The 3 P’s of High Performing Teams

October 28th, 2011 by Kenny Sturgeon No comments »

At Team Training Unlimited, we have been fortunate to assist with building and developing hundreds of teams, from a wide variety of industries.This exposure to so many great people has led us to discover a few key observations. To begin converting a group of individuals into a high performance team, it is important for you to help them to understand why they are a team, and what the purpose and priorities of the team are. Powerful ”first steps” for anyone leading a team:

1. Know the core purpose and top priorities of your team, and how these relate to the organization’s core purpose and top priorities.

2. Develop a crystal-clear understanding of how your team is aligned with other “internal” teams that your team interacts with.

3. Understand the path from your team to the end-user, customer and purpose of your organization.

4. Communicate the teams’ core purpose, top priorities, alignments and customer needs to your team members clearly and often!

There are few mysteries to building and maintaining a high performing team. By paying careful attention to the 3 P’s of High Performance teams, and continuously checking to ensure that everyone is “up to speed” in these 3 areas, you are there!

1.People: Being aware of the skills that team members possess and having the relationships in place to leverage those abilities.

2.Priorities: Helping the team, customers and the rest of the organization to be crystal clear on what the team is all about. Clearly monitoring and communicating priorities on a daily basis if necessary, is how the magic happens!

3. Processes: Having systems in place in order to reproduce high quality results.Ensuring that team members are clear on their part in the overall process.

 

Leadership, Team Building and Fun with Rocket Blast!

August 19th, 2011 by Randall LaBranche No comments »

Team building…sometimes your group needs a tune-up…forging new relationships or creating camaraderie. Maybe lack of leadership is an issue and you need to refocus energy towards this goal. Rocket Blast is a unique experience that contains work on building skills, relationships and esprit de corps…and it’s a lot of fun!

Mobile eLearning with iTeam Technology

June 3rd, 2011 by Kenny Sturgeon No comments »

Mobile platforms such as iPhones, iPads, and Android – powered smart phones all belong to a category that holds a lot of exciting potential for increasing participant activity levels during training and team building experiences. We have recently begun featuring  an e-learning and team building platform that we call  iTeam Technology. iTeam Technology is a unique and flexible mobile gaming platform that allows small teams or individuals to use Android powered smart phones or tablets for playing interactive learning games, engaging in team building activities, enjoying photo scavenger hunts, or even as an mobile electronic on-boarding guide for new employees. We use  this particular tool for a variety of reasons:

-It is highly customizable and configurable – timers, multiple choice questions, SMS, write in questions, photos, video, etc.

-It is stable and not dependent on wifi or cell signal! Content is pre-developed and loaded,usable at anytime, then interactive when in wifi or cell coverage zones.

-It is fun and easy to use

-As activity leaders, it allows us to monitor individual or team progress and to selectively interact with teams.

We have just begun to scratch the surface of where, when and how we can apply eLearning and mobile platforms in corporate and adult education – stay tuned, and feel free to ask us about working with you to create custom implementations of this technology with your students, clients or work teams!

From ASTD 2011: Death By Powerpoint is Alive and Well

May 27th, 2011 by Kenny Sturgeon No comments »

We just spent the week at the  ASTD 2011 conference, in Orlando, Florida, as both volunteers and attendees. It was an amazing experience, and at times, a disappointing experience.

For those of you who may not know, ASTD stands for “American Society of Training and Development” it is, arguably, the premiere professional organization for trainers, facilitators, team building providers and many other corporate learning professionals.We will likely post a couple  more articles reviewing and describing our observations from the conference, but where I would like to start is with a brief discussion (or possibly diatribe) on keeping learners engaged throughout seminars, workshops, webinars, and the like.

I served as a workshop session monitor as part of my volunteer duties and attended quite a few learning sessions as a participant. Based on those experiences, let me assure you, in case you were worried, “death by PowerPoint” as a “learning tool” is alive and well! I was amazed to see so many industry luminaries still lecturing and droning over PowerPoint slide – shows as their primary method of imparting knowledge. Mega bullet points, tiny fonts, boring graphs, and even long paragraphs were projected on screens and read to workshop attendees over those 5 days – some with great gusto and animation, some in a tired monotone, and many somewhere in between.

There were plenty of presenters who did some interactive exercises and activities, such as using “poll everywhere” (which, in my opinion, is a brilliant app), leading partnered discussions and exercises, insightful Q & A sessions, and so on, but in my personal experience these activities were the exception rather than the norm.

There is so much research out there on how people learn, the best ways to engage learners and how to increase retention, that I have a hard time believing how much “sit and spew” style training is still going on out there.

Here are a few examples of research that supports getting participants actively involved in learning:

These are just a few current and popular resources that are eloquently making the case for increased learner involvement, activity and participation in learning experiences, there are many, many more (a future blog entry, perhaps?). Please, trainers,  facilitators and experts – get us involved! We want to learn, we are interested in you and what you have to say – we just need to engage more than our butts and note – taking synapses in your sessions!

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Do You Have a Charlie Sheen on Your Team?

March 9th, 2011 by Kenny Sturgeon No comments »

 

A team, not just Charlie Sheen (photo: Reuters/ Mike Blake)

CBS lawyers recently sent an 11- page letter to Charlie Sheen’s lawyers outlining their reasoning for terminating his role on the “Two and a Half Men” team. They cite various reasons and justifications, but I would like to focus on the passage that discusses Warner Bros.’ claim that Sheen is unable to “perform the essential duties of his position,” defined by his “physical appearance, inability to deliver lines, inability to collaborate creatively with staff and crew” and “inflammatory comments poisoning key working relationships.” Warner Bros.  letter also discusses having evidence in outtakes from the show that Mr. Sheen “had difficulty remembering his lines and hitting his marks, missed rehearsals and admits that he sometimes showed up to work after not having slept and needed furniture rearranged so he’d have something to lean on for balance.

In “Good to Great”, Jim Collins discusses, in detail, the importance of  “having the right people on the bus.” A television show is, at the heart of it all, a business. As a business made up of teams who are mutually responsible for creating a quality product, keeping customers (advertisers and viewers) happy, performing the basic business functions of keeping a weekly television productive are key. If Charlie Sheen was unable to perform his role in those functions, forgetting lines, not being collaborative, showing up unprepared, or worse, impaired, then I believe that CBS was right in terminating his involvement with the Two and a Half Men Team.

Currently, the fate of the show is uncertain, and the reality is that the future of the show has likely been uncertain for a while. This is not a new situation, Charlie Sheen’s performance (or lack thereof) as an effectively engaged member of the team has been widely reported, and has been jeopardizing the employment future of a large team of professionals who did not share his “rock star” behaviors. I am not suggesting that firing someone for an addiction and/or mental illness condition should be the “go-to” solution on all teams, but apparently Mr. Sheen’s recent behavior has been particularly damaging to the business of  the team, and he has been given multiple opportunities to pursue treatment and help.

There are rumors in the media that mention John Stamos as a potential replacement for Mr. Sheen. If that is the case, or if there is someone else “waiting in the wings”, then it appears that CBS is pursuing a rational solution in “getting the right people on the bus” rather than just allowing Mr. Sheen to drive the entire bus off of a cliff.

On many teams, the behavior and retention of an inconsistent or disruptive “star performer” can be detrimental to the success, ongoing effectiveness and full engagement of other team members. Do you currently have a star performer who shouldn’t be on your team’s bus?

 

Ready…Set…Get ORGANIZED!

November 16th, 2010 by Brittney Atkins No comments »

We’d like to introduce our new intern, Brittney Atkins who is presenting her first blog article for TTU. Currently, Brittney is a senior at the University of Central Florida, double majoring in Accounting and Management-Entrepreneurship. At UCF, she is involved in the world’s oldest and most prestigious professional business fraternity, Alpha Kappa Psi, CEO Knights, and the BA (Business Administration) Team. She brings a lot of enthusiasm and energy to our team…and is helping us stay organized!

Hmmm… what does being organized actually mean? Does it mean writing down every single thing you plan to do in that day or that week? Or what about having all of your textbooks neatly stacked on a shelf in alphabetical order? To me, being organized means having balance and/or stability. In order to be stable, you must always focus on the task at hand and devote 100 percent of your attention to that task.

Organization starts by planning. What do you plan to do? What do you want to get done? When do you plan on getting the task done? Once you have figured out your plans, you should set goals and objectives for yourself. For example, I want to have my paper that is due Friday done by Wednesday at 2:00p.m. I will do this by working on my paper for 2.5 hours every day starting on Monday. Do you get it?  GREAT!! Planning, setting goals and objectives clarifies what you are trying to do, how you are going to do it, and when the task you are planning to do is going to get done.

According to myGoals.com, there are five amazing steps that I feel will help you to become more of an organized person.

Step 1: Start Small.

Step 2: Apply an Organizing System.

Step 3: The Organizing System Must be Simple.

Step 4: Be Disciplined about Maintaining Your System.

Step 5: Keep the Ultimate Goal in Mind.

All in all, being organized will do nothing but prepare you to tackle any task or obstacle that may come your way!! So, take a deep breath, focus, and begin to organize your life! I promise, being organized will give you more balance and stability in your everyday living that will make you feel in control and capable of accomplishing anything!

For greater detail and more explanation of how to become more of an organized person, check out my goals.

Five Ways To Rock Your LinkedIn Profile

October 5th, 2010 by Kenny Sturgeon No comments »

I’m a big fan of LinkedIn, and spend plenty of time clicking through profiles and learning quite a bit about some amazing people. Something that stuns me though, is how many people’s profiles read like slightly boring resumes. There are enough boring resumes being passed around right now. In this post, I’m going to share five ways to make your LinkedIn profile rock much more than it does now…

  1. Use something other than your job title in your headline. While accurate, job titles are not always super clear about what you can do for the person who is looking at your profile. Instead, provide readers with a short and catchy description of what you can do for them. For example, “Social media consultant who will help you rock your LinkedIn profile”,  or, “Small business Financial Consultant–Savings Specialist–Tax planner.”
  2. Customize your website  links. This is very easy, in the “edit my profile tab” in Linkedin, look for the section titled “websites”, select edit, click the “other” drop- down, This will open text boxes that will allow you to enter the actual name and personalize URL of your website or blog.
  3. Ask questions in your summary. Your summary is a great place to do kind of a light marketing piece. Started out with questions that potential customers or people you’d like to interact with would be interested in  the answers to. Then throughout the rest of  your summary, you can provide answers and explanations for those questions.
  4. Use LinkedIn applications.  LinkedIn applications are a great way to add some color to your profile, and to insert a little bit more of your professional personality as well. The Amazon app for example, allows you to review and recommend books, the Google presentation and slide share apps allow you to share Keynote or PowerPoint presentations that you created this is a great way to share your expertise build yourself up as an industry leader and to allow people the opportunity to see a little of your style. Box.net allows you to share documents through your LinkedIn profile as well.
  5. Include plenty of keywords in your profile. In some industries such as social media, it might be tough to rise to the top of the search. In less hotly contested categories though, by including plenty of keywords in your profile, you can increase your chances of being found by someone who is looking for someone in your category.

These are very simple tips, and will not take you long at all to integrate into your LinkedIn profile, if you take the time to do this it will pay off in a much more appealing and searchable professional presence online.

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Social Networking and an LAPD Officer

September 26th, 2010 by Randall LaBranche No comments »

My friend Terry O’Dell is an accomplished author and blogger who recently invited an LAPD Officer to guest blog on her site to discuss her experiences as a law enforcement officer and define her responsibilities both on duty and off duty related to Social Networking. Read her fascinating blog entry here. It will make you think about:

1. What you say on your social sites

2. How you say it

3. How it may affect you

Enjoy this interesting perspective!

Are You Maximizing LinkedIn?

September 2nd, 2010 by Kenny Sturgeon No comments »

LinkedIn is a fantastic tool for meeting people, job hunting, learning new information, branding and marketing yourself, and establishing a web presence. To really maximize it as one part of your networking strategy it is important to use it wisely. Here are a few thoughts to enhance your ROI from LinkedIn:

1. Think of it as a way to “break the ice” in making connections with people-rather than just asking people to join your network, and “racking up numbers”, make it a point to notice something about each person you invite to connect with you that you may want to mention when speaking to them. You can use the invitation as an opportunity to set up a phone call, a face-to-face meeting or an email based “info exchange”. This way you are actually meeting people and making deeper connections.

2. When you are at “real world” networking events, ask people you meet if they are on LinkedIn, and if they would like to become connected with you.

3. Be sure to keep new information flowing onto your profile. There are plenty of ways to do this- using applications such as SlideShare, Amazon Reading List, BlogLink or WordPress gives you an opportunity to share thoughts and expertise with others in your network and to add value to their LinkedIn experience. You can also change your status frequently which provides more interest and a reason for people to keep coming back to your profile. A few ideas for what to put in your status box include; inspirational quotes, what you are working on, events you are planning, new hires, new lines of business, etc.

4. Freely give recommendations to people you have worked with or hired. Writing recommendations is a great way to “pay it forward”, create positive feelings amongst people in your network, and who knows, maybe people will return the favor!

There are other posts out in the blogosphere on using LinkedIn- the tips here are ones that I have not seen elsewhere (or variations based on my own experience).
Here are a few links to some other articles about how to use LinkedIn as a networking tool:

1. From Guy Kawasaki:
Ten Ways To Use LinkedIn
2. From Webworker Daily:
33 Ways to Use LinkedIn for Business
3. From LinkedIntelligence:
Smart Ways to use LinkedIn
4. From bnet:
How to Get Started on LinkedIn
5. A really unique idea from CopyBloggger:
How To Use LinkedIn to Generate Content

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The Ultimate Goal

August 27th, 2010 by Randall LaBranche 1 comment »

"The Secret Weapon"

Goals….you set them, you strive to achieve them and then what happens when you actually reach a goal you felt was most likely unattainable? You call it a Hole-in-One. I was fortunate to reach the golfer’s ultimate utopia this past weekend on a hot, humid Florida morning. Sure, I have endured the jokes if it hit the clown’s mouth directly or did it bounce off the windmill. It was actually a 165 yard shot at the LPGA International Legends Course in Daytona Beach. (No, I didn’t use a pink ball)

I do enjoy practicing (and hacking) on weekends and am a sponge when I play with a buddy of mine who is a PGA pro. He is always coaching me and giving me tips here and there. (usually after I pay off my bets!) It couldn’t have been scripted any better that I got the ‘Ace’ just a week after I had finished taking a few golf lessons with a new instructor. I don’t believe it was a coincidence that my ‘lucky’ shot occurred after some expert training. Good things tend to happen when you are properly coached and given the right tools to perform. I’m perfect proof!

Now that I have had time to reflect that it actually happened, the reaction by friends, strangers and golf addicts alike has been fascinating.  Reaching any goal is rewarding in itself but it means much more when you can share it with others. The course gave me a signed flag, hole-in-one bag tag and took my picture to be placed in the conference center. My good friend bought me a plaque with a photo of the hole on it. My buddies texted, called and emailed with congrats, stories of their own great shots and of course, busted my chops a bit. It made me realize, reaching a personal goal can be a great individual accomplishment but doesn’t mean the same unless you can share it with others….that is the ultimate goal.

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