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Archive for the ‘Leadership & Engagement’ Category

SOCIAL LEARNING: Social Training and Social Workforce Learning

A couple weeks ago we introduced you to the concept of social learning.  Although the concept has been around for over 60 years, workplace education is seeing a rebirth of this theory in recent years due to the explosion of social technologies. Next week Michael and I will be presenting the concept of social learning […]

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 : CHANGE: Understanding the Root of Change & How The Change Formula Can Drive Success

CHANGE: Understanding the Root of Change & How The Change Formula Can Drive Success

Have you ever found yourself wanting to implement some kind of change either at home or in your place of business and realized you didn’t have the support to make it happen? Now by change, all I mean is something new.  Maybe a desire to purchase a new lawnmower, or more critical, the need to […]

Thumbnail : CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING: The Challenge of Working Across Cultures

CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING: The Challenge of Working Across Cultures

“Let us not be blind to our differences – but let us also direct attention to our common interests and the means by which those differences can be resolved.” – John Fitzgerald Kennedy American University, Washington, DC 1963 More and more companies are dealing with cross-cultural issues either as a result of having divisions located in […]

Thumbnail : SOCIAL LEARNING: The Shifting Paradigm of Learning Using Social Technology

SOCIAL LEARNING: The Shifting Paradigm of Learning Using Social Technology

One of the exciting new disciplines in the industry of education and learning (both institutionally as well as in the workplace), is this notion of social learning through new technology.  The idea of social learning has actually been around for over 60 years.  Social learning theory was originally derived from the works of Albert Bandura […]

Thumbnail : QUALITY MANAGEMENT: What Is Your "Standard Operating Procedure"

QUALITY MANAGEMENT: What Is Your "Standard Operating Procedure"

My brother Matt and I were talking last week about how to approach an upcoming social media training we were doing.  On one hand we thought it would be appropriate to teach others about the new/old media currently being used.  However, what we felt was missing was the idea of how a person chooses to […]

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 : STRATEGY: The Starbucks Way: Rediscovering Your Mission

STRATEGY: The Starbucks Way: Rediscovering Your Mission

I recently finished the book, Onward, by Starbucks’ founder Howard Schultz.  Schultz does a great job, not only at explaining where Starbucks was at the time that he retook control of the company (after stepping down as CEO 8 years earlier), but he also created a road map on how he methodically brought Starbucks back from […]

LEADERSHIP: Open Door Policies: Do They Help or Hinder

You’ve probably heard this statement before; in fact, you’ve probably even said it yourself: “my door is always open.”  Chances are you said it to someone, whether it be an employee, customer or someone else who could benefit from your services, but when you said it, did you ever think that your action might have […]

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 : TEAMING: Getting Past the Storm in Team-Building

TEAMING: Getting Past the Storm in Team-Building

B. W. Tuckman was the creator of the Team Development Wheel, which identified four stages of development for any group or team.  The first stage is called forming when the team is first pulled together to do the work it’s been assigned. A forming team is on its best behavior; communication is polite but tentative […]

Thumbnail : TEAMING: Traditional vs. Innovative Managers (Guestblogger: Robert Gilbert)

TEAMING: Traditional vs. Innovative Managers (Guestblogger: Robert Gilbert)

Guestblogger: Robert Gilbert was a plant manager at Rohm and Haas Bayport, Inc. in the early days of “participative management” or what we would now call team-oriented management. Gilbert worked at Rohm and Haas for over 34 years  and 10 years as their plant manager. Gilbert now enjoys retirement and discussing the need for American […]

Thumbnail : PRESENTATION SKILLS: Ten Ways To Improve Your Presentation Skills

PRESENTATION SKILLS: Ten Ways To Improve Your Presentation Skills

It’s no secret that while almost every job has some kind of speaking or presenting component to it, a majority of Americans hate doing it.  Whether it’s the traditional presentation or making those god-awful cold calls, our job demands us to stretch outside our comfort zone at times. As we look at public speaking, in […]

Thumbnail : TEAMING: There’s Teaming & Then There’s Teaming – How To Get Teaming Into Everyday Work

TEAMING: There’s Teaming & Then There’s Teaming – How To Get Teaming Into Everyday Work

Recently, I conducted some teambuilding sessions for groups of scientists who have been reorganized into new “platforms” that join together into a single department.  Within each platform are scientific “units,” responsible for different parts of the process of getting product out the door. The training sessions are designed to build awareness and commitment toward functioning […]

Thumbnail : LEADERSHIP: How I Met Your Brand

LEADERSHIP: How I Met Your Brand

Over the past year, I have been discussing in my blog posts this idea of the ‘larger story’ of your department, organization and your professional life and some of the new and fresh ways to tell that story. As I once heard someone say, “To be a person or a company is to have a […]

Thumbnail : DECISION MAKING: Decision Day – When Mediocrity Is No Longer Acceptable

DECISION MAKING: Decision Day – When Mediocrity Is No Longer Acceptable

The idea for this blog came in two different stages.  Two weeks ago I was sitting in a meeting where Deb, our founder, remarked to a senior level executive, “If you want this initiative to work, you’re eventually going to have to have a decision day.”  I had heard that phrase a couple other times, […]

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 : CHANGE MANAGEMENT: Why 70% of Change Initiatives Fail

CHANGE MANAGEMENT: Why 70% of Change Initiatives Fail

John Kotter, renowned author and change management guru, reported in his book, Leading Change, that 70% of change initiatives in organizations and businesses fail.  That is an extraordinarily depressing figure when we also hear that the only constant in life these days is change.  Does that mean that we’re all doomed to fail 70% of […]

Thumbnail : BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT: 10 Easy Pieces to Improving Your Marketing Effort

BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT: 10 Easy Pieces to Improving Your Marketing Effort

I know it should be 5 Easy Pieces to correspond with the movie title, but I didn’t want to shortchange you on information, so I went with 10. Summer is a great time to recalibrate the ‘marketing machine’ as businesses usually slow down during this time period and the demands aren’t as high. However, like […]

Thumbnail : LEADERSHIP: The Us vs. Them Mentality – Bridging the Gap Between Operation & Administration

LEADERSHIP: The Us vs. Them Mentality – Bridging the Gap Between Operation & Administration

Judging by the amount of times I’ve run into this phenomenon it’s probably safe to assume that most people have found themselves, somewhere along the way, in the midst of a battle between the operations side of the house, and the corporate / executive side.  Now you might be asking yourself, I’m not really sure […]

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 : STRATEGY: Why HR Should Have a Seat at the Corporate Table

STRATEGY: Why HR Should Have a Seat at the Corporate Table

Awhile back I was talking with an HR colleague who had been through the worst three years of his long career, having closed several plants and laid off over 1,500 people.  He talked about how utterly demoralizing it was to spend his time dismantling business rather than growing it.  He hated being the bearer of […]

Thumbnail : LEADERSHIP: Back to Basics – Guest Post by Jared Eckler, President of Townsend Leather

LEADERSHIP: Back to Basics – Guest Post by Jared Eckler, President of Townsend Leather

Guest Blogger: Jared Eckler is the president of Townsend Leather located in upstate New York. Townsend Leather makes beautiful upholstery leather for interior designs in business and commercial aircraft, in yachts, automobiles and luxury motor coaches, and for residential, hospitality and office furniture applications. Not to be mistaken as mere distributors or marketers of leather, […]

Thumbnail : MILLENNIAL: 6 Ways To Navigate the Workplace

MILLENNIAL: 6 Ways To Navigate the Workplace

Let’s face it; the road to the top is not always a straight line. Matter of fact, in most cases it’s a combination of a number of factors that strike the exact chord a company executive is looking for in an up-and-coming leader. While these traits, characteristics and skills are not mutually exclusive and there […]

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: MBTI – Are Your Preferences Blinding Your Need To Develop Skill?

PERSONALITY: MBTI – Are Your Preferences Blinding Your Need To Develop Skill?

Carlos sits in the meeting and begins tapping the tip of his pen as Claire explains why she’s disagreeing with the proposed timeline for launching the project.  Impatience is written all over his face.  He hates these weekly staff meetings, and finds Claire to be one of the major stumbling blocks.  To his way of […]

Thumbnail : PERSONALITY: Pleasure vs. Accomplishment

PERSONALITY: Pleasure vs. Accomplishment

On most Saturday mornings, my husband and I sit down together to figure out what needs to get done over the weekend. High on my list are all the household chores, lawn mowing, gardening and paying bills. High on his list is figuring out when golf is going to fit into the schedule. For years […]

Thumbnail : Training the Next Generation (ASTD)

Training the Next Generation (ASTD)

Michael Harrington, Director of New Training and Strategic Initiatives and Matthew Harrington, Marketing Manager, both of New Directions Consulting give commentary on the day’s events at the 15th Annual Hudson-Mohawk ASTD (American Society for Training and Development) Conference in March of 2010.

Thumbnail : DECISION MAKING: Moving Your Ideas to the Seventh Imperative

DECISION MAKING: Moving Your Ideas to the Seventh Imperative

Recently, the New Directions team had another greatopportunity to be involved with the Albany-Colonie Chamber of Commerce’s Entrepreneur Boot Camp.  I had the specific pleasure to read the 15 business reports from the class and be one of the panelists in the final presentation and judging of each report.  Reading and reviewing the presentations, it’s […]

Thumbnail : LEADERSHIP: Get the "Lead" Out of Your Leadership Balloon

LEADERSHIP: Get the "Lead" Out of Your Leadership Balloon

In a previous blog I stressed the idea that the way in which someone leads can have a direct impact on how a company, and its people, progress.  I once had a leader, or should I say boss, whose mantra was ‘no good deed goes unpunished.’  You can imagine the ripple effect that had on […]

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 : LEADERSHIP: Taking the "Lead" Out of Leadership

LEADERSHIP: Taking the "Lead" Out of Leadership

I recently took a personality test that identified me as an ‘inspirer.’ Now this wasn’t a test that pops on your Facebook page occasionally; it was a legitimate tool I was considering using for a training on leading without authority. A couple of days prior to this, I had received a call from a client […]

Thumbnail : LEADERSHIP: Building Prioritization & Accountability In Your Initiatives

LEADERSHIP: Building Prioritization & Accountability In Your Initiatives

I recently completed a series of interviews with members of a production leadership team and was struck by some of their comments. They expressed frustration that the meetings seemed to be dominated by three or four people, while others just stayed in their “silos” contributing only when asked a specific question related to their area of […]

Thumbnail : CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING: What Possesses People To Do The Things They Do?

CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING: What Possesses People To Do The Things They Do?

  A look at burning Korans, President Karzai, Terry Jones and cultural differences On March 20th Terry Jones, the pastor of the Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida burned the Koran, igniting a terrible situation in Afghanistan where twelve UN workers were killed by Afghanistan protesters.  As I watched the interview with the unrepentant pastor […]

Thumbnail : BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT: A Crowdsourced Event – Top Trends in Marketing & Communications Heading Your Way

BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT: A Crowdsourced Event – Top Trends in Marketing & Communications Heading Your Way

Crowdsourcing: is the act of outsourcing tasks to an undefined, large group of people or community (a “crowd”), through an open call. Crowdsourcing is channelling the experts’ desire to solve a problem and then freely sharing the answer with everyone. (Wikipedia) It came up in one of our latest Weekly Action Meetings (WAMs) that I […]

Thumbnail : BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT: Top Trends In Marketing & Communications (Matt's Picks)

BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT: Top Trends In Marketing & Communications (Matt's Picks)

We had great participation by some leading experts on what trends they’re watching in the field of marketing and communications in our crowdsourced blog (I encourage you to read their insights here).  I wanted to also provided some of the areas that I will be keeping an eye on this year.  As you look to strengthen […]

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 : COMMUNICATION: Public Speaking: Our #1 Fear

COMMUNICATION: Public Speaking: Our #1 Fear

Public speaking – it’s not always easy, nor glamorous, and it often causes us to have heart palpitations.  However, it is something that we all find ourselves having to do at some point in our lives, whether for work, education, or as parents.  And if you were as foolish as I was to sign up […]

Thumbnail : TEAMING: How To Implement Your Own Tiger Team

TEAMING: How To Implement Your Own Tiger Team

Last week we explored the background of Tiger Teams – how they began and their original purpose.  The realization for me was that Tiger Teams had evolved from an espionage orientation to a problem solving one.  That evolution opens up the possibility for all organizations to explore the value of creating Tiger Teams.  It also […]

Thumbnail : TEAMING: Tiger Teams – The New Frontier of Teaming

TEAMING: Tiger Teams – The New Frontier of Teaming

Awhile back I ran into this term – Tiger Teams – and was intrigued by how a Tiger Team might differ from another type of team, or if it was simply a glorified name for a team that would oversee something like a Kaizen event.  What does being a Tiger Team really mean?  Is becoming […]

Thumbnail : LEADERSHIP: Presenting Your Ideas the "Kennedy Way"

LEADERSHIP: Presenting Your Ideas the "Kennedy Way"

  “We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that […]

Thumbnail : QUALITY MANAGEMENT: High Performance Systems

QUALITY MANAGEMENT: High Performance Systems

On Friday last week I was fortunate enough to present a sample of our Continuous Improvement workshop to a room full of members from the American Society for Training and Development of Albany, NY.  During our session I took the group on a road trip that stopped at a number of landmarks along the way […]

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 : Why 80% of Your Resolutions Fail by Valentine’s Day

Why 80% of Your Resolutions Fail by Valentine’s Day

“A goal is a dream with a deadline.”   Did you know 80% of New Year’s Resolutions fail by Valentine’s Day according to the New York Times! We hate to be dire, but it’s true – goal setting and goal accomplishment can be the Achilles heel to some of your greatest ideas and achievments.  However, […]

Thumbnail : QUALITY MANAGEMENT: The Commitment To True Continuous Improvement

QUALITY MANAGEMENT: The Commitment To True Continuous Improvement

Have you ever been to a Kaizen meeting, or conducted a Gemba?  Most of us, if we heard those words, would probably say ‘excuse you,’ but in the world of continuous improvement those are regular occurrences, or at least they should be. Earlier this month I was on a business trip to a major manufacturer […]

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 : BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT: The New Small Business Marketing Model

BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT: The New Small Business Marketing Model

  “Marketing is the art of getting ideas about a company and its products out to as many people as possible, in the hopes of converting them to customers.”  – Empowered  Storytelling Marketing, in a nutshell, is nothing more than storytelling.  The question is: Can an organization effectively tell its compelling story to customers enough […]

STRATEGY: 11 Bold Strategies for Employee Development in 2011

Let’s face it; the economic slowdown has had an effect on the US workforce that we have yet to fully comprehend.  The decision to extend unemployment benefits to 99 weeks is a tangible reminder of how desperate the employment situation is for so many people.  Those with newly minted college degrees are facing over 14% […]

Thumbnail : LEADERSHIP: Fear vs. Opportunity

LEADERSHIP: Fear vs. Opportunity

Happy New Year!  The time between Christmas and New Year’s when, for the most part, we shut down the office, affords me more time to read and think about changes I want to make going forward.  This year particularly has been one with some real insights for me that I’d like to share with you. […]

Thumbnail : 100th Blog Post: New Year Insights from the Team

100th Blog Post: New Year Insights from the Team

I’m having a bit of a problem with resolutions this year.  Maybe it’s because last year’s resolution didn’t work out quite as planned and it’s hard to build momentum again.  When that happens to me, I find that it’s best to start small with some quick successes, like building one new workshop or walking 2 […]

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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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