Dave Hisey

Author's posts

Introducing Harassment Avoidance & Retaliation Prevention

The onslaught of allegations related to Harvey Weinstein may have helped the topic of Harassment gain global attention, but it’s not showing any signs of slowing down. Every day, more and more people are sued over allegations of harassment and retaliation. It has become very important for everyone to recognize the workplace factors that enable harassment to take place, the difference between annoying and harassing behavior, and what our legal responsibilities are to both the alleged perpetrator and victim.

What exactly is harassment? Often harassment takes place when the offender has more, real or perceived “power”, than his or her target, and physically, verbally, or visually uses this power against the will of his or her target, often without intent.

If an employee is made uncomfortable by the actions of an internal or affiliated member of the organization, it is essential that management take it seriously and investigate the complaint. Both the alleged perpetrator and victim need to be included in this investigation to accurately assess the situation and identify next steps. The bottom line is that ignorance of a manager’s responsibility does not excuse it. And it could result in costly and embarrassing law suites. Yes, a manager who observes, or is aware of a harassment complaint who does not explore the details and take any necessary action, may become personally liable.

Harassment is conducted verbally, physically and emotionally. Even if no one complains and you know this abuse is taking place, you have responsibilities. Does your company have a harassment policy with examples of objectionable conduct and management requirements?

The adult course design experts at Merit Career Development have partnered with the legal specialists at Ufberg & Associates, Northeastern Pennsylvania’s premier management-side labor and employment law firm, to produce a 90 minute Webinar that details:

  • The state of sexual harassment, retaliation, and bullying
  • What defines harassment
  • When does harassment occur
  • Management responsibilities when harassment, retaliation and bullying are reported
  • Preventing harassment, discrimination, bullying and retaliation

This short, information-packed course, is a must for every business. To schedule a webinar at your convenience, contact Merit Career Development today.

Permanent link to this article: http://meritcd.com/blogs/introducing-harassment-avoidance-retaliation-prevention/

What is and Why Do You Want Adaptive e-Learning?

What if you could reduce your training costs by up to 40% while increasing employee engagement and retention by up to 60%? Would you be interested in learning more?

While you’re probably familiar with “e-learning”, you may not know as much about Adaptive eLearning. What’s so important about Adaptive eLearning? This is personalized instruction that adapts to and builds upon the employee’s existing knowledge. It by-passes redundant (and boring) review periods found in most e-learning courses that are designed for the masses.

The goal of any great training program is to engage the learner and to teach them things they don’t know by linking it to things they do know.

Adaptive eLearning is based on discoveries in the last 10 plus years of cognitive neuro-science. It recognizes that every person is unique, has had different experiences, and therefore different levels of knowledge on various topics. Instead of trying to teach everyone the same content, Adaptive eLearning takes advantage of this disparity in two distinct ways.

First: it tests a person’s level of knowledge, and more importantly, their confidence in that knowledge. By doing so, it recognizes each person’s knowledge and how comfortable they are with it.

Secondly: IF a person knows the knowledge and is confident in that knowledge: no further training in this area is required.

The second point highlights the question, why spend time training and boring people on stuff they know? They should be trained on stuff they don’t know! The graph below is illuminating. Many people are confident in their knowledge but may not be competent or proficient in that subject. The green lines indicate a person’s knowledge level, whereas the red lines indicate missing knowledge areas. The yellow lines indicate their confidence in that knowledge area. As you can see: many people may be confident in their knowledge, but may not actually be competent.

 

Adaptive eLearning recognizes this disparity and responds appropriately to each person by training the individual learner exactly what they need to know!

The Benefits of Adaptive eLearning:

For Your Business:

  • Improved employee productivity
  • Higher employee engagement
  • Measurable capability and capacity (Lower unconscious incompetence), see chart above.

 

For the Learner:

  • Faster time to proficiency
  • Eliminate frustration of unnecessary training
  • High self-awareness of strengths and development areas
  • Enhanced and personalized learning experience

 

For the Training and/or Human Resources Department:

  • Measurable outcomes
  • Real-time quality feedback
  • Real-time content updates
  • Improved teaching effectiveness
  • Elimination of the “one-size-fits-none”

 

Merit Career Development has partnered with the leader in adaptive eLearning, Area9, to deliver world-class training in the most efficient manner possible and provide our clients with more delivery options than ever. For more information, contact Merit Career Development today. We’ll help you achieve the best training program you’ve ever had, with a lower expense and higher learning retention rate. Contact Merit Career Development today to learn more.

Permanent link to this article: http://meritcd.com/blogs/what-is-and-why-do-you-want-adaptive-e-learning/

The Pre-Mortem Technique – Averting Disaster Before It Happens

During my research on how to make better decisions, I came across the pre-mortem in the writings of Nobel Prize winner Daniel Kahneman. He notes in his book, Thinking, Fast and Slow (2011), that the pre-mortem technique is valuable in the decision-making process because it has two main advantages.

First, it overcomes “groupthink” that affects many teams once a decision appears to be made. Public doubts about the wisdom of the plan or decision are gradually suppressed and eventually come to be treated as evidence of disloyalty. The suppression of doubt contributes to the group’s overconfidence, which is often a tragic flaw.

Second, it unleashes the imagination of knowledgeable individuals in a much-needed direction: the opposite direction of the decision. The principal advantage of the pre-mortem technique is that it legitimizes doubts and encourages everyone, even supporters of the decision, to search for possible threats not considered in the decision-making process. I immediately recognized it as an excellent risk management technique and went to my project management texts here in the office.

Much to my surprise I did not find anything on the pre-mortem time technique in our library of more than a dozen books on project management and project risk management!

So how does it work?

The pre-mortem is very valuable and easy to implement with your team. The timing is important; to be used once the team reaches a decision or finalizes a project plan.

Step 1: Provide everyone with a pen and paper.

Step 2: Explain to the team: “Imagine that we are one year into the future. We implemented the decision and plan exactly as decided here today. The outcome was a total and complete disaster in every way imaginable. Please take 5 to 10 minutes to write a brief history of the disaster, and most important, explain the reasons for failure.” Obviously, this will require some educated creative thinking, but that’s the point. Figure out what, if anything, is being overlooked – before it is too late.

Step 3: After everyone has written down their thoughts, go around the room and have everyone explain their thoughts. Duplicates are acceptable, because a person’s rationale might differ!

I incorporate this technique into our risk management classes that we deliver regularly. The pre-mortem exercise is always very well received. Participants clutch the flip charts from the group discussion. I see this and ask: “What are you going to do with them?” Invariably, they reply: “We’re going to present our findings to Upper management.”

Most, and we mean 99% of our students, have never participated in such a rewarding experience. This happens in every class! We also teach this technique in our decision-making and leadership courses with similar results. Whether your role involves in Strategic-Planning, Leadership, or Project Management, I strongly recommend the pre-mortem technique and ask that you try it with your teams.

If you would like to learn more cutting-edge techniques about Decision Making, Strategic Leadership, and Risk Management please contact Jim Wynne at Merit Career Development to learn more.

– John Juzbasich, CEO, Instructor, PMP.

Merit Career Development

Permanent link to this article: http://meritcd.com/blogs/the-pre-mortem-technique-averting-disaster-before-it-happens/

2018 Merit Course Catalog is Here!

After 20 years in the training business, you know you can count on Merit Career Development for fresh and relevant content, engaging program activities, and proven-effective delivery methods that best help training “stick.” We assure you that our programs will have immediate application to your workplace, producing an immediate ROI. It’s a modest investment for a smashing return!

New courses in response to marketplace demand include:

• Project Leadership• Communicating Using DISC
• Project Change Management• Negotiating & Influencing
• Problem Solving with Root-Cause Analysis• Identifying and Managing Risks
• Preventing Harassment in the Workplace• Agile Project Management

New and aspiring leaders will benefit from our Handling Employee Performance Problems and Termination, Business Communications and Team Performance (which is also offered for experienced managers.) Visit a complete list of courses or download the catalog here.Our annual training needs survey (again) demonstrated the highest interest in courses that increase proficiency in leadership, strategy and management – even among Project Managers. We have a robust selection of these courses from Fundamentals of Leadership to advanced topics, such as 360-Degree Leadership.

Our project management courses have been updated to align with the 6th edition of the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK®) guide. Every course description in the catalog includes a listing of the number of credits by organization. See inset for example of accreditations per course.

Need help bringing training to your organization?

Thousands of studies have been conducted that validate the connection between investing in employee training and development and the increase in loyalty, morale, and retention. Lower turnover reduces costs and prevents unanticipated gaps in performance. Most important, high morale and a loyal staff translates into more satisfied customers and a better bottom line.  And after all, aren’t satisfied customers what keeps your organization in the black?!

Our facilitators are expert at tailoring course(s) to the needs and experience levels of your staff. Find out how, by contacting Jim Wynne, for a no obligation discussion at jwynne@meritcd.com or 610-225-0449.

FREE Tips

Check out our LinkedIn Friday Facts. These nuggets are excerpts from our courses that people enjoy sharing with their friends and colleagues. It will be worth your time.

Permanent link to this article: http://meritcd.com/blogs/2018-merit-course-catalog-is-here/

Survey Says … The People Want Greater Leadership Skills

This past December, we invited our entire database to participate in our annual, 3-question Training Planning Survey. A majority of the people on our list work in, or support, project management. A trend we’ve observed is that each year a growing number of PMs are interested in developing their leadership and management skills; greater than the number interested in project management training.  Out of 30 course topics listed, the top choices were:

Out of the top 17 courses considered for 2018 training, 11, or 2/3 are “professional development”, only five are project management courses, and one, Microsoft 365, is a general administrative skill.

The Nine Principles of Self-Leadership 28.89%
Leadership Skills for Non-Supervisors 28.89%
Managing Organizational Change 26.67%
Performance Management 24.44%
Persuasive Presentations 22.22%
PM with Microsoft Project 22.22%
Microsoft Office 365 22.22%
PM Training with Simulation 20.00%
PM Fundamentals 20.00%
Creating a Culture of Innovation 20.00%
Effective Customer Communications 20.00%

Click here to see the complete list in order of planned interest.

LEARNING POINT: People working in or with project management, recognize the need for leadership and management training to improve their performance. Fortunately, Merit’s professional courses are not only very enjoyable and informative, and like our PM courses, they qualify for PDUs, CEUs, CPEs, and CLPs.

 Training Formats

We saw a rather dramatic shift this year from our previous surveys in terms of training/learning format preferences. In the December 2017 survey, the web-based learning format was most preferred at 52.27%; significantly more than the full day, on-site format at 31.82%. These top choices flipped for the number one position from 2015.

In 2015, “Full day” was the top choice selected by 54% of respondents and web-based, self-paced learning was second choice at 41.7%. Below, you can see the other variations that occurred over the past two years.

Training Format 2017 Response Percent 2015 Response Percent
Full day, live 31.82% 54.2%
Web-based, self-paced learning 52.27% 41.7%
Series of one-hour webinars 36.36% 37.5%
2 or 3 sequential days 13.64% 12.5%
2 or more sequential 1/2 days 15.91% 12.5%
A single series of 1/2 day webinars 13.64 12.5%
Several whole or half day trainings offered weekly 9.09% 8.3%

LEARNING POINT: Web-based, self-paced learning options were preferred over in-person instruction. Our respondents were also more interested in learning from a series of one-hour webinars, which are also self-paced, independent training formats, than full day, live sessions.

“Influencers” in Selecting Training Sessions

When respondents were asked to rate the importance of the following traits in their decision to select a course, on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 meaning Not at all Important and 5 meaning Very Important, the educational Topic was clearly the most important trait — and we did expect this.

The surprises were related to how important the location of the course is and how relatively unimportant the credentials are. Please see the chart below:

Considering there are about 600,000 certified Project Management Professionals (PMPs) worldwide that need 60 PDU credits every three years, and similar figures apply to SHRM and CPA credit requirements, we expected that earning credits would have ranked higher in importance.

So, we would love to hear your thoughts on why these trends are moving in this direction.

Why do you think people are seeking independent learning opportunities more than in-person learning events? Is the freedom to choose their best time more enjoyable than in-person learning where people share their experiences?

What are the two most important criteria in your course selection … and why?

Please leave your comments below, we’d love to hear your feedback. Thank you very much for reading and for giving us your thoughts!

 

 

Permanent link to this article: http://meritcd.com/blogs/survey-says-the-people-want-greater-leadership-skills/

Workplace Conflict: The Good, the Bad & the Useful, Part 2

Previously, we wrote about how resolving conflict often has the side benefit of building a cooperative bond — even loyalty — between the factions. As each side gains a deeper understanding of the others’ viewpoints, respect builds and morale improves.  Cooperative, low stress interactions, create a fertile environment for productive brainstorming, ultimately boosting the health of your organization.

Being respectful to others, being open to hearing their perspective, and taking the time to understand their objective are very important, but you’ll need more knowledge in your toolkit to dispel conflict when the conflict gets tough. So, let’s dig deeper today.

How can you demonstrate that you are being respectful and open and trying to understand the other’s perspective?

Here are the top 5 proven techniques you can add to your toolkit:

  1. Ask questions about the other person’s recommendations or point of view in a sincere, non-judgmental manner. Drill down to make sure you totally understand all of their objectives, concerns, and potential obstacles that you may both face.
  2. Replay or paraphrase their points back to show your understanding, and ask for confirmation that you “got it.”
  3. Make sure your body language is open and consistent with your words. If they’re not, people instinctively believe your non-verbal message over the spoken word.
  4. Even if you don’t agree, be sure to acknowledge that you hear and understand the other person’s points.
  5. It wouldn’t hurt (and yes, it could really help) to verbalize some of your “opponents” points that you think are good, smart and, or useful. A sincere compliment, or statement of approval and recognition will go a long way towards resolving conflict.

In Part 3 of this series, we’ll examine the five conflict styles that help people understand their own responses as well as diffuse conflict with others. Specifically, we’ll look at the five conflict styles that Kenneth W. Thomas and Ralph H. Kilmann identified and can be assessed in the Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument (TKI), a globally accepted, widely used diagnostic assessment for resolving conflict.

Understanding the subtleties of conflict and personality styles goes a long way towards elevating an organization’s harmony and effectiveness. At Merit, we frequently facilitate multiple Conflict Management training sessions for our clients where we adjust the level of detail to group (i.e., customer service reps, new managers, and the senior team.) For more information, please contact Jim Wynne at jwynne@meritcd.com or call 610-225-0449.

Permanent link to this article: http://meritcd.com/blogs/workplace-conflict-the-good-the-bad-the-useful-part-2/

Workplace Conflict; The Good, The Bad & The Useful

For a good portion of my career, I thrived on being a marketer. From my early days as a market researcher, an account manager, and eventually an agency executive, I loved the strategy and process of creating great concepts with compelling messaging that influenced buyers’ behavior. Managing a creative team, a client team, or corporate team, is sometimes burdened with conflict. Handling conflict was not my favorite part of the job, ever!

I aspired to broaden my career and went back to school for a Masters in Leadership Development about 12 years ago. Through a confluence of introductions, opportunities and also being an adjunct instructor at Drexel University, I joined one of my cohort’s businesses, Merit Career Development. Initially, I began helping them with a new branding initiative, but in an “Ah Ha” moment we realized that I’d likely be a strong trainer for Merit, too.  We were right. I have been running corporate trainings for Merit now for five years and I love it! But here’s the surprise: one of my favorite courses to facilitate, is Conflict Management (followed closely by Critical Thinking & Decision-Making.)

Why do I now enjoy talking about managing conflict? Because it makes sense to me now! And I also realize how much value it provides in driving better ideas and solutions. If we didn’t have conflict, and we all agreed on everything, we would live in a pretty boring, uni-dimensional world. How could we effectively cultivate new ideas or innovation without conflict?! It would be much tougher! The process of resolving conflict is very important, as well. It helps build and strengthen relationships, trust, and influences the development of new solutions to the challenges we face every day.

How do we make conflict good and useful?

Ultimately, it comes down to three important things:

  1. Being respectful towards the person or people who have a different opinion
  2. Opening yourself to hearing another perspective (opinion, solution, recommendation, etc.)
  3. Taking the time to truly understand the other opinion

Learning to listen and take the perspective of the person you are in conflict with, or reframing your perspective, as we discuss in the Critical Thinking course, is extremely helpful. It can be enlightening. Put yourself in the other person’s shoes and give their idea a chance to be a winner to best understand the opportunities that may exist.

The results of working through conflict can be similar to a great brainstorming session; not all ideas are good or practical, but they often result in a better idea emerging through conversation and compromise. When this happens, the best part is that there is not one winner and one loser; everyone is a winner and feels ownership in the solution.

Good luck with conflict. Embrace it and become a better person by managing it with respect. You just may like the outcome!

Look for Part 2 of this series next month where we’ll share proven tips for recognizing different conflict styles and how to most effectively respond to them.

To learn more about the author, Gail Cooperman, or the workshops she teaches, click here.  If you would like to bring any of our trainings to your location, please contact Jim Wynne at jwynne@meritcd.com or call 610-225-0449.

Permanent link to this article: http://meritcd.com/blogs/workplace-conflict-the-good-the-bad-the-useful/

Customer Conversations

A two-step learning experience to boost listening skills

Customer ConversationsWhat do you do when your own field technicians can’t seem to communicate effectively with your customers? That was the challenge faced by a large global technology company who came to Merit Career Development for a solution.

The answer was a two-step process: measure employees’ listening skills and follow-up with a two-hour webinar reinforcing the key aspects of listening and interacting with customers.

The goal: empower field technical personnel to manage client conversations to ensure accurate communications and to create satisfied customers.

Measuring. We first asked employees to complete a simple assessment to gauge their listening skills. The Listening Skills Assessment (LiSA) measures three related aspects of listening: understanding the overall situation, attention to detail, and inferring personal interpretation.

Students watch realistic technology-related video scenarios and answer questions about the big picture, details about the situation and what they think was really going on in the example. It’s interactive and fun.

Before the webinar, students receive the results of their listening assessment. This establishes the baseline for the training session, the focus of which reinforces the key aspects of listening measured by the assessment.

Learning. The goal of the two-hour interactive webinar is to increase students’ self-awareness of their verbal and written communication styles as they work with customers. But it’s more than that. How can employees show they are really attending to the customer and want to leave both sides of the interaction satisfied?

Students learn how to observe non-verbal communication cues and follow-up on them, strengthening the customer relationship by showing good attention skills. Important listening skills like asking open-ended questions, reflecting back to the speaker, paraphrasing and summarizing help the individual obtain accurate information from the customer and make sure the employee is getting the real message.

And the webinar covers more than just verbal communication skills. It also highlights effective electronic communications. Students learn how to create effective and appropriate electronic messages, write messages that are clear, concise, coherent, and to project a positive voice image. These are all crucial communication skills in today’s business environment.

In the end, participants leave the course being more self-aware and carrying some new tools to use in effective customer communication.

To learn more about how Merit Career Development can solve your business challenges please contact us.

 

© 2014 Merit Career Development. All rights reserved. For more information, please contact Jim Wynne at jwynne@MeritCD.com.

Permanent link to this article: http://meritcd.com/blogs/customer-conversations/

Merit’s April 2014 Book Giveaway

Checklist ManifestoAt Merit, we read a lot. From current thought leaders, to the latest research on critical management skills and adult learning theory. The concepts in these books inform our professional education programs. This month we’d like to give away another of our favorites, The Checklist Manifesto.

Through a gripping story-telling narrative, acclaimed surgeon and writer Atul Gawande, illustrates the value of checklists in multiple scenarios. We learn how the simple idea of a checklist can make the difference, literally, between life and death, and how it’s crucial for any high stakes environment. The Checklist Manifesto is an easy read, but don’t miss it.

Click here to enter Merit’s Monthly Book Giveaway

The deadline for entries is April 15, 2014.

Permanent link to this article: http://meritcd.com/blogs/merits-april-2014-book-giveaway/

Introducing MERIT’S Monthly Book Giveaway

Current, practical business ideas.

DecisiveAt Merit, we read a lot. From current thought leaders, to the latest research on critical management skills and adult learning theory. The concepts in these books inform our professional education programs and have often helped drive our own business growth. Now we’d like to share them with you by giving a book away each month.

For this month’s book, Merit recommends Decisive: How to Make Better Decisions in Life and Work.

Following their best sellers, Switch and Made to Stick, authors Chip Heath and Dan Heath explore why so many of us make poor quality decisions. This very readable book shares the latest research on decision-making, and examines both corporate and personal case studies on how we can improve our decision-making by following the authors’ four step WRAP model.

The deadline for entries is March 14, 2014

Click here to enter now.

Permanent link to this article: http://meritcd.com/blogs/meritbookgiveaway/