Training and development news and articles provided by our Zoe Associates and staff

How to Offer Criticism that Builds Confidence & Inspires Responsibility

Christina Haxtonby Christina Haxton

3 Steps to Offer Negative Feedback or Criticism that Builds Confidence & Inspires Responsibility

Are you responsible for doing employee evaluations? For giving criticism to employees in the hopes to inspire them to get motivated?  Statistics say that managers who have to give negative feedback to employees suffer almost as much as the employee receiving the criticism, and here’s why:

Remember the last time you hit your thumb with a hammer?  You didn’t think twice when you yelled and let the words fly.  For a few moments you stopped thinking about the task at hand, caring who was within earshot and instinctively reacted, grabbing your thumb to stop the physical pain.

Your brain went into “survival mode” and reacted.  No thinking required.  If we had your brain hooked up to a fMRI (a technology used by neuroscientists to produce brain images in real time), we would also be able to see the physical pain center in your brain “light up” or get activated possibly even split seconds before impact.  It’s how we are wired so we can stay alive and we can’t prevent it from working (which is a good thing). Continue Reading

Ten Hot Topics in Training

by Ashley Andrus

thermometer in the sunIt’s summer and the temperatures are hot, hot, hot!

In honor of the record temperatures we’ve been seeing recently we wanted to share the answer to one of the most frequent questions we get asked—What are the hot topics in training these days?

Here are some of the top programs we are seeing our clients implement in 2014:

  1. Conflict Management & Negotiation – These important skills go hand and hand both within teams/organizations and with external partners/customers.
  2. Leading Change – Organizations must be able to embrace change and implement new initiatives at all levels, from individual contributors to executives. Continue Reading

10 Tips for Social Media Success

Julie Millerby Julie Miller

1. Provide value. Most tweets link to blog posts or other media. Pull a brief value point from your post, such as “always offer value in your tweets” and include a teaser to more information, along with the tiny URL. Of course, the blog post should follow up with plenty of additional tips.

2. Cut superfluous words. It’s obvious with Twitter’s character limit, but still good advice for all business writing. Why use “in order to” when “to” usually does the trick? Other unnecessary words: very, really and quite. For example, replace “very warm” with hot! Continue Reading

Create Clarity for a Healthier Organization

Tiffany Dahlbergby Tiffany Dahlberg

I have been working with several small businesses for the past six months to help them with strategic planning, organizational development, and change management.  When I told a colleague about my philosophy in helping these companies, he recommended Patrick Lencioni’s book, The Advantage, because it sounded similar to my approach.  Unlike Lencioni’s famous fables like The Five Dysfunctions of a Team and Death by Meeting, this book describes step-by-step how to have a healthy organization.

I agree with Lencioni that the untapped potential of organizations to become healthier is what will give them an advantage over their competitors.  He discusses four disciplines: Continue Reading

Never Say Can’t

D.J. Vanasby D.J. Vanas

On a clear October day, the peace of the southern California desert was shattered by a great, cracking boom. High above, a small orange aircraft shaped like a chubby bullet carried Chuck Yeager as he finally traveled faster than sound. The year was 1947. For many years, pilots had risked their lives to overcome this magical barrier described as a “brick wall” or “demon in the sky”. Experts said it couldn’t be done. But Chuck Yeager proved them wrong and with that discovery, ushered in an era of supersonic flight and the space age.

The wife of the man known as Sequoyah was furious. Her husband was spending so much time alone, letting the fields go fallow and ignoring his friends. It was the early 1800s and Sequoyah was a Cherokee Indian obsessed with “the talking leaves” – reading and writing – because he knew this would be the key to the success of his people in the future. There was one glaring problem. The Cherokee people had no written language. Sequoyah was criticized, heckled and told it couldn’t be done as he set out on his quest to create a written language. The Greeks took hundreds of years to develop one. Sequoyah did it in twelve. And not only did he develop a written language, but by the 1830s, the Cherokee people became one of the most literate and educated groups in America. Not just amongst Indians, but amongst the whole country! In fact, the Cherokee people started a newspaper, the Cherokee Phoenix, which is still in print today.

History and modern times are filled with examples like this and I’m always inspired by them. Just because you have a great idea, a grand goal, a burning vision, doesn’t mean it’s going to be a cake walk – but it also doesn’t mean it’s not a great idea either. You’ll suffer doubt, criticism and discomfort as you pursue dreams, but the payoff is well worth it. Especially when it comes to pursuing your goals and dreams, the word can’t should be considered a four-letter word not to be uttered aloud. Never say it because it’s a dream-killer, an idea-stopper and a motivation-stealer. The simple truth is that if you believe you can, you will. If believe you can’t, you won’t. My daughters know how to get my blood going – say that foul word can’t. I’m trying to weed that word out of their vocabulary because I know it will only serve to tie them down as they create their destinies. The problem is there will always be reasons not to do something, there will always be obstacles and challenges, and there will always be people lining up to tell us so. Continue Reading

7 Habits of Highly Innovative People & Aha Moments

Tamara Kleinbergby Tamara Kleinberg

Great innovation often comes with magical stories about a brilliant light bulb going off and the innovator then running around town like a mad man. We call it the “aha” moment. A moment when the idea, solution or opportunity we’ve been waiting for hits us like a ton of bricks – or an apple on your head if you are Newton discovering the theory of gravity.

Aha moments are sought after by most of us. We want to have a magical moment where an awesome idea surprisingly pops into our head out of nowhere.

But, here’s the thing about aha moments. They aren’t magical and they aren’t surprising. They don’t spring out of nowhere and they don’t come out of thin air. Actually aha moments are just the tip of the iceberg. Your habits and behaviors are what are under the water holding that tip up. Underneath an aha and the surface of the water are days, months, years of creative habits.

If you want more aha moments, don’t focus on the Aha, focus on your habits and behaviors. I’ve scoured the globe (online of course), traveled through time (researched dead people) and talked (by Skype) to dozens of innovators about their habits. Here are the 7 habits they all seem to have in common.

7 Habits of Highly Innovative People

1. Dream: purposeful, vivid daydreaming, visualizing, creating stories for past, present and future

Daydreaming allows us to explore new thoughts and ideas without the handcuffs of reality. The landscape of our brains is endless and daydreaming lets us “fill in the blanks” to create new stories, change the past (If I had), look into a crystal ball (what if I) and wonder about possibilities that we can’t comprehend in reality. When we daydream we connect dots from different parts of our memories and thoughts. Dreaming is the start of creating something new in reality. Continue Reading

Twelve Things Your Company Needs to be Doing on Social Media

Don Cooperby Don Cooper, The Sales Heretic™

Social media is the most powerful communication tool since the Internet itself. Most companies, though, are barely tapping into its potential.

Want to maximize the power of social media to boost your sales? Here are twelve activities you should be doing regularly.

1. Highlighting promotions
Having a sale? A special offer? An event of any kind? Publicize it on every social media channel. People are paying less and less attention to traditional forms of advertising and more attention to social media. In fact, 29% of people on Twitter follow a brand and 58% of Facebook users have liked a brand. Continue Reading

Getting Your Employees to Go Paperless

K.J. McCorryby K.J. McCorry

Starting the paperless momentum has four primary advantages to an organization: it will improve knowledge and data management, increase data efficiencies, improve worker productivity, and prepare the organization for the remote and mobile workforce environment.

The following are recommendations to reduce paper used by individual employees.

  1. Reduce Desktop Printers: Employees who print electronic data create their own paper pile-up. The easier and more convenient it is to print documents, the more likely it is that paper use will increase. One way to reduce paper use is to reduce individual and desktop printers. By making printing less convenient, employees begin to be more mindful before printing their data. Continue Reading

What Does Business Casual Mean?

Marian Rothschildby Marian Rothschild

When you are in a business situation, your appearance sends an immediate, nonverbal message to everyone who sees you. so ask yourself – what would you like your professional image to say about who you are?

If you’d like to project an intelligent, creative, ambitious, yet approachable image, there are some important guidelines to follow. as Stephen R. Covey suggests in his popular book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, begin with the end in mind. Know what message you want to send.

Before you get dressed, give thought to what you’d like to achieve during your workday. How would you like to look, sound, and behave? Begin with the end in mind, just like the architect who draws every detail of a house before the construction crew breaks ground or the contractor hammers one nail. Be the architect of your exquisite image. Plan your professional wardrobe with each piece readily available, so you can intentionally present yourself with impeccable presence for any situation. Continue Reading

Be a Best Company – Four Actions that Engage and Retain Key Talent

Shari Harleyby Shari Harley

I could give you a list of fifty things you could do to improve employee performance, engagement and retention. But the truth is, there are really just four things you must do. Employees may appreciate the other 46 things but don’t necessarily need them to stay with your organization and do their best work.

The Colorado Society of Human Resource Management hosts an annual Best Companies competition, and organizations of all sizes compete. Last year I led a workshop before the awards ceremony. The purpose of the workshop was to share the things that make an organization a great place to work. While researching the program, the things that separate the great companies from the less desirable places to work became very clear. I’ll share those few things here. Continue Reading