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Wrapping Up 2011 From all of us at Priority Learning!

Written by: Ralph Twombly
Published: December 2011

Wow, what happened to 2011? It is December and it seems like only yesterday I was trying to figuring out where I stored my summer clothes. The year has been a very good one for us with continued and ongoing work with old friends, new clients/friends, and lots of new programs. We have met people finding new homes in the area, working in new businesses and we've heard from several people who got promoted. So I thought to wrap up 2011 it might be good to hit on some (not all) of the learning points.

Because an organization isn't a good fit for someone doesn't mean that person doesn't fit - 2011 in my mind may be the year of people finding the right employer. It seemed that more and more people found their way home this year. People are deciding that to work in a place simply because they are good at the work or because they need the money is not good enough in many cases. At Priority Learning we are fond of saying; people want appreciation and a voice (participation) in their work and, if not provided, eventually people who need that voice or praise will move on to someplace (sometimes for less money but not usually) that provides a better fit. When the economy is bad, fear is up and people have a tendency to hold onto jobs they might not normally hold on to. With the new economy in mind, I expect that the trend will continue into 2012 because, as the market expends and jobs open up, folks who have been feeling like they are not a good fit currently may see things that are more appealing. Fear will be lower and we all know what a motivator fear is.

Business continues to invest in the growth of its people - Each night as I listen to the evening news there is more and more bad news about the economy, nemployment, European markets in jeopardy and declining moral standards in society. What we hear and see with our clients is very different. Employers WANT to invest in the growth of their people and are doing so in ever increasing numbers with ever increasing regularity. On a related note, ethics and morality has never been more of a hot button issue and more and more when asked they will tell me, "It is simply the right thing to do." Sometimes I wish I had more answers regarding why things are changing, but are keenly aware of trends and we plan to spend more time in 2012 asking clients why they are doing the things they are doing. So, stay tuned.

People respond to ownership - 2011 was a year of learning for us also. We took on some new clients and, as always, listened carefully to what they perceived their needs to be. For example; we had a client that felt their supervisors needed stronger skills and we have a pretty big bucket of "skills" we can roll out. Things like personal organization, problem solving and planning skills were presented and transferred and we just knew something was missing. Personal complaints continued to go up, backbiting and dissatisfaction was on the rise and for every step forward it seemed we were taking two steps back. The more we thought about it we began to realize that what was missing was a sense of ownership. In other words, we were presenting skills and they thought we were implying that they were unskilled. As soon as we realized it and changed the approach, the work took on new meaning. When we shifted (by accident) to issues that demonstrated their leadership, loyalty, dedication, work ethic and gave them greater understanding of their behavior in relation to others, it was like we hit the exact right button. And while we were at it, we are teaching skills where needed. I don't think we will make that mistake again and maybe we will help other clients who have struggled to make it more effective.

The team spirit is still alive - It still amazes me after all these years how much people like to work together and complete something beneficial. We hear it over and over from cultural teams who miss their meeting time together and series participants who want reunions. People really like to work with each other and learn together and from each other. 2012 will be built more around the spirit of team, the journey of self-development and the fun and excitement of learning. Have we got the best jobs or what?

organizational development consultantsLast month was Thanksgiving and let's take a moment to give the credit where it belongs - This brings me to my 2011 salute to all of the fine people associated with Priority Learning. What a team we have! As Lorraine, Milly or Craig might tell you, they don't get a lot of direction from me and are truly the heroes who make it all happen. When you ask them why they work on Sunday evening, get to the facility at 5:00 am or surprise you with new and better ways to do things, they will all tell you same thing, 'It is for you, the individuals who grace us with their presence, the clients who are kind enough to trust our judgment and share this journey of development, and the hundreds and hundreds of people we are lucky enough to touch and be touched by each year.

Lorraine and I will be traveling from the 16th of December to the first week of January to share the holidays with her Mom in Florida. From all of us to all of you, please have a safe and happy holiday season!

Ralph Twombly

Ralph Twombly

In the 20 years since starting Priority Learning, Ralph has facilitated countless learning experiences and has conducted training for thousands of managers and leaders. With over 30 years of leadership development and organizational development background and work, Ralph continues to build relationships with client companies all over the U.S.