Use This Checklist to Evaluate Your Program!
Your staff is working and serving clients because your organization provides an “essential” function. That’s great…for now. But you foresee a future with tighter revenue, constrained travel, and stressed clients. When belt-tightening the budget, professional development is often the first line item cut. Here’s why that’s a really bad idea.
When resources are limited and uncertainty abounds, clients want to work with organizations they trust. Now more than ever your technical managers need enhanced interpersonal skills so that you are the trusted company with whom clients want to work. After all, there are plenty of architecture and engineering companies with highly skilled technical staff, but not many have high-functioning communicators who can relate to clients, listen with empathy, speak succinctly and clearly, and make the client feel that they “get” them. Those are the skill sets worth investing in now more than ever.
You need technical managers whose interpersonal skills are equal to or greater than their technical skills. You want managers who can:
- Create client relationships based on trust because your managers are good listeners and can put themselves in the clients’ shoes.
- See beyond the data to sense the unspoken needs of the client.
- Articulate your firm’s technical competence without sounding condescending.
- Be clear, concise communicators without spouting jargon and mind-numbing data.
- Delegate to build skilled staff so that more work gets done with more satisfied
If you already have a professional development program, use this checklist to assess how it’s working for you.
✓ Does it use science-based content to transform touch-feely interpersonal issues into practical, logical technique?
✓ Does it convert number-crunching engineers into high-functioning communicators who write and speak like pros?
✓ Is the program designed to use neuroscientific learning principles like engagement, experiential learning and reminders to enhance retention?
✓ Is the program designed and conducted by a professional who led an engineering organization rather than someone who just talks about the theory?
✓ Is the training leader an engineer AND certified speaking professional™ (CSP) with the skills to maintain participants’ interest through real-life examples rather than a series of lectures with word-filled slides?
✓ Do you see tangible results that lead to practical, real-world applications?
If you are not getting the results you expect, now’s the time to make changes. There’s too much at stake. A sub-optimal professional development program leads to sub-optimal results. Is that why your clients hired you?
If you don’t currently have a professional development program, look for one with the attributes above because this is what your staff and clients deserve and what today’s environment requires.
Above all, keep the funding in the budget! Invest more now and you’ll be the company who comes out of this on top.
At Shelley Row Associates we meet all the requirements above and more. Shelley is a professional engineer, former USDOT executive and a Certified Speaking Professional. Here’s what clients have to say about the impact of her custom-designed programs for technical staff.
“We saw immediate results the first time Shelley worked with our leadership team. She created a program uniquely suited to our company that worked for individuals and teams and was grounded in science. We’ve seen improved relationships, reduced volatility and a resulting increase in productivity. Her ongoing personal and group reminders are an essential part of the program’s effectiveness. If it worked for our team, it’ll work for yours.” Bill Russell, Former CEO Eberle Design