Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Is Change Really About Behaviors in School, the Business World and in Life?

Much is written about behaviors in school, the business world and in life. The question is to ask is it really the behaviors that need to be changed? Are not behaviors the desired end result? Doesn’t our society long for young people whom demonstrate the behaviors of respect as well as being engaged students? Would not the business world be far better off with employees whose behaviors consistently contribute positively to the bottom line for themselves and their employers? If in our lives both personally and professionally where we could consistently behave in a way to lead a balance life and achieve our dreams, wouldn’t that be incredible? From the answers to these questions, then behaviors are truly the desired result and hence are the end and not the beginning.

What prompted these questions were several recent conversations with clients and friends. A school administer had contacted me about providing some consultation work around bullying. Schools across America are facing an increased in "bullying" and have instituted numerous programs. Some of these programs have been successful, but the bullying isn’t going away even when the perceived causes change.

After several minutes of listening to the issues within this school, I made the observation that "Bullying" behaviors appeared to be more of symptom than the real problem facing this school. The real problem was the presence of a multitude of belief systems that existed within the school. These different belief systems remind me of the Bumper Cars carnival ride where the cars consistently bump, nudge and slam into each other. Continuing with this analogy, the bullying behavior is the outcome of these forces working against each other.

Of course in today’s political correct world, we cannot use the word beliefs because someone immediately thinks of religion and how church and state must be kept separate. Yet, beliefs simply are those foundational, internal thought processes that determine what we do as individuals. A variety of attitudes or what some call habits of thought support these beliefs systems.

For example, in education there are many resources devoted to helping at risk children. These resources have been in place for over 40 years and have developed a belief system that at risk children need these resources and without these resources they will not be successful. However, the outcomes of improved academic performance continue to elude many of our schools. The recently released Nation’s Report Card showed no progress during the last 33 years in reading scores for 17 years old and these students’ average scores were not even close to mastery of the reading skills required in today’s knowledge driven workplace.

One of the newer belief systems in education centers focuses on the behaviors of young children. Never in our history have we had so many children on medication to treat active children or what some call hyperactive children. One would think that this phenomenon is an anomaly given that 40 to 50 years ago this problem was fairly insignificant. Now if a child acts up, a belief system reinforces the need for medication and special education. Can you imagine what classrooms will look like in another 40 years?

In the workplace, belief systems are even more rampant because they build upon the previous belief systems of the K-12 experience as well as the family and work experiences. For example, this country has been conducting diversity training for over 30 years. Many companies mandate diversity training and yet are we truly a country that embraces diversity and tolerance at all levels given all the training and education? The simple reason that most diversity training fails is that it "tip toes" around the real problem – beliefs – and attempts to change behavior through a cognitive approach.

What about life? In conversations with several clients, all shared with me that their personality was such that when under stress they ate. Through a series of questions, all acknowledged that no one was forcing food into their mouths. These individuals had complete control of what food they ate, but their belief system supported a behavior that relinquished control to their personality. Upon this realization, all recognized that the problem was their belief system, not their personality.

Researchers continue to share with the American public that we are a fat society. Companies are making millions off this health problem and costing U.S. taxpayers millions as well. After watching family members who suffer from diabetes eat unhealthy food, I am convinced that obesity for most Americans is a symptom and until the true problem - the belief system - is acknowledged and identified, their behaviors won’t change. Now this may sound hardhearted, but let’s be honest no one is forcing these unhealthy foods into their mouths. Hence, their behaviors are really a symptom and not the problem.

Until belief systems are first acknowledged and then identified, sustainable change will continue to allude our society. But what is even more important, the persistent application of traditional solutions will drain our critical resources and continue to harm our citizens. Leanne Hoagland-Smith, ADVANCED SYSTEMS, www.processspecialist.com

Friday, September 16, 2005

Importance of Beliefs and Values

Recently, I have been doing a lot of thinking about beliefs and values. A recent encounter with a coaching client provided me with another reinforcement is that it is the beliefs that need to be addressed first and foremost. In this case, this client believed that her or his personnality was such that under stress she or he was complelled to eat. Through the questioning process, this client realized that no one was forcing the food into his or her mouth and hence it was the belief that needed to be addressed and subsequently changed, if any new behaviors were going to emerge. Any thoughts?

Then what are values? Are values and beliefs the same thing or different things? What are their relationships if any exist? Any thoughts?

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Do You Know Where You Are Going?

After a presentation at a women's leadership conference, a young woman came up to me and asked me if I could recommend any good books on goal setting. I asked if I could have her card and I would check my library and send her an email. She agreed and gave me her card.

Then, I asked her what did she want to do with her life? She told me that my question was quite good, because she didn't know. I then offered a suggestion to consider her purpose and passion before trying to improve her performance.

This young lady is like so many individuals that I have had the opportunity to meet. They set goals and still are not satisfied with their lives. Until, individuals understand why they are currently here on the earth (for myself, I am a trailblazer), then setting unaligned goals only further contributes to their dissatisfaction with life and may be one of the reasons so many adults as well as young people truly don't like themselves. Leanne Hoagland-Smith, M.S.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

No Struggle, No Progress

As each day ends and another begins, the words of Frederick Douglas ask us, as individuals, to recognize the relationships between life’s daily struggles.

The whole history of the progress of human liberty shows that all concessions, yet made to her august claims have been born of earnest struggle. The conflict has been exciting, agitating, all absorbing and for the time being putting all other tumults to silence. It must do this or it does nothing.

If there is no struggle, there is not progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet depreciate agitation are men who want crops without plowing up the ground."
"They want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters.

This struggle may be a moral one: or it may be a physical one; or it may be both moral and physical; but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did, and it never will. Find out just what people will submit to, and you have found out the exact amount of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them; and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those who the oppress.

Even though these words speak of politics, these words also speak to the human condition of potential and achievement. Douglas understood the human condition all too well. Humans need struggles or obstacle to make progress and achieve their goals.

This suggests two questions:

Can you identify the struggles (obstacles) that are keeping you from your progress?

Do you have a process that allows you to anticipate and overcome these struggles?

Click here www.processspecialist.com/assess.htm and take a quick survey to determine what obstacles are keeping you from achieving your dreams and goals or click here www.processspecialist.com/home.htm to better understand why some of your current solutions are not securing your desired results.

Please contact Leanne Hoagland-Smith, M.S. (nationally certified facilitator) to learn of when the next classes are forming during the summer at 219.759.5601 or info@processspecialist.com

Work Ethics A Paradigm Shift

Work ethics is a hot topic in today’s business and educational worlds. Yet, how do we define this hybrid phrase with the word work meaning more than a specific outcome and the word ethics being more than the values that enhance that outcome? Click here http://www.processspecialist.com/assess.htm to take a quick survey that may help work through this paradigm.

When we say we are going to work, work becomes the place of employment. When we say we are working, the implication is that we are engaged in a work-related activity and should be performing one or more specific tasks. However, the word work in today’s global economy does not easily denote specific outcomes much less measurable ones.

Years ago when our economy was agrarian based, farmers said they were going to work the fields. Their work or more specifically the outcomes of their work could be viewed from the plowed fields to the stacked bales of hay. In today’s technology and service driven economy, workers outcomes are not as nearly recognizable, but what is noticed is their behavior.
Now, ethics is a difficult word to define, as it is more than the enhancement of outcomes. This is aptly demonstrated by the variety of expectations such as being to work or school on time, performing quality work, being self-directed, having self-initiative, or being positive to both fellow contributors and customers. Ethics, from these expectations, encompass the internal behaviors of the contributors or what I really believe are attitudes.

Let’s step out of the box and construct a new and more accurate term that meets the expectations of both the business and educational worlds. First, let’s ask ourselves are we more concerned with the behavior or the attitudes? If we recognize that it is the attitudes that drive the behaviors that generate the outcomes, it would suggest that the contributors’ attitudes have the greater impact on the outcomes.

Next, since behavior has numerous meanings, possibly we can substitute performance for behavior. Performance can be measured provided the organization has accurate and complete expectations, valid assessments that do not penalize the contributors along with a well-communicated strategic plan. Through clearly articulated goals with consistent leadership and management, contributors have the opportunity to improve their performance thereby achieving measurable results.

Attitudes of performance appear then to better describe the desired outcomes and expectations that we have as employers, educators or even parents. As we all are contributors, by focusing on attitudes early in our performance experiences, we have the means to improve ourselves and more importantly our community.

Leanne Hoagland-Smith , President of ADVANCED SYSTEMS, The Process Specialist builds peace and abundance by connecting the 3P’s of Passion, Purpose and Performance through improved processes. Leanne can be reached at 219.759.5601 or info@processspecialist.com

Copyright© Leanne Hoagland-Smith www.processspecialist.com Permission to publish this article, electronically or in print, as long as the bylines are included, with a live link, and the article is not changed in any way (grammatical corrections accepted).

Career Education: Avoiding the 6 Year Career Plan

Researching career education uncovered the following shocking statistic: The average college student takes 5.3 years to earn a 4-year Bachelor’s degree. Other data included that college retention is mediocre at best with a national average around 50%. In Indiana, research reveals that for every 100 ninth grade students, only 21 will graduate with a bachelor’s degree within 6 years. Read more about this disturbing trend at www.processspecialist.com/youth.htm

How Much More for the 6-Year Plan?
Depending upon the state and the type of post-secondary institution such as private or state, the 6 year plan can increase college costs anywhere from $5,000 to $70,000 using data from the U.S. Department of Education for the 2002-03 academic year. Avoiding the 6-year plan really makes sense, as these costs do not include books, additional fees, and any other supplemental expenses.

Why Has This Happened?
There are several key reasons for this national and state trend. First, many young people do not know what their desired major of study. With a high school curriculum, in many cases, that is a mile wide and an inch deep, young people may not have the school time to adequately explore their interests.

Second, many young people do not plan for the challenges that they will be experiencing. One survey revealed that both college freshman and sophomores did not realize that their coursework was remedial and did not count towards their degrees. Another recent survey from the National Governors Association (NGA) confirms that young people believe that they are unprepared for the demands of college and work in the 21st Century. Ignorance is very expensive.

Third, these same young people lack self-control, self-leadership, self-discipline, self-responsibility and time management. These young adults have been conditioned to have someone else assume all responsibilities. Unfortunately, another recent report revealed that high school counselors were not candid in their discussions with students about the students’ college preparation or lack thereof. An interesting side note is that these interpersonal skills or what some call job-readiness skills are the same desirable skills that employers are seeking and cannot find in college graduates.

What Can You as a Parent Do?
Recognize that the current solutions will not work as most of these are externally driven. Common sense tells us that we can’t change anyone. Seek an inside-out solution where your daughter or son internalizes the necessary positive attitudes and inter-personal skills through a proven goal achievement action plan.

America’s Rising Stars is one such tool that can help you as the parent fill the skill gaps that contribute to the 6-year career plan. By working with the necessary positive attitudes, integrating new skills and knowledge such as goal achievement, time management and effective communication, your son or daughter will begin to plan their 4-year college future because you have set the expectations and provided the tool to turn their potential into performance.

Why take action now? Consider these two questions:

Do you really wish to spend an additional $5,000 to $70,000? And more importantly,

What other needs do you have for that money?

Click here to www.processspecialist.com/youth.htm to take the action to avoid the 6 year career education plan.

2005© ADVANCED SYSTEMS www.processspecialist.com

What is Passion?

Recently after a presentation, I was once again thanked for my passion. The compliment was genuinely given, as was my return thank you. However, as the day progressed, my thoughts kept returning to what really is passion. For the next several days as I attempted to ponder this question, other questions surfaced. What does it mean when one has passion? What separates people with passion and those without passion? Is passion always positive? Could passion be negative? Is there a relationship between passion and purpose? How do I fit me?
Sometimes the best place to begin to define a word is with Webster. Webster’s dictionary states that passion is an emotional response.

Being an intellectual conceptualizer or more simply stated a heurist, I started wrote down 3 words – passion, performance and purpose.

Consider the following: imagine someone standing with out stretched arms and open hands with one hand holding the word passion and the other holding the word purpose. What I would like for you to consider is that passion is the present where others as well as ourselves see our emotions. Purpose is the future, our true north, where we constantly strive towards to reach our vision. And the performance is the individual with the outstretched hands. Performance is the collection of all past experiences and current actions where we continually apply knowledge as we hold our passion and purpose.

Passion exists with our purpose and performance as a partner to help achieve the present and the future that we desire for our families, our friends, our communities and ourselves.

2005(c) All rights reserved. www.processspecialist.com