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The Salvation Army- bringing wholeness to those in need

23/01/2014

Over the past two years we have seen the Salvation Army’s vision of bridging the gap between Adult Rehabilitation Centers (ARC) and the community manifested in many ways. Due to the introduction of educational initiatives and an emphasis on building constructive relationships, officers at ARC’s and Corps across the Western Territory are much better positioned to provide ongoing support to addicts in recovery.

Research has shown that addicts have the best chance at long-term recovery if they remain connected to the community, gain steady employment and have access to a sober living environment.

However, despite the best of intentions, establishment of sober living facilities for addicts exiting the ARC is not without its roadblocks, and attempt to implement a cost neutral system is proving difficult.

We know that secure, ongoing employment is one of the keys to maintaining sobriety for most addicts. It provides a sense of purpose, makes one accountable, provides routine and also boosts self-esteem. Steady employment is also the key to the success of Salvation Army sober living facilities. In order to implement a cost neutral system for the Salvation Army, ARC alumni will be required to inhabit sober living properties as paying tenants who contribute to the monthly cost of rent.

Unfortunately, finding and maintaining regular employment has proven a challenge for a great number of ARC alumni, many of whom feel disadvantaged due to their past and the likelihood of stereotypical judgments made by prospective employers.

This employment hurdle for many addicts prompts us to remember Salvation Army founder William Booth’s “Cab Horse Theory.” Booth argued that if a job and shelter at night was good enough for a horse, it should be good enough for a human.

As we continue to connect the ARC with corps across the Western Territory, we will be intentional about providing employment and housing for ARC alumni. We are asking you, fellow members of our community, to help us in our plight, realizing William Booth’s vision, and bringing wholeness to those in need.

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Enneagram for the Highly Effective Leader

12/12/2013

Leadership excellence is one the greatest challenges facing companies across the globe.  In fact, most top leaders leave their positions within three years or less under duress.  In today’s challenging and changing workplace leaders are often faced with a plethora of varied problems requiring multiple intrapersonal and interpersonal skills.  From intergenerational teams to global expansion, business leaders must develop skills they didn’t necessarily learn while getting their MBA.  Often called the soft skills of the workplace, they are turning out to be the difficult yet pertinent skills needed to become an outstanding leader.

Daniel Goleman’s article, The Focused Leader, in the most recent issue of Harvard Business Review points out that,

“A focused leader is not the person concentrating on the three most important priorities of the year, or the most brilliant systems thinker, or the one most in tune with the corporate culture. Focused leaders ..are in touch with their inner feelings, they can control their impulses, they are aware of how others see them, they understand what others need from them..”

 

He recommends developing 3 intuitive skills, ‘..focusing on yourself, focusing on others, and focusing on the wider world’  to develop the leadership skills needed in today’s global marketplace.

 

An ancient tool called the enneagram is proving to be a powerful way to help leaders learn and grow in development of these interpersonal and intrapersonal skills.  Because the Enneagram is cross-cultural and highly accurate, it can be effectively used in the global business environment to help with communication, conflict resolution, feedback, strategy and self-mastery. In fact, Apricot believes the Enneagram is the most practical and effective tool for today’s workplace as it provides a philosophical and psychological framework that is broken down into nine simple yet distinct and fundamentally different personality types.

 

Enneagram describes three fundamentally different types of human intelligence (Instinctual, Emotional & Cognitive) each of which is based on an explicit perceptual filter, or way of understanding the world. This filter determines what individuals pay attention to and how they direct their energy.

 

Each of these three intelligences harbor inherent beliefs about what is needed in life for survival and satisfaction and is manifested in a particular focus of attention and subsequent personality type – your patterns of thinking, feeling and acting.

 

By isolating your type of intelligence and determining your Enneagram ‘personality type’, you can begin to uncover and understand more about what is driving your behavior and how your personality impacts on your daily life, including family, work and intimate relationships.

 

We at Apricot favor using the Enneagram approach as it teaches a simple and effective way to allow people to discuss habitual responses (personality) accurately without blame or malice. The Enneagram, while challenging, helps to foster understanding and empathy by assisting us to understand other people as they are to themselves, rather than as we see them.

 

Best of all, this is a tool that encourages a great deal of self-development, enabling greater personal strides at a faster pace.

 

For today’s business leader the enneagram can prove to be a crucial tool, because, in the words of Goleman,

“.. a failure to focus inward leaves you rudderless, a failure to focus on others renders you clueless, and a failure to focus outward may leave you blindsided.”

Certified in the use of the Enneagram in the Business setting, Apricot can train and enhance your team and their leadership skills for the 21st Century.

 

 

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Try a little tenderness

28/08/2013

Australia is on a mad countdown to an election, which will decide the next prime minister and government of our vast and sparsely populated nation – which has led me to thinking about leadership and what has become of it!

You’ve no doubt heard the popular quote – ’not all good managers can be leaders, but all good leaders can be managers’.  Do you agree, disagree?  What really is the difference?  A natty trick for discerning the difference is that leaders have followers and managers have subordinates – one has attained power through rank, money earned, promotion, sometimes even hard work, and the other has power (and followers don’t forget) no matter what they do – though it may well involve rank, promotion, money and hard work.

Leaders on show in Australia could take a leaf out of the Dalai Lama’s handbook and try distributing a little genuine kindness.  Imagine a potential leader, in any country, saying to his or her opponent, ‘now that’s a good idea’; displaying empathy in a dark (or light) moment; or genuinely laughing at the others joke in a debate, no matter if it was actually funny?  A compliment towards the others family, and empathetic query after health, would be shocking… at first.  Once the nation collectively dragged its jaw from the floor, it might find itself also feeling generally more kindly, making it easier and less distasteful to vote.

Great leaders realise genuine kindness is the difference that makes them great leaders.  In her article, Leading Made Simple, Susan Mazza poses the question ‘could committing an act of leadership be as simple as committing an act of kindness’?  I say ‘yes’!

Yes too, that kindness can require effort – a leader may be bogged down in ‘things’ – overwork, controversy, policy, or politics, or the way he/she looks and sounds – and kindness can be hard to muster.  However, to go out of the way to offer an encouraging word, a sympathetic, empathetic ear, or just to help out, shows true strength of character, conviction and strong, powerful leadership.

Anita Roddick, leader and visionary of fair trade through her social enterprise The Body Shop, has laid it out nicely, ‘the end result of kindness is that it draws people to you’.

I’ll vote for that.

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Educating young people about the effects of drugs and alcohol on the developing brain

22/06/2013

Over the past 18 months, the Salvation Army Western Territory has developed a number of Harvest Initiatives to tackle the issue of addiction in our society. One of those initiatives aims to develop closer connections between the ARC and the Corps. As part of this strategy, an ARC education program has been designed to educate officers and soldiers about the ARC, addiction and recovery, with an emphasis on building constructive relationships. We are beginning to see great things happening as a result of this program.

An extension of this strategy has seen the Salvation Army employ the services of Apricot Consulting to educate young people about the dangers of drugs and alcohol.

It is becoming increasingly evident that young people live in a world where there is immense pressure to partake in risk taking behaviours related to substance use. Whilst many teenagers learn about the dangers of drugs and alcohol at school, different institutions develop different educational strategies and often the curriculum is delivered to age groups that differ from school to school. Indeed, in our research, we have found that in some cases where students moved to a new school, they missed out on this curriculum altogether.

Therefore, it is hoped that delivery of Apricot’s drug education workshops external to the school environment will help to bridge any gaps in school education, and also provide a safe and open forum for young people to ask questions and discuss drug-related issues.

Content has been developed in accordance with the latest research from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and workshops will arm teens with the latest, most up-to-date and accurate information about current drugs available on the market, and statistics related to their use.

Workshops have been designed to target two separate age groups, 10 to 13 years and 14 to 18 years, and they differ slightly in their focus.

For the younger age group, sessions aim to explore and address any misinformation carried by participants through a number of interactive games and activities. The content for this group also addresses the power of peer pressure when it comes to alcohol and drug use, and participants engage in role-play as they explore ways to combat this issue. This workshop also explains the dangers of drugs and alcohol to the teenage brain, and participants are challenged to think of the long-term consequences associated with certain behaviours.

Similar to the workshop for the younger age group, content for 14 to 18 year olds also addresses the biological impact of drugs and alcohol on the teenage brain. Furthermore, teens in this group are pushed to consider the impact of drugs and alcohol on society. Participants are able to test their knowledge of certain substances, and engage in brainstorming activities pertaining to the effects of drugs and alcohol on decision making, i.e., risky behaviours related to driving and sexuality.

Feedback from initial sessions has been very positive, as teenagers were actively engaged in group discussion and activities. Participants were very responsive to an open style of facilitation and reported feeling comfortable discussing a wide range of often sensitive material.

However, these pilot workshops did uncover the fact that the majority of the teenagers in the older group (14-18 years) had been exposed to alcohol and/or illicit drugs at some point. For the younger group, exposure was less common, yet a serious concern for this group relates to the amount of misinformation about drugs and alcohol that is often spread amongst peers. These findings certainly support the relevance of material presented, and confirmed a need for further education that addresses current trends and risks to teenagers across each age group.

Given that knowledge is power, it is hoped that these sessions will continue to equip our young people with the resources to make healthy decisions when it comes to drugs and alcohol. In a world where alcohol and even some prescription drugs are marketed through aggressive advertising, future generations must stand against the normalization of certain substances and behaviours. After all, the Salvation Army knows all too well the power of addiction, and the toxic effects of drugs and alcohol on so many in our community.

 

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Apricot & The Salvation Army; working to provide housing for addicts in recovery

4/05/2013

The ongoing success of the Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Center (ARC) across the Western Territory has seen countless individuals recover from addictions, reconnect with families and take steps to rebuild their lives. An amazing program, the ARC aims to prepare addicts for re-entry into the community.

A recent article discussed a number of initiatives that are being implemented to build bridges between members of the Corps and graduates of the ARC. Educational workshops are currently being rolled out, teaching Officers and Soldiers about addiction, recovery and the development of constructive relationships within the Corps. It is hoped that this education will help to breakdown stereotypes and lay the foundations for ARC graduates to feel a real sense of belonging within the Corps community. As Commissioner Knaggs says, “these are our people.”

As previously stated, whilst belonging to a community is vital for recovering addicts, research shows that addicts have the best chance of long-term sobriety if they are able to secure ongoing employment and have access to a safe, sober living environment.

Within the Western Territory, studies have shown that following the initial, six-month phase of treatment at the ARC, only 10% of ARC graduates remain clean and sober after one year. However, this figure increases to 69% if graduates remain at the ARC for an additional six months, and to 86% if graduates gain steady employment and have access to a sober living environment for two years.

Apricot Consulting has been meeting with advisory board members to tackle the issue of employment for ARC alumni. A program is to be implemented that will allow for online storage of resumes, highlighting the skills and experience of ARC graduates. It is hoped that board members and the wider Corps community will also begin to think about their own personal and professional networks, and be intentional about providing introductions to prospective employers where appropriate. After all, the cornerstone of William Booth’s early strategy “In Darkest England and Way Out” emphasized “work for all”, a Salvation Army commitment that continues today.

Likewise, the Salvation Army hopes to reach out to the community about housing opportunities for ARC members once they leave the residential facility. Today’s housing market has made it particularly challenging for the Salvation Army to purchase properties for sober living purposes (however, Territorial Command is still open to this idea). A more affordable option at this time involves leasing properties through the rental market.

However, some property managers may be reluctant to lease a house for the purpose of accommodating addicts in recovery. Due to stereotyping and a lack of awareness, some may in fact believe that their investment houses will be exposed to vandalism, theft and a lack of respect for property.

In reality, proposals made by the Salvation Army to lease housing pose no threat to property owners. Indeed, landlords will know more about their tenants who have just exited the ARC program than they do the average renter. Firstly, residents are not permitted to use drugs or alcohol. Residents have established themselves as law-abiding citizens. Residents must undergo regular urinalysis and breathalyser testing and are required to work and pay for their own living expenses. Residents are also required to keep their living quarters clean and tidy and there are no pets allowed. There would be no additional costs to housing owners, as rent will still be paid in full by the Salvation Army.

With regards to rental costs, residents of each property must pay ongoing program service fees that cover the monthly rent in its entirety, making the transaction cost neutral for the Salvation Army. The reason for referring to this cost as a ‘program service fee’ rather than ‘rent’ relates to the strict rules and regulations provided by the ARC. If an individual breaches any of the program rules they may be evicted from the property by the Salvation Army. However, if direct rental transactions were made between tenants and their landlord, a landlord would be unable to evict a tenant for breaching rules outlined by the ARC program (e.g. bringing alcohol onto the property).

Each sober living facility will be assigned a resident manager to supervise the behavior of all tenants to ensure that the rules and boundaries previously enforced at the ARC continue to be upheld. These rules are designed to aid the recovery process and are strictly enforced. In the absence of the resident manager, tenants will also be held accountable to each other. Those living in sober housing will likely continue to enforce the rules set by the ARC, as the behavior of one can negatively influence the recovery of others.

Ideally, it is hoped that the Corps will be responsible for finding and developing sober living accommodation and turning it into a ‘home’. This move is likely to grow the Corps population by boosting a sense of engagement and belonging among residents who will also be encouraged become a part of the Corps community. However, it is advised that professionals from the ARC maintain control of housing supervision and regulation, as the ARC consists of trained staff who are experts in addiction and recovery and are able to easily identify problematic behaviors and scenarios.

Today we are writing to all Salvationists; Officers, Soldiers and Adherents, to remind our community about classic Salvation Army Mission, helping to bring wholeness in body, mind and soul to those in need. By leasing investment properties and/or providing introductions to those who can, you can be engaged in the healing process of recovering addicts and help them as they journey towards a self-sufficient and drug-free life.

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Promoting Corporate Social Responsibility in Brazil

17/04/2013

Current funding model/need for change

Internationally the Salvation Army operates in 125 countries, with funding predominantly coming from the Salvation Army in a small number of Western (or industrialized) nations. Eighty percent of this funding is generated by the Salvation Army in the United States. Western Territory Commander, Commissioner James Knaggs has recognized that the current model of funding for the Salvation Army is not sustainable, and that a new model is necessary for the future. With increasing emphasis on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives in Western society, Commissioner Knaggs is looking at an alternative model of funding, one that emphasizes corporate partnerships as the way forward.

Definition of CSR

CSR may be defined as an organizational approach whereby corporations assess and acknowledge their responsibilities relating to the environment, employees, consumers and the community. Large corporations that generate a great deal of money, assets and power have been made accountable for their impact on society, often referred to as a ‘licence to operate.’ Rather than engaging in philanthropy by simply providing financial support to community organizations and their projects (e.g. Salvation Army), organizations are becoming increasingly involved in projects that target social change and sustainability. CSR initiatives aid an organization’s mission by demonstrating compliance with the law, ethical standards and environmental legislation. Furthermore, they can generate positive public relations, increase corporate competitiveness and enhance employee engagement.

Salvation Army Brand

As a trusted organization with a high public approval rating, the Salvation Army is an attractive partner for Western companies looking to engage in CSR. Corporate leaders are becoming increasingly aware of the benefits that will come from implementing philanthropic endeavours in conjunction with the Salvation Army. This partnership promotes ‘cause-related marketing’ where there is mutual benefit for the two organizations. The Salvation Army Western Territory has also recognized the immense opportunity in partnering with first-world corporations outside of the United States.

Salvation Army and Brazil

One country that is in the midst of rapid economical growth is Brazil. Indeed, over the past few years Western companies have been flocking to Brazil and the country has cemented its place as the seventh largest economy in the world. In times of economic uncertainty for many nations, it is predicted that Brazil will increase its annual gross domestic product by 4.5 percent in the lead up to 2014 and take its place as the fifth largest economy in the world. As the next host of the soccer World Cup, over 250,000 jobs and $24 billion in investment will be generated over the next two years. Indeed, further growth is anticipated following the World Cup as Rio de Janeiro will also host the 2016 Summer Olympics. While Brazil’s recent economic success has seen 20 million people from a population of 190 million rise out of poverty into middle class, much work still needs to be done to improve human rights, labor rights, environmental rights and importantly, reduce corruption.

Government schemes targeting social inequality have been implemented to ease the contrast between rich and poor, giving high priority to discrimination, and discrepancies in salary among women and ethnic minorities. Legislation now requires large corporations to spend a minimum of 2% of profits on initiatives that aim to effect social change. This legislation also applies to Western companies who have opened offices in Brazil. As a result, opportunities for the implementation of new CSR projects over the next few years are abundant.

What has been done so far

The Salvation Army has operated in Brazil since 1922 and has extensive programs that demonstrate classic Salvation Army Corps and social services. Indeed, Brazilians have not forgotten the relief work provided by the Salvation Army for the 83,000 people left homeless following the floods that devastated the north-east in 2010.  The Salvation Army has also been recognized for assistance provided to rescue workers following the tragic plane crash at the Sao Paulo airport in 2007 that killed up to 200 people. Over the past ten years the Salvation Army has built constructive relationships throughout Brazil that has seen the successful development and functioning of thrift stores, with profits being filtered back into the community. More recently, the Salvation Army has been carrying out very valuable work, targeting extreme poverty demonstrated in Brazil’s poorest neighbourhoods known as favelas. This work certainly captures the heart of the Salvation Army and beautifully demonstrates its mission aimed at helping the poor and transforming lives.

However, much work still needs to be done to improve living conditions; providing safe shelter, access to food, clean water and sanitation. Due to societal problems, Westerner’s travelling to Brazil to conduct business are often placed in unsafe environments where there is a risk to the safety of individuals and their families.

What will be done in the coming months

Over the coming months, the Salvation Army Western Territory will be connecting Western businesses with offices in Brazil with the Salvation Army in Brazil to implement initiatives aimed at helping the Salvation Army’s work in Brazil. Projects will aim to reduce homelessness and domestic violence, and improve opportunities for education and employment. The Salvation Army understands that CSR initiatives need to be conducted with sensitivity, respect for the Brazilian culture and awareness of community values. Over time, it is hoped that the Salvation Army in Brazil will become self-sufficient by attracting corporate partners. As a result, increased financial support will help the Salvation Army to secure an effective funding model at the international level, and continue to improve the social welfare of people living in Brazil, and throughout the world.

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An innovative ARC education plan for the Salvation Army

16/04/2013

The Salvation Army injects in excess of $150 million into Adult Rehabilitation Centers (ARC) across the Western Territory every year. Experienced professionals and Officers work with individuals from all walks of life to help them recover from their addictions and prepare for re-entry into the community. Within the Western Territory, 7500 men and women are admitted to the ARC each year with around 2500 (30%) of these members graduating, or “completing” at the end of the six-month program.

Studies have shown that following the initial, six-month phase of treatment at the ARC, only 10% of that 2500 (30%) remain clean and sober after one year. However, this figure increases to 69% if alumni remain at the ARC for an additional six months, and to 86% if alumni remain connected to the ARC for two years. The US national average rate of sobriety one year following time at a mainstream rehabilitation program is only 10-11%. By comparison, completion of the ARC program in its entirety certainly provides a more optimistic, long-term outlook for addicts.

An 86% success rate for addicts, clean and sober after two years is certainly encouraging. However, this figure does not transpire simply due to the dedication and time commitment made by ARC alumni. Indeed, ARC alumni have the best chance at long-term recovery if they remain actively connected to the Corps and to the wider community. This connection needs to be meaningful, where positive, healthy relationships are formed and where ARC alumni feel a real sense of belonging within the Corps community. In addition, the 86% success rate is aided by the latter stages of the ARC program, where alumni have the opportunity to move into sober living accommodations and a focus on employment ensues.

As a result of Commissioner Knaggs’ harvest initiatives over the past 18 months, a number of intentional programs have been set up between the ARC and the Corps. Participating ARCs currently include Anaheim, Hawaii, Pasadena, Phoenix, Portland and San Diego. These ARCs have provided positive feedback regarding integration initiatives, and have reported increasing numbers of ARC alumni attending service at the Corps.

The Salvation Army Western Territory has employed the services of Apricot Consulting to develop an education plan for Officers and Soldiers that will teach additional Corps communities about the ARC, addictions and the recovery process. The aim is to help breakdown some of the stigma attached to ARC members and create a positive platform for the initiation of constructive relationships.

Specifically, the education plan will provide an overview of the ARC program with an emphasis on the nature of addiction and recovery. Workshops will explore ways to help integrate members of the ARC into the Corps, and investigate challenges that come from building new relationships with individuals who are focused on their own recovery.  In a practical sense, Corps members will have the chance to discuss their concerns, explore and breakdown stereotypes and learn about how to assist in the recovery process. It is hoped that following the roll out of this education plan, members at the Corps will have developed a clear understanding of the ARC program and feel positive about their role in the recovery process of individuals who are in need of love, support and acceptance as they journey towards a clean, sober and independent life.

 

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Why change management can make or break your project

27/03/2013

Our partner company nSynergy has been providing specialist SharePoint Consulting Services since 2004, helping to give businesses the competitive edge. nSynergy places a strong emphasis on knowledge transfer throughout client engagements to ensure the long-term sustainability of programs. nSynergy have engaged the services of our change management experts at Apricot to successfully implement User Adoption initiatives that will compliment current approaches to technology enablement. Today’s article will address two important components of change; business alignment and people engagement, and will provide further detail about how we at Apricot work to implement change.

 

Business Alignment

Grounded first in assessment, at Apricot we prepare our clients for the journey that they need to make by assessing the current organizational climate. Business alignment is essential to the adoption framework because without it, businesses will not be able to build momentum or keep adoption levels high enough to provide continuous, ongoing value. It involves the assessment of five key areas:

  1. Organizational Assessment
  2. Coalition
  3. Vision, Mission and Values
  4. Project Management
  5. Governance

Organizational Assessment involves understanding organizational structures and leadership paradigms. We identify the ‘key players’ who we will be working alongside to initiate change, and who is best equipped to influence change among the group.

Coalition highlights the need to create a sense of urgency and momentum around the need for change with key stakeholders. We work to convey the message that change is being implemented for the greater good of the business, to help staff function more efficiently, not simply for the sake of change.

Creating a simple vision and mission that people can grasp and remember is central to the change process. At Apricot, we ensure that staff members (at all levels) are involved in the development of organizational values. This helps employees who may not be commonly involved in decision-making processes to identify with, and express ownership over the long-term vision of the organization.

When implementing change, Project Management involves establishing a holistic strategy, plan, timeline, and milestones to ensure that the change lasts. When ‘wins’ are made (i.e., successful completion of certain milestones) we aim to implement processes that recognize and reward achievement.

The final process of business alignment at Apricot involves as assessment of Governance. It is vital that the terms of use, policy and procedures encourage appropriate participation while protecting critical IP and meeting compliance obligations.

 

People Engagement

Following the assessment of processes relating to business alignment, people engagement strategies can be implemented. The five key components of people engagement include:

  1. Cultural Assessment
  2. Recognition
  3. Communication
  4. Education
  5. Key Influencers

Culture is the engine room of the organization. The best way to measure an organization’s culture is to engage with its employees and learn about “how we do things around here.” Any consultant entering a new organization is required to take note of its culture and adapt accordingly. Apricot founder and CEO Derek Linsell was once the CEO of the AFL Foundation, a predominantly male sporting environment where irreverent language is often considered the norm. In stark contrast, Derek has also worked extensively with the Salvation Army, an evangelistic organization dedicated to helping the poor and unfortunate by bringing them into a meaningful relationship with God. In both cases, it was imperative that Derek be aware of the organizational culture in order to engage employees and be accepted by the group. It would have been inappropriate for Derek to use poor language in the presence of Salvation Army Officers, just as it would have been inappropriate for him to initiate a meeting with AFL executives by opening in prayer. Culture is related to productivity, and we at Apricot are aware that it heavily impacts analysis, planning, risk and ultimately the success of user adoption initiatives.

Recognition processes promoted by Apricot encourage positive behaviors by linking them to performance, rewards, and goal achievement. Similar to the implementation of taxonomies for collaboration, recognition process provide clear guidelines and promote standards of behaviour that employees are encouraged to strive for.

When introducing new IT solutions, we at Apricot ensure that employees understand new methods for viral and programmatic communication. Employees should feel supported and understand that there are structures in place for when assistance is required.

Importantly, establishing programs for onboarding, ongoing learning, and knowledge retention is vital for the change process to be effective. New staff members need to be properly educated and trained in new processes, not simply shown the ‘old way’ by employees who have not properly adopted the new system. In addition, employees should have access to ongoing training, and learning should be assessed regularly, either formally or informally.

Similar to understanding organizational structures and leadership paradigms during the business alignment process of change, we believe it is necessary to identify and empower advocates who will inspire others to engage. It is equally important to defuse resistors (i.e., find out what forces or people might dampen enthusiasm). In most cases, 20% of the group will feel positive about change, 20% will feel opposed to change, and the remaining 60% will be unsure about change. Our aim at Apricot is to engage the middle 60% to bring the proportion of the group who are positive to 80%. In order to this we work with organizational leaders and make sure that they are intentional about promoting change and demonstrating their own adoption of new strategies.  After all, a new IT solution is only successful if people use it.

 

Our final thoughts

Adding user adoption solutions to technology enablement leads to a more attractive, comprehensive package and an improved ability sell. Furthermore, deeper engagement with customers can lead to ongoing relationships, additional projects and increased revenue. A win for everyone.

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Two important variables that can enhance group cohesion and performance

19/02/2013

Organizational leaders are often overwhelmed with conflicting advice regarding how to enhance employee productivity and performance. A plethora of research supports group cohesion as a strong predictor of success in the workplace. Fostering cohesion among staff does not need to be a time-consuming task that involves external team-building activities. Often, cohesion can be enhanced by recognizing pre-existing variables within a group and relaying their significance to employees.
Firstly, it is important to understand that cohesion is a multidimensional construct that incorporates task and social components (Carron, 1982). Task cohesion refers to the shared focus and commitment of the group towards achieving group outcomes, whereas social cohesion refers to the closeness of group members and bonding within the group as a whole. Task and social elements of cohesion are likely to vary among co-workers depending on the work environment, i.e., the nature of group tasks and goals (Carron & Brawley, 2000). Research suggests that it is most important to foster task cohesion to improve productivity, however, increased social cohesion also helps employees to focus their attention in order to stay in the group and achieve collective goals.
Next, it is useful for employers to be aware of contextual variables, also known as workgroup characteristics, which may influence performance. Two contextual variables that demonstrate strong links to co-worker cohesion are (1) Goal Interdependence and (2) Task Importance.
Goal interdependence refers to the degree to which an individual’s short- and long-term objectives align with that of the group. Collective goals enhance cooperation among group members and are often subject to feedback and rewards (Chen et al., 2009).
When group members feel that their task is important and feel personal responsibility for its completion, commitment to the team and job satisfaction are likely to increase (Campion et al., 1993). As such, tasks that are considered important are likely to increase motivation, promote collective efficacy, and strengthen task cohesion as the team strives towards accomplishing its goal(s) (Oldham & Hackman, 2010).
Therefore, with these two important variables in mind, employers and managers can work to boost cohesion by introducing (or increasing) organizational objectives that are desirable for employees. Rather than provide individual incentives (which can lead to competition and conflict), group feedback and rewards are encouraged.
Finally, employers should ensure that employees know that their work is respected and appreciated. Regardless of the nature of the task, employee performance should be recognized on a regular basis, in order to increase individual motivation and commitment to the group.

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Doing what you love to do.

7/11/2012

This video narrated by Alan Watts asks the simple question, ‘What would you like to do if money were no object?’

It is a pretty eye-opening question really.

It opens up a few doors for most people. It makes you question what you are really passionate about and how close you might actually be to that dream.

Really, it is about loving what you do in your day-to-day life.

Watts discusses in the video, finding what it is that you really want to do and then when you have, you have to forget the money.

‘If you say that getting the money is the most important thing you’ll spend your life completely wasting your time. You’ll be doing things you don’t like doing in order to go on living, that is to go on doings things you don’t like doing,’ he said.

Harsh words in reality since the majority of us need money to live.

The late Steve Jobs has been quoted on many things through his career and this speech he gave after he stepped down as CEO of Apple in 2005 resonates what we all need to hear sometimes.

Your work is going to fill a large part of your life and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.’

If you want to read the rest of his speech, it is well worth it and shows he truly was one of the greatest innovators of our time.

 

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