Training presenters

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Every been to a training where the presenters were good? Every been to one where they were bad…or really bad?

I didn’t post yesterday because I was at a training and I didn’t have the forethought to get something written ahead of time. So, I missed a day (that wasn’t a weekend) for the first time in over a year. How about that? Well, that isn’t really the important thing here.

Training presenters are an important part to having a successful training, not only from the organization doing the training but also for those there to get the training. I have been to a lot of bad trainings this week.

Yesterday, took the cake though. The morning session was good, but not great. The afternoon was simply painful. I can only describe it with the following analogy:

You are driving along a paved road, making relatively good time at near the speed limit. You are able to focus on the road ahead and see into the distance, making it possible to make adjustments to your understanding of the situation as it arises.

Suddenly, you leave the paved road only to find yourself driving on a pothole filled gravel road where you are bouncing around so violently that maintaining any sort of vision on the roadway becomes difficult at best. You are so jostled and frazzled that it is exhausting just to keep driving.

The training ends by pulling off to the side of the road and getting out of the car.

Get the picture? The morning was OK, but the afternoon had nothing about it that made it worthwhile.

I have complained about this presenter/trainer previously, but the organization keeps running the person out there anyway. And those of us trying to get trained, just keep suffering along the way.

Team should be spelled with an “i”

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You know that whole cliche saying about there being no “i” in team?

How many of you have experienced a situation where if there were no “i” in team nothing would get done? I think I see at least a few hands raised…

I know as a teacher I saw it happen all the time in the classroom for group projects. Students are assigned or grouped together to work on a project together and produce something for a grade. Inevitably, I could watch as the groups worked that at least one group wasn’t really functioning and the work would fall on one or two of the students in the group.

Now in the work “regular” work world, I see it happen too and those feelings for people who get stuck doing all the work come back to me. I saw it in the classroom and it would appear that some people never actually grew out of that behavior. Not the one where someone takes over when everyone is trying to work together, but the one where there is always someone in the group that is perfectly happy allowing someone else to bear the load.

I guess what I am trying to say is that the “i” in team most of the time isn’t a good thing. We should be working together and lightening the load for all. However, as adults in our professional settings we have all experienced the times where it is just easier if team was spelled with an “i”. Teim. Or teIm. Whatever, however you want to spell it.

If you want it done right, I am going to have to do it myself. Another cliche saying, but oh so true.

Retention

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Got an interesting email the other day. It came from the “home office,” which is really the organization that oversees the “division” I work in, but that is really totally separate from the regular organization. Basically, the money (think paychecks, benefits, budgets) flows through the “home office” but we could be totally independent organization if it weren’t arranged this way.

Anyway, the email was a company survey talking about the S.M.A.R.T. goals (there’s a buzz word for you) of the organization and they wanted feedback on the goal to “improve employee recruitment, retention, and engagement.” The survey had the general multiple choice questions about workplace climate and job satisfaction, etc. Pretty standard stuff.

But then there was an open section for Comments…and this is the place where you can enter anything you want. The survey is supposedly anonymous, but I don’t really care either way as I like to have my voice heard (thus, the blog and the reason you read – LOL).

So, one issue that I have talked about often on here is the commute to work. I have a great job and I enjoy it and the people I work with but, seriously, the worst part is the commute. Given that I am required to go to the office at least several times a week is rather annoying when the job literally could be done from anywhere in the world. Literally. As long as there is a decent internet connection, that is.

Anyway, I said what was on my mind. I pasted my response below.

“As part of the ‘improve employee recruitment, retention, and engagement’ goal, one of the things that needs to be addressed is the telecommuting policies and opportunities.

As an organization that looks for people with specialized skills or training, the recruitment pool is fairly narrow. Since the ESD covers a rather large area of service, your candidate pool could be rather large as well but factors such as location and commute times have a negative impact, both on current employees and potential ones.

Obviously, moving and obtaining reasonable housing for a job isn’t much of an option these days, but the technology exists to allow for people in remote locations to provide and complete the same (or better) functions they would at the office without having to be there. This would, in most cases, increase the number of people who could apply for a job but also would increase the satisfaction of current employees since many of them have between a 20-50 minute (one way) commute on good days.

People stay at jobs for more reasons that just work place atmosphere and pay. There are factors outside of the job that also play into their satisfaction and if those aren’t addressed, no matter the benefits the job offers, they will always consider other opportunities, even if it means taking a pay or benefit cut, so that it makes their life outside of work better.

Technology today can aide in much of those issues, if it is used for the benefit of employee and employer. The need for an office, a building, diminishes as technology improves and a central location is “business as usual” thinking. Allowing employees to work from remote locations obviously has an immediate overhead implication, in that it lowers it significantly. No big spaces to maintain, heat, clean, insure, etc. Are funds better spend on a physical location or on serving students directly? The answer is easy, but it takes out-of-the-box thinking to make it work.”

Do you think anyone will listen? Do you think it will matter? Moreover, if you were the boss in charge of employee retention and engagement, would it make a difference to you?

Reply All

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Etiquette.

“Reply All” should never be used.

Unless there is an extreme need (i.e. an extenuating circumstance that requires mass communication) to a previously sent message or it is mutually agreed upon between all parties involved that a conversation should take place via email.

Otherwise, you may be signing yourself up for a throat punch.

Seriously people. Seriously.

I don’t need to see your reply to the cute puppy picture someone sent out. I don’t care if you have grandkids to share if someone has sent a picture of their grandkids. In almost every case, I don’t need your two cents. I don’t need to see your comment about anything someone sent out that isn’t directly pertinent to me.

We have enough email to wade through on a daily basis, let alone to have to deal with people inane comments about stuff that is only remotely related to me. And by remotely, I mean I happen to work in the same organization.

Good grief. Stop using the Reply All!

 

Back to work

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It is always strange, weird, awkward (whatever) going back to work after being out for a while. It was just two days, but everyone treats you in one of two ways:

  1. You had the plague and they aren’t sure they want to talk to you.
  2. They are glad you’re back and can’t wait to come visit.

I have 100+ emails to get through.

Don’t talk to me.

Planning

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So, I am doing a training today. Teaching teachers to use the software the should be using for grading students.

I am usually the type of guy who doesn’t mind someone pointing at something and say, “Do it.” I show up, and do it.

BUT, this morning is a bit different. I wasn’t a part of the planning of this and I found out yesterday there are all kinds of factors that could make this morning go very poorly.

First, this training was supposed to be to one district who requested the training. Somehow members of another district managed to get into the training. I think I nicely took care of that issue by letting them know that the training was indeed intended for a specific district and that they weren’t really invited.

Second, the registration website being used to sign participants up for the training says the training starts at 8:30am. My calendar says it starts at 9:00am. So which is it? OK, I am flexible and can go with the flow….except for the last thing…

Finally, there is a meeting scheduled in the room where the training is supposed to take place. The meeting is scheduled from 7:30-9:00am. Uh, that is a problem! Not only can I not set up and prepare for my training, but if the training is truly supposed to be at 8:30am what am I supposed to do with the people who show up on time for the training?

Yeah. This could turn into a CF real quick.

I know my stuff. I don’t have an issue working on the fly. Hell, I taught high school for 15 years. I can go with the flow with the best of them…but at least I had some control of my environment to some degree. In this case, I have little to none.

And on top of it all? I am wearing slacks on a Friday, which is supposed to be casual day at the office. Damn.

 

Donut figure?

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Donut figure?

I decided to take donuts to the office this morning because it’s been a couple long weeks due to the start up of school and every day has been stressful. We seemingly have had more help tickets come through out system in the last two weeks than we have had in a long time.

Anyway, as it turns out, there is already an organization wide meetings this morning (not just our staff meeting which the donuts were for) and there is typically refreshments served at that meeting. So, the donuts will likely go mostly uneaten.

Wasted food. Wasted money. Dare I say, wasted gesture?

Maybe not.

I guess I have a lot of eating to do this morning…which may actually lead to a donut figure of my own.