An oddly high number of crickets have been chirping near the Brunswick County Career Center lately. How serendipitous it is that the song, “Give a Little Whistle” by Jiminy Cricket came up in conversation with a team member on the topic of doing what’s right. People are often told to let their conscience be the guide in making decisions, but when you can’t rely on your conscience, “Give a Little Whistle” and instead let your Values be your guide. A conscience can waiver with emotion and vary from person to person, but a stable and unchanging set of company values and code of conduct standards can help guide a team toward success, especially when the team is faced with challenging decisions.
One day, I stopped by a local sandwich shop on the way home from work with the intent of grabbing a quick bite to eat. I proceeded to order a foot-long meatball marinara sub and waited for the employee to ladle the meatballs onto the sub bun. After his second scoop, you could hear the sound of the metal ladle scraping the bottom of the container. A panicked look swept over the employee’s face as he explained that they were out of meatballs.
In a previous blog, I wrote about how inspired I was after attending several powerful sessions on leadership, compassion and purpose at the fourth annual Positive Business Conference hosted by The Stephen M. Ross School of Business at U-M.
Another exciting thing that happened at the conference was that EDSI received an award for its student-run positive business project, presented by the Center for Positive Organizations, a student-led initiative designed to identify and showcase business practices that create positive impact.
The story of Willy Wonka’s Golden Ticket contest conjures up images of hundreds of peanut conglomerate workers unwrapping thousands of chocolate bars. As they rapidly try to find the Golden Ticket for Veruca Salt, the spoiled child, she eagerly and angrily awaits a prize tour of the elusive Wonka Candy Factory.
As the workers feverishly unwrap, Veruca’s panicking father offers a tiny pay bonus to whomever finds the Golden Ticket, in hopes the workers will unwrap even faster. This bears resemblance to many operations dealing with high turnover, where employees work tirelessly for a glimmer of recognition or a reward. When an employee leaves, it is an additional burden and cost on the employer. What do we do about this? Don’t get Slugworthed into thinking employees only want more pay … let’s take a closer look. It may not be a matter of pay at all. An everlasting employee comes from an employer who hones in on the overall happiness of the team.
Jim Bitterle, Managing Partner of EDSI Consulting, was invited by Tom Borg Consulting to talk talent! Tune in to this podcast recording to learn more about EDSI and how to develop talent in your organization.
Selling, to me, means presenting your product or service in the best possible light. It means presenting the features and benefits of the product or service as it relates to the needs, wants and values of the potential customer or client. I learned, long ago, when people are considering purchasing or buying into a product or service, everyone listens to the radio station WIFM which translated reads; What’s In It For Me? Before anyone makes a commitment, they ask themselves consciously or subconsciously that key question.
Let’s start first by selling the EARN program on the “inside.” By inside, I mean selling to our clients who are sent to EARN by their county case managers as part of the client’s agreement for receiving benefits like cash assistance, food stamps, child care and other resources from their county.
Jack Welch has a great quote, “The team with the best players wins.” For some, he could be referring to baseball or football, but in business we know the most important team is within the walls of your workplace. Your company likely spends lots of time and money finding people with the skill sets that most closely match your company culture, the challenge is keeping them.
What is the best approach keeping your best talent and avoiding having them swooped up by your competitors? What makes employees want to stay? Here are a few things to consider:
“Rapport is the ability to enter someone else’s world, to make him feel that you understand him, that you have a strong common bond.” - Tony Robbins, Author and Motivational Speaker
Building relationships with another person is all about connecting with him or her and creating a sense of trust and understanding. According to some research, we have only 7 seconds to make a good first impression! It is absolutely essential for us to build solid connections with our clients, and this relationship building starts the first time we meet.
When I began my career as a Job Developer with EDSI, I would conduct an initial interview with clients. I would ask questions about clients’ living situation, their children and partners, the kinds of jobs they had in the past and what they wanted to accomplish. The interview gave me some important facts, but I realized something was missing. I wanted to go a bit deeper, I needed to better understand their passions, hopes and dreams when it came to finding, obtaining and keeping a job.
Kevin Schnieders Speaks on Leadership Development at International Society for Performance Improvement Event
EDSI CEO, Kevin Schnieders, spoke on the topic of leadership development at the 2015 Signature Event of the Michigan Chapter of the International Society for Performance Improvement. Please watch the video below!
"All great and inspiring leaders of the world think, act and communicate in the exact same way, and it's the complete opposite as everyone else."
This is the premise of Simon Sinek's classic TEDx talk "How Great Leaders Inspire Action." During Sinek's TEDx talk, he delves into the biology of human decision-making, and explains why we are inspired by some people, leaders, messages and organizations over others.
Sinek references "The Golden Circle" (shown), and talks about the fact that most organizations/people usually communicate from the outside in.
EDSI has given me a chance for a new beginning. I was a 26-year employee at a Fortune 500 company. Through changes and acquisitions, the company was sold and I needed to make a life decision – should I retire, or move to a new company? As the saying goes, “when the going gets tough, the tough get going,” so I decided to seek a new career. I joined EDSI in August 2015 as a Talent Engagement Specialist in North Carolina.
In my short tenure with EDSI as an EARN Job Developer, I have had the privilege of observing and teaching Job Club. Most of the clients who participate are 50 years old+, have been employed steadily in a company or industry for a long time, and generally have no clue about the requirements of a job search in this century.
Five common concerns usually come to light during our weeks together in Job Club. The exciting news for us is that with empathy, active listening and open sharing, most of these concerns can be identified and relieved before “graduation” day. You can be the change agent that turns their fear, frustration and negative attitude into one of hope for a brighter and better new day.
Lehigh Valley wanted to show their deep love and support for one of their EDSI coworkers, Eva Echevarria, who is battling breast cancer. On November 5, 2014, EDSI staff, the Lehigh Valley Workforce Investment Board and the Bureau of Workforce Partnership and Operations greeted Eva in the morning wearing scarves on their heads. After a memorable group photo was taken, each staff member handed over his/her scarf to Eva, one by one, and embraced her with a hug. Eva is a hardworking, strong woman with a positive influence in Lehigh Valley. Everyone is so happy she has returned to work so they can see her smiling face again!
Written by Kevin Watson - Director of Business Development with EDSI Consulting
Ten years ago, I was twenty-five years old and thought I had the world figured out. I had been dating my college sweetheart for 4 years, I was living in beautiful Austin, TX, I was succeeding in my job, I had just purchased my first house, and I was saving up to buy an engagement ring. Then out of the blue, my life was turned upside down.
My girlfriend went to the doctor for a routine check-up, and they asked her “Have you been keeping an eye on this?” “An eye on what?” she replied.
“Well, you have a suspicious lump. Based on your age, I’m sure it’s nothing…but we would like to do a needle biopsy to make sure.”
As you may have guessed by the title of this article, it wasn’t “nothing.” My girlfriend was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 25, and in rapid succession she went through multiple surgeries, chemotherapy and radiation. For time’s sake, I will give you the Cliff’s Notes version of the story. After she completed her very aggressive treatment regimen, she was told she was in remission and we started to move on with our lives. We got engaged, and started making plans for the wedding and the honeymoon. Exactly one month before the wedding, our lives were once again turned upside down. She visited the doctor for a check-up and was told they needed to run some additional tests/scans due to some elevated tumor marker tests. After several hours of waiting, the doctor came in and told us the cancer had returned. She told us it was very aggressive, and that realistically, we were probably looking at 12-24 months. Needless to say, this is not the news you expect to hear at the age of 27 (especially not a month before your wedding).
There aren’t enough words to describe how amazing/inspiring she was over the next few years. She made a pledge to live life to the fullest, and inspired countless others to do the same. She made a bucket list, and started chipping away at it immediately: getting married, going on a honeymoon, going skydiving, taking multiple vacations, starting a charity event, etc. She always told me that she was happy she was diagnosed. She said it put things into perspective and made her appreciate what was truly important in life. She didn’t just say it, she meant it and lived her life that way.
She also did something that I am forever grateful for. She told me that if I sat around and felt sorry for myself after she was gone, she would come back and kick my @#$! She told me she wanted me to travel, to fall in love, to get married, to have kids and raise a family. She encouraged me to get outside of my comfort zone and to take risks.
She passed away over four years ago, and I hope that I have made her proud. Since her passing, I left my previous job and found my dream job. I have been on multiple road trips across the U.S., I have hiked in the Australian Outback, swam in the Great Barrier Reef, been on a photo safari in Africa, been to Hawaii, Rome, Venice, Florence, and the Greek Islands. I have spent more time with family and friends, and I try not to get bogged down by inconsequential things that would have stressed me out in the past. I have also helped to carry on her legacy by keeping the charity event that she started alive and growing. After our event this September, Bras for a Cause (www.brasforacausemichigan.com) will have raised over $500,000 for Gilda’s Club Metro Detroit. I also took her up on another piece of advice. I fell in love. I got married, and will get to meet my newborn son any day now (maybe even before you read this)!
I would encourage each and every one of you to learn from what we went through. Don’t wait for tragedy to befall you before you realize what is truly important in life. Make a list of things you want to accomplish in life, and start chipping away at it tomorrow. Live life to its fullest, and inspire those around you to do the same!
Thanks for reading. I hope you enjoyed.
Founded in 1979, EDSI is a national leader in workforce development, customized training and consulting.
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