Why not a .com?

When you clicked on this title, perhaps you were expecting some enlightening research on web domains, and whether or not your business web domain will impact your site traffic.  While this blog might not contain that information, rest assured that what you are about to read definitely impacts you!

The education system in the United States has roots to the colonial times, when education was targeted for white male land owners, and focused on preparation to better understand religious doctrine.  By the early 1900’s this focus shifted with the Progressive era, and our educational system was seen by government and urban leaders as a way to prepare individuals for blue-collar work in factories.  This focus has remained, one of the reasons our school curriculum is primarily focused in math, science and technology.

If you are a business owner, right about now you are wondering why this information impacts you… well, if you employee anyone other than your self, or your customer base includes anyone under 80, keep reading…

Our economy in 2017 looks very different from the one 50 years ago.  As our nation has moved from an industrial economy to an information economy, our expectations of our school systems really haven’t changed. We still expect that individuals with a High School Diploma or GED will have the requisite skills needed to be successful at most entry-level jobs. The problem with this expectation is that those entry-level jobs have changed drastically over the last 2 decades, and our current education system doesn’t really prepare students for their future in the job market.  As The Fiscal Times recently put it “nearly three-quarters of hiring managers complain that millennials – even those with college degrees – aren’t prepared for the job market and lack an adequate ‘work ethic.'”

This means that as students navigate an education system that focuses on standardized test scores instead of what happens in today’s job market, we will continue to face a dearth of individuals that are prepared to work, improve, and earn salaries that will help continue to drive our economy.  That is where the importance of “.us” comes in… if we want a future work force that is prepared for our current economy, it will take a village to drive the changes we need to ensure this preparation.

According to Mother Jones magazine, most students will take 113 standardized tests in the school life.  In Texas this means that more than 50% of high school graduates would have FAILED the writing portion of their standardized tests.  With more and more jobs that require customer service and sales skills, the ability for individuals to clearly communicate with others is of utmost importance.  We have to do better in preparing todays children in reading and WRITING.

As part of this focus, TGIM Digital Publishing is offering Writing for the Soul Workshop™ as a way for students to increase their scores in Writing on standardized tests like the STAAR test administered here in Texas.  An overwhelming number of students, even in high school, struggle with Essay writing, a component that represents 26% of an individuals test scores.

This program is proven as a viable option to increase a students writing ability, and has shown to help improve educational outcomes, and Essay scores on standardized test.  Currently, TGIM offers these workshops to schools at no charge to students.  Participants not only receive tutoring, but important skills in customer service and sales through participation in this program.  As a business owner this means a better prepared future workforce.  A better prepared workforce means better wages and more money in the economy, which is a win for all of us.

indiegogo-buttonAs anyone knows, offering services like this does have a cost, even when it isn’t passed on to participants.  We need your help to ensure that students here in Texas and around the world maintain access to Writing for the Soul Workshop™, and all of the wow factors available. Your contribution today helps to ensure youth in your community continue to access a program that offers better educational outcomes than school alone.  As the Will Stegerson foundation reminds us,  “In order to reach a kid, you’ve got the meet them where they are. And if you can meet them where they are, then you can take them somewhere else.”  Help www.tgimonline.US take our next generation of students to places that our .com can’t. Back our INDIEGOGO campaign today.

 

Is Your Organization Focused on the Right Measurements? Five Key Questions for Leaders Today

“Measurement is the first step that leads to control and eventually to improvement. If you can’t measure something, you can’t understand it. If you can’t understand it, you can’t control it. If you can’t control it, you can’t improve it.”  ― H. James Harrington

In order to stay alive and keep growing, any organization knows that they must be able to measure their production. It only makes sense that you have to know where you are in business to continue to be prosperous.  If you start by looking at the dawn of the industrial revolution,  when American companies were focused on manufacturing something, those measurements seemed very straightforward; obvious things like “how many of it do you make in a day”, “how many of it do you sell a day”, “how long does it take to make one of it”, and of course “how much does it cost”.   These things were fairly easy to measure,  and those measurements lead to goal setting, and then process refinement.  It was very straightforward and “businesslike”. Organizations that used this process became more successful.  Those that ignored them typically failed.

Through that lens, organizations saw the need to make decisions based on hard facts.  Emotional markers like employee moral, employee engagement and employee satisfaction were really irrelevant. Productivity was measured to an individual level, in a facts only way. Specific behaviors that were detrimental to the output of the organization were outlined and sent out in a memo, and behavior violating the memo was addressed per the policy outlined.  Leaders consistently sent the message that emotions had no place in business decision-making; creating workplace environments that were cold and impersonal from a leadership level.

Fast forward to the 21st century, and we realized that the measurements needed to define success are really more complicated. Successful organizations had some common traits that could not be stacked and counted. These traits were not factual, but emotional ones like customer satisfaction and customer loyalty. We realized that people made their purchasing decisions based on fact AND emotion. We developed ways to measure how customers FELT about an organization. Suddenly emotions became important, but only on one side of the equation.

It wasn’t until 1995, when author, psychologist, and science journalist Daniel Goleman published the book Emotional Intelligence that we started understanding the value of emotions in the workplace.  After years of training on what successful leadership should be, the concept of Emotional Intelligence (E.I.) then started to make everything click. E.I. is generally defined as a person’s ability to recognize and control their own emotions, as well as the ability to recognize and manage the emotions of others.  E.I. really defined what used to be that thing good leaders just naturally had.

Now that we have started to understand more about E.I.,  the more we understand the competencies someone with a high E.I. exhibits. We also understand that these different competencies are important not just for leaders, but for every member of an organization.  These competencies are about how to relate to others and better communicate; skills that are important for success at ALL organizational levels. Dr. Stevie Dawn who specializes in Emotional Intelligence strategies for the workplace explains the importance of E.I. this way:

“Emotional Intelligence is really about communicating. It is about being aware of your emotions and the emotions of those around you. It is about thinking about the group as a whole when making decisions. It is about looking at the bigger picture. It is about helping others to feel empowered to achieve their goals. It is about doing all these things in a way that makes you likable and trustworthy.”

It is clear that the competencies shown are important to making successful decisions, in business and in life.

So how do you know if your organization exhibits these core competencies? Here are five questions to ask about your organization.

Does your organization communicate important information proactively and transparently?
No organization is perfect.  An emotionally intelligent organization makes sure that their people know whats coming and why. From a new sales strategy to a negative story in the media, to have good E.I. means that your people aren’t surprised and unprepared for change.

Is your everyone in your organization given a way to express how they feel about their company and leaders?
An organization with high E.I. knows that how their employees FEEL about their jobs is an important way to measure success.  Consistent processes that allow employee to express how they feel about their jobs helps to ensure that their workforce is engaged and passionate about what they do.

Does your organization train all levels of employees about Emotional Intelligence?
Being aware of how each of your employees understand and apply emotional intelligence means that you can start to identify any deficits and address them. Unless all employees receive some basic training on E.I., having leaders with great E.I. doesn’t automatically mean the people on their team do.

Do your leaders really have an “open door policy?”
When it comes to creating an environment with high E.I., being “available” to listen to your employees and peers is imperative.  Many leaders will say they have an open door policy, but are too busy to speak with their employees, or speak with them while finishing other tasks.  Leaders with good E.I. understand the importance of acting on this policy and make sure they are available to talk to employees one on one, with no distractions.

Does your organization empower  your entire workforce?
Organizations that focus on E.I. understand that at all levels, employees want to feel that they are empowered with choices, instead of being tied by policy.  This could be as simple as allowing customer facing employees leeway on how they handle a customer complaint, or a robust “suggestion box” where feedback is communicated back out to the employees who make suggestions. No one wants to feel powerless to improve their work environment.

Although there is still debate regarding how E.I. can really be measured, one thing is clear; companies that focus on Emotional Intelligence and invest employee development time around E.I. have realized a whole new level of performance. Gone are the days where there is no emotion in business; thriving organizations accept that how their employees handle their emotions directly ties to success.

These five questions were Eric’s concern while developing Writing for the Soul Workshop™, especially since our program evokes powerful emotions when its participants engage. Our core goal is using writing as therapy to help participants safely get what is on the inside… out.  And while recognizing your emotions is an important piece of E.I., it”s certainly not all of it. The role of Emotional Intelligence in personal success is one of the key reasons why we include E.I. Leadership Training from Dr. Stevie Dawn as part of certification to organizations who offer our Writing for the Soul Workshop™ programs.

Would you like to add our Writing for the Soul Workshop™ as a viable component to the programs your organization already has in place? If you would like more information, please complete the contact form below. Financing is available.

 

TGIM & Texas ReEntry: Justice Reinvestment for a Better Tomorrow

TXRS LogoTGIM and Texas ReEntry Services, INC have partnered together to implement Writing for the Soul Workshop™ as a realistic criminal justice  strategy that safely reduces the State’s costly reliance on incarceration– creating stronger families, less taxpayer waste, and safer communities.

TGIM developed Writing for the Soul Workshop™ as a resource in direct response to the growing number of young people who are either falling through the cracks at school or are already entangled with the court system. The goal of the program is to identify youths who are going to have a turbulent transition into adulthood and offer a positive support system to avoid the pitfalls that can derail their lives. It wasn’t until recently after talking to Kay Smith, Texas ReEntry’s Director that I realized the curricula was leaving out the very nucleus in a young persons life: ADULTS.

After weeks of meetings with Kay and her Board, TGIM is pleased to announce that we’ve adapted our curriculum to now include individuals on probation and parole. Texas ReEntry allowed TGIM to come in during their Job Readiness Training to do an Information Session in an effort to expose Writing for the Soul Workshop™ to their clients to get feedback. 100% of the clients we surveyed said they would attend the program! One said he’d come even if he had to walk to get there. Here is an interview from one of their clients:

Sometimes it takes a trip to jail or even prison for a person to realize that their life has become unmanageable. By then, so much damage has been done.  As a felon, it’s hard to get a job or even a place to live.  Most commit more crimes to survive because their inability to  read and comprehend along with their criminal record makes it impossible to get and hold down a job.  The vicious cycle of doing life in prison on an installment plan (in and out of prison) begins.

These men and women need to know that their past does not define their future.  Writing for the Soul Workshop™ will offer them the same support and resources that our youth access.  Along with the Anger Management, Domestic Violence, Substance Abuse Relapse Prevention, and the Job Readiness Training that Texas ReEntry offers, they have added our Writing for the Soul Workshop™ as a viable component as well. Our partnership allows Texas ReEntry clients to:

· Experience writing as therapy

· Access to counseling

· Nutritious snacks (Brain Food) to stimulate creativity while writing

· Lasting, positive friends and mentors creating an ongoing network of support

· Increased proficiency in both reading and writing

· Participants become published Authors, and can promote that skill on every future resume and job application

· Participants earn royalties based on individual book sales

· Participants establish strong accomplishments that will help with future entry into colleges and the job market

WFTSW LogoThese unique wow factors go beyond helping participants develop a love of writing; they produce long-term behavioral changes and helps participants make positive life choices. While it may seem incredible that a writing workshop can impact behavior so dramatically, Writing for the Soul Workshop™  is more than just a writing workshop, it is an opportunity for individuals to see a different perspective, to interact with others that truly care about them and their story, and to know that telling their story opens up new opportunities.
Writing for the Soul Workshop™ offers these men and women another chance to make a positive and encouraging difference in the world through their storytelling while allowing participants an opportunity to build self-worth, and learn a new trade.  After all, we all have a story to tell!  Just like youth attending Writing for the Soul Workshop™, they too will earn royalties when they share their stories for group publishing in our books and in The Writer’s Block.

Want to know more about our program or donate to Texas ReEntry to help with expenses? Use the Contact Form below for questions or click here to make your donation directly to Texas ReEntry. Texas ReEntry Services INC, is a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit organization.