When St. Vincent de Paul, a charitable organization with several thrift stores in Southeastern Michigan, needed assistance with staffing their stores, they reached out to EDSI at the Michigan Works! Livonia Service Center. The employer was experiencing issues with high turnover and wanted referrals of interested individuals with great work ethics. It was also important that candidates be committed to the cause of helping others in times of need, because their organization takes pride in this value.
I was recently speaking to a group of 8th graders when one of them asked an interesting question. "As a CEO," she said, "What do you think is more important: vision or resilience?" I told her that my immediate response was vision, for two reasons: First, vision is the sole responsibility of the CEO. The CEO is the only one who should be writing the initial draft of the vision. It's that person's job to say where the organization is headed over the next three years. Second, resilience, when you're pursuing the wrong goals, is a terrible thing. I've lost a lot of money pursuing the wrong business goals for too long. There is a lot of benefit to failing fast.
I explained further that it is important to determine if you're pursuing the right goals for your life. If you're not having success, maybe you should just quit.
Kareem Hawkins began participating in the Livonia WIOA Youth Program on June 10, 2016, following his graduation from Redford Union High School. When Kareem met with the Youth Program’s Career Coach, he expressed a desire to pursue higher education and become employed.
Within the first few months of his participation with EDSI, Kareem prepared for employment through engaging in workshops as well as meeting one-on-one with staff. He worked to develop his resume and create cover letters as he searched for employment. In addition, he completed mock interviews with EDSI staff to learn how to best present himself to an employer. This preparation assisted Kareem as he attended job fairs hosted by EDSI at the Michigan Works! Livonia Service Center.
Ashley Wynn began participating with EDSI’s Livonia PATH Program on September 28, 2016. She was already enrolled in school at Schoolcraft College, working toward a degree in Nursing. She entered into her Application Eligibility Period (AEP) motivated to find employment that would lead her to self-sufficiency.
During her AEP, Ashley recognized her need to update and rework her resume. She met with EDSI’s Instructor, Pete Anthony, to complete this task and prepare herself for future interviews. During the meeting they discussed several options that might help her gain experience in the healthcare field. When Ashley learned of a job opening at a local healthcare company, Homestead Home Health Care, she jumped at the opportunity.
Lord-Xavier Taylor began participating with the Livonia WIOA Youth Program on August 25, 2016. Upon entering the program, he met with his Career Coach and shared his desire to pursue a career in hospitality.
As he engaged in the youth program, Lord-Xavier explored training programs that would equip him in restaurant management and culinary arts. After identifying a training facility, he completed assessment testing and discovered his need to improve his math and reading skills before acceptance into the program. In September, through one-on-one tutoring and educational workshops, Lord-Xavier began to work towards improving his math and reading skills.
On June 28, 2016, Monica Wingate began the Application Eligibility Period (AEP) for the PATH program at the Michigan Works! Livonia PATH Office. She came to Michigan from Texas, leaving her home and steady job to care for her ailing mother. After her mother’s passing, Monica was forced to move from the apartment they had shared because she was unable to have the lease put in her name due to her lack of employment. Her life circumstances had changed again and Monica found herself without a home.
A man is in a hot air balloon that is slowly losing altitude. He ends up hovering over the side of the road in the desert. Another man happens by. The man in the balloon calls down to him, "Sir, could you tell me where I am?" The man looks up, assesses the situation, and responds: "Yes, you are about 30 feet in the air on the side of the road in the desert." The man in the balloon, unamused at the response, calls down, "Thanks Einstein ... you must be a workforce development consultant." "What do you mean?" responds the other man. "You just told me everything that I already knew and were no help whatsoever." The fella looks up at the man in the balloon and says, "I would guess that you work for a company that’s in serious trouble." "Why do you say that?" responds the man in the balloon. "Because you have no idea where you are, no idea where you are going, and no idea how to get there from here."
This is a somewhat humorous anecdote for the application of Workforce Development (WD) strategies. I wouldn’t say that WD consultants only reveal everything that employers already know; nor are employers always totally in the dark about their plight. However, when information is qualified through a data-driven analysis, it usually comes as no big surprise for employers where their weakest workforce links are located. Lack of training (critical skills and basic skills) often haunt a company until data is presented that validates what many already suspected.
Is your company struggling financially?
If so, it may be time to create a turnaround plan. Turnaround plans assist companies in identifying the cause of underperformance; reverse it and return to profitability. There are a few essential elements to any financial turnaround business plan. Following are some basic actions and best practices to consider.
- Don’t waste time. If the company is performing poorly, don’t procrastinate. I’ve seen far too many financial disasters occur simply because managers and advisors are passive. If things are degrading, act now. Time can be your friend, or it can be your enemy. For turnarounds, unfortunately, it is too often the latter.
Raqia Alrobayi began participating with the EDSI Livonia Michigan Works! PATH office on October 7, 2015 when she entered into the AEP (Application Eligibility Period) process. After successfully completing her AEP, Raqia became a PATH participant.
Upon her enrollment into the program, Raqia's job focus was to return to the travel industry. Her education included an Associate's of Travel and Tourism degree from Centennial College in Toronto, and she expressed an interest in becoming a travel agent. While meeting with her Career Development Facilitator (CDF), Raqia shared concerns regarding her gap in employment. She recognized her need to remain relevant in the workforce and also to build on her computer and administrative skills. On January 5, 2016, she began participating at EDSI's onsite internship program.
Cornelius Davis Sr. shared these kind words of gratitude in a recent letter to EDSI staff at NCWorks in Henderson, NC.
I would like to take some time out to thank the employees at NCWorks of Henderson, NC and in particular, Ms. Sheila Long.
I came to NCWorks unemployed and unsure if I would find employment. Ms. Long sat down with me and helped me carefully map out a plan for a good path to gainful employment.
After carefully gathering some pertinent information, i.e., my strengths/weaknesses and my capabilities, Ms. Long came up with a program that was offering a Commercial Driver’s License and possibly a career in truck driving. I didn’t know if I would be able to complete the training.
On January 20, 2015, Riona Hunter began participating with EDSI when enrolled in the Partnership, Accountability, Training, Hope (PATH) program. During her orientation appointment, Riona met with a Career Development Facilitator (CDF) and shared her career goals. She explained that she was interested in attending Medical Assistant training in order to build upon her current certification as a Nursing Assistant. Her CDF assisted her with researching training options, and Riona decided to pursue her education at Dorsey Schools.
Although motivated to attend training, Riona shared with her CDF that reliable transportation could be a barrier to her attendance. She did not have a valid driver’s license as she was working to pay tickets and fees. Fortunately, Riona’s school of choice was accessible via public transportation, and EDSI provided her with SMART and DDOT bus passes. On February 12, 2015, Riona attended orientation at Dorsey Schools and began training in the Medical Administration and Billing Program. Throughout the training course, Riona shared her progress with her CDF as she gained knowledge in both administrative and clinical skill areas. She continued to receive assistance from EDSI staff with ongoing transportation and documentation needs, and she remained motivated to accomplish her goals.
Micahh Scott began participating with EDSI on July 7, 2015, when she entered into the AEP (Application Eligibility Period). She entered the program with a year of administrative experience and a desire to return to work in the clerical field. Within her first weeks of participation with EDSI, Micahh took steps to enhance her job readiness. She met with staff to create a professional resume that highlighted her administrative abilities, and practiced her communication skills and business etiquette through mock interviewing. Micahh also applied for and received PATH supportive service funds to purchase professional clothing.
As she diligently searched for employment, Micahh recognized her need to remain relevant in the workforce by having current experience. She decided to participate at EDSI’s on-site internship in order to increase her skills. At the internship, Micahh improved her typing, increased her knowledge of Microsoft Office and acquired new skills while working in the scanning and business services departments. As she continued to seek ways to grow her skill level, she accepted the opportunity to job shadow EDSI’s administrative assistant. She learned how to manage front office duties, including tasks that made her resume more relevant and marketable.
I find it interesting that everyone knows who won the big game, but few people know how their business is truly performing. I am not sure if this is a lack of availability of information, devoid of individual ownership, or simply a lack of interest.
Every team must have a goal. It could be winning the Stanley Cup, World Series, or increasing sales. Strong teams and companies both agree on a goal and laser focus their attention to attain the objective. All decisions are made within the backdrop of this target. They are similar of focus and every team member is on-board, driving to the bottom line --- winning.
Sometimes, when I’ve tried 10 times to re-word a sentence in a resume, or I sit down with a customer who has a less-than-ideal work history, the opening lines from the famous Beatles’ song come to mind:
Help, not just anybody
Help, you know I need someone
In the course of writing a resume or speaking with customers, we might encounter any number of problems that can cause great difficulty. In order to provide the best and most effective resume advice to customers, as well as produce great results, we should seek help from all available resources. These can come in the form of people, books, websites…anything that gives us advice and helps us to break the resume stalemate.
I store my resources in my “tool box,” and I can fix most resume problems by reaching in and pulling out something I can use.
“Rapport is the ability to enter someone else’s world, to make him feel that you understand him, that you have a strong common bond.” - Tony Robbins, Author and Motivational Speaker
Building relationships with another person is all about connecting with him or her and creating a sense of trust and understanding. According to some research, we have only 7 seconds to make a good first impression! It is absolutely essential for us to build solid connections with our clients, and this relationship building starts the first time we meet.
When I began my career as a Job Developer with EDSI, I would conduct an initial interview with clients. I would ask questions about clients’ living situation, their children and partners, the kinds of jobs they had in the past and what they wanted to accomplish. The interview gave me some important facts, but I realized something was missing. I wanted to go a bit deeper, I needed to better understand their passions, hopes and dreams when it came to finding, obtaining and keeping a job.
Nedal Alshaibany began participating with EDSI at the Michigan Works! Livonia PATH Office on May 5, 2015 when he entered into his AEP (Application Eligibility Period). During his initial meeting with a Career Development Facilitator (CDF), Nedal discussed his past employment experience. He expressed a desire to learn about computers or become trained as a truck driver. EDSI’s onsite internship program presented a perfect opportunity for Nedal to develop computer skills while meeting his PATH participation requirements in a work experience activity. After completing the AEP, Nedal enrolled in PATH and began in the internship’s Scanning Center. He quickly learned the processes and demonstrated his knowledge by training other interns.
I was recently introduced to Dan & Chip Heath’s concept of “bright spots,” and I wanted to take a moment for reflection.
To watch Dan’s four minute video and read the article about this topic on Fast Company, please click on the following link:
Here’s a small excerpt to illustrate the concept introduced in their book, Switch:
Let’s say your kid comes home one day and shows you this report card.
Kevin Schnieders Speaks on Leadership Development at International Society for Performance Improvement Event
EDSI CEO, Kevin Schnieders, spoke on the topic of leadership development at the 2015 Signature Event of the Michigan Chapter of the International Society for Performance Improvement. Please watch the video below!
EDSI has given me a chance for a new beginning. I was a 26-year employee at a Fortune 500 company. Through changes and acquisitions, the company was sold and I needed to make a life decision – should I retire, or move to a new company? As the saying goes, “when the going gets tough, the tough get going,” so I decided to seek a new career. I joined EDSI in August 2015 as a Talent Engagement Specialist in North Carolina.
Written by Karin Knutson - Director of Sales with EDSI Consulting
**Original Article Written in December, 2014
Here it comes! The New Year, 2015! And with the New Year, comes the new you. It is a time to start fresh and make something happen. What do you want to “make happen” this year? How do you want to get ahead in your personal life and/or professional career? Let’s begin 2015 with a bang and get “fired up” to take care of business!
Ok, so how do you reach your goals and better yourself, personally and professionally? And how do you get excited and motivated to carry your goals through to the finish line? I don’t know about you, but New Year’s resolutions never quite work for me. Setting simple resolutions (lose weight, start eating healthy, get that promotion at work) can feel too large and too general, and these feelings make me unlikely to achieve them. And, inevitably, “resolutions” are often broken by the end of January, if they survive that long. These broad, broken promises to yourself can make you feel like a failure before the year even gets started! I prefer to start the year off on a more positive note, feeling motivated to take on the New Year with great energy.
Start this New Year with a different approach. Goal Setting! Big or small. Tough or simple. Goals, by definition, are “the object of a person's ambition or effort; an aim or desired result.” Sounds pretty targeted to me. Putting a big red bullseye on what you want to accomplish, by nature, makes you more focused and motivated to plan your course of action. I’m feeling motivated just writing about it!
To get started choosing and defining your goals, you will need to create a road map, a plan that will clearly lead you to the finish line! These next steps will help you create your own roadmap to success.
1) Determine what you would like to accomplish
Really think about your goals and what you want to achieve throughout the year. These can be both personal and professional. This process is a bit of a “brain dump” – consider all of the things you have been thinking about getting done and have yet to get started. Write every single one of them down, even if they aren’t concrete or task-oriented. We will fine tune them in the next step.
Look at your list and pick the top three goals that are the most important and you are most excited about. These are your bullseye goals! “Bullseye-ing” your top three instead of five or more will make it easier to put maximum attention on the right path. Print them out and post them in your bedroom, bathroom, office - anywhere you need a little reminder. Post them where you can see them every day. Visualizing your goals on paper, on your smart phone or on a white board, brings them to life.
3) Lay down a strategic plan
For each bullseye goal, write down how you are going to accomplish it with sub-goals, usually set in increments of time or task. Write these sub-goals into a bullseye goal plan, and, most importantly, check them off as you go.
Here is an example of one of my goals: Save $5,000 for home improvements by October. My plan is to put away $500 per month, or $250 per paycheck, then have a checklist for each time I put the money away. Another example: Start a new HR project : 1. List who you want on your project team 2. Set meeting date 3. Determine project deliverables. 4. Complete project plan by (set date) 5. Complete project by (set date)
Get in as much depth as you need to establish proper milestones along the way. When you have your plan in front of you, cross off or check off each task when it is complete. Nothing is a better motivator than being able to see your progress/accomplishments checked off and how close you are to the finish line! Get a big red marker and go for it!
4) Reward yourself
This is the best part. Make sure you pat yourself on the back for every task and milestone you complete. It is essential to give yourself some kudos to help you stay motivated and focused on the end result. No matter how small the task you have completed, you have moved closer to your goal. Once you have traveled through your roadmap to your bullseye goal, CELEBRATE!!!
2015 will be here before you know it! I would love to hear about your bullseye goals and the progress you area making throughout the year.
Written by Kevin Watson - Director of Business Development with EDSI Consulting
At 9:04 pm last Wednesday, I received a text message from a high school Junior that inspired, and motivated me unlike any text message I have ever received. Before I get ahead of myself, it might help to give you a little bit of context. For the past three years, I have served as a mentor/advocate for a student at a local Prep School. The student that I mentor is attending school as part of a scholarship that is awarded each year to almost two dozen hardworking students from low-income families. The students crave the challenge of a top-notch, college-preparatory education and would not have the opportunity to attend this school without financial assistance.
Each summer, the students go through a formal interview/selection process and must earn the right to have their scholarship renewed. During the interview panel this past June, I asked my mentee what his academic goals were for 2014. Even though he is an extremely bright and talented student, I was somewhat surprised when he announced that his goal was to get a 3.8 GPA this year (an ambitious goal, especially in light of the fact that during his freshman and sophomore years his GPA typically fell somewhere in the 3.3 – 3.5 range).
During the interview, we asked him the following questions, and received the following responses:
- Have you written your goal down? (not yet)
- Have you shared your goal with anyone? (not yet)
- What has prevented you from reaching your goal(s) in the past? (did not have a great system for taking notes or studying for tests)
- Who is the best person you know at taking notes/studying? (a close friend of his)
During the interview, we gave him a mini “homework assignment.” We encouraged him to write down his goal and to share them with his parents, his brother, his friends and each of his teachers. We asked him to write down his goal on a post-it note and keep it next to his alarm clock so that it was the first thing he sees every morning. We also asked him to reach out to his friend to find out how he can improve his note taking/studying habits. Lastly, we asked him when he was going to accomplish all of these things.
So how did things play out? Listed below is the text message chain from last week.
Mentee: Hey Kevin, Sorry I couldn’t call today. I was on the road for robotics all the way from 4 today until just now. I currently have all A’s right now, and last semester I achieved my 3.9 GPA goal.
Me: That is AWESOME!! I am extremely proud of you! Make sure to write down your goals for the rest of your year, and share it with your family, friends, teachers, me, etc.
Mentee: It is kind of funny. When some of my friends ask me why there are a bunch of sticky notes around my room that say 3.8, I just tell them it’s my goal.
Me: That is great that you have your goals written down in visible places.
Mentee: Yes. It actually helps remind me.
I am not attributing 100% of his success to the fact that he had written and shared his goals, but it certainly did not hurt! Research conducted by noted social psychologist Dr. Robert Cialdini has concluded that if people commit, orally or in writing, to an idea or goal, they are more likely to honor that commitment because of establishing that idea or goal as being congruent with their self-image.
I was personally so inspired that I have written out all of my goals for 2014 and have laminated the list. I now carry the laminated list with me everywhere I go (along with my driver’s license, credit cards, etc.).
I am encouraging each of you to spend the next 15 minutes on this “homework assignment.” By completing this, you may just be amazed at what you accomplish before the end of the calendar year:
- Write down personal and professional goals that you want to accomplish in 2014
- Write down the names of 5 people that you are going to share your goals with
- Write down any potential obstacles that are standing in your way
- Write down the names of people that can help you side step these obstacles
- Share your goals with these 5 people, and set up checkpoints throughout the year to provide them with status updates
Please share your success stories with me as you achieve your goals!
Founded in 1979, EDSI is a national leader in workforce development, customized training and consulting.
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