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Social Learning in a Corporate Environment

At a recent team meeting it was exciting to hear how social learning was at play.  From peer-to-peer sharing in support of a client’s Lean implementation, to sales representatives partaking in strategic planning best practices in a virtual classroom session, to a project team collaborating on process improvements in the development of a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course), the value of social learning was front and center.

Social learning is not a new concept in the business community – we work in teams, seek out peers for guidance and information, engage in collaborative problem-solving, and learn together in classes. Leveraging the knowledge capital of employees by sharing information and expertise in the workplace is a proven business practice with a long history.  Whether through informal mentoring or a simple water-cooler chat, social learning is a powerful process that connects employees with subject matter… Read more →

State and Federal Leaders Move WIOA Forward: Re-capping the NASWA Winter Policy Forum

Last week it was an honor to emcee NASWA’s Winter Policy Forum in Washington, D.C. Despite the threatening winter weather (that caused my train to “freeze” and made me drive to D.C.), about 150 leaders from states across the nation came together to tackle the special challenges involved in preparing to implement the Workforce System’s new law.

Panels of experts, including an opening plenary featuring leaders from key federal partner agencies planning for implementation, came together in robust discussions with those gathered around key issues in the law. One panel explored disconnected youth and long-term unemployed. Another focused on building partnerships that are so critical to reaching the potential of this new legislation. Still another featured states that have already been working to bring partners together and formulate key changes in policy and process that will be the backbone of… Read more →

Customers on the Move: Maher Client named a “Top 20” Leader in Atlanta!

We love it when our clients get recognized for leadership and innovation – particularly when they are committed to the type of transformational change we’re advocating in the Nation’s workforce development system.

Our report to the City of Atlanta was a critical look at the City’s workforce agency coupled with a hard-hitting set of recommendations designed to transform its performance. The Atlanta Workforce Development Agency( AWDA) needed to re-invent itself as part of a collaborative – working with area economic development, education and five regional workforce boards – to begin to create a talent supply chain to drive the City’s economic prosperity and build family-sustaining career opportunities for its citizens.

 

Enter Michael Sterling. Appointed by Mayor Kasim Reed to lead the Agency’s revival, Mike was a staunch supporter of the vision for… Read more →

Recalling Your Past Can Drive a Better 2015

Winston Churchill is often misquoted as having said, “They who do not know history are destined to repeat it,” The original quote, however, is credited to Edmund Burke (1729-1797). Regardless of the source, we have come to use this thought to warn ourselves of the need to learn from the past and avoid repeating our past failures. In fact, the lessons of history – from both our successes and our failures – can drive improved performance and results in our futures.

The dawn of a New Year is a perfect time to address past success as a source for driving future ones. I use this “remembering when” activity to recall lessons of the past that you may want to try for yourself in your team or organization: Gather the entire team with only a single piece of paper and a pen and a… Read more →

2014 Year End Message

As the end of another (our 28th) year comes into focus, we seem to have a great deal to be thankful for here at Maher & Maher. Our business has expanded, we have new customers that have entrusted us with incredibly important and challenging assignments, we have some outstanding new associates and employees, and we have tremendous opportunities ahead of us in the New Year.

Our mission as talent development investment advisors to clients in the public and private sectors has never been more relevant, as the world begins to accept what we have always known – that talent is the new, global currency, and that organizations and communities with the most skilled workforces will win in the globally competitive economy of the 21st century.

So, as we all begin to make final preparations to enjoy time with family and friends, we pause in gratitude… Read more →

A Time for Thanks Giving

At this writing many folks – maybe most – are already packed and hitting the trains, planes, and highways to celebrate Thanksgiving with family and friends. Indeed there are just a few of us here at the Maher & Maher New Jersey office left – wrapping up final tasks before heading out ourselves.

As the Holiday approaches and the end of 2014 begins to come into focus, I feel as though we all have much to be thankful for.

For those of us here at Maher, 2014 will be a good year. We are fortunate to have seen clients in both our public and private sectors reward our efforts with important, large-scale engagements. These new projects will test our capabilities and challenge us to deliver against critical priorities. Our professional staff will be supporting major IT system integration and training efforts, Lean Management implementations, curricula design supporting… Read more →

Labor Day Inspiration … Atlanta style.

I had the privilege to attend a really great event with our client – Invest Atlanta – a week ago last Friday. It reminded me anew, why I do what I do. From time to time, I think we all need such a reminder – amidst the distractions and challenges we all face in life and at work day to day.

The event brought Labor Secretary Tom Perez to Atlanta as part of his “Labor Day” cross-country tour, but also served as the platform for Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed to publicly announce his endorsement of a set of recommendations our team (working with a broad group of Atlanta’s community and business leaders) developed to re-invent the city’s workforce development system. That System has been criticized in an internal audit as ineffective, ridiculed in the press and is the subject of an… Read more →

Finding the Future: South Suburban Community College Community-Centered Strategic Planning

We recently completed another strategic planning engagement for a college in Illinois, and I was moved by the engagement, interest and passion this group brought to the task of finding a better future for their institution and the community it serves.

South Suburban Community College brought about 100 leaders together from this region just south of Chicago for an intensive, 2-day event designed to drive innovation and planning to guide the institution’s next five years. Using our Community-Centered Strategic Planning Process, stakeholders from the community representing K-12, the university system, economic and workforce development and employers joined those internal to the college (including students) in the effort.

This process is intense, it is time-consuming and it isn’t for everybody. It just works.

We use the essence of the “Re-Claiming the American Dream” report from the American Association of… Read more →

Reemployment Connections: New “Virtual Institute” Model Drives Innovation in Technical Assistance

We recently completed an online “virtual institute” for the United States Department of Labor’s Office of Unemployment Insurance (OUI) that brought teams from six states together with leaders from Washington to consider innovative approaches to reemployment services for the Nation’s unemployed.

The “Reemployment Connections Virtual Institute” saw states form cross-functional teams that followed a scripted process over an intensive, six-week timeline. State teams were brought together in an online institute – using virtual meetings, training sessions, in-person state-level meetings and scheduled topical chats with subject matter experts to drive the process. State team facilitators worked in concert with a national facilitator to keep teams on track, and a dedicated web community was used for sharing best practices by and between states.

The outcomes from the Institute were state plans to re-connect UI claimants to re-employment services using… Read more →

Learning Just Got Smarter, and that Changes Everything.

Well, I am now officially a Courserian. I began my trek toward learning on Coursera (a leading MOOC) yesterday.

My course is titled, “Leadership through Emotional Intelligence.” The 6-week journey will be lead by Richard Boyatzis, Distinguished University Professor in the Department of Organizational Behavior, Case Western Reserve University. His introductory lecture (video) demonstrates his passion for the material and gives me the impression that this could be fun and engaging. 

So, like a good student, I set out on my adventure … watching the requisite video lecture, reading my journal article as assigned and even the next lecture (off YouTube), and then entered the discussion thread to begin my assigned post.

There I found dozens of “earlier birds” that had beaten me to the threads – chattering away on their leadership experiences – good and bad, and… Read more →