Recruit, Inspire & Retain

October 2006

Ideas for “Marketing” and Providing “Customer Service” to Current and Potential Employees

Great Training for Great Employees

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bullet FUN Days to Celebrate (Contact TRAINING SYSTEMS For Ways to Celebrate the FUN Days to Celebrate!)
bullet RECRUIT - Organigraphs to Explain Your Organization to Potential Employees
bullet Who’s Wearing Fun Meters?
bullet Johnny Carson Fans Will Love This!
bullet Cool Calls
bullet Training We Participated in Last Month
bullet INSPIRE - Are Your Employees Too Concerned to Do Their Jobs?
bullet TRAIN - Commercializing: Increasing the Value of Your Organization’s E-Learning
bullet RETAIN - Many Ideas to Retain
bullet Professional Development Conferences
bullet Ways to Volunteer & Give


What does your organization do so staff “bring their hearts to work”?


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October Special Days
October is...
Cookie Month
eCard Month
National Book Month
National Crime Prevention Month

October 25-31– Peace, Friendship, and Goodwill Week

October 11 – Sausage Pizza Day and Bring Your Teddy Bear to Work & School Day
October 12 – Columbus Day
October 13 – Train Your Brain Day
October 15 – Grouch Day
October 16 – World Food Day (, Boss’s Day, Dictionary Day, and Oatmeal Day
October 17 – Pasta Day & Gaudy Day (say, “gaudy pasta” 10 times)
October 18 – Chocolate Cupcake Day and Boost Your Brain Day (chocolate cupcakes always boost my brain!)
October 19 – Look Back on Your Life Day and Change Your Life Day (doing one kinda makes you want to do the other)
October 21 – Sweetest Day, Pumpkin Day (pumpkins already had their day on September29th!), and Electric Light Day
October 22 – Eat a Pretzel Day
October 24 – International Forgiveness Day
October 27 – Bring Your Jack-O-Lantern to Work Day
October 28 – Make A Difference Day
October 30 – Candy Corn Day and Bodybuilder’s Day (what kind of body do ya suppose you’ll build eating candy corn all day?)
October 31 – Halloween and Caramel Apple Day

Email TRAINING SYSTEMS, INC. for ideas on how to celebrate any of these days.

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Organigraphs to Explain Your Organization to Potential Employees

Walk into any organization—not the nice, neat managerial offices but the factory, design studio, or sales department—and take a good look. In one corner, a group of people are huddled in debate over a vexing logistics problem. In another, someone is negotiating with a customer halfway around the world on the Internet. Everywhere you look, people and products are moving, crisscrossing this way and that. You get a snapshot of the company in action.

Ask for a picture of the place, however, and chances are you’ll be handed the company’s org chart, with its orderly little boxes stacked atop one another. The org chart would show you the names and titles of managers, but little else about the company—not its products, processes, or customers—perhaps not even its line of business. Indeed, using an org chart to “view” a company is like using a list of municipal managers to find your way around a city.

The fact is, organizational charts are the picture albums of our companies, but they tell us only that we are mesmerized with management. No wonder they have become so irrelevant in today’s world. With traditional hierarchies vanishing, and newfangled—and often quite complex—organizational forms taking their place, people are struggling to understand how their companies work. What parts connect to one another? How should processes and people come together? Whose ideas have to flow where? The answers to those questions not only help individuals understand how they fit into the grand scheme of things but also reveal all sorts of opportunities for competitive advantage.

The approach is an organigraph, a tip of the hat to the word organigramme, the French term for organizational charts. Organigraphs don’t eliminate the little boxes altogether. But they do introduce new components called sets, chains (these 2 being more traditional top down structures), hubs, and webs (forms that reflect the varied ways people organize themselves). They are much more useful than traditional charts in showing what an organization is—why it exists, what it does. Organigraphs have been able to demonstrate how a place works, depicting critical interactions among people, products, and information. Moreover, executives have used their organigraphs to stimulate conversations about how best to manage their operations and which strategic options make the most sense, much as hikers use maps to investigate possible routes.

Each organizational form suggests a different philosophy of managing. Sets suggest that managers stay away from the action, watching and comparing. The chain puts a boss above as well, but in this case above each link—a manager for each and a manager for all. In other words, the chain of command is laid over the chain of operations. The chain of operations is clear and orderly, and the chain of management exists primarily to keep it that way—for control.

It is when we move on to hubs and webs that management moves off its pedestal. In the hub, management appears in the center, around which activities revolve. Management at the center has an interesting implication: whoever is at the center becomes the manager. For example, if the hospital patient is a hub, then the nurse—not the doctor, not the chief of staff—is the manager. Why? Because the nurse coordinates the array of services that converge on the patient. In a real sense, nursing is managing—which means that managing can extend beyond formal authority.

Managing at the center implies something profoundly different from managing on top. While the chain controls, the hub coordinates. The chain may pretend to empower; the hub brings together people who are intrinsically empowered. And where can we find management in the web? In a web—a project or an alliance, for example—managers have to be everywhere. In practical terms, that means out from behind their desks—in design studios, in airplanes on the way to offices and clients, and in other places where real work happens in order to facilitate collaboration and energize the whole network. They need to encourage people who already know how to do their work and do it well.

In a web, management can also be everyone. Whoever draws things together becomes a de facto manager. All kinds of people are managers who do not carry that official title, be it scientists in a research lab or salespeople in the field.

Adapted from HBR 1999.

Get more tips on recruiting great employees from TRAINING SYSTEMS.

Organigraphs: Drawing How Companies Really Work (article), by Henry Mintzberg & Ludo Van der Heyden
Competing by Design: The Power of Organizational Architecture, by David Nadler, Michael Tushman & Mark Nadler

Tools: Recruit Inspire Train Retain

Recruitment, inspiration, training, and retention ideasHave a recruitment, inspiration, training, or retention idea or question? Ask by clicking the question mark, and we’ll post your idea or question (and the answer) in Answers & Ideas on Recruiting, Inspiring, Training, & Retaining Great Employees at

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Fun Meter   * Miracles & Magic Inc. gave them to counties who came together for economic development.
* University of Maryland

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Johnny Carson Fans Will Love This!

Remember Carnac The Magnificent? Here’s Susan’s version:


Energy failure


What happens when you get a decaf of Starbucks?





What do you call the guy who fixes your bicycle?






What do you call it when the defensive line of the Denver Broncos upends a referee?

May you experience sacroiliac joint dysfunction as a result of lumbar disc herniation.(Keep in mind that Carnac The Magnificent is not a medical professional but desires inflicting significant pain if you don’t laugh at his jokes!)




Social engineering


What do you call setting up two of your friends on a blind date?




Software as a service


What do you call ordering Victoria’s Secret delivered to your hotel room?




The Notre Dame Cathedral, the Hearst Castle, and the White House


Name 3 buildings smaller then the home David Dulfield, founder of PeopleSoft, is seeking permission to build in California (at 72,000 square feet).




Lady fingers, chicken fingers, and a bowl of Wendy’s chili


What are 3 finger foods?






If Roger Penske endorsed a soft drink, what would it be called?






If Sarah Jessica Parker endorsed a soft drink, what would it be called?






What do I do when the piece of furniture I am trying to move gets too heavy?






What does Jennifer Lopez pay for her coffee with?






What did George Benson ask Al Jarreau after Al sang Dave Brubeck’s “Take Five”?






When Mom watches Barney and Friends on TV with the kids, how does she feel?




Investment in China


What happens when you buy dishes at Mikasa?






What’s the output from PowerPoint?






What were the Beatles avoiding when they didn’t expand their group to 5?




Peer to peer


How do boats move within a marina?

Thanks, Susan Osterfelt who published this in DMReview, 1/06.


Love those COLORFUL QUOTE POSTERS you see in TRAINING SYSTEMS' group training and conference bookstores? Email or call 800-469-3560 to find out how to get packs of the topics you need.
PowerPoint screen show that features 40 humorous posters that are pre-set to work on “auto-pilot”. Makes a great “WELCOME” message or enhancement to your session break. Runs about 5 minutes, and is set to automatically recycle. You can add in your own slides. (a great place to slip in your objectives!) Get your PowerPoint screen show here!

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* In September, Christian Management Association Magazine published 2 articles by Carolyn B. Thompson, President of TRAINING SYSTEMS, INC. “Management Mistakes I Made with People?” and “Your Ministry Needs to Look and Feel Good: Retaining the Right Employees for Your Mission”.
* Learner in High Voltage Presentations one-on-one coaching preparing to argue her first case in the U.S. Court of Appeals: “I felt a lot better after our session, in fact—lots more optimistic.”
* Roger Hirschman, Cabinets4U: “Thanks for the help this AM. Even after all my training and experience I forgot the value of positive reinforcement. I started doing it as soon as I returned to the office, ‘Thanks for smoking that cigar outside.’ Just an FYI for you. I have a Masters Degree in guidance and counseling. I’ve heard all of this stuff before but sometimes I can get so close to an issue that my vision becomes blurred. I just lost sight of the fact that sometimes the simplest solutions are best.”

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Another installment of those shoemakers' children with the shoes (last seen in May)!

WHAT: Group training in person on Breakthrough Thinking Methods.
INTRO: Facilitator Jim Galvin quoted Albert Einstein, “We cannot use the same thinking to come up with solutions to problems as when we created them.” If you have a problem/need to change something, use any or all of these tools:
REST OF LEARNING METHODS: The facilitator helped us learn each tool one at a time. For each, he showed a PowerPoint (PPT) slide, verbally told us about each tool for Breakthrough Thinking and gave graphic (PPT) example, story example for different organizations, for one tool—he asked us when we could use it and for another tool he had us apply the tool to the monthly training sessions we were in that very minute!
Tool #1: Reframing
  Step back and look at the system from the outside (what’s right, wrong, could be different). If you don’t reframe, you can fall into trap of just trying harder.
Tool #2: The Five Whys
  Keep asking why until you get to the root cause (ex., “why did XXX happen?” — whatever the answer is, ask, “Well, why did that happen?”)
Tool #3: What if...?
  (ask wild and far out “What ifs”) that leave reality behind and enter the realm of possibility (ex., “What if I was a piece of toast?”, “What if I was a website?”)
Keep asking “What if” to every answer.
Tool #4: Reverse
  Look at the issue backwards – how could you make it worse? What then would you change to make it better?
Tool #5: Plus, Minus, Interesting (DeBono)
  Ask all 3 about each answer, idea, suggestion. You’ll get mostly Minus, because it’s human thinking – adults are pragmatic (he told us about using P.M.I with 3rd graders and adults in England — 3rd graders came up with 50 pluses to adults’ 1 or so). So focus people on the Plus by doing it first, then Minus, then Interesting last.
Tool #6: Idealized Design
  Imagine a very different system than how you do it now, but that achieves the same current outcome even though you know it can’t work right now. Then just start doing it all at once (even though every piece of it isn’t in place/ready yet). Keep adding the pieces as they’re ready.
CLOSING: Facilitator said that any of these tools can be used for one product, one service, one process, one problem, or can be used for a whole organization change.

Thanks Jim for giving us tools we’ll use right away in strategic planning coming up in November (where we’re first helping the board & staff learn to plan, then facilitate their planning).

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Are Your Employees Too Concerned to Do Their Jobs?

If you listen to the news everyday it may be difficult to feel safe anywhere. Employees who are concerned about their safety will be less productive than they or you would like. Help them feel prepared with an emergency preparation plan:

From hurricanes and pandemics to terrorist activity, the list of disasters which could impact an organization is long. But a dramatic, worst-case scenario isn’t required to damage a business (think power failures, transit strikes, storms). How quickly you can get back to business — limiting losses and potential injuries — after any event depends on preparation. It’s important to identify regional risks (visit, local hazards, and universal threats (such as contagious disease or bio hazards), but disaster preparedness experts agree that many common principles apply. “In my business, you’d go crazy if you tried to think of every possible event,” says Jim Ken, Director, Emergency Management and Business Continuity, New York University. “Whether it’s avian flu or a hurricane, it’s all business interruption.” Bill Raisch, Exec. Director, International Center for Enterprise Preparedness, agrees and promotes an “all hazards” approach. “Start with a core plan, then tweak it for the nuances of a hurricane, fire, etc.,” he says. Bill looks at small and medium-sized businesses as three-legged stools: people, property, and processes/operations. “Each needs to be considered and protected,” he says.

People: Plan how to get staff and customers out of harm’s way, remaining onsite or evacuating. “If you expect employees to be of value to you after the event, also look at them as people with families, not just job titles,” says Bill. He advises organizations to help staff prepare. “Employees know what they need to do, with the idea that once these things are in place, they go home to their families,” says Charlee Williamson, Exec. V.P. of the Ralph Brennan Restaurant Group.

Property: Understand exactly what your insurance covers and what it doesn’t (both assets and business interruption) before you need it. “The time to review policies with a fine-tooth comb isn’t after a claim.” says Charlee. Work through all possible scenarios and look for the gaps — areas that may not be insured — and what records you’ll need for claims.

Process/Operations: Charlee says you need plans to operate without basic services — water, phone, gas, and electricity — and a “crash kit” containing everything you’d need to keep the business going (from another location, if necessary). “Imagine you never came back to your place of business,” says Charlee. “We’ve scanned and backed up everything — insurance policies, leases, vendor contacts, financial statements, payroll and employee records, and our POS system is backed up on a server.” It’s also important to understand the capabilities of suppliers. “Only do business with suppliers who have contingency plans you can vet,” says Jim. Experts also advise businesses to have multiple suppliers. “If you have a single source for a raw material, realize the potential impact on your business if an event disables that supplier”, says Bill. “You might want to have 10% of your business with alternative suppliers to establish credit and maintain the relationships.”

Whatever the plan, it’s essential to practice. “An emergency plan has to be a living, breathing road map — not a document sitting on a shelf,” says Charlee. They do periodic drills to see where the holes may be. Bill says drills are like training muscle memory and recommends them at least once per quarter over multiple shifts. He says that practice can also be informal. “Incorporate hypotheticals into daily activities. At shift meetings, ask what staff would do if you had a fire or they saw flooding,” he advises. For help with disaster planning, visit

Adapted from Briefing, Sept/Oct 2006

Make a Comment/?

Get more tips on inspiring great employees from TRAINING SYSTEMS.

Avoiding Disaster: How to Keep Your Business Going When Catastrophe Strikes, by John Laye
Disaster Recovery Handbook, by Michael Wallace & Laurence Weber
Order by emailing or calling 800-469-3560. (10% off by mentioning “RIR”)

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Commercializing: Increasing the Value of Your Organization’s E-Learning

Extending the Value of E-Learning
Assume for a moment that your organization is considering the development of a self-paced,
e-learning program. As an e-learning stakeholder in this organization, consider the instructional content being provided by the organization and used for this program. While the program objectives are intended to support goals that are internal to the organization, could these objectives also support the goals (or requirements) or other organizations? To this point, consider the following questions:

1. To what extent could the intellectual property (content) contained in this program be “repackaged” and sold to other organizations?

2. Does the organization that might be sponsoring the development of your program possess a recognized “brand” in the broader marketplace that could be leveraged in selling your program?

3. Is it possible to identify external stakeholders who may possess existing distribution channels for your organizations’ e-learning if it were to be repackaged and sold commercially (e.g., professional associations aligned with your organization’s industry or mission)?

4. To what extent could your organization generate a revenue stream (or a return) from this investment that would be made in developing a self-paced, e-learning program from this content?

5. If you were to identify a market opportunity for your program, could you forecast a potential revenue stream over a one-year period and justify a dollar figure as a part of your program’s return on investment?

6. Could you identify other organizations that might have a vested interest in the content being produced for your program and who may be interested in contributing resources or funding toward its development?

In other words, can you design a program that can serve multiple audiences? Is it possible to identify distribution strategies across market sectors by seeking out groups who might have a vested interest in the intellectual property of your organization and who may also be able to enhance the value of your program by providing additional content, subject-matter expertise, accreditation, marketing, or distribution?

To better illustrate some of these questions, here are two examples of how some of these ideas might be actualized:

Example 1 (Professional/Trade Association):
Association ABC, a non-profit organization, represents a collection of corporate and individual members who work in the biotech industry. There are over 10,000 individual members and 200 corporate members who range in size from entrepreneurial startups to multi-billion dollar companies. Association ABC is looked upon in the industry as the “authority” for defining what a biochemical professional does, the competencies that he/she should possess for various job roles within the industry and for educational opportunities. The core mission of Association ABC is to provide both certification of industry professionals and educational opportunities for its membership. Like many non-profits, Association ABC has limited funds to support its core education mission, but it needs to continuously upgrade its certification and education programs in order to preserve and grow its membership.

To fulfill its core mission, Association ABC decided to go to its larger corporate members and identify the common education and training requirements that each corporate member provides to its new hires in the biotech field. It was determined that these corporate members spend thousands of dollars each year providing this new-hire training required by the companies and, in some areas, by the federal government. With this in mind, Association ABC proposed to consolidate, centralize and standardize the new-hire training so that all corporate members could leverage Association ABC’s program. In exchange, each corporate member invested $10,000 each to develop the new-hire program, which would be centrally administered by the association. While each of the corporate members provided this up-front investment, they were able to write off part of the investment because of Association ABC’s 501(c)(3) status. In addition, each corporate new hire who participates in the association’s program will receive credit towards the association’s professional certification requirements.

Example 2 (For-Profit):
Company XYZ, a publicly traded company, is an international provider of lubricant technologies commonly used in mechanical engineering fields. For years, this company has invested thousands of dollars in providing product training to its distributors using e-learning. In addition to this product training, they have also created a series of e-learning courses on the basic principles of lubricants and friction.

With a well-known and established brand in the marketplace, Company XYZ decided to package their courses on the basic principles of lubricants and friction and sell the package as a certificate degree that is offered through the School of Professional Studies in one of the most prestigious mechanical engineering universities in the country. The certificate degree provides Continuing Professional Education (CPE) credits for working professionals and can also serve as credit requirements for the institution’s graduate degree in mechanical engineering. In exchange for hosting and delivering the online certificate degree, the institution shares in revenues with Company XYZ.

While the two examples above are fictitious, they represent some ways in which the connection points between organizations who can extend the value of their e-learning programs for the economic benefit of their own organization and/or for the learning benefit of individuals within other organizations.

Adapted from Kord Kutchin's article in Performance Newsletter Sept/Oct 2004

Selling E-Learning, by Darin E. Hartley. Order by Emailing or calling 800-469-3560. (10% off by mentioning “RIR”)

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Many Ideas to Retain

Some months there are just too many great ideas out there to only give you one:

Talk to Workers to Retain the Best
Companies often don’t take action to prevent the loss of their most valuable workers, experts say. A new study indicates that fewer than 25% of managers talk with their employees about retention issues at least once a quarter, but such communication is necessary to retain workers, an expert says. — Los Angeles Times

The Franchise System
At Gibsons Steakhouse & Bar, Chicago, IL, servers are given a “franchise” of three tables with a “staff” (busser, food runner, and service bartender) to train, inspire, and manage. “Because these mini teams work together constantly and are so in sync, they create a seamless service experience,” says Hugo Ralli, co-owner. He says this system empowers servers, giving them control of the guest experience, which results in superior service, ultimately higher-than-average tips (18-25%), and very low staff turnover. “Staff” motivation includes a share of tips with the chance of bonuses for truly outstanding work. “Some customers come 3 times a week and many ask for specific servers,” says Hugo.

The Power of a Simple Gesture
On birthdays and anniversaries with the company, employees at Charlie Palmer Restaurants receive congratulatory calls — one from each of the company’s four executives. “These calls are more important than anything else we could do,” says Richard Femenella, CFO. “Employees are blown away that the four of us take the time to personally acknowledge them.” Dates are tracked for the 1,000+ employees by the HR staff who update executives weekly about whom to call on what day.

Update on Mandated Healthcare Coverage
To date, 31 states have introduced bills, which would require employers to either provide health benefits or pay a per-person tax. 3 states have enacted legislation; bills have died or been defeated in 24 states; and in 5 legislation is pending.

The Massachusetts law, considered a prototype, requires that all state residents obtain health coverage by July 2, 2007. “The bill was passed with the most essential regulations still to be determined – including final rules on a ‘head tax’ of $295/person/year to be paid by employers who do not offer coverage,” says Peter Christie, Pres./CEO, Massachusetts Restaurant Assn. The state, he adds, is supposed to come up with affordable ways to purchase healthcare, but he says he has yet to see anything that helps to control costs.

Vermont’s bill — requiring companies to report employee participation in healthcare plans as of March 2007 and pay a quarterly “head tax” starting in July, also has rules that need to be clarified.

Maryland’s small group reform bill, passed in 1995, allows companies with fewer than 50 employees to purchase health insurance at rates comparable to what larger companies are paying.

From Briefing

Recruiting, Inspiring, & Retaining The Best (2 tape set), by TRAINING SYSTEMS, INC. own Carolyn B. Thompson

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October 16-18, 2006
SHRM Workplace Diversity Conference & Exposition, Los Angeles, CA, 

October 23-25, 2006
Training Magazine’s Training Solutions Conference & Expo, Denver, CO, 

November 1-5, 2006
2006 International Career Development Conference: Integrating High Tech Tools in a High Touch Field, Hyatt Regency Hotel, Santa Clara, CA, 

November 29-December 1, 2006
Training Magazine’s Instructional Design Institute & Classroom Instructor Institute, Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort and Convention Center, Orlando, FL, 

January 11-14, 2007
International Alliance for Learning, Omni Hotel, Austin, 

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Global Volunteers (
You can:
select by type of work project
select by country and date
select by service program conditions
select by cost

Donate Gently-Used Suits
Check with your local Dress Barn.
Some have programs to help unfortunate women get jobs by supplying them with business suits people have donated. Plus, they offer the donator a 10% off coupon for any purchase. Give a little, get a little!

Responsibly Dispose of Your Old Electronics
Donate Old Cell Phones
911 Cell Phone Bank provide free emergency cell phones to needful people through partnerships with law enforcement organizations,

Recycle PCs, cell phones, printers, CDs diskettes, etc., with GreenDisk. For $29.95, they send a 70-pound-capacity box.When it’s full, you download postage from their website and ship it back. Your “junk” then goes to workshops for the disabled and are refurbished.

Donate PCs to National Cristina Foundation,; Goodwill,, Salvation Army,

Recycle PCs and other computer products at Hewlett Packard and Dell. See their websites for details.

Several other places to recycle old PCs:,,

Find local Electronics recyclers at and

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Copyright 2006 TRAINING SYSTEMS, INC. All rights reserved.


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