March 2012

Some of the statistics in the video are unbelievable.

H/T to GenYGirl.


Trust is built when people exhibit competence in their areas of expertise and show integrity through their personal interactions with others.

The quote above is from an article in this month’s edition of Talent Management.  The focus of the article is mentoring in a networked workplace.  The author clearly thinks of a networked workplace as one where the company has offices in multiple states or countries, employees who work from home offices, and others who do most of their work on the road.  But these days, every office is networked in some way or another so the guidelines provided in the article apply to everyone.

The days of hoarding information are long gone.  Success in the modern workplace requires information sharing.  Don’t be shy.  You might have the perspective or information that will make a difference for another person.  How would you feel if someone else possessed information that you needed but was unwilling to share?

In that spirit here are the high-level guidelines from the article and my thoughts on each.

  1. Give willingly and generously – The table at the top of this post clearly shows that limited sharing is an indication of partial engagement and a competitive atmosphere.  By competitive they mean competitive within the workplace (not good).
  2. Act humbly and courageously – Get ready for resistance and/or criticism.  They way you react to this will either build trust or barriers.
  3. Engage others honestly and openly – As trust is built, be ready to receive from others.  Accept their input and respond.  You don’t need to sugar coat your reaction but a little sugar won’t hurt.

John McEnroe is one of the most gifted tennis players of all time but he is better known for his temper than his championships.  I played tennis when McEnroe was in his prime and I watched him play quite a bit.  I appreciated his talent and wanted to be a fan but I had a hard time reconciling his attitude with his skill on the court.  Looking at the video above is painful.

Carol Dweck offers McEnroe as an example of someone with a fixed mindset.  According to Dr. Dweck, “people [with a fixed mindset] believe their basic qualities, like their intelligence or talent, are simply fixed traits. They spend their time documenting their intelligence or talent instead of developing them. They also believe that talent alone creates success—without effort. This is wrong.”

In her book, Mindset, she contrasts a fixed mindset and a growth mindset.  “In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment. Virtually all great people have had these qualities.”

The implications of this simple difference in mindset has tremendous implications.  According to her research, Dr. Dweck describes a person with a fixed mindset with one goal of constantly proving themselves.  “Every situation calls for a confirmation of their intelligence, personality, or character.”  She goes on to say that “people with a fixed mindset feel a sense of urgency to succeed, and when they do, they feel more than a sense of pride.  They may feel a sense of superiority, since success means that their fixed traits are better than other people’s.”

By contrast, people with the growth mindset “believe that a person’s true potential is unknown (and unknowable); that its impossible to foresee what can be accomplished with years of passion, toil and training.”

Dr. Dweck uses Mia Hamm as an example of a person with the growth mindset.  “First she played with her older brother.  Then at ten, she joined the eleven-year-old boys’ team.  Then she threw herself into the number one college team in the United States.”  In the clip below she expresses this mindset.

I can’t recommend this book enough.  Every page provides new insight on this simple yet profound difference.

Lowe’s is applying human performance technology (HPT) to revamp their training department from transactional T&D (training and development) order takers to strategic HPT business partners.  Their goal is to develop “a proficient and engaged workforce that delivers optimal customer experiences and business results.”

Their solution focuses on  5 ongoing activities based on the 10 ISPI performance technology standards.

  • Conducting a cause analysis to determine why a gap existed in performance
  • Co-creating a rigorous, emergent, one-of-a-kind learning architecture
  • Building just-in-time, just-enough (not just-in-case) learning solutions during the development phase
  • Piloting and implementing the new way to learn at Lowe’s (to more than 1,700 stores)
  • Measuring new performance with knowledge assessments and performance validations, informally and formally

This is a forward thinking approach that recognizes the value of developing employees rather than simply training them.  One of the key differentiators of HPT from a traditional training approach is its emphasis on a systematic approach.  It appears Lowe’s has a clear vision for customer service and is committed to equipping their employees to carry out this vision.

It will take Lowe’s 5 years to complete this transition which will require a committed executive sponsor, strong leadership, significant financial and resource investment and a lot of patience.

I just got back from a week in Vero Beach.  The trip was great but on two occasions we were surprised to find that some places we planned to visit were closed even though we had checked their websites before we left.

In one case we drove over a hour to get to a beach only to find the parking area was closed for repair.  The other instance had to do with hours of operation during winter months.  It turns out the water park we planned to visit is only open on weekends through mid-March.

I can understand the first case because the parking lot was only going to be closed for a couple of days.  The second case is flat out irresponsible.  If there are separate hours of operation based on the season, it is inexcusable not to post this on your website.

This experience reminds me of a question anyone who maintains a website should ask, “What is the purpose of my website?”  If the answer is simply to let people know I exist then you will not get the full benefit of having a presence on the web.  A website represents you to potentially millions of people.  Each of these people may be interested in you, your services, your passions, and your mission.  To invest time and energy creating a site only to neglect it is to miss an opportunity to positively influence your visitors.  In fact, your visitors will develop an opinion of you based on their experience.  Based on my experiences above, I was not impressed.

What does it take to make the most of your website?  A website does not have to be media rich or use fancy graphics to be effective.  All you need to do is put a little thought into the message you want to present.

  • Why are visitors coming to your site?
  • What are they looking for?
  • What do you want them to know?
  • What do you have to offer them?
  • How can you best communicate your message?
  • What media can you use to communicate this message?

Once your site is available you must maintain it.

  • Archive outdated information.
  • Post current information.
  • Keep your visitors informed about developments and events they might be interested in.
  • Turn your focus outward.
  • Over-communicate.  Don’t create a chance that your visitors will misunderstand your message or get incorrect information.