VOLUME ONE, ISSUE 5

3 Human Elements  A couple of weeks ago, I spent the evening with 200 other women business owners at an entreprenuerial panel event. We were all there to listen to 4 very successful women talk about how they achieved their success. It was an opportunity for them to share their stories with us - what worked for them, what didn't - for us to ask questions and also to hopefully walk away with a little inspiration and a renewed commitment to embark (for some) or continue (for others) on the often challenging road of owning your own business.
     A moderator guided the discussion and at one point, said to each of the women on the panel: "Tell us how you got started and why you do what you do." 
     The first woman to speak up said, "I know this is going to sound corny - maybe it's even a cliche - but I got started because I wanted to help people." She seemed slightly embarrassed by her answer, apologetic almost.
     Out of everything said that night, her comment stuck with me. I thought about it on the drive home. I'm obviously still thinking about it because I'm sharing it with you. The question I keep mulling over? When did the concept of helping people become "corny"? When did sharing what we know to enrich the lives of others (or make their lives less negative or painful) become a cliche?
     Maybe it's only in the voicing of it that it sounds corny. Maybe it's the emphasis on mutualism or reciprocity (I do this for you, you do that for me) that would have us abandon the notion of doing work simply for the sake of helping others.
     Isn't it time to celebrate the privilege of standing in the service of others? Isn't there value in doing good work, doing it with a sense of purpose and an eye toward social responsibility? Isn't there a way to do that and not feel compelled to offer an apology for being "corny"?
     Something to think about over the holidays.
     Best wishes...have a safe, happy and healthy holiday season.
     Ho - ho - ho.
Jennie Ayers
President, Challenge It Now 
R-E-S-P-E-C-T: Find out What it Means to Me!
Part II of What's Your GI? 
by Janice Criddle 
respect pinned to corkboard 


In last month's issue, we set forth the challenges that arise when multiple generations come together in the work force. Now let's take a look at 5 concrete things you can do to improve multi-generational (or any aspect of diversity) interactions.
(1) Know Yourself
An important step in being able to work with and manage a multigenerational work force is to understand you. Know how the experiences of your generation impact your ideas about what's appropriate when it comes to work. Self-exploration facilitates your understanding of how your personal values and how you think about work affects how you view others.
(2) Ensure Open Communication

You and your organization are responsible for providing honest and open forums where employees can voice concerns.

(3) Encourage Generational Partnerships & Collaboration
Teach older workers the value of listening for the fresh ideas of the young generations. Teach younger workers to value the experience of seasoned employees and seek their feedback.
(4) Be Flexible
Change is inevitable and is happening at an increasingly alarming rate. 
(5) Respect the Different Values Held by Different Age Groups
Employees are more likely to reach full potential when everyone is allowed to "work the problem" while encouraging input, creativity and utilizing the collective knowledge of the team.
That last point - number 5 - is the most important of all. In a recent survey conducted by AchieveGlobal, all 4 generations unanimously rated Respect as the job attribute they value the most. Dr. Huntley Manhertz Jr., in analyzing the results of the survey, said "Today's leaders would be wise to treat people like the individuals they are and use performance management tools to measure individual performance, goals and expectations. Taking a person's skills, experience, drive, perspective, energy and even personality into account most certainly trumps grouping employees by age and relegating them to 'generational silos'. Employees themselves need to take a lesson from the same book and treat each other equally regardless of differences."
You remember the diaper experiment from last month's issue? Adults were put in a room with a baby, who was wearing either a pink or a blue diaper. Both men and women interacted with the babies in pink as if they were girls and the babies in blue as if they were boys, irrespective of their actual gender. When people were put in a room with a baby wearing a white diaper, they peeked!
When we take the time to understand who we are interacting with, we have a greater opportunity to value the talents of each individual and understand how differences create opportunities. So next time, before you make assumptions about someone that may not be accurate....peek!
In This Issue
What's Your GI? Part II
Learning & Development - Where Is It Headed?
Ho-Ho-Holey Mackerel, It's the Holidays!
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"If you have knowledge, let others light their
candle in it."
Margaret Fuller
"How wonderful it is that
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single moment before
starting to improve
the world."
   Anne Frank 
Climate Hands

 The 6 Myths of Creativity
collaboration cubes
In response to October's article on innovation, some of you expressed the worry that you simply weren't creative. Teresa Amabile of Harvard Business School dispels that myth, along with 5 others commonly linked to creativity.
Myth #1 - Creativity Comes from Creative Types
Nope. Anyone with normal intelligence is capable of doing creative work. It's their work environment that impedes intrinsic creativity.
Myth #2 - Money is a Creativity Motivator
Wrong. People place a higher value on a work environment where creativity is supported, valued and recognized, rather than on how much they're being paid.
Myth #3 - Time Pressure Fuels Creativity
It's just the opposite. People need time to soak in a problem and let the ideas bubble up.
Myth #4 - Fear forces breakthroughs
No again. It stifles creativity. People are more likely to have a breakthrough if they were happy the day before the breakthrough
Myth #5 - Competition beats collaboration
Wrong! Creativity takes a nosedive when people in the same work group compete instead of collaborate. The most creative teams are those that have the confidence to share and debate ideas.
Myth #6 - A streamlined organization is a creative organization
Not true. Creativity is eroded during times of downsizing. People's fear of the unknown causes them to disengage from work. And the effects of downsizing on creativity linger long after the work force has been cut.
"Learning & Development - Where Is It Headed?"
     by Jennie Ayers 
How are today's organizations developing their workers? How will the role of Learning & Development change in the future?
futurethink asked leaders from a wide variety of industries to share their POV on the future of L&D - important trends and issues as well as how companies can make training efforts more effective for future needs. Here's what they discovered: 
  • 74% see the influence of L&D expanding in the next 2 years
  • online learning will take center stage
  • 85% agree that the majority of the learning going forward will be collaborative
  • 100% agree that future learning will need to be done in short timeframes, with more focused learning to achieve better results 
What must change If L&D is to be more successful?
While Learning & Development professionals face many issues, some of the most prominent challenges revolve around the practice of training itself. The big "AHA" many are beginning to realize is that training is effective because of the way it's written and delivered. Survey respondents said that things need to change...dramatically.
NO MORE BORING - Current training takes too long, is too PowerPoint dependent and simply not compelling.
FOCUS ON TIMELY TOPICS - Current training too often focuses on building foundational skills, rather than partnering with companies to offer training that helps management drive business. Survey respondents are looking for more courses about current issues like social networking, open collaboration and competitive trends.
EMBRACE FLEXIBLE, BLENDED LEARNING - Businesses need training alternatives that let people learn on their own time or in the ways they learn best. Flexibility in training is key.
GET TO THE POINT - Good course design needs to be pushed to the next level - "micro-courses" are seen as the wave of the future.
COLLABORATIVE & EXPERIENTIAL APPROACHES A MUST - Courses need to let participants do more participating. Too much training today is "presentation-heavy" and choked by PowerPoint. Survey respondents are looking for learning opportunities that are more engaging, experiential, team-driven and balanced (teaching vs. content application).
Make Learning
More Experiential
penguins into the water
THE NEED FOR INSPIRATION - L&D leaders need to inspire people to learn, grow and take on new challenges. These leaders need to inject their own passion for what they do into the courses they offer.
What Skills Will Matter in the Future?
Overwhelmingly, respondents voiced the need for stronger communication skills in all mediums. Those skills need to go beyond writing and e-mail and look at ways in which workers learn to communicate "in the moment" across all levels of an organization, no matter the situation.
Companies need a work force comfortable and skilled in collaboration. Workers need to be flexible and agile. They need to be creative and innovative, so that they not only navigate change but drive it as well.
HO HO HO-BOY, Am I Stressed by Jennie Ayers
collaboration cubes
 I've read tons of stuff on how to reduce stress during the holidays. But not many have addressed work stressors and what companies can do to help alleviate the toll the holidays take on their work force. A recent survey among employees identified 3 primary sources of added stress during the holidays that affect job performance.
  • balancing extra demands at home with work
  • trying to complete projects prior to the holidays
  • dealing with stressed out customers
Alongside those stressors is simply the fact that we're celebrating more, eating less healthy foods and getting less rest, all of which leave us feeling tired. And when we're tired, we're less engaged at work and productivity goes down.
Naturally, all of us have a responsibility to do what we can to keep from losing it during the holidays, but it's really in a company's best interest to do what it can to help its employees deal with the holiday "blues". Which of the following suggestions could your company implement?
BE FLEXIBLE. Give workers the option of working a more flexible schedule during the holidays. If it's feasible for them to telecommute at least part of the time, let them.
GO SHOPPING. You read that right. Go shopping. Many companies let their employees take one day off between Thanksgiving and Christmas just to shop. Rules apply. It's by request and people take turns to make sure the company's staffed as needed and important projects are moving forward.
GO PERSONAL. If giving employees a day off to shop simply won't work for your business, let them take care of personal business on company time. They can shop online, address cards or compose the family holiday letter. Again, guidelines are needed to ensure abuses don't take place.
DRESS DOWN. If your company has a formal dress code, relax it. Dressing more casually makes people feel more relaxed.
Once the holidays are over, re-entry can be tough. It helps when companies redirect employees to the future by getting them involved in planning for the new year. Ask them for feedback and make sure they understand how their contributions are going to make a difference when it comes to business success in the new year.
All of us at Challenge It Now wish you and your organizations safe and low-stress holidays.
3 Human Elements
Challenge It Now focuses its energies on a common goal - through consultation, coaching and facilitation, we help professionals in business organizations create and sustain a workplace climate where the positive experience of work is optimized, engagement is enriched and performance potential is maximized.
Please take a moment and visit our website at to find out more about us and what we have to offer. Or contact us for additional information at: 818.585.9553 or 818.429.0077 or 443.838.4327.
Please mark your calendars for our next public offering of the Process Communication Model to be held on Wednesday, January 13, 2010.
For additional information, please contact us at (818) 585-9553 or (818) 429-0077.