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NDCBlogger 2011: Year in Review

As a yearly tradition we like to showcase the most read NDCBlogger posts in the last year.  We think this gives an opportunity to provide knowledge, insights and tips on some of the most discussed and read topics we’ve had the privilege to write.  It has been our pleasure to share our real-life experiences and perhaps contrarian perspectives with you, our valued reader, over the past few years.  We greatly appreciate your readership and look forward to providing you with another year of “just-in-time, save-this-to-my-folder, ah-ha-I-never-thought-of-it-that-way” insights and writings.  Cheers to 2012.

Now, as Casey Kasem might say, “on with the countdown…”


#10 – 11 Bold Strategies for Employee Development in 2011 (281 reads)
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% unemployment and minorities over 17% unemployment.  What effect does this reality have on people who are working?  Many tell me that they are tolerating their employment situations because there’s nowhere else to go.  They stay “under the radar,” taking little job risk and declining to speak up about problems.  They say “yes” to tasks because to say “no” could mean job suicide.  It’s an employer’s market for the time being, giving employers a false sense of security that employees will always be there.  However, it appears that we’re beginning to see improvements in the economy and that means it’s time for employers to step up their efforts to retain their talent resources into the future.  Once the market becomes healthy and employees are mobile again, we risk losing the people assets so critical to our success.  Let’s look at 11 strategies for 2011 to “get ready.”… (Continue reading)

#9 – Situational Leadership: The 4D’s of Your Employees (426 reads)
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 Leadership II model, believes that all employees pass through a job cycle of development going from a D1 to a D4 as they mature on the job. However, without appropriate supervision, some employees can get stuck.  That can prove to be a challenge, not only for employees, but supervisors as well. Let’s look at his theory and how we might apply it… (Continue reading)

#8 – BP Oil Spill, the Challenger and Columbia Explosions, and the Deaths on Mt. Everest: Key Decision Making Tragedies and What We Can Learn From Them (430 reads)
As we’re watching the horror of the oil explosion unfold in the Gulf of Mexico and its untold effect on wildlife in the wetlands and the Louisiana coastline, it seems like we’ve been here before.  Listening to one of the oil rig operators recently on 60 Minutes describe the errors in decision making, reminded me of  similar mistakes made in the Columbia and Challenger accidents and the 1996 Mount Everest climb tragedy.  The BP operator reported that when one of the men carried a handful of rubber material to a superior concerned that the rubber seal down in the well had been damaged, he was told, “No, that can’t be.  We always get that kind of material coming up.”  A similar story emerged with the Challenger when the contracting agency expressed concern that the O-ring wouldn’t seal correctly at 28 degrees.  And with the Columbia, engineers dismissed concerns raised about the size of the tiles that had fallen off during rocket launch, suggesting that tiles had fallen off time and time before with no problems resulting.  In the Mount Everest accident, the leader dismissed his own earlier advice about the last acceptable time to ascend to the summit… (Continue reading)

#7 – The Battle for Personal Efficiency – 6 Tips to Regain Control of the Workload (481 reads)
The emails are backed up, the inbox is full, voice mail messages are piling up on both the office phone and the blackberry, the next three days are packed with meetings and two reports are already past due.  At this rate, you mutter, “there is no way I am going to get out from under this mess.” Since the layoff of people in the department, the situation is hopeless, even laughable at points… (Continue reading)

#6 – How To Implement Your Own Tiger Team (565)
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 became clear that every team does not need to evolve to the level of a Tiger Team and also, that simply working on a kaizen event or root cause mapping does not make a team or a Tiger Team.  It’s not a group of experts; it’s experts who can create synergy, where the whole is greater than the sum of the parts… (Continue reading)

#5 – The Us vs. Them Mentality: Bridging the Gap Between Operation & Administration (624 reads)
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 what he’s talking about, so let me clarify. Have you ever used any of the following terms to refer to the decision-making group in an organization: the people on the hill, ‘downtown’, headquarters, ‘corporate’, the administration, or my favorite the ubiquitous ‘them’… and if not you, how about someone else on your team?… (Continue reading)

#4 – The Future of Training and Development: New Social Learning (649)
Massive transformations are taking place in our economy, our businesses and the way we communicate and filter information now more than ever before.  The transformations may not be much of a surprise to most as Thomas Friedman warned us exhaustively in The World Is Flat five years ago; however I’m not always sure we’re aware of the transformation that is taking place right within the very walls of our own organizations.  The transformation I’m talking about has little to do with fiscal legislation or the current recession or even healthcare (all transformations that we are seeing and hearing about a lot these days).  I’m talking about the transformation in how we learn, as adults, as employees, even as a community.  Learning is the art of gathering information, processing that information and then reflecting upon that information. Learning is under massive transformation as we enter a new “culture of sharing.”… (Continue reading)

#3 – MBTI: In The Grip (686 reads)
One of the exciting, new pieces of research to come out of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) tool, is an exploration of the notion that sometimes our personalities go into a response pattern that can be characterized as “in the grip.”  The grip response occurs when we’re at a low ebb, experiencing fatigue, physical or psychological stress, illness and life transitions.  Any of these can occur at any point in our lives, but the research also suggests that we often experience this grip response during midlife… (Continue reading)

#2 – You’ve Been Promoted! Now What? Avoiding New Supervisor Potholes (1,064 reads)
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… (Continue reading)

#1 – Effective Communication Skills: Toning Down Your Aggressiveness and Getting Others to Buy Your Ideas (1,142 reads)
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 said, “Today I’m going to yell obscenities at a passenger, fly down the escape chute, and have my 3 minutes of fame on YouTube?” I’m guessing – probably not… (Continue reading)



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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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