Monthly Archives: October 2011

Leadership resources from a recent Kluwer training

Having just completed delivery of a 4-day Leadership Training with @KluwerOpleiding (thanks @MiekWouters for the chance to have a small group :-)) I thought I’d share the email stream that built up from me to participants over the 4-days. Loads of references here…


References DAY 1


Homework / Preparation DAY 2


References from DAY 2


Homework in preparation for DAY 3

  • Think of a problem you have (professional or personal). This will be used in day 3. You will be asked to state your problem and ask for help…
  • Think of a difficult communication situation or difficult person you have had to deal with (personal or professional)


Here are the references from training DAY 3


Homework in preparation for DAY 4

  • Prepare a 1 minute presentation of yourself – anything is fine, we just need some data to use for a feedback exercise, so no stress!
  • Please think about additional topics to cover in group coaching session in the afternoon of Day 4


References DAY 4


Hope this was interesting

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18 tips for managers to bring change into an organisation

If you are a manager trying to bring change into the organisation, here are 3 main things to think about:

1. How do people react to change?
2. What are the different personalities you can see when introducing change?
3. How can we as leaders do a good job of dealing with change?


This blog-spot lists my training participants’ answers to the 3rd question only…
(For more info on “2”, check out Jef Staes’ work on Red Monkeys here… or follow him on Twitter)


What can I do as a leader to ease change into the organisation?


Maintain good relationships with your people
• Involve people …if possible, let people have an influence on what is going on
• Make no assumptions (about them)
• Be patient
• Treat people as adults (don’t “parent them”)
• Be respectful


Communicate well
• Listen to people
• Take time to answer questions
• Explain vision/strategy/purpose/reasoning etc…
• Discuss things with people
• Underline the benefits for the other person
• Share stories and best practices


Walk the talk and take time for quality change processes
• Be convinced yourself, be honest and lead by example
• Make gradual change – not necessarily slow, but step-by-step
• Find champions and ambassadors
• Identify change-opponents
• Put a feedback process into place
• Give recognition and credit to “helpful change-agents”
• Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water!


For other ideas on how to introduce change, check out Peter Senge’s book “The Dance of Change”


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Prezi: How to Build Effective Presentations

My 1st Prezi effort – love this tool!

10 things you can learn from David Brent about running performance evaluations

During leadership training today, we watched some of the BBC series « The Office » and evaluated the boss’ approach to dealing with Performance Evaluation Meetings.

To see David Brent in action, check out part of the episode in question (Series 2, Episode 2) here


There are many different performance evaluation processes and these are not discussed here. Assuming that you, like many corporate employees, are running “classical performance evaluation moments”, read on…


Based on our evaluation of David Brent (good and bad) work, we created a non-exhaustive list of 10 best practices for dealing well with performance evaluations:

  • Explain the purpose of the meeting and have a meeting structure
  • ….it is my opinion that one should deal first with the past, then the present, then the future
  • Focus on the employee being reviewed
  • It’s OK to have a 2-way conversation and to include bottom-up evaluation, but it’s not OK for the reviewer to be self-centred and egoistic
  • Listen well to your employees – give them a chance to express things about motivation, performance, future plans etc..
  • Give constructive feedback, not just encouragement
  • Use a blend of hard fact-driven measures and subjective observation based measures
  • Discuss results and relationships, motivation and performance, competence and behaviour
  • Don’t make career promises you can’t keep …and be careful when you discuss potential evolution to ensure its not understood as a promise
  • Take time to align vision, values and objectives
  • Be calm and patient


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Web 3.0 Learning: ASTD Webinar with David Wentworth

I’ve just followed the @ASTD Webinar with David Wentworth* presenting Web 3.0 for Learning. These are my notes.

* Senior research analyst for the Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp)


Summarising 2 studies done with @ASTD (“Better, Smarter, Faster” and “Mobile Learning”), David first presented what learning people have to say about using Web2.0 for learning:

  • The Web has evolved from static 1-to-many (1.0) to dynamic interactive many-to-many sharing (2.0) – the next step = “seemless connectivity to a smarter web, regardless of device” (3.0)
  • According to the 2 studies, only about ½ learning professionals are using new technologies for learning. (This is the US. For more information on Belgium, check out Kluwer’s 2011 Learning Indicator)
  • Use of Web 2.0 technologies has grown from 2009 to 2010. Here’s what people are using:
    • Social networks, podcasts and blogs are top of the “used” list
    • Other shared media, wikis and microblogging come next
    • Social bookmarking is bottom of the list
    • ….but they have all grown in usage this year!


After 2.0, David spoke of what Web 3.0 means for learning people….


Regarding the definition of Web 3.0 and how it relates to learning, people said:

  • Having 3D environments, gaming and immersive environments does notseem to be what it’s all going to be about for learning
  • The “semantic web” will bring some serious benefits to learning (in contrast to the low-performance poor quality of many current in-company solutions):
    • We will find things more quickly
    • Results will be clean and easy to navigate
    • Results will be specific to our needs
    • We will find the exact info we need
  • Web 3.0 will be mobile, but although this can be highly effective, it won’t necessarily be easy for learning professionals to deal with
    • There are so many types of devices that it may be overwhelming for the learning function to design and develop solutions/apps for them all
    • ..and if companies “aren’t exactly handing out tablets”, people will be bringing their own (diverse) devices to work
    • BUT: Those that DO use mobile learning solutions say they are getting good results
    • …when they use mobile learning as a complement to other forms of learning
    • AND: It will become more and more apparent


So what will people by doing with Mobile Web 3.0 technology for learning? David suggests that online simulations and courseware authoring tools will have the most success… …but not in the next 3 years, except for” the big learning players”.


And what are the barriers to Web 3.0 learning implementation? According to David Wentworth and the ASTD studies, the top 3 barriers are:

  • Lack of budget
  • Lack of leadership understanding and support
  • Lack of IT support


Finally, how can we get started?

  • Be open to the new web
  • Get a champion, someone who will measure and brand Web 3.0 solutions
  • Get good on Web 2.0 !


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“It would be like I had a full set of clubs…”

As you may have read in the post “Why I see Citroen Xsara Picassos everywhere and why you should care“, if you know which doors are open in other people, you can adjust your communication to suit. Here is an example:


Suppose I want to ask my boss for a training that costs 5,000 euros. How do I phrase my question? How do I get his attention? Knowing he likes golf, I might suggest the following…

  • “So, its like being in the sand with no sand-iron. I can see the objective and I know what to do, but I’m missing the tools. This training could really help.”


His reaction: “I know what you mean”.


Good – now, show me the money !


3 Twitter stories to convince you to get on the train

If you have a company brand to protect and grow and you are not already active on social media sites, read on. These 3 stories pretty much seal the deal for me. It’s time to get social!


When I looked out the window, I saw that she was right…

In Barcelona last week I was discussing the corporate use of social media with one of my clients. He told me about why the global CEO was now considering getting on the train. Apparently, some months before GreenPeace had chained themselves to parts of the corporate head-quarters. The CEO was busy working in one of the HQ offices, unaware of what was going on in the same building. He received a call from his daughter asking “Dad, what’s going on? I saw on Twitter that GreenPeace are protesting at your offices”. When he looked out the window, he saw what she was talking about. Twitter brought the news faster than getting up and looking out the window!


OOOoh, we’re on Twitter!!!

One of my clients told me on Monday that she never really cared about “all this social media stuff” until the other day. She had just organized a conference with other similar organisations. The next day, one of her colleagues (active on Twitter) stood up excitedly in the office and said “We’ve been mentioned* on Twitter!”. Everyone was very all of a sudden very excited …. …later that day, they asked themselves if it wouldn’t be a better idea to be driving what was said on social media sites, rather than passively being informed about their own brand.


*by name only, not @name, since they were not “on Twitter” at this time


I’ve seen what you are up to. Can you come and see me to discuss more?

Personally, I’ve been blogging, tweeting, posting walls and YouTubing for a little over a year. It’s fair to say I’m addicted, but it’s also fair to say that I have learnt a HUGE amount from social media in this short time. Last August, I got the first real confirmation that my activity was also useful for brand-reinforcement. Since I link my tweets to linkedin, someone from my extended network of contacts had been watching everything I’d been up via that site. She was once an HR consultant at my previous employer and is now Training Manager for a large telecoms company. I had been sharing and posting ideas as usual …she had been following. In August, she sent me an email for the first time in 6 years, saying “Dan, I see all the things you are doing and it looks interesting. Can you come and meet with me?”. Free marketing, reinforcing my brand via social media. Like 🙂



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Top 10 email tips for business

During training last week, we created a list of 10 top tips for effective emailing in a corporate environment. These tips are all aimed at getting maximum return-on-investment for both you and the reader.

My visiting client confirmed that these tips were really important in his company. He added that you should consider every email you send as an indicator of your “employee brand”. If you want to be thought of as professional, useful, intelligent, well-structured and generally a good colleague, try these email tips. If not, prepare to be deleted….


  1. Only send email to the right relevant people
  2. Start with a clear subject
  3. Get to the point
  4. …but use adapted politeness and “friendly stuff”
  5. Use a simple airy structure
  6. Only include the minimum effective dose of content
  7. Use “email intonation” and formatting to underline important points
  8. Avoid emotion, blame and other non-professional email content
  9. Make sure your spelling, grammar and punctuation is correct and adapted to the audience
  10. Re-read before sending


Also worth a read: Email Charter proposed and adopted by @DanielPink and many others