I was recently introduced to Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle, which is a simple concept that has tremendous results when used effectively. I quickly realized that we often move in the wrong direction through The Golden Circle when training student and professional staff. When planning staff training, we start by making a list of session topics and required trainings. WHAT will we teach? Then we think of who our presenters will be and create a schedule. HOW will they be trained? Then, we make sure our learning outcomes line up with the training we created. WHY are they being trained?
Moving from the outside-in (What > How > Why) is conventional and produces ordinary results.
However, moving from the inside-out (Why > How > What) is unexpected and produces exceptional results.
As a student staff member or a professional staff member, have you ever been in training and wanted to bang your head on the table, thinking, “WHY are we doing this?!” If we are training staff without effectively communicating the why first, we might as well call it a day. Training the “what” before the “why” can cause tremendous damage to staff morale, internal motivation, and dedication to the team.
Consider this quote by Theodore Roosevelt:
If our staff don’t know why they’re working, what effect will it have on their personal well-being and professional outcomes? Will they choose to put in extra effort? Will they inspire others? Will they still want to work for us next year?
We need to begin with the “why.”
- Make sure your staff is well-versed in your department and university’s mission, vision, and goals. Have you shared success stories of how these have been accomplished? Have you discussed hopeful improvements for the future?
- Get the staff familiar with one another, not only on a professional level, but a personal level as well. This can be accomplished through staff development opportunities such as an informal staff retreat to begin training and monthly staff potlucks. Are you engaging in professional development with your staff throughout the year? Are you modeling a welcoming, inclusive, appreciative team culture?
- Help your staff draw connections between their day-to-day tasks and the bigger picture. Do you thank them for supporting initiatives? Have you created programming models and employee expectations that are directly correlated with the values of the department?
- Start with learning outcomes. Throw last year’s training schedule in the recycling bin and sit down with your team, and brainstorm a list of why you are training staff. Then create learning outcomes that reflect that list. Based on the learning outcomes created, you can move into how you will train them and, finally, what you will train.
Take the time to reflect on your why and build an inspired team that was trained effectively through creativity, motivation, and strategy.
> BONUS <
Podcast With Patrick Love on Strategic Planning in SA