Professional Development Accountability

I’m speaking at The Bank Trainers Conference next week on what it takes to create and maintain a highly functional training department.  Based on my book The Training Physical: Diagnose, Treat and Cure Your Training Department, my goal is to have my audience of 60 people return to their workplace and take the steps necessary to improve their training functions.

Now while I think it is very important for a conference speaker to have a goal in mind for their audience, it is more important that employers have actionable objectives for each employee attending a conference to return to work with.  Most conferences are educational and are built around problem solving and new solutions, so when you send an employee for professional development at a conference, why not make them accountable?

Determine what sessions they will attend, and what they hope to bring back with them.  You can call this a pre-conference discussion to set expectations.  Then when they return from the conference, spend time reviewing their experience and what they are planning to do differently with their new skills or knowledge.  Support their professional development by holding them accountable to using what they learned.

To a greater degree than attending a workshop, conferences are often looked at as short working vacations.  All the extra activities in a conference outside of actual learning sessions are designed to make the event fun and sell a lot of tickets.  The one I’m speaking at next week is on the Disney World property in Orlando, so guess what a lot of participants are doing in their evenings and after the conference is over?  While this is good marketing, it doesn’t say that this kind of professional development needs to be less accountable.

I can almost spot the participants that are being held accountable for their learning.  They participate better, ask questions after the event, and are more interested in getting your business card than any free gifts.  Hats off to these people and the managers they work for too!


True Leaders are Honest

I am very bothered of late over the deception of so many government officials, and the cover up of wrong doing.  Many justify their actions because others in the past, or from the other party have done the same.  My Mom used to tell me “two wrongs don’t make it right.”  Yet the lying continues every day, in almost a defiant manner to see how long before they have to admit their own errors.

Like most people, I believe that forgiveness comes quicker when people are honest, and it takes much longer when people lie.  It is hard to screw up and then stand and admit honestly that you made, or your staff made errors, but stuff happens!  In fact we have all been in a position before where we screwed up and had the choice to tell the truth or lie about it.

I believe that true leaders are honest.  They are honest with themselves, and they are honest with others.  Not only are they ethically well-built, but morally too.  A true leader has difficulty with deception, and so they naturally seek to correct the errors, and be transparent with the facts.

I feel for parents with school age children right now that are trying to teach them to tell the truth, be honest, have integrity and not lie.  The news is full of reporters lying and twisting the truth.  The political landscape is all about covering one’s butt, and blaming others.  And to top it off, many are rewarded with promotions, or continued employment for these bad behaviors.  How is a parent supposed to compete with the real world when they are describing and demanding behaviors that require more sacrifice?

I pray that God finds a way to reach our national liars, I mean leaders, and we can turn away from deception and toward a more honest communication.  I hope and I pray that things change soon!