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  • August 07, 2020 4:00 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    SEWI-ATD Members,

    In September, you will receive a ballot asking for your vote on three proposed amendments to the chapter bylaws. The Board has recommended these amendments, and we need your approval to proceed.

    The linked PDF file shows our current bylaws and the proposed amendments. Below, we have briefly described the proposed amendments and our reasons for wanting to make the changes. If you have any questions about these proposed amendments, please feel free to contact Colin Hahn at presidentelect@sewi-atd.org, or any other board member.

    Proposed Amendment #1: Board Structure Amendment

    The current SEWI-ATD Board structure lists ten roles that must be on the Board, and then allows other roles to be created in addition to those ten.

    This level of detail is unusual. Many non-profit organizations choose to name a smaller number of roles (such as the President, VP, and Treasurer) and then leave other roles flexible so the Board can adapt over time.

    The flexibility of altering Board roles will help our organization adapt to future needs. For instance, we have wanted to add a sponsorship role to the Board instead of assigning those responsibilities to the “special projects” role, and we have wanted to shift the “communications” role into a “marketing and communications” direction.

    The proposed amendment leaves the 3 Presidency track roles and VP Finance/Treasurer role explicitly named, and says that the other roles can be modified by the Board. The amendment also requires the Board to have a minimum of 10 members so the chapter maintains a large enough Board to function effectively.

    To be clear: this amendment does not eliminate any of the existing Board positions. It merely gives the Board the ability to change or rename roles in the future, without having to go through the full bylaws amendment process for each change.

    The Board believes this amendment will give us the flexibility we need to continue meeting your needs and adapting to our rapidly changing environment.

    Proposed Amendment #2: Immediate Past-President Amendment

    In the current version of the bylaws, the Immediate Past President role is over-defined. The bylaws list some very tactical responsibilities, such as organizing the summer social. That level of detail is a problem if the Board wants to adjust our event calendar or assign those specific events to another Board member.

    At the same time, the bylaws are ambiguous about who owns the succession planning process. Both the Immediate Past President and the President Elect are assigned to lead the nominating committee at various points in the text.

    This amendment clarifies the Immediate Past President responsibilities. It removes the tactical language of specific events while retaining the overall responsibility of providing guidance and expertise to the Board. It also has the President-Elect lead the nominating committee. The Board felt the nominating committee was a better fit for the President-Elect because that person will be recruiting for the Board that will serve during their term as President. The Immediate Past President will still sit on that committee, ensuring that their experience is heard.

    Proposed Amendment #3: Digital Changes Amendment

    The Board has been considering how we can function more effectively in a digital world, and the COVID-19 pandemic added additional urgency to that transition. The proposed amendment adds language to the bylaws to clarify how Board business can be conducted when face-to-face interaction is not possible.

    The key change in this amendment is the creation of a process to vote on chapter business via email. The Board examined other nonprofits to develop this process. The proposed solution requires a 14 day notice period, a written description of the action to be approved, and a unanimous vote of a quorum of board members in order to adopt the measure.

    Taken together, these requirements ensure that the Board will be clear on what it is voting for. If there is any desire for further discussion, a Board member can simply vote no and seek the clarity that they need.

    Next Steps

    The Board has voted to recommend adoption of all three amendments. In September, all members will receive a link to vote on the proposed amendments. A majority of votes will be required for each amendment to pass.

    If you have any questions about these amendments or the process, any of the Board members would be happy to answer your questions.

  • July 20, 2020 9:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Dear SEWI-ATD members,

    We asked for your suggestions of ideas, resources, and experiences to help our chapter and our members tackle the challenge of racial diversity and equity. We have been sharing those resources through our newsletter over the last few months.

    An essential part of creating an inclusive environment is being honest when we fall short. In your suggestions, we saw feedback that some of our community members haven't felt welcomed at our events. We are sad that this is the experience some participants have had, and we're grateful to hear it because it tells us where we still need to do work.

    During our July Board meeting, we reviewed our Code of Conduct. We realized that the current code doesn't communicate our vision for an inclusive and equitable professional association, and we want to revise that code so we can be clear about our commitments to each other.

    We are looking for volunteers to help us improve our Code of Conduct. This will be a relatively short time commitment (a couple of hours over the next 1-2 months), and it is a great opportunity for you to help shape the future of our community. If you are interested in being part of this team, please email Colin Hahn at presidentelect@sewi-atd.org by Friday, July 25.

    We are so grateful to have a membership that cares about these issues, who want to do right by the communities we serve, and who are willing to give candid feedback on how we can do better. Thank you for helping us in our journey to become a more inclusive organization!

  • July 19, 2020 3:24 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    7 Steps to Transform Instructor-Led Training to Virtual Learning

    The CARA Group

    As you continue to transition instruction from in-person to online, consider these steps from The CARA Group. Download this infographic at www.thecaragroup.com.

    7 Steps to Transform Instructor-Led Training to Virtual Learning

  • July 19, 2020 3:04 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Difficult Conversations - Strategies For Success

    Let's face it—difficult conversations are going to happen. Sometimes they are planned in advance, and other times they happen when we least expect. Difficult conversations can take many shapes and forms. We may need to correct an employee’s behavior, work with an upset colleague, tell a boss that a deadline won’t be met, inform an employee that he or she is being terminated, or address a troubling remark from a co-worker.

    What makes difficult conversations, well, so difficult? For the answer, let’s look at a definition:

    A difficult conversation is a situation in which at least two parties are engaged where (a) there are differing opinions, perceptions, needs, or desires, (b) feelings and emotions run strong, and (c) the consequences or stakes are significant.

    Difficult conversations can also be defined as those that make us feel uncomfortable, nervous, vulnerable, exposed, or even frightened. One or both individuals may have the feeling that the interaction isn’t going to go well.

    How we lead (or react) during difficult discussions can have a major impact on future decisions, promotability, reputation, or an employee’s feelings of self-worth.

    Below are five simple strategies to improve the chances that a difficult conversation will achieve the results hoped for:

    Communicate Honestly

    Difficult conversations that can spiral out of control are ones where honesty and transparency are not present. This includes distorting facts, not admitting to mistakes, telling outright lies, or wanting to spare hurting someone’s feelings. Being honest in a professional and considerate way allows for resolutions to be reached more quickly and credibility remains intact.

    Be Mentally Prepared

    Ensure the right mindset before going into a difficult conversation. Instead of focusing on the fact that conflict is nerve-wracking and the conversation will probably be tense, concentrate on the purpose of the conversation and how resolving the conflict will improve the situation going forward. Having the mental position of, "Something got off track, and we need to figure out how to make it better" is a more productive mindset to achieving outcomes.

    Plan the Conversation

    Many difficult conversations occur on a planned basis, so it’s possible to have facts and figures prepared ahead of time. Even major discussion points can be outlined to help keep the conversation on task. Anticipate all potential conflicts or reactions and how they can be positively addressed to avoid being caught off-guard. If more information is needed during the discussion, ask for time to pull it together so the conversation can continue with informed data.

    Ask Questions

    Keep in mind that difficult conversations are about problem solving. The best way to get to the root of a problem is to continue to ask questions. This allows the conversation to get further into the facts so rushed judgements aren’t made. This can help when extreme statements creep into difficult conversations, such as “you always…” or “you never…” Questions such as, "What specifically are you referring to?" or "When did this occur?" or "Who was involved?" or "Can you give me a specific example of when that happened?" can get the conversation back to the details needing to be discussed. Asking questions and listening for understanding are critical techniques for any type of communication interaction.

    Use Empathy

    A powerful communication technique is the use of empathy. Empathy is the ability to understand the emotion behind what the other person is communicating. Words like “It sounds like…” or “You must be feeling…” acknowledges that their emotion has been heard and recognized. Skilled empathizers can read body language, decipher tone, and ask clarifying questions to better understand the situation. Validating another’s emotions without needing to agree with the emotion works to move a stuck conversation forward because more often than not, people want to know that they have been heard.

    While difficult conversations can be trying at times, practicing these strategies can make them more constructive and productive.

    About MRA

    Founded in 1901, MRA is a nonprofit employer association that serves more than 4,000 employers, covering more than one million employees worldwide. Read more about MRA at https://www.mranet.org/.  

  • June 14, 2020 11:23 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Call for Volunteers and Leader Nominations

    Our chapter needs your talents! As a volunteer organization, SEWI-ATD relies on our members to serve the talent  development community in southeastern Wisconsin.

    We are looking for volunteers at all levels, from helping out at single events to participating on committees or serving as a board member. To find out more about how you can get involved, or to recommend someone in your network, please email our President-Elect Colin Hahn.

    Serving as a chapter volunteer is a great way to develop as a leader, build professional relationships, and gain experience to grow your career. Whether you have any of the skills below, or want an opportunity to develop these skills, we’d love to help you succeed!

    We need volunteers to:

    • Build personal connections with members
    • Partner with community organizations
    • Leverage social media to build our brand
    • Organize events and programs
    • Deploy and support technology tools
    • Manage strategic projects
    • Perform data analytics and track key metrics
    • Create budgets and financial forecasts

    We are currently planning our 2021 board nominations and committee leaders, please email Colin by July 9th to find out how you can be involved.

    We strongly encourage members of under-represented groups to participate. As a chapter, we are committed to building an inclusive and welcoming environment for talent professionals of all backgrounds and identities, and we know that we still have work to do in building a leadership team that reflects the talent profession. If you have suggestions for how we can do better in this area, please email Colin as well.

  • June 03, 2020 8:15 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    To the members, organizations, and communities we serve:

    A respected friend and Talent Development leader reminded me recently that “silence says something as well.” I am so grateful for this patient nudge. As a person of privilege in our society I have found myself hesitating out of fear or uncertainty of how to help. I am leaning on the advice of those trusted friends and colleagues who have generously supported me while already carrying a heavy burden of their own.

    I teach leadership and management skills. I stand in front of classrooms and train people to have the difficult conversations and share explicitly about their context and intent. That includes the lesson to leaders that proactive communication is critical to avoid damaging assumptions and that as leaders we are accountable for the perception of our organizations and teams. Now as a leader in our community of professionals, I have a responsibility to practice what I preach and speak clearly.

    The institutional racism and violence against people of color in our nation is unacceptable and must stop. Racism is not new and it is not limited to what we can see in our news feeds. We in the talent development community have seen it in job interviews, talent review meetings, leadership pipelines, and board rooms.

    We stand broken-hearted but proudly with the communities across the nation who are making their deep pain explicit and visible for others. And we are committed to listening and putting in the work as a chapter to become more inclusive and supportive of all the talent in Southeastern Wisconsin.

    This is our cause.

    SEWI-ATD is an organization of professionals who believe in the potential of human beings to learn, grow, and improve. We have been trained—and train others—how to listen for understanding, how to set expectations and build culture, and how to coach others through their blind spots. We understand the need for reinforcement of learning and how to help transfer knowledge and awareness into action. Right now, our communities need these skills more than ever. And so we have a responsibility to act.

    Some of us have already been leading this work, knowing that our communities of talent cannot flourish when we are divided by our skin color, ZIP code, or identity. We are grateful for your guiding examples. Others of us are being asked to step beyond our personal comfort zones in order to help. Wherever you are in your own journey, know that we at SEWI-ATD are here to support you.

    The nation, our state, the organizations and communities to which our members belong all have a lot of learning to do. Let’s get to it.


    I would ask those in our community of learning professionals to help us all to learn.

    • If you are aware of resources, events, or best practices to support us as we work, we have created a space to allow you to submit them to be shared with the membership. Use the link here to add your ideas. 
    • In addition to exploring these ourselves, we as a board will continue to have challenging conversations about our organization and the content we produce, and to plan for the future with inclusivity at the forefront of our minds.

    Matt Meuleners

    Chapter President, SEWI-ATD

  • May 19, 2020 10:10 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Jody DieleJody Delie is one of SEWI-ATD's newer members.

    She brings skills in strategic marketing, expert communication and storytelling to the chapter.

    She states that her superpower is in relationship building.

    Leading with Clarity, Connection, and Courage

    What makes a great leader? During the May virtual event with Professional Executive Coach, Cindy Warner, we learned it’s all about leading with clarity, connection, and courage. Great leaders possess three keen abilities -- clarity of thought, capability to connect on an emotional level with others, and the courage to lead organizations forward. It’s an approach Warner calls “whole leadership.”

    Why is the balance of these abilities so important? Organizations need effective leadership at many levels to have sustainable success. In the absence of effective leadership, people disengage, and the company vision and goals become much harder to achieve. So, how can we learn to lead more effectively? Cindy offers well-researched scientific answers.

    Have you ever felt like you were coming from a completely different perspective than another leader? There is a valid reason for that. Did you know that we have three brains, not just one?Well, we do. Everyone has a default brain, yet the best leaders are those that connect and tap into all three brains. Let me explain.

    First, there is a “Clarity Brain,” leading with your head. Its pros are logic, problem-solving, creativity, and verbal communication. People who lead with their clarity brain are often great at organizing, problem-solving, and navigating the world. Sometimes clarity brain leaders can be rigid in their thinking and can lack empathy because they are so focused on the thinking. Ever heard of analysis paralysis?

    Next up is the “Courage Brain.” Have you ever heard of gut instinct? It originates quite literally in your core and digestive tract. Pros of people who lead with their gut are pragmatism, getting things done, making decisions and taking risks. Sometimes these leaders can be overly focused on getting things done and may lack patience for people who are not where they are. You might find them to be somewhat disorganized and could have typos in their emails.

    The last brain is all about the heart. It’s the “Connection Brain.” Our heart brain has 5,000 times the electromagnetic force of our head brain. It seeks out, learns, and remembers things that intuitively matter to us in our life and our work. Our connection brain is where emotions begin. Where we learn empathy, collaboration, and inspiration. People who lead with heart tend to be warm, good social mixers, make others feel comfortable, are kind and thoughtful, and care about engagement. Conversely, those who lead with their heart brain can sometimes be passive aggressive with their feelings or can get stuck in emotion.

    Ask yourself, which brain is the default for me and my organization? What is your most used method in leadership development – clarity, connection, or courage?

    For many, the way we teach leadership development is mostly using clarity, especially in assessment. Our hearts and core don’t learn the same way our head does, they are not about logic and language. If we are trying to teach people connection and courage by using our head brain, we are using the wrong tool for the job. Think of it this way, we are trying to use a wrench to pound a nail. So, what can we do?

    Awareness is a great place to start. To the best of your ability, meet those around you where they are to find common ground and build from there. Intentionally ask yourself and other leaders to engage in this deliberate thought process.

    Consider the answers to these questions to guide your leadership decisions, approach talent development, and use this to communicate more effectively to all the brains who are listening:

    Clarity: What do I think about this? What will they think about it?

    Connection: How do I feel about it? How will they react?

    Courage: What do I want to do about it? What do I want them to do with it/what action do I want them to take?

    Always validate emotions. If someone is having a strong emotion, they need validation of that emotion. Refrain from saying, I know how you feel. You really don’t know how they feel, and it makes it about you, not about them. Meet them where they are first. They need their feelings heard before they can move on.

    In coaching opportunities, meet them in their default and invite the other two brains to the table. Carefully coach them to think through situations with all three brains. You can do this by asking questions, “Would you explain your thought process?” “How do you feel about this?” “How will this affect culture or engagement?” “What are you going to do next?” These types of questions help build an action plan that accounts for all facets. Thank them for taking the time and end with statements that support their default brain.

    Cindy has served as an executive coach and leadership development expert for more than two decades. To learn more about Cindy Warner, visit cwarnercoach.com For a deeper view on this topic, check out her new book, Leading with Clarity, Connection & Courage.

  • May 06, 2020 6:35 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

          Janet Kloser,

         Learning and Development Manager,


    You can’t be a leader without followers, and people aren’t going to want to follow you if you have the “my way or the highway” mentality. That’s why managers need to be trained with empathy, emotional intelligence (EI), and compassion. Let’s review the differences:

    • Empathy is the ability to understand the feelings of another.
    • EI is the capacity to be aware of, control, and express your emotions thoughtfully.
    • Compassion consists of sympathy and concern for others.

    When it comes to empathy, you don’t have to agree with someone to be empathetic. Words like “It sounds like…” or “You must be feeling…” allow people to see you are acknowledging how they feel. It’s a powerful way of showing that you heard them and also that you recognize the impact it had on them.

    What you shouldn’t do when someone needs empathy is compare what’s happening with that individual to someone else’s situation—“You lost one day’s worth of email? When Bill’s computer crashed, he lost all of his research.”

    EI Versus IQ

    Research shows EI is much more of an indicator of a successful leader than IQ. This is great news because unlike someone’s IQ, emotional intelligence can be learned and continuously improved upon, which we reinforce in our Emotionally Intelligent Leader class.

    EI Skills

    • Reading body language
    • Deciphering tone of voice
    • Hearing word choices
    • Putting it all together
    • Meeting people where they are
    • Asking for clarity to better understand a situation

    A very useful quality of an emotionally intelligent leader is his or her ability to develop employees. Someone with an abundance of EI is usually a great coach, one who gives spot-on feedback and is successful at working through conflict. An EI leader is going to manage people more effectively as individuals, driving employee engagement and retention, and often the bottom line.

    Don’t Underestimate Compassion

    Compassionate leaders understand that “I” isn’t an especially useful conversation starter, instead, they use “we” to help people feel like they are all in it together.

    An important part of compassion is giving an employee your full attention. The amount of time you spend talking to and listening to employees is a sign of how important you consider them to be. During your time together, discussions (and disagreements) about work should be encouraged. When listened to, employees feel good about themselves and can become more committed to doing their job well.

    Actions and attitudes are contagious. If a leader leads from a stressed out, “my way” kind place, everyone will be stressed and unhappy. But if a leader is mindful and takes into account empathy, EI, and compassion, there’s a good chance people will collaborate, share ideas, and feel valued.

    The African Zulu tribe got it right. Their greeting, Sawubona means “I see you, you are important to me, and I value you.”

  • May 02, 2020 7:26 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    While, accessibility in learning means different things to different people, we know about the importance of it in the talent development industry. Review these tools to help you understand how you can address accessibility in your learning.




    If you are interested in chatting more about this important topic, join the May 15 Learning and Talent Leaders PDN virtual event.  We hope you can join us!

  • April 19, 2020 2:37 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    By Sue Deisinger, Learning Strategy Consultant,

    The CARA Group

    In today’s COVID-19 environment, learning professionals are being asked to quickly transform Instructor Led Training (ILT) to Virtual-Instructor Led Training (V-ILT). The good news is that most Instructional Designers have the transformation skills needed, and companies have the technologies needed, to support V-ILT. The challenge is the volume of work and the speed at which it must be accomplished.

    The CARA Group has identified Five Best Practices to help accelerate the transformation process.

    1 – Align with Business Strategy

    Start with defining a set of criteria to ensure that the work is aligned with the business strategy to separate the “wants” from the “needs”. Once the true needs are determined, create a prioritized Action Plan. Communicate the results back to the Program Sponsors to manage their expectations. If a program was not prioritized, perhaps the respective Program Sponsor can conduct a simple web-meeting or webinar as an alternative.

    2 – Manage Scope

    Using the prioritized Action Plan, review the program with the Program Sponsor and Subject Matter Experts (SMEs). Explain the difference between ILT, V-ILT and a Webinar (a webinar requires no activities). Determine whether this will be a simple transformation with no content or learning objective changes or a complex conversion with some content and/or learning objective changes, which will take more time and effort. Agree on a protocol for managing scope, as there is a strong tendency for SMEs to want to change or update content during the conversion process.

    3 – Optimize the Learner Experience: Rich Interactive Training Anytime, Anywhere

    Before jumping into the actual transformation work, it is important to educate the Program Sponsor and the SMEs on the power of V-ILT technologies and how they can be used to create effective learning experiences.

    V-ILT, designed correctly, offers many of the same learner experiences as traditional ILT. Instructors can present mini-lectures, facilitate activities and discussions. Participants can work individually and in small groups, raise their hand to ask questions and use resource material.

    Video projection of both the Instructor and Participants help keep the Participants engaged and accountable, creating “virtual eye contact,” allowing everyone to read facial expressions and body language. Video also brings a personal element to the program, as the members share and view each other’s virtual work environment.

    Content and activity designs can leverage screen-sharing, whiteboards, polling, chat, small group breakouts, games and quizzes. Many V-ILT systems also allow the Instructor to gauge individual and overall group attentiveness at any point with a visual attention indicator.

    Instructional Designers work with the SME’s create a design to ensure that the learners remain engaged during class and help them retain the knowledge and skills afterward.

    4 – Deploying V-ILT: Practical Matters

    Deploying V-ILT requires different types of logistical planning than traditional ILT. Instructor and Participant job-aids are very helpful in guiding them in the use of these unique tools.

    Instructors need to be comfortable and proficient delivering the V-ILT version of the program. Train-the-Trainer programs should include the business reason for converting from ILT to V-ILT, an overview of the new program, a system test, how to use the system features, how to trouble-shoot and an opportunity to practice. On the day of the program, the Instructor should login to the system 15-30 minutes prior to ensure that everything is ready to go. Someone from the learning team should be assigned to support the Instructor during the V-ILT with classroom management, at least for the first few sessions. Participant login issues, late arrivals and technical issues can really distract and rattle a new V-ILT Instructor.

    Participants should be required to do a system test a few days prior to the program. Engage the IT department to support this activity so that they will be ready to quickly answer participant questions. In addition, Participants should find a quiet, dedicated space and login 15 minutes prior to the start of the V-ILT to ensure they are ready for class.

    When scheduling multi-hour programs, plan 30-60 minute breaks for both the Instructors and Participants to allow them to attend to both business and personal matters. Note that Instructors often have follow-up participant questions after the end of the formal session and then need to get ready for the next program.

    5 – Include a Change Management Strategy and Plan

    Managing leaders’, Instructors’ and learners’ expectations is essential for successful transformation to V-ILT. Resistance may show up in limited registrations, no-shows and other non-productive behaviors. A well-executed Change Management strategy can proactively avoid these types of issues. A key element is a robust communication plan for everyone involved, describing the business case for change, the new V-ILT programs, who is impacted, expectations, timelines and contact information. In addition, the strategy should include a plan to measure and report adoption on a routine basis.

    Please connect with us if you could use help with transforming ILT to V-ILT or simply want to talk about your current situation as you ponder next steps. We’re here to help!

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