Workshop scenarios can play out like this:
You hire me with a passionate story on why you would like to have Managing with Aloha taught in your workplace. Great!
We get to know each other a bit in our planning of the workshop I will deliver for you, for if I’m to deliver on your expectations, I need to learn what they are. It is impossible to teach all of Managing with Aloha in a single workshop, so we settle on the specific MWA message, value-mapping, or skill set we will cover.
I always arrive at least a half hour before the workshop is to start, for I am hoping to converse with others too, and learn more about all of you informally. Sometimes people come early enough for that to happen (especially when there’s food!) however they often aren’t let off shift with very much time to spare. That tells me they won’t be sticking around afterwards either, and I mentally commit to our break times as our in-workshop windows of opportunity.
You’ve been there to greet me and to make sure I have everything I will need, and most of the time (not always) you will introduce me, to share something with your staff about why I am there.
Then, to my great dismay, which I have gotten very good at hiding (at least in that particular moment), you quietly slip out as I get started.
People notice. What I will hear from your staff at some point during the workshop, and sometimes with alarming repetition as they take turns saying it, is this:
“I wish my boss were here to hear this too.”
So do I.
It’s YOUR classroom, and your workplace culture. Why did you abandon ship?
What in the world were you thinking, hiring me for a training that will now be impossible for you to follow-up on with any sensibility or credibility whatsoever?
No matter how inspirational they are, no hired trainer or motivational speaker will ever be able to give you a return on the investment you have made which is equal to, or greater than what you’ll secure on your own.
It starts at the workshop. You cannot follow up with teaching that you never hear in the first place.
Trainers present. We don’t implement (though we often wish we could!)
Besides, are you completely sure you will concur with everything I say in a workshop? If I were you, I wouldn’t be!
Training has to be talked about within a team, and agreements have to be made on what follow-up will happen in the workplace, and what will not, and why.
Your people need to hear directly from you as to whether or not you agree with a trainer. Your reasons why, or why not, are important to them, as are your new expectations now that the workshop has been presented.
Even if you have heard me speak before, you are missing out on the fabulous questions your staff will ask, and the discussions which create learning excitement for them. You miss seeing the opportunities you will have, to turn learning into action which makes a difference in your workplace. You miss those aha! moments, when someone gets thoroughly engaged with something we have talked about, and makes a supremely relevant connection to the work they do. You miss those magnificent maybes that fresh new ideas germinate in, needing your encouragement.
Your absence speaks with a very loud voice.
To me, yes. Frankly, I do think less of you. I am so disappointed, knowing I must lower my own expectations of how Managing with Aloha will play out in your culture. (In short, it probably won’t. Not without an Alaka‘i Manager or person aspiring to be one.)
Your absence speaks in even greater volumes to your people. The moment you step out of the room, they wonder, “Why bother?”
When you are not there, you send your staff a message that you are not interested, or that you think you are better than they are and above it all, or worse, that you hired someone to whip them into shape and “fix them” for you.
If workplace training is considered the new flavor of the month, unlikely to last and unlikely to get integrated into the workplace culture, chances are you didn’t sit long enough to partake of the meal. When good management is missing, leadership never makes it to the table.
Next time, show up and STAY. Learn WITH your staff. ENGAGE with your people. Make a commitment to convert learning into relevant, actionable ideas and intentions.
Then I can help you with more too. We can co-author the follow-up which starts momentum in your workplace, and grows you into the leader you are capable of being.
A healthy workplace culture is a participatory one.
The scenario I’ve described doesn’t happen in MWA workshops anymore, because I’ve learned my lesson, and am much more proactive in our planning. I will specifically require the managers involved to attend my workshops, or I simply won’t do them. This isn’t about me or my ego, it’s about my workshop participants and what they deserve from both of us: When you aren’t there, fully intending and expecting to follow up, I have failed them.
Your partnership is crucial and I value it highly, I sincerely do! All of the workshops I deliver include a pre-workshop coaching with managers and a post-workshop debrief where we’ll chart a course for the follow-up calendar which should ensue. We’re still at your mercy though, and cannot force your hand in a culture we don’t participate in: Trainers present. We challenge, and we do our best to inspire, knowing we must fire up the motivations within our audience. Much as we’d love to, we don’t implement: It’s not our culture, it’s yours.
I’ve written this posting as a plea: Healthy culture building is impossible without the full involvement of managers in ALL training, and not just mine. And not just new training; Alaka‘i Managers will participate in annual certifications too.
Workshops offer a manager sequential learning and consequential opportunity:
The 1st time you take a class, you’re there to learn the subject matter, just like everyone else. This is also your best chance to be understanding, being empathetic to what will be required of the first-time learner: You are both having the same experience.
Assuming you have put some of your learning into actual practice or other relevant usage, the 2nd time you take a class, you’re able to zoom in on whatever you missed or were not able to implement the first time around. You compare notes with the rest of your team, and collaborate on helping each other, knowing that “a rising tide lifts all boats.”
It will usually take a 3rd time before you are fully able to take a class in manager-coach mode as compared to student-learner mode. This is when the subject matter becomes secondary to your role in coaching and supporting your team. You can now shift your attention to their needs instead of your own, and as the workshop proceeds you watch them, not the trainer. You listen to their questions and statements, and you make notes on how you can support and encourage them going further.
You become an Alaka‘i Manager who works, manages, and leads with ALOHA.
I have been busy in a great way lately!
To review the workshops I currently devote most of my attentions to, visit this page on RosaSay.com and let me know if I can help you.
Key 4. THE ROLE OF THE MANAGER RECONSTRUCTED:
Managers must own workplace engagement and be comfortable with facilitating change, creative innovation, and development of the human asset. The “reconstruction” we require in Managing with Aloha is so this expectation of the Alaka‘i Manager is both reasonable and possible, and so they can channel human energies as our most important resource, they themselves having the time, energy, and support needed in doing so. Convention may work against us, where historically, people have become managers for reasons other than the right one: Managing is their calling. A new role for managers must be explicitly valued by the entire organization as critically important to their better success: Managers can then have ‘personal bandwidth’ for assuming a newly reinvented role, one which delivers better results both personally and professionally, and in their stewardship of the workplace culture.
Read more: The 9 Key Concepts of Managing with Aloha