By Rick Rapier
“Somebody once said that in looking for people to hire, you look for three qualities: integrity, intelligence, and energy. And if you don’t have the first, the other two will kill you,” explained billionaire Warren Buffett, one of the world’s most successful business leaders
Without a doubt, great employees with all three traits are the lifeblood of an organization. However, what happens when managers don’t have teams with these characteristics? If a manager is new to the organization or role, he could likely inherit a department comprised of low and high performing individuals.
Knowing how to motivate the entire department to perform at their best requires a strategy. Here are six ways managers can cultivate a team of rock stars!More Than Make Do… Motivate
As professional trainer and life coach Beth Ramsay puts it, “A bad attitude from a chronic complaining employee is like a cancer; it will only spread and infect others.” Consequently, discouraged or unmotivated employees are not something a manager can ignore. The scenarios touched on by Buffet and Ramsay can add up to an uncomfortable and unstable situation and, if left unaddressed, destructive, according to stats compiled by Entrepreneur Magazine under the title “The Real Cost of Unhappy Employees.”
A study performed by Dashburst has estimated that keeping employees happy would cut labor costs by $2.3 billion each year in the United States. Another estimate has it that unhappy employees can actually cost $200 billion a year in lost productivity – in the U.S. alone!
Because of this, it is critical for a manager to implement methods for encouraging and guiding direct reports - even the ones who make the job difficult. The good news is that there are a number of steps a wise manager can take to motivate even the most obstinate employee.1. Keep Your Cool
Disrespect from an employee can push the buttons of even the most cool-headed manager, but it pays big dividends to maintain a professional demeanor. Open anger only serves to escalate conflict and upset the morale of other employees who might feel caught in the crossfire – or caught up in the heat of the moment.2. Don’t Be Coldblooded
Especially in times of stress or transition within your department, it is best to avoid being aloof with problematic employees. Maintain a friendly, approachable demeanor, and be sure to respond to and check in with your employees as if they were your customers.3. Shoot Straight
Most people can identify when a manager is “blowing smoke.” Being dishonest with your team erodes trust. Being sensitive to confidentiality around certain aspects of the business, managers should keep their employees in the loop as much as possible. Transparency and clear communication go a long way with teams.4. There is no ‘I’ in team
There is a reason the adage, “There is no ‘I’ in team” is so popular. A manager who seems to be primarily out for himself can quickly demoralize and demotivate a department.. Teams work harder for a leader who gives them credit where credit is due. A major culprit for diminishing team motivation is a manager who singularly takes credit for work that’s been done by a group.5. Do Your Homework Before Reacting
Always fact-find and fact-check before assessing a situation and before taking action. Ask questions and actively listen. And if the one who is responsible for a problem or error happens to be you, then admit your mistakes. You’ll be surprised by the amount of respect and commitment this move will garner from employees.6. Lighten Their Load
Direct reports who feel you have their back, will work harder for you. Offering to pitch in to help them with tasks can show you’re supportive. But there is more to work than getting the work done: You can lighten the mood. Keep an eye out for the cues that someone is having a rough day. Offer a smile, a genuine laugh, or an openly voiced compliment – while withholding criticisms until they can be offered in private.
There can be a high price to pay, both in dollars and organizational morale, when employees do not feel appreciated. While money is a significant motivating factor for employee satisfaction, it isn’t the sole way to make an employee feel appreciated.
A study done by Ronald F. Piccolo and Timothy A. Judge, which considered more than 100 academic papers on the subject of employee satisfaction, concluded that pay has very little to do with keeping employees happy. To most employers’ surprise (and perhaps delight), while money can motivate employees, it is not the most important factor in worker satisfaction.
“Money can buy many things. Happiness at work just isn’t one of them” —Ronald F. Piccolo and Timothy A. Judge
That’s where the savvy manager comes in. People will simply work harder when they feel appreciated, understood, and engaged by their boss. While financial compensation is a well-known motivator, dollars alone are not the end-all-be-all.
How have you been motivated by a leader, or how do you motivate your own team?Blog Categories: career-adviceBlog Tags: business
By Rick Rapier
The words “leadership” and “management” are often used interchangeably.
Sam Walton, founder of the retail empires Walmart and Sam’s Club said, “Outstanding leaders go out of their way to boost the self-esteem of their personnel. If people believe in themselves, it's amazing what they can accomplish.”
One might think that his success points the way for all managers; however, not all managers face the same challenges. The Harvard Business Review published an article exploring several distinct leadership and management styles. The article examined the areas of leadership and management and focused on a study conducted by Dr. Daniel Goleman, author of bestseller Emotional Intelligence, with the aid of international consulting firm Hay/McBer.
With his colleagues, Dr. Goleman conducted in-depth interviews and took a random sampling of opinions of nearly 4,000 managers from a database of more than 20,000 executives worldwide. The study involved in depth questions and interviews of those sampled.Six Styles of Leadership: Pros & Cons 1. COERCIVE
This style of leadership sounds threating, and it can be. But it can also be very beneficial in limited situations and used sparingly. At their core, the coercive manager demands immediate compliance: no ifs, ands or buts. According to the study, the coercive approach has the most corrosive impact on an organization.
Pros: Very beneficial during a crisis or in turn-around situations. To be implemented only when necessary.
Cons: Tends to destroy morale, independent thought, risk-taking and erodes motivation.2. AUTHORITATIVE
Both quantitatively and qualitatively, this style of management is, overall, the most effective style for most situations, as concluded by the study. Authoritative leaders are visionaries who move people toward a common vision and help them to see how they fit into long-term plans.
Pros: Employees know their purpose, which increases buy-in of the organization’s goals and strategies. Standards and rewards are known to all and the approach affords leeway to achieving individual goals.
Cons: Ill-suited to teams where subordinates are more experienced; leaders of this type can seem “pompous or out-of-touch”3. AFFILIATIVE
The affiliative leader beckons the team to follow and is all about mandates. This style seeks to create harmony amongst employees and during stressful periods focuses on teamwork in order to motivate them. In short, people, not organizational goals, come first.
Pros: A good “all-weather” approach that is particularly useful for building team morale, improving communication, and repairing broken trust.
Cons: Should not be implemented without employing a different style simultaneously. Can lead to erosion of productivity and quality of work. Can also leave teammates feeling cut adrift.4. DEMOCRATIC
Unlike styles that reply on unilateral decision-making, this style works to gain employee input, buy-in, and consensus if possible. This is often useful in phases of management change or dramatic business redirects.
Pros: Builds trust, commitment, and respect.
Cons: Inefficient especially in times of crisis. Can actually escalate conflict and give the impression of leaderlessness.5. PACE-SETTING
To be used infrequently, this is when the leader sets a personal best as the standard, and expectation, for the entire team or organization. Those she leads are expected to follow and perform at their level best.
Pros: Works well with personnel who are as competent and motivated as their leader. Should be used in conjunction with another leadership approach.
Cons: Can lead to micromanaging and can cause employees to feel overwhelmed by unreasonable demands.6. COACHING
This approach helps leaders identify their talents and shows them how to tie these strengths to their private and professional goals. Rarely used in most organizations, according to Dr. Goleman, this approach champions and empowers individual employees to achieve.
Pros: Helps employees identify strengths and weaknesses. Short-term failures tolerated with an eye to long-term successes.
Cons: An ill fit when employees are resistant to changing. Motivational efforts can be perceived with fear or disregard.
The study concluded there are six distinct leadership types – and they are most definitely not created equal. And, while this study presents six styles, Dr. Peter Bemski, Dean of the School of Business and Technology Management at Northcentral University, suggests there is a seventh style.
“The idea that we can adopt whatever leadership style is most appropriate is popular, but perhaps unrealistic,” explained Bemski. The key to being an effective leader is to have a broad repertoire of styles and to use them appropriately.”
While some hold to the notion that leaders are born not made, the evidence of the study shows us something different: Leaders are made not born. Still, as Dr. Goleman noted in agreement with the notion that leaders are made, managers can “work assiduously to increase” their ability to expand their repertoire and learn to practice styles that might not come naturally.
Consider your own management style. What kind of manager would you categorize yourself or your boss as?. Do you think you should stick with one style or adopt several?
By Christia Gibbons
Are we more stressed out than our ancestors? Research shows that over the years, stress levels have grown along with the evolution of technology. Long-term stress can lead to inflated levels of cortisol, which for many translates into such mental debilitations as insomnia, depression and anxiety, and such physical infirmities as high blood pressure, stroke or cancer.
Cortisol is the hormone that jumps into action to kick-start the adrenalin that provides much-needed energy during a crisis situation. It provides better blood flow, sharper eyesight and mental acuity. But the stresses of life in the 21 century often don’t allow cortisol to return to normal levels. When stress levels are too high, it can have major implications for our bodies.Fight-or-Flight
“We are consistently and constantly under fight-or-flight,” says Dr. Jennifer King, who works at Scottsdale, Arizona-based LifeScape Medical Associates, a concierge practice. Phoenix Magazine named King a 2014 Top Doctor in the family practice category.
While everyone is able to tolerate a certain amount of fight-or-flight experience, the dynamics of life are keeping many people in a perpetual stressed state that “continues to build because we don’t have the ability to run away. We used to run away from animals,” King says.
“Distress, or free floating anxiety, doesn't provide an outlet for the cortisol and causes the fight-or-flight mechanism to backfire. Ironically, our own biology—which was designed to insure our survival as hunters and gatherers—is sabotaging our bodies and minds in a sedentary, digital age,” explains Christopher Bergland in a January 2013 Psychology Today article titled “Cortisol: Why ‘The Stress Hormone’ is Public Enemy No. 1.”Mental Effect of Stress
A Mayo Clinic publication points out that when the people are constantly under stress the hypothalamus, a tiny region at the base of the brain, sets off an alarm system: “Through a combination of nerve and hormonal signals, this system prompts your adrenal glands, located atop your kidneys, to release a surge of hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol.”
When cortisol levels aren’t allowed to return to normal levels, “the body knows,” King says. According to an article in pyschcentral.com, the cognitive, emotional signs and behavioral ramifications of stress include: mental slowness, confusion, negative thoughts, concentration problems, forgetfulness, lack of a sense of humor, irritation, sense of helplessness, feeling overwhelmed, decreased sex drive, poor family and work relations, and a sense of loneliness.Physical Impact
Uncontrolled stress hits the body through and through, according to The American Stress Institute, affecting the nervous, musculoskeletal, respiratory, cardiovascular, endocrine, gastrointestinal and reproductive systems.
People can experience high blood pressure, headaches, panic attacks, compromised liver functions, heart attack, diarrhea, irregular menstrual cycles, and impotence. People don’t digest food properly, may have constipation and urination issues, and can gain or lose too much weight and can feel fatigued. Month after month of not having any down time – cortisol levels promoting physiological unintended affects – translates into stress that can lead to exhaustion, stroke, hospitalized depression and cancer, King points out. And, “Cortisol ages you,” she says.Combating stress
Find a break in the action.
““Change is hard, it is. No doubt. And, it’s not comfortable. When [the effect of stress] gets painful enough, you’ll change,”
—Dr. Jennifer King, Scottsdale, Arizona-based LifeScape Medical Associates
“It’s not always the circumstance, but how you handle it,” she says. Find what works for you. Maybe it’s reading a book, being in a book club, watching a TV show, going to a museum, talking to a friend, or getting in some exercise.
King suggests her patients change one thing at a time for 30 days. Perhaps add a day of 15 to 20 minutes of exercise a week – pick any day. “It’s more than you did before. I don’t want it to feel like a job.”
Maybe it’s removing one pre-packaged food from one’s diet for a month to get started. King advocates a “clean” diet of nonprocessed food: nuts, seeds, protein without antibiotics. “Avoid anything that comes out of a bag,” she says. It’s OK to have brownies, just make them from scratch instead of a mix. Consider adding flaxseed and hemp parts to help with cholesterol and pump some vitamin A and C into your recipes.
King suggests an easy way to eat better. “I would definitely recommend not putting anything in your body or in your mouth that has a long list of ingredients, in other words, the fewer the ingredients the better both internally and externally.”
Or, perhaps it’s adding meditation to your day. King says many people have a misconception of what it takes to meditate and what it takes to clear one’s mind. It doesn’t have to be stressful just to try to relax. She currently is participating in the free 21-day meditation experience promoted by Deepak Chopra and Oprah Winfrey.
King also suggests the 4-7-8 breathing technique practiced by Dr. Andrew Weil, founder of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona College of Medicine.
And, King says, “Don’t forget that everything counts, including taking the stairs, parking in the most distant spot so you walk more before you get into the store, walking in the airport if you have a layover, walking or bicycling to work if possible.”
King encourages people in their 20s to get going on making changes to avoid what can be the devastating effects of stress in later years. The very best defense against stress, though, is sleep.
“Sleep is key in every medical condition,” King says. “When you sleep you heal, repair, and when you sleep you think better.”
People deal with stress in different ways. The key is dealing with stressors in a positive way.
What are some of the ways you’ve found that are helpful for stress management?
James Billings, Ph.D. has been Dean of Northcentral University’s School of Marriage and Family Sciences (SoMFS) for eight years. Dr. Billings has considerable professional experience as a licensed marriage and family therapist who has worked in the field for 16 years. He earned his M.A. from Pacific Lutheran University, and his Ph.D. from Loma Linda University.
We caught up with Dr. Billings to learn more about what led him into the field of marriage and family therapy and about what sets our School of Marriage and Family Sciences apart from the rest.Dr. Billings, what got you interested in and excited about marriage and family therapy?
I got excited about the field of marriage and family therapy very early in my life. My parents, ironically, were both nurses, but my dad was a psychiatric nurse, and as I listened to him talk about the experiences he had helping people, I found that I became very excited about the “helping” professions. As I discovered the field of family therapy, I found that it was a great fit for me.
The relational aspect that is taught to students and therapists to help individuals is something that fit with my paradigm. Understanding how people interact with each other and helping to shift those relationships to overcome stress and difficulties in their lives I’ve found to be very effective, both personally, from my professional experience, and from the research. I'm excited to be a part of this field and a part of this university.Why should a potential master’s candidate choose the Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy at NCU?
From their inception, the marriage and family therapy programs here at Northcentral University were designed to meet the highest educational standards within our field. Our master's program became the first ever predominantly distance-based program to receive accreditation through the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education, or what's referred to as COAMFTE.
Our doctoral program is also designed to meet these high standards within our field. Currently, we're pursuing that accreditation through this same commission. Once again, we're the first predominantly distance-based doctoral program to pursue this accreditation.What are the major advantages of NCU’s Marriage and Family Therapy programs over that of other schools?
Northcentral University's Marriage and Family Therapy programs are very different than other schools. Obviously, the one component that's different from many traditional programs is that it's primarily a distance-based program, meaning much of the coursework is all done online with faculty via our Courserooms , also known as My.NCU.edu is the virtual classroom students use for course work and interaction with faculty. But I think the piece that makes Northcentral even more unique, even compared to other distance-based programs, is found in two key aspects:
One is our non-cohort model, or what we call our one-to-one model, meaning that each student works one-to-one with a faculty member. They're neither part of a larger group nor dependent on other students in order to be successful in their courses.
The other aspect that I think is extremely unique about our program is the non-residency requirement. That means that students who enroll in our programs never at any point during the entire process need to fly out to a particular location or a particular state in order to complete their degree. They can complete their entire degree from their local community. As long as they're able to obtain an internship or a residency within their area, they never have to leave their local community to complete the program. And that aspect, in itself, is a very unique aspect among marriage and family therapy programs today.What separates NCU’s School of Marriage and Family Sciences faculty from that of other universities?
The faculty in the Marriage and Family Therapy programs here at Northcentral University are a powerful group with diverse experiences in education. And most exciting is that all of them hold doctoral degrees. Not just doctoral degrees in general, but all hold graduate level degrees within the field of marriage and family therapy. There are often programs where the faculty themselves are not actual marriage family therapists [who are] teaching marriage family therapy courses.
Here at Northcentral, all the faculty that we hire are both experienced marriage and family therapists who hold licenses in the field of marriage and family therapy and have experience teaching within this field. In addition, the faculty come with a wealth of experience in different areas and different specializations, and they are able to share that with students as they work with them in the course rooms.What does it take to become a successful student in NCU’s School of Marriage and Family Sciences?
To be a successful student here at Northcentral University, it's important that they have several different attributes, one of those being time management. With being a distance-based program, you won't be attending a class on a set day in a set week and having a professor lecture to you each week. Thus, it's important that you manage your schedule in a way that ensures you have adequate time to look at the content for each week and then determine how to use that to apply that to whatever assignments or projects you might be working on within that course.
One of the things that we have found that has been helpful for students when they first start the program is to really map out their average week and determine what days and times they're going to use to focus on their studies. When that’s mapped out, they can then hold themselves to that schedule to ensure that they have adequate time each week to work on their studies.Blog Categories: marriage-and-family-therapyBlog Tags: marriage-and-family-sciences
By Rick Rapier
We all know that certain foods can change our moods. It’s been widely reported that chocolate can simulate feelings of love, and every holiday party attendee knows that alcohol tends to reduce inhibitions. But is there more to food and the mind than temporary changes to blood sugar?
From the very beginning of life outside the womb, human beings exhibit a strong relationship between food and a sense of well-being. As explained in The Psychology of Food and Eating by English sociologist John L. Smith, infants who do not receive enough interaction with mothers while nursing will grow drowsy from milk. However, with mother’s cooing and touching, infants will remain alert despite a full stomach.
But the relationship between food and psychology certainly doesn’t end in childhood. In fact, food has implications far beyond the individual. Dr. Kelly D. Brownell, an expert in the psychology of food, as well as a critic of the American food industry, says that food has a profound impact on not only the human psyche but also on society at large. Yale University even offers a course called, “The Psychology, Biology and Politics of Food.”When What You Eat Is Eating You
Who among us isn’t aware of the mental effects that foods like coffee and soda pop have? Most could describe the effects produced by the caffeine as energized. But for some who are sensitive to it or are not used to it the effect can simulate anxiety or produce nausea, headache, irritability and the inability to focus.
Sometimes food – even those foods we would consider healthy, such as fruits and vegetables – can have serious impacts on brain function. As reported in Psychology Today by Dr. Gary L. Wenk, a doctor of Psychology and Neuroscience, starfruit, an unusually tart fruit known in Latin America as carambola, has been known to produce “dangerous cognitive side effects.” Though loaded with anti-oxidants, minerals, and fiber, starfruit also contains caramboxin, which can actually cause mental confusion and deadly seizures in certain individuals.Are Feel Good Foods a Cure for Depression?
Since foods can affect our brain chemistry, and thereby change our moods, many authors and self-proclaimed experts suggest foods can be a natural way of treating various chronic emotional conditions. Who hasn’t heard that chocolate can make us feel better? Or heard that eating turkey can cause relaxation and help with insomnia? The curious thing here is that much of it is evidently the placebo effect.
Dr. Wenk explains that tryptophan, for example, popularly thought to cause drowsiness after eating Thanksgiving turkey actually has difficulty reaching the brain when ingested in the context of meat. So, the tryptophan known to be in turkey doesn’t actually reach the brain, so it is more likely the excess of carbohydrates consumed at the holidays that is responsible. And an excessive consumption of carbohydrates such as white flours and sugars can actually “induce changes in brain function.”
The irony here is that, according to Dr. Wenk, while low-quality foods and poor nutrition can negatively impact us emotionally, “a good diet will only prevent you from feeling depressed.” A good diet can not rescue you once depression sets in, Wenk explains.From Happy to “HANGRY”
Television commercials for Snickers candy bars humorously illustrate that when blood sugar drops we can be “not ourselves.” When the featured character, who typically acts unusually surly or testy, eats the candy bar provided to him, he returns to his amiable self. A protein-based product, Jack Link’s Jerky, also takes a similar comedic approach to the state it calls “hangry moments.”
Humor aside, it is true that Type 2 diabetes, chronic hypoglycemia and other conditions are known to result in erratic up-and-down emotions tied to blood sugar levels. Left untreated, these chronic conditions can lead to far worse than irritability or mood swings. But research shows that a certain key mineral can do a lot to even out moods and stabilize blood sugar levels.Magnesium’s “Chill” Effect
In fact, psychiatrist Emily Deans, PhD, calls magnesium “The Original Chill Pill.” She writes in Psychology Today that this vital mineral is often deficient in modern diets. She suggests that due to our modern lifestyle and the fact that magnesium is removed during the water treatment process, most people get as little as half their daily requirement.
The resulting deficiency can cause insomnia, anxiety, apathy, depression, headaches, insecurity, irritability, restlessness, and more, including being implicated in physiological complaints like fibromyalgia. But adding magnesium, either through supplements or magnesium-rich foods like almonds and spinach to the diet, can actually reverse many of these common ailments, according to Deans.
Deans recounts the case of a manic-depressive male who was experiencing depression, anxiety, insomnia, and suicidal thoughts. Despite being prescribed Lithium and other anti-depressant prescription drugs nothing seemed to work. However, after starting to take 300mg of magnesium glycinate with every meal, his sleep was immediately restored, depression and anxiety began to abate, leaving him with a “feeling of wellness.”
It all adds up to one thing: While the old adage you are what you eat may be a little over-simplistic, food does have a considerable impact on our sense of emotional well-being as well as on our physical health.Blog Categories: psychologyBlog Tags: psychology
By Rick Rapier
According to NCU’s Dr. Darren Adamson, Assistant Dean of the School of Marriage and Family Sciences, “The modern American family represents an evolution over time that reflects changes in the larger society.” Countless studies have been done that confirm his observation. And much has been written about the evolving American family. Television programs and motion pictures examining the changing nature of life’s most basic social institution have been plenty as well.
Most notably ABC Network has won ratings and many artistic awards for its “Modern Family,” a comedy which features the producers’ snapshot of how families in America have evolved. All of the impacts on the family from the sexual revolution, the technological revolution, and the civil rights movement are represented. The show presents a traditional but quirky marriage, an amusing blended second marriage, and a comedic same-sex couple - a trio of families that rounds out the “modern” conception of family.
Altogether, the picture the show paints is a far cry from the traditional family depicted in the illustrations of Norman Rockwell or in mass entertainment produced up through the ‘90s. But it all leads to an interesting question:
How do these depictions compare to the current statistical realities of today’s American families?Married with Children
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there was indeed a time when the predominant family in America consisted of a mother, a father, and children who were the product of that single marriage. From the start of the 20th century through 1950, 80% of households were occupied by married couples and their children. According to the 2010 census, that percentage fell to 48% with just 20% being married with children.The American Family in Real Numbers
Today the U.S. Census Bureau lays out a variety of “household” definitions. Traditional husband-wife arrangements now account for 54.5 million households or 68% of family units. However, the number of single and unmarried households – what the census called “non-family households” – had increased considerably. Of the 105.5 million domiciles, 71.8 million are “family households.” But of that 68% of family households, the census now splits the married category into two forms: those “with own children” (45.5%) and those “without own children” (54.5%), the latter hinting at blended family households.
With the rise in the number of single-parent homes reported, nearly 13 million homes are “female householder, no spouse present.” Another 4.4 million are “male householder, no spouse present.” And within these two groupings, the census further breaks it down to those with their own children and those without their own children. For female-led households of this type, 59% have children of their own. For male-led single households, 50% live with their own children.
So, what is the makeup of these families with children if the heads of households do not claim the children as “their own?” Per the 2010 census, of the 88.8 million children accounted for, 93% were biological offspring. The balance of the children were identified as stepchildren (4.7%) or adopted children (2.3%).“Non-family” Families
The census also accounts for what it calls “non-family households.” Of non-family households, which is about 32% of American homes, the census splits that number into two general categories: those led by a single male (46%) and those led by a single female (54%).
Per the census, the category “unmarried partners” includes same-sex couples. Of the 5.5 million households shared by unmarried partners, opposite-sex partners numbered 4.9 million or 89%. This was an increase of 40% over the 2000 census. The balance of unmarried partners includes those of the same sex, or 11% of unmarried partners, per the census.Same-sex Families
While the stigma associated with same-sex arrangements is waning, the number of same-sex households remains comparatively small. Of those households where partners cohabitate, about one-third of one percent are same-sex arrangements (.34%). While the census did not identify the number of same-sex households with children or without, an abstract of the 2009 American Community Survey (ACS) explores the question in depth.
Authors of the abstract assert that based on analysis of the 1990 census, 22% of lesbian households have children compared to 5% of partnered gay men. American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT) reports that as of 2000 there were children living in 27% of gay households. But a more recent estimate from the 2008 ACS study shows there may have been a significant increase. Some 13.9% of male-male households now contain children and 26.5% of female-female households have kids.
According to the 2009 ACS study, the majority of children in same-sex households are the products of previous heterosexual relationships.An Evolving Institution
Up to now, we have explored how the American family has changed. But NCU’s Dr. Adamson offers us a sense of why.
“With more attractive economic opportunities in specific parts of the country, individual families and family members became more mobile – moving away from extended family. It seems clear that our efforts to support families are best spent on seeking to understand the current family structure and not to seek to recreate history.”
—Dr. Darren Adamson, Assistant Dean of the School of Marriage and Family Sciences, Northcentral University
By Rick Rapier
Poet T.S. Eliot wrote, “Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.” While Eliot lived before business innovators like Steve Jobs, Oprah Winfrey, Lori Greiner, and Daymond John, he might as well have been describing the modern entrepreneur. Entrepreneurs have learned firsthand that by taking risks, they can go quite far.
But surely there must be more to it than risk? Just ask people who take the risk of starting small businesses each year and who fail. Many are willing to take great risks – mortgaging their homes, cashing in retirement funds, and spending life savings to make a go of it. It is rarely for lack of risk-taking that such endeavors go by the boards. While intestinal fortitude is clearly a must, there must be a lot more to it than a willingness to risk.
So, what does it take for an entrepreneur to succeed? As author Tom Wolfe put it, do they also need “the right stuff?” Moreover, do you have the right stuff to be a successful entrepreneur?No Silver Bullet
Truth be told, there isn’t just one characteristic that will determine whether you have what it takes to become a successful entrepreneur. There are several. And everyone seems to have an opinion of what they are. Google the phrase “traits of successful entrepreneurs” and you’ll get nearly 500 thousand results.
Entrepreneur Magazine claims to have isolated seven traits. StartUpBros.com, an online advice column for business startups, examines six keys characteristics. And finally, Inc. Magazine offers their readers five essential attributes that all successful entrepreneurs share.Five Traits Distilled
Five characteristics were common among each of the aforementioned publications. These traits are considered essential characteristics shared by successful entrepreneurs:1. Driven
Yale Law professor Amy Chua, author of Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, asserts that an attitude of “I’m gonna show everybody” can produce incredible entrepreneurial drive in certain individuals.
For an entrepreneur to succeed, he or she must be intensely motivated. More than one source called this “passion.” Thomas Edison was so driven by his desire to invent that he slept only three or four hours a night. The same has been said of President John F. Kennedy who sacrificed sleep in his own effort to be more productive. Successful entrepreneurs will sacrifice all – sleep, relationships, and savings, whatever else it takes – to realize their vision.2. Singular Vision
A single-minded focus is also evident in successful entrepreneurs. Will Mitchell of StartupBros called it “immunity to shiny objects.” Until a particular goal is achieved, the entrepreneur cannot be dissuaded by other, newer goals. In an effort to hold to their singular vision, entrepreneurs also write down their goals. According to Drew Hendricks of Inc., “Putting things in writing makes them more real and easier to remember and can help avoid confusion down the road.”3. Tenacious
Entrepreneurs also must be willing to keep going - regardless of temporary failure and obstacles. They have an attitude of never taking no as the answer. This trait is also expressed as patience and persistence, with a willingness to fail. Lori Greiner, inventor-entrepreneur and star of ABC’s “Shark Tank,” proclaimed on her Facebook page in 2012 that, “Falling down is part of life – getting back up is living!”4. Thinks Outside the Box
While it might come with a negative connotation, Entrepreneur Magazine asserts successful entrepreneurs are rule breakers. To reframe that as a positive, they must be innovative with a tolerance of ambiguity. If the rule is, “that can’t be done,” the entrepreneur will seek to find a way to prove that rule wrong. Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group, offers this outlook: “You don’t learn to walk by following rules.”5. Networked
The four traits listed above are completely internal. But this last trait also involves something outside the individual: connections. Peer-to-peer connections give the entrepreneur a chance to bounce ideas off other experts at their own level and to build their organization with like-minded people.
While it takes a certain personality exhibited by many of the traits above, to succeed an entrepreneur also needs a network of relationships with money sources. Steve Martin famously taught his audiences “how to become a millionaire and pay no taxes.” His advice was, “First, get a million dollars.” While seemingly silly, according to the experts, it isn’t far off. If this sounds like something that would suit you and you want to get the right skills check out NCU's MBA program with a entrepreneurship specialization.So, do you have the right stuff to be a successful entrepreneur? If you have a burning desire to find out, you just might! Blog Categories: career-adviceBlog Tags: entrepreneurshipmaster-of-business-administration
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Today is Veteran’s Day and with thousands of Americans currently serving their country both at home and abroad we here at Northcentral would like to acknowledge the incredible contribution those in the military make. Not only do they defend and protect their fellow citizens and our way of life domestically, they also bring amazing helps to people in need in other parts of the world. And not only do the enlisted and the commissioned dedicate their lives to military service, so do their families who sacrifice so much. And we are proud to say that not only do we have many graduates who have served in the various branches of the U.S. military, thanks to our approach to personalized, one-to-one online education with no residency requirement, we have students who are still actively serving!
To show our appreciation for those who have served or are currently serving we have compiled a list of discounts available exclusively for Active Duty Military and Veterans. Please feel free to share this list with friends and family. We appreciate all that you do!
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Benefits/Resources for Active Duty and Veterans
· VA - Birth Defects Assistance - Payments for Children with Spina Bifida whose Parents Served in Vietnam or Korea
· VA - Survivors' Payments - Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC)just-for-funBlog Tags: militaryveterans
By Rick Rapier
Peter Bemski, Ph.D. was named Dean of Northcentral University’s School of Business and Technology Management (SoBTM) as of July 22, 2014. Dr. Bemski has extensive experience in a range of university and business functions, and earned an M.A. in English Literature at Boston College and earned his doctorate in Educational Leadership and Innovation at the University of Colorado at Denver.
Dr. Bemski previously held the position of President of English Pathways, a wholly owned subsidiary of Teikyo University. He later served as Professor and Chair of MBA and Master of Science in Organizational Leadership Programs at Regis University in Denver, Colorado. In his esteemed career Dr. Bemski has also worked as the Center Director for ELS Denver and as the Assistant Director of Centro de Cultura Anglo-Americana in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Fluent in Portuguese and Spanish, a globally oriented, Dr. Bemski has proven himself to be a multilingual academic leader well-suited to advancing NCU's mission to deliver accessible quality degree programs to students around the globe.
We caught up with Dr. Bemski to learn more about what brought him to NCU and about his vision for the School of Business and Technology Management .
Question: In your new role as Dean, how do you believe you can help students achieve their academic goals?
Dr. Bemski: In my role as Dean, I can help students succeed and achieve their academic goals in a number of ways. I can make sure that faculty get the support they need so they can work well with students, and I can work hard to make sure students get the academic support that they need as well. It's not just one person or another. It's a team here at NCU, and we will work hard to support all of our students.
Question: What got you interested in and excited about the field of business and technology management?
Dr. Bemski: This is a very exciting time to be in the field of business and technology management. Change is coming fast and furious. The world is getting smaller. I can't predict what the future holds, but I know it's going to be full of change. I want to be a part of it, and I know our students do, too.
Question: How are NCU’s Business and Technology Management programs different than other schools?
Dr. Bemski: NCU's Business and Technology Management programs are not the same as they are at other universities. Our regionally-accredited programs use a personalized, one-to-one teaching and learning model. That means we recognize the fact that each and every one of our students is different. Each and every course can be tweaked to take advantage of that. Not all students are the same. All of our business programs are accredited by ACBSP*. This is important because it's an outside accreditor telling us that our business programs meet the benchmarks. Plus all of our NCU faculty hold doctoral degrees. I don't think you'll find that at many universities either. We do some things the same [as other universities]: We expect hard work from our students. Our PhD programs do not require physical residency, but they do require a lot of work, as do all our programs. We're going to challenge our students. But we're going to do it our way.
Question: How does our ACBSP accreditation help students in the SoBTM?
Dr. Bemski: All of the programs at Northcentral University's School of Business and Technology Management are accredited by ACBSP. This is important because the ACBSP requires that we meet certain standards. We can't just tell you we're meeting them. They come in and look. They review our syllabi. They review everything we do. [With accreditation], they have said we meet those standards.
Question: In a general sense, who are the faculty of the School of Business and Technology Management?
Dr. Bemski: I'm very excited to be working with a great group of faculty here at NCU, and I know our students will enjoy working with them as well. Our faculty all have doctorates and that gives the student the opportunity to be in touch with active researchers. But you know what? They're also practitioners in [that field of study]. I encourage our students to enjoy it. It's rare that students get this kind of opportunity.
Question: How can students be successful in an online program in Business and Technology Management?
Dr. Bemski: Students often ask what it is they need to do to be successful in an online program such as this one. The key is staying on top of things. Get behind in the online accelerated model, and it's very difficult to catch up. Try and stay on top of things. Try and be prepared. Get any texts well ahead of time. Review the syllabus, if possible, ahead of time. Plan out those weeks, and they'll go by very quickly. I think that's the main thing, but things do come up, and when things do come up, count on us to be there to help.
Question: What is your vision for the SoBTM for the next five years?
Dr. Bemski: My vision for the future of the School of Business and Technology Management is a constantly improving school. Students have to be a part of that, faculty have to be a part of that, accreditation bodies – we all have to work together to constantly to get better, to better integrate technology into our programs, to better be aware of everything that's happening in this ever smaller world.
To view the full video:
* Accreditation Council for Business Schools and ProgramsBlog Categories: career-adviceBlog Tags: Peter BemskiSchool of business and technologybusinesstechnologysuccess
By Christia Gibbons
Patients and therapists are texting, emailing and web chatting these days as virtual therapy sessions are becoming more acceptable and better regulated.
Called virtual therapy, e-therapy, digital therapy, or the like, mental-health therapy via the Internet is gaining popularity Unlike Lisa Kudrow’s Fiona Wallace therapist in Showtime’s “Web Therapy” – who follows no rules or ethical standards as she metes out advice in three-minute sessions – the American Psychological Association has set guidelines and legislators in different states are passing laws to regulate when and how therapists can operate in this medium. Still, it’s somewhat of a buyer-beware situation when connecting to online “therapy,” and users need to do a little research to figure out whether the cyberspace “therapist” who is offering counseling services is certified. If someone prefers to talk, such sites as blahtherapy.com and breakthrough.com offer conversational, person to person therapy sessions. Blahtherapy offers $25 sessions with a qualified therapist and free sessions if you don’t mind talking with a stranger. Breakthrough offers video chat sessions with a qualified therapist or psychiatrist, and can even help a potential client navigate insurance possibilities.Greater Flexibility
If it’s not too soon to call it this, more traditional virtual therapy still involves the one-on-one of therapist and patient seeing each other while they talk. And virtual therapy actually offers more than convenience for many patients. Dr. Daniela J. Lamas, writing in the August 4th issue of Boston Globe, claims that just coming to an office can be harrowing for some patients, such as autistic children. So the ability to Skype or use other video chat methods becomes a welcome option.
Perhaps catering to the millennial, or just really busy people, therapy-by-text is now also possible. According to an Ocober 15th article in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), these formats are similar to an instant message on Google or Facebook. The patient/client can text anytime day or night and expect a response within 24 hours.
The WSJ reports that these therapy text services are encrypted and conversations are archived. WSJ article author Joshua Fruhlinger describes two sites – Betterhelp.com and Talkspace.com.Greater Accessibility
In addition to personal preference, digital therapy and its umbrella of telemedicine, may be the best or only option for those in rural areas or other situations in which traveling to an office is prohibitive. Lamas pointed out, though, that Skype and other similar applications aren’t HIPAA compliant, so some practitioners use software especially developed for therapy/medical online conversations.
While the use of insurance differs by which source or method of virtual therapy is used, there is increasing use and payment of the provision of such services by Medicare and privateinsurance. For instance, the California-based company Breakthrough is working to set up contracts with insurance companies to provide for online therapy.
TheTelepsychology Task Force of the American Psychological Association considered these two components to be critical when it helped to establish virtual therapy guidelines adopted in July of 2013:
1) The psychologist’s knowledge of, and competence in, the use of the telecommunication
technologies being utilized; and,
2) the need to ensure the client/patient has a full understanding of the increased risks to loss
of security and confidentiality when using telecommunication technologies.
The guidelines acknowledge the “dynamic area” of telecommunication technologies in providing psychological services and covers ethics, training, record keeping and more to help therapists make decisions for the virtual arena.But Let the Client and the Therapist Beware
For Scottsdale, Arizona-based psychologist Dr. Lisa Strohman the APA is catching up to a these virtual practice that have been in use for some time. Even so, she points out that therapists need to be mindful of what laws and regulations are place in different states to make sure they are allowed to practice across state and international borders.
Dr. Strohman also says she is concerned for patients who don’t know who they are talking to through some virtual therapy models, but she does see such therapy as a viable transition from in-office appointments.
““If I Skype with a client I can still read their face, and that’s fine for me, If we had never met before, that would be a real disadvantage.”
—Dr. Lisa Strohman
She explains that some of her teenage clients may say little during an in-person session, but open up in an email afterward. She uses protected email accounts to preserve confidentiality.
However, she is most concerned with the unseen patient. “How can I be effective if the person says they are a 40-year-old man and it’s really a 15-year-old boy?”
Dr. Strohman says she’s concerned with the automation of therapy because good psychology is an art, and “Eighty percent of our behavior is picked up on via body language.”
As with most of the technological advances seen throughout society and various disciplines, virtual therapy in all its interations is a genie out of the bottle. And with convenience and ease of access, there can be abuses.
So, while the responsible bodies like the APA and others wrestles with qualifications and proper implementation, users of virtual therapies would be wise to weigh the benefits over traditional therapy approaches, and to do all in their power to check the credentials of those offering their counseling services on line.*/ Blog Categories: couples-therapyBlog Tags: mftmarriage-and-family-therapy-2
NCU's School of Marriage and Family Sciences was well-represented by 20 faculty and staff members at the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy's 2014 Annual Conference. Held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on October 16-19, about 1400 attendees enjoyed the following keynote speakers:
Karyn Gordon, MDIV, DMIN – Understanding and Motivating Gen Y's
Michelle Weiner-Davis, MSW & Michael Durant – Steve de Shazar and Insoo Kim Berg: Storied Reflections about Genuine Pioneers
Frank N. Thomas, Ph.D. LMFT-S, SFBTA Archivist & Cynthia K. Hansen, Ph.D. – Shifts Happen: Reflections on the Legacy of Insoo Kim Berg and Steve de Shazer
The Honorable Patrick J. Kennedy – The Impact of Public Policy on our Behavioral Health Care System
In addition, Drs. Branden Henline, James Billings and Darren Adamson presented on distance-based learning in the MFT field. Throughout the conference, the NCU faculty and staff members in attendance were privileged to meet many current and former students from the School of Marriage and Family Sciences.
Pictured above: Bottom left to right – Dr. Elaine Willerton and Dr. Kristi Harrison; Standing left to right – Dr. Annabelle Goodwin, Dr. Nichola Ribadu, Dr. Valerie Glass, and Dr. Chuck West
Pictured Above: Dr. Branden Henline, Dr. Annabelle Goodwin, Dr. Nichola Ribadu, Dr. Elaine Willerton, Dr, Shay Thomas, and Dr. Kristi Harrison
To learn more about the field of marriage and family therapy and NCU's School of Marriage and Family Sciences, click here.
Blog Categories: marriage-and-family-therapyBlog Tags: conferencesmarrriage and family sciencesncu-facultyaamft
If you work in the field of education, you know that it is a tool that can be used to empower those who choose it. And when you teach or lead students at any level, they become empowered with the information they need to become happy, successful adults. Not only is education an empowering tool for your students, but a commitment to life-long learning through the pursuit of an advanced degree can empower YOU to control the direction you want your career to take and expand your own influence in changing and empowering lives through the power of education.Here is a quick list of ways you can empower your students in the classroom.
1. Help students find their passion
2. Recognize students who participate and share their thoughts
3. Personalize lessons and make them relevant
4. Encourage debate and expression of ideas and opinions
5. Brainstorm with students
6. Have patience
7. Help students determine what they want and find their passion
8. Practice empathy and resilience
9. Promote leadership and explore different forms of it
10. Helps students problem solve, analyze and research issues and ideas
For more tips on how to empower students in the classroom, teachthought.com offers a comprehensive list of 50 Ways to Empower Students in a Connected World.
If you’re interested in looking for new ways to empower yourself, check out some of the programs NCU’s School of Education offers or call 844-628-7309 to speak to an enrollment advisor to discuss your educational goals and a program that is right for your career aspirations.Blog Categories: career-adviceeducation-2Blog Tags: educationclassroomteaching
Did you know that the typical American spends about one hour every day looking for things? If you haven't already started doing the math in your head, that's seven hours per week, or a total of 15 days each year! Right about now you should be thinking about just how valuable your time is and wondering what you might do with an extra 15 days per year!
If you're smart, you'll start by taking a little time to organize your life, making sure every little thing – from physical possessions such as your keys and sunglasses, to reminders for appointments, bills and even birthdays and anniversaries – has a home where it lives all the time. If it doesn’t have a home, now is the time to find it a new one!
October 20 is National Clean Your Virtual Desktop Day! So hopefully you have taken some time to do just that today. Here are some other ways to stay organized in a digital world.Benefits of Getting Organized Finding What You Want When You Need It
When was the last time you spent 20 minutes looking for your keys before you could leave for the grocery store? Or, how about 30 minutes scouring the sent items in your Outlook for the document you need to reference in your next meeting?
This may seem like a routine you just can't break, but working to make sure you're organized can end up saving you huge amounts of time and stress. Just think – you'll make it to the grocery store before the last cart is taken! You may even arrive to your meeting to find you're the only one with the proper document printed and ready to go. And as a bonus, you're less stressed and better prepared for the task at hand.
“Executives waste six weeks per year searching for lost documents..”
—Fast Company MagazineStaying Connected With Your Family and Community
How many times have you forgotten your best friend's birthday? Okay, bad example – how about your great uncle Joe's birthday? We're betting Emily Post wouldn't be pleased with your answer! Making the effort to organize your life can not only make your day-to-day a little less hectic, it can help bring a little more joy to others' as well.
By organizing your calendar and making sure you're up to date on birthdays, anniversaries and social events, you'll be less likely to forget the important stuff. And the important stuff is what's worth our valuable time, right?Money in Your Pocket
Now let's talk about something we can all relate to – dollars and cents. Have you ever replaced a pair of headphones because you couldn't find them? How about a pair of sunglasses or even a cell phone? You can avoid these unnecessary expenses just by making the adjustment to help yourself find what you need when you need it.
By organizing your virtual and physical life, you'll find you have a less cluttered home, workspace and even mind. What exactly does that mean? Your bills and appointment reminders won't be scattered on your counter, so those sunglasses you thought you lost last week won't be buried under a pile of things you forgot about!Getting Started
Interested in a little self-improvement? The first step is to organize your life – every piece of it – and in a digital world, there are endless options for organization out there. Here are a few suggestions that you can carry with you – IF you don't lose your cell phone or tablet along the way!Apps to help you stay organized Evernote
Ever wish you could store articles you find across social media, email and the web? This app will help you do just that and more! It has the ability to categorize and make notes so that you can find them later when you need them. There are also a number of other ways to stay organized with this app such as, audio notes and even capturing images. This app is great for research projects as well. Try Evernote out by saving this article.Dropbox
This app allows you to store multiple types of files from spreadsheets to photos to videos. The best part of this app is that once they are in Dropbox they are accessible from any device and can be shared with multiple users.Awesome Note
This app syncs with Google docs and Evernote (listed above) and tracks thoughts, ideas, calendars and also makes to-do lists.Timr
This is a time tracking app that allows you to set and track time limits for each task you do during the day. Great to help you find out how long tasks take, where you are wasting the most time and to look back and see where your day has gone.ToDo Together
This app allows you to form groups with your friends, family and coworkers to share task lists and work as an effective team.
This is a condensed list of our favorite apps. What do you use to stay organized?*/
Northcentral University and the National Education Association (NEA) are set to co-develop the largest ever Professional Learning Community for PK-12 and higher education teachers in the U.S.
The NEA, which is committed to advancing the cause of public education, last year launched their Great Public Schools (GPS) Network. The GPS Network is designed to provide NEA member teachers with an online resource where they can discuss and reflect on today’s education issues while sharing ideas and recommendations with other teachers and the wider American education community. The GPS includes threaded discussion forums on topics such as:
• Common Core State Standards
• Tech and Classroom – Elementary
• Safe and Healthy Schools
• Parent School Partnerships
• ESP Hot Issues
• Advancing Teaching Leadership
• Reading Literacy
• Priority Schools
• Assessment of Student Learning
• Peer Assistance and Review
GPS resources address math, science, social studies and English language arts. But the potential of the GPS is not about what the NEA posts. It’s the potential resources that 3.2 million NEA members can share with their fellow educators.
While the concept of Professional Learning Communities is not new to K-12 education, the NEA with the support of NCU will be able to deliver this program via their virtual learning platform. Working with NCU, the NEA is making their GPS Network available to their 3.2 million members plus any international educators who would like to join.
For educators currently teaching in the K-12 environment, joining the GPS provides access to the best practices, curriculum and ideas of other educators. For those who are no longer in the classroom, their experience, insight and knowledge provides a great resource for other educators. There are also a number of free educational resources for parents as well.
The GPS Network, supported by NCU, has the capacity to connect teachers, locally, nationally and globally like never before.
For more information on the GPS Network,visit http://www.gpsnetwork.org/.
By Shelley Simmons
It’s October, and that means you will see the color pink everywhere in support of Breast Cancer Awareness month, which is an annual campaign to increase awareness of the disease. According to the American Cancer Society®, about one in eight U.S. women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime. If someone you care about is diagnosed with breast cancer, here are some suggestions on how to cope.Learn about breast cancer and be an advocate
According to Lisa Kelledy, Ph.D., LMFT, a specialist in medical family therapy and chronic illness, and core faculty member at Northcentral University’s School of Marriage and Family Services, the first step is to do some research. “Learn as much as you can so you’ll understand what the person is going through,” she says.
If you will be going along on appointments, make a list of all your questions for the doctor, and even offer to write down the answers the doctor provides. Your loved one may appreciate not having to process everything being told to her at that moment and having an advocate for her care.Be there and offer support
You can offer emotional support as the person goes through a range of emotions. Cancer patients endure shock, fear, denial, sadness and anger.
Be there for her by listening, encouraging her to express her feelings, and reaching out physically with a gentle touch or hug. Unless you are asked for your opinions or advice, keep them in reserve.
Do not avoid or ignore her because of your own worries or fears. If you are unable to visit or call, send a note to let her know you’re thinking about her.
You can also keep her spirits up with small surprises. A bouquet of flowers, a card, or a box of candy can help to bring a smile to her face.Help with everyday life
There are other, practical ways for you to support your loved one, as well. You can offer to help with housework, run errands, drive her to doctor appointments, or do laundry. Find out what her food preferences are and do her grocery shopping or cook for her. It could be helpful to have her freezer stocked with meals that can be easily and quickly prepared.
If she has children, you can help to keep their lives as normal as possible. Drive them to their sports practices, dance classes and take them food shopping or out to eat.Other ways to support and cope with breast cancer
If your loved one uses blogs and social media through her cancer treatment, make time to read her thoughts and feelings.
“Some may find enough support through social media, but others may need a more personal experience with counseling, either alone or with their family,” says Kelledy, who adds that the patient’s doctor can help them find these resources.
Group activities may also interest-based, such as fitness, book clubs, art projects and potlucks.Realize that you will need support, too
If you are helping to care for someone with cancer, you may at times find yourself overwhelmed. You can also seek support through social media and other networking groups. Ask others for help when you need it. “It is especially important for caregivers to relax, maintain a healthy lifestyle and sleep schedule, and reach out when they need to,” adds Kelledy.Breast Cancer Resources
If you are interested in making a career out of helping families cope with medical illnesses, there are specializations in this area of family therapy. For example, Northcentral University’s School of Marriage and Family Sciences offers a PhD in Marriage and Family Therapy with a specialization in Medical Family Therapy.
Colonel Vince Lindenmeyer (Ph.D., Education / Training & Development Leadership, 2013)
Community is everything in the military.
"A soldier cannot operate, much less survive, alone," notes Colonel Vince Lindenmeyer (Ph.D., 2013), senior Army strategist and joint operational planner at the United States Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM) in Omaha, Nebraska. "It takes a 'battle buddy,' a squad and leadership for just one soldier to survive in harsh conditions."
With over 23 years of commissioned service in the Infantry, Logistics and Strategist career fields at the platoon leader and combatant command levels, Lindenmeyer is no stranger to harsh conditions. His military training, badges and awards include the Expert Infantryman's Badge, Ranger Tab, Senior Parachutist Badge, and the Bronze Star. He has also been deployed multiple times throughout his military career, including twice while completing his Ph.D. in Education from Northcentral University.
"In hindsight, I am very thankful for the no residency requirement," says Lindenmeyer, who was adamant about finding a regionally accredited university with this unique feature.
"The greatest challenge for me in my doctoral journey was acknowledging that I had to put my doctoral work on the back burner (taking two MLOAs) for my career," he continues. "I couldn't help but think of my late father, Professor Carl R. Lindenmeyer, who was all-but-dissertation in his field because his teaching career took off and he was too busy to reach the finish line."
It was then that Lindenmeyer realized how important community is for doctoral students as well.
“All doctoral candidates need a “battle buddy” or colleague who is also negotiating a program of instruction, a support network similar to a squad, and a mentor to help guide us to the finish line.”
—Col. Vincent Lindenmeyer
"Thankfully, I had peers in other doctoral programs for encouragement, including my wife, Reverend (Dr.) Cynthia Lindenmeyer, a recent graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary’s Doctor of Ministry (D.Min.) program."
In fact, building a supportive community is Lindenmeyer's first piece of advice to current doctoral students.
“You can't be afraid to build 'community' around you while you are negotiating your doctoral journey," he encourages. "Reach out to subject matter experts and ask questions of others. You will be surprised at how many international scholars answer your emails. Practice your doctoral ‘elevator speech’ on anyone that will listen. It works; I must have practiced my ‘elevator speech’ hundreds of times while refining it along the way," he laughs.
Lindenmeyer's dissertation research examined relationships among organizational commitment, career intent and retention behavior in a closed personnel systems (U.S. Army Captains) using the Theory of Planned Behavior.
"The retention of highly talented initial-entry and mid-career managers has become a focal point for both corporate and government agencies," he explains. "While [completing] my Northcentral course work and serving in the United States Army Human Resources Command from 2007 to 2009, I recognized a lack of understanding regarding the relationships between organizational commitment and retention behavior among U.S. Army Captains. [I] wanted to explore the possibility of extending the Theory of Planned Behavior to closed personnel systems to illuminate further insights on retention incentive offerings."
"Ultimately, I learned that the United States Army must continue to retain junior officers through engaged leadership, meaningful deployments and training opportunities to remain a ready and resilient force for our Nation’s next national security challenges," he adds.
Today, Lindenmeyer is able to combine his educational experiences with his significant government and military experience to build community as a leader in his field. In his current role as a lead operational planner with USSTRATCOM, he leads teams of subject matter experts to frame problems and develop solutions for complex crises and global situations that arise.
"In the military, community means more than just work. It means living, eating and rowing together as a team," he says. "As a leader, I am not afraid to demonstrate a strong personal work ethic in getting the job done while showing respect for others' intellectual contributions towards the final product."
It's like the saying goes, "We're all in this together." Whether in life, work, or even in educational pursuits like a challenging doctoral journey, we are always part of a larger community.
"The community that you build will keep you sane along the journey," adds Lindenmeyer. "Most importantly, community will get you to the finish line."*/ Blog Categories: ncu-alumniBlog Tags: Higher Degrees; Colonel; Leadership; Community
By: Christia Gibbons
How many times have you heard that communication is key in an ever-changing work environment? How many times have you uttered under your breath: “Not again?
Don’t stop reading this just because “communication is key” has become a tired phrase. Instead, hear what these three experts – one a human resources guru, one a serial entrepreneur and one an academician who helped change an aerospace company – have to say about bringing a cliché to life.
Also consider the words “leadership,” “listening,” and “texting,” and here you’ll have some insight into managing and adapting to change whether you own a company or you work for one.Communicate Why the Change is Needed
“The most important thing about communication is to be absolutely certain it occurred,” said Jack Milligan, who has spent more than 40 years learning about “human capital” as a human resources expert. He is president of Leathers Milligan Associates, an organization and leadership development firm in Phoenix.
It could be in the form of a sticky note thanking someone for a job well done to a town hall meeting between company owners and staff to texting your Millennial employees to attend that town hall meeting, said Dr. Jennifer Scott, who is part of the core faculty in Northcentral University’s School of Business and Technology Management.
Scott spent 24 years in the aerospace industry during the time that Allied Signal was bought by Honeywell and staff went from 300,000 to 100,000 employees before moving into higher education.
“Employers need to communicate why change is needed and have the data to back it up,” Scott said. And then they need to reach out to staff in meaningful ways be they baby boomers, Gen X or Millennials.
The boss and other company leaders need to actually talk with employees when change is coming and not just send out emails. “Get employees involved. Get them away from their normal task and get face-to-face with them to talk about the change,” she said.
Richard Lippert, chairman and CEO of Leathers Milligan – and as Milligan refers to him “a serial entrepreneur” – said it’s not as hard as some may think to reach out to employees to get the word out about change.
If a company is announcing a change initiative, “out of 100 people there are probably five people you have to get on board,” Lippert said.
Milligan offered another look at overall staffing and who helps the most with change. Beyond the top 10 percent of people in the company who already are on board, and the bottom 10 percent who might as well look for another job, he said the middle 80 percent “is the gold mine for every organization to move themselves up and to the right on a sustainability graph. They do that by educating themselves and you must invest in them.”
“Change is constant, especially today with technology changing seemingly weekly. Employer and employee must be diligent in keeping up and sharpening their state-of-the-art skills and knowledge. Employees must keep their attitudes flexible and their skills honed through professional organizations and certifications, or their skills will start to atrophy.”
—Jack Milligan, President of Leathers Milligan Associates
“Whether you are a butcher, a baker, work for Apple, for a foundry or are on the edge of technology, you must be aware of the changes going on in your business.”Know What Motivates People
Employees’ three priorities are themselves, their families and their professions and employers must find ways to know at any given time what is going with an employee to get maximum return from them.
Employers need to be aware more than ever before of the “human capital” it takes to run a successful business, Milligan said. It is the employer’s responsibility to be responsible, “to keep themselves at a place where human capital constantly keeps them in a competitive situation. Everyone can compete for the latest software, scarce resources, what you have as the one differentiator in a business is the human capital.”
“It is always the employer’s responsibility to dig as deep as they can to find out about the employee.”
Companies minimize problems with implementing change when they hire right, Milligan said. “Once you get that asset on board, communicate with them. You (the business) must care about their top three priorities and realize people can get overwhelmed and sidetracked, then you remind them that you have their best interests at heart.”
“If they don’t see a synergistic relationship with their personal goals then it will be just a temporary situation,” he said.Leadership Needs to Take Accountability
“Show me a leadership with all their hearts and minds in the right place, I’ll show you a strong company,” Milligan said. These people are sensitive to the human capital. “You need to connect the individual sustainability formula to the corporate sustainability formula and if you do, they won’t just follow you, they’ll catapult you to the right side of the graph.”Lippert put it this way, “Enlightened companies are doing better; these companies are outperforming others dramatically. There is no room for yelling and screaming anymore.”Milligan said a good leader has the ability to listen, merge data and head off in the right direction. “Mediocre and bad leaders aren’t anywhere near as flexible in their ability to communicate, ask the right questions in that environment, and at that time.”
He pointed out that most good leaders don’t have a rigid operating style. They also don’t have to be charismatic or compelling. But they do have that “elusive quality of asking the right questions and being a good listener.” And, they surround themselves with good people who also ask the right questions.
If you want your employees on board, break down the change into workable chunks and give them a timeline, NCU’s Scott said. “Even a sticky note on a computer can help. Just acknowledge them; people like to be acknowledged.”Manage to Generational Communication Differences
Part of getting employees to embrace and prosper with change is to talk to all levels of employees – “let everyone be involved,” she said. “Push the decision-making to the lowest level, find out from them what needs to be improved, and what needs to be changed. They are the ones that make it happen.”
The world today is more participatory, Scott pointed out. Instead of veterans and Baby Boomers who were told what to do and did it, “this generation is more geared to their feelings and their happiness.The Millennials move on in two or three years to be happier.”
They also can shift gears readily and employers need to use the tools of the time from Skyping to webinars to texting, and any other preferred method to communicate with them.
Lippert said the way to reach Millennials and Gen Xers is to realize they want their work to be meaningful; they want to change the world. They might embrace your change if you know enough to give them paid work time off to work at Habitat for Humanity, or another community cause, for example.Leaders Need to Walk Around and Connect
Leaders must be more focused on retention through recognition and rewards and know they must constantly “sell the opportunity to stay with me.” “People don’t quit companies, they quit bosses,” Lippert said. Gone are the days when bosses can afford to think their employees should feel lucky just to have a job. “People don’t necessarily have to work for a company today – often it’s more a collaboration on projects in this new economy.”
Sometimes staying connected is as easy as leaders simply walking the hallways.
“Communication is about maintaining a dialogue and leadership – leaders have to do the right thing every day. employers should use the tools that determine how an organization is working and then take the steps to change. Employers should use the tools that determine how an organization is working and then take the steps to change.”
—Richard Lippert, Chairman and CEO of Leathers Milligan
The most significant aspect about companies adapting to change and helping their staff navigate it, is to be aware that “your people are an asset, not a labor expense,” Lippert said. “Investing in people, getting them engaged … that will improve return.”*/
Perri needed help financing her senior year in college. Abbie and Mike dreamed of getting master’s degrees. Savannah wanted to be able to complete her education – all four were working full-time.
And, all four had employers with open ears and wallets.
In Mike’s case, his employer, Harrah’s Ak-Chin, which is about 35 miles south of Phoenix and a subsidiary of Caesar’s Entertainment, already had tuition-reimbursement program, but for the other three, it took their efforts to pave the way for others.Tips For Building a Case
The key said Abbie Fink, vice president and general manager of HMA Public Relations in Phoenix, "is to build the case for why the employer will benefit from helping finance someone’s education.
"Whether it’s a leadership program, Spanish class, or underwriting an academic degree, it has to make sense for both sides," Abbie said.
“Line up your arguments to have your employer cover the cost by building your case – show that by investing in me here’s how I’ll be better.”
—Abbie Fink, HMA Public Relations in PhoenixNegotiate
Abbie negotiated her employer tuition-reimbursement as part of her contract based on a sliding scale of 100 percent for an A and 90 percent for a B. Those grades were the only options in getting the reimbursement. She was already halfway through her master’s degree in communications when she joined HMA. She went on to help develop benefits packages that included tuition reimbursement, as well as financial support to belong to professional organizations and take pertinent classes or seminars to help employees develop.
“I’ve always been a big proponent of continuing education,” Abbie said. “It’s good for the person and it’s good for business. (Now) as an employer who believes in continuing education, I see it as an obligation to offer tuition reimbursement or professional growth opportunities. Don’t let (an employee’s) finances be the obstacle.”
Whether thousands of dollars or a few hundred, an employer’s investment in staff builds loyalty and more knowledgeable workers.Set a Minimum GPA
Perri Collins was a young student who had run out of financial aid. She got a job as communications manager at the Arizona Newspaper Association as she was about to start her senior year at Arizona State University.
“I petitioned the board of directors (of ANA),” she said, adding she put together the program requirements herself. “I had originally asked for $1,000 per semester, but the board only approved $500 due to the nonprofit’s small budget. As long as I passed all my classes that semester and maintained a GPA of at least 3.0, they approved the reimbursement.”
Perri said the tuition assistance showed her she was a valued employee and she figures the board thought it was “a small cost to invest in having a better-trained employee.”
She advised that those seeking tuition reimbursement do their research and have the plan fleshed out before going to the powers that be. “It’s much easier for them to say yes if they don’t have to do any of the legwork or think too hard about it,” she said.
In the end, she pointed out, “It’s a great way to build loyalty with employees, encouraging them to stay longer with the company. Plus, they get a better-educated workforce, which benefits the company in the long run.”Point Out The Tax Benefits
Savannah Ohl, who works for a business-to-business marketing agency in Mesa, Ariz., said when she came on board at Elevation Marketing, no reimbursement program existed. A year into her new job, she started talking to her boss about such a program and “its benefits for a company from a tax write off stand point. We had our HR manager look into all the details and set up a proposal that was presented to the owner.”
“This benefit is extremely beneficial to me and a handful of others at our company,” Savannah said. “We have a total of 25 employees and about five are taking advantage of the program… I’m able to apply what I’m learning in school to my career in real time.”
For Mike Kintner, Harrah’s Ak-Chin director of marketing and operations, having educational benefits helped him feel like a valued employee, and now he helps his staff and other Harrah's employees understand the value such a benefit can offer. Harrah’s helped finance his executive MBA from the University of Arizona’s Eller College of Management. Caesars Entertainment has tuition discount partnerships with several other schools, including Northcentral University.
“The company felt it was important to invest in my education and it was part of my development plan; something I was asking for… and [in return] they got a more well-rounded employee”
—Mike Kintner, Director of Marketing and Operations for Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino
“Now I have something no one can take away from me, my education,” Mike said.Studies Show Tuition Reimbursement is Key For Retaining Employees
A Wall Street Journal article pointed out in 2007 that while some corporations feared tuition-assistance programs as just a way to make their employees more marketable and apt to leave, research concluded that paying for education made employees stick around.
A study by a Stanford graduate student cited in the WSJ article revealed “dramatically lower attrition among participants in a tuition-reimbursement program at an unnamed nonprofit institution.”
The WSJ story went on to point out that a 2004 study Peter Cappelli, a management professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, found “tuition-assistance appears to select better quality employees who stay on the job longer,” perhaps to use the benefit.
NCU Alumnus Dr. Michael Salvatore, PhD in Education – Instructional and Curriculum Leadership, received accolades last week from New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and other local and state officials for his outstanding leadership abilities and for being an asset to New Jersey’s education community during a ribbon cutting ceremony for a new school that opened in the Long Branch School District.
Salvatore, who is Superintendent of the Long Branch Public School District, was among the governor and other state and local officials as well as students and staff for the opening ceremony of the George L. Catrambone School. The new 109,000 square-foot school was designed for grades K-5 and includes 41 classrooms, four special education classrooms, computer rooms, a gymnasium, media center, library, and more.
“The design of this school is futuristic with capabilities which will be relevant for decades,”
—NCU Alumnus Dr. Michael Salvatore, PhD in Education
On behalf of the NCU community, we congratulate Dr. Salvatore and his colleagues on this remarkable achievement. To read more, check out the news article here.*/
From Starbucks with its thousands of workers to Phoenix-based HMA Public Relations with its seven employees, the value of an education is honored – and better yet – paid for. Thousands of businesses offer some kind of college-tuition assistance, and apparently, others can be talked into it. By offering a tuition reimbursement program companies are showing employees and applicants that you value them.
A tuition reimbursement program truly invests in each employee by providing them with advanced skills which will have a positive effect on their future whether that future is with your company or not.Employees are Demanding Tuition Reimbursement
Since talented job applicants will be fielding multiple job offers companies need to beef up their offerings beyond a high salary. Many employees and potential employees recognize the value in higher education and are motivated to continue their education throughout their career.
Abbie Fink, vice president and general manager of HMA Public Relations, said she made the reimbursement for helping her get a master’s degree at Arizona State University part of her hiring contract more than 20 years ago. At the time there wasn’t a formal tuition-reimbursement policy, but now HMA employees get help with college classes, as well as with other professional-development training opportunities.
“It doesn’t necessarily have to be about public relations or leadership, but something that makes sense for us, the employee and the client,” Fink said, pointing out HMA paid for her to learn Spanish.
For Gen X and Millennial employees (generations of workers more likely to have multiple jobs and careers throughout their lifetime) having more education and professional training can make them more marketable. These generations also are keen on making a difference, and a college education and professional training can help do that.
Savannah Ohl, the project and traffic coordinator at Elevation Marketing in Mesa, Ariz., said she sold her company on the idea of reimbursement, and now “I'm able to apply what I’m learning in school to my career in real time.”
And, Perri Collins, then-communications manager at the Arizona Newspaper Association, said she knew she needed help paying for school as she was about to start her senior year at Arizona State University. “I was trying to brainstorm alternative ways to pay for school, she said.”
A continuing advocate for employer-tuition assistance, Collins said, “I think it's a great way to build loyalty with employees, encouraging them to stay longer with the company. Plus, they get a better-educated workforce, which benefits the company in the long run.”
Mike Kintner, director of marketing and operations for Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino near Phoenix, said not only did the parent company Caesar’s Entertainment help pay for his MBA from the University of Arizona’s Eller College of Management, he encourages his own staff to take advantage of the tuition-reimbursement benefits and take courses that relate to Caesars Entertainment business.
“You see them really grow and blossom, they go from just doing stuff to really understanding what’s going on to having a say and adding more value.”
—Mike Kintner, Director of Marketing and Operations for Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino
Caesars Entertainment offers 90 percent up to $3,000 for undergraduate studies in a 12-month period, and up to $4,000 for graduate studies. The company also partners with Northcentral University in offering tuition discounts to its employees.Economic Downfalls Caused Companies to Cut Tuition Reimbursement, But They Appear to Be Bouncing Back
However, and perhaps as a reflection of the economy or trends in changing benefits, tuition-reimbursement programs have taken somewhat of a hit in recent years. This during a time when the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the cost of tuition consistently has increased faster than the overall inflation rate since 1981.
Although fewer organizations are offering undergraduate tuition assistance in favor of additional health-care benefits today compared to 2010 – 54 percent versus 62 percent – according to a 2014 report by the Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM), such a benefit is highly regarded.
This year’s top 10 employers -- picked by the Families and Work Institute and the SHRM for the 2014 When Work Works Awards – offered employees tuition and training support as a benefit.
Well-known companies offering tuition assistance include: Apple; Chevron; Dell; FedEx; Google; Gap, Inc.; General Mills; Hilton Worldwide; Oregon State University; Monsanto; J.M. Smucker; Raytheon; UPS; Verizon; and U.S. Airways, according to College.lovetoknow.com.
Northcentral University partners with many large companies in the U.S., including Caesars Entertainment, in offering tuition assistance
As Abbie Fink of HMA PR said of being an employee, “It’s nice to have employers value your education and see what it does for you.”