Category Archives: Training & OD

Tools and tips that we’ve found helpful in designing training presentations

Leading by Teaching

What does a great pastrami on rye have to do with leadership? Read below.

I’d like to share with you a story about my deli guy.  Why a story about a “deli guy” in an HR/leadership blog? Because, in addition to making great sandwiches (“I’ll take a ‘Gerty’— corned beef and pastrami on rye with Russian dressing and a side of coleslaw— thanks!”), he’s also one of the most natural teachers that I’ve ever observed, and therein lies the story.

Dad’s Deli (and Training Academy)

Doug, a longtime restauranteur and caterer, co-manages Dad’s Deli with his wife, Debbie.  Located in a nondescript building in a suburban setting, Dad’s has developed a loyal following.  Beyond the quality of the sandwiches, this is due in no small part to the friendly, everyone-knows-your-name atmosphere (think “Cheers” in a deli) that starts with Doug’s greeting as you enter the door.  A natural networker, Doug goes out of his way— even in the busiest rush periods— Continue reading

A Fresh Breath

The Easter and Passover season is a time for personal reflection for many. How do you renew yourself from a professional perspective?

The Easter and Passover season is a time of personal reflection for many, as well as a time for renewing one’s spirit and celebrating cherished ancient traditions with family and close friends.  In this same vein, I’ve been reflecting on the question of “renewing one’s spirit” from a professional perspective.

Getting a “Fresh Breath”

 On Sunday mornings, I enjoy listening to “Sunday With Sinatra” on the radio.  Recently, they played a clip of “The Chairman of the Board” chatting with the audience in between songs. In the clip, Frank Sinatra was talking about how, after singing his huge hit “My Way” for many years, he got a bit burnt out on the song.  But his audiences always asked for it, so he kept singing the song.  Then one day, he got what he called “a fresh breath,” and it was as if he was singing the song for the first time again.

As an HR professional, you often have to do the same thing over and over again — such as training new supervisors on exempt/non-exempt and overtime pay issues, for example.  You have to “keep singing the song,” even when it has gotten a bit  old for you.  What can you do to “get a fresh breath” and keep going? Continue reading

Is “Team Building” Always the Right Prescription?

Albany Medical College - New Student Orientati...

Team building exercises might not always be the answer

I listen to a lot of sports talk radio on my commute to and from work.  Several times each year — especially now, with the opening of baseball season — the hosts will get into impassioned discussions about “team chemistry” and whether or not it adds up to wins and losses.  This got me to thinking about “chemistry” on management teams.

When a management team is struggling, inevitably the suggestion arises that a “team building” event is needed.  Is this always the right prescription?  It strikes me that “team building” efforts — besides often being half-hearted or poorly conceived — are frequently premature, and actually deal with the symptoms of a problem, rather than addressing the underlying issues themselves. Continue reading

Teachable Moments

Sitting in church last Sunday, I observed two quiet, almost-unnoticed scenes of parents instructing and guiding their children, and the children responding beautifully.  This caused me to reflect on the “teachable moments” that come along in our working lives every day and every week – and to wonder how often, in the head-long rush to “get things done” and “move the ball forward,” we see and capitalize on these moments with those we are formally or informally responsible for developing and mentoring in our organizations.

Quiet Instruction (Preparing and Supporting)

Before Mass began, a woman stood at the lecturn quietly instructing two teenage girls.  Only a few soft words were spoken, as she demonstrated how to open the book of readings and then return it to its place — clearly referring back to prior instruction Continue reading

25 Images For HR Power Point Presentations

Mentor, Good Listener

Here are 25 or so free images (downloaded from Microsoft’s web site) that may be helpful for “telling your story” or “making your point” in Power Point presentations (see prior post for the story).

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Power Point: Picture Is Worth 1000 Words

In The Beginning

Michelangelo - Creation of Man - Sistine Chapel - 1512

When I started using Power Point fifteen years ago or so, I felt “guilty” if I didn’t use complete, complex sentences on each slide.  Despite the knowledge (even then) that this overload of text violated every design and training principle going, my need to be complete and comprehensive was too much to overcome (self knowledge doesn’t always result in self mastery, I guess — or at least not right away!).     I probably shouldn’t feel too badly about this, as I had a very talented and otherwise practical colleague who couldn’t sleep at night if she didn’t have a full paragraph of text on each slide (often all in one LONG sentence) — or so it seemed, any way, judging by her presentations.

My Evolution: Less Is More

I recently heard an expert on designing and delivering powerful presentations suggest that he has taken to delivering presentations where the only thing he has on each slide is a photograph (i.e., no or very limited text), which he uses as the prompt for “telling the story” of the slide .  Continue reading