Monday, 3 August 2015

The Team Building Traits of Outbound Training

Throughout history, great men and sages will tell you that it was at the their darkest and deepest moments in life that they learnt some of their greatest lessons. Sometimes a lifetime worth of lessons can only be learnt through the twists, turns, challenges, and obstacles of life. While certain skills like planning, organizing and scheduling can be taught in a formal or controlled environment, other intangible and more valuable qualities like leadership, character, perseverance and courage can only be learnt through the storms of life that one goes through over a period of time. It is precisely these qualities that outbound training seeks to train people in by simulating experiences in controlled environments albeit natural and slightly unpredictable ones. They can immensely help foster the following:

·         Situational leadership skills rise to the surface. The old adage, ‘When the going gets tough, the tough get going’ is proven true. outbound training environments create the necessity of having to step up and take charge to cohesively lead the rest.

·         Teamwork and partnering is crucial, as certain situations will bring about challenging situations for anyone to overcome by himself or herself. This helps develop social skills and teamwork.

·         Working cohesively as a unit in such an environment also helps with communication, efficient management of resources and trouble-shooting skills. This of course requires every member of the team to be on the ‘same page’ with a binding vision that unites instead of trying to accomplish things as an individual.

Outbound Training is a valuable program that companies use everyday to help cultivate such intangible traits in their employees that can never be learnt in the safe and cosy environment of a corporate office.

MMM Training Solutions are experts in the filed of outbound training, corporate training, leadership training, leadership skills training, soft skills training, cross cultural training and many more for corporates in India and abroad.

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Childlike Curiosity in Leadership

Recently I watched a video on YouTube of a TED talk by Sir Ken Robinson on ‘Do schools kill creativity?’ The most fascinating part of the talk was a small little story, which he told about a 6 year old restless kid in a drawing lesson. This little kid hardly ever paid attention, but in a drawing lesson she did. The teacher was pretty surprised and went up to her and asked her “What are you drawing?”
“I am drawing a picture of God”, replied the little girl.
A baffled teacher said, “But nobody knows, what God looks like.”
Pat came the reply, “They will, in a minute.”

The little girl had absolutely no fear of being proved wrong. She was trying to do something that not many have done in the past. However she had no qualms of venturing into unexplored paths. In our Leadership Training Program, we encourage our participants to create a path for themselves rather than follow the conventional safe route.

As a child, we are open to new and innovative ideas and risk is seen as an opportunity. As we grow up, we become increasingly risk averse. We start classifying situations as good or bad, possible or impossible prompted by multiple factors - past experiences, fear of failure or complacency. What a tragedy!

When a toddler starts learning to walk, he falls multiple times. Each time he falls down, he picks himself up and starts trying again. He is undeterred by failure or pain. He is driven by instinct to walk. What happens to mankind as we grow up? We lose the ability to see each situation for what it is. No two situations are similar; hence we should have varied approaches for each one. But we start to store our past experiences and use the same approaches to similar situations thus losing our ability to innovate.

“Around here, however, we don't look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things, because we're curious...and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” ― Walt Disney Company

When we are able to see situation as unique, we are able to generate new passion and novel strategies. This does not mean that we will not experience failures. But mistakes can be our best friend, and failures can be our best teacher. So stay hungry and stay foolish!
I leave you with a quote from Plutarch that magnificently summarizes what I have written: “The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled.”

Saturday, 1 August 2015

The Courtesy of Customer Service

After living in India for nearly 15 years, moving to the West was an eye-opening experience, especially in the field of business and customer service. While India is known and celebrated for many glorious things, unfortunately customer services is not one of them and I’ve experienced more than a decade worth of bad experiences to come to that conclusion. The US was a breath of fresh air in comparison. Businesses would go out of their ways to make customers feel comfortable and cared for here in the West. Mistakes are owned up to and responsibility taken for any errors committed by the business.  Here the customer ultimately called the shots and is truly the ‘king’.

But what is the cause for this disparity? My illustration above might deceivingly give the impression that this is a cultural phenomenon. While culture may be a dynamic it is not the whole picture. It ultimately comes down to an ethical business understanding of customer values. And that has more to do with corporate culture than national culture. Customer experience is a highly valued tenet for businesses and translating that from mere external furnishings and interior decor to one on one relational dynamics is an entirely different enterprise. There are many aspects of customer service that makes a difference to the customer. But the most important of them – Courtesy.

Professional courtesy deals with anticipating the customers’ needs ahead of time, creating a conducive environment that caters to the customer’s shopping experience and servicing the numerous needs of the customer through multiple options. While customers are generally satisfied with the bare minimum that business services offer, the real deal-clincher is when businesses go above and beyond their ‘call of duty’ in order to please the customer or make his life easy. The old adage, “No one cares what you know unless they know that you care”, certainly rings true in the world of business!

Customer Service Training is a specific type of program that businesses these days expect their employees to participate in to train them in appropriate standards of business courtesy that suits the needs of the customer. 
MMM Training Solutions are experts in the field of customer service training, corporate training, leadership skills training, soft skills training, cross cultural training and many more, for corporates in India and abroad. 

The Role of Emotions in a Leader's Life

Emotional Intelligence emerges as a much stronger predictor of who will be most successful, because it is how we handle ourselves in our relationships that determines how well we do once we are in a given job.” – Daniel Goleman

Recently I conducted training on Performance Dialogues for the executive team of a world-renowned pharmaceutical company. As emotions are a key part of our relationship with people, one of key areas that we focus on in this training is on Emotional Intelligence.

The theme for one of the role-plays was a manager giving feedback to a team member about his not-upto-the-mark performance. The team member played the role of a defiant team member. Within minutes they forgot that it was role-play and played out a real life situation. The manager resorted to the style of coercion that he was used to. The team member displayed anger and frustration about not being heard. The role-play was discontinued and feedback was given. The role-play was then rerun and the participants showed dramatic improvement.

At the end of the two-day workshop, one of the key people of the executive team made two significant remarks:  
  • Why was there so much emphasis on emotions? 
  • Why did we have to do role-plays? 

Emotions are not encouraged nor talked about enough in the work place today.  There is no cohesiveness in a team if there are no emotions. Emotions are not bad. They serve a purpose when used at the right time - for example; fear saves us from dangerous situations. Emotional Intelligence simply means to be intelligent about the use of your emotions.

I leave you with something to ponder about – “How effective do you think the participant is in managing his team?”

Emotional Intelligence Training plays a crucial role in shaping the emotional awareness and understanding in every individual and promotes a sense of confidence and strength within the team. 

MMM Training Solutions conducts emotional intelligence training, corporate training, soft skills training, leadership training, cross cultural training and more for corporates in India and abroad.