Tag Archives: Self-Improvement

How much learning is in your day?

How much learning is in your day?
by Jim Cathcart

“If you will spend one extra hour each day in learning in your chosen field then you will be a National Expert in that field in 5 years or less.” Earl Nightingale

How much of your day is devoted to intentional learning? Note that I specified intentional learning.
Every day we each become obsolete in some ways. Something we were just certain was true has ceased to be true as of now. We used to think that gasoline in America was relatively cheap. We used to believe that the best way to teach was to present information in a classroom. We used to think that nobody could run a mile in under four minutes. We thought that 60 was old and that people should retire at 65. We thought selling was done best through persuasion rather than collaboration. We once thought that children “should be seen and not heard.” Our ancestors even believed that the Earth was the center of the Universe and the Sun revolved around us. We used to believe that we could get by without learning how to use a computer and that the Internet was just for geeks. It goes on and on.

Most adults were trained to live in and deal with the Industrial Era. We believed that organizations were machines and behaved accordingly. Then we discovered that an organization is an organism of living beings and it behaves more like a plant or a person than like a machine. That changed the way we sell, manage, organize and plan. In the Industrial Era, we were taught that Physics was the right discipline to apply to business, then we discovered that Biology was a much better guide. In Biology you begin with the assumption of an ecosystem and the interdependency of all the participants within it. In fact we live in an Organic Era. We now understand that the Earth and everything within it is alive.

So, enough theory, let’s get down to behaviors. Who is in charge of your continuing education?
That’s right, you are. As a child, others were in charge of your learning. They chose the curriculum, presented the lessons, scheduled the tests and gave you grades. But today you are in charge. You have the freedom and the responsibility to select what, when and how you will learn. In fact, you even determine your grades by how well you apply what you learn.

In a typical day you are surrounded by information. In fact you are bombarded by it. There is the radio, television, highway signage, internet sources, podcasts, websites, emails, text messages, alerts, and then there is “snail mail”, the old reliable paper based data. You also have books, ebooks, DVDs, CDs and a zillion other forms of data competing for your attention. But what do you learn?

You learn what you attend to. If you scan five newspapers but don’t pause to reflect on anything you’ve read, you won’t learn much. Likewise a full day of TV viewing won’t necessarily enlighten you at all. Only when you focus on a message and then think about it do you truly begin to learn.

“Without reflection there is no true learning.” Kevin Buck

The vast majority of people do not learn intentionally most of the time. They accumulate knowledge but that’s about it. It’s kind of like being able to quote Scripture but having no idea what it means.
That is why it is so easy to get ahead in this world. Really. It is relatively easy, when you are intentional about it. All you have to do is devote a portion of each day to focused and conscious learning. By adding learning to your breakfast time, your drive time, your workout time, your dialogue with others and your relaxing time you will vastly increase your chances of success.

Here are some simple ways to begin introducing learning into the niches of your day.
1. Start your day in silent reflection on your goals. What matters most to you? How is your current behavior guiding you toward it? What do you need to know and do to reach your Desired Outcomes?
2. Be selective in your listening. Choose radio stations, podcasts, music and other media that will advance you rather than only entertaining you. Seek new knowledge and insights.
3. Listen beyond the obvious. If listening to music, notice more, notice the beat, the instruments, the meanings of the lyrics, the vocal techniques, and the metaphors. If listening to a commentator notice his or her point of view, question their sources, ask why this matters. Challenge yourself to be a more active listener.
4. Load your iPod or digital player with books on tape and podcasts in addition to entertainment. Entertainment is valuable and has its place but there must be room for inspiration and education as well.
5. Choose a subject to master. Decide now that you will learn a new topic or skill. Set a time goal and build the learning into your drive time and workouts. In a matter of weeks you can learn a new language or master a subject. Study history, philosophy, interpersonal skills, business strategy, financial mastery, or whatever you can benefit from.
6. Make the learning organic. Build it into your existing routines so that you don’t have to change your lifestyle in order to improve your life. Make it easy for yourself. “Ride the horse in the direction it is going, and then guide it gently to where you want it to go.”
7. Cultivate interesting discussions with friends and colleagues. I started hosting a series of Parlor Discussions to involve my friends in meaningful dialogue. We talk about whatever topics we wish but we really dig deeply into them. I’ve invited guests to join our discussions as we explore; psychology, philosophy, business, relationships, interpersonal issues, music, humor and more. Find ways to use this concept in your own world.
8. Seek out learners. Get around people who are constantly growing and improving. Connect with people who are ahead of you and still growing. Learners love spending time with other learners.

For more on this drop me a line, I’m happy to help you grow. And please let me know what you have done to include more learning in your life.

copyright 2008 Jim Cathcart


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Filed under Behavioral Economics, High-Value Relationships, Leadership, Relationship Intelligence Training

High-Value Training for Hospitality Professionals

by Jim Cathcart

Here is a six-module program that I designed for one of my country club clients. It can be equally valuable for restaurants, resorts, hotels, spas or any entity in the hospitality industry. Think about how your own internal training and management development could use some of these ideas.

Each module can be done in a morning seminar format; maximum time 3 hours including group discussion and exercises.

The Primary Purpose of the training is to get all of the managers and supervisors onto the same page about: their jobs, the Club itself, the members/guests, and each other. This can become the “Signature Training” and be offered for each new generation of leaders in a variety of forms. The first round needs to be live seminars, but thereafter, it can be done in coaching sessions for smaller groups (involving some who have been through the live seminars as well) and with various training tools that you can build over time.

Relationship to the other Company Goals: It is essential that the entire team share the same “mindset” so that collaboration and cooperation occur without constant supervision being required. One big effect of this is that everyone can have the same intensity of concern for the profitable operation of the club and the continuing satisfaction of the members and guests. The team needs to see how each of them fits into the overall scheme of things here and how their contribution matters to our continuing success.

Goals of the Training:
These are the measurable outcomes that will be produced:
• Each manager will be able to explain how their role fits into the success of the club and its other departments
• Collaboration and communication between departments will be natural and constant
• Each person will know what they are paid to achieve and how they are to be held accountable
• Everyone will appreciate and understand the value of members and guests to our success
• Each person will see the importance of enhancing every point of contact with members and guests
• Everyone will value their coworkers and understand the interdependency we share
• Managers will continually improve in their understanding of how to read and lead people
• Self improvement will be constant among all who work at this Club
• All who work here will be proud of their affiliation with the club and each other
• Contributions of ideas for the improvement of the club will continually flow from all who are involved here.

Take a moment to review the above list once again, and this time; pause to think about the financial value each outcome holds for you.

Initial Training Modules:
1. “Welcome to The (name) Club”
2. Behavioral Economics: What Are You Accountable For?
3. Managing The Members’ & Guests’ Experience
4. Constant Never-ending Improvement
5. Reading People and Leading People
6. Being the Best You Have Ever Been

Module One:
“Welcome to (name) Club” focuses on how we can each cause everyone to feel welcome here, including staff at all levels.
It addresses The Service Mindset, the reasons people join a club or choose a resort, their ways of measuring satisfaction and what motivates people to become more involved. This module also orients staff to the overall structure and operation of the club so that they see how all the parts fit together.
Participants are made aware of how clubs differ from hotels, resorts and restaurants. They are also shown the significance of this club and what it is that makes this a very special place. The purpose of module one is to make people proud to be working here, aware of what they’ve gotten themselves into by accepting employment here and excited about the potential that exists for them, even if they stay in their current positions.

Module Two:
Behavioral Economics: What are you accountable for? This session shows how actions and lack of action relates to money. Participants learn to value action as never before. They see the “domino effect” of certain behaviors. Questions like, “who gets the fruits of your work and what do they do with it?” are answered and explored. People learn to create “Role Agreements” to help define their jobs here. Unlike a “job description”, a Role Agreement is a document that defines: 1. what you are paid to achieve, 2. the scope of your areas of responsibility, and 3. our expectations of you and your expectations of us. This leads to a very rich discussion of who does what and why. Also addressed is the subject of how conflicts can be addressed. Such techniques as “I have a concern” are explored and practiced. One valuable result of this session is the clarification of duties and responsibilities and another is the increased awareness of the economic value of current behaviors and ongoing standards of performance.

Module Three:
Managing The Members’ & Guests’ Experience is designed to show how each touch point affects our success. This begins with an exploration of the “Moments of Truth” in our contact with others. They learn to distinguish the difference between Touch Points and Trust Points. Both golf and tennis metaphors are used to reinforce understanding related to all our functions from service to security to housekeeping, catering and maintenance. Member relations and dealings with coworkers and vendors are included in the mix. The structure called “Treating People With Ease” is used to show how all parts of the club and all behaviors of our associates contribute to our success. Participants are made acutely aware of the effect we each have on others and how our responsibilities transcend our “roles” and “duties”.

Module Four:
Constant Never-ending Improvement is a module designed to stimulate creativity and communication. Methods of looking at familiar things in new and innovative ways are explored and practiced. Systems for communicating new ideas are discussed and explained. A culture of innovation is stimulated and new ideas are embraced instead of resisted. The idea of “Change” that is so often discussed in seminars and yet not implemented is transcended here. This workshop accepts change as normal and desirable while at the same time making everyone aware of how vitally important it is to have rock-solid standards and proven, unwavering systems in place in critical areas. Sameness and dependability are shown in proper perspective with innovation and change. Trust Points are revisited with an eye toward upgrading each of them. The concept of “Up-Serving” is embraced and put into practice.

Module Five:
Reading People and Leading People is a workshop in personality differences and motivation. It explores personality types and much more. Participants learn to understand how complex and unique each person is while seeing simple and proven ways to adapt to those differences successfully. Concepts taught include: the four basic personality patterns and how to deal with them, differences in personal velocity, primary values, intellectual bandwidth, levels of thinking, respected sources, background imprint and “language” (meaning). There is an online questionnaire that each person can easily and quickly complete in order to prepare for this session. It produces a detailed profile of the person and shows them how to adapt to others more easily. This is based on the work of Cathcart Institute, Inc. in the creation of the following works: Relationship Strategies for Dealing with the Differences in People, The Acorn Principle, The Platinum Rule Assessment (coauthored with Dr. Tony Alessandra), and more.

Module Six:
Being The Best You Have Ever Been is a seminar that sells each person on the importance of taking the initiative to constantly improve themselves. Without “self” improvement there is the need for constant supervision and motivation. However once people become more self motivated then they become worth more to their employer and coworkers every day they are on the job. So that participants can use this session to motivate and lead others Modes of Operation (modus operandi) are presented along with the appropriate response to help people grow beyond their current mode. Goal setting and self assessment exercises lead participants to clarify their own “motives” so they can be more self-motivated. People discuss and identify the things they will soon need to become good at, even before they are required to learn or master them. Resources for learning and growth are identified and people are encouraged to reach out for opportunities to grow. The definition of Self-Motivation used here is this: It is the ability to get yourself to do what needs to be done when it needs to be done whether you feel like it or not and still do it very well. The essence of this is seen in the “Daily Question: How would the person I’d like to be do the things I’m about to do?”

The foregoing will do a very powerful job of getting your team to a level where your job becomes easier every day.
I’m eager to explore this with you so drop me a note if you’d like more input.
In the Spirit of Service,

Cathcart Institute, Inc.
Executive Office
email: jim@cathcart.com
Website: www.cathcart.com
Personal Blog: www.cathcart.com/blog
Business Blog: http://relationshipintelligenceblog.com

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Filed under Behavioral Economics, High-Value Relationships, Inner Circles, Leadership, Relationship Intelligence Training