You, Me and Empathy

I can’t tell you how many hours I’ve spent waiting on hold listening to bad elevator music, just to get a crabby worker give me sassy one-word answers to all of my inquires. My main purpose for calling might be resolved by the end of the conversation but I often leave the discussion angry, annoyed and sometimes feeling even more frustrated than I was before. When we feel that we aren’t truly cared for, or that our feelings are just inconveniences for others, we have less of an inclination to support that business again. However, when individuals walk away with their needs met and the feeling that their problems actually mattered to the person they communicated with, it fosters a positive attitude and increased interest in interacting with that company again.

Read More

The Unexpected Power of a List

For most of my life I have been a list maker. Even as a very young student I would keep a list of my assignments, lists of activities, lists of things to remember, or even lists of things I wanted. I can remember at age 12 having a list of all the cars I wanted to own. I need to find that list… But other than my wish lists, my list making has mostly been about keeping track of things that I need to do.

Read More

Onboarding: Advice from a Newbie

Whether it be a new town, a new school, or a new workplace, we’ve all been the newbie. A certain level of nerves and concerns always come with these types of transitions; wondering if you’ll fit in and be accepted by the others. We all hope to quickly and smoothly be incorporated into an establishment. The way you act toward and integrate a new hire is crucial to establish the feelings they have towards their job for the remainder of their time at your company. It goes beyond just evaluations and lists. Equally important is the small, less obvious things you do for your new employee that make the difference.

Read More

Resisting Resistance: How to Successfully Manage Change

Sometimes trying to improve performance means making some changes. Making necessary changes in the spirit of improving outcomes sounds simple enough. You may be trying to innovate and streamline old processes or hoping to enhance the customer’s experience. You can try and plan out every last detail of a new model. You may be thinking you have the best intentions so everything will fall into place. Being someone who has both undergone countless changes as well developed and implemented numerous changes, it is not as easy as it seems. In the end, how you handle change management can be the determining factor of the success of your new process.

Read More

Self Diagnosed Summer Slump Syndrome? Here's your cure:

As the temperature gets warmer and the days get longer, it is easy to fall into a pattern of dreaming that you’re sipping a Pina Colada on a beach instead of sitting in an office. We are trained from a young age that summer is for fun and relaxation and a break from the many months of hard work. Now that we are adults we have to face the fact that this is not true anymore, well not necessarily. As a result of this pre-programming, we tend to face a decline in productivity during the warmer months causing Summer Slump Syndrome. Don’t beat yourself up, it’s something we all fall victim to. While I can’t magically transport you to Bora Bora, I can give you a few tips on how to make the day a bit more constructive. Here are some ways to overcome that slump and still be as motivated to do your work during the summer season as you are the rest of the year:

Read More

Top 10 Ways to Create a Positive Work Environment

Some people dread going into work, they complain about presentation deadlines, back to back conference calls, and worst of all a boss breathing down their neck. You may have a similar experience, or you may not relate at all and be feeling lucky. Perhaps, you have similar deadlines, but you do not feel the same pressure. It generally has nothing to do with your luck and everything to do with the environment you work in.

Read More

5 Secrets to Keeping Your Team Motivated

Even with a job as great as mine, staying motivated can sometimes be a challenge. We have all had those days where it’s tempting to stay in bed and see what happens, but that never really works out. For me, this time of year is always a little difficult to keep my motivation high. I can’t really pinpoint what it is. I know I need to check in with myself and make sure that I am taking time to ensure that I stay motived as well as my team.

Read More

Social Media and Government Outreach

Social media has become a part of most people’s everyday life. We use it to connect with friends and family, to listen to music and other entertainment, to get news and opinion and increasingly to interact with government agencies and other organizations. While there may not be much argument to the claim that our government officials would be better off refraining from late night tweets, and yes, I’m referring to the #covfefe incident and the like, there are many benefits to public sector use of Social Media. In particular, social service organizations and courts provide some excellent examples of this.

Read More

"I am Sorry I was on Mute…." Ways to Pep up your Conference Calls

The dogs barking, the beeping, announcing yourselves, talking while on mute, hold music, can make conference calls feel painful. In this day of constant mobility, we are all on conference calls frequently. The more time we spend on them, the more important it becomes to find a way to make them the best they can be. Your conference calls do not need to be boring or dreaded, I have some ideas to help you take charge and make it a better experience for everyone.

Read More

Conference Overload? Tips to debrief

What an amazing experience it is to attend a conference surrounded by smart passionate people in your industry. Do you ever feel like you have the conference crash? It is the adult brain is not used to sitting in a classroom actively listening for 3 days? Is it that we are overloaded with how to come home and implement all the good ideas and not know where to start? Maybe a little lack of sleep and an extra cookie at the break do not help either. If you are like me I come home and feel exhausted and completely ecstatic at the same time.

Read More

A Profit from Another Land: The Argument for Utilizing Consultants in your Organization

Take a moment to think about your organization’s vision. What are your short-term and long-term goals? In what ways are you struggling? What are you doing well? What mountain peak do you want to climb?

While these questions should be easy to answer, the direction they provide may be harder to figure out. Sometimes it is hard to know where to go next and what is going to help you achieve your goals.

Read More

Snow Day Productivity

It’s a snow day today in Central Ohio. I can remember when I was a kid going to sleep seeing snow falling and wishing for a day like this. At that time – the only way to find out if you had a snow day was to get up early, turn on the radio and listen to the alphabetical list of school districts being read. If you missed it – you had to wait 15 minutes or so (which seemed like an hour) until they read it again.

Read More

Teach a man to fish - Understanding Process Consultation

Cindy Dean, MS., Industrial/Organizational Psychology
Senior Consultant, Grays Peak Strategies

Years ago leaders of large companies seldom turned outside of the organization for help in solving problems. Today, however, with more and more diverse work forces, changing technology and global markets, leaders need help with many aspects of organizational day-to-day functions. The list of topics for which they seek help is endless and consultation within organizations is a fast growing enterprise. Whatever the topic, it is help that is being solicited and understanding how to help is important to any consultant.

Read More

Blacksmith Leadership

There are a million platitudes about how to be a leader. As a self-admitted leadership junky, I am always interested in learning about different perspectives and ideas from books, Ted Talks, you name it. This summer at a child support leadership conference in Arizona, I learned that the greatest inspiration in leadership strength is surrounding yourself with mentors and great leaders. It started out as an interesting conversation at dinner about a friend’s son who recently attended blacksmith school. There were a lot of questions about what blacksmiths do today and what a lost art it is.

Read More

Empathy: The Business Booster

What are the skills and characteristics needed to do your job? Would you consider empathy as being one of them?

Empathy goes beyond what sympathy is; if a person is empathetic they are able to experience and relate to the other person’s thoughts, emotions, and experiences rather than just understand them (Center for Creative Leadership, 2016). While being empathetic may come naturally to some people, it is a skill that can be learned.

So why do you need empathy in a work setting?

Read More

Energy Management

In the “The Power of Full Engagement” Jim Loehr and Tony Swartz initially looked at well-being through the lens of professional athletes.  Our culture values busyness and constant movement. A professional and life marathon basically.  But here is the thing: even a professional marathon runner needs a break.  And in fact the very best and elite athletes understand and practice intentional and even ritualistic disengagement in order to be fully engaged when most needed.  Instead of a marathon maybe we have to see our life as a series of sprints with equally intense moments of disengagement and rejuvenation.   

Read More

Engaging Millennials in the Workforce

We’ve all heard the wildly disappointing stereotypes about this generation: “millennials are so lazy,” “millennials are too self-absorbed,” “millennials only care about themselves,” etc. Sadly, as this happens far too often, the unfavorable actions of a few have tarnished the reputation of the entire generation.

Read More

The Power of Empathy

The child support system is full of acronyms and legalese language that can be confusing and overwhelming to parents. Like the medical field was to my family, we are discussing stressful and life altering events and facts that can’t really be changed. Child support impacts, children, money, relationships, and employment. These are often of the biggest stressors in life. Empathy means listening, being open, and displaying understanding. We may not realize it, but we can make a lasting impact and difference on the outcome of a case by treating our child support clients with empathy.

Read More