Jonathan Eisler on November 18th, 2015

Written by: Jonathan Eisler, Managing Director of Perspectives Organizational Consulting Group

In today’s business landscape, it seems we keep hearing more about how big data is improving the quality of every decision made. Given this trend, it’s no surprise that leadership and talent management decisions are being positively influenced by the inclusion of massive amounts of data as well. However, the cost, time and resources required to obtain and analyze said data is often prohibitive.  Thankfully though, there are 3 steps an organization can take to get the right people on board while reinforcing behaviors that drive the organization’s culture in the desired direction.

  1. Define organizational values in observable behaviors. This will foster consistent understanding across the organization regarding what it means to truly live the company values. This will also enable objective selection and promotion decisions to be made that ensure those ‘on the ship’ are all rowing in the desired direction (ie – towards the company’s strategic objectives).
  2. Learn to elicit and interpret a person’s natural tendencies and behavioral characteristics. These additional sets of data will provide a clearer understanding of who a person truly is, what it is that motivates them, and what type of culture they’ll thrive in.
  3. Incorporate the above sets of data into all talent management decisions. By knowing what specific behaviors embody the values we espouse as an organization, and truly understanding the innate tendencies each individual possesses, we are able to make talent management decisions from a strategic and values aligned perspective.

This 3-step process is crucial in making sure the right people are in the right places and the right behaviors are being reinforced. And those are the kind of outcomes we all want from our talent management decisions, whether we have the luxury of accessing and analyzing big data or not.

To experience this 3-step process first-hand, I invite you to join the December 10th, 2015 workshop that I will be facilitating with Chicago SHRM on exactly these 3 things.

Be Sociable, Share!

Tags: , , , ,

Working World Cafe on November 5th, 2015
photo by: dreamstine

photo by: dreamstine

Written by: Pat Fagan-Jackson, Executive Account Manager

The holidays are supposed to be a time of warmth, joy and excitement. And for many people, they are. Still, the anxiety of having too much to do in too little time, the pressure of unrealistic expectations and the tendency to overeat and overspend can easily overshadow holiday happiness. You may not be able to avoid stressful situations during the holidays; here are some tips to help you manage the stress.

  • Set realistic expectations. Decide on a meaningful theme for yourself and let that guide your decisions. The holidays don’t have to be perfect or just like last year.
  • Communicate with your family and friends. The holidays can put extra pressure on relationships. If a tradition is starting to stress you out, be honest! As families change and grow, traditions often change too. Everything can be changed for the better; especially, when everyone’s opinion is respected.
  • Avoid or minimize credit card debt. Budget ahead of time or be creative! Try not to attach your worth to the size of the gift(s).
  • Get plenty of sleep. Sleep deprivation releases stress hormones into the blood stream that lowers our metabolism, and increases our appetite. This can result in craving high sugar/carbohydrate foods.
  • Exercise. This is one of the first self-care strategies people tend to give up when time is limited. If you intend to start working out as a New Year’s resolution, start one month early.
  • Learn to say no. It’s okay to say “no” to events that aren’t important to you. This will give you more time to say “yes” to events that you want to attend and alleviate any feeling of resentment.

To get more information on tips around the holidays, please visit

Be Sociable, Share!

Tags: , , , , ,

Working World Cafe on October 30th, 2015
photo by: dreamstine

photo by: dreamstine

Written by: Andrea Fisher, Access Center Counselor

It’s that time of year again. The colorful leaves falling from the trees are getting sparse and darker colder days are upon us. Some perceive the change from fall to winter as a beautiful thing as others may experience symptoms of depression brought on by the change in season.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that affects an individual the same time each year, usually starting when the weather becomes colder and darker around October, and ends around May when the weather becomes warmer. To try and combat SAD, here are a couple tips.

  1. Take a look at your environment. Open blinds around the house, sit close to the window at home or at work to get the natural light. Consider buying a light box that imitates outdoor light which may improve mood and decrease SAD symptoms.
  2. Spend some time outside. Even though it’s cold, being able to spend a little time outside, especially within the first 2 hours of when you wake up has been proven to help reduce symptoms of SAD.
  3. Exercise regularly. When it’s cold and dark outside we tend to want to curl up and stay inside. Try to fight that urge and try to exercise daily. Call a friend to take a brisk walk, go to an exercise class. Not only will exercise boost your mood, but it also could supply some social interaction as well, which during the winter months may be lacking.

If changing some of your daily routine has improved your mood, but you are still feeling the effects of SAD there are additional options to explore. Consider making an appointment with a counselor through your EAP to discuss other healthy coping skills.

To get more information, please visit or

Be Sociable, Share!

Tags: , , , ,

Bernie Dyme on October 14th, 2015

leadershipWritten by: Bernie Dyme

These are very difficult times for not for profits. Resources continue to become scarcer while the needs for the more disadvantaged in our society continue to grow. Effective strategic and operating plans are critical for these entities to sustain themselves and provide the needed services or advocacy that make up their mission.

A key ingredient of success is the need for strong and engaged boards.  I have been on both sides of the fence as a consultant and President of a firm that works with not-for-profits.  I have been a Chicago Coalition for the Homeless (CCH) board member for the last 12 years and currently it’s President.  During this past year as President, I have learned (and continue to learn) many important things that have enabled me to work effectively with and lead my fellow board members.  I have also learned about overall governance and how to interface with the staff of the organization, the not for profit community in which we exist and those whom we serve.

Here are a few things that I have learned as a leader that might be helpful for leaders on boards of nonprofits.

  1. Make sure you develop a positive working relationship with the President or Executive Director of the organization.  This includes regular “touch base” meetings and check-ins on strategy and operations.
  2. Get to know the organization’s leadership and staff from top to bottom.  It is critical that they know that you are generally interested in what the organization is doing and more importantly, how they are contributing to its success.  When I began at CCH, I made it a point to meet 1 on 1 with each of the leadership team members to get to know them and what they are responsible for.  I also took that opportunity to ask them what I needed to know and what the board in general needs to know about what they are doing and what they may need to accomplish CCH’s mission.
  3. Listen and fight the impulse to give an answer or solution to a problem and ask a lot of questions.  There have been times when I have had to have difficult discussions with folks where we do not necessarily agree but in all of these cases, I have striven to insure that they have felt heard and acknowledged.
  4. Be open to ideas even if they go against your own ideas.  This has allowed me to come away with great ideas that I might have been closed off to while also enabling those with the ideas to see me as someone who is responsive and respectful of them.
  5. Build relationships with other board members and create a “working board” where all have an opportunity to contribute and assist.  This strategy of empowerment makes for a higher quality board, not to mention that it spreads out the work load among folks.  It also puts board members in direct contact with staff so they can really understand the workings of the organization.
  6. Be prepared before all meetings.  At CCH, we have an Executive Board that meets every month and helps to develop, with the Executive Director, the agenda for the next board meeting.
  7. Use resources to assist in your work as a board member.  One that I use often is the Donors Forum which is a membership organization for grant-makers, nonprofits and advisers which provides them with the resources needed to be effective and sustainable.
  8. Work collaboratively with the Executive Director/President but do remember that the Board’s job is to make sure that s/he is doing his/her job.
  9. Recruit and develop high level board members who have a commitment to the values of the organization, and help develop them into leaders.  A board succession plan for nonprofits is just as critical as it is for leadership in the for profit world.

Effective boards are critical in the sustainability of nonprofits especially in this time of diminishing public dollars. Therefore creating and growing high performing boards should be on any nonprofit’s radar.  Find talented contributors who can give not only dollars but expertise and make sure you get any assistance you can to develop them.  There will always be people in need and therefore we must maintain organizations that can help them and make sure that they are run effectively.

To get more information regarding this please visit


Be Sociable, Share!

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Jonathan Eisler on October 7th, 2015

Written by: Jonathan Eisler, Director of Perspectives Organizational Consulting Group

Recently we discussed why it’s important for organizations to foster a generationally inclusive culture and outlined the tangible benefits that can be realized when done effectively. As the war for talent becomes more and more vicious, companies must remain mindful of the current, and desired, generational distribution across their workforce and appropriately adapt related organizational components and personnel practices.

So where do leaders focus and what do organizations do when they truly understand the differences each generation brings to the workplace?

Areas of Focus

Corporate Culture
Resulting Practices/Behaviors:

-There are conversations about generational differences
-The generational composition of their workforce guides their HR Strategies
-They match the generational composition of their workforce to that of their customer base (or desired base)

Resulting Practices/Behaviors:

-They reward management for retention of both people and knowledge
-They get creative about retirement plans, reinforce mentoring and may have alumni programs for retired/ex-employees
-Horizontal career moves are offered, they recruit from within and provide job rotation opportunities

Resulting Practices/Behaviors:

-They have strategic recruitment strategies that target who they’re looking for to best connect with current/desired customers and become an employer of choice

Resulting Practices/Behaviors:

-Flexible work options are offered
-Performance and productivity are rewarded rather than simply tenure (they are age and seniority neutral)
-They offer various appealing benefits and wellness programs (EAP work-life and legal-financial resources) suited to their employee’s stage of life

Resulting Practices/Behaviors:

-They provide/mandate training on generational differences in multiple formats (leaders on how to lead and coworkers on how to communicate with the generations)
-Boards, task forces, and committees all have equal generational representation
-They establish mentoring programs (formal or informal), train on mentoring, and encourage top-down and reverse mentoring (bottom-up)

To learn more about how Perspectives Organizational Consulting Group has been empowering business leaders to effectively focus on these 5 areas of focus and foster an age inclusive workplace, reach out to Jonathan Eisler.

Be Sociable, Share!

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Written by: Terry Cahill, VP of Marketing & Sales

Not-for-profit organizations (NFPs) that provide services or advocate for those in need in the State of Illinois are experiencing some pretty tough times because the budget is currently at a stand-still.  That means that many NFPs that are dependent on funding are not getting paid and therefore are or will be curtailing services to vulnerable populations.  This will continue for some undetermined period in the future.  So, what can we do to help?  Well, companies and their employees can play a big role in helping to fill the hopefully temporary void getting involved in efforts to support them. There are many ways to provide this help but 3 big things stick out in my mind.

  1. Think Local – According to Jason Kulpa, CEO of Underground Elephant, “Collaborate with neighborhood organizations tackling local issues and make sure that you, your employees and your community celebrate hometown wins.” Perspectives headquarters is in the Chicago downtown location, so our employees see the homeless daily as we come to and from the office.  With that said we find it important to give an annual holiday contribution to the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless and will be starting a program to donate more that will be tied to the growth of our business.
  1. Go Beyond the Money – Of course, money is needed and vital to help NFPs continue to serve the people needing their services. But it also helps to support them by your direct involvement with them through volunteering your  In 2008, 61.8 million individuals in the United States contributed 8 billion hours of time as volunteers. Can you imagine if all those volunteers didn’t show up? One of our owners, Bernie Dyme is the President of the Board of Directors of the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless. In this role, he gives back by being involved in supporting the mission of advocating and organizing to prevent and end homelessness.  Dyme has helped increase the board’s role in fundraising and creating awareness about the CCH mission in various communities (business, political, legal, religious, etc.) throughout Chicago and Illinois.
  1. Provide a Platform – As Kulpa says, “Let Your Company Be a Stage”. Provide a forum for your NFPs to get out their message.  One way Perspectives has done this was by having the Executive Director of Streetwise, a social enterprise designed to help the homeless and those at risk of homelessness out of poverty, speak to our entire staff at our semi-annual Town Hall meeting.  He talked about the organization’s empowerment program which helps to provide work to individuals by selling their weekly Chicagoland newspaper Streetwise.

Whether your organization decides to help with donations of time and/or money, we applaud your efforts to support nonprofits as they continue to serve our community.  To get more information, visit

Be Sociable, Share!

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Working World Cafe on September 16th, 2015
photo by: dreamstine

photo by: dreamstine

Written by: Rebecca Litz, Account Manager

Lately, requests for Emotional Intelligence training have been quite popular. Relationship management is something that impacts everyone in the workplace. Have you ever known someone who is ‘book smart’ but seems to struggle with success in the workplace? On the other hand, I’m sure you have met people who are very successful in the workplace and may have less formal education than their peers. Daniel Goleman, a psychologist, noticed this too and asked the question, “What is it that makes people successful in the workplace and why do others struggle?” The concept of Emotional Intelligence had emerged.

Emotional Intelligence is the ability to perceive, assess and manage your own emotions and the emotions of others. Goleman found through his research that about 67% of success at work is due to emotional intelligence. If this is the case, how can we improve our skills?

  1. Become self-aware: Ask a trusted co-worker for honest feedback. Take an inventory of your strengths and weaknesses Pay attention to your own internal signals and observe reactions that people have to you.
  2. Really listen to others: Seek first to understand and then be understood.
  3. Show genuine interest in others: Everyone wants to be valued.
  4. Manage your own emotions: Instead of reacting to strong emotions, respond after you have had time to think.
  5. Be Grateful: It will help you maintain a positive attitude and motivation to move through the day.

To get more information, please visit

Be Sociable, Share!

Tags: , , , , , ,

Bernie Dyme on September 9th, 2015

Workplace Incivility

Written by: Bernie Dyme

Your weekly Monday morning meeting with your partner has just ended and  you have a sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach. You are feeling angry as you go into your office and close your door to let out a full body scream.  The ironic thing is that your business is very successful.  In moments of clarity (or sanity), you can see that you both compliment each other.  You are the calm, measured one who is responsible for keeping the operations going smoothly.  Without you there would be chaos.  And your partner is the creative one without whom there would be no new business.

But the stress is killing you and it is not as much fun as it used to be.  So what do you do?  Do you get a business divorce?  Do you confront your partner about how bad it is?  Well, you have done that before but it hasn’t really gotten you anywhere.

One solution that is gaining some traction (and press) is couples counseling for CEOs.  Inc. magazine just did a piece on a 25 year old CEO of a start up in Silicone Valley.  She and her partner learned in therapy how to navigate through the complexities of having been long term friends who were now in the throes of building a business.  In another example, in the New York Times, “Anger Management: Why the Genius Founders Turned to Couples Therapy”, two entrepeneurs, Ilan Zechory and his best friend, Tom Lehman who started learned how to better articulate their concerns and work things out their differences in a successful way.

Marriage counseling is an excellent way to resolve differences and better communicate so why not use this modality for business?  Just make sure that the counselor has an understanding of business and has worked with folks in business before.  Although many of the issues brought by CEOs are similar to those in a marriage, there are some differences.

So, if you own a business or have bosses who are not getting along and you think could use some help, let them know about this option.  It can work and it is far better than a “business divorce”.

To get more information, please visit

Be Sociable, Share!

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Working World Cafe on September 2nd, 2015

changeWritten by: Jodee Elliot, Access Center Counselor

This time of year is one where we can find change everywhere we look.  Parents are bidding farewell to their children starting college. Football teams are getting acquainted with their new coaching staffs. Employees are letting go of old practices and adopting new ones. Change is certainly inevitable. In our industry, we are often called to help people or systems adapt to change. In order for us to reap the benefits of change we must remember what it takes to accept it.  It may be helpful to consider the following strategies.

Letting Go of Fear. Let go of the fears you’re hanging on to. Fear of failure, fear of losing something or someone, fear of judgment, fear of uncertainty, fear of risk, and fear of the unknown. When we let go, we begin to unlock our potential to finding deeper satisfaction and more meaningful relationships.

Understand Resistance.  If you’re resisting change, you’re probably resisting growth. The idea of leaping into something new can feel quite uncomfortable because it is different. It can also bring up feelings of vulnerability. We may become vulnerable to the fact that we just don’t have it all figured out yet. Accepting that we don’t have all the answers makes us be more engaged in the learning process of life. When we are more engaged, we learn more actively and become more likely to help others.

Remain open.  When we remain open, we surrender what we know and we roll with any unsettling feelings that may come up for us. We stay flexible and stay ready to switch gears at any given moment. When we stay open, we embrace the unknown that lies ahead and become energized by the endless opportunities in front of us. Keeping this positive outlook helps support not only your own personal development, but the larger community around you.

Human nature drives us to choose what we know versus what we don’t; to hold on to what is versus what could be. Part of us would rather not accept that our babies are growing up or admit that we have so much we need to learn. When we accept that people grow and change; that the new coach might have a lot to teach us; or that these new practices will help us become a better employee, we will find a richer meaning in our work, our relationships and our lives.

If you would like to get more information on the change management strategies, please visit

Be Sociable, Share!

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Bernie Dyme on August 27th, 2015

Written by: Bernie Dyme

Yet another incident of workplace violence.  And once again we are left with a lot of questions.  How do we prevent it?  Are there indicators that would allow us to spot potentially dangerous employees?

We have written 8 blog posts in the last 6 years dealing with workplace violence and I fear that this will not be the last one.

So what do we do to stop it?  This is the age old question and unfortunately, there are no definitive answers.  There are only guidelines that might help.  We have written about these before so I want to call your attention to one of our previous posts, “Reducing the Risk of Workplace Violence”.  There are many good points to consider in this post but the best piece of advice in this regard begins with leadership creating a culture that:

  • Doesn’t tolerate bad or disrespectful behavior from any of its employees, customers or vendors.
  • In which safety and transparency is the key ingredient, allowing all employees the ability to ask for and seek help.  This enables those feeling threatened to get assistance without fear of reprisals and those who have concerns about work conditions a place to air them and get them resolved.  Making use of HR; ongoing manager training on what to look for, dealing with difficult employees and when to get help is also valuable.  It is also helpful to have EAP services.
  • Allows people to enjoy coming to work because the atmosphere is comfortable and fun.

So, although we can’t entirely erase workplace violence, we can diminish the possibility of it occurring by taking the steps mentioned above or in our previous posts. If you want more information regarding workplace violence, please visit our website, or blog,

Be Sociable, Share!

Tags: , , , , , ,