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Lisa Dunbar

Thumbnail : The Upside of “No”: 9 Tips to Saying No Assertively

The Upside of “No”: 9 Tips to Saying No Assertively

In a May blog, I encouraged you to start your journey to setting limits with others by attending to four basic steps: (1) accept your right to say no (2) uncover organizational beliefs around values and work/life balance (3) learn from past history (what does your environment tell you about possible consequences to saying no) […]

Thumbnail : Learn from the US Government Shutdown: Set Good Team Processes and Continually Improve Them

Learn from the US Government Shutdown: Set Good Team Processes and Continually Improve Them

Several weeks ago, we trained a group of employees on team effectiveness as they embarked on a rigorous program where in teams of three, they would be tasked with coming together each week, functioning as a team, to solve a complex business problem. It was clear from the start that these “mini-teams” would need to […]

Thumbnail : Catch the Flu? No, Catch Engagement, Positivity, & Goal Achievement

Catch the Flu? No, Catch Engagement, Positivity, & Goal Achievement

Well, it happens like clockwork – school starts and about 3 weeks later, my daughter ends up at the doctor’s office. Then the next question is: have you gotten your flu shot yet? (If not, the billboards and road signs will certainly get your attention.) Oh yes, it’s that time of year! Today, we are […]

Thumbnail : How Does Detroit’s Possible Bankruptcy Link to Workplace Accountability?

How Does Detroit’s Possible Bankruptcy Link to Workplace Accountability?

This summer’s news included the City of Detroit’s dire financial condition – seeing bankruptcy as the only option for the longstanding state of financial crisis and becoming the largest city in the US to file bankruptcy. Certainly, Detroit made agreements to be accountable to their workers, vendors, bankers, companies and individual tax payers. What does […]

Thumbnail : 4 Steps on the Journey to Saying “No” in the Workplace – Part I

4 Steps on the Journey to Saying “No” in the Workplace – Part I

You know the drill; he walks into your office and asks you once again for help with a project and says, “I realize that it is a tight deadline but you can do it, right? You always come through for me and I really appreciate you.” There it is: the hook. You smile and say, […]

Thumbnail : STRATEGY: Values for Hire

STRATEGY: Values for Hire

In a 2012 study from the Center for American Progress, they reviewed 11 research papers and 30 case studies on employee retention, and concluded that it costs businesses about one-fifth of a worker’s salary to replace that worker. This includes direct costs such as:   Separation costs (exit interviews, severance pay, higher unemployment taxes); Costs […]

Thumbnail : SURVEYING: Beyond SurveyMonkey – Critical Questions To Ask Before Sending Out a Survey

SURVEYING: Beyond SurveyMonkey – Critical Questions To Ask Before Sending Out a Survey

Wiki contends that Survey Monkey had 14 million users in 2012. If you are nodding your head in agreement, you won’t be surprised that since its business launch in 2009, Survey Monkey has become a household name. Here at New Directions, we have been conducting surveys for close to twenty years; everything from designing and […]

Thumbnail : CONFLICT MANAGEMENT: The Manager As Conflict Mediator

CONFLICT MANAGEMENT: The Manager As Conflict Mediator

When faced with the job duty of “maintaining harmonious relationships,” many managers and supervisors in my workshops either: (a) chuckle, (b) groan or (c) sigh. So, when “handling drama in the workplace,” or in other words, “dealing with workplace conflict” was one of the top challenges in my supervisory workshop last week, I was not […]

Thumbnail : PERSONALITY: The Word of 2013 – Choice

PERSONALITY: The Word of 2013 – Choice

I caught the opening of the Dr. Phil show on New Year’s Day. He asks the crowd, “Are you smart? Don’t be shy,” he says. Again, he asks, “Are you smart people?” Of course, many heads in the audience nod “yes.” Then he hammers home, “If you are so smart, why do you make such […]

Thumbnail : MEETING SKILLS: Still Tolerating Bad Meetings? Maybe One of These Baker’s Dozen Will Get You Back on Track

MEETING SKILLS: Still Tolerating Bad Meetings? Maybe One of These Baker’s Dozen Will Get You Back on Track

In a July 2012 Forbes article, Erika Andersen explores why people continue to tolerate “bad” meetings. She goes on to say that if employees only understood the expense involved, they would see the bottom-line importance of improving each and every meeting they attend. She uses this comparison: “I’ll bet you anything if the leader of […]

Thumbnail : CONFLICT RESOLUTION:  How To Get Along With Others – A New Spin on Workplace Conflict

CONFLICT RESOLUTION: How To Get Along With Others – A New Spin on Workplace Conflict

In June 2012, Healthy Companies International surveyed 2,700 employees from its in-house database of senior managers, HR executives and C-suite leaders to examine employee perceptions of 20 specific manager behaviors. In one of the two lowest behaviors, just 59% of employees said their boss dealt capably with workplace conflicts. “Conflict occurs in every organization,” said […]

Thumbnail : COACHING: The 3 Types of People You Need In Your Dynamic Support Team

COACHING: The 3 Types of People You Need In Your Dynamic Support Team

Michael Bungay Stanier in his book, Do More Great Work is clear when he says, “Doing Great Work by yourself means it’s not Great Work.” He goes on to say, “To get the job done, we all need support from those around us – family, friends, and colleagues. “  For many of us that can […]

Thumbnail : TIME MANAGEMENT: The Newest, Coolest Time Management App: YOU!

TIME MANAGEMENT: The Newest, Coolest Time Management App: YOU!

Are you ready for the new iphone 5? Have you seen all the new apps? Did you catch the recent Fast Company story about the “5 apps to Help You Swing Back into the Productivity Mode?” It seems like there are more and more resources to help us manage our time better – books, articles, […]

Thumbnail : CONFLICT RESOLUTION: Shifting People from Positions to Interests

CONFLICT RESOLUTION: Shifting People from Positions to Interests

As a manager, supervisor and certainly, HR professional, you may find yourself right smack in the middle of mediating employee conflicts. By the time they reach you, tempers are flared and each person is firmly dug into a hard line of “I will only….” or “I won’t,” and “He must…” or “She had better….” language. […]

Thumbnail : COMMUNICATION SKILLS: Today’s Needed Leadership Skill – Lowered Defensiveness

COMMUNICATION SKILLS: Today’s Needed Leadership Skill – Lowered Defensiveness

“I didn’t understand what I was supposed to do.”  “It looks fine to me.” “I did exactly what you told me to do.” “You never told me I needed to do…..” “What right do you have to criticize what I do?” “The blame really lies with your area, not mine.” Any of these sound familiar? […]

Thumbnail : WORKPLACE TRUST: 7 Principles for Raising Organizational Trust Levels

WORKPLACE TRUST: 7 Principles for Raising Organizational Trust Levels

Last month, I explored the effects of a lack of trust in an organization on the success of change initiatives and left you with the question: So, what if you are an organization that botched the last change initiative or perhaps now recognize that you don’t have a trusting environment, and are trying to launch […]

Thumbnail : WORKPLACE TRUST: Trust’s Effect On Successful Change Initiatives and 4 Trust Breakers

WORKPLACE TRUST: Trust’s Effect On Successful Change Initiatives and 4 Trust Breakers

Recently I conducted a workshop on Building Trust and Credibility for two different groups within the same organization. The training topic was chosen by management, though they did have the option of attending a different seminar. To my surprise, the two groups had polar reactions to the subject. One group was excited about the topic and […]

Thumbnail : NEW SUPERVISORS & MANAGERS: Building Assertiveness Skills, Part II

NEW SUPERVISORS & MANAGERS: Building Assertiveness Skills, Part II

In Part I, we explored the beliefs needed to drive assertive behavior and I encouraged you to take our assertiveness survey as a way of reflecting on your current communication patterns and level of assertiveness. If you are like many, you may have found that you weren’t as assertive as you’d like to be, particularly […]

Thumbnail : NEW SUPERVISORS & MANAGERS: Building Assertiveness Skills Part I

NEW SUPERVISORS & MANAGERS: Building Assertiveness Skills Part I

If you are like many new supervisors, you got promoted because of your job knowledge and technical ability. While some of you may have been recognized for your communication skills, others may find that your promotion requires a whole new level of expertise. Just recently, one new supervisor asked me quite openly, “Based on all […]

Thumbnail : Management and Supervision Skills: Focusing on Collaboration

Management and Supervision Skills: Focusing on Collaboration

    Collaboration is working together to achieve a goal. In business, it is seen as a way of coordinating different ideas from numerous people to generate a wide variety of knowledge to achieve strategic objectives (wiki). I like how that sounds. I’ve been watching a lot of cooking shows lately, Everyday Italian, in particular. […]

Thumbnail : CHANGE: 10 Tips for Supervisors and Managers To Renew and Refuel the Heart of Your Change Initiative

CHANGE: 10 Tips for Supervisors and Managers To Renew and Refuel the Heart of Your Change Initiative

“Running short of cash and unable to sell 1,100 digital imaging patents that could have rescued it,” as Rochester’s Democrat and Chronicle writes, Eastman Kodak Co. today took the long-expected but still painful step of filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. As The Associated Press says, this raises the specter that “the 132-year-old trailblazer could […]

Thumbnail : PERSONALITY: Why We Fear Doing Things Differently

PERSONALITY: Why We Fear Doing Things Differently

In November 2011, NDC blogger Michael Harrington wrote about three different types of people: the Conserver, the Pragmatist and the Innovator (Discovery Learning, Change Style Indicator). I want to revisit these three different approaches, and look at how “the fear of doing things differently” plays out in each change style. THE CONSERVER The Conservers prefer […]

Thumbnail : DECISION MAKING: Decision Making Skills for Managers Using the MBTI

DECISION MAKING: Decision Making Skills for Managers Using the MBTI

“Life is the sum of all your choices.” – Albert Camus (1913 – 1960), French Author And many choices we make. Some experts calculate that most adults make 35,000 decisions each and every day. As Albert Camus suggests, decisions are probably the single most influential factor in individual and organizational success – whether they be […]

Thumbnail : COMMUNICATION SKILLS: 12 Communication Blunders That Can Trip Up Managers in 2012

COMMUNICATION SKILLS: 12 Communication Blunders That Can Trip Up Managers in 2012

The Friday after Thanksgiving has, over the years, become a day of holiday decorating at our house which includes hauling out the Christmas decorations and putting up our tree.  This year, we also decided that it was the perfect time to re-arrange the living room, make plans to freshen up the paint and refinish the […]

Thumbnail : EMPLOYEE DEVELOPMENT: Techniques For Creating Professional Value

EMPLOYEE DEVELOPMENT: Techniques For Creating Professional Value

What is your professional value equation? Are you on the addition side or do your behaviors subtract from your workplace worth? Some years ago I received a distress phone call from a former participant in one of my trainings. Even though she had been chosen to participate in this training based on her potential to […]

Thumbnail : EMPLOYEE MOTIVATION: The Language of Motivation in the Workplace

EMPLOYEE MOTIVATION: The Language of Motivation in the Workplace

Everyone wants more cash, right? Well…..apparently not. Twenty-first century research on motivation, commonly called Motivation 3.0 (Daniel Pink, Drive), suggests that what employees really want is much more than cash. Today’s workforce is looking for: 1. Autonomy – the desire to direct their own lives 2. Mastery – the urge to get better and better at something […]

Thumbnail : GOAL SETTING: SMART Goal Setting eBook – Defining a Target You Can’t Miss

GOAL SETTING: SMART Goal Setting eBook – Defining a Target You Can’t Miss

Download our SMART Goal Setting eBook and learn some of the key techniques to help you focus on attainable and measurable goals.  

Thumbnail : NEW SUPERVISOR AND MANAGER: Supervisory Roundtables: An Inside Look

NEW SUPERVISOR AND MANAGER: Supervisory Roundtables: An Inside Look

Ten years ago we began to hear a common theme among our clients when talking with them about supervisory training.  It sounded something like this:  while our supervisors need to be trained, we find it difficult to find the time for them to be off the floor receiving the training.  I’d like to suggest that […]

Thumbnail : COMMUNICATION SKILLS: Toning Down Your Aggressiveness and Getting Others to Buy Your Ideas

COMMUNICATION SKILLS: Toning Down Your Aggressiveness and Getting Others to Buy Your Ideas

How did you react when you first heard about Stephen Slater?  Did you say, “Way to go! My hero?”  Did you explain away his actions by his obvious high stress? Or were you one to condemn him for his lack of control on the job?  Do you think that he woke up that morning and […]

Thumbnail : LEADERSHIP: Situational Leadership – The 4D’s of Your Employees

LEADERSHIP: Situational Leadership – The 4D’s of Your Employees

  Some supervisors apply a “one size fits all” approach to supervision. The Situational Leadership II model suggests that a supervisor should vary his or her style of leadership based on the employee’s developmental level. Ken Blanchard, creator of the Situational Leadershi p II model, believes that all employees pass through a job cycle of […]

Thumbnail : PERSONALITY: Introverts – How You Can Be Value-Added In An Extraverted World

PERSONALITY: Introverts – How You Can Be Value-Added In An Extraverted World

As a fan of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and an INFP, I’m always striving to learn more about how personality preferences affect workplace performance – strengthening a person’s ability to be successful or at times, creating road blocks to personal best. Recognizing that the MBTI measures preferences, not skills, reminds us to be careful […]

Thumbnail : PERSONALITY: Envy in the Workplace

PERSONALITY: Envy in the Workplace

Having just presented a workshop on Building Trust and Credibility in the Workplace, I was impressed by Stephen M.R. Covey’s ability to translate the nice societal value of “trust” into a real effect on speed, cost, efficiency and quality in the workplace.  If trust can have this significant impact, what about other difficult emotions?  Envy, […]

Thumbnail : NEW SUPERVISORS: You’ve Been Promoted! Now What? Avoiding New Supervisor Potholes

NEW SUPERVISORS: You’ve Been Promoted! Now What? Avoiding New Supervisor Potholes

You’ve been promoted; congratulations! You are excited about starting your new job, vowing to be the best supervisor you could possibly be and never doing what your past “terrible” supervisors have done to you! You are on the road to future success at your company and you’ve got great hopes for tomorrow.

Thumbnail : CUSTOMER SERVICE: Asking the RIGHT People the RIGHT Questions

CUSTOMER SERVICE: Asking the RIGHT People the RIGHT Questions

I seem to be in the midst of all kinds of different types of surveys as this new year unfolds – from 360 feedback surveys which evaluate a person’s performance in key areas of management competence to stakeholder surveys where the information gathered will be used for strategic planning to meet the demands of the […]

Thumbnail : CHANGE MANAGEMENT: Breaking Behavior Patterns That Hold You Back

CHANGE MANAGEMENT: Breaking Behavior Patterns That Hold You Back

When December comes, it seems I’m caught between the hustle and bustle of finishing all the year-end projects/training and my desire to reflect on 2010 and set new goals for 2011. One of the things I love about being a trainer is the opportunity to review and refresh my own skills as I design and […]

Thumbnail : INTERVIEWING: EQ Interview Skills for Managers

INTERVIEWING: EQ Interview Skills for Managers

In our morning WAM meeting (Weekly Action Meeting), I was sharing the focus of this week’s blog. One co-worker commented, “Just tell people to please refrain from asking questions like “if you could be any flavor of ice cream, which flavor would you be?”  Hmmm……I thought to myself, “peppermint stick.” Oh dear, what does that […]

Thumbnail : STRATEGY: 3 Tips For Tactical Planning

STRATEGY: 3 Tips For Tactical Planning

As September approaches and kids head off to school or college, it is a ripe time to adopt healthy work habits. What about adding a focus on planning to that fresh start? If you are game, here are 3 tips to get you started: 1. Commit: a six-letter word that transforms “dreams” into “results.”  There are […]

CHANGE MANAGEMENT: Thriving Through Change Part II

In last week’s blog, we explored two hypotheses around change: (1) Changes exist in each and every moment of the day; and (2) We are built to maintain the status quo and therefore, reject change. I left you with some questions to think about: Do you accept change as inherent in your life? Do you […]

Thumbnail : CHANGE MANAGEMENT: Thriving Through Change Part I

CHANGE MANAGEMENT: Thriving Through Change Part I

“Life is difficult.  This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths.  It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it.  Once we truly know that life is difficult – once we truly understand and accept it – then life is no longer difficult. Because once it is […]

Thumbnail : TEAMING: Key Mile Markers on the Road to Top-Notch Teaming

TEAMING: Key Mile Markers on the Road to Top-Notch Teaming

- a recap of the 2010 Bright Ideas with Presenter Lisa Dunbar –   To round out our month on teaming, I thought I’d share some highlights from my presentation “The Road to Top Notch Teaming” from the Albany-Colonie Chamber of Commerce Bright Ideas Conference.       Choose the right vehicle to get you where you […]

Thumbnail : TEAMING: Team-Building 3.0 – The Road To Top-Notch Teaming

TEAMING: Team-Building 3.0 – The Road To Top-Notch Teaming

Successful teams don’t leave success to chance. They plan for success. They are set up to succeed from the beginning. They spend 2/3 of their time planning what they will do and 1/3 of their time actually doing it. That includes spending time on process and relationship before task. Teaming 3.0 doesn’t involve some new […]

Thumbnail : TEAMING: 4 Mythbusters of Consensus

TEAMING: 4 Mythbusters of Consensus

I conducted a team building workshop recently and as I was reviewing the four key elements for effective work teams with the group, notably (1) common goal and approach (2) shared roles and responsibilities (3) commitment to helpful team behaviors and (4) consensus decisions, it was easy to see the heads nodding when I spoke […]

Thumbnail : SUPERVISORS AND MANAGERS: 5 Essential Skills for Employee Course Correction

SUPERVISORS AND MANAGERS: 5 Essential Skills for Employee Course Correction

As you may know from my last blog, I just finished designing a workshop on going from crisis management to control management.  When we operate in crisis mode and an employee comes to us with a problem, we are quick to give the solution. The employee goes on his/her merry way and fixes the problem. […]

Thumbnail : MANAGERS AND SUPERVISORS: CM to CM: From Crisis Management to Controlled Management

MANAGERS AND SUPERVISORS: CM to CM: From Crisis Management to Controlled Management

I’ve heard it said many times by managers that “I work best under pressure,” or “I’m constantly being pulled into one crisis after another all day long.” The talk of crisis management for many leaves them exhilarated, excited and empowered by the unpredictable, feeling good at the end of the day that the problems of […]

Thumbnail : 4 Immediate EMPLOYEE MOTIVATION: Ways to Add Personal Success and Power to Your Staff by Year's End

4 Immediate EMPLOYEE MOTIVATION: Ways to Add Personal Success and Power to Your Staff by Year's End

This is often the time of year when staff are scrambling to finish projects by year-end or preparing to formulate goals, both professionally and personally for the coming year. How can we help our staff to choose a path of success and personal power rather than failure and lowered self esteem? 1. Help them to […]

Thumbnail : STRATEGY: It's a Matter of Values

STRATEGY: It's a Matter of Values

In my Quality Customer Service training, I ask participants to complete a simple exercise where they answer some quick questions: (1) how old should a piece of pie be that is served in a restaurant? (2) what time should a 16 year old be home on a Saturday night? (3) how do you know if […]

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An innovative training and employee development firm located in southern Vermont since 1984, we specialize in helping organizations get the most out of their people by raising the bar, inspiring potential and partnering with organizations to build a people-centered, high-engagement culture.

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