Thursday, March 13, 2014

Making Training ork

Those of you who know me are aware that I am a skeptic when it comes to training on the job. I'm not referring to job skill or activity training, since nearly all people need some training to merely integrate into a new job. What I',m talking about is the kind of training an organization engages in to create a substantive change in the enterprise. Whether it's a new initiative or a cultural change or a reorganization these trainings are often see as failures. Here's an excerpt from an email I just got from the fine people at Gallup. You may know them from their famous polling activities, but they use their skill in this area to develop insights they can use to sell their training and development programs. You are probably aware of some of their initiatives. Employee engagement is one of theirs. This measures something beyond job performance. It measures how much people are committed ti the enterprise and its stated intentions. It can be very powerful. It can also be seriously misused. If you care to read the article you may find it here:

But of course I am not here to support Gallup, I'm here to promote the values and principles of Paeon Partners and our coaching practice. So, here's where we fit in this picture. As experienced and powerful facilitators we are quite capable of delivering the type of training program discussed above. In addition to that, the Gallup article refers to the fact that such programs fail in the eyes of management and the employees as well for really one reason.

The is no commitment to integration.

No I'm not referring to anything other than integrating the power, content and intention of the training. We all have customary behaviors and habits. These are activities we have engaged on over time that become repetitive and often thoughtless. In order to change any of these, people need to be aware of the thoughtlessness of the old behavior. But awareness is not enough. As I wrote in the last ost on self help books, awareness is not enough. There also needs to be a plan to change and an ability to observe the results.

Gallup refers to the value of the trainings in question diminishing over time primarily because the messages and intentions of the training is not reinforced. Or integrated if you will. This lack of integration in our experience comes from a lack of powerful communication, which undermines trust among workers. We live in a society where trust is scarce and fesr is abundant. There are lots of reasons for it but the reasons don't matter to the fact that trust is in short supply and that can be changed.

In the case of the training that is taking such a beating here, better results are attainable with surprisingly little effort. But it can't happen without a bit of fundamental change.

We at Paeon have powerful and effective tools available to improve communication and deepen trust. And these can be implemented without either excessive time commitment or onerous cost. Let us help you deliver and or integrate your next initiative. A brief conversation will allow you to see how it can work for you.


Monday, March 10, 2014

Tired Of Self Help Books?

Isn't everyone? I'll never forget a friend of mine telling me he finally got to the point where he had to retire all his self-help books. And no wonder. It's almost as hard to see the progress as it is to admit you don't want to or can't make your life any better.

I caught a post last week from Joanna Cabot about the very subject of these tomes cramming so many of our bookshelves. See it here:

She makes some interesting points about the so-called help in the books. Lots of times things work for individuals, but that's no reason to believe the advice can be generalized. She make interesting points and I pretty much agree with her.

Here's what I think is missing in all the self-help stuff. Let's say one finds a book that speaks to them and really defines the problem for that reader. Next, they consider the advice and begin to implement the changes, which are based on the idea that the person is now aware of how they are standing in their own way.

I don't know how often you have done this and found yourself unsatisfied months later as you peruse the shelves (or web pages) for another, better book; but it has happened to me too often. How come? What's missing here? The author is plenty successful, why aren't I?

The answer is surprisingly simple. First, a large part of their success is that they are selling their book. To me. They have some of my money. But in a more important context, my success has nothing to do with theirs. I am comparing myself to my judgment of them. And they must be successful because I bought their book. But really there is another thing going on here.

I need to not only be aware of what is on my way, but what needs to be different for me to recognize success. How often have I told myself I'm doing better today or this week? And how often when I have done that have a determined what is substantially different? If everything I am doing is really the same but I think I'm doing it better, what are the chances I'm just telling myself that? In my case they are high. That is also the case with many of the clients I have worked with over the last 18 years.

The solution to my stuckness is at least two part. Firat I become aware that I am stuck, and second that I change the way I do some thing or things. Then I need to observe the results. And if I can identify what's different and how it's not better but different, then I'm on the road.

But even that's not all. What's different needs to be judged as well. Is it different better, or different worse or different different? When I make that determination, then I can take a look at what's next. Is it more of the ame, less of the same or just stay the course for now. With my eyes and ears wide open.

This is another ideal situation in which a coach is ones best ally. The coach will hold your objectives when you lose sight ot forget. And your coach will be able to tell you when what you're doing is different instead of better.

Hire a coach and change the quality of your life. We at Paeon, are here to be your ally on the journey.


Look out: I agree With Google

I don't know about you but I have mixed feelings about Google. Like many I respect their creativity and forward thinking. They are my favorite search engine and I have a gmail address and Google+ identity. I am right this minute using their blog site, blogspot and I believe the standards they have set did more to improve the web experience for all of us beyond what anyone else has done.

And they are the most invasive data grabbers in my life. Maybe in anyone's. Except NSA.

Today I want to focus on their style of doing things, in this case the way they recruit and hire talent. Thomas Friedman of the New York Times wrote a column a couple weeks ago discussing how Google goes about the talent acquisition process. Here's the link if you wish to read it, but wait til later for that, please.

The point he make is that although Google is certainly in a position to demand the top graduates from the top schools exclusively, that isn't their practice. Let there be no mistake, if they re looking for specific technical expertise, they do go to the top of the top. But for much of their work, there is no known skill. They want to do things no one has done before. That means no one has studied it in school, at any level. This is about finding people who will take them around the corner no one has seen. Kind of like the Apollo astronauts seeing the far side of the moon for the first time. And some of the corners don't have as much predicted as the moon situation in which everyone expected the other side to be much like the side we had always seen. And it was.

In cases like that Google is looking for someone who may be the next different thinker. I could refer to Steve Jobs or some other garage wizard, but lots of lesser creations spring from the mind that thinks along these lines. But lesser is merely a comparative that isn't really relevant. In order for Steve Jobs to have developed the Apple computer, lots of other apparently lesser new ideas needed to be discovered by many other people. For example Jobs didn't create the mouse, that was done by Douglas Englebart, who is well known in his design world, but not so much to the average computer user.

Are you looking for a job? Are you looking to hire someone new? Are you facing a situation or feeling discomfort about something in your life or business? If so, are you looking at the problem or situation the way Google is looking at hiring, or are you assuming the solution needs to come from some specific idea you have had for a long time? maybe one that is not actually relevant to the situation?

These are typical situations in which a coach is an ideal addition. A wise person once said to me that if a person wants something in their life and they don't have it, it's because they can't do it by themselves or it already would have been manifested. This is also true for groups. And it's a corollary to this that the addition of an outsider, a coach, is not going to do anything except help the person or group expand their thinking so that the path becomes clear.

Let your vision expand and gain the clarity you need today and in the future. Call us at Paeon and let our experience and processes help you help yourself.


Wednesday, March 5, 2014


Does that number mean anything to you? How about 86ing it? It's an old slang expression of uncertain origin. The The American Heritage Dictionary defines it first as a refusal of service in a bar or restaurant, and secondly to throw out or eject something.

I use this odd little diversion in contrast to today's topic: "More Crap From The Internet."

I get an email from the Huffington Post every day and while there are some really interesting items that show up I have become aware that there is something they are obsessed with: Management!

Yes, the thing people use to run businesses and one of the most "trending" ways be doing things. Yes we know that management is the answer to everything, whether it's work, chores at home, schools, our emotions. All these things and more can be mastered with the judicious application of management tools and practices. But lest we forget, management is really good at one thing and probably not much else. That thing is efficiency.

It certainly makes sense that a business doesn't want to use valuable resources doing things that don't promote creation of value, which is the reason for the organization's existence. And if you're trying to build cars, for example, Mr. Ford's assembly line is a real model of efficiency and execution. So management is really the process of evaluating the steps in a process and maximizing the result while minimizing the input and time and energy. This requires taking lots of measurements over a significant number of replicates to create a base line, then working to improve or eliminate steps.

This brings us to the "trending" i referred to above. On the main page of the Huff Post page to day are a number of lists of things one might do to better manage their lives today. That number is, you guessed it 86. From 18 things highly creative people do differently to 10 full-body workout moves you can do at home. Not to mention the 8 college degrees that aren't worth the money ot the 7 foods you should never eat again, neither of which are included in the total.

Am I the only one who doesn't have the time, patience or interest in seeing ow long a list I can make for myself today. I mean really, one or two important things  in addition to the phone answering and groceries and errands is a full day. And, by the way one of the 18 is daydreaming.

But lest I lay the blame at the feet of the Huffsters, they're media. That means they're a reflection of us. If we didn't want that stuff they wouldn't waste their valuable space with it. Now you might ask ourself why am I going on about management like this. And that would certainly be a valid question.

Any of you who've been reading any of my stuff have gotten the word that the times, they are a-changin' as Mr. Dylan said back in the 60's. And as they certainly were back then they are now. After WWII we all fell in love with the country's ability to rise up in incredible response to the onslaught of Germany and Japan to build up our forces and our hardware to defeat the enemy. We loved our ability to build war machines of great capability and durability that lead us to believe, then prove what a manufacturing powerhouse we were. And we used that belief as energy and intention to create highly successful business and the profits that went along with them.

In the 70's the world which had been changing since the end of the war began to catch up to us. Metaphorically, the Japanese come ashore and said Americans don't have to choose from the big 3's offering of gas-guzzling chrome-and-finmobiles. We could drive more economical and reliable transportation which would certainly get from zero to sixty in an amount of time no one cared about one way or another. Apparently the market spoke and Detroit ignored it. They insisted they knew better and gave away over a third of it's market share, along with most of their profits.

Now you know the captains of industry have to find out whose fault this is and it was easy to blame the high price of labor and those unreasonable unions. They had to be stopped. I'm not going any further than that. You can have your own opinion of all that without it having any impact on the point I'm making.

All the data from all the economists whether liberal, progressive or conservative all agree that the American economy stopped creating value around the mid-70's. Real wages froze then have fallen and the economy has pretty much been the playground and pay day for the wealthy ever since. And they still cry about high taxes and inefficient government. And they have amassed a combined store of cash on the order of more than $10 Trillion.

THere isn't enough work, and there is a stagnant economy. But don't call the capitalists to account. It's unions and foreign competition and high taxes and interfering government. Meanwhile, the guys in the corner offices are getting paid millions to their personal accounts while allowing the well being of everyone else to wallow in indifference.

Have you noticed that the only people besides the wealthy that are doing well are the whiz kids? Yeah, the great tech innovators from Apple and Microsoft and Google, etc. What's going to happen when Elon Musk and his Tesla becomes the biggest car company in the US, then the world? And we're paying carloads to so-called high performance CEOs to help us maintain mediocrity.

No, folks. The answer is no longer management and its obsession with efficiency. We need brains, and heart and balls! We have them, so let;s put them to use.