Got an Hour? Train Your Team

by Julie Winkle Giulioni | Posted | Learning

Got an Hour? Train Your Team

Given the realities of today’s time-starved workplace, it’s easy to let training and development fall by the wayside. Yet, it’s under these always-increasing pressures to perform better and faster that learning is more crucial than ever.

Effective leaders want to invest in the development of their staff – but they may not have the time, budget, or other resources to send employees to all-day courses and workshops. Sorry, this is no excuse. If you have an hour and are willing to invest a little thought of your own, you can offer powerful training to your employees yourself.

Less is more

Research continues to confirm that spaced learning – smaller chunks delivered over time – ensures better retention, skill use and behavior change on the job. Short learning bursts delivered by line leaders have the potential to:

  • Better reflect the reality of the business.
  • Offer more just-in-time topics based upon current challenges or needs.
  • Allow people to learn incrementally, layering nuance and complexity over time.
  • Fit better into the cadence of the workflow.

A trio of training approaches

In just 60 minutes or less, you can significantly enhance awareness, insights, motivation and skill.  All it takes is clarity about what you need your team to know or do better and the willingness to draw on the nearly unlimited resources around you. Try one of these approaches during – or instead of – an upcoming meeting.

1. Break it down

Identify an important skill that your team is struggling to do well. Pull your group together and ask them to break the skill down into its component parts. It can be fun, interactive and illuminating. Distribute Post-It notes. Map it out on big pieces of butcher paper. Agree on the best approach to each step. Then, allow people to practice the new skill or process in pairs or trios and share feedback. Not only will you ensure more consistent performance, you’ll also see more buy-in as employees feel ownership for what they create.

2. E (for everyone) - Learning

Your organization likely owns hundreds of hour of elearning. Usually individuals work alone in front of a screen to complete online courses. But, depending upon the topic and design, an elearning course can be an illuminating and interactive group exercise. Simulations are particularly interesting for your team to experience together. They can debate the merits of each step along a storyline, see how their decisions play out, and have some fun in the process. And your human resources representative or training director will likely be delighted to make available these frequently under-used tools.

3. Go YouTubing

Every day, more and more material becomes available completely free of charge through YouTube, TED, and other sites. Type in just about any topic and you’ll find considerable high-quality content - informational, poignant, or humorous – to make powerful learning points. Here are just a few of my favorites.

Need to…

Consider….

Improve systems/process thinking?

Tom Wujeck’s TED Talk - Got a Wicked Problem?

Start a discussion about listening or gender differences?

It’s Not About the Nail

Encourage more diversity of thought and constructive disagreement/conflict among team members?

Margaret Heffernan’s TED Talk – Dare to Disagree

Get better results from conference calls?

Conference Calls in Real Life


Popcorn is optional… but sitting around a screen together allows for a shared experience that results in new language and shorthand to help your team address important issues. Prepare a couple of hard-hitting questions about the topic at hand to debrief the video and you can help your team shift its thinking and behavior.

Given today’s speed of business, learning can no longer be the prevue of the training and development professionals. Leaders at all levels need to be able to assess their teams’ needs and curate the experiences that will inspire insights, build skills and contribute to business outcomes. And in many cases, one short hour can delivery long-term results.

Linking Learning and Performance

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Linking Learning and Performance

Link learning and employee performance to achieve business goals.


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