Transferring Skills & Behaviours

How do Pat Cash’s comments on Roger Federer’s tennis style changes help your teams performance?

How do you transfer knowledge within your business? Its funny I had a client the other day who was speaking about how some people in the organisation were no good at learning.

In fact you could spend serious time with them in specific situations and they would come back the next day having not retained a thing.

I had read some days before an article by Pat Cash on Roger Federer: Pat was commenting on how Roger had made some significant changes to his tennis style, here is some of what he said:

Roger is ”Now hitting the ball earlier and stepping into a more advanced position on the court. He is hitting his shots harder, courtesy of his fantastic racket-head speed. That’s a great bonus here in Melbourne because this year the court surface is sticky, which makes the balls fluff up quicker than normal and consequently sees them coming more slowly onto the racket.”€


So how does this effect the way you are training your people to perform. Well what I like about Pat’s description is that he really breaks down some of the things, most people would have no clue about what so ever. Things that are crucial to Rogers performance, in fact it was only a couple of weeks after the article was written that he won the Australian open again.

To see the article – Click here

In your business how are you transferring the knowledge that is crucial to the success of your highest performers. Do you have the ability to break the crucial things down to a level that actually anyone could understand them?

There are many different ways of training like:

  • On the job training
  • In front of a room
  • Being tested via online tests or surveys
  • Getting the individual to be buddied up with experts on site and having them work together then be tested afterwards by the same or other people.

Knowing, what you need to break down how and why can be a big link the chain of success.

Pat goes on to say about Roger:

“By taking the ball earlier and hitting it harder he’s in effect shortening the length of points. Also, by playing that little bit further into the court, he’s not covering so much ground. Somebody such as Nadal who plays way behind the baseline might need seven or eight paces to get from one extreme to the other but being more advanced to take the ball almost on the half-volley a lot of the time lessens the effort.”

Consider the following scenarios:

1)You are a project manager and have no idea how to bring up the topic of continuous improvement with your team.

2)You work on a project where you continuously see one of the team produce more output then three others put together.

3)Your team on the factory floor have one member who is able to produce more than 200% more than the others.

What questions might you ask the performers, how would you then record those things, to get significantly better results from the changes you then have to make?

  • How can you bring it to life so that as performers get better this new knowledge is captured?
  • What process could you use to transfer this knowledge?
  • How might you educate the masses?
  • Where would you store the data?

There are very good answers to all these things, some of which lie in the technology. Others need to have been thoroughly designed as business processes which then become part of the “Way things are done around here”.

Cultural Diversity in Business?

Recently there has been a large amount of coverage both in Australia and India about the way Indian nationals are being treated.

Several people have been threatened with their lives or have in fact lost their lives in the past weeks. This has been of huge concern for many reasons, not only for the people of India who are becoming a larger and larger part of our community, but also for those involved in Australian politics and for the greater community.

What may concern us in business is that the things that happen in the parks and streets around our cities also affect us in business.

Ask the question: say you have a mix of ethnicities in your business, either on the ground in Australia or in their own countries like Indonesia, China, India, the Middle East or New Zealand.

How do you cater for people from these different ethnicities? What do you do to create open dialogue or cultural understanding? How are you bringing people from different cultures together in order that they all get along and can learn from each other without barriers?

Given that we often struggle even to negotiate simple things with regard to immigration laws, like who should be able to fly or settle, it’s even more important that we treat ethnically diverse staff with respect. When you get it right, you can really enable not only increased performance but also faster and clearer communication.

Take a look at a quick video with some thoughts on diversity and talent in the workplace from people like Tig Gillam, CEO Adecco, and Marilyn Johnson, VP Market Development IBM and other business leaders. Are you doing these things in your workplace?

Consider three things in your business:

  • Work out who your most talented people are.
  • Find out where they are from and why their background has helped them get the results they are currently getting with what they do.
  • Create a process where your people can share their experiences with others in your team. Don’t put them on a pedestal, but give them the ability to share how their background makes a difference.

A 15 MINUTE EXERCISE – YOU MAY JUST BE VERY SURPRISED AT SOME OF THE ANSWERS!

  • Have your teams discuss what it means to come from their own cultures and the effects on results as they see them.

Bring all your people together culturally so they support each other and are willing to have respect for each other’s differences.

It’s no coincidence that people like Mother Theresa, Ghandi, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King & Barack Obama, through their ability to bring large groups of people with major differences together, have made such a difference in our world.

What could you do in your organisation’s CULTURAL world and what would it take to boost it?

Time & business results

I have friends you can’t meet for morning tea for 8 weeks because they are booked out. Others, you can consistently book a catch-up with so long as you give them 7 days notice and that’s that, every time. Then there are people who will be available tomorrow at 3pm or Friday at 9am and any further out than that and you can forget it!

TIME – Why is that the case?

Is it true that the person booked up for 8 weeks is more important, successful or has more happening in their lives than those you could get an appointment with tomorrow?

INTERESTINGLY IN OUR EXPERIENCE, NO!

Funnily enough, some of the leaders of the biggest organisations in the country operate very much in the now. If it weren’t for some very smart assistants, things would look very different. How might this information influence you and your team’s ability to get results?

Is everybody different around time? What kinds of people are similar and why? We will deal with only one part of this major body of work that up until now been badly under-researched.

How do I know? Well, all the time I see organisations facing people issues where certain portions of populations are extremely reactive and others are the opposite, far too slow to react. Where do you sit? How about your best people when you are “Managing Your Talent”? Are they reactive or more strategic? What’s needed more in your environment?

“Your interpretation of time is not a right or a wrong one. However, if you are too extreme either way with regard to your specific work context and what’s required, you can really lose out.”

What should you do to ensure your thinking around time fits with your business role? Here are three suggestions to consider with regard to the people in your workplace.

1)In a fast-paced sales or back office production environment, you probably want to be able to move quickly and hence timeframes are almost certain to be shorter.

2)In a strategic planning or IT implementation environment, it might pay to have a medium-term time perspective. However, watch out! Get this to be more a long-term perspective and that $500 million dollar IT rollout can easily blow into costing twice as much.

3)In Strategy & Planning roles in major organisations, the people involved are better to have a really good understanding of time in the long term. But they still need to be able to partner with the people on the floor conducting the rollout.

So what if you’ve got people in completely the wrong place?

What if you have people (even managers) on the floor who think learning a set of specific behaviours will take 3 months when your best manager considers it can easily be learnt in 24 hours? A problem in many IT, HR and L&D departments is that when major rollouts occur, the third parties always talk about giving things some time… until the budget’s blown and the business is locked into making even tougher decisions!

Business results & collaboration

Collaboration is a funny word, and ironically many of us are not to good at it.

Think about it – when someone cooks dinner at your place, who does it, do you share the duties? Often one person will do all the cooking and another all the washing up. Often one person becomes great at one of these two things. In business you often have a similar occurrence.

John is great at the Project Management schedule but never gets it together around creating solid relationships. So his assistant becomes great at doing it, and does it so well John never gets out to see his people when part of his role was to be out on the work front. So how could you use collaboration in a way that it would absolutely revolutionise a team’s results in your business? Being able to identify and management your talent in such a way that the transfer of “What they know & do” starts to occur organically within your organisation.

  1. Look at how often you setup specific learning tasks for the people in your team who are not at the top?
  2. When you have meetings with the team what are the expectations you set?
  3. Do you have a selection of your team sharing the things that made the biggest difference to them across the past month, censored by you
  4. Do all team members leave the meeting with structured things to improve on based on where they are at?

How do you then meaningfully sit with all these people in order to ensure the skills, behaviours and attributes that matter are being learned? By consistently considering these factors organisational change can occur faster.

If some of the above is ringing bells also consider the %age greater sales or production & productivity your best people create against those struggling, and consider what changes could you make to your own style of leadership around knowledge transfer and collaboration.