As talent professionals, you and I know that on-the-job experience is a powerful development tool. That’s why I invite you to consider joining our chapter’s Board of Directors. Serving on the SEWI-ATD board is a way to gain leadership and business experience to advance your career, and make a positive contribution to our professional community at the same time.
I can personally vouch for the value of board service. My skills as a leader have grown because of this work, and I can point to specific improvements that my manager noticed in my last performance review that came from my volunteer work with the chapter. I’ve also gained more senior-level skills like managing budgets and understanding the key business drivers because of the P&L responsibilities in my roles. And, I’ve had a ton of fun in strengthening my relationships with my network and seeing the impact of our work on the local community.
Colin J. Hahn
As a member of our SEWI-ATD, independent consultants have the opportunity to promote their businesses on our chapter’s website. The Consultant Directory is proactively publicized by our chapter on a quarterly basis to our database of roughly 1,000 professionals. Visitors to the Consultant Directory spend significant time interacting with the page (over six times the expected engagement rate), and 70% of users scroll to the bottom of the page, indicating they are reading each description. (Note: larger organizations can become chapter sponsors to gain significant exposure)
With a new VP of Marketing & Communications on our board, Rebecca Reindl has also elevated our presence on LinkedIn. As you can see from the LinkedIn follower demographics below, our Consultant Directory members are getting in front of the key decision-makers you want to reach. Each of our posts on LinkedIn gets an average of 200 unique views, which means that we are broadcasting your bio directly to 200 of these professionals with each post.
As a member of SEWI-ATD, you enjoy dual benefits as a member of the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce. Last summer, we co-sponsored the MMAC Talent Matters Series where a dozen chapter members volunteered as event facilitators. SEWI-ATD programming was broadcast to the MMAC database of over 4,000 business executives in the 7-county region.
At an investment of $100 annually, we hope that joining the Consultant Directory is an easy decision. There are a number of ways you can grow your business, and we appreciate your decision to partner with SEWI-ATD. To do some comparisons related to other advertising opportunities, you can preview offerings by MMSHRM and MMAC.
To join the directory, simply go to: https://sewi-atd.org/event-4169693 and follow the registration steps.
Our chapter administrator will be able to answer direct questions related to payment. You can reach out to them at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 608-204-9815. To connect with a board member, you can reach out to Nikki Palmer-Quade, President Elect, at email@example.com or Susan Davies, VP of Sponsorship, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sometimes the challenges that are seen within organizations and teams are the result of leaders who are not practicing their leadership with intention. The unintended consequences of this style of leadership can be felt organization-wide. In this week’s video post, Matt Meuleners of FOCUS Training talks about the value of intentional leadership and offers tips on building your intentionality.
Click here to view video.
Like many of you, I joined SEWI-ATD to connect with other talent development professionals. I love being able to ask peers for advice to solve challenges in my job, and I enjoy sharing what I’ve learned with others.
Since I love learning with others, I’m incredibly excited about our chapter’s professional development networks, or PDNs. We currently have standing groups for leaders of learning, training delivery, and (as of last week!) organizational development. These groups enable practitioners to discuss challenges, share techniques, and see how other companies are tackling similar issues. Every time I attend, these conversations are a highlight of my week.
I want to thank all the group leaders who make these sessions engaging and insightful. Jennifer Buchholz, Megan Cardenas, Lora Haines, Susan Keith, Camille Parham, Sheri Weaver, and Kathleen Volk--you do amazing work to create these collaborative learning opportunities!
Because these groups are such powerful learning communities, I want to encourage you to start your own group within our chapter. Megan Cardenas will tell you that the reason she started the leaders of learning group is because she wanted to get together with a bunch of people facing similar challenges, and forming a group was an easy way to make that happen.
You too can form a PDN to scratch your own professional development itch! Your PDN can be organized around almost any aspect of our field:
As a chapter member, all you need to do is reach out to me or another board member and tell us about your proposed group! We’ll announce it to our list of over 700 local TD professionals, and you can start sharing ideas and building connections.
I look forward to collaborating with you!
By Teresa Pappas, Ph.D., Consultant, The CARA Group
Let’s face it, these continue to remain unprecedented times. And they require an unprecedented response from us all. We’ve been used to working within a global VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous) business environment for some time—one that’s required us to demonstrate both adaptability and resilience. But these times are different. As we continue to do our part in combatting the global coronavirus, we are finding ourselves still working 100% virtually. This need to work differently, along with the stressors of finding ourselves within a global pandemic, is likely still bringing up some new reactions for us all. Common challenges include the need to balance work priorities and deliverables, while battling feelings of isolation and missing the kinds of everyday ‘hallway’ interactions we’ve relied on and enjoyed. We’re all battling these experiences for ourselves while we find our way. And if you’re a leader with direct reports, you’ve got a team of people relying on you to address their concerns and keep them connected as well.
This article focuses on five ‘must have’ techniques for doing just that. As you read, keep in mind how and when you can begin applying these for yourself and your team.
1. Plan your Approach
Eleanor Roosevelt once said “It takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan.” Comparing the two, experience tells us that we can have a much better ‘hit rate’ for success with a plan, so why not start there? Take the time to be intentional about what success will look like while leading a team that is completely virtual.
This starts by reflecting on your vision and hopes for your team. How do you want your team members to act and feel in this virtual environment? What will it mean to be productive, connected, and successful? How can you help team members tap into their individual core competencies and strengths? How do you see yourself continuing to build team cohesion remotely while making sure that everyone feels part of the team? Your answers to these questions will shape your interactions with your team members and will go a long way to foster the type of virtual team environment that your employees will have. Share your vision and what this means for your team.
Remember that you have a critical role to play in shaping your team’s virtual culture. Be a role model by demonstrating virtual team commitment and collaboration. What work style habits can you build that will benefit you and provide examples of what others can emulate (e.g., taking care of yourself and your energy levels, integrating work and family tasks, maintaining effective routines)? Keep in mind that regular routines go a long way to combat an unpredictable external environment. How can you authentically convey the importance of your team in supporting each other in a virtual setting? Aim to develop realistic, focused goals (both team and individual), and establish upfront expectations of each other. Also, be the kind of leader who has ongoing conversations with your employees on progress made.
2. Communicate Early and Often
In a virtual environment, it is more important than ever to use a variety of vehicles and methods to set the stage for open communication. How can you develop a cadence and process for coming together—for both team and one-on-one touchpoints? What structure can you provide for your team to foster information sharing and connection? How can you augment this by seizing impromptu opportunities to check-in, share information, ask a question, or simply say “hello” and see how people are doing? Don’t assume that others know what you’re working on or who you’re interacting with. What questions do your team members have? Where should people go with specific questions? Consider your responses to these questions for establishing your team’s pattern of communication, and see where it may need to adapt over time.
On top of this, don’t forget to master the ‘basics’ of communication. Respond to others in a timely manner. Keep scheduled meetings. Listen actively. Remove distractions in your work setting. At the end of the day, set yourself up to be present, engaged, and in-the-moment when communicating with others. When face-to-face conversations aren’t practical, know what to listen for. In this case, you won’t have the benefit of seeing someone’s nonverbals—so you’ll want to pay extra attention to subtle nuances in individuals’ tone and pace of speech. This will clue you in to where you may need to check for understanding.
Communication is so important because it helps direct your team’s actions, accountabilities, and progress made. What methods and processes can you use to make sure everyone is on the same page? Share meeting agendas, outcomes, commitments, and next steps. Your team members will rely on the open communication you foster to build trust in a virtual environment. This will go a long way to your team members being open to giving and receiving feedback as your team continues to evolve.
3. Leverage Technology
We are fortunate to live in a time where we have wide access to technology and systems that give us the opportunity to work remotely. That said, you’ll want to make optimal use of available technology and resources. This means using the right tool(s) for the situation. We’ve probably all been part of remote interactions that didn’t go well simply because an overly complex tool for the situation was utilized. When a formal meeting is involved, this is when you’ll want to learn to make good use of your company’s online meeting software. However, in other cases, exchanging emails, sharing instant messages, sending texts, or holding phone calls will easily suffice to expedite making the right connection.
Another recommendation is to opt for face-to-face interaction to increase engagement (and decrease the tendency to multi-task), particularly when longer conversations are involved. Now is the time to practice getting technology savvy with using your computer’s camera feature! This will come in handy when holding virtual face-to-face meetings with your team. Think of it as a wonderful opportunity for the team to come together, share updates, ask questions, and foster a sense of camaraderie.
What about other important logistics? You’ll want to test your technology equipment and connections to ensure you’ll be in a position to connect easily and both begin and end on time. Do what you can to anticipate and mitigate any challenges that may arise. If you’re part of a global workforce, you’ll want to be sensitive to time zone differences when scheduling team meetings. Think about ways you can facilitate holding an effective and efficient meeting so you are focused and attentive to your role in the moment.
4. Don’t Neglect the Human Component
It’s been said that the most effective leaders show they care first, and give direction second. Focus on how you can continue to build your relationship with each of your team members so you’ll be in the best position to meet them where they are—uniquely and individually. It will be particularly important in a virtual setting to ask your individual team members how they are doing with the changes to their work environment. Listen to what they have to say and empathize with their reactions.
Doing so will raise your awareness not only to what you’re personally experiencing, but to what your team members are going through. By reflecting on this you’ll be in the best position to help your team move through the change curve. You may even help them think about how they can reframe initially perceived challenges into opportunities. This will help to foster an environment of team learning. When and how might you hold conversations on how individuals are adapting to virtual work? How could you provide a forum for team members to share ‘bright spots’ they’ve experienced along the way?
This is the time to show your appreciation for your team and how they are rising to the challenge of virtual work. Recognize and celebrate both individual and team success when you see it. Get to know your team members’ individual preferences for recognition, and customize your approach to this. This is also the time to incorporate F-U-N where you can into the work day! Get creative when thinking about how you can build virtual team camaraderie.
5. Stay Flexible
A virtual work environment lends itself to continual adaptation and the opportunity to be flexible. You may find that expectations about how the work will flow and how people will come together will need to shift over time, and that’s okay. Know where your team may need to re-prioritize tasks, assignments, or ways of interacting along the way. Keeping flexible will help you and your team to not get bogged down in old ways of thinking or acting.
This will serve you well in being able to identify what changes may still be needed, both in the short- and long-term. It will also help you determine any immediate changes needed around the corner, along with their impact on the team in general and individual team members in particular. This is where open communication will be instrumental.
It’s hard to believe that it’s been a year since our worlds turned upside down.
Over the last year, I’ve felt how important our talent development community is--and how easy it was to take that community for granted. Without our time to mingle face-to-face before and after events, maintaining our relationships has been hard work.
I sincerely hope that we’ll soon be able to gather in person again. But until that happens, we are still finding ways to connect with each other. I want to offer three ways for you to stay engaged in our community.
First, we’ve heard how much you appreciate time to socialize and connect. Our volunteer recognition evening was a great opportunity to catch up with each other, and we want to create more of those opportunities. So, we are now hosting a monthly TD coffee hour. There’s no agenda; just drop in with your favorite brew and connect with your fellow TD professionals. We will have lots of breakout rooms so you can split into small groups, or stay in the main room for a larger group conversation.
Second, our professional development networks remain a great forum to share challenges and solve problems with each other. I want to thank our Training Delivery PDN and Leaders of Learning PDN leaders for continuing to host these conversations, and I’m excited that we have a new group for Organizational Development professionals launching in April. I encourage you to participate in these sessions.
If you have your own areas to explore with chapter members, we would love to offer additional PDN groups. Whether you want to organize a standing group or a short-term learning circle, email me at email@example.com and we’ll help you make your idea a reality!
Finally, the best way to feel connected is to get involved. There are dozens of ways to volunteer in our chapter, from working on our newsletter to organizing events or serving as contacts to our partner organizations. Volunteering is a great way to build friendships, grow your skills, and find meaning in your work. Raising your hand is as easy as emailing me, so don't wait!
Until we are able to see each other in person--thanks for being part of our community!
Colin J. Hahn
We are so lucky to have amazing volunteers that support the work of our chapter. Every year, SEWI-ATD recognizes one person as our Volunteer of the Year. We are proud to announce that Megan Cardenas is the recipient of the 2020 Bob Von Der Linn Volunteer of the Year award!
This award is named after Bob Von Der Linn, who served as the president of the chapter. This award recognizes his spirit of dedication to the chapter’s mission and his commitment to engaging other professionals so the chapter would flourish for years to come.
Megan certainly carries on Bob's legacy of service. For years, she has led the Leaders of Learning PDN and has been an instrumental part of this chapter. Congratulations, Megan, on this well deserved honor!
By Kristin Derwinski, Executive Consultant and Coach, Stewart Leadership
Earlier this year, we facilitated a webinar on Building a Resilient Workforce. We introduced the three skills needed to Recharge Your Leadership, which include: Resilience, Connection, and Empathy,
In a series of articles to follow, we will share highlights from our webinar and provide helpful hints and tools for building your leadership skills.
Let’s focus on Resilience. Resilience is the ability to bounce back after facing adversity or experiencing a setback. It is about seeking advice or guidance from others when navigating a challenging time. It is the ability to grow after facing adversity or learning something new and applying it right away, even when it is uncomfortable.
We have all faced many challenges in the last year between COVID -19, social and political unrest, and the need to work and communicate in new ways. In the face of all of these challenges, we have seen tremendous growth, learning, and innovation as we navigate in a world that is continuing to evolve. We have also seen what happens when people are not able to grow or change. Or how, when there is low resilience, people can become stuck, walk away, or isolate themselves.
The good news is that Resilience is not something you have or don’t have - it is something you can learn. Anyone can develop the capacity to become more resilient.
We designed a Resilience Continuum that provides a framework for conversations around Resiliency. It enables a leader to identify where they are on the continuum and then determine where they want to be. It is also an excellent tool for leaders to use when they want to help team members increase their resilience capacity. Leaders we have worked with share that the Resilience Continuum allows them to approach these challenging situations with empathy.
Here’s the Continuum. If someone is acting or behaving in a way that is preventing them from working through a challenge or adverse situation, that behavior is reflective of low resilience. If a person meets the challenge head-on, working on learning to seek advice, or simply moving forward, their behavior is closer to high resilience.
The table below details the behaviors, thoughts, and actions that describe each phase. Please note: this is not about labeling a person; it identifies where someone is on a given challenge or situation based on their behaviors and actions.
Enjoys being comfortable
Little to no interest in learning something new
May be experiencing physical, mental, or emotional challenges
Workload is extremely demanding
Fearful of the future if there is not a roadmap
Appreciates comfort but willing to be uncomfortable
Willing to learn something new
Takes actions to manage well-being
Ability to manage workload
Looks forward to future and appreciates if there a roadmap
Connects with others for advice and guidance
Thrives in an environment where they can be uncomfortable
Seeks to learn something new and apply it right away
Is proactive in managing their well-being
Strives to lead self and others towards a future, even if there is no roadmap
Connects with others for advice and guidance frequently
As you look at the table above, ask yourself these questions:
Which behaviors most closely match the way I take action when faced with a challenge?
Which behaviors would I like to demonstrate more often?
What skills do I need to develop to get there?
What is getting in my way?
What actions can I take to get there? And by when?
We encourage you to have a conversation with your direct reports to learn more about their Resilience capacity and what you can do together to work towards high resilience.
Interested in learning more? Feel free to view our webinar on Building a Resilient Workforce or contact Kristin Derwinski to schedule a conversation.
There is so much to love about the ATD membership, but there are important changes coming to tailor benefits to what serves us best in today’s world. Members know that access to professional development and the latest content in the field are hugely important benefits of joining and renewing with ATD. Rather than limiting choice or having multiple a la carte options, ATD is rolling out a full library of content including hundreds of TD at Work guides and 99 micro courses. These changes also include enhancements to the website, a growing library of tools, checklists, and templates, and unlimited access to whitepapers and 10-minute case studies. ATD Membership gives you access to what you need, when you need it. Read more here: https://www.td.org/2021changes.
These changes mean an increase of rates starting April 1. However, you have the opportunity to lock in current rates if you renew by March 31. But do not delay: You can begin accessing new member benefits as early as March 1.
Now is a great time to review the benefits of a Power Membership as well, combining the local networking and industry access of SEWI-ATD and the content and exposure of the national branch.
From MRA Edge publication
Our friends at EARN (Employers Assistance Resource Network on Disability Inclusion) support employers in their efforts to recruit, hire, retain, and advance qualified individuals with disabilities.
Check out these questions and answers that employers should know regarding important aspects of a disability-inclusive workspace.
A disability-inclusive workplace is an accessible workplace, covering not only physical accessibility, like wheelchair ramps, braille signage, and accessible restrooms, but also digital accessibility, where information and communication technology is available to all and compatible with assistive technology devices.
Accessibility also has an attitudinal dimension. The key is to ensure doors are open, literally and figuratively, to all qualified individuals. Accessible workplaces help everyone increase productivity, ensure a wider pool of talent can apply for, maintain, and advance in employment, and expand their potential customer base.
The biggest barrier to workplace accessibility is not architectural in nature, but attitudinal. Employees may have misconceptions about people with disabilities and the work they can do. Examples of attitudinal barriers include:
Employers can help break down these barriers by engaging employees in discussions about disability and providing training to change employees’ perspectives and increase understanding.
Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), it is an employer’s obligation to “provide access for an individual applicant to participate in the job application process, and for an individual employee with a disability to perform the essential functions of his or her job, including access to a building, to the work site, to needed equipment, and to all facilities used by employees.” In addition to the building and work site, areas to which accessibility must be provided may include (but are not limited to):
Businesses that make modifications to improve workplace accessibility may be eligible for tax credits or deductions to help offset costs incurred. For more information see Tax Benefits for Businesses Who Have Employees with Disabilities.
When workplace technology is accessible, it presents opportunities for people with disabilities to get hired, or to excel in a position because they can perform their job duties with access to basic workplace tools. It is a barrier to employment to be without technology accessibility.
Taking steps to ensure all employees can access the technology they need to perform their jobs is a best practice and can impact a business’s bottom line.
Technology accessibility benefits include:
Visit EARN’s website for more information and educational resources, like toolkits and publications. EARN also offers the Dinah Cohen Training Center for Disability Employment & Inclusion for free webinars and trainings on a variety of topics, including the Inclusion@Work Framework for Building a Disability-Inclusive Organization.
If you’d like to stay up to date on upcoming events, developing news, and promising practices in the world of disability, diversity, and inclusion, you can subscribe to EARN’s newsletter.
Contact Usadmin@sewi-atd.orgPhone: 608-204-9815Association ManagersMaria Peot, CMPHeather L. Dyer, CAE