Appleton Greene corporate training programs are all process-driven. They are used as vehicles to implement tangible business processes within clients’ organizations, together with training, support and facilitation during the use of these processes. Corporate training programs are therefore implemented over a sustainable period of time, that is to say, between 1 year (incorporating 12 monthly workshops), and 4 years (incorporating 48 monthly workshops). Your program information guide will specify how long each program takes to complete. Each monthly workshop takes 6 hours to implement and can be undertaken either on the client’s premises, an Appleton Greene serviced office, or online via the internet. This enables clients to implement each part of their business process, before moving onto the next stage of the program and enables employees to plan their study time around their current work commitments. The result is far greater program benefit, over a more sustainable period of time and a significantly improved return on investment.
Appleton Greene uses standard and bespoke corporate training programs as vessels to transfer business process improvement knowledge into the heart of our clients’ organizations. Each individual program focuses upon the implementation of a specific business process, which enables clients to easily quantify their return on investment. There are hundreds of established Appleton Greene corporate training products now available to clients within customer services, e-business, finance, globalization, human resources, information technology, legal, management, marketing and production. It does not matter whether a client’s employees are located within one office, or an unlimited number of international offices, we can still bring them together to learn and implement specific business processes collectively. Our approach to global localization enables us to provide clients with a truly international service with that all important personal touch. Appleton Greene corporate training programs can be provided virtually or locally and they are all unique in that they individually focus upon a specific business function. All (CLP) programs are implemented over a sustainable period of time, usually between 1-4 years, incorporating 12-48 monthly workshops and professional support is consistently provided during this time by qualified learning providers and where appropriate, by Accredited Consultants.
Productivity improvements drive economic progress. In Western economies labour productivity has been stagnating since the 1970s, so placing downward pressure on wages and increasing inequalities between rich and poor. This global problem has real world implications within organisations as one of the key drivers of this trend has been a historic reduction in innovation. While we are living through a technological revolution, as businesses we are not all maximising the opportunities to take advantage of the possibilities which exist.
One factor is that many leaders and managers are not IT confident. That is they are only confident investing in innovations which align with their known technical knowledge. The options for technological applications are vast, so it is not surprising that business leaders are not aware of all of them. The productization of IT makes it more likely that an organisation will purchase a readymade solution – but how to choose the right one? The world is littered with failed IT projects, and change projects which created as many problems as they solved, all while creating strife amongst staff teams.
What if leaders and managers could have an altered skill set that combined great management practice with the skills to investigate the factors that could unlock improved productivity and performance? What if leaders could devise solutions that improved profitability and made life easier for staff, customers and stakeholders? And how about a change management methodology which emphases working with staff to devise great solutions so that they want change to happen rather than dreading it and fighting it off? Supercharged performance is about all of these, taking the logic of high performing teams into the 21st century and to the next level.
The move to mass production started by Henry Ford in 1913 with his implementation of the first moving production line for the Model T caused manufacturing businesses to focus in new ways on ways to maximise operational efficiency. The production targets and enforced streamlined performance of Two World Wars continued with this trend to break previously specialised tasks down into simple ones which could be completed to a good standard by unskilled workers. It was also around this time that Henry Gantt introduced his Gantt Chart as a project management methodology
In the post war period of the 1950s performance appraisals gained traction with a focus on how personality impacted performance. Over the next decade these adapted into a management by objectives, with the setting of goals and objectives for staff performance to both motivate and track achievement. Operational performance and efficient target setting was still important at this time, mainly in response to the major complex re-building projects in the post war and Cold War era. Dupont was one of the businesses leading the charge and in 1957 they devised the Critical Path Method, a key tool to aid decision making and the efficient design of project plans. A year later the US Navy implemented PERT (Program Evaluation Review Technique) to help with building Polaris. The Tavistock Institute introduced the concept of High Performing Teams, and organisations such as Boeing used this model to change their culture to one which merged the business goals of the organization with the social needs of the individuals who worked in them creating huge performance gains.
By the end of the century many organisations implemented systems of 360 degree feedback, in part as layers of management and bureaucracy were being shed with the increased usage of computer power. Flatter corporate structures and a move away from patriarchal leaders to emphasise the importance of creating leaders at every level in the business made gaining feedback from a wider variety of viewpoints to be seen as a good way to improve staff performance. This also aligns with the move to see stakeholders rather than just shareholders as a way to direct corporate goals. Development of High Performing Teams thinking introduced more organisations to the value of psychometrics to help ensure a productive balance of personalities within teams, as well as the power of coaching and mentoring to drive staff development and motivation. Increasingly, money is not seen as the key staff motivator and how staff are treated as part of the decision making process is seen as a way to drive performance.
Theories of Emotional Intelligence began to proliferate in the 1990s as a Leadership competency, and a way for managers to make better decisions by focusing on social intelligence, feelings, and emotions to guide thinking and action. Goleman described 5 elements of emotional intelligence as self-awareness, self-regulation, social skills, empathy, and motivation, and his work opened up a new wave of management thinking.
From 1975 onwards, there was an increasing body of work looking at how to prevent and reduce project overruns in IT and in 1984 Goldratt introduced his Theory of Constraints model to push leaders to focus on what stands in the way of achieving goals, understanding those constraints and actively working to re-organise the rest of the business in order to overcome them. Soon after the agile software development model Scrum was named as a project management style. The Scrum methodology for IT projects is based on using multiple independent small teams working to a series of short term targets to create burst of intensive creative activity.
The late 20th century saw progress in the thinking of lifelong learning, more importantly how adults learn for work, and how they learn in different ways to children and much of this thinking is seen in the development of competence based learning and how best to support the transference of theory into practice, as well as the development of expertise.
By the 2000s the ability for organisations to create the necessary data structures to gather continuous feedback on staff performance leads to more focus on regular data led performance management. The focus on Performance Management of staff in turn identifies a lack of employee engagement in many organisations as an issue impacting both staff and business performance. Surveys such as the Gallup Q12 gave organisations methods to track levels of employee engagement over time. The Agile manifesto was launched in 2001 as a model of lightweight software development, moving projects from needing high level design finalised prior to any production to a model of dividing tasks into short phases of work with frequent reassessment and adaptation of plans. Frequent re-design to adapt to new information has been shown to reduce mistakes and improve performance.
The current pressures on business leaders are huge and the pressure to perform is enormous – the constant need to deliver more with less; to maximise the productivity gains offered through technology without necessarily having the skills and knowledge to really understand the possibilities; to respond to the increasing need to run a values based organisation which takes Corporate Social Responsibility seriously; adapting business practices to reduce environmental impact and increase sustainability, all without looking cynical while maximising profits; being responsible for the wellbeing of staff; being able to achieve long term goals whilst still dealing with the day to day.
The proliferation of data systems can mean managers are swamped with data. But often the data does not actually answer the key questions but reports on what was easy for an IT system to report on, or what someone else thought was a useful question. The ability to make quality decisions is dependant on the quality of the data being used to base that decision on. By improving the ability of leaders to be able to correctly define a problem to be solved; to describe the performance to be managed; to understand the causations; significantly improves their ability to make quality data led decisions. As important as data is, leaders need emotional intelligence and intuition when they analyse it and take performance decisions. Performance comes not only from making the right calls at the right time to take advantage of opportunities but in how the decisions are made and communicated.
Social media has significantly increased the external accountability for business, and the pandemic has led to a significant change in work practices. What were short term emergency decisions now need re-evaluating to identify what should stay as good practice and what is no longer fit for purpose. These decisions need to be taken in the round, by going back to the big picture of culture and purpose for the organisation. What are the new priorities as we emerge from survival mode? Post pandemic supply issues do not just apply to manufactured components, but in many cases to skilled workers, and inflation is adding unfamiliar pressures not really experienced for 30 years.
It is in this environment that new ways of leadership thinking need to be introduced. Too many technology projects fail because executives are not able to sufficiently describe the change they are looking to effect, or understand the how to create a change so that it positively impacts key stakeholders. This difficulty hampers the design of new processes and data systems leading to poor communication between executives and developers. When the solution also fails to make life easier for staff it becomes a much tougher change to implement than it needed to be. At a time when there are significant benefits to be gained by revolutionising how work is conducted – reducing environmental impact, increasing responsiveness to staff needs, taking advantage of new technologies, leaders and managers need to expand their skill set – to go beyond normal management thinking and combine techniques from a range of disciplines to truly supercharge performance.
The last couple of years has seen globalisation start to be unpicked. There are enormous business benefits to sourcing production in locations with the best cost:skill ratios. But increasing moral backlash concerning offshored human rights, sustainability, and ever increasingly complex supply chains are reducing stakeholders appetite for the model. Combine this with a realisation that off shoring has created a lot of social problems in developed countries while not always providing a superior solution mean we have seen increasing examples of previously offshored activities being brought back.
Organisations are being increasingly expected to have an opinion about social issues,