Posted by & filed under Employee Development.

Employee development is an ongoing process, and as busy professionals, we must make time to invest in our continuing education. The good news is that investing in education doesn’t necessarily have to break the bank. There are a growing number of informative online business education resources that are free of charge.


1. Podcasts

The iTunes Store  offers more than 100,000 free audio or video series, podcasts, that you can download and play on your iPod, iPhone or computer. Visit the iTunes Store on your computer, click on Podcasts in the top navigation and browse or search by keyword. Subscribe to online business education podcasts that seem interesting on topics such as entrepreneurship, management, marketing, language learning and business news and listen to them on your daily commute or workout.


2. iTunes U

iTunes U is also accessible through the iTunes Store on your computer and has more than 350,000 free lectures, readings, videos and regular podcasts from universities and learning institutions around the world. Learn how to write a business plan from a Yale professor or get leadership tips from the Poynter Institute.


3. TechSoup Free Webinars

TechSoup, an online technology resource for nonprofits, offers free online seminars on topics including social media, fundraising and multimedia.


4. Small Business Training Network

The Small Business Association has a “virtual campus,” the Small Business Training Network, that posts free online business education courses, publications and technical help. Each course is self-paced and takes about 30 minutes, so it is ideal for a busy schedule.


5. TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) talks

TED is “a small nonprofit dedicated to Ideas Worth Spreading.” Its two annual conferences bring together some of the world’s most influential people, from Malcolm Gladwell to Melinda Gates, to give short and inspiring talks that are available free online to the public.


5. OpenCourseWare Consortium

The OpenCourseWare Consortium is a nonprofit organization made up of more than 250 universities and associated organizations that share top-notch courses and online business education resources at no cost. MIT Sloan School of Management  in particular has some fantastic course offerings.


6. The Personal MBA

The Personal MBA is a free program designed to be a DIY (do-it-yourself) MBA program. It is focused around a comprehensive reading list of the best business books  on topics including communication, decision-making, employee development, innovation and management training courses.


7. W3Schools Online Tutorials

W3Schools is the best online resource for web development, from basic HTML to building a complete website, and it’s completely free. Visit the website to find answers to all your technology questions, and experiment with new skills with the “Try It Yourself” editor.


Got a taste for knowledge? Take your business education to the next level with Employee Development Systems, Inc.’s interactive courses .

Posted by & filed under Leadership.

Every organization has its own culture and set of values. These core values represent the mission, goals and vision of your organization and employees, and they should be revisited and revised every few years. Carefully selecting the right values will put you on track to creating a productive and happy workplace, as well as giving your customers or clients the best possible service.


Identify your organizational values as a team, and if necessary, make adjustments to behaviors and policies so that they align properly with your new vision. Leading with credibility and demonstrating your core values through actions as well as words is the key to success.


Identify Core Values


  • As a leadership team, discuss the qualities you believe are at the heart of your organization. Does your top-notch personal care for clients make you stand out? Do you pride yourselves on being creative innovators in your field?


  • From this discussion, come to a consensus and narrow down your list to fewer than 10 one-word values that best represent your organization. For example: integrity, accountability, teamwork, excellence, innovation, service and respect.


  • Determine specific actions the leadership team can put these values into action and gain the support of the rest of the staff. Communicate the values by posting them in prominent places throughout the workplace and leading with credibility.


Demonstrate Values Through Actions


  • Make core values an integral part of all training or employee development courses. In team meetings or training sessions, find ways to use real-life examples to illustrate the values.


  • Provide recognition for team members who are effectively demonstrating core values. Give feedback on values in employee evaluations, and ask for anonymous ratings on how the leadership team is representing organizational values.


  • Consult values when considering hiring, firing or promoting people within your organization.


  • Ensure core values line up with your organization’s short-term and long-term goals. If you find you are not leading with credibility through your goals, readjust them until you feel confident in them.


Learn more about demonstrating organizational values through the Leading With Credibility  course.

Posted by & filed under Assessment.

Do you know your dominant behavior type?  Would this be useful information for your relationships and career?  The answers should be yes.  As societal mores and values change with each generation, it becomes even more critical to understand your dominant personality and how to deal with others.

For many years, management training courses had an underlying theme of command and control in the workplace and traditionalists, baby boomers, and to a certain extent gen Xers understood this concept.  However, with the advent and the spread of the internet, the central theme has changed to collaboration and dealing with the millenials.

Flexibility is required more in both personal and professional environments than ever before due to the collaborative and group nature of relationships.  As individuals see the need for greater adaptability, there is a greater need to understand your personal attitudes toward yourself and others.

Higher flexibility signals a higher level of security and self esteem and a desire for positive outcomes.  Lower flexibility signals more rigid thinking, reactive as opposed to proactive, and a more negative view of outcomes.  Knowing what your behavioral assessment holds can help you to become more adaptable to other styles and therefore, have more productive and positive results.



Posted by & filed under Career Development.


As a manager, the productivity and performance of your employees is one of your top priorities. When an employee is not meeting your expectations or the goals of the position, it becomes necessary to have an honest conversation with him, providing constructive feedback and a performance improvement plan.


Having a talk with an employee about his less-than-satisfactory performance can be difficult at best and downright unpleasant at worst, but it is an essential step toward helping him achieve his full potential.


  • Schedule a time where you and the employee can have an uninterrupted, private discussion. Express to the employee that there are aspects of his job performance that need improvement, and you will work with him, step by step, to make the necessary changes.


  • Specify exactly what is unacceptable in his performance and the reasons why it is a problem. Cite specific examples and avoid generalizations.


  • Now that you have talked about what needs to change in the employee’s behavior, start to outline the performance improvement plan. Define the level of work performance that is expected of him on a regular basis, and state exactly what needs to happen in the future. Break it down into smaller steps or points. For example, if the employee is having problems with punctuality and focus at work, some steps might be:


  • You will arrive at exactly 9 a.m., no later
  • You will turn your cell phone on vibrate during the work day and take personal calls only when absolutely necessary
  • Together we will outline your weekly tasks and set attainable deadlines for each


  • Identify the support you will provide to help the employee in the future. Schedule meeting times for the two of you to meet, discuss feedback and evaluate how the performance improvement plan is progressing.


  • Set a date in 30 or 60 days from now to meet again and determine if the performance standards have been met. Specify what the next steps will be if performance is still below the set standards.




Learn more about EDSI’s Communicating to Manage Performance  course.

Posted by & filed under Employee Development.


When you have a leadership role in an organization, you must constantly gather information, analyze scenarios and make important decisions that affect many people. It is essential for you as a manager to be able to think clearly and objectively in a variety of situations so you can act decisively and without bias.

As you hone your own critical thinking skills on the job, encourage your employees to do the same. Being independent and analytical thinkers will help them perform their jobs better and provide continuous employee development.

Take Your Time

Jump to conclusions or make a snap decision, and you may regret your haste later on. Be patient and methodical, and don’t let stress rush a critical resolution. Consider all the information and the people involved, determine your goals and objectives and weigh your options. The more viable options you have, the better your chances are of making an informed decision.  Most management training courses stress the need to develop critical thinking skills.

Be Objective


Avoid the pitfall of letting your personal opinions, assumptions or biases cloud your judgment. Teach yourself to take a step back from a situation and view it objectively before making a decision. Scrutinize different sides of an argument to discover the credibility and relevance of each. Keep your mind open to new ideas and perspectives, and ask others on your team for their input. Working through difficult problems with other people can often introduce you to ideas you may not think of on your own.

Practice, Practice, Practice

You need to exercise your critical thinking skills the way you exercise muscles in the body. The more you use them, the stronger they become. Start introducing real and hypothetical situations to your team and working through them to reach a conclusion. Practice putting aside your emotions, examining facts, challenging assumptions and listing options. This is a valuable tool in employee development, and it will reinforce your own learning as a manager.


Find out about our Listen First to Understand  course.

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

An important part of being a good manager is being able to find the right balance between employee development training and employee coaching. Training ensures your employees have all the skills and knowledge they need to perform their jobs well. Coaching, on the other hand, is a more collaborative process, helping people take ownership over their own learning and creating a culture of accountability.


Follow these three tips for improving your management coaching skills, and your employees will feel more empowered to identify and overcome obstacles at work.

1.      Ask questions.

Remember, you are guiding the learning process, not giving orders or instructions. This technique takes time, so go slowly and be patient. When coaching employees to solve a problem, ask specific questions and give them sufficient time to think about their responses. Then ask more questions to help them work through the next steps.

Resist the temptation to jump in and tell them what they should do. They are learning to make their own choices, which is far more beneficial for your team in the long run. Discuss their decisions at the end of the exercise and offer alternative options if necessary. With practice, they will become more confident in problem solving on their own and you will have greater trust in their abilities.


 2.      Let people make mistakes.

You should clearly intervene if you are concerned that your employees’ actions will result in legal, ethical or safety ramifications, but for many everyday situations, it is helpful to step back and let them take the wheel. Hands-on experience is the best way to learn.

Employees will have to evaluate real problems and formulate solutions using the management training courses and coaching you have already provided. Sometimes they will make mistakes, but they will take ownership of them and learn how to avoid the same errors in the future. When they succeed, they will be proud that they earned the victory.


 3.      Find learning opportunities.

One of the most difficult and valuable management coaching skills is the ability to take advantage of learning opportunities in a non-critical way. Coaching is not lecturing or reprimanding employees; it is helping them find productive ways of handling difficult situations.

If you need to give feedback on how employees solved a problem, listen to the whole story and reflect on how it could have been managed better. Then start a conversation with the employees involved, asking what worked and what they would do differently next time. Guide the discussion, but allow them to take the lead on evaluating past events and lessons they can take away for future situations. They should leave the conversation feeling positive about what they learned, not criticized for mistakes they made.  Giving effective feedback is an integral part of EDSI’s course, Communicating to Manage Performance.


What management coaching skills do you find most effective? Add your tips in the comments below.

Find more valuable coaching resources here.

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.



Management Training Courses for Change Management 101

Certain kinds of change are sildenafil generic cost always easy to make; increasing and decreasing budgets, maintaining strategic alliances, arranging a merger-The fact is that these bold strokes are not what create sustainable change in the organization; it is the long marches that pay off.   Long-term, effective organizational change requires people to adjust their behavior.  You can allocate resources for new product development or reorganize as a unit.  Regardless, you cannot order people to use their imagination to solve the budget crunch or to work collaboratively with other members on the team, in the department, or within cross-departmental problem-solving teams.     According to the author of “On Leading Change” (Jossey-Bass, 2002), there are seven classic techniques that leaders can bring to a changing organization.   1. Tuning in to the environment, through creating a network of listening posts, such as partnerships and alliances that allow you to gather and share information.   2. Challenging the prevailing organizational wisdom, through what is called “kaleidoscope’ thinking; a way of constructing patterns from fragments of data available and manipulating them to form different patterns.  Can you look at all of the available information and consider it in a new way?    3. Communicating a compelling aspiration.  Changing anything requires a strong and genuine conviction, since there are so many forces to overcome.   4. Building Coalitions through the involvement of people who have the resources, knowledge and political clout to make things happen.   5. Transferring ownership to a working team.  Once your coalition is in place, you can enlist others in the implementation.  As a leader, you must remain involved, and don’t expect your managers to take over all of the proceedings.    6. Learning to persevere.  Everything can look like a failure in the middle.  One of the major mistakes that leaders can make is to launch plans and then leave them.  Stay with your crew.   7. Making everyone a hero.  Recognition brings the change cycle to its logical conclusion, and also motivates people to attempt change again.   These techniques are effective not only in facilitating change within organizations but also key to sustaining high performance in less turbulent times.
Management training courses that stress personal accountability and communications skills training will also facilitate the change process.  Take a look at our change management effectiveness profile.

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

Organizations want to retain their top talent and prepare their succession planning.  A periodic management shuffle to move individuals away from their comfort zones and into areas with increasing responsibility, but requiring different skill sets and knowledge is very healthy.  The adaptive process requires new employee development courses and management training courses , critical thinking, and innovation.  Moreover, this process broadens the bench strength for the organization while challenging individuals so they don’t become stale.  This also allows for ideas from one area of the organization to be utilized in other areas which may result in greater productivity and denying the silo effect at the same time.  The biggest plus of this talent management process is that it shows the individual that the organization has a keen interest in his or her career development and they are less likely to stray to greener pastures when the economy recovers.

Our new catalog provides many solutions to groom talent.

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

Personal accountability is lacking in the workplace.  Is it really easier to play the “blame game”? If the talent cycle – from recruitment through succession planning involves employee development with an accountability-based organization as a goal, it can be achieved.  Specific attributes of this type of culture:

1.   Management at all levels set clear and concise expectations with specific goals for each task.  The consequences of non-attainment are also set forth so that all reports know what they are accountable for and they know how their task results will be measured.  This sounds difficult at first, but if accountability is the focus this culture is more disciplined and process oriented, then communicating to manage performance can be attained.

2.   Organizations value critical thinking visit site and innovation, but they must establish decision-making authority.  The buck stops here for you and Joe has it to the next line of demarcation.  If I know my limits, I can be creative inside the lines.

3.   Employees want to feel valued, but they also want to know that they will be offered development opportunities which will help them achieve personal accountability and thus career advancement.

4.   Personal goals align with overall strategy of the organization.

It’s analogous to a compass.  If you know what direction the company is going, the direction you are going, and what is expected along the way, you will achieve positive results.

Click here to see the outcomes and objectives of communication clarity.

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

For an organization to grow and thrive, it must make employee development a top priority. As an organizational leader, you want to educate and retain talented employees, and to do so you need to build a strong mentoring culture within the workplace. Mentoring creates continuous learning opportunities, preserves institutional knowledge and builds lasting relationships among employees.


Find a Good Fit

For a mentoring program to become an integral part of your organization, it has to be woven into your core mission and values. Set specific goals for the program and align your actions and expectations to fit into your organizational culture. Assign roles and responsibilities and track the program’s progress as part of your overall employee development strategy. As you identify mentors in your organization, provide them with the necessary training and support they need to be successful. Allow mentors to give regular feedback on their personal challenges, successes and suggestions.


Communicate & Educate

It is important to talk about the mentoring culture you are working to develop. Publicly identify the lead mentors in your organization, and carefully match them with small groups of mentees. Encourage groups to meet regularly for communications skills training sessions, skills sharing and other educational opportunities. Acknowledge small and large victories of the mentoring groups in staff meetings, newsletters or weekly emails. As mentees begin to complete goals and gain knowledge, they will naturally seek out new goals and eventually move into the role of mentoring newer employees.


Commit Time & Money

A successful mentoring and employee development program requires an investment of time and money, but the ultimate return on investment is substantial. Create a strong infrastructure for mentorship within your organization; give ownership of the program to one person who ensures it has funding and time dedicated to it.


Learn From Mistakes

Sometimes it takes a couple of false starts to get a mentorship program running smoothly. You may discover a partnership is not a good match or lack of time or resources is creating roadblocks. This is a normal part of the process and no reason to be discouraged. Be flexible enough to reevaluate your initial decisions and make adjustments to correct any problems. A mentoring culture must evolve and grow constantly to be sustainable.


Have you established a mentoring program in your organization? What are the best practices you recommend?


Explore more helpful team building” href=”” target=”_self”>team building  resources from Employee Development Systems, Inc.