May 22, 2016

By Hamish Williams

For public servants, understanding the role they play as individuals as well as the role of their team can sometimes be difficult when viewed in the context of the wider context government.

May 22, 2016

By Scott Martin, Sales Director AIM Corporate

Do you want your leadership programs to really deliver embedded learning and behavioural change?

Here at AIM, we’ve spent the past 75 years delivering thousands of leadership and management development programs right around Australia, in every industry and every sector.

Whether it’s an accredited or non-accredited program for ten people or 10,000, there are some common ingredients to the all-around success of these programs.

This list is by no means exhaustive as the factors that make a successful leadership program could fill a volume of books.

Many factors will also sound like common sense but we’ve decided to point them out here as you’d be surprised how many organisations don’t tick these crucial boxes when designing their leadership programs.

  • Better strategic planning - Start with the end in mind and take a project management mindset into developing your leadership programs. From the outset, be really clear on what the issues are in the organisation as well as the outcomes required and how we might measure success. This will greatly assist in establishing the right content, delivery methods and program elements, enabling you to further focus on the factors below.
  • Align the program to organisational values, mission and vision – If these key directions are firm and in place, it’s crazy not to include them in your leadership program. Keep coming back to what we believe and where we want to be. Often it’s great to start with a session on mission, culture and values so you can relate back to them during the program. This will effectively tie everything together.
  • Select the right people and be selective – Often people are selected for leadership and management programs almost against their will and this just doesn’t work.  Make the program something that people aspire to within the organisation. Link it to advancement within your performance management processes. A great idea is to seek applications from delegates and also their managers which address some simple but appropriate criteria. Make the program a centre piece in the organisation.
  • Develop cross company alignment and foster collaboration – When selecting a cohort as well as the program elements, think top to bottom and side to side. Much of the success of leadership programs comes from the benefits of the cohort model, not to mention the collaboration and sharing that eventuates across departments as well as the collaboration that comes from working with those above and below. There are a range of methods to ensure this collaboration is really maximised.
  • Get senior managers, including the CEO actively involved – There’s nothing quite as effective as having the CEO take the time to welcome delegates, outline the importance of the program and where it fits into the vision of the company moving forward. It’s also valuable to get line managers involved and set expectations of them as well as the delegates.
  • Foster disruptive thinking and behaviour change – Disruption is everywhere, especially in a digital context and for most organisations, if they keep doing things the same way they’ll quickly become irrelevant. Some of the greatest ideas we’ve seen have come out of continuous improvement projects built into leadership programs. It’s the ideal atmosphere to foster new thinking.

After 75 years and thousands of leadership development programs, AIM Corporate General Manager Scott Martin shares some of the keys to designing a successful leadership development program.

  • Get the content and context right – If you want people to learn and to truly change behaviour, you have to provide context. Take the time to ensure the content matches the skills development needs of your organisation make sure the learning relates to both the current and future environment.
  • Select the right facilitators – Face to face workshops are still at the heart of any effective leadership program and with good reason. At AIM, we work hard to get the right DNA match between a facilitator’s experience, the program content and the group mix. Also, getting the right balance between the lead facilitator and any other SME’s that might be introduced throughout the program is key.
  • Mix it up – At AIM, we incorporate the 70:20:10 concept into all of our programs. This model suggests that we learn best by spending 10% of our development time in formal courses, 20% working with others who can role model, guide and offer feedback and 70% of our time operating at work while gaining guidance, direction, information, feedback and encouragement. Our programs put as much emphasis on the 70 and 20 as the 10 which requires a real partnership with clients.
  • Include a Workplace Project or Task (group or individual) –The best programs tend to be tightly aligned to business outcomes and nothing achieves this as effectively as a group project. Encouraging people to work together in groups builds successful outcomes at many levels and ensure greater ROI from the program.
  • Include a Coaching and Mentoring Support Framework – As we mentioned above, the incorporation of the 70:20:10 model means looking further than just the 10% of formal learning. Coaching and mentoring provides the individual perspective as well as the on the job relevancy to ensure leaders are developed to their full potential.
  • Celebrate Success – Work Hard, Play Hard…well not quite but success should be celebrated by getting as many stakeholders involved as possible. Plan a morning tea, lunch or dinner to highlight the achievements of program participants. Include partners and family where possible as they’ve often been put out where extra work is involved. Include alumni, facilitators, coaches and mentors so that the good vibes can permeate to all levels of the organisation.
  • Measure success and report back – Measuring ROI is important for current and future funding but measurement can be complex. Overthinking ROI can needlessly complicate the real measures of success. That said, you need to go deeper than the happy sheets at the end of workshops. Capture new ideas, process and product improvements, delegate participation levels and utilise workplace projects and presentations to stakeholders to capture and spread the excitement.
  • Review – Always look for ways to improve the program, ensure it remains aligned to organisational directions and that content is as current as can be. Again, involve as many stakeholders as possible especially recent participants.
May 20, 2016

By AIM Senior Research Fellow Dr Samantha Johnson

Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves - Carl Jung

May 19, 2016

CRACK. You turn to see a young man falling to the floor, the unfortunate victim of a workplace prank. As it turns out, someone had removed the screws from his chair and when he sat down he was left sprawling on the ground.

While a health and safety officer would be shaking their head in disgust, this is just horseplay, harmless tomfoolery - right? But what happens if the young man had been seriously hurt, or if a different joke was taken the wrong way and led to claims of bullying?

May 11, 2016

In recent years, there has been a lot of exuberant talk about the future of work. We've been told that offices will go away, or be considerably scaled back as employees work remotely while work duties will be compartmentalised and outsourced to hyper-specialists. Mobility and freelancing will become the dominant drivers for multi-tasking, flex-ruled working arrangements and crowdsouring and outsourcing will allow people from all over the world to become involved in the global economy.

What would a managerless workplace look like?

May 06, 2016

Your hands are sweaty, the boardroom is silent and you could cut the tension in the room with a butter knife. Did you just commit career suicide by pitching this idea? Seconds pass although it feels like an eternity. Suddenly, you see it begin, first with a slight nod from the CEO and then like a Mexican wave, nods of agreement flow across the room.

The feeling of relief washes over you, but suddenly you think to yourself: Did all these highly qualified executives even like your idea or did they simply follow the leader? 

May 05, 2016

By Dermot Crowley

All leaders want their organisation to be productive, and to manage the use of resources as effectively as possible. But many do not realise that in today’s busy email and meeting driven workplace, they could be a part of the problem.

May 04, 2016

We all know the scenario: You apply for a job that fits your project management training. The company loves your C.V., you nail the interview and meet with the directors - who think you're perfect. Yet, why have you not received a confirmation email in the last three to five days?

Well, you remember that questionnaire you filled out? It was a personality test and while you ticked all the other boxes, the results of this showed that you were not a 'good fit' for the corporate culture. 

April 29, 2016

The Earth is roughly 4.5 billion years old, that's eight zeros -  a figure that is pretty difficult for humans to grasp. For someone who is expected to live less than 100 years, it's next to impossible to imagine something as vast as this.

In response, Geologists and other scientists came up with the concept of 'deep-time' in an effort to imagine the profoundly different time scale involved in geological and evolutionary processes.

April 26, 2016

By Brad Howarth

In 2010, sales of recorded music in physical formats earned $431 million in retail sales in Australia. But fast-forward to 2015 and those sales have plummeted to just $205 million. These figures, from the report Australian Entertainment & Media Outlook 2015-2019 by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), illustrate a story very familiar to anyone in the media, entertainment and publishing industries.