Mistakes to Avoid When Implementing Leadership Training—Interview with Virginia Kinon of MidFirst Bank

by Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C.
Contact

There is little doubt that if you want to improve employee engagement, accountability, and performance, you should train your managers to be better leaders. The question is how to go about it.

Virginia Kinon is First Vice President, Learning & Performance at MidFirst Bank. She has spent over 20 years in the training and performance improvement field.

JATHAN JANOVE: What are the most common mistakes human resources (HR) and training & development professionals make in leadership training?

VIRGINIA KINON: Often, the first is failing to get C-Suite support. For any change initiative to be successful, senior executives should be program sponsors and key stakeholders. If the senior executives model the behaviors—or at least see the value in developing these skills—you have a better chance of buy-in, not only at the top, but throughout the organization. Bottom line, we need to find ways to engage senior managers to ensure that their support for key initiatives, like leadership training, are evident to the organization.

JJ: What’s the best way HR and learning professionals can get that support?

VK: We need to demonstrate a strong grasp of the business and where the company is going. What are the corporate strategy, mission, vision, and core values? How will the program support these? Explain your learning strategy in the C-Suite’s terms—their needs, priorities, and objectives—and how the changed behavior will help them.

JJ: What else will help get C-Suite support?

VK: Your reputation is important. Have you demonstrated good stewardship of company resources—time and money? Do you have a track record of providing highly effective training while keeping costs in check?  Also, keep your pitch to executive leadership short and sweet. My goal is to make my case in three bullet points. Less is more. We HR and learning professionals are passionate about what we’re doing and the details about how it will be accomplished. With the C-Suite, when it comes to details and emotion, less is also more.

JJ: Assuming you have executive support, are there still things that can go wrong?

VK: I’ve seen four common planning and execution mistakes:

1)      One common mistake is failing to conduct effective needs assessments to uncover the key business issues, the needs behind the need, current knowledge and skills gaps, and the desired results—what will success look like? As a result, the training can miss the mark.

2)      Another barrier to program success is attempting to fit the learner into the training instead of designing the training to fit the learner and his or her environment. Employees are constantly under pressure to do more with less while increasing productivity. We need to uncover the ‘natural’ barriers to attending, completing, and applying the knowledge and skills on the job. For example, are sales goals adjusted to allow for time out of the office? How will being out of the office impact the manager and the workload of the business unit? If considering virtual delivery options, are there technology constraints?

3)      Failing to take into account how people learn, especially as the demands on employees increase and available mindshare decreases, is another common mistake. A great deal of “brain research” has been done recently. These lessons need to be incorporated into the learning design. How and when we deliver learning must evolve to incorporate these new findings and support the changing work environment. We can no longer afford to treat training as a single event that is packed full of everything the learner needs to know and still expect to be successful. Instead, consider designing smaller learning opportunities that support skills development and will ensure ongoing reinforcement and on-the-job application. Also, instead of placing all training within a Learning Management System, consider placing some of the learning segments where the learner can easily access them at the time of need, like embedded in an application, on the desktop, or intranet sites.

4)      When buying an off-the-shelf leadership program, avoid attempting to sell senior management on the entire skills package. I’ve found it easier to get buy-in when focusing on one or two courses that will address immediate needs and then integrate additional modules over time, as needed. The cost is easier to absorb and you are introducing courses that will be used immediately. This goes back to stewardship of company resources.

JJ: When circumstances or support aren’t optimal, what do you recommend?

VK: It depends. You may need to do more homework, conduct additional research into needs, or make more of an investment in gaining support for training initiatives. It’s also possible that, even though the need exists, the organization is not ready for the change. In that case, I find opportunities to plant the seeds that will eventually take root. On the other hand, conditions are rarely perfect. If you realize that the initiative will not receive enterprise support, an alternative might be to consider starting with a business unit that has expressed the interest. For each employee you’ve helped improve skills, performance, or engagement level, you’ve made a difference worth making.

How is training done in your organization? How does it stack up to Kinon’s observations? If you’ve found ways to improve C-Suite buy-in and training return-on-investment, I’d love to hear about it and will share it with our readers.

Virginia Kinon is First Vice President, Learning & Performance, MidFirst Bank. She can be reached at Virginia.Kinon@midfirst.com.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C. | Attorney Advertising

Written by:

Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C.
Contact
more
less

Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C. on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
Sign up using*

Already signed up? Log in here

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Privacy Policy (Updated: October 8, 2015):
hide

JD Supra provides users with access to its legal industry publishing services (the "Service") through its website (the "Website") as well as through other sources. Our policies with regard to data collection and use of personal information of users of the Service, regardless of the manner in which users access the Service, and visitors to the Website are set forth in this statement ("Policy"). By using the Service, you signify your acceptance of this Policy.

Information Collection and Use by JD Supra

JD Supra collects users' names, companies, titles, e-mail address and industry. JD Supra also tracks the pages that users visit, logs IP addresses and aggregates non-personally identifiable user data and browser type. This data is gathered using cookies and other technologies.

The information and data collected is used to authenticate users and to send notifications relating to the Service, including email alerts to which users have subscribed; to manage the Service and Website, to improve the Service and to customize the user's experience. This information is also provided to the authors of the content to give them insight into their readership and help them to improve their content, so that it is most useful for our users.

JD Supra does not sell, rent or otherwise provide your details to third parties, other than to the authors of the content on JD Supra.

If you prefer not to enable cookies, you may change your browser settings to disable cookies; however, please note that rejecting cookies while visiting the Website may result in certain parts of the Website not operating correctly or as efficiently as if cookies were allowed.

Email Choice/Opt-out

Users who opt in to receive emails may choose to no longer receive e-mail updates and newsletters by selecting the "opt-out of future email" option in the email they receive from JD Supra or in their JD Supra account management screen.

Security

JD Supra takes reasonable precautions to insure that user information is kept private. We restrict access to user information to those individuals who reasonably need access to perform their job functions, such as our third party email service, customer service personnel and technical staff. However, please note that no method of transmitting or storing data is completely secure and we cannot guarantee the security of user information. Unauthorized entry or use, hardware or software failure, and other factors may compromise the security of user information at any time.

If you have reason to believe that your interaction with us is no longer secure, you must immediately notify us of the problem by contacting us at info@jdsupra.com. In the unlikely event that we believe that the security of your user information in our possession or control may have been compromised, we may seek to notify you of that development and, if so, will endeavor to do so as promptly as practicable under the circumstances.

Sharing and Disclosure of Information JD Supra Collects

Except as otherwise described in this privacy statement, JD Supra will not disclose personal information to any third party unless we believe that disclosure is necessary to: (1) comply with applicable laws; (2) respond to governmental inquiries or requests; (3) comply with valid legal process; (4) protect the rights, privacy, safety or property of JD Supra, users of the Service, Website visitors or the public; (5) permit us to pursue available remedies or limit the damages that we may sustain; and (6) enforce our Terms & Conditions of Use.

In the event there is a change in the corporate structure of JD Supra such as, but not limited to, merger, consolidation, sale, liquidation or transfer of substantial assets, JD Supra may, in its sole discretion, transfer, sell or assign information collected on and through the Service to one or more affiliated or unaffiliated third parties.

Links to Other Websites

This Website and the Service may contain links to other websites. The operator of such other websites may collect information about you, including through cookies or other technologies. If you are using the Service through the Website and link to another site, you will leave the Website and this Policy will not apply to your use of and activity on those other sites. We encourage you to read the legal notices posted on those sites, including their privacy policies. We shall have no responsibility or liability for your visitation to, and the data collection and use practices of, such other sites. This Policy applies solely to the information collected in connection with your use of this Website and does not apply to any practices conducted offline or in connection with any other websites.

Changes in Our Privacy Policy

We reserve the right to change this Policy at any time. Please refer to the date at the top of this page to determine when this Policy was last revised. Any changes to our privacy policy will become effective upon posting of the revised policy on the Website. By continuing to use the Service or Website following such changes, you will be deemed to have agreed to such changes. If you do not agree with the terms of this Policy, as it may be amended from time to time, in whole or part, please do not continue using the Service or the Website.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of this site, your dealings with this Web site, or if you would like to change any of the information you have provided to us, please contact us at: info@jdsupra.com.

- hide
*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.
Feedback? Tell us what you think of the new jdsupra.com!