Sunday 07th June 10:05

Management Toolkit: Mindtools

mindtoolsteamtoolsMindtools is a website that was founded in 1996 (a year or two before ourselves at ManageTrainLearn) as a free skills training site and has grown every year since. It launched its first e-courses in 2003 (again about the same time as ManageTrainLearn) and in 2009, its annual website visitors exceeded 10 million people. In 2010, it issued its 150th newsletter which goes out to 300,000 subscribers every week. Like ourselves at ManageTrainLearn, Mindtools has a wealth of free learning and training resources that will help you develop your skills and some excellent products to add to your skills library.

The Toolkit at the Heart of Mindtools

The backbone of the Mindtools site is what it calls its Management Toolkit. This is a collection of over 600 management, career and thinking skills. There are 12 categories in the Toolkit, ranging from Leadership Skills and Strategy Tools to Creativity Tools and Career Skills. When you select one of these categories, you go to a page listing all the different topics in the category. These can be self-assessment questionnaires or full articles with tips, explanations and key points. Some topics require you to become a member but there is still a wealth of material here that you'll either not need to do that or you'll be inspired to sign up.

An Example of Using the Mindtools Management Toolkit

Here's one example of what we learnt for free by using Mindtools' Management Toolkit. First, we clicked on the Leadership Skills category in the Toolkit list. This presented us with 11 further categories, 3 of which were self-assessment questionnaires which were easy to use and instructive in their feedback. We then selected another category in the list, "Leadership Styles" and had a list of a futher 8 topics. We selected "The Hersey-Blanchard Theory" which took us to a page full of fascinating information, examples, and key points on this model. For meandering and learning as you go, there's nothing quite like this kind of system. For quickness, you can use Mindtools' search function or what they call their Tool/Resource Finder and go straight to the information you need.

What Else Is In Mindtools?

Along with the Management Toolkit, the other free valuable feature of the Mindtools site is their weekly newsletter on career skills. The other features are all downloadable products that you can purchase for yourself or your organisation. These include a personal membership site that you can sign up to for just $1 and get one-hour training packs, mp3s, coaching sessions and access to specialist forums. For corporate users, Mindtools offers their extensive resources through its Career Excellence Club which will allow you and your teams full access to all the material on the site for an annual subscription. The material can also be customised for your own organisation's needs.

Conclusion on Mindtools

Mindtools is an example of a skills learning site at its best. It has a wealth of excellent free management training material, a good range of downloadable skills products, and options for longer-term skills learning. Take a look for yourself at this address:

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