How a Learning and Development Program Can Build the Professional Skills Your Team Needs

Posted by Lou Bergholz on Sep 3, 2015 1:36:43 PM
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Soft Skills Edgework Consulting Training Program

Teams make a new hire to fill a role – a marketer, an engineer, a salesperson, a designer – and look for the hard skills in a person to match that role. But more and more, a successful hire not only has the individual skills to fit a role, he or she also has the individual skills to fit in on a team.

Yet, team dynamics are complex  you may have a team with a lot of talent, but you need the individual team members to gel for the team to become confident, inspired, and cohesive. Bringing your team members together with a learning and development program can take the job descriptions for which they were hired – marketer, engineer – and add to those descriptors like team player, problem solver, and communicator.

In our work we've seen that a team going through a formal, intentional learning and development program together is better than individual team members doing it on their own. At the center of the Edgework approach is the idea of Interpersonal Productivity – the way in which two or more people work together to get better results in less time. We start with the premise that productivity is a team endeavor. It's not only about individuals being really good at their jobs, it's about the team working really well together as a unit. That's the amplification effect you can get when your team works with an interpersonal productivity perspective. 

Performance issues are traditionally addressed by isolating a low performing individual and trying to shape him or her to fit better in the team: Bill, you need to work on time management; Mark, you need to work on communication; Mary, you need to work on meeting deadlines. You have three people with three different charges, working on three different skills, all on one team. We take a different approach where we look at the team as a whole to find inefficiencies, then find ways for the team to work on those together. With the interpersonal productivity approach people look not just at what's productive for them, but for them and the people with whom they're working: when is it best to send an email, when is is it best to pick up the phone, or when is it best to take a deep breath before you do anything?

While you may be hiring a “marketer” what you’re hoping for is someone to help the salesperson, assist the designer, and work with operations to move your project forward. You’re hiring to fill a position, but hoping for a teammate. It doesn’t matter what hard skills your individual team members have if they can’t use them together, as a unit. A good learning and development program can bridge that gap and build a team that’s ready for the challenges and opportunities ahead. We love to work with clients over time to see their growth, and to help them better chart the course ahead for their organization and for the teams they’ll need to get there.

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Topics: Workshops and Training