• May 16, 2022 2:51 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    By: Daniel Stewart - President & Executive Consultant, Stewart Leadership

    How can you make your merger, acquisition, or reorganization go smoothly?  How can you optimize the value of the deal through an effective integration?  A recent Deloitte survey found that 76% of executives think cultural alignment is important to effective integration, but 1 in 3 said that it was not done effectively.  

    Culture misalignment is one of the primary reasons why most organizational integrations fail. Understanding the culture of each team or organization is a critical first step in your efforts to create a culture that will optimize deal value by identifying issues early and preventing culture and talent challenges down the road. 

    Use the Eight Dimensions of Culture to highlight similarities and differences from the start so you can develop effective strategies that bring everyone together. These Eight Dimensions of Culture, developed with our partners at Illumyx, provide you a behavioral snapshot of your culture using a series of continuums to describe how groups get work done. 

    Each continuum consists of polar opposite approaches. Your organization will fall somewhere in the middle of the two extremes on each culture dimension. Except for the engagement dimension, there is no one right answer for each culture dimension. The point is to understand where your culture currently is along each dimension, ensure that your culture is aligned to accomplish your strategic focus, and reshape your culture as needed especially where there are possible friction points with a merging organization.  

    Together, these dimensions provide a picture of the workplace culture experienced by groups within your organization. The following is a general description of behaviors associated with each dimension. Score your team on each dimension in order to understand the culture you bring to the merger, and have the other team do the same. 



    Relationship oriented cultures prioritize and value strong relationships. As they work, they give priority to interpersonal issues and value people for their unique perspective. When assessing change, relationship-oriented cultures focus on the impact on others and the feelings associated with change. 

    Task-oriented cultures prioritize and value productivity and efficiency. These groups like to get right down to business and reward people for what they do, often on an individual basis. When assessing change, these cultures primarily focus on the impact on processes and business results 



    Team-focused cultures reward the entire team for hitting a goal. They emphasize skill-sharing and cross-training and approach problems through collaboration and peer-to-peer performance feedback. 

    Cultures oriented around individuals prefer clear divisions of labor and approach problems through individual research and reflection. Performance feedback is leader-driven and performance metrics are tracked individually. 



    In an empowered culture, decision making is delegated to those closest to the issue. Leaders coach employees to make better decisions and when faced with uncertainty, employees make a decision and discuss it with the leader later. Leaders facilitate discussions resulting in team decisions. In empowered cultures, decision making can be slower but tends to have greater buy-in. 

    In a directive culture, leaders make most decisions and override employees’ decisions when it is deemed necessary. Most leaders in directive cultures ask for input but make the final decision themselves. When faced with uncertainty, employees will not make a decision without approval from a leader. Decision making can be quick, but it is dependent on leaders having availability and bandwidth. 



    Responsive cultures quickly jump to action and value being able to adapt to anything while making adjustments as the need arises. 

    Planning cultures value being prepared for anything. They are methodical and detailed and make adjustments at planned intervals. 



    Cultures oriented to short-term horizons focus on tasks and meeting near-term objectives. Teams are motivated with a series of quick wins. 

    In long-term oriented cultures, each decision is weighed with the long-term consequences in mind, and the team is motivated by moving toward the larger vision. 



    End-Results cultures value scrappiness and flexibility, doing what it takes to get the job done. Autonomy is emphasized and employees have freedom in their approach. The focus is on the “what” rather than the “how.”

    In a process-oriented culture, reliability is valued. Compliance is emphasized and teams follow set processes to deliver consistent outcomes. 



    Change oriented cultures rely on new innovations to achieve success. They value those who avoid stagnation and strive for transformational improvements. These cultures are comfortable with ambiguity. 

    Stability-oriented cultures rely on a strong foundation to achieve success. They value team members who avoid unnecessary risks and strive for incremental improvements. They prefer predictability. 



    This is the one cultural dimension that has a desired answer--committed.  When organizations have an indifferent culture, there needs to be a strong effort to shift to a more engaged culture.  

    In committed cultures, employees strive to exceed expectations. Teams give discretionary effort and show high productivity. Employees display excitement for meeting company goals and actively engage in crucial conversations, personal developments, and refer others for employment. 

    In indifferent cultures, employees meet minimum expectations, arrive late, leave early, and miss work more often. They avoid openly and constructively addressing issues and engage in gossip, blame, and victimhood. Employees are indifferent or condescending toward company goals, and generally exhibit signs of unresolved tension. 


    Where people are involved in a merger or reorganization, the culture must be taken into account in order to achieve success. By scoring your cultures against the eight dimensions, you can start the process of combining cultures by highlighting and emphasizing what you have in common while approaching differences using a shared language. 

  • May 16, 2022 2:45 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    By: Matt Meuleners, Focus Training

    A consulting partnership is a relationship and, like any relationship, it relies on a few key factors to be successful. In this week’s blog post, Matt Meuleners talks through some of these factors and offers advice on what to look for when selecting your next (or first) consultant partner.

    What Does a Consulting Partnership Look Like?

  • May 16, 2022 2:35 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    By Allyson Carter, Senior Vice President of Talent, The CARA Group

    Is your organizational learning strategy keeping pace with agile business strategy?

    As a business leader, you have heard the buzz, “The Big Quit” … “The Great Reshuffle” …” Hybrid Workforce”, etc. As we headed into 2020, business and learning leaders were preparing for mass upskilling to enable the workforce of the future for digital transformation. Strategies were prepared and plans were made. And then came COVID-19.

    “… what is your approach to ensuring your organizational learning strategy is appropriate for today’s business realities? Are you leading learning from a strategic point of view or from a to-do list?”

    Fast forward two years as we implement our 2022 business and learning strategies: we still have a need to upskill and reskill for ongoing digital transformation, in addition to adjusting to new ways of working and fast changing market and consumer conditions. We are seeing businesses both merge and split. We are seeing rapid growth and the impact of the health crisis on employment.

    So, what is your approach to ensuring your organizational learning strategy is appropriate for today’s business realities? Are you leading learning from a strategic point of view or from a to do list?

    In a CARA  August 2019 blog “The 10 Elements of Organizational Learning Strategy” we said: “A well-crafted and rigorously executed organizational learning strategy can ensure that your learning and development organization supports the business in achieving the strategic goals set forth by senior leaders. Without a clear strategy, learning and development organizations tend to lose focus and effectiveness.” This holds true today.

    Strategic Framework for Creating an Agile Learning and Development Strategy

    Continue reading here

  • May 13, 2022 7:00 AM | Colin Hahn

    For our first in person event of the year, SEWI ATD partnered with Milwaukee Tech Hub for a panel discussion on the Business Need for Reskilling on April 22, 2022.

    Laura Schmidt, Chief Talent Development Officer of the Milwaukee Tech Hub Coalition, moderated the discussion with Sarah Dollhausen-Clark, Lead Program Manager in the Office of the CIO/Technology Strategy and Transformation at Northwestern Mutual, Amanda Saenz, IT Delivery Manager at West Bend Mutual and Cynthia Sternard, Director of Technology Advancement & Outreach at Associated Bank providing insights. 

    Laura started the discussion with some key employment statistics on the tech field across Southeast WI region:

    • 1.5% unemployment in tech – not a large pool of available workers
    • 67% of tech works come to the field from an occupation different than tech
    • 50% of workers respond to survey that they are not acquiring digital skills as fast as necessary to perform their job
    • 30% job opening include requirement that applicant has experience in emerging tech
    • There is 3x supply vs. demand of college grads from disciplines aligned to CompTIA tech occupations than there are entry level jobs for them. 
    • Supply and demand gap for tech talent is also prevalent in occupations with adjacent skills which makes up/reskilling more challenging. 
    • As a result, employers who are depending solely on traditional sources for tech talent and/or attraction alone are hitting significant barriers.  The panelists focused on overcoming these barriers.

    The discussion then moved to the experiences and challenges of each panelist.  The discussion covered some key areas.

    Technology skill development and retention

    • Tech skills are constantly evolving.  Workers need to learn deeply quickly. 
    • Firms can use tech skill development content from outside providers such as Pluralsight, but there is a need to make the learning sticky.  That process has to be developed internally.
    • How to allow/create time for learning?  Build learning time into the project timeline for an agile project.  Make learning part of the development plan, workers are rewarded for improving their skills.  They need to know why it is important and that their efforts are valued.
    • Online learning programs without on site mentorship are rarely effective.  Talent development is a team effort. 
    • Include development of employees into responsibility of manager. 
    • Build reskilling into the culture of the organization.

    Creating learning paths

    • The amount of content is vast and can be overwhelming. 
    • Need to create learning paths so workers learn the skills they need.  Who creates the learning path and how are the skills measured? 
    • Team creates playlists of content pulled from variety of sources.  Who curates the content, ensures it remains relevant?
    • Create a baseline set of knowledge required to perform the job.

    Non-traditional pipeline of talent

    • Due to great need for talent firms are having to source talent from non-traditional pipelines.  Vital business need to ensure that AI that is developed is ethical and accurate. 
    • Need to hire problem solvers who are willing to learn and seek out new information.
    • Once hired, how does a firm best incorporate the new hires into the team. 
    • Provide access to Employee Resource Groups to provide community.  If too small to have an ERG, consider regional connections like FUEL MKE, etc.
    • Frequent pulse check surveys to gain employee feedback on a variety of topics.  Can be useful in tracking employee’s views.

    Talent Brand

    • Need for rebranding for those firms that are not “traditionally” seen as tech companies
    • Need to authentically show up in the places and spaces where those you seek to engage with are.  There is a hidden job market that is not currently accessible to those historically excluded from the tech workforce.
    • True inclusion requires an intentional change in corporate culture that can not reside with an individual leader or group but is pervasive across the organization.


    • Create opportunities for employees to develop soft skills as well as leadership opportunities outside of the number of direct reports an employee has.
    • Measure/evaluate workers performance not solely on individual performance but also on their ability to collaborate and develop co-workers.
    • Mentors need time in their work day as well.  They also need training in order to be culturally sensitive to ensure an inclusive work culture.

    Talent Development as a partner

    • Creative new programs, such as technology apprenticeships need infrastructure and support from both functional and L&D areas of the business.
    • We need to think about development of people holistically.
    • Technology programs also need dual career paths that allow for non-managerial opportunities for advancement.

    Panelists Examples

    • Organizational restructuring in Technology where they now have one Manager of People focused on personal & career development and one who serves as the Manager of Projects.
    • Another discussed hiring into talent pools rather than specific job descriptions to allow maximum flexibility.
    • The investment of time necessary before seeing results – six months of slow progress in preparing workers has now been reached a positive tipping point.

    Thank you to all who ventured out on a rainy Friday morning in April!

  • May 03, 2022 5:43 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    If you were fortunate enough to attend our virtual event last Wednesday, April 27th, Getting Real about DEI in Learning & Development, you were treated to a fantastic evening. NAAAHR-Milwaukee's Board Members were kind enough to share their experiences and recommendations in how to improve organizational training and build an inclusive culture. Joining the panel were subject matter experts: Dorlisa Marshall, Jamesha Carter, Scott Cross, Cheryl Lucas-DeBerry, LaShonda Hill and Alvin Hill.

    There were many highlights throughout. When asked what are some things L & D professionals do right when they are effective with DEI efforts, a couple responses included meeting people where they are at and help employees to be successful. Another response mentioned that some leaders often stereotype, assuming because an employee may not have technology at home that they are unfamiliar with said technology.

    A key topic was looking at what certain talent development practices occur that signal a community is not welcome. This conversation covered a wide range of points were made, such as intentionality, representation, language used in conversations, engagement in and out of the workplace, and what professionalism means from one person to the next, to name a few. The responses to the previous topic allowed a segue way into asking how do we work towards creating an environment that is open and transparent? Conversation from the previous question offered some great tips: clearly define what you mean by equity and inclusion; allow yourself to get uncomfortable; ask for feedback and be willing to accept it, as a few examples.

    Overall, it was a very rewarding experience covering a significant and meaningful topic. SEWI-ATD was fortunate to have such a warm and receptive panel.  Not only did the Board members provide insight, but they offered encouragement, feedback, and all-around helpful ways to further move the needle in the right direction when it comes to understanding.

  • April 26, 2022 7:51 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    SEWI-ATD has been recognized by ATD National for the Sharing our Success Program! Read below on how we continue to integrate DEI Practices into our monthly events!


    Thank you for your chapter’s submission to the SOS (Sharing Our Success) Program. On behalf of the Chapter Recognition Committee, I want to congratulate you and your chapter on your achievement, your “Integrating DEI Practices into Monthly Events” submission has been approved for recognition. Your effort demonstrates a replicable format for other chapters around the country to adopt and improve their chapter’s efforts around communication and community building. 

    Your chapter’s achievement will be recognized in the following ways:

    • A description of your chapter’s project will be featured on the Chapter Leader Community SOS webpage.
    • Your chapter will be highlighted in the Leader Connection Newsletter (LCN).
    • You'll receive recognition at the ATD Chapter Leaders Conference (ALC).
    • Your chapter is now eligible to be selected as a future Chapter of the Month.   
    Your chapter’s willingness to share best practices can immediately help other chapters to reimagine their operations. Congratulations on your accomplishment, and thank you again for your contribution to our members and chapters! 
  • April 26, 2022 7:43 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    By: Focus Training

    The idea of bringing ones authentic self to their professional roles is a concept that is often talked about, but what does that look like in reality? This week on the blog, Liz Poeschl sits down with Isioma Nwabuzor, Senior Vice President and Associate General Counsel at Baird, to talk about her experiences being her authentic self at work and in other professional roles.


  • April 26, 2022 7:41 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    By: Daniel Stewart, President & Executive Consultant
    Stewart Leadership

    It can be easy to unintentionally find oneself living in a “bubble”—surrounded by people who share your opinions, perspectives, and outlook. It is the norm for most neighborhoods and houses of worship as like often attracts like. Social media exacerbates this further by prioritizing content that their algorithm has determined you are more likely to interact with.

    Leaders know they must make an intentional effort to include and surround themselves with a variety of different voices; staying in an “echo chamber” isn’t an option. Prioritizing inclusive leadership is a business imperative - it’s critical for leaders to pull in new and different perspectives to ensure that various ideas and viewpoints are taken into account. Fresh thinking that challenges old ideas is vital to any organization's long-term health and success.

    One way to encourage new ways of thinking is for leaders to actively work on developing an inclusive mindset. Here are three choices you can make that will promote the growth of an inclusive mindset:


    Whatever the conversation is, reflect on who is involved, who isn’t, and who should be. What perspectives are you missing? Who would bring those perspectives to the table? If possible, pause the conversation—even in the middle—and invite those voices in. Make a note of who to include in the future, and be proactive about asking those voices to sit at the table. Finally, be intentional in amplifying the ideas and perspectives that add particular value to the conversation. Recent research suggests that magnifying voices can help raise the status of underrepresented groups and bring additional attention to new perspectives.


    Everyone has a set of filters and perspectives shaped by our own experiences, values, and beliefs. Ask yourself what other viewpoints you can take as you consider your current problem, challenge, circumstance, or opportunity. Actively challenge your perspectives with new ones. Psychologist Adam Grant suggests “thinking like a scientist.” In scientist mode, Grant suggests, “you look for reasons why you might be wrong, not just reasons you must be right.”


    We tend to fall into relationships with people who think as we do in both our work and personal lives. Cultivating relationships outside of your usual circles requires work, but it’s essential work that can help you expand your thinking. Actively look for relationships with people who are not necessarily like you. Get outside your department, function, or community. Ask questions and encourage conversations that help you understand their perspectives.


    Remember, challenging your thinking doesn’t require you to change your mind—only to open it. When you look at other perspectives and hear other voices with curiosity and humility, you will be able to honestly examine and consider options, ideas, and solutions. As you invite these different perspectives into your thinking and encourage others to do the same, you will help everyone in leadership develop a more inclusive mindset.

  • March 20, 2022 10:21 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    By: Focus Training

    Training for the sake of training is not a good investment of the time, energy or money we put into the creation of a training program. It is important to measure the outcomes of training, but it can be challenging to find the most effective way to do so. Read on to discover the best approach to take when measuring the success of your programs.

    Consider the training type

    If your training was designed to teach learners how to effectively use a policy or procedure, measuring outcomes can be a relatively straightforward process- you can simply compare compliance or error rates after training to the rates before training. When doing this, be sure to analyze an extended period of time to account for any initial drop off in retention. Looking at an extended period of time provides additional opportunities for coaching and reinforcement by the trainer or leader of learners. 

    If your training is focused on tactical skills rather than technical skills, success metrics can be a little bit muddier. Consider incorporating a pre-assessment into your program, asking learners to self-assess their ability to utilize skills covered in the class. Pre-assessments provide a baseline for learning and allow facilitators to measure change while administering post-assessments. Post-assessment questions should focus both on confidence in the learner’s abilities in addition to knowledge of the types of tools available to support them outside of the classroom environment. (Pro tip: For even more robust analysis, include the perspective of the learner's direct supervisor or manager in pre- and post-assessments.)

    Go beyond “smile sheets”

    As important as it is to know that learners enjoy the programs we facilitate, it is better to build post-program evaluations that allow learners time to reflect on their key takeaways from the session. Consider including a combination of closed and open-ended questions to provide the broadest perspective and minimize survey fatigue. Closed ended questions could include asking participants to rank their happiness with the program and their confidence in applying program objectives in their daily work. Open-ended questions could ask participants specific things they enjoyed about the program, opportunities for improvement, and how they will apply the program in their daily work. 

    By more closely analyzing the type of training outcomes you are hoping to achieve, you can better align your post-program assessments to truly measure what matters. Using assessments and data analysis in a more efficient and effective way will provide a higher likelihood that your participants will provide more detailed feedback, giving you more valuable information to improve and refine your programs moving forward.

  • February 20, 2022 7:06 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    By Genevieve Daniels, VP Finance

    Our Chapter is starting off the year in a position of financial strength.  Over the past couple of years, we have been working toward financial sustainability, measured by the key performance indicator of our operating reserve, which we have now grown to 110% of annual revenue.   This is fantastic!  It speaks to the:

    • Quality of our professional development & member experience

    • Generosity of our sponsors

    • Numerous volunteers who give of their time and talents 

    • Event speakers/presenters who shared their expertise with us on a pro bono basis

    • Fewer in-person events, reducing venue/food/beverage expenses

    The operating reserve also allowed our Chapter to stay strong and stable as we moved through the changing needs brought on by the health pandemic.

    Once again, in 2022, we are taking a conservative approach to our revenue and expense expectations.  We will do a mid-year check on this budget to ensure we have the right balance of investment in upskilling, belonging and leadership development for our Chapter members. We anticipate a slight uptick in expenses as we return to offering more in-person social and professional development events.


    You may be curious about what some of these expense categories include.  For example:

    • Office of the President covers volunteer recognition, marketing, Board conference fees and national dues

    • Operations expenses cover bank and credit card charges and Board insurance, 

    • Administration includes our fees to pay our chapter administrator, MDS.  MDS handles many responsibilities that keep our chapter running smoothly, such as: member support, member database, annual renewals, and financial & accounting services.

    As stewards of our funds, we typically complete a review and contract for our chapter administration needs every three years, with 2022 being a review year.  This is important because these administration needs are our highest expense item, and as our needs change, we want to make sure we are getting the highest value while ensuring quality of services.  A committee has formed to examine and revise our requirements, and then will work with the Board to evaluate our current administrator and other vendors.  The result will be contracting with the partner who can best help us meet our financial stewardship & sustainability needs.

    Why is this important to you?  Because the process helps us explore new ways to add value for membership, and align even more effectively to our three strategic pillars.  

    The committee will be hard at work this spring; stay tuned for a summer update!

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Phone: 608-204-9815

Association Managers
Seth Trickel
Heather L. Dyer, CAE

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