your company doesn’t have free access to business periodicals like Harvard Business Review, check with your local public library–ask for EBSCO access.


16 Things to Prepare for, Do, or Cover in Your 1:1’s (Employee Perspective)

In ! Jen, Employee Tips, General Work on Thursday, October 8, 2009 at 3:33 am

Obviously, you won’t do all of these in one sit-down discussion. But don’t go in to 1:1 meetings with your boss unprepared. You lead the discussion.

16. Prepare an agenda. Share it with your boss prior to your meeting if you wish, but what’s most important is that you have a shortlist of what you’re preparing to discuss, even if it’s just a bulleted list of topics. This has several advantages including: a) it forces you to think about what you’ll need to cover, so you can budget time appropriately, b) your preparation shows your manager that you care enough to be respectful of her time, c) you’ll have a written record of items discussed, and on which to take notes, and which to keep for future reference.

15. Decide if you even need to meet. If you have nothing substantial on your agenda, perhaps you catch your boss the day before to see if he’s got a lot to cover. Otherwise cancel, or abbreviate your meeting. Don’t feel compelled to take the whole hour if you don’t need it. On the flip side, don’t do this two meetings a row. If there’s not a lot to cover for two meetings in a row, you’ve got other issues going on.

14. Call attention to recent wins since your last meeting. Your boss is busy. She’s not omniscient, so be sure you share successes. But be realistic.

13. Call attention to people who helped you. Shine the spotlight on others who really deserve it. This not only is good karma, but shows that you are a team player, can recognize others’ contributions, and are confident in your own abilities.

12. Be clear with requests. If you are stuck and need help, articulate how you need your boss to help. This means going beyond stating: “I’m having a lot of trouble with getting Marketing to meet our shared deadlines.” Instead, be specific: “Can the X deadline be moved by two weeks? / Can you share with me how you are able to get Marcy and her team in Marketing to better gate deliverables? / From your perspective, what should I be doing differently to ensure this deadline is met? / Can you come with me to talk with Marcy’s team about the X project deadline?” You are more likely to get help from your manager if you know what you’re asking for and ask for it clearly.

11. Ask for feedback–in specific, and in general. Specifically, upon completion of projects or presentations and the like. About your performance in general on a regularly basis, at least once a quarter. What should you be doing differently? What are you doing well? What area(s) does your manager see as needing more development? If he were to assess you today based on your company’s performance appraisal ratings, how would you rate?

10. Be open to feedback. Don’t get defensive, unless something is patently false or based on incorrect information that you must set straight. Don’t get upset, and don’t deny. Take what your manager has to say and mull it over some. Clarify and discuss further at next week’s meeting.

9. Share intel. If you’ve learned something at a recent training session, or a podcast, or read an interesting article, share top three takeaways. Not only are you sharing information that could be useful for current or future needs, you’re also showing that you are continuing your development, staying fresh on business or industry-relevant topics. Additionally, your boss will likely share intel with you, and share your info with others. This is one path companies take to cultivating learning cultures, and this is a very good and desirable thing.

8. Start and stop on time. A basic, for sure, but definitely worth a mention.

7. Revisit annual goals. Pull these out for discussion on a quarterly basis, at least. If they need an alteration, discuss it now, versus a month prior to getting your performance appraisal.

6.  Offer feedback. On your boss? Yes. Your boss is human, too. If there are things that you would like for him to not do, or to continue doing, you should share these with him. Obviously, you’ll choose your timing wisely, but we all benefit from truthful feedback given in good faith. If your boss doesn’t take to this well, counter with: “In the future, how should I share such feedback with you, as I want to ensure we can communicate openly.” If he still doesn’t take to this, your boss doesn’t care, and you either need to come to terms with that, or find another job.

5. Give updates on work-in-progress. Here’s your chance to better understand how your work fits into the bigger picture, to discuss if goals need to be recalibrated, and to ask for help.

4. Discuss your development plan. 1:1’s are a time to discuss what’s urgent and timely, but don’t lose sight of what’s equally important: your ongoing development. If there are things that you should be doing to develop your career–both within your current role and to prepare for future roles, now is the time to discuss it. If your manager is not bringing this topic up herself, take it upon yourself to discuss this on a quarterly basis. Be clear about what you want: “I would love to learn more about Promotions. I know you’ve worked with Catherine in the past–could you help with an intro?

3. Stay on track. Stick to your agenda. “Parking lot” those items that need more attention and time. At the end of the meeting ask if these items should wait until your next 1:1, or if you need to set up time prior to then to discuss further.

2. Remain respectful and professional. Just because this is your time does not give you carte blanche, or even “what gets said in this room stays in this room.” Your manager is still the one who will be assessing your performance. So even though this is a time to share roadblocks and frustrations, do not turn it into a bitch session or get exasperated.

1. Take notes. Follow-up on open items. And keep notes from your 1:1 so that you can refer to them for the next 1:1. At the end of the year, you’ll be surprised how much you’ve accomplished.

16 Questions to Ask Your Employees in Development Discussions (With Focus on Current Job)

In ! Jen, Development, Manager Tips on Monday, October 5, 2009 at 3:33 am

These are questions I’ve culled from exchanges with countless managers and personal coaches. There are so many good ones, but here are 16 favorites. They all require an earnest approach and sincere exchange. Respond to cockamamie answers with a “no, really, I want to know.” And stay curious about your employee–don’t take their responses at face value. What do they mean? what would this look like? what is stopping them? what barriers can you help remove? Keep the dialogue alive. It creates connection, and your employee will appreciate that you cared enough to invest in this time.

16. What risks would you take in the next year in your current role, if you knew that you could not fail?

15. If you could change one thing about your job today, what would it be?

14. If you could improve one process, which would it be? How would it be different?

13. What important-but-not-urgent task or project do you wish you had more time on which to work?

12. What do you want to be remembered for in this job?

11. What skills do you need to learn to excel in your job?

10. What skills do you feel you need to practice more?

9. Who do you wish you knew in our organization to be more effective in your job?

8. What’s a recent management decision you didn’t understand?

7. Do you understand how your work contributes to our department’s success? to our organization / company’s success?

6. On a scale of 1-10, 10 being “extremely,” how satisfied would you say you are in this job? What would make it an X+1? What would make it a 10?

5. Do you feel we meet frequently enough to enable you to do your job effectively? What communication would help?

4. Are there areas of your job you wish you could receive retraining?

3. In what areas of your job do you wish you had more support? (Support could mean so many different things here.)

2. What brings you joy in your work?

1. What do you need from me to help you in your development?

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