Tag Archives: Learning and Development

How Stale Are You?

I’m edging into my three year mark with Pinnacle Solutions, and I’m thinking a good bit on growing professionally and avoiding a stagnant mindset, among other things. Recently my friend Krista published a piece on staying fresh. She made some great comments, and I want to spin off those today as a great tie in to the overall discussion.

  • How long is too long?  
  • How do you keep growing?

how long before you burn outJust to get us started, let’s check out some of Krista’s commentary:

I’m a little torn on this whole 10 years [at the same job] = stale idea. I’m not stale. You know what, I’ve known people who were stale in their roles after two months, because the truth is, they were never fresh. I’ve known people who moved from position to position within the same organization and are still stale with each incarnation. And… I’ve known people who honestly do stay too long and go stale in their roles.

So, if there’s a formula or idea on how to do it right, what is it? How do we answer the big questions mentioned above? Let’s dig in.

How long is too long?

We’ve all met those people. They are continuing to “work” and exist in the workplace, but they aren’t contributing anything of value. They are going through the motions and just biding their time until they can leave. They’ve been there too long.

In my own career, I have kept up one steady focus: grow or leave. If I ever get to a point in my job where I’ve stopped growing and learning and I no longer have passion for my daily efforts, then I start looking elsewhere. In the past, that could have been 1 year, 2 years, or more. It really depends on the manager, workplace, and other factors.

That has been my longstanding decision, though. And I stand by it. If you’re not growing and developing, you might as well find a place where you can.

How do you keep growing?

It might be a surprise to some of you, but growing requires effort. You can’t just sit back and have growth opportunities pour into your lap forever. Sure, when you pick up a new role or responsibility, you might have the option of picking and choosing from a multitude of growth opportunities, but eventually you’ll have to take the responsibility on yourself and seek them out.

As I discuss in the post on owning your own growth, you need to have a mindset change. Want to be more valuable? Make yourself more valuable. Want to develop new skills? Start researching ways to make that happen. We all have growth areas we can pursue, but the hardest part is often making the first move. Commit. Go for it. Make it so.

Nobody else is going to do it for you.

Wrapping it up

To turn it back to my own career progression, I’m approaching the three year mark at Pinnacle and still learning new things each week. I’m staying on top of trends, learning new software tools, and developing my daily skill set to prepare for future career opportunities (whether at my current employer or elsewhere).

Want the world to know that you are not stale?

Prove you’re not. Today and every day.

In the long run, you’ll be glad you did.

Uncovering manager development opportunities

manager trainingManagers need development like any other employee, but sometimes it is difficult to find out just what they want or need to learn. Click the link for part two in the series on how to develop managers.

Recently I’ve realized that one of the biggest needs we have as an organization is manager training. We have supervisors who have forgotten what it’s like to be human, new managers with little or no experience in the role, and ones who keep screwing up even the most basic of leadership tenets.

In other words, we need it bad.

But when I brought up the idea of offering a survey to the managers to help figure out the development holes that need to be filled, I quickly realized the fallacy of that wide open approach.

  • Some managers would say they didn’t need any training
  • Some managers would say they needed training in irrelevant/impractical areas
  • Some managers would immediately become defensive

So just saying “What do you want to do better?” isn’t an option. But there’s a better way to do ask the question and still get a solid response.

The question I usually ask when I am looking for stealth development opportunities is this: “What is your biggest frustration as a manager?”

That opens the door to all kinds of answers, and I’ve never met a single manager who didn’t have a heartfelt response (or a dozen!) to that question. Those answers will help guide the process from there. For instance:

  • My biggest frustration is dealing with apathetic employees. This opens the door to providing some training on leadership skills and ways to motivate and inspire their people.
  • My biggest frustration is hiring poor performers. This is an opportunity to work with them on interviewing techniques to select the best people.
  • My biggest frustration is [insert problem here].

You get the picture. Instead of having to start from scratch, let them tell you what they need in terms of development and training. Then give it to them.

How do you identify manager training needs? More importantly, how do the managers respond?

Carnival of HR: What it is and why you need it

Carnival of HR Every two weeks there is a meeting of the minds. There is an event that occurs that, while relatively unknown, has long-term implications for the profession that I love. It affects the HR community, and it often draws a crowd of participants and spectators from around the globe. It’s the HR Carnival.

What it is

Your brain

The Carnival of HR is a free collection of stories and articles by some of the brightest minds in HR thought leadership. Every two weeks you can find it at a different website. All you have to do is stop in, read anything that interests you, and share it with someone else who might enjoy it.

The most recent edition focused on the SHRM conference and what attendees did or didn’t learn (see the Post-SHRM Breakdown article here). The whole process is powered solely by volunteers who want to help others to learn and grow. I wrote a post months ago about the HR blog carnival and how to make a difference. It’s a great addendum to this post.

My first ever Carnival of HR was last year, and the title was a fun idea I had to get a little attention. Check out 25 Pieces of HR Awesomeness if you’d like to see an example of a Carnival.

Why you need it

Your brain on HR

Most people (including those in the esteemed profession of human resources) stop learning and growing once they get into a job they are comfortable with. That’s not a jab or a complaint, it’s just a fact.

A big goal of mine is helping people love what they do. When you are constantly learning and growing, you enjoy what you do so much more. So give the Carnival of HR a shot. Anything that has a name that festive has to be pretty great, right? :-)

Bonus challenge

Okay, I might have convinced you to check out the carnival by now. If so, that’s fantastic! If not, I’ll ask you this-do you like helping people, sharing neat stuff, and/or building your own credibility? I’m betting that everyone wants to say, “Yes” to that question.

Doing things as small as sharing resources can help others to see you as a credible expert. I’ve shared interesting articles with my own boss that eventually filtered through to other VP’s in the company; those VP’s then stopped by to chat about some of the debatable points in those articles. In the future, if a problem comes up relating to the topic of those conversations we had, then I’m going to be remembered as a solid resource. All that just from sharing a few articles a handful of times.

Going even further

If you ever get wild and crazy and would like to not only read and share the items in the Carnival of HR, but maybe even write something to be added to the Carnival, feel free to contact me about it. I’d love to help.

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