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Friday, 22 August 2014 22:19

Training Busy Managers

  Training Busy Managers

Managers today are on a perpetual race against time. We all know that time is a precious commodity and when trying to balance high priority work against learning additional skills, training usually loses out.

Nevertheless, training is necessary because not all managers are leaders and not all of them possess excellent interpersonal skills.

The following are a few pointers on making training programs for managers effective and brief.

1. Dump outdated training design methods

Conventional training programs begin with an icebreaker, move on to introductions, build the environment and then discuss the agenda and objectives. However, most managers have no patience with time-consuming activities that serve little purpose. The conventional training approach should be replaced with one that:

  • Describes the value derived from the session
  • Details specifics on what they will learn from the session and where and how it can be applied immediately
  • Incorporates interactive exercises to provide a forum for learning new ideas from other managers
2. Avoid meaningless charts

Most trainers write almost everything anyone says on a flipchart, with the intention of referring to it later. This is a time consuming and pointless exercise. Discussing the ideas with the group is a better option. Replace flip charts with interactive exercises.

Activities should not be included just for the sake of variety. Develop activities that will allow them to practically apply the training. Discussing real-world case studies is better than 'pairing with a partner' games.

3. Make it fast-paced

Time is money for most companies. Discussing the same point for two-hours can be very frustrating. During team exercises, interact with the team members and coach them to ensure they don't deviate from the point. Keeping their focus on the topic provides “guardrails” to make the discussions productive and interesting. It also prevents pursuing irrelevant discussions and allows the trainer to keep to the agenda.

4. Understand business

The trainer must know and understand current business practices. The trainer must keep current by reading business magazines and utilizing other research tools (e.g. internet) in order to keep informed of current trends in business. They must be informed about innovative practices being employed successfully by other companies. Using real business examples in sessions greatly enhances the credibility of the trainer.

Management training requires the trainer to be well-informed and able to clearly articulate current and innovative business practices and coach the class members. Trainers in this environment must be more prepared than in other training classes. Since they are considered the experts they must be able to demonstrate their expertise!

5. Consider business the top priority

For busy managers, training is just one of the many things performed during the day. When managers express their frustration about being in training programs, ask probing questions about these frustrations and relate how the training can alleviate them. Explain the material in relationship to business demands and how the training can benefit them. Trainers should be prepared to demonstrate how their training can affect the business positively. They must assume that managers are committed, despite being overworked.

At TenStep we are dedicated to helping organizations achieve their goals and strategies through the successful execution of critical business projects. We provide training, consulting and products for organizations to help them set up an environment where projects are successful. This includes help with strategic planning, portfolio management, program / project management, Project Management Offices (PMOs) and project lifecycles. For more information, visit or contact us at

Published in Blogs
Monday, 15 October 2007 14:55

About soft skills and project management

A key success factor for excellent project management often relies also upon the people skills of the project manager.

In order to minimize risk and ensure a successful project, project managers must not only deal with the technical project management aspects, but asses leadership skills, cultivate a motivated team, master negotiation tactics to effectively handle conflict situations and communicate effectively. Projects success can be jeopardized by things such as personal agendas, politics, poor communication and team conflicts.

And if you succeed, no matter how "good" you are,  you will never get the credit, if can’t communicate well with colleagues or clients.
Published in Blogs
Wednesday, 11 April 2007 19:58

Are You A Master?

In the April 2007 edition of PM Network, there is an article titled "Master Plan: IT executives need to develop an eye for project managers" that I would like to comment on.

The article is mostly based off a study done by Gartner Inc., in Stamford CT, USA. One sad but true statistic stated that 20-30% of IT executives "have a 'dismissive attitude' toward project management". Those are the same execs that suffer "from poor quality, late delivery and unrealistic project costs." I can related to this information from my personal experience, and would venture a guess that when you move into executives in operational areas, the dismissive attitude towards proper project management increases. The majority of IT execs seem to have seen the light and made the realization that there really is value to be delivered by well run projects by individuals who have the right skills to do so in a formal manner. 
Published in Blogs
Thursday, 01 March 2007 01:27

Stakeholder Management

Project managers deal with dynamic environments. Their role is not only to deliver projects on time, within budget and to the required quality, but extend to include other aspects that are equally important.
Published in Blogs

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