A Lesson in Local Governnment

As a young professional, one of my mentors would ask, “Is this the hill you want to die on?” When something appears to be unjust or unfair, I speak up. Now that I’m older, I’ve realized unbridled idealism isn’t always practical.  At times it is easier to swim with the current than against it. Quiet acceptance seems to make life easier and you tend to end up with more friends, because you’re less controversial.   Everyone wins, right?

Not always. 

Last year, I witnessed what I believe to be inappropriate behavior that challenging publicly might qualify me as “dying on a hill,” and I feel the need to speak out, to start climbing that hill.  The behavior demonstrated in my presence is challenging to put words around. As Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart famously said when the Court struggled to define obscenity, he “knew it when he saw it.”  In this incident, I too know what I saw.

I’ve recounted the experience with a few of my trusted advisors, many of whom have community influence, respect & positional power representing different backgrounds and walks of life. One of those advisors, simply looked at me said, “So what are you going to do? No one says anything because everyone is too afraid to speak up.”

I sat with that question for a while.

The Battle Over Our Silence

I’m not going to share in this blog the details of what happened.  The details don’t really matter and it’s not always about what you know, it’s what you know you can prove. There’s a process in place and people that have their point of view to protect. That’s not a battle, for me to fight or likely win. I have however, found my voice.

But I think there is a more important battle that we can all win: the battle over our silence.

Winston Churchill famously said, “Democracy is the worst form of government possible, except all the others.”

Democracy isn’t perfect, but it’s our best option, but it only works when we participate. It calls us to wake up, pay attention and engage. Democracy means you have a voice but only if you use it. When the framers said for the people and by the people they were talking about YOU.

You are the people.

Maybe you’re like me, maybe you’re skeptical about the questionable practices in your community. Or perhaps, you’ve seen or heard something but you are too scared to speak up. Perhaps you’ve decided it was a hill you didn’t want to climb or die on.  Maybe you’ve stayed silent because you just don’t think that speaking up will ever truly matter. I wouldn’t blame you if you’ve felt any of those things. I know I’ve felt them all.

Yet our silence only contributes to a culture where complaints go ignored, accountability lacks and vocal opposition remains intimidating. If we remain silent, then we are complicit. We become accomplices in a system where those in power act without concern or accountability.

We get the representation we deserve.

Use Your Voice

The next time you witness someone with power & influence abusing their power, or the next time you feel ignored or intimidated for using your voice, then I encourage you to lead with your internal strength and use it anyway. Hiking up a hill is much more enjoyable with others. Let’s challenge each other to live and work more authentically as we work to advance our great city and improve lives in the community.

And if you are a person of influence, I ask that you listen to those who speak their voice.  Conduct the due diligence to look into their claims and when you find the truth, seek the appropriate and just outcome.

And if we die on the hills we chose to climb, so be it. After all, hills are where our heroes are buried.   We all have opportunities to lean in, take the chance and be one of those heroes.

Summit on Transparency in Local Government

Shafer Leadership Academy is proud to partner with Muncie Action Plan and the Bowen Center at Ball State University on the upcoming Citizen Summit on Transparency in Local Government

The Summit, which is sponsored by Ivy Tech Community College, will be hosted at the recently renovated John and Janice Fisher Building on Saturday, September 14th. The purpose of the summit is to explore solution-focused, and nonpartisan, opportunities to foster transparency in local government. 

The Summit is free and open to the public. You can learn more here.


About the author:

Mitch Isaacs was named Shafer Leadership Academy’s Executive Director in May 2015. In this role, he works closely with the organization’s board of directors to fulfill the mission of the organization. He is responsible for creating vision, connecting with stakeholders, administering program offerings and leading the organization in meaningful ways.  Learn more about Mitch »


Our Time with MCS

Shafer Leadership Academy recently participated in the orientation for the newly installed Muncie Community Schools Board. Long-time Emergence facilitator, Pat Heiny, and I were invited to bookend the day’s activities with teambuilding exercises and leadership training to promote effective communication and positive, productive relationships.

Some of you may know Pat Heiny. She is a partner with Contemporary Consulting, based in Richmond, and is a lead facilitator for Shafer Leadership Academy’s Emergence program. In addition to her nearly 30 years of leadership development experience, Pat spent 12 years on the Richmond Community School Board, which included a term as board president. In 2010, the Indiana School Boards Association recognized Pat’s dedication to Richmond schools with the Outstanding Boardsman Ship Award. She was the perfect facilitator for our time with the Muncie Community Schools Board.

Committed, Collaborative, and Value-Oriented

But this post isn’t about Pat or Shafer Leadership Academy. This post is about the Muncie Community Schools Board.

Each member of the board came across as bright, committed, collaborative and value-oriented. It was immediately clear to me that they bring different perspectives but share highly complementary skill sets. Their conversation and comments focused on all the right things and demonstrated they understand their purpose and appreciate the challenges ahead. They spoke honestly about their hopes and fears, and they honored each other’s perspectives and expertise.

Most importantly, without a doubt, it was clear they are here for our kids.

What Ball State Brings

I should add that this orientation took place at Ball State and was planned by a team of Ball State staff members. Every part of the orientation was professional and on-point. The facility was well suited for the occasion, the materials were clear and accurate, and the schedule was perfectly paced. The team soaked up guidance from top-notch facilitators who engaged them in a variety of topics.

I have friends and colleagues who have thoughtful concerns about the new relationship between Ball State University and Muncie Community Schools. I’m not here to discount them or those fears, but I do want to share how encouraging it was to see — first hand — Ball State’s tremendous resources (of staff, facilities and expertise) focused on improving our schools. Watching the relationship in action helped me understand just how much Ball State brings to Muncie Community Schools.

A Bright Future

Speaking of action, I finished the day watching the new board get to work. In their very first public meeting, and under tremendous public scrutiny, they efficiently elected officers, heard a detailed financial report, asked questions, recognized new staff members, intently listened to community feedback, and responded to questions from the media in public. They also voted to move their meetings from monthly to bi-weekly, and to add public comments at the first of the agenda so they could hear the public’s remarks before making decisions.

Everything I saw from this board demonstrated that this is a new era, full of potential for Muncie Community Schools. I have decided they deserve Shafer Leadership Academy’s support, and we stand ready to help however needed.

I hope you take the time to attend a school board meeting to experience their passion and expertise with your own eyes. I think you’ll see what I see: a bright future for Muncie Community Schools and Ball State — a community that is better together.


About the author:

Mitch Isaacs was named Shafer Leadership Academy’s Executive Director in May 2015. In this role, he works closely with the organization’s board of directors to fulfill the mission of the organization. He is responsible for creating vision, connecting with stakeholders, administering program offerings and leading the organization in meaningful ways.  Learn more about Mitch »


Are You MindFULL or Mindful?

My name is Mitch Isaacs, and I am overcommitted.

I am the executive director of a nonprofit and serve as an officer for three of the five board of directors on which I sit. I volunteer as a Big Brother, a Project Leadership Mentor, and the president of my neighborhood association. More importantly, I am a husband, a father, a son, and a friend. 

I love being involved (and wouldn’t have it any other way), but at times, I feel like a browser with too many tabs open. Can you relate? Do you struggle to balance your personal and professional aspirations? 

When our mind is full of things we have to do, there is no space to be the things we are. 

How Mindfulness Helps

So, what’s the answer? We could all use a refresher on time management best practices, sure. And sometimes, you have to make some difficult choices to cut out or reduce your commitments, but among all the solutions lies the ancient practice of meditation and mindfulness.

For thousands of years, people across the globe have used meditation and mindfulness to manage stress and seek clarity, and modern science has started to embrace these practices as part of a healthy, well-balanced life. Recent studies suggest mediation can:

1) Boost your immune system (see here)

2) Decrease your stress (see here)

3) Reduce distractions (see here)

4) Lower your heart rate and blood pressure (see here)

5) Provide clarity (see here)

Proven Results In My Life

If you would have said “meditation” around me a year ago, I would have pictured a person sitting crossed legged, wearing robes, sporting unkempt hair and repeating “oommmmm….” But then I tried it and opened myself up to learning more, after which I realized there are forms of meditation and approaches to mindfulness for everyone (so, not all poses and mantras).

Since incorporating meditation into my daily routine, my resting heart rate has gone down (ask my Apple Watch), I better manage disagreements with loved ones, and it’s easier for me to find clarity in the middle of a busy day at Shafer Leadership Academy. 

To help others see the benefits of mindfulness in their own lives, I reached Ball State University Counselors Amanda McErlean and Timothy Hess to lead an engaging and interactive mindfulness session during a free lunch and learn from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday, July 16, at the Innovation Connector. I had planned to plug the session in this blog post, but two days after posting it in an email, it was full. This reinforced we need to make more of these types of sessions available to our leaders in East Central Indiana.

Maybe It Can Help You Too

Meditation is not limited to mystical yogis, and a basic understanding of the practice just scratches the surface. As I said, learning more about meditation and mindfulness reveal there is an approach for people of all ages, backgrounds, personality types, and schedules.

There’s no magic pill to fix “over-committed,” but creating the space to better understand ourselves, our goals, and our tendencies is a start. It’s worked for me, and it can work for you.

Please reach out with ideas or hopes for future Shafer Leadership Academy programming related to mindfulness and meditation. I’m excited to hear your ideas!

Namaste.

Click here to learn how you can bring mindfulness to your organization!


About the author:

Mitch Isaacs was named Shafer Leadership Academy’s Executive Director in May 2015. In this role, he works closely with the organization’s board of directors to fulfill the mission of the organization. He is responsible for creating vision, connecting with stakeholders, administering program offerings and leading the organization in meaningful ways.  Learn more about Mitch »


Eye Contact At The Community Pool

I’m the president of my neighborhood association. It’s sounds like an honor but its little like being the subdivision RA. 

Our neighborhood is known for our garage sale. Every spring we host one of the largest garage sales in the county.  Our neighborhood also operates a community pool.  A few weeks ago we decided to use the garage sale to promote the community pool. 

Standing in the Street

Using the garage sale to promote the pool was my idea – mostly because everyone else was smart enough to stay away from it.  I had decided that while our neighborhood was hosting a 1,000 guests that I would stand in the street, outside our pool entrance, and try to entice passerbys to visit the pool. My goal was to convince these strangers to stop their rummaging long enough to tour our pool, and maybe purchase a pool membership. 

There I stood, flyers in hand, next to a large sign reading “Pool Open House” greeting people as they walked by. I’m naturally friendly. I consider myself warm, gregarious, and nonthreatening, but a funny thing happens when you stand in a public space and try to talk to strangers –  people start looking uncomfortable. 

Don’t Look at Me!

How did I know they looked uncomfortable? Well first, some people refused to make eye contact. They’d see me. They’d see the sign and they’d look anywhere but my face.  I suppose this is a by-product of our consumer culture, people are so afraid of being “sold” that they don’t want to engage anyone who looks like they may be trying to sell them something. I found this a bit ironic at a garage sale, which is entirely about buying, selling, and negotiating, but then again, I was promoting pool memberships, not second hand baby clothes and furniture.  It’s important to know your audience’s priorities. 

Of course even when people did make eye contact there were other signs of disinterest – immediately looking away, speeding up as they walked passed me, the subtle wave of a hand as if saying “no thanks”, or the rare person who actually said “no thanks.”  

What Yes Looks Like

Like most sales situations I heard “no” more than I heard yes, but “yes” did happen. I could see a yes almost as clearly as a no. My yes-people would always make eye contact. They would slow their pace, and orient their bodies to face me. They’d usually come closer and smile.  I often opened with a friendly joke or warm welcome as a way to gauge their receptiveness. Their reaction to my first few words were usually enough to tell me if they’d be willing to take the time to tour the pool.

Yes looked open.  Body language is a physical reflection of our subconscious reality. If you can learn to read the cluster of cues, body language can provide insight into someone’s state of mind.  There are many cues to consider, but fundamentally, body language can be broken down into two types of gestures: open and closed.  

Open body language indicates comfort, honesty, and relaxation. These gestures emerge when we feel comfortable, engaged, and safe. Closed gestures indicate insecurity, discomfort, and deception. These gestures present themselves when we feel unsafe. 

Look for the Clusters

It is important to note that you can’t look for just one gesture when interpreting body language. Body language works a little like words in a sentence, an indvidual word can be powerful but it makes more sense when placed in context with other words. Just as we need a few words to make a complete sentence, we must look for at least 2 – 3 cues working in conjunction to provide us a clearer understanding body language.

Would you like to learn more about open and closed gestures? Are you curious about how to identify clusters? Are you interested in learning how to better understand the cues others are giving?

Click here to learn more about our Body Language program from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Thursday, June 7th, at Muncie’s Innovation Connector

If you want to learn more about body language, check out “What Every BODY is Saying: An Ex FBI Agent’s Guide to Speed Reading People“,  by Joe Navarro.


About the author:

Mitch Isaacs was named Shafer Leadership Academy’s Executive Director in May 2015. In this role, he works closely with the organization’s board of directors to fulfill the mission of the organization. He is responsible for creating vision, connecting with stakeholders, administering program offerings and leading the organization in meaningful ways.  Learn more about Mitch »


Avoiding Mount Stupid

Working at a leadership academy doesn’t mean I know everything about leadership. If anything, it means I know how much I don’t know about guiding others and advancing community.

Living in this world often forces me to question how good I am at practicing what I preach. I spend my days thinking about how to lead people, accomplish goals, build better relationships and improve the community. In fact, I spend so much time thinking and reading about these concepts, that I’m often acutely aware of when I fall short. Whether I’m reading a leadership book, leading a class or running my own organization, I have moments when I think, “Huh, you missed the mark.” 

But then I stop to remind myself that those feelings mean I’m constantly striving to be better, to learn more — both traits of effective leaders. You’re never “done” when it comes to leadership. It’s a lifelong journey of self-exploration, lessons and perseverance.

The Dunning Kruger Effect

Have you heard of the Dunning Kruger Effect? Its a cognitive bias that accounts for when people who are incompetent are unable to recognize their own incompetence. Often, they feel overconfident in their abilities.

In other words, the more you know, the more you know you don’t know. Or as Socrates said, “the wisest man realizes he knows nothing at all.” It’s a fascinating psychological phenomenon that explores the relationship between confidence, knowledge and expertise.

Why Your Kid Thinks They Can Fly

Consider 3-year-old child in a cape and boots preparing to fly from the top of a playground structure. Unless an adult steps in, that sweet soul is destined for a hard lesson because of his overconfidence. He doesn’t have enough life experience to realize we cannot fly like our cartoon heroes.

As adults, we may approach life sans cape, but we may continue to overestimate our abilities where we have limited experience. If we’ve never led before, then we might think it’s easy because we don’t have enough experience to know how difficult it is.  

As we embark on new experiences, there’s an inverse relationship between confidence and experience. We start on “Mount Stupid,” where we’re crowned with a dangerous combination of confidence and little experience. Over time, however, we gain experience, and confidence diminishes as we set up residence at the “Reality Resort.” Experience erodes our confidence as we begin to learn what we didn’t previously know. 

 

As you can see there is  in inverse relationship between confidence and experience, for awhile. At the top is “Mount Stupid” where we have a lot of confidence, and little experience, a dangerous combination as we are prone to vastly overrate our abilities. Over time, however, as we gain experience, confidence diminishes. Experience erodes our confidence as we begin to learn what didn’t know when we started. 

Eventually You Can Fly

The good news, of course, is that with enough experience our confidence returns. Rather than confidence born from ignorance, we acquire a truer confidence informed by experience, and at that point we begin to approach expertise. Hello, “Planet Progress.”

Look at the chart one more time. Although confidence returns as we reach expert status, it’s never as high as it was when we lived on “Mount Stupid.” Learning is never done. Wil Davis (author, celebrated community leader and the co-founder of Ontario Systems) is one of the best thinkers I know, and he often states he is still learning about leadership. That humble perspective empowers me to lean into the fact we are never “done.” I’ve now celebrate leadership as a journey, rather than a destination.

This is why I say Shafer Leadership Academy helps people learn to lead. Our job is to help people start their own journey through this arch, to consider they things they may not know and to work towards a truer confidence. We want to help you develop a greater self-awareness to improve how you interact with the world, and thus, how the world perceives and interacts with you. 

Self-awareness is the first step toward emotional intelligence. Click here to learn more about SLA’s Emotional Intelligence program from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Thursday, May 24, at Muncie’s Innovation Connector

If you want to learn more about the Dunning Kruger Effect, check out this Forbes article, “Why Some People Think They’re Great Even When Their Work Is Terrible.”


About the author:

Mitch Isaacs was named Shafer Leadership Academy’s Executive Director in May 2015. In this role, he works closely with the organization’s board of directors to fulfill the mission of the organization. He is responsible for creating vision, connecting with stakeholders, administering program offerings and leading the organization in meaningful ways.  Learn more about Mitch »


Measuring Messy People

I love the Gallup Organization. As far as pollsters go, they have a long history of providing credible information, but that’s not what I love about them.

I love Gallup because they like to measure one of the most interesting, messy, complicated subjects any organization can tackle: people.

Let’s face it, people are a wonderful mix of contradictory emotions, impulses, and motivations. As professionals in a people driven economy, we must understand our clients, our co-workers, and our neighbors if we want our business and communities to thrive.

This is where Gallup has made our lives a little easier. Drawing from a massive in depth study of great managers across a wide variety of organizations, Gallup developed twelve simple questions to ask employees about their experiences. The way that team members answer these question is highly predictive of their satisfaction and productivity.

The Top Five

Here are the top five of the twelve:

  1.       Do I know what is expected of me at work?
  2.       Do I have the materials and equipment to do my work right?
  3.       Do I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day?
  4.       Have I received recognition (or praise) in the last seven days for doing good work?
  5.       Does my supervisor, or someone at work, seem to care about me as a person?

With these five simple questions you can begin measuring your team’s engagement.

Dealing with the Results

Of course once you ask these questions, you have to be prepared to deal with the results. After all, the only thing worse than not asking for people’s opinions is asking and then ignoring what they have to tell you.

So, are you the kind of person who is interested in creating a more engaged workplace? Do you want to maximize your team? Are you concerned with improving your Emotional Intelligence? Are you interested in decoding the secrets of body language?

These are challenging topics. They require a mixture of thinking, self-reflection and intentional action. Fortunately, you don’t have to do this work alone.  At Shafer Leadership Academy we Create Great Local Leaders. 

Shafer Leadership Academy wants to help you with your messy people. 

Click here to see our upcoming opportunities. 


About the author:

Mitch Isaacs was named Shafer Leadership Academy’s Executive Director in May 2015. In this role, he works closely with the organization’s board of directors to fulfill the mission of the organization. He is responsible for creating vision, connecting with stakeholders, administering program offerings and leading the organization in meaningful ways.  Learn more about Mitch »


Your Leaders Will Fail

My 11 year old occasionally gets frustrated by his homework.

He’s a bright kid, and that’s the problem. For as long as he’s been in school, school has come easy to him. He can usually look at a problem and immediately see the solution. It often requires very little effort on his part.  Of course, not every problem is easy and that’s when things get difficult. The relaxed, often quiet, homework time turns to tears and frustration. This is usually when I tell him that not everything will come easy, and that effort is sometimes more important than talent.

Struggle is a Part of Success

You see, he’s learning that struggle is a part of success. It’s an important, yet painful, lesson.

It’s also a lesson that we discuss at Shafer Leadership Academy. Often those who strive towards leadership lean towards perfectionism. The kind of people who want to take charge in the office, improve their community, or better the world, are typically the kind of people who believe that with enough grit, preparation, and control, the world can be bent to their will. They sometimes fall to the seductive notion that all problems can be prevented with enough foresight, and that any mistake reflects a lack of preparation, intelligence, or control.   

If only the world truly worked that way.

Good Plans are Disposable

Some of the best advice I ever received was to make a plan but be prepared to throw that plan away at a moment’s notice.  This is not easy for me, as I am a planner. I like schedules, timelines, calendars, and creating Facebook events just to hang out with friends. I’ve had goals since I was five. Yet, my life has been full of surprising, and often rewarding, curveballs.  Some of those curveballs have resulted in my swinging and missing (usually big!). Others I hit out of the park. You win some, you lose some.

The implication for leadership is that our leaders, being human, are not perfect. They will error in judgement, intention, evaluation, and implementation. They will do these things, because they are more like us than we care to admit. We want leaders who are exceptional in every way, when the truth is that even the best leaders are fortunate to be exceptional in even a handful of ways.

This is not a call for a mediocrity, nor is a philosophy that asks us to unquestioningly accept every flaw a leader may have. It simply means that when we consider our leaders, or ourselves, we acknowledge that failure will be a part of success. It calls us to recognize that in the act of striving we stumble, and that we should seek leaders who are the kind of people who rise after the fall. It is the plain recognition that we are human, and the glory of humanity lies not in our perfection but in the indomitable spirit of persistence.

A More Perfect You

The Preamble to the Constitution of the United States refers to forming “a more perfect union.” The Declaration of Independence states that we all have the right to pursue happiness. Each of these phrases are aspirational, and each of these phrases imply that both forming a union, and achieving happiness, are pursuits, not necessarily destinations. The point isn’t that our union, or community, will ever be perfect, nor that our happiness will ever be complete, but that we endeavor to accomplish these things.

Some homework problems are harder to solve than others, including the ones plaguing our community. We need value-oriented leaders who are not only unafraid to tackle these problems, but also expect to fail as they do so. We also need communities who recognize that sometimes a better measure of leadership is overcoming adversity, rather than avoiding failure. Rather than looking for the right answers maybe we should ask ourselves if we are moving in the right direction. We may be surprised at what we find once we get there.

Shafer Leadership Academy wants to help you become a “more perfect” you.

Click here to see our upcoming opportunities. 


About the author:

Mitch Isaacs was named Shafer Leadership Academy’s Executive Director in May 2015. In this role, he works closely with the organization’s board of directors to fulfill the mission of the organization. He is responsible for creating vision, connecting with stakeholders, administering program offerings and leading the organization in meaningful ways.  Learn more about Mitch »


Label Before Responding

I get angry sometimes. I have very specific opinions on how people should drive. I get upset when the Indianapolis Colts lose, or when the New England Patriots win. I get frustrated with my family, my friends and my colleagues, sometimes for no good reason at all.  

I think of it as an occupational hazard that comes with the title: Human. Emotions are a fundamental part of the human experience. As my friend Peggy Cenova once told me: Every decision is an emotional decision.  Our emotions are powerful. They can overwhelm us.

But our emotions don’t have to rule us.

This is important to me because I’m not great at it. I spend time thinking, and writing, about this topic because managing emotions is challenging. Yet, it is one of the most important ingredients to success.  In fact, in a 2011 national survey approximately 75% of employers said they would be more likely to promote employees with a higher EQ.

Does Your EQ Match Your IQ?

EQ is shorthand for Emotional Quotient, or Emotional Intelligence.  Emotional Intelligence has four basic dimensions: 1) Self Awareness; 2) Self-Management; 3) Social Awareness and; 4) Relationship Management.  Self-Awareness is the first step towards better Emotional Intelligence.

Self-Awareness begins by labeling our emotions, without judgement, when an emotional event occurs. It is a mindful action by which we identify the emotion we are experiencing “aka our reaction”, before we respond. It can be as simple as saying:

“I’m angry that Henry keeps talking in meetings because I’m afraid I’ll never get a chance to speak, and if I can’t speak how I can ever gain respect?”

When we pause and put a label on a reaction, our brain shifts from the limbic system, which governs our instinct and mood, towards the neocortex where language and logic live.

It is this shift from the limbic system to the neocortex which allows us to separate our conscious response from our unconscious reaction.  This change in perspective often leads to better, and more satisfying, decisions.

4 Steps in Less Than 5 Minutes

So the next time your find yourself in an emotionally charged situation, take five minutes to:

1) Pause (don’t let your reaction be your response!)

2) Breathe

3) Assign language to what you are feeling

4) Investigate why you feel the way you do

Once you do, you may find you’re better equipped for a more helpful response. 

Learn About EQ on May 24th 

Emotional Intelligence is a challenging topic. It requires a mixture of thinking, self-reflection, and intentional action. Fortunately, you don’t have to do this work alone.  At Shafer Leadership Academy we Create Great Local Leaders. 

Click here to learn how you can attend Emotional Intelligence: Discovering You at the Innovation Connector on May 24th. Scholarships are available!


About the author:

Mitch Isaacs was named Shafer Leadership Academy’s Executive Director in May 2015. In this role, he works closely with the organization’s board of directors to fulfill the mission of the organization. He is responsible for creating vision, connecting with stakeholders, administering program offerings and leading the organization in meaningful ways.  Learn more about Mitch »


Up to 30 SHRM PDCs Available

The mission of Shafer Leadership Academy is to ensure that individuals who have  the desire to demonstrate leadership have access to world class leadership training close to home.

Now we can ensure that HR Professionals  have access to their Professional Development Credits close to home.

The following programs have been approved for 5 PDCs each:

 


 

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Thursday, April 26th, 8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

(5 PDCs)

The Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team is designed to guide individuals through a series of powerful exercises that help team members improve in each of five key fundamentals: trust, conflict, commitment, accountability, and results. We provide practical information and strategies that participants can put to use immediately and apply on an ongoing basis.

   Learn More


Thursday, May 24th, 8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

(5 PDCs)

EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE: Discovering You is a venture of personal growth. This session begins with the opportunity for personal reflection to gain a greater understanding of your ideal self – the person you would like to be. By examining the concepts and the tools that will guide you further down the path of self-awareness we will identify your real self through self-assessment and feedback from others.

Learn More


Screenshot 2017-04-20 15.32.24

 Thursday, June 7th, 8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. 

(5 PDCs)

Just like any good magician, we can learn to shape what others see. When communicating there at two conversations going on and the nonverbal components can mesmerize or destroy the show. This interactive program exposes the secrets of effective nonverbal communication and teaches you the skills to implement those tricks to improve your leadership.

Learn More


TLC

Tuesday, September 18th,  8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. 

(5 PDCs)

The Leadership Challenge explores the five practices common to personal-best leadership experiences. Leaders who get extraordinary things done Model the Way, Inspire a Shared Vision, Challenge the Process, Enable Others to Act, and Encourage the Heart.

Learn More


Tuesday, October 16th,  8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. 

(5 PDCs)

Based on the world renown book, this one day workshop provides practical insight, intentional activities, and targeted conversation around Covey’s now timeless habits.

A habit is defined as the intersection of knowledge, skill, and desire.  Knowledge is understanding what to do and why to do it; skill is knowing how to do it; desire is motivation or wanting to do it.  With each one of the seven habits, we will explore all four levels of leadership: personal, interpersonal, managerial and organizational.

Learn More


Tuesday, November 13th,  8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. 

(5 PDCs)

Fusion: Leading Multi-Generational Teams is a four-hour hands on journey to a better understanding of people and what makes them think and act the way they do, especially as it relates to their generational background. This workshop will equip participants to be more effective leaders through understanding the challenges, opportunities and best practices in leading multi-generational teams.

Learn More


 

 

 


From Discussion to Decision

Have you ever been a part of meeting where there was a lot of discussion but no decision? You came together, you talked through options, and it feels like a decision was made but…you’re still not sure what the course of action is. 

People Want to Be Heard

Waiting for everyone on a team to agree on a decision is a good recipe for mediocrity, delay, and frustration. Ironically, commitment is something of the opposite. It’s about a group of intelligent individuals buying in to a decision precisely when they don’t naturally agree. In other words, it’s the ability to defy a lack of consensus. And that’s directly related to the group’s ability to engage in conflict.

When a group of people know that their colleagues have no reservations about disagreeing with one another and that every available opinion and perspective has been unapologetically aired, they will have the confidence to embrace a decision and abandon whatever their initial opinions might have been. Most of us don’t really need to have our ideas adopted-to get our way-in order to buy in to a decision. We just want to have our ideas heard, understood, considered, and explained within the context of the ultimate decision.

In this environment your job is to make sure everyone is heard, that opinions are respectfully considered, and then to push the team for closure. Don’t let a fear of failure stop the group from making a decision. Hearing everyone, considering the facts, and then making a decision helps create buy-in.

So What Did We Decide Today?

Of course buy-in doesn’t help if people aren’t clear on what they’ve bought into.  So when it seems like a path has been set, a good leader asks “so what did we decide?”  Once that question is posed, someone needs to write the decision down, and confirm everyone is on the same page. If the decision results in some form of action, then record who is responsible for what and by when. If the decision needs to be communicated out beyond your team then make sure a plan exists for communicating it to other stakeholders. 

It may feel a little unnatural but repeating the decision aloud ensures that everyone is on the same page. You may be surprised how often someone speaks up because what you thought they said, isn’t what they meant. 

For example, a recap from a neighborhood association meeting may sound like this:

“Great, so it looks like we are all meeting at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday for the neighborhood cleanup. Chris is bringing the rakes, Sally is coordinating with Muncie Sanitary, Ira is getting the trash bags, and Samantha is working with the Ball State volunteers. Derick will make sure this is sent out in a community wide email. OK, next on the agenda…”

There’s No Accountability Without Clarity

Committing to clear decisions are vital to accountability. Without a clear path forward, people are confused about expectations and teams struggle to hold each other accountable. Many leaders have experienced great frustration, and surprise, when they learn the goal they were holding their team accountable for, is not the goal the team was pursing. 

One Day Investing in You

Fortunately, we’re here to help. At Shafer Leadership Academy we Create Great Local Leaders.  Achieving Commitment is the third step in creating an cohesive team, and one of the topics in our Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team program. The Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team is a one day workshop where you learn how teams: Trust, Confront, Decide, Account, and Achieve.

Click here to learn how you can attend The Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team on April 26th at the Innovation Connector. Scholarships are available!


About the author:

Mitch Isaacs was named Shafer Leadership Academy’s Executive Director in May 2015. In this role, he works closely with the organization’s board of directors to fulfill the mission of the organization. He is responsible for creating vision, connecting with stakeholders, administering program offerings and leading the organization in meaningful ways.  Learn more about Mitch »


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