Books sharpen training scope, impact (HR Manager’s Bookshelf)

Aids for trainers to use in curriculum development or for self-directed learning

Recent books in the training and development field put an emphasize on learning’s strategic role in building individual and organizational performance. Beyond Training and Development and Improving On-the-Job Training provide roadmaps for trainers, HR strategists and line managers.

There are also a number of practical aids for training professionals to use in curriculum development or as resources for self-directed learning. Subject areas include coaching, negotiation, time management and dealing with difficult people.

Beyond Training and Development

By William Rothwell, 358 pages, Amacom (2005)
ISBN 0-8144-0796-X
Available from McGraw-Hill,

This is a newly revised edition of Rothwell’s comprehensive, detailed guide to remaking the training and development function as a strategy to achieve human performance enhancement (HPE). The book begins with a recap of problems: training lacks focus, it lacks management support, it’s not conducted systematically and it’s not linked to other organizational initiatives.

The book is written for “those wishing to revolutionize, reengineer, reinvent, or revitalize the training function in their organizations. This book is thus an action manual for change.” The transformation into an HPE capability involves:

•making the case for change with trainers and stakeholders;

•assessing and building support for change;

•creating a flexible road map for change;

•building competencies keyed to the change effort;

•communicating the need for change; and

•training people to think like HPE professionals.

One section of the book outlines how to troubleshoot performance problems and analyze improvement opportunities. Another deals with the clarification, assessment and causal analysis of performance gaps.

There are several HPE strategies from which to select in any performance improvement effort and it’s vital to select the right one (or combination):

•organizational structure and goals clarification, planning or reorganization;

•management competencies and effectiveness in setting the climate for performance;

•priorities, standards and procedures development, definition and communication;

•tools, resources and work environment improvement and matching with needs;

•effectiveness of feedback and consequences to ensure a supportive environment and meaningful performance-linked rewards;

•individual qualifications and attitudes (physical, emotional, intellectual, technical); and

•the full range of relevant individual competencies, knowledge and skills.

Most of the time, there is too much focus in training and development on the last item on that list. Not surprisingly, little seems to change as a result of the effort.

Almost 100 exhibits (worksheets, tools, models) help readers apply the HPE approach to their practical situations. An accompanying CD includes all the Word and PowerPoint materials for reproduction and use by readers.

Improving On-the-Job Training

By William Rothwell and H.C. Kazanas, 178 pages, Pfeiffer (2nd ed., 2004)
ISBN 0-7879-6505-7
Available from Wiley Canada,

A lot of attention is focused on learning away from the job — classroom courses, seminars, conferences, professional associations and university programs. This book puts a spotlight on the workplace learning that takes place on the job in real time. The authors stress the importance of improving on-the-job training:

•reduce the unproductive breaking-in period of newcomers;

•relieve employee anxiety and reduce avoidable turnover;

•provide early warning about basic skills problems;

•find better ways to address individual learning disabilities;

•attain higher quality customer service; and

•continuously improve product and service quality.

The first part of the book is devoted to creating a supportive organizational climate for on-the-job training, along with the foundation of purpose, goals, identification of customers, program policies and an action plan.

Much on-the-job training, of course, is unplanned, such as assigning a new employee to watch an experienced worker, learning by trial and error, but this book deals with planned (structured) training. In the second part, readers will move through a model for preparing and delivering on-the-job training:

•discover needs for planned on-the-job training;

•analyze work, workers and workplace;

•prepare the planned on-the-job training;

•present the planned on-the-job training;

•evaluate the results; and

•review aids and alternatives.

Tools and resources in the book and on the accompanying CD include a work unit orientation checklist, work unit work flow chart, sample job description, work and workplace analysis worksheets, job training checklist, task training checklist, interview guide and learning contract.

Coaching for Change

By Kaye Thorne, 145 pages, Kogan Page (2004)
ISBN 0-7494-4168-2
Available in Canada from Renouf,

The author begins with fostering a “coaching landscape” in which organizational readiness for coaching is addressed, potential coaches are identified, the role is defined, and coaches are equipped with the required skills and knowledge.

Supported by practical examples and case studies, this book situates coaching in the context of the change process:

•coaching to help prepare for change;

•the role of coaching within change management;

•coaching new learners;

•building successful coaching relationships;

•advanced questioning and listening techniques; and

•understanding and building motivation to change.

The Negotiation Fieldbook

By Grande Lum, 189 pages, (2005)
ISBN 0-07-144114-X
Available from McGraw-Hill,

Training professionals may find this book helpful in improving their own negotiating skills or as a resource for training and coaching others in negotiation. It’s built on two central models:

The “icon” model outlines the interests of the parties in a negotiation situation, options or possible solutions to which the parties might agree, the criteria to be applied to the options and no-agreement alternatives (what the parties will do if they cannot reach agreement.)

A “4D” approach summarizes the steps taken in the negotiation process: design, dig, develop and decide.

Using these two organizing frameworks, the book moves through the many stages of getting underneath negotiating positions, brainstorming creatively, discovering interests, dealing with difficult tactics and coming to closure. The author stresses the importance of thorough preparation and treating every negotiation situation as a cross-cultural bridging of different personalities, backgrounds and experiences.

The Results-Driven Manager Series, all Harvard Business School Press (2005)

Available from McGraw-Hill,

These soft-cover, easy-read primers are comprised of short articles selected from Harvard Management Update and Harvard Management Communication Letter. They’re designed to help managers gain insights in an efficient format.

Taking Control of your Time

ISBN 1-59139-635-2

For those wanting to make smart decisions quickly and avoid burnout, highlights include:

•be sure you’re spending your time in the right places;

•how to make every meeting matter;

•managing message overload;

•is multi-tasking overrated?;

•fast-cycle decision-making; and

•advice to leaders in new jobs.

Dealing with Difficult People

ISBN 1-59139-634-4

For managers who are “distracted and frustrated by difficult behaviour” and therefore have less time and energy for their core responsibilities:

•today’s angry workplace;

•will you help or heave your underperformers?;

•don’t avoid conflicts, manage them;

•when to walk away from a fight;

•managing negativity; and

•performance review anxiety.

Getting People on Board

ISBN 1-59139-636-0

Effective implementation of change requires the right blend of leadership styles to overcome resistance and energize a team:

•how leaders influence creativity;

•how to lead when you’re not the boss;

•fostering change while avoiding the road to martyrdom;

•how to win the buy-in;

•how leaders recruit the right kind of followers; and

•effective leadership communications.

Other titles in the Results-Driven Manager Series include Teams that Click, Presentations that Persuade and Motivate, Face-to-face Communications for Clarity and Impact, Winning Negotiations that Preserve Relationships and Managing Yourself for the Career you Want.

Ray Brillinger is a certified management consultant who works with clients on organizational change, HR strategy and performance improvement. He can be reached at (416) 766-9580 or [email protected].

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