The Writing Clinic (1) How To Write Effective Briefing Notes, Executive Summaries and Letters of Transmittal

Delivery Method: Individual Coaching or Group Webinar

Description:

Whether it’s online or in hard copy, written documentation is an important part of formal communication within an organization.  Briefing notes, executive summaries and letters of transmittal are significant vehicles for decision-making, direction and planning among other executive functions.  In all of these, form must be fused to function and clarity of purpose, clarity of language, brevity and audience participation are a must.

What’s in it for You?

You or your team will have the opportunity to explore the notion of audience orientation and the implications for not only content but form.  You will be given useable models for each of the three types of memos and will have the advantage of a practice session and receive detailed feedback on your writing.  Finally, if you chose the coaching offering, Bendel will set up a follow-up plan for you that includes opportunities to use your content but our expertise as we review with you a number of your pieces of writing.  It’s individualized assistance at its best.

Contact Us for pricing or with any questions.

The Writing Clinic (2): Common Grammatical Errors and How to Avoid Them

Delivery Method: Individual Coaching or Group Webinar

Description:

While spell check has really assisted writers in avoiding those troublesome errors in spelling, technology has not yet provided us with a similar weapon to avoid many grammatical errors. Whether you are 16 or 60, when you are writing, you often fall prey to standard errors in sentence structure (remember the terms sentence fragments, cat and dog sentences or run on sentences?). Sentence structure, paragraphing, the use of parallel structure, verb tense and subject-verb agreement are still too frequently evident in professional writing.  We cover the most common errors, explain why they are grammatically incorrect and why they may lead to confusion.  We provide you with simple strategies for identifying your most consistent errors and how to avoid them.

What’s in it for You?

In addition to refreshing your skills in this crucial area of writing (and speaking), you will learn to recognize these errors easily, and have at hand a short resource paper/online which identifies standard errors by name and form and how they can be corrected. In addition, in keeping with our pledge to individualized service, we shall take some of your own materials, analyze them and add any errors to that list so that you leave the training with a corrective resource that can be used by everyone – but specifically by you because of our individualization.

Contact Us for pricing or with any questions.

The Writing Clinic (4): Effective Writing for Policies and Procedures Manuals

Delivery Method: Individual Coaching or Group Webinar

Description:

We all know that we can turn to the internet and find sites where there is a myriad of sources for pre-written, generic policies and procedures.  Just as is the case with writing letters of transmittal, executive summaries and briefing notes, writing policies and procedures requires special skills and a whole set of conventions – both in meaning/content and in form.  The problem with the “plan in the can” route is that those policies and procedures often do not quite fit.  You spend as much or more time revising the standard policies and procedures to reflect the values, practices and conventions of your organization.  That’s where Bendel Services comes in. This activity-based webinar goes over such topics of the interrelationship between logic and language (for the sake of clarity), the differences between policies and procedures, and the use of appendices to support procedures.  It also reviews the precise use of language to avoid problems and a rational separation of policies and procedures into a detailed sectionalized manual that is easy to use.

What’s in it for You?

You will come out of this webinar with an increased level of understanding of the form and purpose of policy and procedure, a model for each along with samples, a process for identifying a list of inclusions  for both.  You will also receive a series of suggestions for the incorporation and appendices that allow for a smoother, labour-reducing process for implementation of these policies and procedures in your organization.

Contact Us for pricing or with any questions.

The Writing Clinic (4): Writing Effective Performance Appraisals

Delivery Method: Individual or Group Webinar

Description:

Most managers find the writing of an appraisal report to be a very difficult task – and with good reason.  Part of it is often due to the actual form of the appraisal document and the nature of the information collected – and what to do with it.  This webinar or coaching session focuses on the separation of data, judgment and suggestions for improvement.  It also focuses on  the need to use specific language that reflects the different purposes inherent in these terms – regardless of the formal requirements that the appraisal sets out. It includes a detailed explanation of 15 specific techniques that a manager has to keep in mind when writing appraisals.

What’s in it for You?

Regardless of the type of organization and your responsibilities in it, you will develop a skill set that you can use on the job right now.  This training will help you understand your role in writing these documents and will give you a sense of confidence in what it is that you have put down on the written page.  It accentuates the use of data to back up judgment and therefore both enhances the quality of the report and credibility that you will have when the formal evaluation is more than an “opinion piece” on one of your employees.  Finally, in addition to the training you will be given a short, usable resource in one of our eBooks that will serve you well over time as a reminder of what was covered in this training.

Contact Us for pricing or with any questions.

Clarifying Your Beliefs as a Manager and Leader

Delivery Method: Individual Coaching

Description:

Most people prepare for an interview for a managerial position by anticipating the kinds of questions that will be asked and then constructing possible answers to those questions.  Not a bad place to start but by then you are in the middle of a process that should have started long ago.  And that process should be the complex answer to this simple question:  What do I believe an effective manager/leader looks like, acts like and sounds like?   This is not a specious question.  In fact, a detailed answer to this question gives an aspirant a very important context into which that aspirant can situate the answers to the anticipated question – and it is much easier to answer questions with a context than without one.

What’s in it for You?

We’ll start off by asking you to answer a series of questions on some of the major issues around leadership and management.  We’ll use a tripartite definition of leadership including direction, responsiveness and representation and analyze those responses.  Next we’ll explore with you the particular position for which you are applying and the nature of the organization into which that position fits.  Then we’ll match the two and give you feedback on the fit between you.  Finally you’ll receive a short reading list on leadership and suggestions on further reading in the leadership area.  Then you can go on to start answering those questions you think you’ll encounter in an interview.

Contact Us for pricing or with any questions.

Getting Feedback on Yourself

Delivery Method: Individual Coaching

Description:

The 360-degree feedback mechanism is a very informative way of learning about how others see you – co-workers, subordinates, superordinates.  The problem is that in some environments this mechanism is frowned upon.  This is often true not because of the technique itself but rather because of the way the survey is conducted and how the information is reported.  Once those considerations are addressed, the field is wide open for gathering information that will be useful to you as you move into a competition for a management position.

What’s in it for You?

We’ll take the job description for the position for which you are applying and develop the survey on that basis.  Then we’ll work with you on the list of possible respondents, adapt the form of communication we have developed to the potential audience and compile the information for you in a discreet, detailed and useful report.  You’ll find out what perceptions people have of you – what you do well and what you need to work on.  You can then use this information to help inform your responses to the various processes used to gather information on your potential as an applicant for a specific job or position.

Contact Us for pricing or with any questions.

Developing a Professional Portfolio to Support Your Application

Delivery Method: Individual Coaching or Group Webinar

Description:

An electronic or hard copy portfolio is a a powerful vehicle to support your application for a management position.  It can present a multi-dimensional portrait to the assessment team that will enhance the interview and any other method for gathering information on your performance and potential.  A portfolio must be developed in such a fashion as to include only what is likely to have an impact on the decision-making process and not overwhelm the assessment team.  They only have so much time to spend on any single candidate. The Bendel Service portfolio model starts with the posting for the job you are applying for, not from the point of view of a generic model.  We’ll help you by giving you a suggested framework and then help you construct your individualized model with artifacts and inclusions that show that all your knowledge and skills fit nicely into the position you are seeking.  We will then give you feedback before the final submission so you can go into that competition feeling prepared and confident.

What in it for You?

You’ll come out of this process with a new understanding of the form and function of a professional portfolio that you can use again and again by revising some of the contents to fit new positions. You’ll learn to avoid some of the pitfalls in developing a portfolio.  You’ll receive some coaching on how to integrate it into a standard interview.  In the end, you’ll have a living resource that will serve you well over your entire career.

Contact Us for pricing or with any questions.

Effective Interviewee Skills (Generic)

Delivery Method: Individual Coaching or Group Webinar

Description: 

The interview remains the most common form of information-gathering for selecting staff.  That’s why it’s so important that candidates understand what they have to do to prepare in advance for the interview and handle themselves with confidence during the interview.  This offering looks at both stages.  Preparation:  We look at gathering information on the position and the organization through Bendel’s 3-P method (paper, places and people).  We’ll review behaviour-descriptive questions, entertain possible questions that could be asked and show you how to decode those questions. Interview performance:  We look at how to encode answers, use the 80/20 rule in responding to questions, managing interview timing and dealing with the intricacies of virtual interviewing.

What in it for You?

Our assistance in interview preparation will add to your level of confidence and reduce the anxiety that accompanies an interview for most participants.  It will allow you to practise being interviewed under the scrutiny of Bendel personnel or other participants in the webinar.  It should put you at ease with different styles of interviewing from in-person, virtual time and recorded time.  Finally, you will receive a detailed eBook full of practical suggestions that you can use in any interview situation.

Contact Us for pricing or with any questions.

Effective Interviewee Skills (Specific)

Delivery Method: Individual Coaching 

Description: 

This is a learning-coaching session which starts with your organization and the position for which you are applying.  We gather information from you on both.  First, we give you assistance on preparing for interviews in a generic sense (planning and delivery).  Then we use the information to develop an interview that we believe will approximate what you are likely to confront.  We script the interview and then analyze your responses.  We’ll give you both oral and written feedback.

What’s in it for You?

This is the best kind of individualized preparation you can get.  It will give you possible questions that may be very close to what you will actually face.  It will give you data-based feedback on your performance.  It will give all of us a great game plan to continue your preparation for the position you want.

Contact Us for pricing or with any questions.

Handling Case Studies in an Interview

Delivery Method: Individual Coaching or Group Webinar

Description:

Case studies are sometimes used in interview situations.  Candidates are given a single case study along with questions.  They are given approximately 30 minutes in advance of the interview to mentally prepare their response.  Typically, a case study includes a broad situation or context, several confronting issues and a single question that asks you to respond to the study.  Reading and responding to case studies generally takes much more time than a series of questions. Using a sample generic case study you will learn how to decode it and identify both the presenting (obvious) issues that have to be addressed and the hidden issues that are less overt – and how to handle both.

What’s in it for You?

No matter whether it’s delivered as individualized coaching or in a group webinar, you will understand how case studies are developed and the skills to both decode and encode them.  Finally, we will give you a suggested model for approaching case studies from identifying presenting and other issues through to evaluating your proposed solution.  It’s a technique designed to have you succeed in this area of the interview.

Contact Us for pricing or with any questions.

Essential Task Observation - and Assessment

Delivery Method: Individual Coaching

Description: 

This is a Bendel Services-only opportunity.  All jobs have certain “essential tasks” to perform.  It could include running meetings, being present at meetings, making presentations, debriefing an employee on performance – or whatever essential task you perform.  Bendel asks you to record (film) yourself at one of these and send us the recording – along with details of the task (e.g. such items as background, what you hope to accomplish etc.).  We then analyze the performance against a series of mutually agreed upon criteria and give you written and oral feedback on your performance at an essential task.  This in unlike any coaching you may have encountered before.

What’s in it for You?

You will be able to see yourself as you have never done before – through the recording, through our assessment of the recording and through a data-based report that measures your performance against those criteria identified earlier.  This is not a fabricated situation, but a situation in which you are actually involved.  It will give you a data-based learning experience that will stay with you over your career.

Contact Us for pricing or with any questions.

Designing and Posing Effective Questions for Staff Selection

Delivery Method:  Individual Coaching or Group Webinar

Description:

Designing effective well constructed questions for the traditional interview, based on a usable job description, is sometimes a difficult and time-consuming task.  This is a two-part webinar.  Webinar #1:  We look at the job description as a statement of an individual profile.  But we also look at the team profile, in terms of four domains of current strengths, to which this person will be assigned.   Aligning these to the mission statement of the organization gives the selection team a very fertile basis for designing meaningful questions.  Finally, we’ll look at identifying sound indicators for each question as a fair basis for assessment and selection. Webinar #2: We look at conventions in managing and following-up on interviews including the pros and cons of virtual and recorded interviews, scripting (briefly), posing and probing, assessing body language, single interviewers versus interview teams and the advantages and disadvantages of using the consensus versus silo method of selecting the successful candidate.

What’s in it for You

This dual webinar will give you a whole new perspective on effective interviewing while getting at some of the issues that have plagued the interview technique as a reliable vehicle for selection.  It will help you appreciate the need for a sound basis for the development of questions, why suggested indicators will make selection easier and more defensible and how to build objectivity into the final decision.  Finally, it makes a cogent case for data-based debriefing feedback that should be in place for all interviewees.

Contact Us for pricing or with any questions.

Conducting Effective Appraisal Conferences

Delivery Method: Individual Coaching or Group Webinar

Description:

Like the task of evaluating staff, most managers find it difficult to debrief staff on what that appraisal has yielded by way of judgment on performance.  This webinar or coaching offering looks at best practices for reviewing appraisal reports with staff.  It includes ideas on how to set up the room, the use of multiple copies of the report and why it’s important for the appraiser and employee to read that report together – a task often forgotten.  It also includes a series of very helpful hints on what to do and what not to do in a debriefing situation.  Finally, we’ll take some time to review your role as the appraiser and make certain you understand why you need to be nether apologetic for the report nor defensive if questioned about it.  It must be a delicate balancing act – and we’ll talk about that.

What’s in it for You?

Like all these offerings on appraisal and selection, we’d like to think you’ll leave this coaching situation or webinar with more confidence and a better skill set to fulfill these responsibilities.  Because we are going to use a simulation activity in the webinar, you and your colleagues will have the opportunity to practise some of the skills we espouse or watch your webinar colleagues and then discuss what you observed in terms of successes and area for further development. If you choose the individual coaching offering, we’ll be asking you to record a session with a staff member and use this as a basis for feedback – or, as always, we’ll adjust our methods to suit your individual preferences and needs.  It’s a process destined for you – not us!

Contact Us for pricing or with any questions.

The One-on-One Supervisory Meeting

Delivery Method: Individual Coaching or Group Webinar

Description:

Having regularly scheduled (monthly) meetings with your reports serves a variety of purposes.  It keeps you as the manager in touch with the workflow of the division or department.  It keeps those who report to you “on their toes” knowing they have to be held accountable on a regular basis to their supervisor.  It provides an opportunity for you as a manager to support your team leaders and to show appreciation for their efforts.  You’ll understand more about your operation than you can imagine. Bendel Services has developed an agenda for the form of these meetings which includes these sections: (i) Items of concern to you (ii) Items of concern to the reports (iii) Status of the achievement of quarterly, semi-annual or annual targets and, if appropriate (iv) Status of any professional development activities undertaken as a result of an earlier performance report.  The agenda items come from issues that arise between meetings, an exchange of emails identifying issues for discussion at the future meeting or unfolding requests for information and guidance. In other words, the agenda is continuously developed between meetings, logged in some fashion by both participants and resurrected at each session.  It’s communication at its best.

What’s in it for You

The one-on-one meeting gives you and your report focused time when issues of importance can be discussed either online or in an in-person meeting.  It helps ease “decision-making on the fly.”  Not only will you feel in control of your agenda, you’ll be more comfortable knowing theirs and you’ll be able to engage in continuous dialogue leading to cooperative management – of issues that are important to both of you.  We’ll leave you with a short resource booklet which includes a sample agenda and sample items for each part of the agenda – and a couple of suggestions on how to log the items you’ll put on that agenda.

Contact Us for pricing or with any questions.

The Manager’s In-basket

Of Special Note: This offering is available starting in May 2021 but Bendel Services will take bookings now. Register now with us to reserve a place.

Delivery Method: Individual Task and Coaching through Feedback on Performance

Description:

You’ve just been made a manager in a mid-sized company.  You are about to leave the office for a trip to regional offices, but you have to “clear your in-basket” before you go.  There are 12-15 items that you have to get at.  These come in the form of emails, letters or memo’s, your assistant’s notes on a phone call – whatever.  Included in the in-basket is information on the company, a calendar, an organizational chart for the company and a staff list – along with letterhead memo paper etc.  You have 90 minutes to clear off your in-basket items which is available to you online or in hard copy, whichever you prefer.  In this case, “clearing off” means writing emails or memos, setting up meetings, leaving directions for your assistant – but you have to demonstrate what you are likely to do in each case.  Scheduling a meeting to address “Problem 2” just won’t cut it!  We want to know what you expect to happen at the meeting or what your agenda will be. Now, our work starts.  We take your responses and evaluate you against the following six criteria:  Direction, Responsiveness, Representation, Communications, Organization and Planning.  You’ll then get feedback (both oral and written) from us on how you did in each area and in total.  That feedback will also include suggestions for professional growth that you can consider.

What’s in it for You

This is another of Bendel’s vehicles to help you understand your strengths and areas for growth.  While the content of the exercise is generic in nature (a mythical retail operation) the leadership skills that we access are part of every sector.  We’ll make sure we encode our suggestions for improvement in the context of your sector.  It’s fun, it’s revealing and it’s very useful.

Contact Us for pricing or with any questions.

Having Hard Conversations: Dealing with Underachieving Staff

Delivery Method: Individual Coaching

Description: 

This offering is based on the work of Jennifer Abrams in Having Hard Conversations.  It seeks to build a skill set in dealing with under-achieving employees as a prelude to improving performance or, in those rare circumstances, with those employees whose continued lack of improvement may result in termination.  We start with your presenting issue as a test case and take you through a process with built-in mini conferences with you as you work with the employee. We also extend what Abrams has to say about the process surrounding termination for poor performance.  In this we are aided by associate members of Bendel Services who have worked with termination in a unionized environment.  (It can be done but it takes a lot of work – and courage!) Our coaching is based upon both research and experience.

What’s in it for You?

Because this is a private coaching situation, you can talk freely and openly about the situation and the individual under review – and we can respond in the same manner.  We can help you set out a plan for monitoring the situation with realistic timelines and clearly identified centres or responsibility. Having a hard conversation with a person who works with you daily will never be easy.  You will, however, learn what you need to do by way of record-keeping, how you must involve others in the process and how to brace yourself for some unkind charges.  In the end, you’ll feel more confident in tackling this difficult task.

Contact Us for pricing or with any questions.