Posts Tagged "online training"

7 Tips to Become a Lean Business Traveller

Posted on June 10th, 2014 by Chris Gaborit

Every day millions of people travel for business. In airports around the world, I see suits flying here and there, carrying laptops, reading briefings on planes, or preparing for their next presentation ‘extraordinaire’. We are all working hard to exceed expectations, meet deadlines, make money, surpass profits, and still be alive at the end.

Unfortunately, many of those travelling executives look like they have had less sleep than a Giraffe, who, according to the Smithsonian Institute, sleep for 5 minutes at a time about 6 times a day and even then have one eye open and both ears alert to predators.

Executives are running up and down airports dragging carry-ons, queuing in endless lines for coffee, checking in, checking out, while planes are constantly taking off and landing, which reminds me of a story; in fact, these are true stories from flight crews. Sorry—I run a training company. There always has to be a story or two.

An airline pilot wrote that on this particular flight he had hammered his ship into the runway really hard. The airline had a policy which required the first officer to stand at the door while the passengers exited, smile, and give them a “Thanks for flying XYZ airline.” He said that in light of his bad landing, he had a hard time looking the passengers in the eye, thinking that someone would have a smart comment. Finally, everyone had gotten off except for this little old lady, walking with a cane. She said, “Sonny, mind if I ask you a question?” “Why no Ma’am,” said the pilot, “what is it?” The little old lady said, “Did we land or were we shot down?”

After a real crusher of a landing in Phoenix, the flight attendant came on with, “ladies and gentlemen, please remain in your seats until Captain Crash and the Crew have brought the aircraft to a screeching halt up against the gate. And, once the tire smoke has cleared, and the warning bells are silent, we’ll open the door, and you can pick your way through the wreckage to the terminal.”

Part of a flight attendant’s arrival announcement: “We’d like to thank you folks for flying with us today. And, the next time you get the insane urge to go blasting through the skies in a pressurized metal tube, we hope you’ll think of us here at US Airways.”

I must admit I have been on some of those landings. But seriously before you go blasting through the skies in a pressurised metal tube, what are the keys to travelling for work-related activities?

‘Lean’ means maximize value and minimize waste. It started in the manufacturing sector, but now, many of our clients in the financial, mining and pharmaceutical industries have also adopted ‘lean’. So, I was thinking, why shouldn’t we personally adopt ‘lean’, too? How can you become a lean business traveler?

If we think lean, can we improve the experience, lessen the stress and be able to live to tell the story to our grandkids?

For over 28 years I have been flying throughout Australia, New Zealand, Pacific Islands, Asia, USA and Canada. Here are my 7 Tips to Lean Business Travel:

1. Have a travel list in your phone

Airline pilots are travelling day in and day out; they fly non-stop, and many have flown thousands of times. They have a checklist to start the plane and a checklist to shut it down, and they ALWAYS follow that list. Write a list of what you need to take on a business trip, both business-related essentials as well as personal items, and check your list every time you are travelling. It will take the stress out of those horrible moments when you say, “Oh, my God, I have forgotten my wallet!”

 2. Only take carry-on

Carry one small carry-on bag and a handbag or man bag. I have lost so many bags while travelling; I have lost count. Now I don’t risk losing my suit anymore, and, be honest, how many times have you taken your running shoes and gym gear and never unpacked them?

I know a man who travels for business all the time. He wears a suit, white shirt, tie, and shoes on the plane. He packs one extra white shirt, pair of socks, underwear, and one casual shirt to wear with his suit pants. His shoes work for casual as well. He fits it all in a briefcase!

 3. Use Apps instead of paper

Make a decision to stop writing notes on paper and stop reading paper books, newspapers, and printed briefings. Buy a writing app for your iPad for note taking; I love Penultimate, which links to my Evernote. Buy an App for your books. I use Amazon’s Kindle App, which syncs my last read page across all my dev2ices and has great magazines. And get an app for your favourite newspapers.

4. Arrive early and work from the airport

Be the first person there, the first one to check in. Get there two hours early if you can and then get a coffee, find a seat, and do some work. It takes the stress out of running late, rushing through security, and potentially missing your plane. Airports are great places to sit, work, think, and catch up on emails or prepare for presentations.

 5. Have your own WiFi

Don’t depend on hotels and airports alone for WiFi. Personal hotspot with your phone or tablet to save time, money, and pressure. You can often call your phone provider and get a data extension for a month if you think you’ll be on the road a lot that month and need more internet.

6. Never eat without an App

I never eat at a café or restaurant unless I’ve checked it out with TripAdvisor or similar App. I have had enough bad meals on the road. Now I want to minimize the risk, so I take a few moments to read the reviews and get a feel for the food and service before I commit.

 7. Don’t forget headphones

Whether its that annoying person sitting next to you on the plane or a child screaming at the hotel restaurant, you need your headphones. I am going to admit that I am a headphone-aholic. I love my headphones. I am always on the lookout for the newest, best, and trendiest. My favourite at the moment is Beats by Dr. Dre. Wireless. They are noise cancelling and amazing for travelling but they are a bit big to carry when I’m being lean, so I bought a set of the Dr. Dre Beats Tour. They are amazing for travel.

3 Survival Essentials for Dealing with a Bad Manager

Posted on June 4th, 2014 by Chris Gaborit

Have you ever had a bad manager? I mean a Captain Bligh or one of those managers that have the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde personality? What do you do if your manager is mean-spirited and every day you come to work, you have that feeling, “I’m trapped here. There is no escaping. This is hell, and I’m never going to be able to get away?”

Years ago, a good friend of mine went for a sales management role at a global company. They were offering a great salary, travel perks, an office, and a car. At her interview, she was ushered into this amazing boardroom with plush furniture. As they chatted, what looked like high performing, well-dressed people brought in coffee and cookies to them. Being exceedingly impressed with all she saw and experienced, she accepted the position.

On Monday, she came to work. The offices had old furniture, the staff were poor performers, and she was given an office, without windows, that was the size of a shoe cupboard. On her first overseas trip, the Country Manager attempted to harass her while she was in the country. Consequently, she spent months crying and in depression.

When I asked why the initial meeting was so different, she told me that she later found out they had hired all that furniture and the staff just for the recruitment process and then sent it all back.

This reminds me of a story. (Sorry—I run a training company; we always have a story.)

A highly successful human resources manager was tragically knocked down by a bus and killed. Her soul arrived in heaven, and she was welcomed there by a committee:

“Before you get settled in,” the leader said, “we have a little problem. You see, we’ve never had a human resources manager make it this far before, and we’re not really sure what to do with you.”

“Oh, I see,” said the woman. “Can’t you just let me in?”

“Well, we’d like to,” he said, “but we have higher orders. We’re instructed to let you have a day in hell and a day in heaven, and then you are to choose where you’d like to go for all eternity.”

“Actually, I think I’d prefer heaven,” said the woman.

“Sorry, we have rules,” he said, at which point they put the HR manager into the elevator and pressed the H button.

As the doors opened in hell, she stepped out onto a beautiful golf course. In the distance was a country club; around her were many friends – past fellow executives, all smartly dressed, happy, and cheering for her. They ran up and kissed her on both cheeks, and they talked about old times. They played a perfect round of golf, and afterwards, went to the country club where she enjoyed a superb steak and lobster dinner.

She met the dev2il, who was actually rather nice, and she had a wonderful night telling jokes and dancing. Before she knew it, it was time to leave. Everyone shook her hand and waved goodbye as she stepped onto the elevator. The elevator went back up to heaven where the leader of the committee was waiting for her.

“Now, it’s time to spend a day in heaven,” he said.

She spent the next 24 hours lounging around on clouds, playing the harp, and singing, which was almost as enjoyable as her day in hell. At the day’s end, the committee returned

“So,” they said, “You’ve spent a day in hell and you’ve spent a day in heaven. You must choose between the two.”

The woman thought for a second and replied, “Well, heaven is certainly lovely, but I actually had a better time in hell. I choose hell.”

With that, they took her to the elevator again, and she went back down to hell. When the doors of the elevator opened, she found herself standing in a desolate wasteland covered in garbage and filth. She saw her friends dressed in rags, picking up rubbish, and putting it in old sacks. The dev2il approached and put his arm around her.

“I don’t understand,” stuttered the HR Manager, “Yesterday, I was here, and there was a golf course, and a country club, and we ate lobster, and we danced and had a wonderful happy time. Now, all that’s left is just a dirty wasteland of garbage and all my friends look miserable.”

The dev2il looked at her and smiled. “Yesterday, we were recruiting you. Today, you’re staff.”

So, you are staff and you have joined what you thought was a great company and you start work, only to find you have got a manager from hell who makes you want to rip out your hair, go home crying, and feel like a useless failure at least 10 times a day.

Or, you have been working for a company for years and you love going to work. You and your coworkers are all like besties, and everyone gets on so well; teamwork is at an all-time high, everyone loves each other, and then they bring in a new manager with this incredible reputation for success. All of a sudden, you discover that he is Captain Bligh, and work is like a game of Survivor with people taking sides. A mutiny is about to happen, and you don’t know what to do.

What do you do? What changed? Is it just you? Are you just being picky because your last manager was an angel, or are you just having a personality clash with this manager? Is it because she is pressing all your buttons? Or is it the fact that the manager reminds you of the father you cannot get on with or communicate to?

I went out again to some of our amazing clients from leading global companies, managers and employees like yourself, and some of our incredible facilitators and I asked them what wisdom they could offer on how to survive a bad manager.

This is what they said:

1. Do an analysis on the manager to see how bad the prognosis is.

You need to put on your consultant hat for a few minutes, look at this objectively, and do what every consultant worth their salt does.

Ask a Set of Analysis Questions:

Answer each question, giving it a rating between 1 and 5. 1 = bad and 5=good

a) Does the manager know his job?

b) Does he care about your growth?

c) Does he ill treat or harass you?

d) Does he micromanage?

e) Is he taking credit for your good work?

Now you need to add up all your answers and decide how much of a bad manager you can handle.

If you gave them between 5 and 15 points, then you will need the patience of Job, for there is going to be some suffering along the way. If he received a slightly better mark of 15-20, you will need the suffering skills of Gandhi, for it’s a tough road ahead. If you found they have an admirable but still poor mark of 16 – 25, you may be dealing with Attila the Hun but find the road a little easier.

The fact is, now that you have some knowledge in your hand, you have got a choice to make. You can choose the following options:

  • Option 1 – Leave the company. Considering your skills and abilities, you are most likely going to get another job, but there are no guarantees of having a good manager in the new company. As someone once said, “better the dev2il you know than the one you don’t.”
  • Option 2 – Stick it out with the bad manager. If you have decided to bite the bullet and stick with the manager, then you will need to learn the other two survival skills.

2. Understand which type of bad manager you are dealing with.

If you have decided to bite the bullet and stick with the manager, there is an old saying you should keep in mind from Sun Tzu, “Know thy enemy and know yourself; in a hundred battles, you will never be defeated. When you are ignorant of the enemy but know yourself, your chances of winning or losing are equal. If ignorant both of your enemy and of yourself, you are sure to be defeated in every battle.”

What this tells me is knowledge of any situation is power. You need knowledge of who you are dealing with and how best to deal with them.

What type of bad manager do you have?

  • The Bad Busy Manager: A bad busy manager is like not having a manager at all. Depending upon seniority and experience, seek out an experienced colleague who can support you in many situations.
  • The Bad Micro Manager: A bad micro manager can quickly disengage an employee through taking away their autonomy. Survive this type of manager through making sure you ask questions and verify what they want regarding your performance. By making sure you perform, you will build trust and hopefully decrease the manager’s scrutiny.
  • The Bad Disengaging Manager: While the aforementioned types of manager can also cause an employee to disengage, this type of manager demands performance from an employee without offering the necessary training or proper resources to complete the job. If the skill or resourcing is an issue, make the requests you need in the way of resources (materials, people, etc.), especially skills training. Be prepared to create a clear business case for the requests that are outcome/performance focused.
  • The Bad Manager Who Never Coaches or Offers Feedback: This type of manager is especially difficult for newer, less experienced employees. Make sure you seek out more experienced co-workers who can support you. If you do not know many employees, ask the ones you do know who they might recommend to support you with a given need. Most good leaders will openly support others when requests are made.

3: Recognise this may be one of your great learning moments

Often, great managers are great because they had bad managers and learned from their mistakes.

One senior manager of a multinational company told me a story:

“One day, years ago, before I was a manager, my manager stormed into the office muttering under her breath, stormed through the desks where we were all sitting, went into her office, and slammed the door as hard as she could. We all looked at each other in trepidation, and thought, “What is happening here?”

That day, I made a note to self: “Never do that when you are a manager!”

Carol Bartz, the former CEO of Yahoo once told the New York Times, “I also think people should understand that they will learn more from a bad manager than a good manager. They tend to get into a cycle where they’re so frustrated that they aren’t paying attention actually to what’s happening to them. When you have a good manager things go so well that you don’t even know why it’s going well because it just feels fine.”

When you have a bad manager, you have to look at what’s irritating you and say: “Would I do that? Would I make those choices? Would I talk to me that way? How would I do this?”

What about you? Why not tell us in the comments below about your experience with bad managers, without sharing names or companies, of course. Did you learn from them? What style of manager were they? What did it teach you?

5 Keys to Becoming Indispensable at Work

Posted on May 28th, 2014 by Chris Gaborit

There are times when every business is going through a restructure. Some companies seem to do this every few years, some every year, and some seem to be undergoing one eternal restructure!

Have you ever noticed that some people are restructure proof? Fear does not grip their body at the mention of that word. They never leave. They never get demoted. They are important to the company.

This reminds me of a story. Please excuse me; we are a training company, so there is always a story.

A big corporation hired several cannibals. “You are all part of our team now,” said the HR manager during the welcome briefing. “You get all the usual benefits and you can go to the cafeteria for something to eat, but please don’t eat any of the other employees.

The cannibals promised they would not.

A few weeks later, the cannibals’ boss remarked, “You’re all working very hard, and I’m satisfied with you. However, one of our secretaries has disappeared. Do any of you know what happened to her?” The cannibals all shook their heads, “No,” they said.

After the boss left, the leader of the cannibals said to the others angrily, “Right, which one of you idiots ate the secretary?” A hand rose hesitantly in admission. “You fool!” said the leader. “For weeks, we’ve been eating managers and no one noticed anything, but noooooo, you had to go and eat someone important!”

Are you someone important to your company? Would they miss you if you were no longer there?

When most people hear that dreaded word ‘restructure,’ fear fills their mind and the thought arises: “Am I going to be made redundant?” This is generally followed by a blubbering cry of, “Who will hire me? I have a mortgage to pay, car payments, and I need money to wash the dog!”

How can we make sure that we are someone important? What can we do to be in the best position to remain in the company? How can we be one of those people that are indispensable?

In my preparation for writing this blog, I decided to get some wisdom from people I respect. I asked some of our best clients — senior managers who work for global companies. These people have walked the walk; they have been bulletproof when it comes to restructure.

These are their five keys to becoming indispensable at work:

1.   Hold the mindset that change provides opportunity.

There is an ancient wisdom etched into Chinese vocabulary. The Chinese ideogram for crisis consists of two separate characters. One means danger; the other means opportunity. The proper translation is that a crisis is a dangerous opportunity. When confronted with a crisis, you need to recognise both the danger and the opportunity. Often the danger is more readily apparent, while the opportunity can be deftly concealed. The thing to keep in mind is to look for the opportunity as well as the danger. Crisis holds the potential for both.

In studying hundreds of famous people, whether politicians, sportspeople, business people, or spiritual leaders, I have found that crisis comes to every person in some way. Those who rise in the midst of crisis and see it as an opportunity to change and grow become greater and more powerful. They reach heights that they would never have attained had they never experienced that crisis. As masterful innovator Walt Disney put it, “You may not realise it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth might be the best thing in the world for you.”

When change is imminent, hold the mindset that change provides opportunity, remain positive, and don’t dwell on the danger but dwell on the opportunity.

2.   Do not overfocus on the next job position but rather on the skills to be dev2eloped.

I think that most people today are aware that the company does not have the same amount of loyalty to you that they used to a few years ago. There was a time the company would have a track for your life. You could go and meet with your manager and they could tell you where you are going and when you will get there.

Today, you are your manager and you need to plan out your own career path to your dream job. Therefore, it is important that you are not focused on the job position, but rather on the skills required.

I like to say it like this: “You have to do the job before you get the title.” In other words, if you want to be the CIO, then you need to dev2elop the hard and soft skills required for a CIO; you need the education of a CIO, you need to start dressing like a CIO, acting like a CIO, speaking like a CIO, and then one day, when you have had the right amount of experience, someone is going to say, “I think Jessica would make a great CIO!”

3.   Building relationships with key decision makers.

It’s not only what you know but whom you know. I have seen people scoot all the way up the ladder of a company through being connected closely with key decision makers.

Think of football coaches: they build their team and work with players for years, and then they get headhunted to another club as head coach, and what is the first thing they do? They try to get their key players to move to the new club, as well. They are like a positive cliché. Where one goes, they all go. Some coaches and key players move together all the way through their playing life.

Why? Because just as the players think that the coach has made them succeed, the coach thinks that the players have helped him or her succeed. They are a powerful team, and they feel powerful together.

Sir Edmund Hillary was a world class mountain climber however even he needed Tenzing Norgay to help him climb Everest. We all need a Norgay, that is, an “internal coach” whom we can work with and who would support us to climb our Everest.

4.   Exhibit the ability to get ‘stuff’ done.

How do you build these key relationships? You build them by working on projects with key stakeholders, complimenting their skills, and making them look good.

As one senior manager put it to me, “Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to work for some great ‘blue sky’ leaders, but they couldn’t project-manage their way out of a lunch bag. While I’ve probably not been the best at brainstorming new and creative ideas, in many situations I’ve been able to take their ‘kernel’ of an idea, pour some fertiliser on it, and make it grow and flourish into a great program and actually implement it.”

In projects, there are two key parts–the front end and the back end, people and tasks, marketing and operations, talkers and doers. If the key stakeholder is a talker, then you need to be a doer. If you are the key doer to the key stakeholder, then you ain’t going nowhere fast! They need you to keep making their projects succeed.

5.   Treat everyone with genuine respect.

It’s not just about managing well, but also about how you treat your peers, team members, and vendors alike. You never know who you may be working for or with some day, so treat everyone as you’d want to be treated and keep confidences when someone confides in you and wants some advice. As one senior manager in a global I.T. company put it to me, “I believe in creating good karma with those you interact with.”

Along with the other things I have mentioned, this will stand you in good stead with decision makers and bring you allies and supporters in the organisation. When business takes a turn for the worse and they’re considering who to cut, you often won’t make the list if you have built those relationships and have shown the ability to deliver with quality over and over again.