Corporate Training: Leaders Teach Leaders

Hello, Habr! I want to talk about how we, in the NGO “Krista”, conduct corporate trainings in the framework of the project # Krista Team, which was developed to prepare the personnel reserve of the company.

First, I will focus on whether training is needed at all? For a long time I had some skepticism about their usefulness. However, one day I met on the Internet with all kinds of information about corporate universities. It turned out that they have been around for quite some time. Companies spend considerable financial resources on training their employees through trainings.

Before, I had occasion to participate in various trainings. As a rule, they are led by sufficiently qualified, experienced trainers. Usually training takes 2 to 3 days for 8 hours. Theoretical material alternates with practical tasks. By the end of the training, its participants are invited to make a small project to consolidate knowledge. It would seem that everything was right, but every time after participating in a training of this format I caught myself thinking that something was missing for me. The trainings of our project # Krista Team became a real discovery for me and allowed me to take a step in professional development. How do they differ from other trainings?

Mentor Training

To become an internal trainer in our company, each employee must undergo training on topics that correspond to our competency system, and training for trainers on the methodology of teaching an adult audience.

Trainings for future mentors – project managers who preceded the trainings in which I participated, were aimed at developing corporate and managerial competencies. These include:
– commitment
– Customer focus
– Focus on innovation
– Teamwork
– Professionalism
– Team work planning
– Organization of the team
– Monitoring and evaluation of the team
– Conflict Management
– Management of risks
– Time and personal performance management
– Leadership
– Staff development
– Strategic thinking
– Change management
Project managers developed knowledge, skills, and behavioral models appropriate to these competencies.

Start date

After completing the training, project managers acted as trainers for us, department heads and representatives of the personnel reserve of the company. Since the training material is quite extensive, we were given it in a concise form. The result was training intensive. The duration of training was 2 months. In total, there were 20 trainings: 2 to 3 trainings per week.

Among the students were young people and girls, there were a total of 15 people. No more than 1 representative from the company department was involved. The selection was based on the wishes of the employees themselves and the recommendations of their leaders. As a result, the whole range of key professions of the company was presented in the group, including testers, software support and implementation specialists, methodologists, and, of course, programmers, to whom I belong.

At the beginning of our studies, we were offered the topics of the projects and reported that, in addition to participating in the trainings, we should think through their concepts, write technical assignments on them and protect the projects.

The topics were:
1. development of a knowledge base for the formation of technical specifications for the conditions of the customer;
2. Development of a mobile application for mapping desires and life goals;
3. development of a system of “smart” user support;
4. development of a module to the internal website of the company and a mobile application for the introduction of a new system of non-material incentives for employees in the form of “achievements”;
5. Development of the information portal of the NGO Krista.
All topics reflected real production tasks, which at that time had not yet reached the implementation stage, i.e. were relevant.

I was wondering how the trainings will go. I used to communicate with many managers at work, I was very familiar with some – it was curious how they would tell us everything.

Introductory training

He helped us overcome concerns about how to combine training and core work. After all, no one has canceled it. This training also fueled interest in further training.

He went as follows. After the introductory part, we divided into teams of 3 people each and played out the topics of our future projects. Our team got the topic number 5. Then we were asked to complete a creative task. Two teams were assigned to each team. The assignment was to come up with and record 5-minute videos to present the teams. We went into classrooms and began to come up with concepts and scenarios.

At first it was difficult to distribute the roles: to understand who is the generator of ideas, who is the integrator, and who is the harmonizer or researcher of resources. Mentors offered their ideas. However, gradually everything went and went. Our team took as a basis the plot of smugglers from the movie “Diamond Hand”. The video was very funny. Other teams also had interesting videos. For example, one team for self-presentation beat the theme of the song of the group “Nautilus Pompilius” “Chained by one chain”, the other preferred the direct form of self-presentation, accompanying it with graphic images.

In general, team building was held in a friendly, fun atmosphere, on an emotional upsurge. I concluded: group creative assignment is a very important stage of the training. It was regularly used in further training. This task allowed:
– rally the students;
– establish a trusting relationship between students and mentors;
– shift attention from work issues to another type of activity and look at familiar things with a fresh look.

Training “Customer Orientation”

At this stage, we had to learn to identify and understand the needs of the organization’s clients, build constructive, long-term relationships with them, overcome disagreements when working with clients, and achieve mutually beneficial solutions. The task was not easy. Several effective communication rules, relevant for all trainings, helped us to cope with it in many ways. These include:
– the rule of one microphone;
– communication on “you”;
– activity of each participant;
– transfer phones to vibration mode;
– a clear understanding that there are no stupid questions, the worst question is not asked.
Following these rules allowed us to create a constructive, friendly atmosphere and achieve a better result.

In the process of training there were many interesting moments, accompanied by violent emotions. Together we reviewed the usual approaches to work and made new decisions. The results of this and other trainings were discussed in a comfortable, relaxed atmosphere.

After this training, I already realized that I also want to try myself as a mentor. Already wanted as a coach to bring their knowledge, energy into the learning process. I hoped to feel the same joy and unity with the students during the trainings, as it was when they taught me. These hopes subsequently came true in full.

Debate – Oratory Training

At the beginning of this training, we were introduced to how to ask questions correctly, argue, lead a discussion, and build a speech. Then there was practice: several classes were devoted to debates that took place according to the traditional model.

Many participants of the training, including mine, had their first experience in mastering oratory. Speaking to the audience, answering tricky questions from opponents was not easy. And I noticed this not only at home, but also at other participants. However, after the training, I unexpectedly discovered that I liked it. Moreover, this type of training has become one of my favorites. I enjoyed participating in the debate. As a rule, they ended late, but they never left a feeling of emotional emptiness, but on the contrary, they charged with positive energy.

Recently, in our company, debates have been held monthly: the #Crista Debate club has been created. I try to participate in every meeting.

Final project

In the final projects, we had to reflect and hone the knowledge gained at the trainings. Work on the projects went on throughout the training. We met several times a week after work or training.

Our team has been developing an information portal for the Krista NGO. We needed to create a single information space for our company, which is distinguished by its wide geography. It turned out to be especially difficult for us in this matter to calculate the labor intensity and, on its basis, the budget. Some components of the project, for example, risks, we managed to work out quite well. While working on the project, I learned a lot of corporate portals. This analysis is very useful. We came to the conclusion that we need a complete information system with wide functionality. As a result, the training project of our team was the first to go into production. I was fortunate enough to lead him as a technical leader.

Conclusions and Prospects

Based on my experience of participating in trainings, I can formulate the following arguments in their favor: it is difficult to study the theory of behavioral models on your own – the help of an experienced mentor is very useful here; during collective training, participants exchange experience and opinions, there is an opportunity to immediately thoroughly work out the mastered material in practice; To dive into a particular topic, you must initially specify a development vector, i.e. trainings will give direction, and then you can study the material in more detail yourself.

The format of the trainings under the project # Krista Team I really liked. In my opinion, other participants too. The training material was different. The question arose: do we, specialists in various fields, need training that is not directly related to our professions? For example, does a programmer need to be client-oriented? And then the question arose: do programmers of testers, methodologists, implementation specialists, and marketers understand well? After all, not everyone is immersed in communication with external customers, but with internal customers – that’s all. However, not everyone is doing well. But if something doesn’t work out for me, then I need it, this is my development zone, and in this topic the zone of personal growth. The influence of new information, backed up by practice, on a person can change him if not an established core, then a look at certain things. Therefore, when passing this or that training, at least I understood for myself: this is the necessary material – I will return to it when it is necessary.

The undoubted advantage of the trainings was that our leaders – the people we periodically encounter at work under various circumstances – were in the role of equal participants. It was felt that they sincerely care about us. Mentors really worried about how things go. During all the trainings, mentors and participants constantly communicated, exchanged opinions and emotions. As a result, we got used to each other and even made friends. Now we are much more actively interacting on all working issues. I try to maintain warm relations with all participants in the trainings.

After analyzing the experience of training the first stream of employees, we came to the conclusion that we did:
– rallying students and trainers;
– development of existing and detailed development of new projects useful for business;
– intensive training format for the personnel reserve of the company;
– development of corporate culture;
– Increasing employee loyalty to the company.

In the trainings of the second stream, we made the following adjustments:
– now everyone can apply for participation in the training. For this, employees fill out questionnaires and write essays;
– it was decided to invite coaches – participants of the first stream trainings;
– as part of the trainings for a more effective team building, it was decided to conduct sports events;
– in the final of all classes, a final business game was organized for their participants, during which all competencies are developed;
– It is planned to disseminate the practice of intensive training of the personnel reserve of NPO Krista in the branches of our company in the regions of the country. They will be held in January-February 2020.

Training under the project # Krista Team is a part of the corporate training program, the creation of which NPO Krista pays great attention. This project involves blocks of training events of different focus for employees of different professions and statuses. Among such events are internal face-to-face trainings on relevant topics. Trainings on non-core topics will also be held. They will be led by invited trainers. A complex of electronic courses, webinars and an offline-training system are being developed. A training program for customer support specialists is being created, in the framework of which various trainings will be held. In general, we assess the needs of our business and, on their basis, form a program for the development of the company’s competency system.

Summarizing the above, I emphasize that the involvement of project managers and departments of the NGO Krista as trainers gives very good results. Now the third stream is preparing for training. I will participate in it, as in the second stream, as a mentor, co-trainer, and this is great.

Probably, trainings, somewhat similar to ours, are held in other companies. It would be interesting to learn about this practice.

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