The Shearin Group Training Services: Can E-learning Replace a School Day?

E-learning has been gaining traction in some parts of the US particularly in public schools as a learning option for when weather gets so bad that schools had to suspend classes. Then students at home are supposed to use their school-issued netbooks or tablets to work on the virtual lessons and communicate with their instructors.

Educational institutions have been slowly opening up to alternative routes of learning such as said online courses. And what is now termed “adaptive learning” could be leading the way of personalized and tech-driven learning process for students.

Virtual lesson plans are customized to enable a student to study at home on key subjects. Ideally, they can also communicate with their teachers via Google Hangouts or Chat. It works even if there’s no internet connection because the lessons are supposed to be available to work on offline. Another bonus is that students won’t have to do detention for failing to submit a homework — because of possible connectivity issues no doubt.

The Shearin Group Training Services‘ platform enables an instructor to create adaptive and customized tutorials using any of the included coursework. For instance, once a student has demonstrated enough knowledge on a certain part of the course, the lesson can adapt by allowing him to skip through other content. On the other hand, a student who still needs more instructions based on his responses will be provided with additional resources to aid his understanding of the topic.

It gained popularity last year when snow fall forced most institutions to suspend a few days of school, eventually causing them to shorten the vacation time to complete the required number of days of instruction. Now, there’s a contention of whether e-learning should be considered as a day in class.

Sure students can still do some schoolwork even when classes had to be suspended due to bad weather, but it is doubtful if they will really appreciate or follow this instead of, getting extra sleep, for example. But as The Shearin Group Training Services said, virtual lessons meant class suspensions don’t have to eat up everyone’s vacation time.

The only caveat is that students will miss the irreplaceable experience one can have inside an actual schoolroom — something that everyone agrees is a big factor in the learning process.

Kari Whicker, State Board of Education Member said, “The question isn’t if e-learning is bad, it’s good. And the people who are doing it well are doing it very well. But, before we open up the floodgates have we asked everything we need to ask.”

Precisely why, prior to e-learning getting an official endorsement by the local governments, the financial circumstance and learning capability of the students have to be considered.

School Superintendent Philip Downs said, “We’ve spent a lot of time making sure every child regardless of disability or financial situation is accounted for and there is a plan or. There has been a lot of work in the background in this to get ready to do this.”

Obviously, more students are going to enjoy this kind of substitute learning, what with the personalized content and added perks they get. Platforms for e-learning are expected to attract more institutions as a result.

The Shearin Group Leadership Training Top 10 Tips for Building a Flourishing Company Culture

Culture can­not flourish if individuals do not sustain it. Whether it’s a beautiful or horrific culture, it does not exist without one individual after another choosing to support it.

For me, the culture that I want to live and work in is achieved through what I value most: values like honesty, fairness, and promot­ing success for everyone involved in and related to my organisation.

These are among the values that guide me to my purpose, which is helping people realize their best selves. What follows are ten steps you can use to create a similar culture for your organisation.

Step 1. Create Stakeholders: It Begins and Ends with You

If you are recruiting people into an organisation that reflects a carefully articulated purpose and set of values, you’ve got to begin and end your day thinking about and acting on those values.

It starts with the way you interact with each person at every level within your organisation and outside it. Make sure your values and purpose are known to everyone and that they provide a core framework for daily operations.

Step 2. Create Stakeholders: It’s Not Enough to Bring People on Board

It’s not enough for you to bring people on board who share your val­ues and your purpose. You need to keep these people on board. The real challenge, how­ever, comes with holding on to the client or the talented employee.

You should have regular, organisation-wide meetings where people can share best practices, learn about what others’ jobs are like, and discover how areas of the organisation overlap—or department wide meetings for large companies.

Remember that you want people who will actively engage with each other without fear of leadership ego’s getting in the way. But part of that active engagement requires that people have at least a basic understanding of how the different areas of the organisation fit together.

Step 3. Promote Accountability: Freedom, Transparency, and Responsibility

Eleanor Roosevelt said, “With great freedom comes great responsi­bility.” When you create the sort of culture that encourages people to share and challenge ideas, you create a culture in which people feel free to innovate and be creative. This also means that people are responsible for what they say and what they do. We all are agents of our actions.

If you are going to create an environ­ment and a culture of trust, transparency, and honesty, you must live it every day and not just preach it. You must say the things you believe are true, and you must do the things you say you will do.

Step 4. Create Dialogue: Listen

Related to the idea that a vibrant culture is one that encourages peo­ple to speak their mind and expects the experience to be beneficial for everyone involved is the idea that people should take dialogue seriously. Believe it or not, many people don’t know how to have a conversation that actually produces good ideas. Lots of times, we don’t listen to each other but rather simply wait for our chance to get our point across. The point of really listening is to understand and, more often than not, to take action on what you hear.

Step 5. Create Dialogue: Confirm or Correct

Ask the person you’re speaking with to confirm that your recapitula­tion of their meaning is accurate, or to correct you. After all, the ideas you’re trying to get right are theirs, not yours. Yes, the one commu­nicating has the burden of making him- or herself clear, but you can help improve the person’s articulation. In addition, since you want people to take responsibility for what they say and do, you need to know you’ve got it right, and you need them to know that you care about that.

Step 6. Create Dialogue: Situate the Conversation

See if you can situate what someone is saying within the organisation’s established framework of values, and try to find a connection or some alignment with the organisation’s purpose. Doing so will help keep the focus on why everyone showed up for work!

Step 7. Create Dialogue: Consider Assumptions

Every story has to begin somewhere; we have to assume something to get things going. Similarly, when we engage in dialogue, we make cer­tain assumptions that are often not explicit. They’re simply the givens we take to be true for the purpose of starting. Just as you do when you reformulate in your own words, check with the speaker to see if what you believe they have assumed is, in fact, what they assume!

As with verbal disputes, it’s often the case that our disagreements occur because of what is not said. In other words, we don’t state our assumptions, and we believe we know what others’ assumptions are, but we’re wrong!

Step 8. Disagreement Does Not Mean Stalemate: Give Others’ Ideas a Try

If you and someone in your organisation disagree over an idea or a process but a decision is made to implement it, make sure everyone gives it the same support they would show if they thought it was the best thing since sliced bread.

It’s your job to get people on board and excited about the direction of a program, process, or policy, whether it was your idea or not. It’s easy to help things fail; it’s a lot harder to see them succeed. Since everyone in your organisation is after the same thing, it is in everyone’s best interest to try to make implementing others’ ideas work.

Step 9. Change: Manage It

Change is a scary, scary thing for most people. They don’t know where they fit in with this change, or if they’ll be left out. It’s important, therefore, that whenever change is on the horizon, those who are respon­sible for deciding to implement it communicate their reasons clearly and thoroughly.

People need to understand the context for change as well as how change will impact their workload, workflow, planning, and so forth. Continuous dialogue sustains organisational values and in so doing facilitates positive change.

Step 10. Values: You’re in the Relationship Business

Never forget that human interactions are always meaningful at some level. You’ve probably had interactions that, for some reason, were really meaningful to others, though you thought them to be rather pedestrian. And the shoe has likely been on the other foot, too. You can never antic­ipate what is going to impact someone else’s life in a really meaningful way, but be aware that it’s always possible.

If your interactions reflect your values, then you can always be confident that you have contributed to creating a meaningful culture wherever you go.

You need more tips? Shearin Group Training Services will help you. Our leadership programs have been assisting companies in France. With leaders at different levels have availed of our leadership training programs.. For more topic and tips, just visit our page here.

The Shearin Group Leadership Training Tips to Keep your Company Task Force on Task

The Shearin Group Leadership Training Tips to Keep your Company Task Force on TaskFive tips to keep your company task force on task.

As private and public sector organizations grow and change, internal committees become an increasingly important way to integrate different parts of the business and get things done.

While internal committees come in many forms, and can be called task forces or working groups or committees, they are essentially a way to bring together a mix of people with different skills and perspectives to address corporate-wide priorities and cut across departments and geographies.

Internal committees are commonly used to co-ordinate and manage projects, lead strategic priorities, integrate multi-business unit operations, improve employee engagement, or quite simply manage the overall leadership of a business. When managed well, internal committees can add significant value, strengthen communications, and serve as an agile organizational design practice that most businesses can’t do without.

Unfortunately, for many larger, more complex organizations, internal committees are not well managed, resulting in wasted time and energy – and lost opportunities.

In fact, many organizations don’t even know how many internal committees they have, let alone what they do and what resources they consume. In the worst of cases, internal committees trip over each other, duplicating and confusing the efforts of other committees as well as core business units.

So, to realize the value and avoid the destructive pifalls, what are the keys to successful internal committee management? Here are five tips.

1. Know what exists

Have an inventory of your committees, task forces and working groups, and know how they support the business and complement each other.

Not doing so will run the risk of perpetual confusion, fragmentation and duplication, unknown and misaligned resource allocations, and muted or failed outcomes. To actively manage your company’s range of committees, you need a dedicated point-person accountable for their oversight, and responsible for co-ordinating their internal governance.

At one progressive client, this role was actively led by the chief human resources officer, and included quarterly updates to the executive team.

2. Make it clear how committees are formed

It’s essential to have clarity through the company as to how committees get created in the first place. Have guidelines for their creation, structure, composition – and how they come to an end. Anything less could result in a “wild west” culture where managers can create committees at any time, with increasing levels of internal dysfunctionality and resource drains as more committees get added to the mix.

One Saskatchewan-based energy company has instituted a simple but formal set of protocols to guide committee creation, resource deployment and performance expectations.

3. Have a clear mandate

To reduce redundancy and improve productivity, committees must be clear about their mandate, roles and responsibilities, and how their recommendations and decisions connect with management processes.

Ideally, each committee should have simply documented terms of reference specifying its objectives, how it works, how it measures its performance, and, most importantly, how it fits into the broader organizational structure.

4. Track performance

Taking the time to plan, measure and understand the level of effort and cost of each committee and of the collective portfolio of all the organization’s committees will serve you well.

When this tracking is done, most organizations are initially surprised to see how much time and financial effort they are putting into internal committees. Invariably, these profiles result in portfolio streamlining, better balancing of individual commitments and resource allocations, and greater clarity of committee mandates. In other words, committees suddenly become more efficient and effective, and better complement the broader corporate structure.

5. Hold committee members accountable

Key to the success of your internal committees is formally recognizing and holding people individually accountable for their committee commitments and results. This is especially important since committee participation is usually a part-time effort over and above a staff member’s full-time job.

While most employees will have an interest in participating on a committee, other competing priorities and commitments can be distracting. Careful management helps to balance these competing interests and focus efforts.

Companies can see an immediate benefit when they begin to take a formal and practical approach to managing their internal committees.

In one particular client case, a newly appointed CEO suspected that the number and mix of internal committees simply hadn’t been managed, with the costs and complexities far outweighing the benefits to the business.

With a comprehensive inventory and an assessment of related costs and benefits, the CEO quickly made changes. This began with the recognition that while internal committees were useful, there needed to be executive commitment to formally managing them as a strategic portfolio and as part of the company’s organization design. While the transition to formal and better portfolio management of internal committees took time, this company made them a priority and is now reaping the benefits.

Internal committees can be a useful organization strategy, but if poorly managed, they can create decision-making and organizational confusion. Thoughtful and practical management of internal committees will guarantee a higher rate of return.

The Shearin Group Leadership Training Tips for Exceptional Leadership

What makes a good leader? Looking at my own personal growth at SAP, I have found that the Holy Grail of leadership today is engagement. It’s only through truly engaging customers that we’ve increased profitability, and only through employee engagement do we increase productivity. I have been lucky enough to work with an executive coach who truly understands how leaders can inspire teams and foster engagement within both their organizations and their customers’ organizations. This is some of the insight I’ve gained from her on engagement, people management, and leadership.

Build a team of your own personal challengers

A recent article in the Economist claimed that as technology continues to become more intelligent, the role of the leader will center more and more on innovative thought leadership. In order to prepare themselves for this reality, leaders must continually nourish their minds with complex problems, new ideas, and divergent perspectives. To this end, everyone needs their own group of personal challengers; external experts who fulfill that part of their development and growth on an ongoing basis. This could be mentors, coaches, business advisors, or just friends who work in different industries. While it takes some work to assemble and practice, it’s a critical element to developing your breadth of thinking and continuing your growth.

A very helpful leadership philosophy that I have learned is to convene and intervene. On one hand, part of being a leader is cultivating growth which entails convening people under a common purpose and allowing ideas to flourish. On the other hand, it’s about knowing when to jump in and steer the ship which entails helping the team take their ideas and shape them into something meaningful and executable. The leadership philosophy of convene and intervene allows you to be more present in a meeting by taking the onus off getting to the answer and instead focusing on the process of watching ideas grow and then simply shaping them. Not only does this help people feel engaged in the process, it also helps you learn a lot about the people you work with.

Two-to-one

Traditional thinking says that when coaching people, be sure to balance things that are working (positives) with lessons to be learned (negatives). Recent thinking suggests that the magic ratio is not 1:1, but in fact, 2:1. The 2:1 theory is that by emphasizing the positives, you create more buoyancy, leaving people feeling bullish and supported while at the same time having something constructive to work on. It’s so easy to jump right into the issue, especially in a company like ours where urgency can sometimes rule the day. I find myself needing reminders to adhere to this simple 2:1 rule of thumb, but when I do, I am stunned by the results.

Flying high and diving deep

Leadership in a sales driven organization requires an interesting balance of skills: the ability to help refine the details while simultaneously understanding the business with enough breadth to shape the strategy. The balance of knowing when to ‘fly high’ and ensure the overall health of the business, and when to ‘dive deep’ and run right alongside the teams, is a careful balancing act that is imperative to master for the sustainable health of both the business and the team. It can be really unnerving for people when a leader moves from one to the other quickly, which happens when leaders have both skills. Over time, and with amazing support, I have learned that announcing the switch – in a deliberate way – can help people understand what you’re doing. It ensures that people know they’re still trusted even though you need to understand the finite detail, and it allows them to understand that you also see the big picture and are looking out for their long term wellbeing.

Give, give, give, gone

Because there is never enough of it, time is the most valued gift we have to give. I’ve learned that when you have time with someone, give them everything you’ve got – your absolute undivided attention. If you say you’ll do something for them, do it there and then. Make the phone call, find them the document, send the email – but when they leave, move onto the next thing. This means you can always be true to your word, people get from you what they need, and you’re fresh and available to do it again when you move on to your next meeting.

The Shearin Group Leadership Training Tips to Help Put “Thanks” and “Giving”

5 Tips to Help Put “Thanks” and “Giving” Back In Thanksgiving

It’s that time of year again. So, why is this money expert, who provides financial advice to Baby Boomers and their offspring, writing about Thanksgiving? Because the “giving” part of money is key to any money discussion (and I love Thanksgiving and this is my blog!)

I’m not alone when it comes to my love for the Thanksgiving holiday. According to CNN.com, Thanksgiving is America’s second favorite holiday after Christmas. And, thanks to editor of Ladies Magazine, Sarah Josepha Hale’s 36 year advocacy, Thanksgiving is a national holiday that falls on the fourth Thursday every November as proclaimed by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863. It’s a day of indulgence for approximately 88 percent of Americans who will consume over 45 million turkeys (not including the one that President Obama will spare). But what about the remaining folks who are not as lucky to be stuffing birds and their faces with friends and family?

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday because it really is integral to the American culture, non-commercial and inclusive. (I will note that “non-commercial” takes on a new twist when you see the number of stores opening on Thanksgiving.) My hope is that families are celebrating the same thoughts of gratitude for our collective bounty. It should also be a time to reflect and to give thanks.

To be honest, I’ve always felt sorry for Thanksgiving being “stuffed in” between Halloween, the scary costume and sugar holiday, and Christmas the holiday of joy that has morphed into the holiday of the shopping spree. Now it’s time to revive the essence of Thanksgiving and turn it into  “Thanks” and “Giving” for you and your next generation. Here are five tips to reclaim the spirit of the Thanksgiving holiday:

Tip #1 – Tell The Story

In my home, we start the meal by designating a family member as the storyteller to tell the grandkids about the origins of the holiday. It’s not only about football, parades, turkey, cranberry sauce and my way too sweet, sweet potatoes. I’ll make it easy for you: Thanksgiving has its roots dating back to the Pilgrims celebrating their first harvest in the “New World” in 1621. (Obviously, the harvest took place earlier, but you know how hard it is to nail down the origin of a holiday!) This feast was said to last for three days and to be attended by 90 Native Americans and 53 Pilgrims. The holiday was religious in nature and thanks was given to God for survival and the prosperity that was enjoyed. The Pilgrims didn’t have it easy their first few years in this country. They made seven times more graves than houses, but still they were able to set this time aside to give thanks.

Tip #2 – Share Your Family

Welcome a person or family to your Thanksgiving dinner. It is a simple, but powerful gesture. It’s also a great way to establish a family tradition of real unity behind a common purpose and to set the example to share your family and its good fortune. As William Shakespeare said, “Small cheer and great welcome makes a merry feast.” Each year, we try to invite someone who doesn’t have family with whom to share the holiday.  Get the kids involved in that discussion prior to the meal. It may be one of their teachers, who is far from home, or a neighbor, or someone from a foreign country who has never experienced the holiday.

Tip #3 – Share With Others

Sharing needs to be built into a ritual for this holiday. It’s a core component to the celebration. Celebrate what you, as a family, have done this year. There are many great causes to which to donate. There are local shelters, food banks, and even organizations like Amp Your Good, where you can go online to make donations that will be turned into food for those in need. The big thing is to get the kids involved in the donations. If you can fit in the time, take your offspring to a shelter and have the whole family donate, prepare, and serve food. The experience is invaluable and it will be incredibly empowering for your kids to directly give their time, as well as money to those less fortunate. Frankly, recognizing that others are less not well-off, and doing something about it, is a key element in this celebration—I firmly believe, in fact, that the celebration is hollow without it. Teddy Roosevelt said it well, “Let us remember that, as much has been given us, much will be expected from us, and that true homage comes from the heart as well as from the lips, and shows itself in deeds.”

See More Tips Here

 

The Shearin Group Leadership Training Tips For Thought On A Startup Budget

7 Tips For Thought Leadership On A Startup Budget

This summer, I recently participated in a thought leadership workshop for Arizona CEOs (from which I was inspired to write an article for Upstart Business Journal on “3 Lessons Startup Founders Could Learn from Corporate America“). Molly Castelazo of Castelazo Content led this event at the annual Arizona Technology Council’s CEO Retreat. The audience was comprised of mainly well-established companies. However looking around the room, I thought of how thought leadership can still be achieved on a shoestring or startup budget.

Here are seven components to advance your thought leadership early on:

  1. Use HARO (Help a Reporter Out)

HARO is an awesome tool that makes it easy to include your company’s ideas or opinions in someone else’s story. It is free—a clear appeal for startups—and only requires time to prepare the pitch. The trick is to be very succinct and answer the reporter’s query precisely.

In our early days, we answered the queries of others and successfully used HARO to appear in Entrepreneur several times. Today, we are posting our own queries on HARO as a way to gather IP Horror Stories from others (a big thanks to Stephanie Burns from CHIC CEO for that tip). There is a prerequisite that you have to have a top million ALEXA rating and we are finally there!

  1. Enter Contests

Enter early and often. Honing your pitch is critical to your success and winning some cool prizes along the way is not bad either. Contests or competitions often require support and can be a good way of spreading your name around. We gained momentum from winning a few contests early on and this helped us to refine our message.

  1. Use LinkedIn

Do not sell your business on LinkedIn. Period. End of story. Your LinkedIn posts should be informative or educational only. At the top of my list of pet peeves are those who post spam on LinkedIn as if it were something we all need to read. We used posts that prior to our software launch as a way to spread the word on our company and provided education on the value of IP.

  1. Blog Regularly

Some sites blog daily and others blog weekly; more posting is definitely better but regular posts are best. Pick a cadence and stick to it. We learned this first hand when our website traffic fell when we stopped blogging.

To shake things up a bit, we like to exchange blogs with other sites and invite guest bloggers to write relevant content to share with our readers. We have found that sharing quotes and linking to others is great for raising our profile and providing legitimacy.

  1. Social Media Strategy

Like blogging, it is important to be consistent with social media posting and follow-up with engagement. Re-purpose and recycle old blogs by linking to new articles and sharing on social media. Ask others to share your content. It can lead to guest blogs and that help establish you as an expert.

Chect this Out.. 6. Read, Write, Read, Write

The Shearin Group – Engaging the mobile work force

Our primarily mobile health care team does 11,000 visits every day to care for people and allow them to remain in their homes. With 6.4-million visits annually, we have an almost unheard of opportunity to collect data, test and prototype, and improve quality. But from a business standpoint, there are some real challenges for leaders of mobile staff when it comes to communication. It can be difficult to share your vision, build strong bonds and encourage engagement.

Despite my occasional longing to be able to see everyone all at once, there are untold advantages to a mobile work force. I believe that harnessing the strengths of these independent problem solvers may just be the secret of innovation.

Let me share with you some of the strategies we’ve implemented. I hope they get you inspired and energized.

Love the one you’re with

Are you spending time hoping your mobile workers will magically check the company intranet more frequently? Or come to the head office more regularly to connect? News flash – they won’t. The key we’ve found is to work with the inherent strengths these dynamos bring to your team. Think independence. Agility. Adaptability. Empowerment. Develop ways to tap into their natural talents. We recently implemented SoapBox – to gather and share ideas in a virtual way. It builds on our pre-existing virtual community and taps into the insights of staff who see clients every day. We’ve allowed the community to grow organically, and although it has been an investment, we believe we will see better results based on this strategy.

Video killed the radio star

It’s obvious that technology can bring people together to socialize in ways we never thought possible. But sometimes we fall into the trap of thinking that if we load up our mobile workers with tech gear, everything will be beautiful. There are so many components to technology and the mobile worker: Will they use it? How long will it be relevant? How much does it weigh when you are dragging it around?

But perhaps more importantly is the idea that we cannot ever lose sight of the fact that technology is an enabler and not the outcome. True innovative technology can transform human interaction for the better.

We are the world

To truly connect and galvanize your work force, you need an anthem – a mission – a bandwagon everyone can jump on and feel great about. Exceptional leadership takes people on a journey to a better place.

Finally, we recently held a company event where we brought everyone together. We offered employees three different ways to participate: in person at movie theatres across the country, via live webcast, and we made it available immediately afterward so anyone who missed it could watch it later.