Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Gilda's Photos from Rome, Italy

Here are photos from my recent trip to Rome, Italy, where I facilitated training programs for a global client  - participants came from Italy, France, Spain, Germany, Belgium, Holland and Portugal.

A view of Rome and a bridge over the Tiber -
photo taken from Castel Sant'Angelo
St. Peter's Basilica

St. Peter's Basilica at twilight

In front of the Colosseum

Tossing a coin into the Trevi Fountain -
legend says this means I will return to Rome - I hope so!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Hot Topics Round Tables - ASTD-SCC Meeting April 25, Norwalk, CT

Participate in this interactive forum to learn and share best practices around hot topics in workplace learning and performance.

Leveraging Social Media: Taking Your Brand Online – Jennifer Scott, a talent acquisition strategist and recruiter who received rave reviews for her presentation to our chapter last year, will lead a discussion on the power of social media to promote your brand and manage your reputation.

Developing & Retaining High Potentials - Kelly Lackner, a Senior Organizational Consultant with Right Management, will share best practices in engaging and developing this critical population, while ensuring the culture is supportive to retention.

Improving the Performance of Global Teams - Global Team Development Strategists and Executive Coaches Rita Weiss and Sue Perlmutter will discuss how diverse corporate and cultural workplace styles can stall the progress of global teams and how to improve results by leveraging the strengths of these different approaches.

Developing Resilience – Dr. Paul Maloney, organizational development consultant and professor in Fairfield University’s graduate school, will explore “The Five Pillars of Resilience", specific behaviors resilient people demonstrate, as well as a survey he developed to assesses an individual's ability to bounce back.

Making Training Stick – Lisa Gangemi of Dale Carnegie Training will explore techniques for anchoring new skills and behaviors to the culture of the organization so that participants take responsibility for using what they learn to improve individual and team performance.

Don’t miss this opportunity to build your network and expand your expertise!

Date: Monday, April 25, 2011
Networking: 5:45 PM
Dinner Served: 6:30 PM
Program: 6:45-8 PM

Hosted by the Southern CT chapter of the American Society for Training & Development (ASTD-SCC) at the Norwalk Inn and Conference Center, 99 East Avenue, Norwalk CT 203-838-2000

Members: $35
Non-Members: $50
Students: $20

To register or for more information, visit http://www.astdscc.org/

Gilda Bonanno's blog www.gildabonanno.blogspot.com

Monday, March 14, 2011

Management by Walking Around (MBWA), or Please Don't "Prowl, Growl and Scowl"

by Gilda Bonanno LLC http://www.gildabonanno.com/

Management by walking around (MBWA) is a common management practice that can be very helpful in managing and engaging employees, setting a good example, and staying in touch with what's really happening with employees.

It means that the manager leaves his or her office to go out "onto the floor" of the office, plant, lab, etc. and see what people are doing. The purpose is two-fold: both to learn what is going on and get a sense of morale, and also to demonstrate that you're interested and present.

However, MBWA can be misused or done in a way that has the opposite effect of what's intended. Done incorrectly, MBWA can turn into what I call "prowl, growl and scowl," a phrase inspired by a client who was describing the behavior of a senior executive at her previous company. When the executive returned from a trip, he always made a point to use MBWA to catch up with what was happening in the office.

In this case, MBWA consisted of him prowling around the office, sneaking up behind someone and growling, "what are you doing?" There was no smile – just a serious look as he stared down at them. It got so bad that employees would call each other to warn when he was out "on his rounds" so they could pretend to be on a phone call or hide in the conference room or bathrooms.

Here are 8 tips that will help you and your employees benefit from MBWA without it turning into "prowl, growl and scowl."

1. Make it part of a regular routine.
If you only come out of your office when things are bad or you're on a witch hunt, looking for a scapegoat, then people will associate your MBWA with that. Don't wait for a special occasion to walk the halls and check in with employees.

2. Don't use it to discipline or find fault.
Unless you observe a serious safety or ethical violation that needs to be addressed immediately, don't use your MBWA to correct employees publicly. This is not the time to remind employees of the "two plants per cubicle" rule (it's okay to make a mental note of what you observed and address it later).

3. Mind your non-verbals.
Non-verbals, or body language, include facial expression, voice, gestures, posture, movement and eye contact, and they can undermine your words if you're not aware of them. Smile, speak calmly and in a relaxed manner. Don't put your hands on your hips or lean against the desk to glare down at the employee. And no finger pointing.

4. Have a calm, confident (not cocky) demeanor.
Not only will it convey that you are in control and there is nothing to worry about, but a calm and confident demeanor also can help employees feel confident enough to speak to you.

5. Prepare open-ended questions.
Open-ended questions such as "what are you working on?" or "how are things going?" require more than a yes/no answer and allow the employees to speak. Listen and show interest in the answer. Realize that some employees are uncomfortable or unused to having a conversation with a senior manager and are trying to relax and be polite, while others will take the opportunity to complain or "kiss up." Be prepared for all of these responses.

At one company I worked with, a senior executive would on rare occasions eat lunch in the cafeteria at a table with his employees instead of in his office or in the executive dining room. Everyone was tongue-tied and he was shy, which made for stiff and uncomfortable conversation.

He would have been more effective had he eaten in the cafeteria on a regular basis or prepared some small-talk questions and comments to get the conversation going.

6. Listen.
Demonstrate your respect for your employees by actively listening to them rather than checking your Blackberry or interrupting. Make eye contact and paraphrase what they've said to make sure you've understood.

7. Respect employees' privacy.
Be careful with the personal questions that you ask, avoiding questions that could be considered intrusive or inappropriate and keeping in mind that you still are the boss, rather than a buddy.

8. Be sincere.
Be sincerely interested in your employees' well being, what they're working on and how they're doing. You can't fake sincerity - they will recognize and resent any perceived insincerity or hypocrisy.

Sometimes the very fact that you're using MBWA will "encourage" people to stay on task - that's fine. However, you want to avoid using the "prowl, growl and scowl" version of MBWA where everyone gets the phone call and looks busy or hides while you're on the prowl and then goes back to surfing the web or gossiping once you go back to your office.

Used appropriately, MBWA can be an effective tool for you to demonstrate support and interest and learn how things are really going.

Gilda Bonanno's blog www.gildabonanno.blogspot.com

Thursday, March 10, 2011

“23 Public Speaking Secrets Gleaned from the Greats”

Check out OnlineCollege.org's "23 Public Speaking Secrets Gleaned from the Greats" for a collection of quotes from 23 famous people about the craft of public speaking.

Some of my favorites:

"All the great speakers were bad speakers at first." Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Slow down, especially at the beginning of a speech. You'll get the audience's attention by pausing." Bob Kerrey

"The single most important thing you can do is put yourself in other people's heads and hearts. I think about what they truly need, not what I want to talk about. Whatever size the group, whether five or 5,000 people, you have to at least try to imagine what each of those individuals are there for." Tony Robbins

"Never say anything about yourself you do not want to come true." Brian Tracy

Read the rest of them at - http://www.onlinecollege.org/2011/02/01/23-public-speaking-secrets-gleaned-from-the-greats/

Thanks to reader Carol Brown for sending me the link.

Gilda Bonanno's blog www.gildabonanno.blogspot.com

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Executive Performance - ASTD-SCC Meeting March 21, Norwalk, CT

Consistent performance demands resilient responses to business stressors and strains, as well as high levels of physical and mental energy. By being overworked, overstressed, and exhausted we not only decrease our ability to perform at our best, but we also increase our chances of making career-damaging mistakes.

And as e-mail, cell phones, and smart phones increasingly blur the line between work and personal life, stamina is no longer simply an asset for executives; it’s now a necessity. Executive Stamina techniques can help you achieve the clarity, energy and flexibility you need to perform at your best during these difficult times.

The session will allow participants to:
• Learn why being too tired, busy or stressed is your greatest potential derailed
• Help your entire team acquire the skills of managing stress during the workday
•Understanding how to leverage personal priorities to have more energy at work
• Develop systems for optimizing time and energy daily, while laying the foundation for sustainable career success

Program Title: Enhancing Leadership Performance and Sustainability

Speaker: Joshua Seldman
Joshua Seldman is a leader in the field of Executive Performance. After years as a world-class fitness coach, he applied his unique expertise on stamina and endurance to executive development, co-authoring the book Executive Stamina. As an executive coach to many Fortune 500 CEO’s and their teams, Joshua has a deep understanding of the demands on the modern executive, and works with companies all over the world to develop highly specialized programs that target work-life balance and productivity. His clients include GE, PepsiCo, Qualcomm, Becton Dickinson, T. Rowe Price, Taco Bell, and Burger King. Joshua has consulted for the United Nations Development Program on work- life balance and productivity.

Prior to coaching, Joshua was a professional athlete for seven years, during which he was honored as a twelve-hour and twenty four- hour solo mountain bike champion.

Networking: 5:45 PM
Dinner Served: 6:30 PM
Program: 6:45-8 PM

Hosted by the Southern CT chapter of the American Society for Training & Development (ASTD-SCC) at the Norwalk Inn and Conference Center, 99 East Avenue, Norwalk CT 203-838-2000

Members: $35
Non-Members: $50
Students: $20
To register or for more information, visit http://www.astdscc.org/eventsdetails.asp?eventsid=79

Gilda Bonanno's blog www.gildabonanno.blogspot.com

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Communicating a Change in Your Project's Go-Live Date

Project Managers are one of the groups that I work with often, conducting training for them or speaking at Project Management Institute (PMI) meetings.  As a certified Project Management Practitioner (PMP) myself, I have a true appreciation for the work they do and I enjoy helping them improve their communication skills so their projects can be more successful. 

A question that often arises is how to communicate a change in the go-live date of your highly visible, big-budget project.  Regardless of the reasons for the change (and let's face it, "the date has changed" usually is interpreted as "the date has slipped"), there are six steps you should take when communicating a change in your project's go-live date:

1. Consider the context.
It's important to consider the context in which the change is occurring. If it is early in the project lifecyle, the change may not be critical because there is enough time to adjust the project plan. However, it may undermine people's confidence in the project planning process. On the other hand, if the project is already well underway, you will need to be clear how the new date impacts the delivery of the components and benefits that were promised in the project initiation stage.

2. Consider the audience.
As with any communication, first you have to consider your audience. Who will be on the receiving end of this communication? In most cases, you will have several groups, including the project stakeholders, the project team members and others impacted by the project. Each group has its own needs and you have to consider how the change affects each group.

3. Create the message.
It is crucial to be clear and consistent about the message you are communicating. What is the reason for the change? Will the later date help make the project more successful by giving more time for requirements gathering or customization or training? Or is the change related to budget or resource availability?

Be careful with having an "official" message that is different from the "real" reason for the change. Very often the real reason will trickle out into the organization anyway and undercut the environment of trust that you are trying to create. Honesty – especially upfront rather than after the truth is discovered - is the best policy.

The message should be clear and concise – no more than a few sentences. And it should be tailored to each audience: "here is the reason for the change and here is how it impacts you."

4. Choose a spokesperson.
Who communicates the message depends on your project's communication plan and governance structure. It also depends on the audience. For example, if the project sponsor regularly communicates status to the project steering committee or board, and the project manager usually communicates to the rest of the organization, then those individuals should communicate the change to their respective audiences as part of the regular status updates.

If there has been little communication about the project, you can make this communication the first in a series of regular project updates. The project sponsor could introduce the first update and then the project manager or other designated person could continue with the following updates.

5. Consider how the message will be communicated.
There are many ways that you can communicate the change, from a special all-company meeting to a line in your monthly project status report. You should follow the process that you have outlined in your project's communication plan and also consider that how you communicate the message is just as important, if not more so, than what you communicate.

For example, if you hold a special all-company meeting to announce the change in date, people will get the sense that the change is a big deal. On the other hand, if you just slip it into the last line of a project update that gets posted on a rarely-visited website, people may either not see it or think you are trying to hide it.

If the message is communicated in person, be aware of the speaker's non-verbal communications, such as eye contact, facial expression and tone of voice. These non-verbal elements should convey sincerity, confidence and empathy: "I'm telling the truth, I know what I'm talking about and I care how it affects you." Also decide in advance how questions will be handled and by whom.

6. Follow-up after the communication.
It's important that there be frequent follow-up after the communication to ensure that people received the message and to respond to any questions or concerns. This feedback will help you determine what/how to communicate next. Informal channels of communication are valuable here because people may be more open about their perceptions of the project when they're standing around the water cooler or in the parking lot than when they're in formal project status meetings.

Project changes happen. Communicating a change in the project's go-live date does not have to derail your project. It can be an opportunity to revisit (or create) your project's communication, risk management and change management plans. Having these plans in place will help ensure that the changes do not disrupt the project or hinder its ultimate success.

Gilda Bonanno's blog www.gildabonanno.blogspot.com