Reviews of a DVD on giving feedback and a book on using simulations in training

Real-world guide hits the performance spot

Feedback: Fixing performance problems

  • Format DVD training film with user’s guide andPowerPoint presentation
  • Price £995 +VAT
  • From Scott Bradbury
  • Contact

Giving feedback is now acknowledged as one of the most important, yet difficult, skills a manager needs.There is always the danger that performance problems will be ignoredin the hope that they will go awayor that the employee will be antagonised byunsubstantiated negative remarks.

This latest film from Scott Bradburyaims to illustrate and coach in best practice in giving feedback.As we have come to expect from the company, the learning messages ring out loud and clear as we watch production manager Bob learn from factory manager Ninaz, through flashbacks and discussions, how to give feedback to a cross-section of staff.

Acronyms area hallmark of Scott Bradbury, and this uses Cedar, which is shorthand for: Clarify the performance Explain how you think they are actually performing Discuss the reasons for the difference between the two Agree upon steps to fix the problem Review the outcome.

Itis not a superficial device and is knit expertly into the dramatic action as we learn, along with Bob, about successful and failing approaches.

I was also impressed by the user’s guide, which includes a model training session -with very clear learning objectives -and several pre-course preparation exercises. These encourage delegates to think about performance and appraisal a week before the course. The package includes task ideas for the delegates.

Feedback was filmed in a real printing works, which adds to the authenticity of the message. This package could be used with any level of manager or supervisor to encourage better applications of performance appraisal or negative feedback without fear of condescension.It looks at better performance through the lens of best practice and courtesy, and could be relied upon to encourage an even-handed approach to poor performance. It is lucid and credible and represents great value for money.

  • Relevance? five out of five
  • Interactivity three out of five
  • Value for money five out of five

One hundred days of attitude

The New Boss: How to survive the first 100 days

Here is a book that can be judged by its no-nonsense cover. It does exactly what it promises, and provides the newly-appointed manager with the guidance needed to perform well during the crucial first 100 days in a new role.

Peter Fischer covers ‘transitions of power’ for both the internal and external appointee. He draws on his business psychology background to present the reader with techniques to identify key players, the questions to ask them once they have been identified, and the most pressing tasks.

Fischer is razor-sharp on how to explore expectations and structure thinking. Key learning points and checklists are used effectively.

You should think of this book as a friend – refer to it frequently and depend on its objective advice. However, it will tell you things that even a friend won’t, such as how to move out of the shadow of the glorified predecessor, and how to deal with rivals.

You may want to buy this book to help other managers, or you may just want it for yourself.

  • Useful four out of five
  • Well-written three out of five
  • Relevance four out of five

Simulation training misses a passionate trainer

Kennedy’s Simulations For Negotiation Training (3rd edition)

  • Authors Gavin and Florence Kennedy
  • Price £175
  • From Gower
  • Contact
  • ISBN 978 0566 08738-7

This is the third edition of a popular guide to negotiation, with six new simulations to match the changing circumstances of business negotiation in Europe, the Americas, Asia and Africa. It also includes a new section called ‘Negotiation Cases’, containing training materials for small sub-group discussions by participants who apply the negotiation concepts introduced in the training sessions from the rest of the guide.

This guide aims to replace the need for in-house training specialists to write negotiating simulations and provides a set of 24 simulations across a cross-section of disciplines. These include: purchasing, selling, industrial relations and contract negotiation.

The common thread to the negotiations is Gavin Kennedy’s four-phase ‘wants’ method, which is based on the four phases of: prepare, debate, propose and bargain, around what do we want, what do they want, what wants could we trade, and what wants will we trade.

These simulations will have a long shelf-life and are backed up with plenty of guidance on how to prepare for the exercises and how to evaluate the outcome.

Its presentation is lucid but not glamorous, and the cover price is presumably to reflect the high-value negotiations that will ensue.

I tested the package on a manager responsible for multi-million pound negotiations. He saw its value but felt that, at the end of the day, the trainer would still be key in introducing some passion to the concept of negotiating to discover bargaining tools.

This is a useful and respected work but requires the experienced trainers’ touch to extract its worth.

  • Useful three out of five
  • Well-written four out of five
  • Relevance three out of five

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