Open workshop: Personal Development Plan (PDP) – Design & Implementation

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This is the workshop where you succeed in building, communicating and implementing a complete and useful PDP.

You will get the key to efficiently design and implement it, by personal motivation and engagement. You will know how to interpret results feeling responsible for your people’s future.

Main topics:

Create proper context

  • Assessing our people’s needs
  • Stimulate motivation and trigger engagement
  • Self-leadership & self-responsibility

Design and Communication

  • Prepare and design an efficient PDP
  • Build a PDP adapted to each individual and the organization
  • PDP Communication and personal engagement

Implementation and Results follow up

  • PDP implementation steps
  • Feedback and periodical adjustments
  • Coaching and support
  • Monitor and communicate results
  • Mobility and succession planning decisions

Open workshop, dedicated to managers and HR specialists, on the 9th of June 2017.

Participation will be allowed on an access package, before the 20th of May the special price is  300 ron/person, after this date, package price will become 450 ron/person.

For details and registration, please contact us at:

Coaching in the pocket: Episode 5 – PRAISE

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The best way to praise somebody is to recognize his/her effort and to communicate respect and understanding.

Many people think that praise consolidates trust. Yet, this can lead to tension and inappropriate behaviors.

Sometimes, when we do not really integrate the praise, we are tempted, without being aware, to prove who we really are. Parents often say that, immediately after children are praised, these behave strangely as if they want to show the contrary. It is also common for a child praised for his/her cleverness and talent to avoid more difficult tasks lest he/she should risk his image.

It is embarrassing for someone to be told what a gifted, generous, hard worker and modest could be.

Often the person is immediately obligated to deny publically or even for herself/himself. He/she cannot, honestly, sustain all these things.

It also could happen that the praise can generate hidden thoughts about the praise giver: if he says this, he might be telling lies / having an interest / be a little stupid … or it could lead to he/she feels superior to me if he is padding on my shoulder with such things.

The praise has two parts: what we are telling the people and what they are saying to themselves.

Usually we praise our children because we want them to have a better image about themselves. How does it happen that when we are telling our daughter “How pretty you are!” she denies this and when we are telling our boy “How clever you can be!” he seems embarrassed and steps back?

Most of the people do not react at praising words focused on their personality, physical or mental attributes. Generally, people do not like to be assessed.

The best praise consists in recognizing the effort and communication of respect and understanding. It should refer to efforts and achievements; it should never hint character and personality.

Being wrongly praised leads children to dependency and fragility, while praising them correctly could make them stronger.

Exactly the same way, adults, if they are given the proper feedback, can become more responsible wanting to be engaged in more and more difficult tasks.  What is the proper feedback in job?

Today most of the managers reward genial ideas, special performance and are in a hurry to assess their employees as talents. Specialists recommend praising our people more for “showing their pro-active spirit, for ending up a difficult task, because they strive and learn new things, because they have not gone down when they have failed or they have shown openness and have taken measures to criticism. And even more, praise them because they do not pretend to be praised every day.” – Carol Dweck, “Mindset. The New Psychology of Success”

I don’t know how often you have heard such praises in your companies; I must admit that I have seldom heard them.

How important it could be for us to understand that only by supporting our people growing mindset and mental development we can assure the leaders we like to speak about.

All To Know recommends the following workshops on this topic:

  • How to Grow People
  • Coaching for Performance
  • Mindset & Grit
  • How to Lead Effective Assessment Meetings
  • How to Give Proper Feedback

Coaching in the pocket: Episode 4 – Who is to be blamed?

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One of the most important challenges is to find the best balance between “blaming culture” and the one “it works anyway”. If you focus on finding the guilty persons it will lead to making people close themselves, if you are too relaxed it could lead to carelessness.

A manager who takes his time to understand the information and to look for different perspectives has an important advantage. She/he will both understand what has happened in each of the cases and also sends a trusting message to his team: if you make a mistake unintentionally, you will not be sanctioned.

The real question is neither “Who is to be blamed”, nor “Where is the dividing line between justified blaming and unintentional mistake?”, but “Do people in your organization really trust the ones in charge to set this line?

People will be open and engaged only when they trust the ones judging them.

Blaming without having done a detailed analysis is one of the most dangerous things in a company; it is based on a wrong assumption that being firm and being open are in conflict.

The fault undermines essential information for adaptation, letting us believe that we understand the environment, when in fact we should learn from it.

An organizational culture that really allows accepting and reporting mistakes securely can live together with, or even create, high performance standards” – Matthew Syed “Black Box Thinking”

Coaching in the pocket: Episode 3 – MEMORY

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Our memory is permanent subject to change. Each moment we remember, review and integrate new different images.

We try, without realizing this, that our memory fits to what we feel today more than what we really lived.

Recent researches suggest that this characteristic of our memory brings benefits for our imagination. Matthew Syed gives an example of how we can imagine that we have a coffee with David Beckham. Simply, we take a memory from our latest going out for a coffee, we stick it to Beckham’s image and here we are having coffee together.

I hope it is easier now to explain why some of us live so passionately events that have never happened!!!!

Are you somebody or nobody?

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We permanently strive, at home and at the job, hoping to be recognized and become different from the others. We really want to persuade people that we are special.

We are taught that if we gain (money, prizes, and authority) we can become somebody. We see the same examples around us every day. As kids, we learn Esop’s fable telling us the story of the reckless, yet gifted rabbit and the turtle, hardly walking, still constantly going forward. We understand the moral, but, anyway, who has ever wanted to be the turtle? (Carol Dweck)

We run after success and we always show our extraordinary invincibility, sometimes even in battles that we just imagine.

Having learnt the lesson, we get scared of failure. We have no power to speak about our failures and we hide them as deep as we can at all our life interviews. We only talk about our performances, we know that others put high expectations on us and we do not want to let them down. We know that only success makes us somebody.

Our high self esteem encourages our desire of being special. In fact, what we really want is to be „Super Somebody” increasing our authority and giving us rights upon the others.

The question is: if when we have success we are somebody, when we don’t, who are we?

When we lose our results, our prizes, our authority, do we automatically become nobody, as we are tempted to believe? Is there anything between being somebody and nobody?

We try hard to prove our talents in victories and results, yet efforts are seldom appreciated, trainings often ignored. What does it matter if you learn how to play very well, as long as you do not score at the match?

Today we want to win, not to play well. Trainings are far less important for us, than being celebrated for victory.

The issue in Esop’s fable is that we only have an either-or perspective. Either you are gifted – the rabbit, or you make effort – the turtle. Endeavour is, in this case, just for the ones not really gifted. As society, M. Gladwell says, we generally appreciate the achievement obtained without effort, we let apart endless hours of work and failures that actually build our success. We want success to appear easy, owing to our natural abilities.

Yet the truth is that only by effort you can win the race. How important could it be to succeed in protecting less our ego and being able to appreciate effort as much as success?

How well could it be to fill in the space between somebody and nobody with people like us, who can afford to be in between, without struggling to become somebody no matter what? How harmonious could our relationships be if being somebody would not really mean being better than others?

More than this, how happy could we be if we can become somebody for the others without becoming anybody for ourselves?

Coaching in the pocket: Episode 2 – REWARDS

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The error of “if – then”

We should definitely avoid saying explicitly to a child that IF he does (or he does not) do something, THEN he will receive a reward.

“If you gather your toys, then you will have a lollipop“

The pattern “if-then” can push the child do something right away, yet it seldom inspires him to real effort or to do it again. (Dr. Haim G. Ginott – “Between parent and child”)

We might have to do with intentional negative behaviors that obligate to be rewarded in order to be transformed into common sense ones.

We can find the same system working at adults, announcing a reward at the beginning of the project – and offering it under condition – will focus the person to obtain the reward rather than find the best solution for the project. (Daniel Pink – “Drive”)


The surprise of “Now that”

Announcing the reward after the task has been successfully fulfilled can bring much more satisfaction.

Rewards are more useful and better received when they come unexpectedly. They really represent recognition and appreciation that stimulates long term effort.

Coaching in the pocket: Episode 1 – Temptation

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The studies show that people, who are simultaneously challenged by a cognitive task and a temptation, will, most probably, give in to temptation.

If you are working at a difficult report, focusing on the figures, and your colleagues will ask you to choose between shawarma or a small salad for lunch, most probably you will choose the first one, if you generally like it.

“Emotional system (the 1st system) puts a high pressure on the behavior when the rational one (the 2nd one) is busy” – D. Kahneman “Thinking, Fast and Slow”

Mindset for Success

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You have a job that you really like; a lot of people might say you are a lucky person. You are rushing up to get to the office, at 9.00 you have your mid-year review meeting with your boss. He gets in and makes out a sandwich of feedback or, how it is called, a feedback sandwich as taught in last year training. He does not say much, yet he seems prepared, finally he tells you are „in line”. He does not mention your efforts, yet he focuses on results talking a lot about them).

You feel like talking about this and you ask your friend, in the office next to you, to come out for a cigarette. She is interested about the topic, yet much more willing to speak about her last night experience in Mall. Obviously, you are not her priority in this moment.

You are going back home, at 7 p.m., as usual. You get home and you parking lot is taken. You spin around the block about 3 times and then, eventually you can enter. Immediately a joyful voice is heard: „Hey, daddy, welcome, lets’ play as actors do”

What about this day? How do you find it? Are you disappointed? Would it be difficult for you to play?

We are living everything at maximum speed, we can only see things in black or white and we permanently pull out from ourselves too strong emotions. Even when we know about it pretty well, we are tempted to slide to fixed mindset, as Carol Dweck, psychology professor at Stanford, calls it. She has noticed that success often depends on the mindset we are treating different aspects of our lives. We really miss being recognized as superheroes, we are bothered that we are not the first in each person’s preferences. We simply forget that our friends have their own priorities we are not part of. We forget that we cannot control everything, even if we pay our taxes for the parking lots we have. We cannot tolerate mistakes, as if it has never happened to us. We live our tiredness stronger than our happiness of being a parent and we are overcome by the awful disappointment that we are not as extraordinary as we would like to be.

Finally the assessment was just a mid-year one, to be in line is not bad at all. Your manager is just a normal human being who, most probably, cannot cover everything, even if he/she wants to. Your friend has his/her right to much more interesting experiences than you can live, and the parking lot is not the only one in town. Still it is how difficult to accept, isn’t it?

Carol Dweck says that the ones who cannot see the details mentioned about tend to have a fixed mindset. The ones who can perceive them, even if sad sometimes, they do not put a negative stamp on themselves, they do not blame the others, they focus on how they can improve things depending on them so that the results may be better.

People with fixed mindset think that their basic features, intelligence and other gifts, cannot be changed, that’s why they concentrate on proving (to themselves and to the other people) how good they are, instead of moving the focus on how they can develop the abilities they have. They are mostly worried about the way people judge them, having an internal monologue focused on “This means I’m a loser”, “My boss is really bad”, “I am an awful father”

People with growth mindset are aware about their abilities, without permanently being focused on proving them, and insist on their development. They are also constantly monitoring what’s going on, but their internal monologue is not about judging themselves and others in this way. They are also sensitive to positive and negative things around them, but they are focused on learning and constructive actions. They want to be better each day considering it necessary for their personal development.

The good news is that growth mindset can be learned. I think it really worth’s making all the efforts to get it. We can simply start by exercising what Carol Dweck advices us in her book “Mindset. The New Psychology of Success”

About adaptation and its rules

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I find it amazing what happens to each of us in our daily life: we want something/somebody so badly, we find it (either by inertia or with some help from the others), we are really happy, we consume our happiness and, out of a sudden, we integrate it as we don’t even know that it is still with us. It disappears or, even worse, it gets in our way. The exuberance of our passion is not time resistant, it simply flows into normal.

This model is applicable in our families, at school, in sport, in love and in the job. We adapt, meaning we cannot keep happiness forever and even our grief cannot be as strong as it used to be at the beginning.

Let’s imagine that you have a complicated report to be done. You don’t like it at all. You feel like going to smoke more often than usual and each time when you get back to your excel sheet (because, we like it or not, we need to Excel in our work) it seems even more complicated and it is harder and harder to get it finished. Why all this?

Often we choose to break our hard experiences as they seem unbearable for a longer period. At the same time we do want our pleasant experiences to be permanent without knowing that, no matter how nice it can be, we will lose contact with our happiness. Thinking about our joyful moments we cannot feel a greater happiness, at the same time if we remember our pain we still can feel it.

It would be great to finish our task without too many smoking breaks (think how difficult it is to start again).

We should take a break within the things that we love, just to feel again the joy of doing it.

Let surprise get into our lives, so that our satisfaction level can get higher. It is a scientifically proven fact, as D. Ariely mentions in “The Upside of Irrationality”. Why? Because predictability kills pleasure, while surprise can load it with attention, joy and progress.

This is why it is better to work in projects and teams that can challenge you. Try new things that can take you to the next step of your development. Don’t accept routine, it is the road to disappointment and failure.

Keep also in mind that our fulfillment has a reference in our perspective over the other people status and our happiness depends on our ability to keep at least equal to them.

Recommendation for managers and HR professionals:

Support your people to get rid of routine, imagine „surprises” that can change boring job scenarios.

Design together with your good potential people suitable formula for their careers and make sure that they are permanently exposed to challenges that keep them open to learn.

Be careful to internal and external equity! Make effort to build healthy references for people so that they may feel fulfilled!

And one more: Always apply these first to you!



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Would you like to assure the fact that your managers have common standards regarding performance evaluation? Would you like to assure that at the level of each position the tasks are done respecting the same standards? Would you like to assure an uniformed training, according to the real needs of each position? Would you like to offer fair salary packages at the level of each position? Read More