Listening is a positive act.

 You have to put yourself out to do it.

~David Hockney

In our work-lives, most of our decisions and actions are based on information that we receive form others.  So, when we work together, we need to make sure that we’re all equipped with accurate and complete information.

Learning to ListenEach of us shares responsibility for the transmission and reception of information, and being a good listener is a fundamental part of that responsibility.  We don’t always get to choose the medium through which we communicate a message, and it’s even rarer that we are able to choose how we receive one.

We need to be able to effectively gather information, however it comes to us.  We need to remove barriers to effective listening.

Listening is both a mental process and a physical activity, which means there are both physical and mental behaviors that contribute to successful communication in any medium, and that there are physical and mental barriers that can arise between us.  The first step toward effective listening is developing an awareness of what these barriers are and how we tend to respond to them.

Learning to ListenLearning to Listen is a listening-skills test and employee training program that develops that awareness through self-assessment.  Based on a three-part Listening Model, Learning to Listen measures how effectively we stay focused, capture messages, and help those communicating with us.

By identifying barriers and effective behaviors, and acknowledging our tendency to utilize them (or not), we build listening into our ideas of success and high performance.   We understand that the reception and retention of information is our responsibility, and that we all have the ability to listen better.

Effective listening is fundamental to teamwork and achievement.  Let’s become better listeners today!

Learning to Listen is now in its Third Edition!  Click here to register for a free virtual product tour with Q&A session.

Managing for Trust

Transitioning into a management position requires a shift in priorities, where relationship building and communication become central.

It’s not always easy to make this transition, especially if one’s technical skill set is something he values highly; but, as with any shift in responsibilities, guiding principles can be derived from the organization’s values and goals – translated into behaviors within a job description that contribute to organizational success. BUT, what happens when these values and goals are either not clearly communicated, or not consistently followed by every stakeholder?

Organizational trust is a major vital sign of any organization, and needs to be built within and between individuals in order to propagate more universally.

Because a manager’s success is often measured by his employee’s success, he needs to have positive influence with them in order to guide them towards high achievement.  Relationship building becomes a main focus for a new manager.  He needs to learn to trust his own ability to guide a team, establish an environment of trust within his team, and hold himself accountable for his team’s place within its organization.

High Fives All Around

It’s always best to lead by example – for the manager to exemplify the qualities of a trustworthy person (consistency, reliability, honesty, integrity, accountability, competency, transparency), AND, to set standards and expectations for employees to exhibit these qualities as well.  When managers set the bar for trustworthy employees, and build a community of trust among themselves, their organization becomes stronger, more stable, and more efficient.

A standard for trustworthy behavior is a strong player in maintaining organizational trust.  A trustworthy organization has clear values that are communicated with words, and demonstrated through actions.  Clear communication couples with low levels of bureaucracy (high levels of transparency) to allow for employee empowerment, which, in turn, produces healthy risk-taking, innovation, engagement, and high performance.

The Reproducible Training LibrarySo give your new managers the foundation they need to build organizational trust with – what else, but – Learning to Manage and Organizational Trust – two new titles in the Reproducible Training Library.

Contributing to overall organizational health, these half-day, classroom workshops deliver research-based content developed by subject-matter experts in a customizable format – allowing you to tailor them to your specific needs and deliver training on demand.

Get started with a free preview today!

Green will do fine. It’s beautiful! And it’s what we want to be.

Soft-skills training is, in large part, about fostering good citizenship – in our teams, our organizations, and our communities.

HRDQ e-Learning

At HRDQ, we believe that good citizenship extends beyond the workplace and even beyond the community.  We must also be good global citizens.  In 2014, we will continue our efforts (and take new steps) to minimize our impact on the environment.  Along with a critical eye focused on our daily habits, our business strategy is focused on the future – e-Learning and digital products.

Over the past year, we published 5 new online assessments and 13 new digitally-formatted training programs.  Delivering top-quality content, these resources reduce the need for paper, ink, and electricity.  Our plans for 2014 include the development of many more electronic resources, along with the use of energy-efficient lighting and appliances, recycling and use of recycled materials, reduction of petroleum-based product use, electronic filing, and a continued partnership with CarbonFund to offset our carbon production.

Carbon Fund

It’s a beautiful day in King of Prussia, and we’re happy to be here – at a time when digital media and e-Learning make possible the preservation of our beautiful world.

Resolve in Style

Happy New Year, Everybody!  Have you made your resolution yet?  Neither have I.  Let’s do it together – and make it count.

The HRDQ Style Model is an accurate and accessible model of personality style, based on an individual’s levels of assertiveness and expressiveness.  It defines four styles (Direct, Spirited, Systematic, and Considerate), that describe sets of natural behavioral tendencies.

HRDQ Style Model

Because these styles reflect all aspects of our behavior, they represent both effective and ineffective choices.  Once we’ve developed an appropriate awareness of our own behaviors, we can resolve to choose more effective actions.  We can start by finding out which personality style we exhibit.  The HRDQ Style Series offers 8 personality assessments that target different aspects of work-life.  Then, by examining some potential problem areas, we can be more conscious of our weak areas, and be vigilant and attentive to those around us.

Here are some suggested resolutions for each personality style:

Start 2014 In Style

Direct

Resolve to be a better friend.  Increase your emotional intelligence and listening skills to build strong, lasting relationships and let others know that you value them.  When the people around you feel heard, they’re more likely to listen to you.

Spirited

Resolve to get organized.  Use time management and realistic goal setting to make sure you’re a productive and engaged member of the team.  Focus your exuberance and show your team mates that you’re interested in meeting team goals.

Systematic

Resolve to let people in.  More self-disclosure builds trust and opens you up to new possibilities and new relationships. Taking chances on people and ideas can benefit your entire team, and help you learn and develop new skills.

Considerate

Resolve to be more assertive.  Express your opinions to others so that you feel you’ve done your part and are not resentful of team decision-making.  Learn how to acknowledge and move past your emotions so that there’s no lingering ickyness in your every day.

Start your year off right with soft-skills training from the HRDQ Style Series – let personality style guide you towards more productive relationships, a happier work life, and more effective choices.

Get started today!

Do Your Best

An organization is a group of people that work together for a common purpose. That’s really it.  That’s all it is.  So how does the work get done?  How are decisions made, and by whom?  How do they know they’re right?

To maximize efficiency, engagement, and effectiveness, everyone should be empowered to make decisions – everyone needs to know how their decisions align with and affect the organization as a whole.

Do Your Best

An essential responsibility of organizational leaders is the communication of mission, vision, and goals. People need to be reminded and reassured of what their organization’s purpose is – not as a deterrent to innovative thinking, but to make them feel confident in their decision making and assured of their meaningful contributions.  Purpose is a guardrail, not a fence.

It’s important to remember, though, that organizations need to be guided, ultimately, by ideas – not people.  This is what mission refers to – a timeless explanation of the identity of a team, group or organization.  An organization’s mission, very basically, is its reason for existence.

In order to facilitate consistent decision making with an engaged team, the desired future needs to look the same to everyone.  This is called vision.  An organization comes together for their mission, and continues on toward their vision.

Goals are the details.  With mission and vision, you know who you are, where you’re going, and why.  Goals are the when, what, and how.

Do Your BestDo Your Best is a soft-skills training program and set of experiential learning activities that illustrates how statements of mission, vision, and goals can directly alter employees’ actions when they are told to adhere to them while carrying out tasks.  These statements, especially when presented in writing, not only provide direction and limitation, they motivate and define success.

Do Your Best demonstrates the fundamental nature of organizational direction, and the need for a set of ideas and concepts to guide employee action (rather than a person to please).  The name “Do Your Best is an example of an ineffective statement of direction.  Participants will engage in hands-on exercises (building walls with acrylic blocks) that involve ineffective direction, and see how such statements can lead to counterproductive behaviors and failure.

Bolster your organization’s direction-setting and decision-making abilities with Do Your Best – a serious lesson conveyed through a fun and memorable experience.

Women and Leadership

The high percentage of women in the workforce, and ever-increasing presence of women in leadership roles, makes gender issues in the workplace no less real. Women face many obstacles on the path to a successful career. It’s important to note, though, that in addition to actual cultural issues in an organization, some obstacles come from women’s own perceptions of themselves and their place in an organization.

Both types of obstacles can be overcome with soft-skills development, but differentiating between external and internal obstacles is a very fundamental step towards self-awareness and growth. Once this awareness is established, women can begin looking within to build self-confidence, assertiveness, and resilience – so that they can begin effectively building and maintaining productive relationships with others.

Women and Leadership

The narrative of gender in the workplace needs to be deconstructed. You are not “a woman,” you’re YOU. And you should strive to be the best you can be – both in individual performance, and in your interpersonal relationships. By presenting your best self to others, you contribute to the dissolution of gender-based stereotypes and discrimination.

You can learn and develop effective behaviors that don’t change who you are or what values you hold, and that don’t make you “act like a man.” It’s not about compromise, but self-awareness, cultural awareness, and education for everyone.

When faced with circumstances in which gender bias presents a challenge, the best solution is a solid set of soft skills. Building individual relationships that are healthy, effective, and efficient is the start to a strong organizational culture that cares for and embraces all of its members.

Women and LeadershipWomen and Leadership, a new title in the Reproducible Training Library, is an instructor-led soft-skills training program that explores all the challenges women face as they emerge as leaders, and prepares them to select effective behaviors that contribute meaningfully to the success of their organization and to their career.

As part of the Reproducible Training Library, Women and Leadership is fully customizable, and can be used to train as many participants in as many sessions as needed.  Your affordable, effective, and personalized soft-skills training solution, the Reproducible Training Library will make your employees, your teams, and your organization more efficient, more healthy, and more prepared than they’ve ever been to succeed.

Help your leaders woman more effectively. I mean…Try Women and Leadership today!