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us know and we'll print it in the next issue. Plus, you may get a great idea
for something you need!
We encourage you to use these
articles in your own communications with staff and
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FUN DAYS TO CELEBRATE
OCTOBER SPECIAL DAYS
October is... (A real popularmonth!)
Roller Skating Month
Spinach Lovers Month
National Popcorn Poppin’ Month (But you can’t EAT any — that’s another
Vegetarian Awareness Month
AIDS Awareness Month
October 1-5 – Customer Service Week
October 7-13 – Get Organized Week
October 14-20 – Pet Peeve Week
October 21-27 – Pastoral Care Week
October 4 – World Animal Day & International Toot Your Flute Day
October 5 – World Teacher’s Day, Do Something Nice Day, & Diversity Day
October 6 – Biscuit Day
October 7 – Intergeneration Day
October 8 – Columbus Day
October 7 – Global Learn Day
October 10 – International Day for Natural Disaster Reduction & National
Angel Food Cake Day
October 14 – National Dessert Day
October 16 – Boss’s Day, Oatmeal Day, & Dictionary Day
October 17 – Gaudy Day
October 18 – Chocolate Cupcake Day & Boost Your Brain Day (Chocolate is
proven to boost your brain, right?)
October 19 – Look Back on Your Life Day & Change Your Life Day
October 20 – Sweetest Day
October 21 – Babbling Day
October 22 – Eat A Pretzel Day & Color Day
October 24 – International Forgiveness Day & National Bologna Day (Just
make sure your
forgiveness isn’t “baloney”)
October 26 – Bring Your Jack-O-Lantern to Work Day (How about “Get a
October 27 – Boxer Shorts Day & Make A Difference Day
October 28 – Chocolate Day
October 29 – Happy Birthday, Internet!
October 30 – Candy Corn Day
October 31 – Halloween, Magic Day, & Caramel Apple Day
November 1 – Nutty Pecan Day, Cake Appreciation Day, Play A Game of Chess
Day, & Authors
Day (Let’s start November off with a bang!)
November 2 – Piggy Bank Day & Deviled Egg Day
November 3 – Sandwich Day
November 4 – U.S. Daylight Saving Time Ends & Candy Day
November 5 – Guy Fawkes Day & Doughnut Day
November 6 – I Love Nachos Day & Peanut Butter Day (Hey...you got your
nachos in my
November 7 – Intergeneration Day
November 8 – Columbus Day
INC. for ideas on how to
celebrate any of these days.
Informal Background Checks in the
This article is written to job applicants, and it gives all of us hiring
managers something to think about, too. Will you use this kind of info/do
this kind of investigating before hiring? Should others in your company?
If you want to learn about yourself, there are many routes to take:
meditation, psychoanalysis, personality quizzes. Then there’s the
21st-century option of "Googling" yourself — typing your name into a search
engine can yield sometimes surprising results.
Googling your name, however, isn’t just an exercise in
self-congratulation — it’s also an action many employers might take to learn
about potential employees. That’s something Roxanne Jones, a copy editor for
Newsday, takes to heart. Jones maintained a blog as a college
student, and she continued to do so for a while after graduation. After
leaving a job in April 2006, Jones received an e-mail from a former
co-worker, who said she was upset by something she had read on the blog.
Jones had mentioned her blog only in passing conversations and never told
co-workers how to access it, and she was surprised to hear from her
co-worker months after she had left the job.
"I figured someone had Googled my name and had found my blog, which you
could do, and so whoever found my blog saw the comments and passed them
along," Jones said. "They went to the guy who actually hired me. So, he
called me and asked me, ‘Why didn’t you like being here?’ and all these
other things, and it ended up becoming a big misunderstanding."
When applying for another job, Jones learned the person who was
interviewing her had talked to the former co-worker who had been upset by
"My fear was, now that these people didn’t think much of me anymore, what
if I looked for a job in the future, and the recruiter called someone there
and asked about me, and they said disparaging things about me? Would that
prevent me from getting a job?" she said.
Although everything worked out, Jones said the experience was an
"I was really, really naive in thinking I could be a private person on
the Internet," she said. "Things I thought I was just whispering to people,
I was really screaming — you could Google me, you could see it. The Internet
is not a private place."
She said up-and-coming job applicants need to be aware of the
consequences of posting things to social networking Web sites, blogs and Web
sites such as YouTube.
"People put the most ridiculous things on the Internet," Jones said. "And
as time goes on, if you’re applying for an internship or a job, and you put
a tape of yourself shaving your friend’s head while he was sleeping or
something like that, it’s going to come up, and I think that’s something a
lot of young people aren’t thinking about."
From Talent Management Magazine, May 2007
Reference Checking For Everyone,
by Paul W. Barada & J. Michael McLaughlin
Sleuthing 101: Background Checks & The Law,
by Barry Nadell
Order both by emailing
or calling 800-469-3560. Mention RIR for 10% off.
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
You likely didn’t want to know this...but:
Although you can catch diseases from a public toilet seat, your typical
office is a far more dangerous place than a bathroom, harboring around 400
times more disease-causing bacteria. A microbiologist at the University of
Arizona, Charles Gerba, broke down the bacteria count:
Telephone — 3,694 germs per square centimeter
Keyboard — 511 germs per square centimeter
Computer Mouse — 280 germs per square centimeter>
All together now, "EEEEEEEWWWWW!!!!!!!!!"
poster that everyone
or call 800-469-3560 to find out how to buy packs of posters!
* Buyers at the IL Healthcare Association Conference Bookstore
CISPI Performance Newsletter
Lecture - Oxymoron?", a book review by
President, Carolyn B. Thompson, in the March/April 2007 issue.
CISPI Performance Newsletter
Learning Time and Learners Learn More – How Could This Be?",
a book review by
President, Carolyn B. Thompson, in the May/June 2007 issue.
CISPI Performance Newsletter
published, "What’s Wrong with E-Learning and How Do We Fix It?",
an article by
President, Carolyn B. Thompson, in the July/August 2007 issue.
Craig Polak, after reading last
month’s article on
Writing Skills That Inspire Your Staff and the People They Write To,
emailed: "Sorry, can’t
resist sharing a couple of my favorites: I prefer being ‘gruntled’
when discontent...and ‘disgruntled’ when content. Also, if it was a
‘near miss’, doesn’t that mean there was a hit? I prefer it being a
‘near hit’, which suggests a miss."
President, Carolyn B. Thompson
The World is Flat
by Thomas L. Friedman
A totally eye opening view of everything
from offshoring to collaborative software. I will never look at the
telemarketer or the help desk people with non-U.S. accents the same way.
Every business person has to read this book in order to do their job
efficiently in the coming years.
us with what you’re reading & a sentence or 2 about why you’re reading it
or what you learned from it (can be fiction or non-fiction).
We Let Our People Tell Us How to Improve
In our annual satisfaction surveys, employees were pointing out
weaknesses in our management that weren’t turning up in the managers’ annual
performance appraisals. It was clear our employees had a unique and valuable
perspective on their bosses that we could tap to improve our management.
But we had to get positive, useful feedback — not just complaints — that
would help us grow. So we took these 3 steps. We:
designed a questionnaire to elicit objective feedback including a core
section of questions that we
never change so we can compare results from year to
the first year strictly as a test to see how our system worked. At year end
employees to comment on the process and revised the
survey based on their feedback
out the revised survey in subsequent years and used the results to set new
Get measurable feedback
First we identified the core qualities we felt managers needed to
succeed at our company. Those include commitment to change, teamwork,
accountability, coaching, feedback, etc. Under each quality, we asked
employees to rate their bosses. For example, under commitment to change, we
asked employees to rate on a 1-to-10 scale how often their boss seeks new
ways to get things done. We go for objective answers because we can measure
them and compare what different employees say about their bosses. We can
also use the data to track trends over several years.
Do once just for practice
To find out if our idea would work, we did it once for practice. Then we
surveyed employees to find out what worked and what didn’t. They said:
focused too much on their impressions of management in general, not on what
bosses actually did
was no point In the upward evaluations unless they had a real impact on
As a result, we sharpened our questions and made the upward evaluations a
greater part of managers’ evaluations. The test run also helped us prepare
for the extra paperwork involved with upward evaluations.
Include feedback in new company goals
Our employees’ added feedback helps us identify areas were we need to
set new goals for improvement. For example, in 1994, coaching scored lower
than other areas, so we made improvement there a top priority. Then in 1995,
we added new questions to the coaching section of our evaluations to get an
even deeper perspective.
The upward evaluation process has benefitted us in a few ways. First,
people say the quality of management has improved. Their bosses work harder
to communicate with them and help them grow in their jobs. But employees
also show greater awareness of our corporate goals. Since they have to
evaluate how well their bosses are meeting those goals, it forces employees
to think about them more. We also track a composite score for the company
and that’s gone up every year.
Written by Judy Splendorio,
Manager of HR, Bellcore, Piscataway, NJ,
originally published in What’s Working in Human Resources, 4/25/96
We’ve helped our clients develop the system — need ideas for how to make
this work in your organization? Call
How to Build and Use a
360-Degree Feedback System, by Warren Shaver
30 Reasons Employees Hate Their Managers:
What Your People May Be Thinking – What You Can Do About It, by Bruce
Leslie Katcher & Adam Snyder
Lessons from External Coaching…Developing Managers on Their Own Terms
Why are fewer managers attending traditional leadership development
training workshops? Why is it that many managers who have attended such
training typically reflect upon the experience as “good;” yet, most have a
hard time remembering the specific strategies they learned or more
importantly, used as a result of the training?
New Zenger Folkman research (2007) indicates less than 10% of today’s
leaders have their own personal plan for leadership skill development. The
root of these findings may not lie in the managers’ lack of interest;
rather, the training offered does not address current managers’ demands.
Two leading U.S. companies recently discovered that managers are still
keenly interested in self-development, but only when it is offered on
When the managers from these companies worked with an external coach in
bi-weekly coaching calls over the telephone (telecoaching):
Why the high-ratings?
Pure and simple. External telecoaching met managers on their terms unlike
scheduled group training. Let’s consider some of these terms and how these were
satisfied through the external telecoaching approach.
1. Most managers are consumed by the pressures of producing results,
customer-driven demands, and inadequate resources.
Over 80% of the participating managers noted the convenience of the
one-hour telecoaching sessions as an outstanding feature. They could schedule
their coaching as they do conference calls; and since these sessions were
done on the telephone they could be conducted when traveling or telecommuting.
Telecoaching offered managers the flexibility to pursue their performance
improvement while still achieving their many other priorities.
In all cases, managers linked the actions they chose to take as a result of
their coaching to improved results; these results provided the tangible returns
managers are looking for.
2. Managers learn primarily through informal channels.
A moderate number of the managers surveyed were initially skeptical
about trusting a coach they had never met and the coaches’ ability to add value
when they didn’t really know the inner workings of the managers’ environments.
However, after they tried this coaching, 90% of the managers agreed they
preferred the fact that the coaches didn’t work for their companies and we
didn’t get any comments saying they felt a lack of rapport or trust.
Comments in this area included, “They were able to ask questions with a greater
level of objectivity,” “I found it refreshing my coach wasn’t involved with
our politics; it made for a more straightforward and honest conversation,”
and, “I felt my coach really understood me and my problems.”
3. Today’s managers demand deeper levels of advice to solve the challenges
that arise in
their jobs because the workplace is far more complex than it
used to be. They’re seeking
The coaching sessions were only on the issues the managers were most
concerned about. What a change from group training dealing only in part with a
person’s most pressing issues. Coaches could offer advice resulting from their
own experience and knowledge and also those solutions they had developed in
conjunction with their diverse client base. The external coaches helped managers
to dissect and analyze their issues at a greater level of detail resulting in
strategic solutions that would succeed given their unique work environments.
4. Managers are in a position that forces them to focus on retaining their
jobs in the face
of severe competition. This competitive reality typically leads to
managers not wanting
to disclose what they don’t know.
External coaches provide an additional value resulting from the
managers’ willingness to share their professional shortcomings with someone
outside of the organization. This might be considered the “bartender” or
“hairdresser” effect. An external coach can act as a “safe haven” for seeking
help on one’s personal management challenges. The coach is not there to
judge nor do they have a stake in the politics or choices the managers make.
Lessons for All Organizations Considering External Coaching
If what happened to these two companies and their managers sounds good:
1. Consider using external coaches as an effective alternative to group
training. It’s convenient,
objective, and confidential and provides a superior level
of personalized focus and pay-off.
2. Find opportunities to incorporate some of the “satisfiers” managers
discovered when using
external coaches when you are coaching others yourself:
• Coach via telephone – it is convenient!
• Listen objectively (cast aside your assumptions and biases
related to politics, personalities,
departmental agendas, etc.)
• Provide and deliver on the promise of confidentiality;
build a relationship of trust and respect
3. Seek ways to provide training the same easy way you schedule one-hour
Remember, convenience and flexibility are critical success
factors to hard working managers when
it comes to fitting performance improvement in with their
many competing priorities.
4. Provide opportunities to focus on the individual needs of those being trained
and be sure the time
spent nets tangible benefits in the form of actions and
By Cindy McCann, Custom Performance Solutions, Inc.
If you are interested in exploring an external coaching program for
yourself or your managers; or would like to develop additional training for
your leadership team on effective coaching practices that incorporate these
same best practices contact our partner, Custom Performance Solutions, Inc.
at 510-530-3423 or
Coached to Lead, by Susan Battley
What Got You Here Won’t Get You There:
How Successful People Become Even More Successful, by Marshall
Goldsmith & Mark Reiter
or calling 800-469-3560. Mention RIR for 10% off.
Performance Cornerstones for the 21st Century
The 21st Century has brought with it a New World of Work. The growing use
of virtual workers, the expanding needs of our multi-generational workforce,
and heated competition for top talent have put increased pressure on
businesses of every size and industry. To see how well your organization is
responding, check the statements below that are true about your
people have a clear understanding of our most critical business goals.
leaders handle having differing opinions represented on a team with ease.
people are clear on what is expected of them.
people know how to get the information they need to perform effectively.
managers are comfortable handling personnel issues.
meetings produce clear courses of action.
managers resolve interpersonal problems quickly and effectively.
Not happy with your score? There are 3 Performance Cornerstones proven to
sustain the leadership style, culture, and best practices that grow strong
businesses. Enforced together throughout your organization, they form a
foundation for ensuring that your people are actively engaged in achieving
Cornerstone 1: Clearly articulate your most critical business goals at
Harvard Business Review's report on successful strategy
implementation points to the importance of management's ability to identify
and communicate the most critical priorities of their organization. Everyone
on your team needs to know what fits your vision and what doesn't. The more
they appreciate how what they do fulfills critical business goals, the more
they understand what is expected of them and why. Most can even better align
their contributions so that those goals are reached faster and more
Business goals should be specific, measurable, and simply worded.
Compound ideas can result in a loss of important detail. Include a clear
description of what "successful completion" looks like. When you define your
expectations from the outset, completing every project becomes a shared
Cornerstone 2: Reward and reinforce desired performance
Poor managers cost US businesses $300 billion a year in productivity
losses. They give more work (instead of better work) to their best
performers, who consequently become overloaded. Because of their discomfort
with conflict, they gloss over reviews of underachievers and employees who
may be a bad fit. Consequently, these people continue to detract from team
effectiveness and the wrong behavior is unintentionally rewarded.
Evaluation, feedback, and reward systems should be designed to align your
results with your intentions. That way, you get the best results from your
best people and move more rapidly towards your business goals. Work with
your team to create and publish guidelines for evaluating ideas, giving
constructive feedback, and rewarding performance that forwards team
objectives. Publicly acknowledge when someone has gone the extra mile. Your
organization benefits from shared information and positive feedback and good
employees are encouraged when they see their work making a difference.
Cornerstone 3: Focus on problem-solving over blame
McKinsey's analysis of hundreds of global companies identified a strong
correlation between improved reporting relationships and financial
performance. Yet, many businesses have evolved using a blame or fear basis
for inspiring people. This model stifles initiative, accountability, and
creativity — 3 forces organizations need to flourish.
Problems often present an opportunity for improving existing processes
and team effectiveness. To take advantage of this opening, your team members
must be able to be honest about their observations and experiences without
fear of punishment. Using problem-solving language encourages people to work
together to develop lasting solutions. Following is a chart illustrating the
differences between typical blaming language and problem-solving language.
Emphasis on history, a
"laundry list of sins"
Emphasis on current
situation and evolving processes
Focused only on roles of
Includes your role in the
Commands and compliance
Questions that challenge
the other person to help solve the situation
What you don't want to
What you want to see
Solution is general
Solution is measurable
with appropriate reward for success
Orientation: If you can't
manage to get here on time, we're going to take it out of your
Orientation: Let's try to
figure out why you have difficulty arriving on time and see what
we can do about it.
Behavior statement: You
are too casual with the way in which you hand off documents.
Hand-offs of documents should be confirmed with an email
receipts so we have an appropriate record.
Impact statement: You
don't care about anyone else on this team.
Impact statement: When
you arrive late, I have to answer your calls as well as mine.
In today’s New World of Work, you need to consistently promote the
appropriate sharing of information to move your organization forward. By
putting these 3 Performance Cornerstones in place, you optimize worker
commitment, nurture quality employees, and attract and retain top talent. In
short, you get what you’re already paying for.
From Cathy Hammer & Associates, helping business owners
and managers capitalize on their best people so that they work together more
effectively and achieve superior results.
Employees: Turning Ordinary People into Extraordinary
Performers, by Erika Andersen
The Carrot Principle,
by Adrian Gostick
Order by emailing
or calling 800-469-3560. Mention RIR for 10% off.
October 10-12, 2007
HR Technology Conference, Navy Pier, Chicago, IL,
October 10-12, 2007
Strategic HR Conference, Tampa, FL,
October 15-17, 2007
Training Tech Solutions Conference & Expo, Salt Palace Convention
Center, Salt Lake City, UT,
January 17-20, 2008
33rd International Alliance for Learning Conference 2008, "Learning that
Counts - From a Dream to Reality", Hyatt Regency Atlanta, Atlanta,
January 31-February 3, 2008
Christian Writers Guild Writing for the Soul Conference, Colorado
March 6-7, 2008
3rd Annual ASAE Conference on International Operations,
Marriott Learning Complex, Ronald Reagan Building/International Trade
Center, Washington, DC,
April 5-8, 2008
International Society for Performance Improvement (ISPI), NY Marriott
EASY TO BE GREEN!
has great tips on green cleaning.
will help you get off junk mail lists.
has tips on every facet of green living.
gives advice on replacing old light bulbs w/energy efficient bulbs.
www.eere.energy.gov/greenpower provides comprehensive "green
urges the use of recycled paper.
helps you plant trees to save the environment.
Going Green At Work
ecofriendly building materials and services at
ecofriendly office supplies at
from home ideas at
jobs and volunteer opportunities with socially responsible organizations at
paperwork by invoicing, & paying employees & bills electronically
now invoices exclusively by email
and is close to paying everyone
by credit card, PayPal, or
automatic debit from checking account).
employees to use public transportation.
ceiling fans to reduce air-conditioning costs
your hot water heater temperature by 2 degrees and insulate the tank.
energy-saving light bulbs
Charity Navigatoror (http://charitynavigator.org)
is an in-depth, searchable guide to more than 5,000 charities worldwide that
aims to encourage "intelligent giving". They rate charities based on their
total expenses, revenues, and organizational capacity. If you want to give,
but the recent slew of charity scandals has you feeling skeptical about
where your money would go.
Take Pride T-Shirts (http://www.takepride.com)
was founded by a group of friends who all share the belief that the more
difficult the mission facing our military, the more deserving they are of
our thanks and support. Each unique shirt design provides a glimpse into the
life of a different US Service member who served in Iraq or Afghanistan and
is hand silk-screened. The message of the shirts isn’t political, it's about
acknowledging, celebrating, and taking pride in the spirit of young
Americans who despite facing an extremely difficult job and unpleasant
conditions, nonetheless strive to do their job well. Take Pride gives at
least 20% of profits to charities and causes that assist combat veterans of
Iraq and Afghanistan.
a reminder to visit
daily and click this button to help underprivileged women get mammograms.
VolunteerMatch.org helps you find
organizations in your area that spark your interest in volunteering.
by type of work project
by country and date
by service program conditions
Recycle yogurt containers and old toothbrushes!
Recycline’ Preserve partnered with Stonyfield Farm and is recycling yogurt
containers into toothbrush handles. Old toothbrushes are used to make
plastic lumber for picnic tables. Go to
Responsibly Dispose of Your Old Electronics
Old Cell Phones
911 Cell Phone Bank provide free emergency cell phones to needful people
through partnerships with law enforcement organizations,
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.
PCs to National Cristina Foundation,
PCs and other computer products at Hewlett Packard and Dell. See their
websites for details.
other places to recycle old PCs:
local Electronics recyclers at
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TRAINING SYSTEMS, INC.,
published 12 times/year. Editor: Carolyn B. Thompson, Data Entry: Patti
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