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4 Ways an Online Personality Test Benefits Your OrganizationHave you ever had a co-worker with whom you just couldn’t seem to see eye to eye? Perhaps you had drastically different backgrounds or personalities or work styles, but for whatever reason, you clashed, and you dreaded working with that person.

Interpersonal conflicts can create stress and unhappiness in the workplace. The resulting arguments and gossip can disrupt the team dynamic and interfere with productivity. Luckily, there is a simple, effective way to avoid these problems within your organization: the Discself online personality test. If all employees in your company spend 10 minutes answering the questions in the DISCself behavioral assessment, they will better understand their personal behavior style characteristics, as well as those of their colleagues. A small investment of time and money will result in large benefits for the health of your organization with this employee development tool.

  • Understand your own style, strengths and weaknesses.

Before you can examine your relationships with others, you must understand how you tick and why you react certain ways in certain situations. It’s interesting to learn more about your personality style, and these insights will help you see what your needs are and how your behaviors come across to other people. As you determine your strengths and weaknesses, you will be able to adjust your actions to get along easily with a variety of different people.

  • Identify other people’s styles for better communication.

The resources in the online personality test will help you identify patterns and other clues to help you read people better and understand how they want to be treated. Once you figure out how others operate and what they need to feel supported and valued, your interactions with them will be much more positive and productive.

  • Avoid and resolve conflicts.

Learning more about behavior styles teaches you strategies for practicing adaptability in interpersonal situations. For example, if you discover an employee works best in a collaborative, team-oriented environment, but you prefer a results-driven, analytical approach, you could adapt your own style to be more participatory for her benefit. She, in turn, may recognize your efforts and adjust her own approach to complement your needs. As adaptability increases in the organization, conflicts decrease and colleagues are able to work more harmoniously.     

  • Improve professional relationships.

As you become more adept at identifying personality and behavior characteristics within your organization, you will be able to build and strengthen a cohesive team. You will learn how to communicate effectively using different styles, how to balance your team based on personal strengths and weaknesses and how to prevent conflicts before they occur.


Learn more about the Discself online personality test and how it can benefit your organization.


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Many training and development and organizational development professionals avoid activities in economic downturns.  The theory is that if no one sees you and you don’t make any mistakes, you will likely retain your job.  Nice theory, but it doesn’t work.  Astute management is looking at human capital development activities that will offset the exodus of talent when the turn comes.  Therefore, high visibility and a flurry of activity is just what the doctor ordered for job security.  Use the professional development newsletter to your advantage.

1.    Improve Managerial Skills   

Management training courses typically receive more focus in economic downturns since this is the talent likely to move on first.  Every issue has brief, concisive articles on some aspect of management such as dealing with change, listening and corrective feedback, or team activities.  By sharing these articles along with comments, you are providing value-added to this group every two weeks.

2.   Use the Book Reviews as a Resource

The latest business, social media and management/leadership books are reviewed and often the author is interviewed for greater insight.  Create a Book Review Club on your organization’s intranet.  Continuous improvement from those that join the “club” by enhancing their knowledge and pre-selecting books for purchase and/or downloading.

3.   Get Involved With the Situation Room

Get your people involved and have them interact with the situation room.  Every two weeks a situation is presented and email comments and responses are invited.  A recent one involving Generation Y received thousands of suggestions. Provides excellent critical thinking and collaborative skills.

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Newsletter 3

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The business world has changed dramatically in the last 10 years as technology continues to advance and evolve. Social media in particular is making the world a smaller and more interconnected place. With just a few clicks, we can now share ideas and information with people from around the globe.

It’s never been easier to interact with people who have similar interests, and here at Employee Development Systems, Inc., we are excited to get the conversation started.

We invite you to Like EDSI on Facebook, where you can follow the latest news, videos and discussions related to productivity, leadership, management and personal effectiveness. Feel strongly about something we posted? Add a comment and express your opinion on the issue and join the debate. The beauty of social media is its interactivity.

On our Facebook page, there is also a Discussions section where you can respond to topic threads and start new discussions. This is an ideal opportunity for you to ask the pressing questions you have about best practices in your career and organization.

Join in one of the existing EDSI Facebook Discussions, or start a new thread:

The Generation Gap

How do you deal with generational differences (baby boomers, Generation X, millennials, etc.) in your organization? Do the age groups have drastically different work styles, or is this just a stereotype?

How do you maintain productivity during the holidays?

The holidays are a hectic time for most organizations. How do you find a balance between encouraging holiday R&R for employees and still keeping up productivity?

Do you use social media to help you succeed in your career? What tools do you find useful?

Like EDSI on Facebook

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With unemployment remaining stubbornly high, foreclosures continuing to rise, and the global recession continuing, it is no wonder that workforce morale is low.  However, couple that with a survey that was released last week stating that 26% of people say they find happiness and fulfillment in their job.

With low morale and lack of job satisfaction, this is the perfect recipe for decreasing productivity at a time when organizations cannot withstand hits to the bottomline.  A possible solution lies in the area of employee development and management training courses and an understanding of both business challenges and the drivers for the various generations in the workforce.

Ramp up manager training and require participants to bring specific business problems to class and with a collaborative effort have the participants create a plan to address the challenge and require execution of those plans after training. Involvement and successful execution will enhance fulfillment from tangible results.  The proven manager will involve all of the members of the team to increase morale and enhance their fulfillment as well.

Communications skills training is an excellent way to startCommunicating to Manage Performance is an excellent course for managers.

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Change is an inevitable (and often essential) part of any organization, yet it can be an unsettling and frightening process for individuals involved. Being an effective leader means anticipating change and coming up with a strategic change management plan. Learn how to adapt and lead others to follow suit, and you will continue to evolve along with your organization.


1. Communication

When you make significant changes in a workplace, employees are bound to have a lot of questions. Why are we changing? What’s wrong with the way we’ve been doing things? Does this put my job or salary in danger? Try to anticipate the common questions you will receive, and formulate clear, honest and consistent responses in advance. Communicate to your employees the reasons the organization needs to change, assuage fears when you can and be candid about any possible negative repercussions (layoffs, pay cuts, etc.).  Communications skills training is a valuable foundation for effective change management strategies.


2. Employee Involvement

Creating lasting change is not an individual effort; it requires involvement and buy-in from employees on every rung of the ladder, from senior management to interns. The leadership team in an organization has to be committed to working together to implement and accept new approaches. If you truly believe in the changes you are encouraging your employees to embrace, your enthusiasm will show and others will be more willing to follow your lead. It’s important to “walk the walk” and lead by example. As challenges and questions arise from employees, address them immediately and listen to feedback you receive.


3. Training and Education

A successful change management plan should include a carefully planned training and education component for any new technology, systems or processes. Introduce these new elements early on, and allow enough time for managers and employees to become comfortable with the changes before making a full switch.


4. Flexibility

Sometimes Plan A doesn’t work as smoothly as you had hoped, or it needs tweaking before it becomes effective. Have a few contingency plans just in case you need them. Be flexible enough to recognize when one method has flaws and be able to adapt on your feet.


Learn more about Employee Development Systems, Inc.’s change management plan  courses.

Photo courtesy of akeg’s Flickr account

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In this age of multitasking, we are rarely unplugged from electronic devices for long during our waking hours. In fact, we often jump from one screen to another at a rapid pace—writing email and checking the news on our laptops, texting friends and playing games on our mobile phones, watching television or listening to music at the gym.


We may think that keeping our brains constantly busy increases our productivity, but it may have the opposite effect. Research  shows habitual multitaskers have a more difficult time focusing on important information and blocking out distractions. This barrage of information may also take a toll on our creativity , fatiguing our brains and sacrificing the valuable downtime we need to process information and think of fresh ideas. At work, it is important to resist the temptation to jump from task to task without taking short breaks away from the computer and other technology. Employ strategies to encourage healthy habits in your office, and you will reap the benefits of a more focused, well-rested staff.


Set Limits (And Keep Them Yourself)


Having almost constant access to email can be helpful in some situations (when your plane gets delayed and you have to let colleagues know you won’t make it back for a meeting) and distracting in others (when you are enjoying dinner with your family and get an urgent email). Downtime is important, so create a culture that encourages it. Try leading with credibility within your own team by respecting non-work hours and avoiding sending work emails late at night or over the weekend.  A behavioral assessment may help you identify what you can change.


John Battelle, founder and CEO of Federated Media Publishing, developed a strategy in his own organization called “Take 48” , where all employees agree not to send any work emails from Friday at 6 p.m. until Sunday at 6 p.m. People may still write emails, but they can’t send them over the weekend.


“It felt as if FM, as an institution, was taking time to breathe, to contemplate, to relax and feed itself,” Battelle said of the first “Take 48” weekend.


Take a Breather


How often do you take the time for short (10- to 15-minute) breaks throughout the work day? How often do you leave your desk to eat lunch somewhere else, whether it’s the employee lounge, a park bench or a nearby diner? These small breaks during the day are necessary to let your mind and your eyes rest, and they leave you feeling more energized and productive than if you work without stopping.


Make the time for short breathers throughout the day, and encourage your employees to do the same. Your employees will respect your example, so leading with credibility is important. Get up from your desk for a glass of water, a cup of coffee or a walk around the block, and you’ll come back rejuvenated.


Stay Moving


Physical activity keeps blood moving to the body and the brain, which increases alertness and overall good health. Think of fun and creative ways to motivate your team to stay active during the day.


  • Sponsor a “bike to work” campaign
  • Buy everyone pedometers and host a friendly competition to see who takes the most steps in a month
  • Extend lunch so employees have enough time to go to the gym during the day
  • Buy a few exercise balls employees can use instead of office chairs
  • Negotiate an employee discount at a nearby gym


What ideas do you have for avoiding digital overload in your organization?  Employee development starts at the top.


Learn more about our Leading With Credibility  course.

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Being in a leadership position is not always easy. Sometimes you have to make difficult or unpopular decisions for the good of the organization that make you the “bad guy” in the eyes of your employees. This can be challenging, especially when you want to be liked and respected by the people you manage.

As an effective manager, it is important to find a balance between being a friend to your employees and making the tough choices necessary for your job. Learn how build genuine personal relationships with your employees while still remaining professional.

Create an environment of respect.

You should set the tone for how your team interacts, and actions speak louder than words. Show employees respect and make it clear that you don’t tolerate disrespectful behavior toward others, and your behavior will demonstrate that you value them and their contributions to the team.

Listen first to understand.

Personal relationships at work often go sour because of miscommunications. Avoid this trap by asking questions and listening to the responses before jumping to conclusions or acting in anger. Make sure that you have the full story before you make judgments or take action. Get started with these five steps to improve your listening skills, and take your knowledge to the next level with EDSI’s Listen First to Understand course.

Give praise as well as criticism.

Don’t wait to give your employees feedback until they make mistakes. Be a supportive mentor, giving constructive feedback when necessary and credit for a job well done. Let your employees know that you are available for questions along the way; this strengthens your personal relationships and may prevent future problems.

Don’t get involved with the “blame game.”

Publicly pointing fingers is a surefire way to alienate people on your team and lose their trust. If you have a problem with an employee, talk with him or her privately and work it out directly. Focus on possible solutions, not just the problem at hand.

In what ways do you strengthen your personal relationships with employees?

Learn more in EDSI’s Professional Presence in a Casual World course.

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The success of your organization is largely dependent on the capabilities and leadership of your management team. Effective managers must be able to communicate with many different personalities to encourage productivity, achieve goals and create a positive working environment. It benefits everyone working for your company to invest in management training courses  that teach delegation, communications skills training, mentoring, conflict resolution, change management and other valuable skills. Through these programs, managers learn about employee development and how to lead individuals to work together as a team to reach common objectives.

If you want to start an ongoing conversation about best practices in management and leadership, create a business book club or a recommended reading list for your organization. This list will be a helpful supplement to the knowledge gained in training classes and a way to inspire an exchange of ideas among your employees. Consider buying a few copies of each book and circulating them throughout the office.

Five Business Book Club Recommendations

Jim Collins, co-author of Built to Last, and his research team delve deeply into how a merely good organization can be transformed into a great organization with long-term, sustained success. Good to Great examines almost 1400 companies, covering a wide variety of industries, to find the common factors that may surprise even the most seasoned manager.

The Tipping Point explores the causes of “social epidemics” – the small changes in a society that cause a ripple effect and result in significant effects in everything from crime to shopping trends. Malcolm Gladwell describes the importance of the three different personality types who are influential in reaching this “tipping point”: Mavens (collectors and communicators of knowledge), Connectors (social butterflies who bring others together) and Salesmen (charismatic persuaders).

David Allen, an executive coach and management consultant, boils down his workflow management system into simple, effective and easy-to-implement steps. He offers useful, common sense tips and techniques for channeling scattered mental “to-do” lists into concrete action plans to increase productivity and organization, both professionally and personally.

The authors study 80,000 managers in 400 different companies to discover how exceptional managers find, retain and motivate talented employees. The book uses case studies, interviews and diagrams to turn conventional wisdom on its head and outline what the most effective managers are doing right.

In Switch, the authors examine the conflict between the two major systems that control our brains—the rational mind and the emotional mind. The rational mind may want to make a big change in the company, while the emotional mind may fight to keep the consistency and ease of the existing routine. Chip and Dan Heath advocate strategies for aligning these competing systems and making hard changes a little bit easier.

Host informal discussions about the books on your company reading list, and look for ways to incorporate strategies into your organization. These conversations, paired with effective management training courses, will have a powerful effect on how your company operates.

Do you have any must-read business books you would add to this list? Suggest them in the comments below.

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The cover of a recent Newsweek (7/19/10) says it all: Creativity in America.  However, based upon the Torrance test, the creativity quotient (CQ) has been declining every year since 1990 which does not bode well for companies and organizations that are hiring, nor for our society.  A recent IBM poll of 1,500 CEOs identified creativity as the No.1 leadership competency of the future.  What are the culprits for this decline?  Hours spent in front of TV playing videogames and a lack of creativity development in schools are two leading causes.  Moreover, there is a focus on standardized curriculum and rote memorization in American schools, while the Chinese schools adopt a problem-based learning approach.

So if leaders need a creative competency and the education system is going in reverse, is this a lost cause?  No, creative training can be a part of all management training courses.  We employ a method in brainstorming known as the double reversal technique.

1.   State a positive goal

2.   Reverse the goal to negative

3.   Brainstorm actions that would achieve the negative goal.

4.   Reverse each action to create positive goal.

Guaranteed to yield creative and innovative ideas that could foster a cultural change in the organization.

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In a multi-generational and diverse workforce, sometimes misunderstandings can occur among the different age groups. Younger employees can receive unfair labels from their older colleagues, who may stereotype the millennial generation as unmotivated, selfish, unfocused and impatient.

These misconceptions are not only harmful to a collaborative work environment, they also do the organization as a whole a disservice. Millennials bring many positive attributes and skills to the table, and their strengths should be valued and encouraged to benefit the entire team.

A 2010 Pew Research Center study interviewed people between the ages of 18 and 29 and found them, as a whole, confident, well-educated, positive, technologically savvy and open to change.

  • Millennials are on their way to becoming the most educated generation in US history.
  • In spite of a challenging economy, 9 in 10 of those surveyed say that they have enough money at the moment or that they will eventually reach their long-term financial goals.
  • Like most age groups, they believe they have a unique and distinct identity (61 percent of survey respondents agreed); what makes them unique is that a large percentage (24 percent) say it’s because of their use of technology.
  • Three-quarters have started a profile on a social networking website, and 1 in 5 have posted a video of themselves online. Most, however, have put privacy boundaries on their social media profiles.
  • Members of the millennial generation respect older generations, with a majority saying their elders are superior when it comes to moral values, respect for others and work ethic.

Millennials, for the most part, have grown up in a world full of possibilities and constant innovation, and their confidence, optimism, creative thinking and willingness to embrace new challenges make them an asset to your team. Instead of becoming exasperated at their way of doing things, take the time to ask questions and try to understand how they approach situations. Learn from them, and share your knowledge and experience with them as well.

Most millennials are too young to have had much work experience, and they value your expertise in the field. Mentor them, challenge them and help them grow as valuable employees.

How have you bridged the gap between the millennial generation and older employees?

Learn more about Employee Development Systems, Inc.’s team building resources.