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Recently, I was asked to help an organization implement a culture change (their words). Since I have been doing this for a while, I have come to find that many organizations do not understand the depth, commitment, and time it takes to conduct a true change in culture. Prepared for the over the moon desires, I developed some questions for the executive team to answer in our initial meeting in an effort to drill down to items that were more tangible.
When I met with the firm’s executive leadership, I asked the team what their desired outcomes were and what they saw as the best approach to achieve their desires. As I have seen time and again, they used lofty words such as "trust, great place to work, and better communication" (among other shallow phrases), as what they thought was needed to produce the organizational culture they wanted.
Understanding that I was hired to "coach" the executive team, in addition to assist in the culture change, I began to ask questions that would define what success looked like. "Define great place to work. How will you measure an improvement in trust? What are current substandard communication practices?"
About 10 minutes into our meeting, one of the executives stated out-of-the-blue, "I don’t know? That’s why we called you in." I took a second and considered this to be a fair question since I had established that the team had some unrealistic expectations (I have left out discussion about timeline and resources to keep this writing short.)
Keeping as their coach, I asked the executive, "why did you hire me?" His response, to change our culture. "You’re the expert. You tell us what a great place to work looks like. You tell us how to improve communication." The other leaders shook their head in agreement.
At this point, the writing was on the wall. It was clear, the executive team did not want to change their culture. They wanted to pay someone else to fix their culture for them. So I asked the team, "how bad do you want to change your culture?" The President responded, "it is the most important item I am working on. It is at the top of my list of things to do." I said, "Great! How will you know when you can remove culture change from your to-do list?" His response, "when you and I decide we’re good."
After an hour or so, we broke for lunch. I scheduled a follow up with the president and we agreed to put the culture change evolution on hold.
Here are three factors to consider when attempting to change an organization’s culture:
1. Leadership does not go first
There is no question that in order for an organization’s social norms and behaviors to change, leadership must lead. The term leadership suggests that very fact. Yet, many times executives hire a coach or consultant to implement a program that will help employees be a more cohesive group. “We’ll pay you to tell our employees what they need to do.” This strategy will never work and in fact will create at least two more ripples in the undesired culture.
First, employees will learn new norms that will be unfamiliar to management. This will cause more frustration with the already upset frontline. Second, by leadership not participating, they are demonstrating that they themselves do not understand where they fit into the organization’s culture.
All levels of leadership must be committed in a culture change. Leadership cannot delegate responsibility and accountability.
2. Leadership by proxy
On numerous occasions, a firm will hire a coach to do the organization’s dirty work. Whether it be a problem employee or underachieving executive, some firms hire a coach to “fix” behaviors and leadership gaps that should have been identified early in an employees tenure, if not during the hiring/promotion process. This is an avoidance strategy.
If an individual or group is underperforming, the leader is to be accountable. The failure to hold the leader accountable coupled with poor performance of the individual or group s/he oversees is often a main contributor to the undesired culture. Leadership is often their own worst enemy.
3. Culture is not static
An organization’s culture is ever-changing. It is comprised of personality, emotion, ability, and attitudes. These aspects are very fluid and can change instantaneously. If an organization sets a target on “way of being” then that organization is trying to hit a moving target and will never be successful.
When an employee understands his/her accountability, commitment, and purpose they will contribute at a high capacity. The understanding of self-purpose is the key employee engagement. Once that is understood, there is no need for fancy pictures and motivational posters.
Pull back the emerald curtain and take a reflective look at 2017. I encourage all Talent Development Professionals to turn an eye inward and reflect on well, the good and the not so good from the past year. Reflecting is a meaningful way to help us reframe going into 2018 with a positive momentum. Consider these thoughtful questions below to encourage some self-introspection.
We each have our own yellow brick road to travel, our own story and journey, on this wonderful road called ‘life’. Our journey is often challenging and engaging, with an occasional fork in the road or even road block that gets in our way. ATD Sacramento Chapter invites you to create your own path. Find your skill, embrace your strengths, and engage with our amazing community of Talent Development Professionals.
“To ‘know Thyself’ is considered quite an accomplishment.” ~L. Frank Baum, The Marvelous Land of Oz
A big thank you to those of you who submitted nominations for the Champions of Learning Awards. We have received many nominations from training professionals and organizations in the Sacramento region.
Those who submitted can expect to hear from us within the next week for any additional information requests.
An independent panel of judges from other ATD chapters throughout the country will be selecting the award winners from the following categories:
See you at our December Awards Dinner and let's celebrate and learn together!
Register for the December Champions of Learning Awards Dinner today!
By Allison Horak
Each year, ATD chapter leaders from around the U.S. gather in Washington, D.C. to share ideas and learn best practices; it’s called ALC (ATD Chapter Leaders Conference). At ATD Sacramento, we are proud that we have a precedent of being a highly engaged chapter, who sends several board members annually to the conference. This year, five of your board members attended:
At ALC, there are keynote speakers and breakout sessions, each with a different topic/focus (and, there’s free food!). The five of us usually attended different sessions, trying to glean as much pertinent information as possible to make 2018 a successful year for our chapter. Sarah and I each submitted a proposal to speak at the conference—and each were chosen! It was truly a privilege to represent our chapter on the national level. Here’s what our two sessions were about:
Both sessions were very well attended, and we both received a lot of positive feedback from other TD professionals.
If you think you’d like to be involved with volunteering for the chapter, we’re always looking for people to help with programs (helping at events with various tasks) and membership (making phone calls welcoming new members). Please email our chapter at firstname.lastname@example.org to express interest or find out more information.
We look forward to an exciting 2018 with you all.
ATD Sacramento launched the Champions of Learning Awards to recognize and thank outstanding learning and development professionals and learning organizations in the Sacramento region (El Dorado, Nevada, Placer, Sacramento, Sutter, Yolo, and Yuba counties). This is the second year we are recognizing the champions in employee learning and development. There are three categories of awards:
Public and private organizations from all industries, independent consultants, and coaches in the Sacramento Region (El Dorado, Nevada, Placer, Sacramento, Sutter, Yolo, and Yuba counties) are eligible.
Specific guidelines as well as evaluation criteria for each award category are detailed on the associated application.
Click here to download the applications. All questions should be directed to email@example.com.
The deadline to submit nominations has been extended to Wednesday, November 1, 2017, 5:00 p.m. PST
Email completed application forms to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will acknowledge the receipt of your application and follow up with you within three business days.
Download the application forms here. Specific guidelines and evaluation criteria for each award category are detailed on the associated application.
Email your completed form to email@example.com by 5:00 p.m. PST on Wednesday, November 1, 2017.
Yes. You just need to complete the appropriate forms and email them to firstname.lastname@example.org by 5:00 p.m. PST on Wednesday, November 1, 2017.
An independent panel of judges will select winners based on a rubric that we provide them. These judges are talent development professionals from other ATD chapters throughout the country. All entries will be “scrubbed” for blind judging.
All winners will be informed via email by November 30, 2017.
Winners will be recognized at the Champions of Leadership Awards Dinner on December 14, 2017 at the UC Davis MIND Auditorium. All winners will receive a Champion of Leadership Award plaque and a press release kit for immediate publication.
The awards ceremony is on Thursday, December 14, 2017, 5:30 – 8:00 p.m., at the UC Davis MIND Auditorium.
Author: Bruce Winner, Government Training Academy, email@example.com, 916.563.3232, www.losrios-training.org
Five Rapid Routes to Rudimentary Nudging:
From 11 minutes… to well, a bit more
We are all busy, but we can’t afford to stop learning. As a training professional, you are acutely aware of this. With this in mind, read on for five ways to learn more about Nudging and how you can use this new science-based method to influence, persuade, or nudge your training participants to take positive action.
Check out this short (11 minute) YouTube Video, “Influence: The Secrets of Persuasion”, from Robert Cialdini about six ways to influence or persuade.
Cialdini is often referred to as the “Godfather of Influence” for his long involvement in the field and impact on how businesses and public organizations seek to influence others. Cialdini has sold over three million copies of his book, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion which has been on the New York Times bestseller list many times and won numerous awards. His six principles of persuasion are presented in this short video. In his new book Pre-Suasion (2016), he introduces even more nudging concepts. I recommend his books as well, but even with 11 minutes of your time you will get a great introduction to the power of persuasion or nudging.
I’m going to give you a bonus here. Instead of one article, I’m going to recommend three and you can choose where to spend your 30 minutes.
a) Consider this short article from the New York Times that introduces you to Nudging and the authors of the book “Nudge”. The article starts with a nudge example that will be hard for you to forget!
b) If you want to dig just a bit deeper, this article from Deloitte (the global consulting group) will give you plenty to think about. In “HR for Humans: Welcome to Behavioral Economics - The Power of the Nudge” they discuss the impact nudging can have within an organization’s HR Department.
c) Finally here is a meaty 47-page report from the government, but it has an easy to ready five-page (30 minute max) executive report. This is the first annual report from the Obama administration’s “Nudge Brigade”, or more formally known as the Social and Behavioral Science Team. They were tasked with conducting fourteen full-scale proof of concept nudge experiments, rigorously testing them, and reporting the results. If you have any doubt about the power of nudging, this will open your eyes.
3) Now we are getting serious. Are you willing to give up 60-90 minutes? (Oh come on – you probably spent more time than that on YouTube yesterday!)
Have you ever experienced a MOOC (a Massive Open Online Course)? A MOOC is an online course (in this case a free course) taught by experts in the field. MOOCs include video, text, and many extra materials. EdX’s course, “Behavioral Economics in Action” is asynchronous (anytime in or out) and is taught by Dilip Soman, author of The Last Mile: Creating Social and Economic Value from Behavioral Insights. Go to www.edX.com, sign-up (free) and search for “Behavior al Economics in Action”. Of course you can’t take the entire course in 60-90 minutes, but you can explore the course.
4) Would you spend three to six hours if you could radically improve the results you get from your training interventions? The three books that follow are based in solid science and field-tested results.
5) Give nudging a full-day! You won’t be sorry. If you are willing to devote a day to nudging (in the company of 25 other training professionals from Sacramento), consider the upcoming one-day ATD Sacramento workshop. You will be joining a group of other forward-thinking, empirically-minded, and action-oriented talent developers.
“Influence, Persuade, Nudge: Master the Science of Getting People to Take Action” on Friday, August 25 2017 at 1410 Ethan Way, The Los Rios CCD’s Workforce and Economic Development Center.
This hands-on full-day workshop is another in the Fundamentals for Training Professionals Series. The workshop is led by Bruce Winner, Custom Training Manager of the Government Training Academy, LRCCD. Bruce conducted a two-hour Nudge workshop for a sold out crowd of over 60 people in Nov 2016 and the crowd asked for a follow-up. Here it is!
See the featured workshop here - http://tdsac.org/EventCalendar
The Startling Time When Trainers Must Nudge
Would you like to know one of the most effective, and yet surprising, times when trainers should use nudging? It’s a time that many of us in training ignore.
The time is after our design and development, before our training even starts!
Nudging before training begins
Before your training begins, consider using “priming”. Priming is exposing someone to a stimulus that will ultimately make them more receptive to your following effort(s) to persuade them. Robert Cialdini, one of the most frequently cited behavioral scientists in this field, refers to priming as “pre-suasion”. In his recent book Pre-suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade, he describes the flexibility and utility of this powerful behavioral science technique. Cialdini refers to this time period before our persuasive efforts as a “privileged moment for change”. During this privileged moment, we can prepare people to be receptive to a message before they experience it.
In the lab, but also in the real world
There are many examples of priming that have been proven effective in laboratory settings. Priming has been used in tests to increase individuals’ honesty in response to questions, to boost their attention, and even make them act as if they were years older or younger than their natural age.
Though these lab examples are interesting, my favorite examples of priming are those that take place in the real world. For example, the following priming experiment was conducted in a supermarket, where people made actual decisions and paid real money for their choices. In the test, a display of French and German wines were side by side in a supermarket display. For several hours of the day French music would play and at other times German music would be piped to the consumers. When French music was playing, 70% of the sales were of French wines. When German music was playing, 70% of the sales were of German wines. When randomly selected guests were asked if the music playing influenced their selection of wines, the overwhelming majority of the shoppers responded, “What music?” Priming works! It works in the lab and the real world, but it is generally invisible to those who are influenced by the priming.
An orientation session that is really much more
Of course I realize you aren’t in the business of selling wine, but have you ever considered how you could pre-suade your training participants to be even more receptive to your training messages? You can prime your participants by speaking directly to them and their supervisors in an hour set aside before your training begins. Here you can efficiently prime both groups (participants and supervisors). An effective way to do this is to ask them (participants) to consider or “hold” the following question, “What would successfully completing this program do for me?” (Note: We generally expand the question with some specific examples of potential positive results from the program.)
When we use this technique in my training practice, we use a modified coaching technique borrowed from Nick LeForce, NLP master-coach. The method directs participants to cup their hands, as if they were physically holding the question posed to them. This priming technique appeals to their emotional brain, by allowing participants to craft an internal priming message for themselves. We ask them to listen to the entire session while determining what is in it for them. (Trainers often refer to this as the WIIFM, or the acronym for What’s In It For Me.) For some participants the WIIFM may be a promotion, for others a raise, and some may imagine a boost in productivity and the recognition they will receive because of it.
Then we ask the supervisors to hold a similar question. The goal is to get the same level of support from supervisors as from the participants. As trainers, we know that the supervisor’s endorsement is often the key to the participant’s application of training back on the job. After they ask themselves this priming question, supervisors are more likely to view the training as a means to help themselves. For some supervisors their goal may be a more productive employee, for others a more engaged one, and for some it could be an employee who makes fewer mistakes and thus takes less of their (the supervisor’s) valuable time. In both cases (participants and supervisors) we have primed them using the most effective arguments available to pre-suade them. We have used their own arguments, their own vested interests, their emotional brains, their WIIFM.
Priming, like all nudges, is designed to overcome our cognitive biases. Priming is a proven method of overcoming the “status quo bias” or more colloquially, our adversity to change. Most people (employees or supervisors) are content to accept things the way they are. Unless nudged, your trainees may be reluctant to learn new ways of doing things and their supervisors may be reluctant to let them try new tools or techniques. Priming will prepare your students to be more receptive to your message in the classroom and with the supervisor’s support, boost post-training application.
During and After Training
Watch for an upcoming blog where we will explore how to nudge trainees during and after training.
You can find out more about these nudges and how to use them to boost your training results at an upcoming ATD Sacramento workshop.
Influence, Persuade, Nudge: Master the Science of Getting People to Take Action.
Friday, August 25 2017 at 1410 Ethan Way, The Los Rios CCD’s Workforce and Economic Development Center.
This hands-on full day workshop is another in the Fundamentals Series (professional development workshops for training professionals). The workshop is led by Bruce Winner, Custom Training Manager of the Government Training Academy, LRCCD. Bruce conducted a two hour Nudge workshop for a sold out crowd of over 60 people in Nov 2016 and the crowd asked for a follow-up. Here it is!
Click here to learn more about the featured workshop.
Calling all ATD Sacramento Members! Are you Strengths-Certified? We are looking for Gallup-Certified practitioners of StrengthsFinder 2.0 to share best practices at our October 20, 2017 ATD Sacramento program!
The lunchtime session at CalSTRS in West Sacramento will be a panel discussion and interactive session.
We are looking for those who coach, team-build, develop leaders, and/or train classes using the assessment and concepts to:
We are looking for presenters/facilitators who meet the following criteria:
NOTE: Preference will be given to ATD Sacramento and/or National ATD Members. Not a member yet? Join at www.tdsac.org!
Benefits to the presenters/facilitators:
Please submit your proposal to present using the speaker form available on the ATD Sacramento website under "Events", "Speaker Proposals" no later than Friday, August 11th!
Author: Bruce Winner, Government Training Academy, firstname.lastname@example.org, 916.563.3232, www.losrios-training.org
Training Professionals – The Amazing Approach You Are Not (yet) Using!
These are just two of the positive consequences of “Nudging”, a powerful new science-based approach to getting people to take action. It is being used by our own federal government, many states and cities, the British government, and loads of private sector firms in the US and beyond.
When could a training professional use Nudging?
Here are just a few areas where it has been and could be applied:
Is it based on genuine science?
Daniel Kahneman won the 2002 Nobel Prize in Economics for his work in behavioral economics (the science of how people make decisions). His work (and that of many others of course) formed the foundation for what is now known as Nudging. He was the first non-economist to ever win the Nobel for economics, for bringing 40 years of research from the behavioral, social, and cognitive sciences to prove how people really make decisions. This research has now been systemized in a set of findings that can be used by training professionals to change the behavior of those they train or coach.
Nudging is based on understanding our unconscious biases and using this knowledge (and well-designed nudges) to change behavior. You will find the science of nudging explained in many contemporary books including, Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happiness by Thaler and Sunstein; SWITCH: How to Change Things When Change is Hard by Chip and Dan Heath; and Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces that Shape Our Decisions by Dan Ariely. Watch for an upcoming blog where I provide a brief description of five books or other sources of information about nudging (articles, brief videos, or MOOCS).
I know it is being used by other professionals, but is it really feasible…for talent developers?
It can also be used as a stand-alone effort to change or reinforce behaviors that support your organization’s goals and objectives. Many public agencies are using it this way. They have used Nudging programs to increase employee contributions to savings plans, drive down waste of agency resources, and even encourage clients to use the organization’s webpage in lieu of the contact center.
3. Scalable (Nudges can be easily scaled up if they are effective) – Nudges are ideally designed to be tested with small groups, validated, and then scaled up for larger enterprise-wide initiatives.
If you think that Nudging might be of use to you or your organization, consider the upcoming one day ATD Sacramento workshop or watch for and read the upcoming blogs. You will be joining a host of other forward-thinking, empirically minded, and action-oriented talent developers.
Upcoming Nudging One-Day Workshop – Friday, August 25 2017 at 1410 Ethan Way, The Los Rios CCD’s Workforce and Economic Development Center.
Click here for the featured workshop.
For additional posts:
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