If you are looking for leadership and management training for your employees, no doubt you are overwhelmed by the amount of information and options out there! So why did I develop my Strategic Management Training System? Well, in short, I felt there was an unmet need for a flexible yet personalized approach to employee development training. Much of this is based on my own experience in transitioning from a technical role into management. In this article, I will explain what I felt was missing and how the NMC Strategic Manager addresses these needs.
Challenges with advancing employees
I have already talked in previous articles about the advantages of developing your own employees. And I’m sure you are aware of the importance of advancement opportunities for both recruiting and retaining your ideal employees. But how do you balance employee development training with the realities of time and budget constraints? How do you manage for different skill levels, interests and learning styles?
I want to give an example from my own career, as I believe there are many organizations facing similar challenges.
Having completed a BSc, I started my career in entry level technical positions. I gained approval and recognition for my ability to do technical work well. So that’s where I really focused my efforts and took more technical training when available.
But as I was promoted into supervisory and management positions – very different skill sets were required. Fortunately, the organization had an excellent leadership training program. The problem was, each module was only offered once a year or less. While I was eager to learn, I had to wait until the courses I needed were available.
When the course I needed became available, I had to take almost a week away from the office to attend the workshops. I had to travel to attend, which created costs for my employer, time away from my family and additional day care costs. And meanwhile, there was really no one to cover my work back at the office. So I either checked in on breaks, or things had to pile up until I got back.
And when I did get back with my head full of knowledge, I had to deal with the catch up and reality. All that knowledge started to seep away because I didn’t have a chance to use it immediately. When the time came to use the skills, I struggled to remember specific things and wish I would have had a chance to go back and ask my instructors.
And because the courses where expensive (both direct and indirect costs of travel and time away from work), enrollment was limited to individuals with certain positions. That is, you already needed to be a manager to take the courses. So employees that were aspiring to be managers didn’t get the opportunity to learn the things they would need for advancement.
The need for a more flexible approach
Since that time, I have had some more diverse experiences as a manager. I have also completed an Masters in Business Administration to strengthen my knowledge in all aspects of management and leadership. And I think of other new managers that are going through what I went through:
- Needing those skills, but having to wait for the course to be available.
- Incurring travel with both financial and personal costs.
- Not having the opportunity to access material as and when they need to apply it in the workplace.
I know that there are online MBA programs out there. But not everyone needs or wants an MBA. Sometimes you just need some very specific, practical skills to be a great leader in your workplace. You need not only the knowledge, but some relatable exercises to simulate how to apply these skills in the real world.
The other option out there are these “online courses for the masses”. They are fairly general to apply to a wide audience, and you are truly on your own to complete the material. So while there’s flexibility, these may not give you the practical tools you are looking for.
I strive for a balance of flexibility and some personalization in my approach to employee development training. I truly want to hear from students, and they can contact me at any time with questions. And I have incorporated real examples from my own experience as a manager. Others can learn from my own trial and error!
How does the Strategic Manager System work?
I have set up a number of courses on specific topics in Strategic Management. Participants sign up for a course, and then follow through the video based courses and exercises at their own pace. The courses can be taken individually, but are designed to compliment each other and encourage the development of strategic thinking.
I have included self assessment tools with each course, so that participants can assess whether they have met the objectives or need to go back and review. And they have permanent access to the material! So they can review sections 3 or 6 months later – whenever they need it!
Theses courses can be taken by employees at most any level in your organization. While having some supervisory experience will allow them to get more out of it, that is not essential for learning. However, they should have a reasonable amount of work experience to be able to relate techniques to situations. And while the students are learning at their own pace, they can always email me with questions. As I mentioned, I truly like to hear from students and assist them with their learning!
We can also do facilitated, instructor lead courses for small groups. Participants will be guided each week on the learning material and assignments, and receive feedback on their progress. It can be an effective team building process to have your employees go through the learning together!